HC Deb 29 June 1948 vol 452 cc2117-31
Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I beg to move, in page 9, line 4, leave out "either (i)."

This is the precursor of another Amendment to leave out sub-paragraph (ii) of Subsection (1 e). Therefore, if we leave out sub-paragraph (ii), of course we do not need the word "either." These two Amendments to leave out "either" and leave out sub-paragraph (ii) hang together. If I might address the House on that point, the Amendments could be dealt with separately later. This raises a point which has been before the House and before the Committee from the very start of the Bill. Under the Bill, as it is at present, the position might arise that the Board of Trade had referred the matter to the Commission, the reference being framed so that the Commission considered the facts—that is, whether the conditions laid down in the Bill obtain or not: then, the Commission reported and, when the report had been laid before Parliament, we reached the position where—if the Commission had reported that the monopoly or conditions were not against the public interest—according to the Bill as it now stands, it would be open for us to bring the matter before this House and to get this House to reverse the finding of the Commission.

That is a procedure to which we take great exception and which we deeply regret, because we feel that the gist of the procedure which we are suggesting for dealing with this problem is one of full and impartial inquiry. We have just heard from the hon. Gentleman, the Parliamentary Secretary, the spirit in which he wishes that inquiry to be made and with which, as I intimated to the House, I am in entire agreement. I believe an inquiry carried out in that way, not too severe in its form, not legalistic, but, as the hon. Gentleman said, carried out in the spirit of a Royal Commission or a Select Committee, would produce not only the true facts, but would produce a situation where the Commission could form an accurate view of the public interest, according to the conditions which the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Trade has laid down by the Clause which the House accepted this afternoon.

It is suggested that when the Commission have done that and when the Commission have considered these points which the President of the Board of Trade has given to them as the criteria of public interest—when they have done that after patient inquiry—that this House should reverse their decision. No one has a greater respect for the capacity of this House than I have, after spending so many happy years in it, but I know, just as well as any hon. Member, the pressure of business and the pressure of work which rests on all of us at the present time. It is with the greatest difficulty that any of us keep abreast of the legislation which is before the House and we know that we only achieve something approaching efficiency in the subjects in which we are particularly interested and which we take as our own. Beyond that, certainly—I speak for myself—there is always a field in which my knowledge is much less complete than I would like and, indeed, I am some times worried by that fact. I say that perfectly frankly and I am sure that hon. Members, if they put their hand on their heart, must feel the same about their own state of knowledge.

I want them to imagine that in the busy stage of the Session they are then called upon to reverse the decision of the Monopoly Commission and to apply to a difficult and detailed collection of facts the criteria which are contained in the new Clause which the President moved. These standards are whether the conditions will achieve the production, treatment and distribution by the most efficient and economical means of goods, the organisation of industry and trade in such a way that their efficiency is progressively increased, the fullest use and best distribution of men, materials and industrial capacity, the development of technical improvements and the expansion of existing markets and the opening up of new markets. Obviously, in order to come to a decision on these matters with regard to any undertaking or enterprise one would have to have at one's command, and, indeed, at the end of one's fingers, the same detailed knowledge as the Commission had when it came to its decision. I do not think it is practicable to expect that detailed knowledge and extraordinarily severe application of the Members of the House of Commons already so busy with their ordinary work.

There is another aspect, however, which is as important. We want—as I have said, as the hon. Gentleman has said, and as the President has said more than once—this Commission to have a really strong position in the country, and to command the respect of everyone engaged in industry and commerce and also the respect of the people of the country as a whole. If we start by trying to put the Commission in that position, if, after taking these immense pains about the selection of the right men or women for the job, and after giving them full discretion as to their procedure, we immediately say to them, "But on the most important point which we refer to you we are not content with your decision, and we must be enabled to reverse that by a Vote of the House of Commons," what is the immediate inference? Either that we do not trust the Commission or that we want that Vote of the House of Commons to be decided on political lines.

