§ 3.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller (Daventry)
I beg to move, in page 1, line 13, to leave out "four," and to insert "six."
I think it would be convenient to the Committee if we considered at the same time the Amendment to page 2, line 3, leave out from "million," to "thousand," in line 4, and insert "eight hundred and seventy-five."
In the Second Reading Debate considerable concern was expressed about the small amount—£5¼ million—available for distribution after the last war. Indeed, that small amount was used by the Parliamentary Secretary as an argument for treating the able seaman and the boy on the same basis when Prize Money came to be distributed, and as an argument for the exclusion from the Prize Money distribution of those who were injured and killed in the course of their service before the completion of 180 days at sea, of commodores of convoys and naval ratings serving in the course of their duty on armed merchant ships, and of members of the maritime merchantmen, Royal Artillery.
In the interval that has elapsed since the Second Reading, we on our side have been considering in what way the sum available for distribution could be properly increased. That is what we are seeking to do in these two Amendments. 880 The Committee will observe from the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill that a purely arbitrary basis has been taken for the division between Droits of the Crown and Droits of the Admiralty. It may well be that, in fact, soma, part of the Droits of the Admiralty, under the Bill as it now stands, are already finding their way into the Royal Naval and the Royal Air Force Prize Funds. The arbitrary basis is of two to one, as the hon. Gentleman said in moving the Second Reading:This Bill, however, differs from past Bills, in that there will be an arbitrary division—purely arbitrary, I may emphasise—of one-third Admiralty, that is Exchequer grant, and two-thirds Crown, that is for distribution. This amount is roughly the same as the proportions in the 1914–18 war. Both the Air Ministry and the Admiralty are satisfied that this division is a fair one and that the Treasury have, in fact, been most reasonable in the matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1948; Vol. 457, c. 1862.]The amount may be roughly the same as the proportions in the 1914–18 war, but the total available for distribution is very much less. Having regard to the small amount available for distribution, and the fact that that is used as an argument for excluding categories which are, in my opinion, clearly entitled to share in the distribution, I submit that Parliament should say that the total of £6 million should be made available for distribution as Prize Money. It lies upon the Government to satisfy us that, in all the circumstances, it is right for the Exchequer to take one-third of the small total that is available. I think I am right in saying that the total amount now in the Prize Fund is less than half what it was after the 1914–18 war.
Why should not the whole of this sum be made available? If it is made available, it seems possible by a slight alteration in the scale of distribution to give the able seaman, for instance, a bigger share of Prize Money than the boy. It should also be possible by a very small increase to make provision for the excluded categories to whom I have already referred. If the hon. Gentleman resists this Amendment, he really must put forward some reason, not only for this arbitrary division but also for not including in the fund available for distribution the total of £6 million now in the Supreme Court Prize Deposit Account. I hope that in this short speech I have made clear the purpose of the first Amendment.
881 The second Amendment is designed to alter, by increasing it, the amount available for the Royal Air Force Prize Fund, preserving by that alteration the same proportion between the amounts going to the Navy and to the Air Force as provided in the Bill. I hope this is clear to the hon. Gentleman. The effect of increasing the fund available for distribution will mean not only more for both, but will mean that naval ratings who were ordered to serve on armed merchant ships will not be excluded from sharing in the distribution; and that the service of a naval rating on an armed merchant ship, followed, perhaps, by service on a warship, will count towards the period of 180 days.
§ The Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty (Mr. John Dugdale)
I am afraid that I cannot accept the Amendment and I shall give a number of reasons. The hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) said he had been considering in what way the sum available for distribution could properly be increased. The fact is that it cannot properly be increased. Any increase under the method which he suggests would be improper. First, there is the question of precedent which, I know, carries a great deal of weight with hon. Members opposite. Throughout the centuries during which prize money has been granted, and particularly in recent times, Droits of Admiralty were considered as something which should go not to individual captors—or sailors—in the Navy, but, in fact, as I explained in my Second Reading speech, to the Exchequer. I will not go into all the history now because I have done so at some length before. The whole principle was that the Droits of Admiralty went to the Exchequer, and Droits of the Crown to the men. Therefore, on the ground of precedent we should be against accepting this Amendment. I agree that that is not enough.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
If the hon. Gentleman is relying on precedent, can he assure this Committee that under the division now contained in the Bill, no Droits of Admiralty are going into this £5¼ million? Unless he can give this assurance it would follow that under this arbitrary division the Bill itself departs from precedent.
§ Mr. Dugdale
Of course, the Bill departs from precedent, in a sense, because we are making, as the hon. and learned Gentleman has said, an arbitrary division. But having made that division, the principle of the division is that certain sums shall be Droits of Admiralty and certain sums shall be Droits of the Crown. That is in accordance with precedent, and Droits of Admiralty are payable into the Exchequer.
I turn next to the agreement. The hon. and learned Member is perturbed; he thinks that perhaps not enough is being given by way of Droits of the Crown. He will be interested to know that we consider that by this agreement we have done better than we would have done had the division taken place as it did after the previous war; if, in fact, all the sums had been calculated as they were in the previous war, instead of fixing an arbitrary division as we have now done. For example, many ships were captured in North African ports, Massawa and elsewhere, which will be counted as Droits of the Crown and not as Droits of Admiralty. We think that by and large we are getting more in this way than we got in the division that took place after the last war, more by way of proportion.
