HC Deb 04 March 1947 vol 434 cc307-44

7.12 p.m.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Western)

I beg to move, in page r, line 17, to leave out "Great Britain," and to insert "England and Wales."

The purpose of this Amendment, as I think will be quite clear; is to remove Scotland from the operation of double summer time. Let me say at once that I recognise that the Government have gone a long way in forestalling criticism by limiting the incidence of double summer time to the period from 13th April to 10th August, but, even so, this period is a period of 13 weeks, and the imposition of double summer time for one third of a year will have a serious effect upon the agricultural industry, and particularly upon the agricultural industry in Scotland. I will try to show why Scotland is a particular case.

My hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) reminded the House during the Second Reading Debate that we had with us now a fuel crisis, but that we might well have with us before very long a food crisis, and the question of the pro- duction of food depends very much upon this question of double summer time. There is no doubt about the serious effect which the imposition of double summer time will have upon food production and upon the manpower employed in agriculture. There are two points that I want to make in regard to this.

First of all, my hon. Friend the Member for North Cumberland (Mr. Wilfrid Roberts) said earlier this afternoon that hay was the basis of milk production, and those of us who understand these things know how, at the present time, many stock farmers in Scotland are looking anxiously to the dwindling stocks of hay and wondering whether they will last out during this bad spell of weather. If the sun does not really dry the grass until 10 o'clock by Greenwich mean time, that means, under double summer time, that we cannot get into the fields to deal with the hay harvest until 12 o'clock midday. That means working overtime at the other end of the day, and, even if the workers are prepared to do that, it will add greatly to the cost.

The second question is about milk. The special difficulty of dairy farmers has been mentioned more than once during the Second Reading Debate. Under the system of double summer time, the cows will have to be milked at something like 2.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m. The vitality of human beings and of cows is just about at its lowest at 2.30 a.m., and there is no doubt that the milk yield will suffer. The temperature in the byres is about at its highest at 2.30 in the afternoon, and there is little doubt that the quality of the milk will suffer. But it is not only a question of hay and milk. Seeding will be interfered with, as well as turnip sowing and the clipping of sheep. All these things will be seriously interfered with by the imposition of double summer time.

I had a telegram handed to me as I came into the House this afternoon. It was from an eminent agriculturist whom I have never met, but he sent me this telegram on the question of the Amendment which my hon. Friends and I have placed upon the Order Paper. He estimates—and he is an expert in these matters—that the imposition of double summer time in Scotland, on the terms proposed in this Bill, will mean a loss of two and a half days' effective work per week and a loss of tens of thousands of tons of produce. This is a very serious thing indeed. In the Church calendar, 13th April, on which date double summer time is to be introduced, is Low Sunday, and it will be, indeed, a very sad Sunday for the whole of the countryside in Scotland if this Measure is persisted in. The special difficulties of agriculturists were recognised when the first Summer Time Act was introduced into this House in 1916, when Mr. Herbert Samuel, as he then was, used these words: Of course, agriculturists must work by the sun and not by the clock. That always has been and will continue to be done; consequently, farmers will not really be affected."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th May, 1916; Vol. 82, C. 1321.] While it is conceivable that such arrangements may be possible in remote parts of rural Scotland, it is quite clear that it would be impossible in the industrial belt of central Scotland and near large towns, because workers will not work on the farms, or indeed anywhere else, at different hours from those of workers in the rest of the community. The reason is obvious. The shops will be opening and closing, the buses and trains will be running, and all the other services will be operating in accordance with one time, and the hours of work of a certain section of workers would, in this instance, be in accordance with another time. While it is not possible to make a dividing line between town and country, I maintain that it is possible to make a dividing line between one part of the United Kingdom and another. It is possible to make a division between England and Wales, on the one hand, and Scotland on the other.

I now want to deal briefly with what are, I think, the only two objections that can be raised to that proposal. The first is that we must have one rule for the United Kingdom, and that it is administratively difficult, if not impossible, if there is a division at the Border. To that, I say that it is not really difficult at all. When one travels on a train coming South, one would alter one's watch one hour as one crossed the Border.

It is exactly what we had to do before the war when we travelled to the Continent. As we stepped ashore from the boat, we altered our watches. My hon. Friend the Member for Galloway (Mr. McKie) reminds me that in America there are differences of time between one State and another, and I am sure that it will be within his recollection that there are differences of time between the towns and the countryside within one State. But that position has not been found to be administratively impossible in America.

The second objection is that some people might say—indeed, the Home Secretary has said so himself—that they recognise the special difficulties of farmers, and the fact that they are in a difficult position, but that the overriding need at the present time is to save fuel. Of course that is absolutely true, but, as far as the proposal to introduce double summer time affects Scotland, it is not going to save much fuel. First of all I should like to say two things which are germane to the point that Scotland is quite different from England in this respect. There, we have very much shorter hours of darkness during the summer nights, so that, between the middle of May and the middle of July there is virtually hardly any darkness. However early one gets up in the morning, one need seldom put on the light, and however late one goes to bed at night there is no need to use electricity or any other form of lighting.

The second thing is that there is a proposal to introduce staggered hours of work. It just happens that in the newspaper, the "Evening Express," in which it was first announced that summer time was to be, introduced from 13th April to 10th August this year, the next heading was a rather curious one. It read: Staggering work hours. Government plan will affect 7,000,000. From our Political Correspondent. Government plans for staggering hours of industry and working night shifts in factories… involve about 7,000,000 workers.… If industries are going to stagger their hours of work, they are, surely, going to use almost as much power and fuel during the night hours, because of the people who will work during the night.

I want to ask the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, who looks as if he is ready to reply to this Amendment, two questions. Has the Secretary of State made any estimate of the saving which would be involved if this Amendment were accepted? Perhaps I should put it the other way round, Has the Secretary of State made any estimate of the saving which will be made in Scotland by the imposition of double summer time during this period? In other words, has he made any estimate of the breakdown of the 20,000 tons, which is all that is going to be saved in the United Kingdom by the introduction of double summer time? In parenthesis, let me say what a tiny amount that represents—just one hour's production of deep-mined coal. That is all that is going to be saved by the imposition of double summer time in 1947. I should like to ask the Joint Under-Secretary of State whether any estimate has been made of what is going to be saved in Scotland by the imposition of double summer time. Did the Secretary of State consult representative farming opinion in Scotland before bringing the proposals forward?

In conclusion, I want to say that I was very glad to hear that the Home Secretary has agreed to the principle of an annual review of this question by the House of Commons. I think that that is a great improvement, because it is becoming a common experience that, once regulations have been made, we are apt to be saddled with them, like the Old Man of the Sea, for much longer than we had anticipated. Farmers thought they had seen the last of double summer time. They are most anxious to play their part in the crisis which they had no part in bringing about, but they want to be sure of the real necessity for proposals which are going to interfere so much with the production of food from Scottish land. That is the reason why I move this Amendment this evening.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan (Perth and Kinross, Perth)

I strongly support what my hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) has said, and, in particular, I want to say that a very different atmosphere from that existing earlier in the day has already been produced by the statement made by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour that this matter would come up each year for consideration by this House, and not on a negative Resolution. Let us be frank and say that that assurance has altered the whole complexion of the thing.

I should also like to know whether farmers, as opposed to the National Farmers' Union, were consulted. I admit that the Minister must say that he has to negotiate with the National Farmers' Union, but I hope he will answer the question whether other farmers were consulted before the decision was taken, and were not merely informed after the decision was made. I want to make it perfectly clear that I have never yet met any farmer in my part of Scotland who was not bitterly opposed to the imposition of double summer time. What we have got to think of is its effect on food production, not the convenience of the individual farmer. Of course, we are in a state of crisis, and we must face unpleasant facts, but I maintain that the question of food production is the most important thing. I have no doubt that a crisis in food is coming along which, I believe, will probably make the crisis in fuel fade into insignificance. I hope that will not be so, but I am afraid that it will. A possible food crisis must be considered very carefully in this matter. No doubt the Home Secretary has plans, which he covers up with his laughter, for dealing with this and helping his unfortunate right hon. Friend the Minister of Food, who is now going round the United States, like Oliver Twist, asking for more, and getting none. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman is going to help him out, as, otherwise, I cannot understand his laughter. But we must be prepared for such a crisis, and must not be caught unaware as we were over the fuel shortage.