It would be most unfortunate if either of those things went out to the country. It would be most unfortunate if we detracted from the position of the Commission. We want to deal with the matter by means of inquiry, and we want to invent a British procedure. I believe we have found a British procedure, which is far better than the procedure which the United States have been trying to work over the past half century. I believe we have found a better procedure than I, in my researches, have found other countries using. I say that, when we have come to that position and found such a procedure, to strike at the position of the Commission by giving the impression, that would be given, that we are to reverse the decision of the Commission for political reasons would be really to strike a blow at the excellence—the true excellence—of the machinery which is contained in this Bill 9.0 p.m.

So this is a subject on which I feel very strongly. I am quite aware that the argument can be made that Parliament is the final arbitrament with regard to the national interest. But there are many fields in which Parliament recognises that there must be expert investigation, and in which there must be patient examination of the facts. We recognise that Parliament as a whole cannot deal with that matter. In fact, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, you know that in the vast fields of private legislation, Parliament delegates its powers to its own bodies. The examination of the facts in a private Bill is left to a Select Committee. The Second Reading may come before the House, but the actual Clause points which are discussed forensically Parliament does not try to examine. They are left to the Select Committee appointed. Similarly, with regard to other matters, Parliament has deliberately—

Mr. E. Fletcher

Surely, the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not suggest that Parliament denies itself the right to intervene in cases in which a matter of public interest is involved?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman quite followed me. I said that we reserve to ourselves the right to deal with the matter on Second Reading, but we have not for over 100 years endeavoured to consider Committee points in a private Bill. We leave that to our Select Committees. That was the point which I was making, and, after all, private Bills are much nearer our own consideration, because they are dealing with actual legislation.

As the hon. Gentleman knows, for instance, with regard to the Assistance Regulations, we have deliberately put day-to-day work away from us. We pass the regulations, and we deliberately leave the Board to administer them, because it has been thought that they should not be dealt with in the House of Commons, and that they can be dealt with better by an outside body. One could give other examples. As the hon. Gentleman also knows better than most, the whole field of judicial inquiry—the whole field of the Law Courts—is a matter which cannot be raised in Parliament except by a most difficult procedure of moving in both Houses that the judge or judicial officer shall be dismissed. There are certain fields in which Parliament has said, "This is a matter for machinery other than our own." Here, I say, where we have immense detail and an immense mass of information which must be before anyone who makes these decisions, it is quite impracticable for Parliament to take concurrent powers. The only result will be either to diminish the prestige and position of the Commission, or to give the impression that we want to decide these matters on political grounds. I do not believe that we do. I believe that we want these matters to be the subject of proper inquiry, and if that is our desire, then we ought to leave this matter to the Commission.

Mr. Belcher

It is quite obvious that the right hon. and learned Gentleman feels very strongly on this matter. I listened with great interest to his well-reasoned speech. It is also the case that we feel very strongly on the matter, and for quite a different reason. We feel that this is one of the matters in which Parliament must reserve for itself the right to be the final arbitrator, but not in a large number of cases which go before the Monopoly Commission. It is certainly not contemplated that this will be something undertaken by Parliament at frequent intervals. Quite the contrary. Neither—and I need hardly assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman of this—is it our intention that the issues which come before the Monopoly Commission, and certainly before Parliament, shall be decided on political grounds.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I am sure the hon. Gentleman will deal with this point squarely. Does he think for a moment that this or any Government faced with this situation would not put on the Whips? That is what it comes to.

Mr. Belcher

I must say, quite frankly, that I do not know. I should like to think it would be possible to deal with a matter of this kind on non-party grounds, with the Whips off, with Parliament constituting itself into an appeal' court, or a tribunal, rather than acting as a party divided House. If it were possible for it to be done in that way, with the Whips off, that would be highly desirable. We feel that it should remain possible for the House of Commons to declare by Resolution that what is happening is contrary to the public interest.