Thirdly—and this is very important—these arrangements have been reached with the concurrence of the Dominions. If we were to alter the proportion, as the hon. and learned Gentleman suggests—and, indeed, I gather that he would remove all the Droits of Admiralty and make them into Droits of the Crown—we should have to agree with the Dominions to an entirely new basis of disposal. For all these reasons it would be impossible to accept the hon. and learned Gentleman's Amendment. It would make the Bill in its present form unworkable.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre (New Forest and Christchurch)
I understand the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty now to have admitted that there is in this Bill no clear distinction between Droits of the Crown and Droits of Admiralty, and to have answered my hon. and learned Friend's question by saying in effect that we are now getting away, so far as the Prize Fund is concerned, with part of the Droits of Admiralty—that they are already included in the sums which are 883 mentioned in this Bill. If that be so, it seems to me that the first argument of the Parliamentary Secretary falls completely to the ground. If it be admitted that Droits of Admiralty can be included in the Royal Naval Prize Fund and in the Royal Air Force Prize Fund, then it is up to this House to say what sums should be included, and it should not depend upon some bargain which the Parliamentary Secretary has made outside this House.
It is wrong for any Minister of the Crown to come here and say that he has made a good bargain and to make no attempt to explain how that bargain has been arrived at, or why these sums have been fixed, and simply to rely on that simple statement to convince the House that he has done well. I suggest that the Committee should look at the consolidated Prize Fund Deposit Account. To my mind, it requires a good deal of explanation. I spent some time today trying to fathom its mysteries, but I am not much wiser than when I started. That may be due to some congenital defect on my part, or it may be due to the accounts, whichever way hon. Members care to look at the matter. I would ask hon. Members whether they have looked at the heading, "Seizures under Orders in Council"? If so they will see that a net loss has accrued of £5. That is not very large, but I fail to see why that loss should accrue to the Navy when the Navy is carrying out orders based upon Orders in Council.
If hon. Members will look at the next sub-heading, "Released to the Crown and later Released to Owners," they will see that the expenses of detention recovered amounted to £13,000, yet the expenses are shown as £28,000, again showing a net loss to the fund of £15,000. The whole of that section, showing what has happened where certain prizes have been released to the Crown, shows a net loss to the Supreme Court Fund of £5,000. I want to know how that has happened. If we are to argue about the sums available, the least the Parliamentary Secretary can do is to give us some explanation of the accounts. On the next page he will see that whereas receipts not yet allocated amount to £5 million, payments not yet allocated amount to £7 million, which would seem to imply 884 that there is a further loss of £2 million to be borne on this account. Even if that last item alone could be adjusted in any normal business fashion, it would more than cover the sums of money we want to expropriate and add to the two Prize Funds which are under discussion.
During the Second Reading Debate I asked the Government why this account was so low. We have so far received no explanation. I should like again to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to tell us why this account balances at the small sum of £10 million. I asked him a specific question about the whaling ship. That one ship alone must, in the Prize Courts, have had a value so far as this country is concerned, of at least £1 million. Since then another case has come to my mind. There was a ship captured off South Africa in the early days of the war which was worth £3 million. There, in the value of two ships alone, is £4 million.
When the hon. Gentleman says that he has taken in account a certain amount of shipping which was captured in one part of the globe or another, I do not believe that he can be faithfully informing this Committee. I asked about Taranto. There must be £300,000 or £400,000 of shipping concerned there. Again, in the North German ports, enormous quantities were captured. I believe that a great deal of shipping was captured, particularly in the Middle East, which the Government have seen fit to release to their previous owners. This shipping was captured, and considered as captured, in an act of war.
The Government may have thought it necessary, for political reasons, to return some ships to their previous owners. If that is so I can understand why this account is so low, though it seems to me wrong that the account should be low because a political decision has been taken by the Government in fulfilment of some political policy which they happen to be following, at the expense of the Navy and the Air Force. If that is so, and I feel it is, the least we in this Committee can do is to make up any sum which the Government have felt it necessary to spend in fulfilment of their policy by funds from the Droits of Admiralty. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Daventry has placed the requirement very low. He has only suggested a minor addition, and one which will enable us 885 to some very small extent to extend the range over which Prize Money will be payable, and at the same time to give to the various ranks in juster proportion what this country owes them.
There is one last argument, to which the Parliamentary Secretary did not refer. It has always been said, and I think quite rightly, that prize bounty and prize money are considered part of the pay of the Navy. It is an argument many times adduced that the rates of pay in the Navy are contained because there are bonuses, if one might use the word, of this sort on occasions. I think it very wrong if we are, in fact, to adopt this minor scale and take away from the Navy these bonuses which have been theirs, that the Government at the same time will not bring forward something to increase their rates of pay. For all these reasons I hope that the Government will think again and allow the sums mentioned in Clause 1 to be increased by the amounts mentioned in the Amendment.
§ 4.0 p.m.