There is one other point. Double summer time is based on two fundamental follies. The first is in thinking that one can get more daylight by advancing the hands of the clock. One cannot get more daylight than there is in 24 hours, do what one will. The second folly is that we have come to believe in our enlightened age that, in order to make people get up at six o'clock in the morning who are unwilling to do so, we have to pull their leg by altering the clock and telling them that it is seven o'clock instead of six. I think that in an enlightened State we have touched bottom in stupidity if we have to say that, and that those two fundamental points show on what a poor basis this proposal of the saving of daylight stands.

I will not go further, except to say that that is a view very strongly held in my part of Scotland, and they are words which one will hear used there on any market day. I hope that when the Joint Parliamentary Secretary comes to reply, he will give us an assurance on the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeen, and that we shall be able to go back to our constituencies and say that Scotland has been properly consulted on this matter, and will always be consulted before such things are done, and will not just drag along behind the decision of the Ministry of Agriculture. I know that the Joint Under-Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture is in a very strong position. That is why he looks so proud, and I do not blame him. I hope we shall not take much longer over this matter, but it is important to realise that Scotland is in a very different position from England and holds very strong views on the subject.

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Boothby (Aberdeen and Kincardine, Eastern)

I intend to speak for only a moment or two to say that the fuel crisis has, of course, had certain beneficial effects, in that it has aroused us to the urgency of the situation, but it has also had two most unfortunate results. The first is that it has given the Government the chance of introducing a whole series of Measures which are designed permanently to shatter enterprise, and I think this is one of them. I share the views of my colleagues on this side of the Committee who have expressed their gratitude to the Home Secretary for the concession that he has made. If he had not made it, he would have been faced with a very formidable insurrection from north of the Tweed. We console ourselves, to some extent, by reason of the fact that we shall get the chance of reconsidering this matter in a year's time. But it has further given to His Majesty's Government the opportunity to extend the iron grip of Whitehall over Scotland as a whole, and what we are worried about is that in the whole of this business Scotland has never been consulted. I would be inclined to take a bet that the whole of this summer time proposal was arranged and organised without any reference to the Scottish Office, just as everything else in this country is being organised and arranged without reference to that Department. We are regarded as being far below the status of a Crown Colony in these matters. Never have Scottish affairs been brought to the pass to which they have been brought in the present circumstances.

Everybody in this Committee knows, except possibly the Government, that the fuel crisis will be succeeded by a food crisis, and in no long space of time. Scotland is a great producer of food, and I suggest that food production in Scotland should have priority over everything else, with the possible exception of the production of coal itself. It has been pointed out in this Debate by my hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) that in Scotland we have much more light than you have in England; it lasts much longer and there is much less darkness. That also applies, of course, in other respects.

My second point is that cows have always shown an invincible reluctance to changing their habits, and I would point out to His Majesty's Government that cows are not intellectually aware of the existence of the Socialist Government in this country. That is their good fortune. It does not mean that they will conform as readily as the patient and long suffering public to the rigours and hardships which are now perforce imposed as a result of this administration on the people of this country. I would only beg hon. Members to remember that animals cannot be ordered about. They will not play their part in a totalitarian regime in the same way as human beings are expected to. The Government must bear this in mind, and if they take into account the fact that we have more light in Scotland and that our cows do not recognise the existence of the Socialist Government, they will realise that this double summer time, which has a very deleterious effect on food production, ought not to be continued beyond the supreme period of crisis.

Lord William Scott (Roxburgh and Selkirk)

I remember very well that about two years ago the hon. Member for West Perth (Mr. Snadden) and I used to make frequent visits to the then Home Secretary in an endeavour to get double summer time removed, and on those occasions we were always told that the chief obstacle was the Minister of War Transport who believed that it would be impossible for the railways to function as was necessary in time of war unless we had double summer time. So it was with some feeling of relief this afternoon that I noticed that the difficulties of the railways were, apparently, completely omitted from our Debate. We have dealt almost entirely on the other side, with the difficulties of agriculture, under this intended scheme. We know that Scotland is more affected, owing to its geographical position, than any other part of Great Britain. The question has arisen as to whether it is possible to separate Scotland from this scheme without any inconvenience to trade and traffic, and the reason for this Amendment is that those who have subscribed to it, or who are speaking on its behalf, believe that such is possible. As one who has lived part of his life in Canada, I should like to tell the Committee that all the year round, summer and winter, in war and in peace, there are three different times in that great Dominion. There is the maritime time on the Atlantic, there is the prairie time, and there is what is known as the mountain or coast time. If one gets into a train on the Atlantic seaboard and travels through the Dominion, one passes through three different times, and one puts one's watch backwards or forwards if so inclined. It has created no difficulties for the Canadians, and I suggest that we in the old country are just as capable of dealing with those difficulties as the Dominions are.

As regards Scotland, we know this Measure will be a tremendous imposition on agriculture, and when the Joint Parliamentary Secretary comes to reply I would like him to make it clear beyond any doubt as to what consultation has taken place with the farmers of Scotland. I was privileged to attend a meeting of my local N.F.U. on Monday of last week, and at that meeting the one predominant hope was that I would be able to do something to mitigate the danger of having summer time or double summer time once more imposed upon them. I told them that the least we could fear was that we should have it as a temporary measure. I do not believe the Home Secretary can appreciate what a load was lifted off many of us when we learned this afternoon that this will be merely a temporary Measure. It makes the whole difference to the hard working community engaged in agriculture in Scotland to know that this is merely a temporary Measure. But there is one thing which they will want to know, and that is the expected saving which will be achieved, first of all by the ordinary summer time, and secondly by the double summer time as it affects Scotland. I suppose that of a figure of 150,000 tons of coal, it might be suggested that one sixth of it might be attributed to Scotland, but, with its peculiar geographical position and its long hours of daylight, I would be very much surprised when the reckoning was made, to find that more than 10,000 tons of coal were saved.

Let us remember that quite a large percentage of Scottish power originates from water and not from coal. I would like the Parliamentary Secretary to tell us what the burden that has been put upon Scottish agriculture is likely or expected to save in terms of tons of coal. It would be interesting to see how that would work out in actual practice over a number of months. I hope that reasons will be given for resisting this Amendment, other than that of the railways, because I understand no difficulty has ever been met in any other country from the point of view of railway or road traffic, on the question of the change of hours. There is very good reason for believing that Scotland might be exempted from this Measure.

Mr. Gallacher (Fife, West)

The hon. Member for East Aberdeen (Mr. Boothby) did not have to tell us that cattle were not intelligent. The fact that they have tolerated the landlords for so long, is enough to convince anyone of that.

Mr. Boothby

I should like to point out that I never said cattle were unintelligent. I said they were intellectually unaware of the existence of the present Government. That seems to me to be the highest form of intelligence.

Mr. Gallacher

Which means they were unaware of any change taking place, and unaware of what was going on. If the cattle had sufficient grey matter, the landlords would have been chased off the land long ago. The hon. Member said that there will be a food crisis; that we are living in a period of general crisis, and this is the final and fatal crisis of the whole system. Everyone knows there is a fuel crisis, a food crisis and a crisis in housing; it is just a continuous state of affairs. I return to the question of double summer time. I am glad it is to be for only a year, and that then we can reconsider it. While I do not accept the argument put forward in regard to the differences in the Dominion of Canada when travelling 3,000 miles East or West, it is obvious that people's watches have to be changed owing to the natural course of the sun. Anyone travelling East towards Germany has to change his watch when he gets into Germany. But a different situation arises if you have two countries in the relative positions of England and Scotland, and two different times in the day. In America, where they have different legislation for the various States, all kinds of confusions arise between States. Anyone travelling there realises the confusion that exists.