At an earlier stage of the Bill we defended the claim of Parliament to have that procedure because there was in the Bill no definition of "public interest," and no power to give directions to the Commission about the "public interest." There is no intention to take power to give directions which would reduce the independence of this Commission—and I quite agree that the independence of the Commission should be safeguarded to the utmost possible extent. This evening the House has passed a new Clause which will give to the Commission an idea of what constitutes the "public interest;" but there can be no really close definition; the "public interest" at any particular time cannot be closely defined, and in the last resort—and I make this point very firmly and sincerely—and only in the last resort, the Government ought to have the closest idea of the "public interest "at any time, and the House of Commons Resolution—which will be a quite exceptional procedure—will enable the Government's view of the "public interest," subject to the approval of this House, to prevail over that of the Commission. Before any order could be made subsequently, the Resolution would have to be laid in draft before both Houses.

Hon. Members will have noticed that there is a later Amendment, standing in the name of my right hon. Friend, designed to assist in that respect: in page 9, line leave out from the beginning to "declaring" in line 12, and to insert: (ii) not earlier than three months from the date on which, the report was laid before the Commons House of Parliament, a resolution has been passed by that House.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Surely, it is only one House? The hon. Gentleman is not changing it. That Amendment says: a resolution has been passed by that House"— the House of Commons.

Mr. Belcher

I have said that we pass the Resolution; the Resolution is passed by the House of Commons, then subsequently, following upon that Resolution, an order is made which must be laid in draft before both Houses. I hope that the procedure we are adopting—to make subsequent Resolutions, thus enabling the House to have a considerable time to think about and discuss the issue—will ease the situation somewhat, but I am afraid that we must firmly maintain our view that in the last resort it is right for Parliament to have the final say on what is the "public interest" at any particular time.

Mr. Harrison

In view of a remark made by my hon. Friend, would he take note of this point? He said there would be a Government Resolution coming before the House. In view of the detailed consideration which will have to be given to this matter, would it not be better to retain the Whips, in order to get a reasonable decision, rather than to leave it to a free vote?

Mr. Belcher

I cannot commit myself at all on that point. I merely said it would be highly desirable on such an occasion for the House of Commons to regard itself as not divided on party lines.

Mr. H. Strauss

I cannot help thinking that this is the main blemish of the Bill if the Government insist on the line indicated by the Parliamentary Secretary. In passing, I would say that, as far as I understand it, I agree with the observation of the hon. Member for East Nottingham (Mr. Harrison). I cannot conceive a Resolution of this kind, if the subsection goes through, not being made a subject on which the Government will take full responsibility and put on the Whips. My feeling is, that if this Subsection is insisted upon, that will be the case. I believe it to be profoundly unwise on two grounds, which I should like the House to consider, and they are the effect on the Commission and the effect on the House of Commons. What the Minister is saying is that, on the most important question that the Commission have considered, after hearing the evidence in the way he described on an earlier Amendment, their view shall be over-ruled by a House that has heard none of the evidence and has had no chance of considering the matter in that way.

The only effect must be to weaken the authority of the Commission, and the main object of the Government, in the best provisions of this Bill, has been to make this Commission a useful body in which confidence can be placed. If their deliberate opinion can be reversed by a Resolution of the House, which has not heard or considered the evidence and has not had the opportunities of discussion which a Bill gives but which a Resolution does not give, it is quite impossible to say that the influence and prestige of the Commission will not be adversely affected. I wonder what the Parliamentary Secretary imagines will be the attitude of the Commission when a matter next comes before them. They will have been reversed by the House of Commons in their view on the previous occasion, and in those circumstances are they expected on the next occasion to give their decision according to their conscience, or according to what they imagine to be the view of the Government? They will be put in an extraordinarily difficult position, and I say therefore that this insistence on the words we propose to omit is bound to injure the prestige of the Commission.