§ Sir Ronald Ross (Londonderry)
In supporting this Amendment we are endeavouring to assist the Parliamentary Secretary. He has said from time to time that he is embarrassed by the small amount of this fund. It is much smaller than the fund in the previous war. This Amendment is designed to improve the amount available for distribution. I do not propose to go into the various inequalities and injustices produced by this Bill amongst those who are entitled to receive payments out of the Fund. I am dealing only with the Amendment. It is admitted by the Government that certain Droits of Admiralty have been included in the Prize Fund, but not all and very far from all, as I should suppose. In that respect, I think that the Government, in bringing forward this Bill, have not kept pace with modern conditions. They do not seem to realise the change of conditions in the last war compared with previous wars to which prize money applied.
I do not think that sailors should be prejudiced because of the fact, for example, that this war was premeditated and therefore the ships of hostile Powers were kept in port. Nor do I think they should be prejudiced by the fact of there being wireless telegraphy which enabled ships to be warned to go to port, or not to 886 put to sea. We all know that it was through the efforts of the Navy that the seas were cleared of enemy merchant ships. The Navy did not clear them, as in past wars, by capturing them but, because of altered conditions, by very largely keeping them in port, or by sinking them. Therefore, although the efforts of the sailors were just as severe and dangerous—possibly more dangerous, because I do not know whether there has ever been a war when so many British sailors lost their lives—they are prejudiced, because the Government have not kept pace with modern conditions in providing for this Bill.
For example, the ships carrying supplies to Rommel's army in Libya had all to be sunk. They could not be captured. That was a series of exploits far more dangerous than if it had been possible to capture the ships. Ships that did not put to sea could not be captured. Hitler had intended to make this war and therefore ships were kept in port. Eventually those ships were captured but the reason why they were captured in port and not at sea was because they had been told to stay in port, and therefore had not put to sea. I want to know from the Parliamentary Secretary what was the value of all the German shipping captured in German ports and becoming Droits of Admiralty and why they should not be added to the present Prize Fund, which even he considers to be most inadequate.
The Bill does not take into account modern conditions, and I think that is a great injustice. As for the arguments about the agreement with the Dominions, it is better that right should be done, even if it involves postponement. I cannot suppose for a moment that the Dominions will object to such a variation of the terms and prize money. It seems very unjust that the old practice of prize money should be so affected by modern conditions and that the Government in drafting their Bill should have no consideration of how seamen have been prejudiced by modern inventions and by the deliberate intention of the hostile Powers to declare war, having warned their shipping some time before.
§ Vice-Admiral Taylor (Paddington, South)
The Parliamentary Secretary has already stated that the principle for the 887 allocation of prize money has been departed from in this Bill in relation to what it was in 1914–18. He has also stated that part of the Droits of Admiralty have been put into the Prize Fund. Also it was a separate decision as to the division between Droits of the Crown and Droits of Admiralty as between two and one and the Government have departed from the principle that has been carried out before. Already part of the Droits of Admiralty have been included in the Prize Fund and it seems to me that a further sum from the Droits of Admiralty might be added to the Prize Fund for this reason.
During the Second Reading Debate it was made quite clear on behalf of the Government that the allocation in shares between the highest and lowest was brought about owing to the small amount of money available in the Prize Fund. Of course, it is also affected by there being no prize bounty in the scheme. But the principle should be applied to the allocation of prize money available, whether the amount be large or small. There will be no difference of opinion with regard to the necessity of raising the sum of money available in the Prize Fund, if that is possible, in order that those who partake in the division of this Prize Fund shall receive more and in better proportion to their rank and responsibility than is laid down in this Bill. That will be discussed on other Amendments, but I consider that the Government are putting up a very weak case for not paying more money from the Droits of Admiralty into the Fund. That would make it a much better Bill and a much better division of what is available. Therefore, I heartily support the Amendment.
§ Mr. Douglas Marshall (Bodmin)
So far as I could observe during the Second Reading Debate, the main argument of the Government for cutting out certain classes was based on the amount of money that was available. The way in which I would express my view is to prove that certain classes must indeed be included in this Bill. Because of that, a method, and a proper method, must be found to raise the actual sum that is given in this Amendment. During the Second Reading Debate the Parliamentary Secretary said: 888Many men throughout the country have been expecting to get this money. They have been expecting it for some years. They have been rightly expecting to get it. …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1948; Vol. 457, c. 1868.]I wish to ask the Parliamentary Secretary to think for a moment and to ask himself two questions. The first is, had he been afloat during the early part of the war for a very short period of time and had his vessel been sunk and he personally lost his life, under those circumstances would not any man think that he would be included for prize money under this Bill?
§ The Chairman
I do not understand how the hon. Gentleman brings his remarks within this Amendment which merely refers to an increase of the disposable amount.
§ Mr. Marshall
I made my case at the beginning by saying that if the argument of His Majesty's Government is that certain classes have to be excluded from this Bill, and if the basis of that argument is the sum of money available, then a method must be found to raise that sum of money. It is in support of that method, and in support of this Amendment which raises that money, that I argue the case for the inclusion of the other two classes.
§ The Chairman
The hon. Gentleman may be entitled to address his remarks to an increase of the sum, but he is not entitled to discuss the details of the distribution which he thinks should be made. That is the distinction.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
Surely, in putting forward arguments for raising the amount in the Prize Fund one is entitled to draw attention to the categories which are now omitted. The whole of the argument has been that the sum should be increased to make provision for these categories. Therefore, is not one entitled to point out what sums are now excluded and how indefensible it is to resist their inclusion?