Mr. McKie (Galloway)


7.45 p.m.

Mr. Gallacher

Maybe the hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. McKie) has a mind that is accustomed to dealing with all kinds of puzzling situations, and this sort of difficulty does not affect him in the least. At any rate, I experienced a lot of difficulty and a certain amount of confusion. Of course, some hon. Members opposite will say I am more or less always in a state of confusion. As has been mentioned, in Scotland—and the Joint Under-Secretary should take note of this—for a considerable part of the summer, from the middle of May till well on into July, no one considers the dark; only the latter part of the gloaming and the early part of the dawn are considered. At 10 o'clock at night it is still daylight, and with double summer time it means it will be daylight at midnight. Now if anyone has to get up at five o'clock in the morning it means going to bed at about 10 o'clock at the latest; but anyone doing that would go to bed in daylight. Then he is supposed to sleep in the hours of daylight and get up before daylight has arrived, between the gloaming and the dawn. That is certainly not a healthy situation, neither for the people of the country nor for the people of the towns.

Up to the moment, nobody seems to have suggested that the townspeople will be troubled by this. For many years I had to get up at half-past four in the morning in order to get to my work, and that was not beneficial. After many years of that sort of thing it was discovered it was much more beneficial to production to start work at seven or eight o'clock instead of at six o'clock; that meant getting up at about half-past six. After the 1914–18 war that new system, of starting at eight o'clock, was found to be much more beneficial. Now, we are to go back from eight o'clock to six o'clock, although we do not put it that way; we simply say that we are still getting up at half-past six and starting work at eight o'clock. In point of fact, we are returning to what was recognised to be very undesirable from the point of view of production. When the eight o'clock start was introduced it proved to be much better from the point of view of production. Therefore, I ask the Minister to consider this very seriously, particularly in regard to the way in which it affects Scotland.

If we had double summer time in England and a different time in Scotland, I am afraid all kinds of confusion would arise. There are a number of examples which I could give, but I do not desire to put forward a number of particular points at the moment. For example, the railway service has been mentioned. There might be goods going into Scotland from England early in the morning, but owing to the difference in time, there would be nobody to attend to them. There might also be difficulty in regard to the sending of messages and news. I admit it would be very advantageous to the "Daily Worker," so far as the Scottish edition was concerned, because we have always had great difficulty in getting it up there early in the morning However, I am certain there are many disadvantages, and it would cause great confusion. At the same time, understanding the situation in Scotland, we must all recognise that double summer time cannot possibly help production, either in the towns or in the country, in Scotland.

Sir William Darling (Edinburgh, South)

This is a very important matter, and I hope our English friends will bear with us in our examination of it. This Bill to amend the Summer Time Acts has a certain melancholy satisfaction for me. It was first introduced into the House of Commons on a Private Member's Bill. It is rather Gilbertian that this Government, which has been less mindful of Private Members' opinions than any previous Government, should now rest upon the late Mr. William Willett for salvation in their hour of need. But I let that pass. I think it is worth bearing in mind, however, that sometimes Private Members can give to this House of Commons some ideas which even powerful Governments may desire, in the future, to use for their safety.

It is difficult for me to understand the reluctance of the Government—and I imagine there is some reluctance—to accept this Amendment. I agree with my hon. Friends, that there has not been much consultation on this matter. The Government Front Bench has fewer Scotsmen on it than any Government Front Bench for the last 25 years. [An HON. MEMBER: "A hundred years."] It is doubtful if they know that Scotland is comparable with the land of the midnight sun, that we have light continuously during the summer months, and that this is a determining factor in this consideration. I want to know from the Joint Under-Secretary, if he will help me, why he insisted, with the authority of his youth and capacity, on having the Health Bill for Scotland. Why did he insist on having an Education Bill for Scotland?

The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Hubert Beaumont)

The hon. Member is now far away from the Bill.

Sir W. Darling

I was referring to the Amendment, and attempting by illustration, which, I thought, was quite effective, to show that the Joint Under-Secretary and his colleagues in the Scottish Office have, for good reasons, separated Scotland from its senior partner in health, education, and in agriculture; and I was wondering whether there was some reason—the fact that you called me to Order indicates there is some reason—why, in this case, they are following the example of the Civic Restaurants Bill, in which they first included and then excluded Scotland.

The Deputy-Chairman

This has no relation to the Amendment. There is no occasion to remind the Committee about those Measures.

Sir W. Darling

I am grateful for your guidance, Mr. Beaumont. As you rightly point out, there is no occasion to remind the Committee, for it is very well within the memory of Scotch Members. Apart froth this important question of the daylight which we have in Scotland—for four months of the year there is really no dark at all—there are some other considerations. In Scotland, our electricity power is produced by water, and the Summer Time Acts have no bearing on that fact. It is also to be borne in view, I think, that Scotland is unique in this respect, that it exports to England and Wales fuel and power—it exports coal, and it exports electricity on the grid. We are exporters in this sense, and Scottish public opinion will have that very clearly in mind when this Bill is made known to it. We are, also, as I am reminded by my hon. Friends, who are more closely associated with agriculture than I am, a food-exporting part of the United Kingdom, the only food-exporting part of the United Kingdom. The only cereal which is exported from this country is Scottish oatmeal. That, surely, is very relevant; and there are considerations of that character which must weigh very strongly with us. I farm, I am engaged in distribution, and I am also chairman of an electrical business which produces plant—

Mr. Willis (Edinburgh, North)

On a point of Order. Are we discussing an Amendment to the Bill, or the interest in electricity of the hon. Member, or the exports of Scotland?

The Deputy-Chairman

We are discussing an Amendment to the Bill, and at the present moment the hon. Gentleman is in Order.

Sir W. Darling

I thought the hon. Member for North Edinburgh would like me to refer to an important Edinburgh business—

Mr. Willis

I am not a director of that industry.

Sir W. Darling

The hon. Member may not be a director, but I think that, like his right hon. Friend the Minister of Fuel and Power, he will appreciate the importance of those engaged in the electricity industry, and the importance of the manufacture of transformers and generators. It would seem to me that, if we want to make up for the shortage of fuel and power which has arisen through the crisis, consideration should be given to the industries to which I refer, which are not getting any exceptional priority. We are told that the saving will be 150,000 tons of coal. That means a saving of something like 10,000 tons in Scotland by this Measure if it is carried through. I submit that the saving is a very trifling one when we bear in mind that Scotland is a fuel and power exporting country. To take from us this 10,000 tons of coal and present us with double summer time is a bargain which will not be acceptable to Scottish public opinion. Scotland wants to know what steps the Secretary of State has taken to bring before the minds and eyes of his colleagues in the Cabinet that Scotland has longer daylight than England. The Lard President of the Council, happily, last summer visited Scotland, and one of the observations he made was how long the daylight lasted, though the days were not long enough for the opportunities he wanted to admire Scottish ways of life. I am sorry he is not here tonight, because he would have had that in mind—that Scotland is in a different latitude, which gives her a greater length of daylight. If the Government have that in mind, they cannot do otherwise than accept this Amendment.

Major McCallum (Argyll)

I want to ask the Joint Under-Secretary of State if he will reply to the question already put to him. What saving in fuel, coal fuel, will double summer time effect in Scotland? It will be nil. What is obvious is, that this Bill is being applied in this way to parts of the country in a phase of panic. It will be within the memory of this Committee that, when the electricity cuts were first brought in, and the order went out that everybody was to switch off lights from 8.30 or 9 o'clock in the morning, until noon, and so on, it was naturally pointed out very rigorously in certain parts of Scotland that they could supply their own light by hydro-electricity. Yet that electricity had to be cut off. It seems to me that the decision to include Scotland in this double summer time proposal has been arrived at in the same panic-stricken way. I would ask the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland to remember that there are large parts of Scotland, particularly in the Highlands and other agricultural parts, where, instead of welcoming double summer time, even during the war, they refused to have it. They carried on their farm operations in accordance with sun time. It would save a great deal of trouble to Scottish agriculture if double summer time in Scotland were abolished and it would not lose the Government, or the Minister of Fuel and Power, one fraction of an ounce of coal.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Thomas Fraser)

I am going to suggest at the outset that the Opposition have not made a case for their Amendment. Indeed, I suggest that we have mainly had a continuation of the Second Reading Debate. I am disappointed, because I thought hon. Members were going to advance cogent reasons why this Bill should not apply to Scotland. [HON. MEMBERS: "We did."] They have not advanced such arguments at all. First they adduced all the agricultural arguments against the Bill that were adduced throughout the Second Reading discussion. Those arguments were, indeed, equally applicable to the whole of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

Hear, hear.