The other point I want the Government to consider is the effect on the House of Commons. I agree fully with the Government that there may be occasions when they may wish, and the House of Commons may agree, to take a different view on the public interest from that which has been taken by the Commission. That is clearly possible. But the Government appear to think that that exceptional case cannot be provided for if these words are omitted. Of course it can be provided for. It can be provided for by legislation. This idea that the only method by which the Government can ever express their views, especially on an important occasion when they are over-ruling the considered view of a body which has been set up in this way, is by Resolution of this House and not by legislation is surely extremely injurious to this House, its efficiency, its traditions and all the methods of working when this House is acting in the best way possible. After all, if the Government proceed to over-rule the Commission by a Bill, then on the Committee stage full consideration can be given to the matters which the Commission have already decided and which the Government wish to over-rule. That full consideration can be given which entitles, if I may say so, one tribunal to over-rule another. What seems to me to be quite obviously injurious both to the Commission and this House is to suggest that the considered view of the Commission can be over-ruled by the House, which has not heard the evidence, by mere Resolution, and to suggest that the only way the House can express its disagreement is by Resolution, and not by legislation.

9.15 p.m.

Mr. N. Macpherson

There are two cases here which have to be considered and the first is where the Board of Trade does not agree with the findings of the Commission. I should have thought that in that case the first thing to be done would be for the Board of Trade to get in touch with the Commission and say to them, "In this case you have not taken into account such and such wider interests, which involve the public interest." It would then be possible for them to refer the matter back, and the Commission would then reconsider the matter and would be able to give a further report on it.

The second case seems to me rather more dangerous. Clearly, it is not only the Government that could put down a Resolution differing from the Commission. The implication of that must be this: If this paragraph is left in the Bill the Government must give time for any and every Resolution, based upon the findings of the Commission, to be debated in the House. Are they prepared to do that, because unless they are, I do not believe that this Clause is tenable? In such a Debate very damaging things might be said which, in the nature of the kind of Debates we have here, could not be satisfactorily answered in the time available. So one of the main advantages of this Bill would be lost. Instead of getting a factual report in a calm atmosphere the whole thing would be thrown into the hurly burly of a Debate which might engender great heat. This is a most unsatisfactory paragraph to have in the Bill, and I warmly support its omission.

Mr. Pickthorn

I hope somebody on the Treasury Bench will give us a word or two more. There is a number of general arguments that might be made, but two specific questions have been indicated, to which we have had no answer, and I hope I may be forgiven if I try, shortly, to get them over again. The hon. Gentleman who spoke for the Government said that the purpose of this paragraph was—and I think I got his words properly—"To enable the Government's view of the public interest to prevail." How is that to be reconciled with his indication that it was hoped and desired that this would be a House of Commons matter, not a matter between the Administration and the Opposition, but a general House of Commons matter? That is the first question I have to put. What is the answer to that? Is it really hoped and desired—what seems to me a quite fatuous hope and desire, if it is one—that a matter of this sort could be discussed without the reputation and existence of the Government depending on it? I honestly do not believe that that could be done. If it is hoped, how is that reconciled with the purpose of the paragraph, to enable the Government's view of the public interest to prevail? If that does not happen, why did the hon. Gentleman put up the arguments he did?

The second point I should like to put to the Treasury Bench is one which was indicated in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson). If the answer to my first question is that it is desired that this should be a general House of Commons matter and not Front Bench administration versus an Opposition matter, I assume it must be intended that the initiative under Subsection (2) may come not only from the Board of Trade but from any-where else. Any Member of the House, having seen a report, might put down a resolution to bring this machinery into effect. Is it so intended or is it not intended? If it is intended, the Government are going to find themselves extremely embarrassed. If it is so intended, at this stage we ought to be making some sort of guess as to what is to be the Sessional or Standing Order or the House's convention in the matter.

Is it to be one of those things for which the Government must find time, or one of those things for which the Government must find time but only after 10 o'clock at night? As it stands, there is the risk that a great deal of Parliamentary time might be wanted for that purpose. Those two questions seem to me to be quite specific. I hope those who listened to the whole discussion will agree that it boils down to those two points; that they will also agree with me that we have not yet had clear and specific explanations upon those two points; and that we ought to have some such guidance before we divide, if divide we must.