§ The Chairman
In general terms hon. Members may refer to categories but certainly not to individual ranks and so forth.
§ Mr. Marshall
May I seek your guidance, Major Milner, before continuing 889 my argument, because I am not clear what the position is? If it is a matter of not going into detail over these two cases, could you suggest at what time during our consideration of this Bill, you feel that it would be better argued, so that no argument could come from the Government that it was no good pressing the case because there was not a sufficient sum of money available?
§ The Chairman
As far as I am aware, there is no occasion on the Committee stage of this Bill for discussing the detailed distribution of the amount available. That is a matter which it is intended should be dealt with by His Majesty's Proclamation. I am afraid that there will be no opportunity of discussing these details.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
I suggest that it would be in Order under Clause 2 to discuss this question. I do not want to put the whole argument in front of you at this moment, Sir, but in the Debate on the 1918 Bill there was a discussion on the scale of distribution on an Amendment similar in form to the one we are now discussing.
§ The Chairman
I think the hon. and learned Gentleman is in error there. There was reference to it, but certainly there was no discussion in detail. However, we will deal with Clause 2 when we come to it.
§ Mr. Marshall
I am bound by your Ruling, Major Milner, and I trust that I shall keep within Order although I still think that there is a certain degree of obscurity over this matter. The point to which I was referring—and I shall try to keep away from detail—was one that I had already mentioned, coupled with this other fact that, if we managed to raise the total overall sum, no doubt the Parliamentary Secretary would agree that the definition of who should receive the extra money would perhaps become larger. I imagine that at least that statement does not go into intricate details. If by this Amendment the sum is made larger, then the question would arise, who would be counted afloat and who would not. This Committee would be the first to pay due regard and recognition to the danger experienced and the gallantry shown by those who served at sea 890 in the merchant ships, manning the guns in the D.E.M.S., especially during the period of the "phoney" war as it was called by some. Owing to your Ruling, Sir, I will not attempt to proceed any further except to say that I support this Amendment in order to make money available to those who have, I believe, every right to it.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Benn Levy (Eton and Slough)
As the Debate has proceeded, one thing has become clear. That is that every figure suggested on either side of the Committee is in fact an arbitrary figure. It is worth reminding the Committee that the Parliamentary Secretary in proposing his own figure admitted very frankly, and indeed emphasised the point, that he chose £4 million and that it was an arbitrary figure. It did, as has been pointed out, impinge upon some of the traditional Droits of Admiralty. It is competent, therefore, for the hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) to argue, as he did, that it should have included all Droits of Admiralty and that the figure, therefore, should be increased to £6 million. The hon. Member for Londonderry (Sir R. Ross) took the matter still further and was just as logical when he said that this should not be the limit, but that there should be a further expansion and that the negative proceeds, as it were, of shipping kept in port should also have been taken into calculation and should have increased the sum.
§ Sir R. Ross
I referred to shipping which had been kept in German ports and subsequently captured by the Allies. I said that that should be included.
§ Mr. Levy
In other words, the hon. Gentleman suggested another figure and a wider scope. That was equally arbitrary. Clearly a decision cannot be arrived at on purely logical grounds. We simply have to choose a figure. No hon. Gentleman opposite has been able to show so far that the figure he has chosen is the right one and that the figure in the Bill is the wrong one. I suggest that dissent arises from a fundamental misconception of the purpose of this prize money. It is not in fact pay or a form of pay. Partly it is the fulfilment of a technical expectation, but still more it is a gesture—a very proper gesture—of sentiment.
§ Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braithwaite (Holderness)
I find myself in agreement with much of what has been said by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Levy) in that the two sides of the Committee are discussing two figures which he described as arbitrary. Be that as it may, we on this side of the Committee urge acceptance of the larger figure. We are endeavouring to do so in order to make the way open for certain improvements which we think are necessary. The Civil Lord, when winding up the Second Reading Debate, made it clear that one of his difficulties was that the sum available for distribution is much smaller on this occasion than it was at the conclusion of hostilities in 1918. In fact, the Civil Lord referred to this £4 million as a paltry sum. He explained that for his part he would have liked to see a very much larger global figure available. I think that at least he hinted, although he did not say it in so many words that he was sorry that certain categories had had to be excluded from the distribution. If he was not sorry he ought to have been.
§ The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Walter Edwards)
I did not hint that at all. The question of the inclusion of categories which many hon. Members have suggested has had no bearing whatever on the matter.
§ Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite
Perhaps I might read to the Committee what the hon. Gentleman said:I have a great admiration for the D.E.M.S. and the Maritime Regiment, but they do not come into the category of those who served in commissioned ships. There are many others outside the categories laid down in the Bill who could be added, besides the D.E.M.S. and the Maritime Regiment."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1948; Vol. 457, c. 1935.]I do not think it is unfair to describe that as introducing an element of regret that these people are not being brought in. However, the point I am anxious to make is that, unless this Amendment is accepted, there will be some difficulty in arguing with the same force certain Amendments which we have on the Order Paper to Clause 4, by which we are trying to bring into the distribution other categories of people such as those already mentioned. Obviously, the greater the sum for distribution, the stronger will be the argument when we come to deal with 892 these Amendments. We are trying to smooth the path of the Government by making available the necessary sum, and, further, to induce them to yield to the very reasonable and unanswerable arguments with which they will be confronted later.