Mr. Fraser

The only point made by hon. Members opposite was that in summer time the hours of darkness are shorter.

Mr. McKie

In winter the hours of darkness are longer.

Mr. Fraser

Yes, in winter the hours of darkness are longer, but this is the Summer Time Bill.

Mr. McKie

It prolongs it a single hour.

Mr. Fraser

This is dealing with summer time. It was not argued that the longer daylight hours in summer time in Scotland made double summer time less necessary to enable double shifts to be worked, and so on, in other industries. That argument was not made, although the Parliamentary Secretary, in winding up the Second Reading Debate, put great stress on the advantage of double summer time, in that it will enable double shifts to be worked in industries where they will not otherwise be possible. Industrial workers work, not to the sun, but to the clock. Hon. Members in speaking to this Amendment did not make that argument at all, and if they had I would have admitted that in fact—

8.0 p.m.

Mr. Gallacher

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that the double shift can work very effectively at the present time from 6 o'clock to 10 o'clock, without making any change in the clock?

Mr. Fraser

Yes, in midsummer, and I was just proceeding to confess that the argument on those grounds for double summer time was not so good in Scotland as it is in England. I confess that straight away, but I would remind hon. Members that, likewise, the fact that we have shorter hours of darkness in summer in Scotland makes the inconvenience rather less to agriculture in Scotland than it is to agriculture in England and Wales. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Hon. Mem- bers seem to forget that we have longer light in summer time because, in the North, the sun rises earlier than in the South and sets later. We have longer daylight hours than they have in the South.

Lord William Scott

Surely, the Joint Under-Secretary, who deals with agriculture in Scotland, knows that the reason why Scotland feels this double summer time more than the Southern part of England is purely a question of dampness in gathering the crops, whether hay or corn? That dampness is prolonged longer into the day in Scotland than it is in England, and it is not a question of how many hours of daylight there are, but of how long that dampness lasts on the ground.

Mr. Fraser

It may be a fact that the dampness in the North makes it a great inconvenience to the agricultural community to have this movement of the clock during haymaking time, and it would equally be an inconvenience during the corn harvest, but it cannot have escaped the notice of hon. Members that whereas the farmers in England will have started, and in the very far South will not only have started but have finished, their corn harvesting operations before double summer time comes on, the farmers in Scotland for the most part will not have started corn operations when double summer time comes on. Taking the hay making and the corn harvest together, it will be found that the Bill makes even less inconvenience in Scotland than it does in the South. However, we are not boasting about that at all; we do not like it, it will not be welcomed by the farmers, we all know that, and the Home Secretary, in moving the Second Reading, admitted it. The confession was again repeated by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour in winding up. I would remind hon. Members, when they talk about the difference in hours of daylight between England and Scotland, that really the great industrial Clydeside is not so very far North of Tyneside. It is very convenient for hon. Members when talking about the difference between Scotland and England to compare the far North of Scotland, the land of the midnight sun, with Somerset or Devon. I ask them to remember that industrial Clydeside, where such a large part of the population of Scotland works and lives, is not in fact so very far North of industrial Tyneside.

I have been repeatedly asked what the fuel saving in Scotland would be. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, replying to the Second Reading discussion, made it perfectly clear that the case for this Bill does not by any means rest entirely on the fuel that will be saved in consequence, and I think my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, in moving the Second Reading, was very careful not to put too much stress on the amount of fuel to be saved. I cannot tell hon. Members precisely what the fuel saving in Scotland will be. All the advantages adduced by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary in speaking for the Government during the Second Reading Debate in regard to England and Wales are equally applicable as regards Scotland.

Major McCallum rose

Mr. Fraser

No, I do not think I can give way. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary talked about the movement of coal from the pit tops. Is it pot equally important that, during the summer months, we should endeavour to facilitate the movement of coal from the Scottish pit tops, as we do from the English and Welsh pit tops? I ask hon. Members to believe that this double summer time will be a very great convenience in many of our coal mines in Scotland. I have worked in the coal mines in Scotland, in mines miles from the main road, where one had to walk across the moors for miles to get to the pit top. In the winter double shifts could not be worked at all, and in the summer double shifts could be worked only with great inconvenience, and with the work stopping whenever darkness came down at night. This double summer time proposal will enable more work to be done in the late evenings in those coal mines.

Sir W. Darling

In the pits?

Mr. Fraser

Yes, in the pits, because if the coal is not taken straight away from the pit tops the men down below cannot go on mining the coal and shovelling it up to the pit tops. Hon. Members conveniently forget that the transport of coal, the taking away of the coal from the pit tops as it comes up from the pit, is very essential if there is to be continuous work underground.

The other question I was repeatedly asked was whether there had been proper consultations with the farming community in Scotland or whether—as it was alleged, "as usual"—a decision was taken in England and we in Scotland were just tacked on.

Sir W. Darling

Like the civic restaurants.

Mr. Fraser

The answer is that I invited the officials of the National Farmers' Union in Scotland to come and talk to me at the same hour as the National Farmers' Union officials came to talk to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture. [An HON. MEMBER: "In London?"] I had my discussions in Scotland, in Edinburgh, but my right hon. Friend had his discussions in London. The point is made that it was after a decision had been taken. My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, replying to the Second Reading Debate, said that we were not farming out our responsibility on to any other people; we in the Government had to take the decision, we kept these people informed, we had discussions with them, we discussed with them the inconvenience to which agriculture would be put and we did not expect the National Farmers' Union officials to say that agriculturists would welcome this proposal. Of course they will not, they do not like it, nor do the agricultural Ministers like it very much, but the officials of the National Farmers' Union have recognised, although they make their protest and put their agricultural arguments, the inevitability of this Measure in the circumstances. That is the position. There have been the same discussions in Scotland as there have been in England and Wales. I submit that, at the outset of the discussion on the Amendment, hon. Members opposite rather announced beforehand that much of their thunder had been stolen by my right hon. Friend agreeing to make this Measure subject to continuance after one year only by affirmative Resolution. I submit that a good case has not been made for treating Scotland differently from England. After all, we live in a very small island, and the American analogy is not worthy of consideration. As my hon. Friend the Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) said, there is every reason for setting the clock to suit the sun in a vast country like the United States of America or the Soviet Union. If there were the same time in New York as in Los Angeles—

Mr. Boothby

It is not a question of East to West, but of North to South. The hon. Gentleman does not seem to grasp the light business. May I remind him that a clear photograph was taken of South Street in Aberdeen in the middle of the night and subsequently published under the libellous title "Aberdeen on a Flag Day?"

Mr. Fraser

I have replied to the point about the longer hours of daylight in Scotland and I have given it as my opinion that that being so, the inconvenience is perhaps rather less to Scottish farmers than it is to English farmers, arid the argument in favour of the application of the Bill to Scotland is almost, if not quite, the same as it is in regard to the rest of the United Kingdom. I do not think any hon. Member on any side really thinks that it is feasible to have two different sets of time in Great Britain.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot (Scottish Universities)

I have great sympathy with the Joint Under-Secretary of State, especially when, belonging to a naturally argumentative race, he pointed out that we had not advanced all the arguments against the Bill that we might have done. "A Daniel come to judgment" he pointed out that, as there was longer daylight in Scotland, summer time was not, in fact, as necessary in Scotland as in England. I do not know whether the Home Secretary will thank him for pointing out an omission in the arguments which have been brought forward from this side, or whether he will, in fact, say that his business was not to bring forward a complete argumentative case for the Bill, but to get the Bill through as soon as he could. He brought forward only one argument in favour of getting the Bill now, namely, the undertaking not to prolong it after another year; but as I listened to the argument, I was not sure that he was not withdrawing on that point also. We would prefer that this should be a Bill for a year. What we feel is that the procedure of affirmative Resolution will be used to prolong this Bill. I would like to know, before we part from the Measure, on which leg the Government are standing. Are they standing on the leg that this Bill is only for year with a chance of its being prolonged, or on the leg that this is a Bill which may possibly go on from year to year? It makes a great difference to us in Scotland. We have no intention whatever of suffering this process year after year in Scotland.