Mr. Belcher

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a brief reply to the points raised. In the first place, I am sorry that the shorthand of the hon. Member the Senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) is not as good as I thought it was, but I did not say it was hoped and desired that this matter would be left to a free vote

of the House. What I said was that thought it was desirable that such matters as these should be discussed not in a party, political atmosphere but with the House of Commons regarding itself as something in the nature of a judicial tribunal. I hope that clears up that point. I express it as a personal view as to what I thought would be most desirable when we were dealing with one of these resolutions.

As to the second point raised by the hon. Member, I cannot say what is going to happen in the future when this Bill becomes law, and if and when it is necessary for the House of Commons to undertake this special procedure. I do not know whether the Government of the day will bring the Resolution forward or whether it will be brought forward by somebody else. I cannot bind future Governments as to their intentions. The hon. Gentleman asked me what were our intentions in this matter. I am merely saying that I cannot forsee what procedure is going to be undertaken by any particular Government at any time, but the provision is in here to enable the House of Commons in the last resort to be the authority on this matter. I stand by what I said previously, and I hope that the House is going to pass this Clause in no uncertain manner.

Question put, "That 'either (1)' stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 243; Noes, 63.

Division No. 249.] AYES. [9.25 p.m.
Acland, Sir Richard Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W. Davies, Ernest (Enfield)
Adams, Richard (Balham) Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge) Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)
Alpass, J. H. Bramall, E. A. Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell) Brook, D. (Halifax) Deer, G.
Attewell, H. C. Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell) de Freitas, Geoffrey
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Brown, T. J. (Ince) Delargy, H. J.
Austin, H. Lewis Bruce, Maj. D. W. T. Diamond, J.
Awbery, S. S. Burden, T. W. Dumpleton, C. W.
Ayles, W. H. Burke, W. A. Dye, S.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Bacon, Miss A. Callaghan, James Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)
Baird, J. Carmichael, James Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)
Balfour, A. Champion, A. J. Evans, John (Ogmore)
Barstow, P. G. Chetwynd, G. R. Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)
Barton, C. Cobb, F. A. Ewart, R.
Battley, J. R. Cocks, F. S. Fairhurst, F.
Bechervaise, A. E. Collindridge, F. Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)
Belcher, J. W. Collins, V. J. Forman, J. C.
Benson, G. Colman, Miss G. M. Freeman, Peter (Newport)
Berry, H. Cook, T. F. Ganley, Mrs. C. S.
Beswick, F. Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G. Gibson, C. W.
Bing, G. H. C. Corlett, Dr. J. Gilzean, A.
Binns, J. Daggar, G. Glanville, J. E. (Consett)
Blackburn, A. R. Daines, P. Gordon-Walker, P. C.
Blyton, W. R. Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Grenfell, D. R.
Bottomley, A. G. Davies, Edward (Burslem) Grey, C. F.
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Shurmer, P.
Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Macpherson, T. (Romford) Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Guest, Dr. L. Haden Mainwaring, W. H. Simmons, C. J.
Gunter, R. J. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield) Skeffington, A. M.
Guy, W. H. Mann, Mrs. J. Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.
Haire, John E. (Wycombe) Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.) Skinnard, F. W.
Hale, Leslie Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping) Smith, C. (Colchester)
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R. Marquand, H. A. Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Marshall, F. (Brightside) Sorensen, R. W.
Hardy, E. A. Middleton, Mrs. L. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Harrison, J. Mitchison, G. R. Sparks, J. A.
Haworth, J. Monslow, W. Steele, T.
Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford) Moody, A. S. Sylvester, G. O.
Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick) Morgan, Dr. H. B. Symonds, A. L.
Hewitson, Capt. M. Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Hobson, C. R. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Holman, P. Mort, D. L. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth) Moyle, A. Thomas, John R. (Dover)
Hoy, J. Murray J. D. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Nally, W. Thurtle, Ernest
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr) Naylor, T. E. Tiffany, S.
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Neal, H. (Clay Cross) Timmons, J.
Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'plon, W.) Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford) Titterington, M. F.
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. (Derby) Tolley, L.
Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.) Noel-Buxton, Lady Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.
Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Oldfield, W. H. Turner-Samuels, M.
Jenkins, R. H. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Johnston, Douglas Pargiter, G. A. Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools) Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe) Viant, S. P.
Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow) Paton, J. (Norwich) Walker, G. H.
Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Pearson, A. Warbey, W. N.
Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Peart, T. F. Watkins, T. E.
Keenan, W. Perrins, W. Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Kendall, W. D. Plaits-Mills, J. F. F. West, D. G.
Kenyon, C. Popplewell, E. Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.
Kinley, J. Porter, E. (Warrington) Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
Kirby, B. V. Porter, G. (Leeds) White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Lang, G. Proctor, W. T. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Lee, F. (Hulme) Pryde, D. J. Wigg, George
Lee, Miss J. (Cannock) Pursey, Comdr. H. Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Lewis, T. (Southampton) Randall, H. E. Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Lindgren, G. S. Ranger, J. Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Lipson, D. L. Rankin, J. Williams, R. W. (Wigan)
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Rhodes, H. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Logan, D. G. Ridealgh, Mrs. M. Willis, E.
Longden, F. Robens, A. Wills, Mrs. E. A.
McAdam, W. Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth) Wise, Major F. J.
McAllister, G. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire) Woods, G. S.
McEntee, V. La T. Royle, C. Wyatt, W.
McGhee, H. G. Sargood, R. Yates, V. F.
McGovern, J. Scollan, T. Young, Sir R. (Newton)
McKay, J. (Wallsend) Segal, Dr. S. Younger, Hon. Kenneth
McKinlay, A. S. Shackleton, E. A. A.
Maclean, N. (Govan) Sharp, Granville TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
McLeavy, F. Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes) Mr. Snow and
Mr. George Wallace.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley) Ramsay, Maj. S.
Amory, D. Heathcoat Haughton, S. G. Robinson, Roland
Baldwin, A. E. Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C. Ropner, Col. L.
Barlow, Sir J. Hogg, Hon. Q. Sanderson, Sir F.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. Jennings, R. Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Bennett, Sir P. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.
Birch, Nigel Lambert, Hon. G. Snadden, W. M.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Bowen, R. Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O. Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Bower, N. MacAndrew, Col. Sir C. Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Turton, R. H.
Clarke, Col. R. S. Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster) Wakefield, Sir W. W.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Walker-Smith, D.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Manningham-Buller, R. E. Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Marples, A. E. White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Drayson, G. B. Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Drewe, C. Nutting, Anthony Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Fletcher, W. (Bury) Orr-Ewing, I. L. York, C.
Fraser H. C. P. (Stone) Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M. Pickthorn, K. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry) Mr. Studholme and
Grimston, R. V. Raikes, H. V. Brigadier Mackeson.

Amendment made: In page 9, line 9, leave out "either generally or in any respect."—[Mr. Belcher.]

9.30 p.m.

Mr. Belcher

I beg to move, in page 9, line 11, to leave out from the beginning, to "declaring," in line 12, and to insert: (ii) not earlier than three months from the date on which the report was laid before the Commons House of Parliament, a resolution has been passed by that House. This Amendment provides for a statutory interval of three months between the laying of a report and the passing of a House of Commons Resolution about the effect on the public interest. This Amendment, I hope, meets a point which was made by the hon. and learned Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. H. Strauss) in the Standing Committee about giving adequate time for consideration by the House of a report prior to a Resolution being submitted. In view of the fact that the Amendment is designed to meet a point made by the hon. and learned Member during the Committee stage I hope that it will not now meet with opposition.

Amendment agreed to