§ Commander Pursey (Hull, East)
I rise only to take up a point which has just been made. It is that, if there is a greater sum available, a greater number of categories will be included. There is no justification for that argument whatever. We have now got £5 million. In the previous war we had £14 million, and, when there was nearly three times the amount of prize money available, these categories were excluded, so that there is no justification for that argument at all.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
Surely, after the previous war, the dependants of those killed in action and those who were injured, benefited out of the prize money?
§ Commander Pursey
As regards those killed in action, there is a separate Amendment on the Order Paper which will be discussed later. I leave these categories out.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
The hon. and gallant Gentleman may be leaving them out now, but he did not leave them out in what he said a moment ago. We have pointed out that they are not covered under the Bill, and, unless the fund is increased, we shall be up against the same argument which the hon. Gentleman put forward the last time.
§ Commander Pursey
If the hon. and learned Gentleman had waited, he would have found that I was going on to deal with those categories. Among the categories which have been referred to on Second Reading and again today are the D.E.M.S. and people in merchant ships and so on, and I say that, so far as the Bill is concerned today, and in any comparison with the similar Bill for the previous war, the number of categories referred to were obviously excluded, even with a larger sum of money.
§ Vice-Admiral Taylor
Under Clause 4, the Admiralty can include these merchant ships if they wish to do so. Therefore, those categories can be included in this Bill if the Admiralty wishes.
§ Commander Pursey
We can discuss that point when we come to Clause 4. What I wish to make quite clear is this. A number of the categories referred to on Second Reading and mentioned again today were not included in the Prize Bill after the first war, although there was a greater amount of prize money available, and, consequently, the argument that, if the total sum of money was increased, those categories would be included, does not follow at all. The more likely result of an increase in the amount available would be that the shares of everybody concerned would be increased, and, in fact, I think the Parliamentary Secretary said on Second Reading that if, after the first division, there was still money available, there would be a second distribution. [Interruption.] My recollection is that he did, in the same way as after the last war.
Let me take up another point which has been mentioned—this question of prize bounty. We may as well get this point clear. There is no such——
§ The Chairman
I do not think that point arises on this Amendment, and it should not have been mentioned.
§ Commander Pursey
With all respect, Major Milner, I bow to your Ruling, but it has been mentioned. Probably, an occasion will arise later, when we may deal with it. The general line of the argument about increasing the total figure is simply that of taking another arbitrary figure, but there is no basis for these figures. One might as well add the date to make a new figure and make it higher, but that would bear no relation to the matter at all. I shall vote against this Amendment if there is a Division, because I think there is no justification for increasing the amount. The Admiralty have told us that they have been able to make quite good arrangements and have got more money than they had reason to expect. From all points of view, the amount of money available, the method of distribution and the classes of people concerned are the most satisfactory that can be arranged.
§ Commander Maitland (Horncastle)
I never could quite understand the line taken by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for East Hull (Commander Pursey). Our position is quite simple. It is a difficult matter, but we only seek to get more money for the Services, and 894 we do not take up that attitude from any party point of view, but because we think they should have it. We believe that the amount of money available should conform much more nearly to that at the end of the previous war than it does under the present Bill. I was very much impressed by the speech of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre), who referred to one point which is worrying me. That is the smallness of the amount of prize money available. I know it is said that it is an arbitrary figure, but it must have some relation to the amount of prize money required.
I would illustrate my point by reference to one incident during the war. When the Italians chucked in their hands, there were in their ports a very large number of ships. I remember one incident in which one of our submarines went into one of these ports and ordered 24 Italian merchant ships to go to sea, and then took them to Malta. The Germans were advancing rapidly, and would have captured the whole of that fleet of merchant ships if it had not been for that action on the part of one of our submarines. As a result, 24 merchant ships fell into our hands in one catch, and if that was not a good catch, I do not know what is. It was a very gallant action and a very good catch. I want to know whether the Prize Fund that is being evolved will be available to the people who took part in the capture of those ships. I consider that, even if it is an arbitrary figure, there is a good case for making that arbitrary figure a larger one.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
I am sorry to intervene again, but I do so because the hon. and gallant Member for East Hull (Commander Pursey) and the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Levy) seem to have an impression that we have gone in for pricking a paper and taking an arbitrary sum. If hon. Members will look at HANSARD, they will see that the Minister of Defence stated that the Droits of Admiralty in this war amounted to £2,625,000. We have deliberately taken this sum so as to include the whole of the Droits of Admiralty and the Droits of the Crown for the purpose of this distribution of Prize. We have done that in order to attain a figure which we know is about right if we are 895 to cover the requirements we have in mind.