8.15 p.m.

Sir A. Herbert

Or in England.

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

That may be, but I merely say that, as far as Scotland is concerned, if it is intended to continue this, English Members will need to look out for themselves but we in Scotland in another year will certainly not permit this process to be continued. I counsel my hon. Friends on this occasion, the Ministers having made their concession and having asked for it on bended knees—[Interruption]. I never heard a responsible Minister bring forward a Bill and say that he hated it very much, that he was willing to change it from a permanent Measure into a Bill to be carried on from year to year at the sufferance of Parliament, and then on that understanding beg the House, in view of the muddle into which the Government had got, to give them the legislation for one year only. That is what I call bringing forward a Bill on bended knees. [Interruption.] Nobody knows which way the knees of the hon. and learned Member for North Hammersmith (Mr. Pritt) bend.

We are discussing a matter which is of importance to us, and indeed, of very great importance to us, North of the Tweed. I do not think the Joint Under-Secretary of State gave full weight to the arguments which had been advanced—the argument of geography, the argument that Scotland was a self-supplier—both these arguments of very great importance—and that Scotland was an exporting country. The hon. Gentleman did not give full weight to those arguments; nor did he give weight to the fact that the great industrial region of the Clyde to which he referred, although it may not lie very far North of Tyneside, lies a great way West of Tyneside, and that alters the incidence of daylight and dark in the community of the Clydeside. The real danger is that the Government, having found this way to make overdrafts on the sun, may be led into further and further desires to live, in this as in other things, on overdrafts, and that, although the Home Sec- retary has said that the Government do not now desire to prolong summer time into the winter, this may be the beginning. That is a very serious hardship as far as the Clydeside is concerned. As the hon. Gentleman well knows, to have the dark prolonged until half-past nine or twenty minutes to ten, as it is under summer time, in the winter in the Clydeside is a serious handicap to the industrial community there, and if we are to be dragged at the tail of the English decision on this, we may find that we are simply dragged at the tail of the English later on in regard to prolonging this into the winter months also.

For these reasons, I do not feel that the Under-Secretary of State has fully met the case which has been made from this side. The industrial argument which he brought forward was, admittedly, an argument that he was unable to substantiate. He said he was not able to give any indication of the saving in coal which might result, although the Home Secretary was able to give a fairly close estimate of the saving in coal which he thought would result from the Measure. The Under-Secretary of State said he thought it might be an advantage in coal mines, although there it seems to me that one has an argument which is not in favour of dispensing with the Measure, because, as far as we can see, coal mining will be a very essential industry for some time to come, and any Measure which could produce any more coal would be very desirable, and, therefore, the argument which the hon. Gentleman brought forward with regard to coal would justify the Government in maintaining this Measure from year to year for some considerable time to come. The Under-Secretary of State made the best case he could, but I do not feel that he made a case which could do more than justify me and my hon. Friends on this occasion, and for this occasion only, holding our hands and saying we will not press the matter to a Division; but the hon. Gentleman did not justify the Bill as now drawn, and did very little to justify the Bill even drawn in the terms in which it will be after the Home Secretary has acceded to pressure from this side, and inserted a provision concerning an affirmative Resolution which, in the first place, he was unwilling to grant.

Mr. McKie (Galloway)

I shall, of course, comply with the request made by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities (Lieut.-Colonel Elliot) to hon. Members on this side to hold their hands on this occasion, but I must say—and I hope the Under-Secretary of State will take my words in good part—that I was disappointed by the tone of his reply. As I listened to the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland I thought that he had rather missed the atmosphere of the Committee. That was not the case when the Home Secretary made his statement earlier in the evening. The Under-Secretary handled the matter in a rather different way, and I am sure that he did not show a just appreciation of the values to which hon. Members on this side of the Committee attach such great importance in connection with this matter.

The Under-Secretary of State made great play with what he described as the long periods of daylight which we have in Scotland in the summer months. He made a reference to the dairy farming situation in Scotland. I was fortunate enough to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, during the Debate upon the Second Reading. Therefore I shall not go with the same attention of detail into some of those wider aspects of the subject into which I should be quite justified in going and raising again on this Amendment.

I do, however, want to enter a caveat in regard to what the Under-Secretary of State said about dairy farming in Scotland. It is, of course, true that in the summer months we do have a very long period of light. We might almost say: There shall be no night there. When we have double summer time, our dairy herds will be milked as usual in 1947, but instead of being milked at the normal time of half past four or five o'clock in the afternoon, it may actually be half two or three o'clock in the afternoon. I am sure that the Under-Secretary of State will remember, on reflection, that in Scotland that part of the day is sometimes even hotter, on a warm summer day than the noontide hour. There is not the same justification for asking us to milk our cows earlier in Scotland as there might have been in respect of English and Welsh dairy herds.

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman failed to catch the atmosphere of this Debate, but I would like to ask him two questions. First of all, in reply to my noble Friend the Member for Roxburgh and Selkirk (Lord William Scott) he said that he had met in London, with his right hon. Friend, representatives of the farmers. I understand the hon. Gentleman to be indicating dissent. I understood him to say that he had had conversations here in London.—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The OFFICIAL REPORT tomorrow will decide between us. Are we then to understand that there have been no conversations? Did not the hon. Gentleman say that conversations had taken place somewhere with representatives of the National Farmers' Union of Scotland? I do not think the hon. Gentleman was asked this further question, so I will ask him now: I will ask him whether any conversations were initiated with representatives of the Farm Servants' Union of Scotland. The Minister of Agriculture was pressed yesterday upon that point during Question time, in respect of the agricultural workers of England and Wales. In his reply to the question and also in reply to the supplementary question, that Minister gave a most evasive answer indeed.

Can the Under-Secretary give me any answer at all to my question? I am not suggesting, and I am sure that my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the Scottish Universities will not suggest, that the farmers of Scotland fail, as dairy producers, to realise the gravity of the present situation. They certainly do realise it, but they very much resent the imposition once again and in time of peace of the double summer time period. They resent it all the more because it is an imposition which might have been avoided if due foresight had been exercised and proper provisions had been made. I will not elaborate that point, Mr. Deputy-Chairman. The spirit of patriotism has always animated the agriculturists of Scotland, particularly those in the extreme South-West corner where is situated the constituency which I have the honour to represent. It is a great dairy producing area. It is the largest branch of agriculture in the constituency. The dairy farmers there very much resent the imposition of this double summer time.

I will end by saying that I wish the hon. Gentleman had caught the spirit of the Committee this evening better than he did and that he had replied in the same spirit as was exhibited by the Home Secretary earlier in the afternoon when he gave us an assurance that this matter of double summer time will be subject to annual review by this House, inasmuch as yearly legislation will be necessary—if the present Government exists for another year. I hope that the succeeding Government will not be so foolish as to run itself into the mess which the present Government has brought upon itself, and which has resulted in the Measure which has been before the House this afternoon.

Nevertheless, the Under-Secretary of State has gone some way to meet us. If he had not done so, we should certainly have been minded to divide upon this Amendment. I deplore the way in which the Under-Secretary addressed the Committee, and I ask him once again to give an assurance about consultation with the farmworkers. Such consultations should be a matter of great importance to a Socialist Under-Secretary of State as well as to the party which he represents, and I hope he is in a position to say something about them.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

My hon. Friend and I intended to divide the Committee upon the Amendment. Since then there has been an announcement that the Bill is to have a limited life of one year. That concession makes a great difference to Scottish farmers, who do not wish to be behind their English colleagues in making a contribution, however slight it may be, to a solution of the fuel crisis. That being so, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

8.30 p.m.

Captain Crookshank

I beg to move, in page 1, line 19, to leave out Subsection (2).

This Amendment is one of a series, which stand or fall together. The purpose of them I can indicate briefly. The object of the Clause is to lay down that during this year's crisis, summer time will last between 16th March and 2nd November, and that the period of double summer time will last from 13th April to 10th August. The Bill goes on to say that for any other year, from 1948 onwards, a new procedure is introduced. I understand that the Government of the day either can do nothing at all, in which case the ordinary statutory summer time will go on, or can decide that there shall be a different period of ordinary summer time; or they can decide that there shall be a different period of ordinary summer time and also of double summer time. If they decide on either of these two, they can make a draft Order in Council, which, under the Amendment proposed by the right hon. Gentleman later on, will be produced to this House in draft, and, therefore, can be debated on the affirmative procedure. It seems to me that under this Subsection summer time can be, in spite of what the Joint Under-Secretary said, introduced throughout the year. There is nothing to limit that happening, as was done in the war.

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

It was not limited in wartime. It was actually done in wartime.

Captain Crookshank

I know it was done in wartime. I used the word "limit" in the sense that there is nothing in this Subsection which prevents that happening in peacetime. We did it in wartime under Defence Regulations, but the same powers are inherent under this Subsection. I wanted to be sure that in passing this Subsection, among other things, we are making it possible for summer time to be introduced throughout the year, as it was during the war, by Order in Council. That seems to me to be a very great change in policy. Up till now, with the exception of during the war, the Act of years ago passed out of the consideration of this House. The hon. Burgess for Oxford University (Sir A. Herbert) wants to bring it back and have the issue raised again, according to his speech on the Second Reading, but in normal years we did not debate the question of summer time, and it automatically came along each year. I am surprised that any Government looks forward to this as being a question for annual debate, which seems to me to be what will happen in future. I should have thought they would be much happier to leave things as they were, taking special powers for the year 1947, which we have already granted, and leaving it at that. That is the object of these Amendments.

We have heard three Ministerial speeches today, and one of the oddest things which seems to emerge about this fuel crisis, or power crisis, as I see it described in some newspapers, is what an extremely small amount of coal has made all the difference. In the first place, it was the small amount of coal which made the difference between adequate stocks to carry us over the II or 12 days, and here the difference in saving of fuel is only about 150,000 tons. One hopes that all these factors will have been got right after 1947, and for that reason it makes it unnecessary for the Government to take these powers in perpetuity. If through some mischance we cannot build up the stocks, or provide the generating plant necessary during the next 12 months, then it would be much better for the Government to come down to the House again and say that they require another Act for another year before going back to normal, leaving the question of summer time on the Statute Book for good and all. I did not realise how pessimistic the Government were about our prospects. I hoped they would not find it necessary to bring about this considerable hardship to great sections of the community for any period longer than necessary. I think it would be neater and tidier that we should make this Bill the 1947 Summer Time Act, and leave it at that.

If, next year, it is necessary to have a different form of summer time from that which is on the Statute Book—and I am not persuaded that it will be necessary—then the best thing that the right hon. Gentleman can do, in the circumstances, is to ask the House for the powers he then requires, and to give us what he cannot give us now—a real balance sheet. One of my hon. Friends, who is very knowledgeable in these matters, estimates that the cost to the agricultural industry may be as much as £8 million, and that the extra labour may well run into 10, 12, or 15 hours a week per workman. These are very serious factors. If it is necessary for that sort of expenditure in time and labour to be continued after 1947, we say that the right thing for the Government to do is to come to the House, with all the formality and importance of a Bill which can be amended, as distinct from an Order in Council, which cannot be amended. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will, on mature reflection, be willing to accept this Amendment.

Mr. Ede

The right hon. and gallant Gentleman has placed his case before the Committee, as I heard his right hon. Friend the Member for North Leeds (Mr. Peake) say, most persuasively, but I am not like the king in the Scriptures, who was almost persuaded. I think it would be misleading the country—something which I am exceedingly reluctant to do—on this matter if I were to accept the Amendment on the arguments which have been put forward. I was careful this afternoon, as I was when I made the original announcement last week, not to base any part of the case for this Bill on the absolute saving of fuel. If all we were to get out of this Bill was a saving of 150,000 tons of fuel, it would be quite wrong of us to ask the country to submit to the- inconveniences that the Bill inflicts. At no stage have I put that forward.

I cannot believe that anyone expects that our electrical generating plant can be raised to such a capacity next year as would enable us to feel that we should not have to resort to something of this kind—not for the same period—next year. If I were to accept the Amendment it would be thought that I had accepted the view that there is some way out of that position. Generating plant of the magnitude we require cannot be picked up and installed at such short notice. As I understand the position, the generating capacity of our electrical plants is about 8½ million kilowatts. The maximum that the plants may be called on to carry is about 11 million to 12 million kilowatts.

That will leave a margin that cannot be covered by a collection of small isolated plants, although that may help in dealing with the situation in particular localities, and in carrying out certain works, such as the conversion of coal burning plant to oil and the erection of oil burning plant. Work of that magnitude cannot be carried out in anything like the time which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman would ensure, if this Amendment were carried. I cannot, for these reasons, accept the Amendment. I desire, and His Majesty's Government desire, to make it quite plain to the country that, in this particular matter, with which we are mainly concerned, the difficulties which will confront us will certainly continue next year, and will also influence the course of industry, and the range of hours to be worked, in the following year. That arises from the fact that, during the war years, orders were not given for this plant. No one is to blame for that. Had the orders been given, the plant could not have been made, when we were devoting all our energies to the production of war material in the places where this plant is generally made. Therefore, the immediate action of the Government has no bearing on the position in which the Government finds itself, and I cannot mislead the country by accepting this Amendment.

I authorised the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour to make an offer in the course of his reply to the Second Reading Debate, which was generally welcomed in the House at the time. I have promised, on the next Cause, to move an Amendment which will ensure that this matter will be brought before the House, for as long as it is necessary to vary the Statute provisions for summer time, by submitting an affirmative Resolution asking the House to confirm a draft Order in Council. That will ensure that, every year, it will be the duty of the Government to place a Resolution on the Order Paper of the House and, in as much as it may be an important matter, I have no hesitation in promising that it shall be put down for discussion at a time of day when it is possible to have a reasoned and sustained argument upon it. We do not propose to treat it like a Sunday cinema opening Order such as we have on the Paper this evening, when my very presence, on one occasion, to move it, incited the right hon. and gallant Gentleman to inquire whether there was not something extraordinary about the Order, because a Secretary of State thought it necessary to move it. We intend to treat this matter seriously.

As soon as it is possible to avoid these variations from the Statute period of summer time, it will not be necessary to submit such a Resolution to the House, and, of course, it will be open every year to the House to contest the Resolution on the ground that the circumstances which made the Bill necessary this yeas no longer remain, at any rate, to the extent which is foreshadowed in the draft Order. to which the Resolution will be related.

Sir Alan Herbert (Oxford University)

Will it be possible to amend the Order?

8.45 p.m.

Mr. Ede

It will not be possible to amend the Order, but in the event of its being unacceptable to the House—as Orders have been in the past—it could of course be withdrawn and a new one submitted. That is not unknown, although I admit it is unusual. I think it ought to be noted that I was pressed for some amendment by hon. Members on my own side of the House as well as by hon. Members opposite. In all the circumstances I feel that the offer I have made to the Opposition is a very fair one, and I want to emphasise that I will not do anything which leads the country to think that as far as concerns the generation of electricity and the moving of coal from the pits short term remedies are likely to be successful. I wish, as I am sure does every hon. Member, that it were otherwise, but I am compelled to make it plain that on those two issues, which are the important matters dealt with by this Bill, we cannot lead the country to believe that the difficulties will be confined to this year only.