The Parliamentary Secretary said that if we were to alter this sum, we would have to make a new agreement with the Dominions. I challenge that. It does not seem to me to have anything to do with it whatsoever. A certain sum has been allocated out of the total Prize Fund to Droits of the Crown and Droits, as far as this country is concerned, of Admiralty. All we are seeking to do is to take over our Droits of Admiralty. That has nothing to do with the Dominions. Therefore, I think that some better argument, whether of fact or fiction, had better be adduced by the Government.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Dugdale
I will deal, first, with the point raised about the first war by the hon. and gallant Member for the New Forest and Christchurch (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre). He was very certain about the figures in the Prize Deposit Account. He thought they had some effect on the amount of prize money available, and that, therefore, if they were bound to be as he thought, that would be an argument in favour of giving greater sums by way of prize money. The interesting thing about this account is that it includes many sums which have nothing to do with prize money, in spite of the fact that it is called a Prize Account in this somewhat curious Bill.
§ Mr. Dugdale
It includes many other things, and I may say that the Bill introduced after the first world war was every bit as curious as this, if not more so. It includes, among other things, the values of cargoes belonging to our Allies, most of which are to be released to those Allies. It also includes certain cargoes in German ships surrendered after the close of hostilities. It does not take into account certain other items such as ships requisitioned out of prize, without payment into court, and the proceeds and value of ships and cargoes condemned in Colonial ports. In fact, it bears very little relationship to the total sum that shall be paid to the Crown by way of Droits of the Crown and Droits of Admiralty.
896 The hon. and gallant Gentleman asked why there were such small sums available. The answer was given to him by the hon. Member for Londonderry (Sir R. Ross), who had listened a little more carefully to the remarks I made in my Second Reading speech, and elaborated them. He explained to the hon. and gallant Member for the New Forest and Christchurch that the reason was because the Germans did, in fact, keep their ships in port, and, if they did not, that they scuttled them before there was an opportunity of capturing them. That is the main reason. I am sorry the hon. and gallant Gentleman did not understand what I then said, but I hope that now that his hon. Friend the Member for Londonderry has explained it to him he does.
§ Commander Maitland
Surely, we did not have such surrenders in the first world war as we had in Italy? I should like to have an answer to that question. An enormous amount of shipping fell into the Government's hands there.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
The Parliamentary Secretary said that ships were scuttled. If he takes the case of Tobruk, there the ships were scuttled before the occupation, but we were able to sell them for £100,000. Surely, that ought to be included.
§ Mr. Dugdale
Before I was interrupted by the hon. and gallant Member for Horncastle (Commander Maitland) I was going to continue to explain the position. We are advised that this money arising from ships captured in ports in the conditions which he described—ports, incidentally, captured by the Army, and not by the Navy——
§ Mr. Dugdale
Some of the German ports, for instance. Many of these ships were in ports, the land behind which had been over-run by our troops, and the ports then fell into our hands due to a combination of naval and military operations. We are advised that, in fact, the ships captured in ports are in no circumstances to be regarded as prize. They do not count as prize, and, for that reason, they are not available for the purpose of distribution. Had they been so captured in the first world war, they would, in the same way, not have been regarded as prize.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
The Parliamentary Secretary said that the ships captured in ports were not regarded as prize. Does he include ships surrendered to the Navy in ports?
§ Mr. Dugdale
A few of them have been subject to prize proceedings, but a very large number captured in port are not subject to prize proceedings, and it is those which hon. Members opposite have more in mind and wish to add to those which are subject to prize proceedings. They are a comparatively small proportion of the total. I may add, incidentally, that many of these ships have actually been handed over both to the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R., so that, obviously, not all of them could be used as Droits of the Crown or Droits of Admiralty.
§ Mr. Dugdale
Because we have not got them, which is a perfectly good reason. They have been handed over to someone else. The hon. and gallant Member for Holderness (Lieut.-Commander Braithwaite) said that he wanted to smooth our path. I think he was answered by some of my hon. Friends who explained what was a very obvious point, that, in fact, the question as to whether there is more or less money available does not alter the relative rates of distribution in the classes in which the money should be distributed. I do not propose to discuss it further because I should be out of Order.
§ Vice-Admiral Taylor
The proportion of ten to one in the Bill is not the proportion carried out after the 1914–18 war because the amount of money was too small, and for no other reason.
§ Mr. Dugdale
I am sure the hon. and gallant Member knows more about that war than I do, but I maintain that the people to whom it was distributed, and the categories, are not affected by the total sum. We can take any distribution of any sum we like. If we took £1,000 we could distribute it between certain categories; if it were £10 million, it would be the same thing.
I am interested in this desire of the Opposition to make out that they, and they alone, are interested in the welfare 898 of the sailor. We on this side of the Committee do not consider that they are the only people so interested. It is an easy and very cheap way of gaining popularity to say, "Let us just give more money." We do not consider that this is the way to administer the Navy's affairs, or that the sailor believes it either. The sailor knows that certain sums are due to him and he will expect those sums, but he will not be impressed by anybody who wishes to add other sums which have no connection with the matter at all.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
I must say that I think the Parliamentary Secretary's reply to this Amendment and to the speeches which have been made in favour of it, is entirely unsatisfactory, astonishing, unsympathetic, and, if I may use the adjective that he used just now, "cheap" in many respects. He said that we on this side are not the only people interested in the welfare of the sailor. I should imagine that anyone listening to this Debate may well have thought that we on this side were the only people interested in the welfare of the sailor. We have had not one word from the benches opposite in favour of the proposal that those who lost their lives in the last war while serving in the Navy should be——
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
Had the hon. Member listened to what I said in moving this Amendment, he would have heard me, right at the beginning, mention that as one of the categories which would be covered if this sum were included.
§ Mr. Levy
I am perfectly well aware that the hon. and learned Member mentioned that as one category that would be included; he dragged it in, basing it on a completely unfounded and insupportable assumption that if this total sum were increased, other categories could be included. I just point out that there is no basis for that argument whatsoever.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
The hon. Member says that, but if he waits—as I 899 hope he will—he will see that the arguments for their exclusion are completely unjustifiable.
I was saying, before that interruption, that in moving this Amendment we on this side had sought to get the total sum available for distribution increased, for the specific reason of providing for that category and other categories. They are not, as yet, provided for in the Bill. On Second Reading we were met by the argument: "The Fund is so small that we cannot do anything about it." Now, not one hon. Member opposite—not even the Parliamentary Secretary—has, as yet—perhaps they may later—said a word in favour of the inclusion of that category, which was included after the last war under the 1918 Act.
We are told by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Levy) and other hon. Members opposite that the figure we have selected is arbitrary, and that no one can show the right figure. It depends what is meant by "arbitrary." The justification for our figure is that we know that by raising that figure to £6 million we are bringing in what are estimated to be the total amount of Droits of Admiralty. That is the basis. We are then met by the Financial Secretary putting forward three arguments. He says that it would be improper to bring in the whole amount of the Droits of Admiralty; that it would be contrary to precedent. Since when have hon. Members opposite been such enthusiastic supporters of precedent? Yet, what is clear is that this Bill itself departs from precedent, because the Bill brings in a certain proportion of the Droits of Admiralty. If it brings in a proportion, and if a case can be made out for increasing that proportion, why should not that extra amount be brought in?
In my view a case can be made out for increasing that proportion. The way we arrive at the sum—hon. Members opposite may describe it as arbritary if they like—is by bringing in all the Droits of Admiralty. If the hon. Member reads the Explanatory Memorandum he will see it there stated that traditionallythe prerogative right to make grants of prize money has, though not limited to Droits of the Crown, been exercised by granting those droits.It is not limited to Droits of the Crown. We say in this instance that, having re- 900 gard to the particular circumstances—first, the exclusion of the categories I have mentioned, and secondly, the small total amount available under this Bill for distribution—an increase to £6 million is warranted so that some provision can be made for those additional categories.
I should have thought hon. Members opposite would have joined with us in supporting this proposal. What does their opposition mean? It means merely that £1¾ million which might go in distribution to these classes—which I hope would be sufficient to enable treating them as the others have been treated—will find its way into the Exchequer. Indeed, I was astonished at the Parliamentary Secretary's reply. I could well have understood that reply had it come from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, who was trying to keep something in the coffers of the Exchequer; but I was astonished to hear that coming from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty, together with the statement that the Admiralty and the Air Force were very satisfied with the bargain they had made with the Treasury. I do not think that we should rest content with that when we know that the effect of that bargain is to exclude those categories.
The hon. Gentleman's final statement was even more astonishing. His observations about the total extent of the Prize Fund were, indeed, revealing. It may be—I do not know—that the prize account to which my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the New Forest (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) referred bears very little relationship to the total sum available; but before we pass from this Bill we ought to be told what, in the hon. Gentleman's opinion and in the opinion of the Admiralty, is the total value of the shipping captured in ports which could have been, even if it was not, condemned as prize. I was astonished by his observations that certain vessels captured in ports by, I understood him to say, the Navy were not condemnable as prize. I think I accurately understood him to say that. Surely, any prize shipping captured by the Navy was condemnable as prize. Did the hon. Gentleman really mean that to the extent of the value of those ships which after having been seized—and seized in such circumstances that they were condemnable as prize— 901 were handed over by us to the U.S.S.R. or the U.S.A., the amount of the Prize Fund distributable to the Navy, and now to the Air Force, is reduced?
§ Mr. Dugdale
What I said was that many of the ships captured in ports were not included as prize money. Many of those captured in ports in the course of hostilities are included in the account; but many of them were, in fact, captured after hostilities had ceased, owing to the occupation of the ports by the Army.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
Does the hon. Gentleman say that all ships which surrendered to His Majesty's Navy are included in prize? That is a specific question I put to him in the course of his speech. He has not, as yet, answered it. Nor has he answered the further question I put to him: Am I right in concluding from his speech that the value of all ships which were captured, which could have been condemned as prize but which have been given away—I think those were his words—to the U.S.S.R. or the U.S.A. has been deducted from the amount of prize distributable under this Bill? We should like an answer to that question; and we ought to have one. If that be true, then it justifies the statement of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the New Forest that this Prize Fund is, he thinks, possibly low because of the release of prizes for political reasons. Before we pass from this we ought to be told the extent to which the Prize Fund available for distribution has been diminished because of the giving away of ships which could have been condemned as prize.