Captain Crookshank

The right hon. Gentleman has made his position clear. He thinks that if he accepted the Amendment it might give a false impression of how quickly we can get out of our difficulties. Of course, it also bears the contrary interpretation of showing to the world into what difficulties the Government have allowed the country to get without any preliminary warning. All this argument about the lack of generating power has only burst upon the conscience of this country within the last few weeks. There were no preliminary rumblings or warnings about it, and to that extent I can see the right hon. Gentleman's difficulties.

Mr. Ede

Before the war I was very closely connected with the administration of the distribution of electricity in this city, and I knew at that time that we were, on occasion, shedding loads and that certain generating stations were sometimes in great difficulties. Naturally, those difficulties have greatly increased during the war as the result of increased consumption and the obsolescence of some of the plant. I assume that that was not known to people other than those connected with the technical side of the industry.

Captain Crookshank

That is so, and that is why it has all come rather as a shock and a surprise to the nation. What the right hon. Gentleman has so very properly said this afternoon, warning us that it may continue, is all to the good because in the past we have not had sufficient authoritative warnings of the dangers into which we were drifting.

Mr. Gallacher

There is a reason for that.

Captain Crookshank

Has the Communist Party a view?

Mr. Gallacher

It took a matter of 18 months before we could realise to the full the extent of the mess which the Tories had left behind.

Captain Crookshank

That is a very odd commentary from the hon. Gentleman because I had understood from what had been said in previous Debates that one of the difficulties and one of the reasons for the shortage was that so much plant had been sent voluntarily and freely to Russia. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman was not aware of that, but it has certainly been stated here as being one of the contributory causes of the shortage in this country. We quite recognise the position of the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the electricity undertakings, and we very much welcome his statement that in due course he intends to move an Amendment which will make it unnecessary for my right hon. Friend and myself

to move Amendments directed to a similar purpose, in order to make it necessary for the Government to bring down a draft Order in Council each year, if they wish to extend the powers, or change the dates in order that it may be discussed here.

The right hon. Gentleman has gone further and said that so far as he is concerned he would see that those Draft Orders came down and were debated at a reasonable hour in the day. All that is most satisfactory. What is still unsatisfactory is that in all that procedure it is impossible to amend a draft Order in Council, and our view is that it would be better to make this Act the 1947 Act and leave it at that. We do not want to prolong the argument any further. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will recognise that we want to make our protest on that point. If my hon. Friend is prepared to ask the Committee to come to a decision now, that ends that subject for this evening and we will go on to discuss the Amendment my hon. Friend has offered which makes it unnecessary to proceed with our other Amendments.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out to the word 'any' in line 19, stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 282; Noes, 120.

Division No. 102.] AYES. [8.51 p.m.
Adams, Richard (Balham) Buchanan, G. Driberg, T. E. N.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Burden, T. W Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Callaghan, James Dumpleton, C. W.
Alpass, J. H. Carmichael, James Durbin, E. F. M.
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Castle, Mrs. B. A. Dye, S.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Chamberlain, R. A Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Attewell, H. C. Champion, A. J. Edwards, John (Blackburn)
Austin, H. Lewis Chater, D. Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)
Awbery, S. S. Chetwynd, G. R Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B Cobb, F. A. Evans, E. (Lowestoft)
Bacon, Miss A. Cocks, F. S Evans, John (Ogmore)
Baird, J. Collick, P. Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)
Balfour, A. Collindridge, F. Fairhurst, F.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Colman, Miss G. M. Farthing, W. J.
Barstow, P. G. Comyns, Dr. L. Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)
Barton, C. Cook, T. F. Follick, M.
Bechervaise, A. E. Cooper, Wing-Cmdr. G. Forman, J. C.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.) Fraser, T. (Hamilton)
Berry, H. Corlett, Dr. J. Freeman, Maj. J. (Watford)
Bing, G. H. C Corvedale, Viscount Gaitskell, H. T. N
Binns, J. Cove, W. G. Gallacher, W.
Blackburn, A. R. Daggar, G. Ganley, Mrs. C. S
Blenkinsop, A. Daines, P. Gibson, C. W
Blyton, W. R. Davies, Edward (Burslem) Gilzean, A.
Boardman, H. Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Glanville, J. E. (Consett)
Bottomley, A. G. Davies, Harold (Leek) Goodrich, H. E.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W. Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.) Gordon-Walker, P. C.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge) Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Grenfell, D. R.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Deer, G. Grey, C. F.
Brook, D. (Halifax) Delargy, H. J. Grierson, E.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) Diamond, J. Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)
Brown, George (Belper) Dobbie, W. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Dodds, N. N Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)
Guest, Dr. L. Haden Mathers, G. Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Guy, W. H. Mayhew, C. P. Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Haire, John E. (Wycombe) Medland, H. M. Solley, L. J.
Hale, Leslie Mikardo, Ian. Sorensen, R. W.
Hall, W. G. Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R. Soskice, Maj. Sir F.
Hamilton, Lieut -Col. R. Mitchison, G. R. Sparks, J. A.
Hardy, E. A. Moody, A. S. Stamford, W.
Harrison, J. Morgan, Dr. H. B. Steele, T.
Hastings, Dr. Somerville Morley, R. Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Haworth, J. Morris, p. (Swansea, W.) Stross, Dr. B.
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford) Mulvey, A. Stubbs, A. E.
Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick) Murray, J. D. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Herbison, Miss M. Nally, W. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Hewitson, Capt. M. Naylor, T. E. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Hicks, G. Neal, H. (Claycross) Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Hobson, C. R. Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.) Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Holman, P. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
House, G. Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.
Hoy, J. Noel-Buxton, Lady Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Hubbard, T. Oldfield, W. H. Tiffany, S.
Hughes Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Oliver, G. H. Timmons, J.
Hughes, H. O. (W'lverh'pton, W.) Orbach, M. Titterington, M. F.
Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme) Paget, R. T. Tolley, L.
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth) Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Irving, W. J Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Turner-Samuels, M.
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Palmer, A. M. F. Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Jeger, G. (Winchester) Pargiter, G. A. Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe) Viant, S. P.
John, W. Pearson, A. Walkden, E.
Jones, Rt.. Hon. A. C. (Shipley) Peart, Capt. T. F. Wallace, G. D. (Chisiehurst)
Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Piratin, P. Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Poole, Major Cecil (Lichfield) Warbey, W. N.
Keenan, W. Popplewell, E. Watkins, T. E.
Kenyon, C. Porter, G. (Leeds) Watson, W. M.
Key, C W. Pritt, D. N. Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Kingdom, Sqn.-Ldr. E. Proctor, W. T. Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.
Kinley, J. Pursey, Cmdr. H. White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)
Kirby, B. V. Randall, H. E. White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Kirkwood, D. Ranger, J. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Lee, F. (Hulme) Rankin, J. Wigg, Col. G. E.
Leonard, W. Reid, T. (Swindon) Wilcock, Group- Capt. C. A. B.
Lewis, T. (Southampton) Rhodes, H Wilkins, W. A.
Lindgren, G. S. Ridealgh, Mrs. M. Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Robens, A Williams, D. J (Neath)
Logan, D. G. Roberts. Goronwy (Caernarvonshire) Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Longden, F. Robertson, J. J. (Berwick) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don valley)
Lyne, A. W. Rogers, G. H. R. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
McAdam, W. Ross, William (Kilmarnock) Willis, E.
McEntee, V. La T Royle, C. Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Wilmot Rt. Hon J
McGhee, H. G Sargood, R. Wise, Major F. J.
Mack, J. D. Scollan, T. Woodburn, A.
McKay, J. (Wallsend) Segal, Dr. S. Woods, G. S.
Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.) Sharp, Granville Wyatt, W.
McKinlay, A. S. Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes) Yates, V. F.
Maclean, N. (Govan) Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H (St. Helens) Young, Sir R. (Newton)
McLeavy, F. Shurmer, P. Younger, Hon. Kenneth
MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Silverman, J. (Erdington) Zilliacus, K.
Macpherson, T. (Romford) Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Mann, Mrs. J. Simmons, C. J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping) Skinnard, F. W Mr. Snow and
Marquand, H. A. Smith, Ellis (Stoke) Mr. Michael Stewart.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow) Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.
Baldwin, A. E. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.
Barlow, Sir J. Crowder, Capt. John E. Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Beechman, N. A. Darling, Sir W. Y. Herbert, Sir A. P.
Bennett, Sir P. Dower, Lt.-Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) Hogg, Hon. Q.
Birch, Nigel Drayson, G. B. Hollis, M. C.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Duthie, W. S. Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.
Boothby, R. Elliot, Rt. Hon. Walter Hurd, A.
Bossom, A. C. Foster, J. G. (Northwich) Jennings, R.
Bower, N. Fraser, Maj. H. C. P. (Stone) Keeling, E. H.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M. Kendall, W. D.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Gage, C. Kerr, Sir J. Graham
Bullock, Capt M. Gammans, L. D. Lambert, Hon. G.
Byers, Frank Gates, Maj. E. E Langford-Holt, J.
Challen, C. George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Channon, H. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. G. Lindsay, M. (Solihull)
Clarke, Col. R. S. Grant, Lady Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G. Granville, E. (Eye) Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Grimston, R. V. MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.
McCallum, Maj. D. Osborne, C Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
MacDonald, Sir M. (Inverness) Peake, Rt. Hon. O. Studholme, H. G.
Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight) Pickthorn, K. Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S)
Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Pitman, I. J. Teeling, William
McKie, J. H. (Galloway) Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Thornton-Kemsley, C N
Maclay, Hon. J. S. Pcole, O. B. S. (Oswestry) Vane, W. M. F.
Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Prescott, Stanley Wadsworth, G.
Macpherson, Maj. N. (Dumfries) Price-White, Lt.-Col. D. Walker-Smith, D
Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Raikes, H. V. Watt, Cir G S. Harvie
Manningham-Buller, R. E. Rayner, Brig. R. Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Marples, A. E. Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth) White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Marsden, Capt. A. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.) White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland Williams, C. (Torquay)
Medlicott, F. Ropner, Col. L. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Molson, A. H. E. Savory, Prof. D. L. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury) Scott, Lord W. Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E. Smithers, Sir W. York, C.
Neven-Spence, Sir B. Snadden, W. M. Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Nicholson, G. Spence, H. R.
Noble, Comdr. A. H. P Stoddart-Scott, Col. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Orr-Ewing, I. L. Strauss, H. G. (English Universities) Major Ramsay and
Lieut-Colonel Thorp.

Question put, and agreed to.

9.0 p.m.

Sir A. Herbert

I beg to move, in page I, line 19, to leave out from "to," to "His," in line 20, and to insert: the year of 1948. I do not wish to detain the Committee, and I am still more anxious that the Committee should not detain me. On the Second Reading of this Bill I explained the reasons for this Amendment. It should be read in conjunction with my proposed new Clause, which provides: The Summer Time Acts, 1922 and 1925 shall cease to have effect on the thirty-first day of December, nineteen hundred and forty-eight. Briefly, the effect is to give the Government this power in this year of crisis and, alas, possibly in the next year of crisis, but to provide the whole summer time business shall be repealed on 31st December, 1948. I will not weary the Committee with the reasons why I consider that to be a good thing. In his Second Reading speech the Home Secretary kindly indicated that he had some sympathy with my point of view, but he said that because of the present crisis, we must have it this year and, because of the position of generating plant, we may need it in the second year. So far we are in agreement, and if he does not accept my Amendment but likes to insert "1949" or 1950 on the Report Stage. I do not mind. Surely, however, His Majesty's Government must have some idea when things will be easier. I give them two years. I am optimistic, perhaps, and the right hon. Gentleman may say, "No, not even in two years is there any hope of it being better." I am anxious, however, that the principle of summer time should be introduced only temporarily and, if necessary, reviewed and brought up again.

I am not impressed by some of the right hon. Gentleman's arguments except in so far as one is impressed by any crumb which falls from the rich man's table, because the principle of summer time will remain on the Statute Book, reviewable every year in the form of a Statutory Order, but not capable of Amendment. All my hon. Friends will be able to do will be to criticise whether it starts on 3rd April or 4th May, or whatever it is. In other words, the principle of summer time is one which I hate and detest. The Home Secretary expressed sympathy with my Amendment, and I hope that he will accept it, or that he will, between now and the Report stage, introduce an Amendment making it the year 1949, or 1950, or any year in which he thinks the crisis will have ceased.

Mr. Wilfrid Roberts (Cumberland, Northern)

Another point which arises is that there are great objections to legislation by Order in Council, whether there is an affirmative Resolution or not—

The Chairman (Major Milner)

I am sorry, but that is not under discussion. The question is whether the Order should be restricted to the year 1948, and the form of Orders in Council is not under discussion here.

Mr. Roberts

If I might finish my sentence, I think it is relevant. The House decided on that issue, and I was going on to say that if this Amendment were accepted by the Home Secretary, then, after 1948, he could do what, to my mind, is the right way of dealing with this, that is, introduce another Bill, which would be subject to Amendment, and provides an opportunity for a very much fuller discussion than an annual Order in Council of whatever sort. It would provide at the end of the period of two years, which the Home Secretary says is the period for which he is sure he requires this, an opportunity for a complete review of the position. The hon. Member for Oxford University (Sir A. Herbert) hopes that summer time can be completely done away with in two years' time. Some of us would like to hope that that may be so, but the Home Secretary may not be so confident. This Amendment would still give that opportunity, and would leave it open to the right hon. Gentleman to introduce a short Bill, which would be much better than having a Resolution, and would give the House the opportunity of a much fuller discussion. I hope the Amendment will be favourably considered.

Mr. Ede

For the reasons I gave in regard to the last Amendment, I cannot accept this Amendment. I think that if the hon. Member the junior Burgess for Oxford (Sir A. Herbert) wishes to have this issue raised, he must seek some other opportunity of raising the general issue of the continuation of summer time.

Sir A. Herbert

How and where?

Mr. Ede

I am not this evening going to do anything which would indicate that the difficulties I alluded to on the last Amendment can be overcome in their entirety by the end of 1948. I deprecate the use of the word "crisis" as indicating the state of affairs that I expect at that time, but that we shall be in difficulties, with regard to the matters which have been mentioned time and again, at the end of 1948, I have no doubt at all. That is the attitude I have adopted since the beginning of this Parliament when I was asked to curtail other arrangements I had to place before the House. For those reasons, I cannot accept the Amendment, although I stand by everything I said with regard to my personal position, and only my personal position, when I spoke on the Second Reading.

Sir A. Herbert

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his kindly tone, but when he suggests to me that I can raise the main subject in some other way, I ask him "When and how?" I said, on Second Reading, that the Government have taken away Private Members' time; otherwise, I could introduce a Bill on a Friday to abolish summer time, and have it discussed. That has all gone, and I am sure that it will not come back during this regime. I cannot raise it on the Adjournment of the House because it would involve legislation, and there is no other way of doing so, other than on this particular Bill.

The Chairman

The abolition of summer time really does not arise on this Amendment. I have given the hon. Member the junior Burgess for Oxford University (Sir A. Herbert) some latitude, and I hope that he will not go further into the question of the repeal of summer time, which does not arise on this Amendment. It is not competent to discuss that.

Sir A. Herbert

The right hon. Gentleman said that I could raise the general issue on some other occasion. I say that it is not possible. The other thing I would say is that I have offered the right hon. Gentleman the opportunity of saying that 1947 is no good, that 1948 is no good. Then why not 1949? Surely he can issue a challenge to the world that we hope that things will be better by 1949, so that we may have some hope? If he is wrong he can bring forward another Bill. But I do not wish to labour the matter. I am sorry the right hon. Gentleman cannot be more accommodating. As I do not wish to detain the Committee, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.