I must confess, I am astonished at the attitude His Majesty's Government have taken up with regard to this extra £1¾ million. If they accepted this Amendment I am quite sure they could do justice to the categories which are now omitted, and which have, in my opinion, legitimate claims for inclusion. If they met us on his Amendment, I am sure that would show there is at any rate a little truth in the Parliamentary Secretary's statement that we are not the only people interested in the welfare of the sailor. In view of the entirely unsatisfactory reply we, on this side of the Committee, have no alternative but to show in the Division Lobby our opinion 902 of the answers which the Parliamentary Secretary has given and of the Government's attitude upon this matter.
§ Sir R. Ross
I rise to say only a few words. First of all, I think when the Parliamentary Secretary comes to read the account of this Debate tomorrow he will find that the remarks made by myself and those made by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for the New Forest (Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre) are not in the slightest degree in conflict.
Chiefly, I wish to allude to the uncalled for and unexpected explosion of party animus on the part of the Parliamentary Secretary. When I spoke I took particular pains to point out to the Parliamentary Secretary that he and I had a common object in view—to increase the amount of this fund. Yet he now taunts us, unjustifiably, with the suggestion that under the guise of attempting to increase this fund, we are trying to steal a party march on him. That is an imputation which should never have been made. This is not a party matter; it is a matter of justice to seamen. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will now realise what an unfortunate thing it is to try to introduce party matters into a subject of this nature.
§ Captain Marsden (Chertsey)
I want to deal mainly with the final words of the Parliamentary Secretary. For some time I have noticed his methods. When he has a bad case he always falls into that sort of stuff. He said we thought we were the only party to do anything for the seamen and the Navy. Not at all. If he looks back on the years he has been in Parliament he will find that we on this side of the House have supported every Measure for the betterment of the conditions of service of the men of the Royal Navy. The only difference between us is that we have also supported the case of the officers, which has so frequently been opposed by hon. Members on the benches opposite.
Let us leave that for a moment and let me give my reasons why I propose to vote for this Amendment. I want to make my own position quite clear. The Amendment itself is clear—it is to try to increase the amount distributable out of the Prize Fund. That is all we ask. How can it be done? There are several other methods into which I will not go—for instance, not to give so much to the Royal 903 Air Force, or to bring in the prize bounty—but there is also the procedure we suggest, which is to take money from the Droits of Admiralty and place them in the distributable Prize Fund for the benefit of the officers and men of the Royal Navy.
What are the Admiralty, or the Government, proposing to do? They take great exception to taking any money out of the Droits of Admiralty in order to increase the total amount. That is their attitude in Clause 1. But what do they do in Clause 8? In Clause 8 they say that in future there will be no money at all in the Prize Fund; it will all go into the Droits of Admiralty. I see no logic or sense in that. We are told that there is every reason—all sorts of precedence, law and traditions—why the Droits of Admiralty should go to the Admiralty, in other words, into the Exchequer. What we are asking is not
§ for any money drawn from the Exchequer. It is not money which the taxpayer has to provide in any shape or form. It is a certain fund upon which, we claim, the Navy should have a proper charge.
§ The Government say, put it into the Exchequer. That is in Clause 1. In Clause 8, which we shall discuss later, they show that they have it clear in their minds that all the money will go into the Droits of Admiralty—in other words, into the Exchequer. It is perfectly clear which way we must vote. I hope hon. Members opposite will not take their tune from the Parliamentary Secretary but on this and other Amendments will vote for what they really think is best for the Service.
§ Question put, "That the word 'four' stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 178; Noes, 94.905
|Division No. 11]||AYES||[4.56 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)|
|Albu, A. H.||Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Fernyhough, E.||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Follick, M.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Ganley, Mrs. C. S||Messer, F.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Gibson, C. W.||Middleton, Mrs. L.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs B.||Granville, E. (Eye)||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Balfour, A.||Grey, C. F.||Monslow, W.|
|Barstow, P. G.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Moody, A. S.|
|Barton, C.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Morgan, Dr. H. B.|
|Battley, J. R.||Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Hate, Leslie||Moyle, A.|
|Benson, G.||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col R.||Naylor, T. E.|
|Berry, H.||Harrison, J.||Neal, H. (Clay Cross)|
|Beswick, F.||Haworth, J.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Binns, J.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)||Orbach, M.|
|Blackburn, A. R.||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Paget, R. T.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Parker, J.|
|Bowen, R.||Hobson, C. R.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Horabin, T. L.||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Hoy, J.||Paton, J. (Norwich)|
|Burden, T. W.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)||Peart, T. F.|
|Byers, Frank||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Perrins, W.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Piratin, P.|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Popplewell, E.|
|Chater, D.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Porter, E. (Warrington)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Pursey, Comdr. H.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Janner, B.||Ranger, J.|
|Cocks, F. S.||Jenkins, R. H.||Reeves, J.|
|Collick, P.||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Collindridge, F.||Keenan, W.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.|
|Collins, V. J.||Kay, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Kinley, J.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Royle, C.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Levy, B. W.||Sargood, R.|
|Daggar, G.||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Segal, Dr. S.|
|Daines, P.||Lipton, Lt.-Col M.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Longden, F.||Sharp, Granville|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||McAdam, W.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Deer, G.||McEntee, V. La T.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Mack, J. D.||Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.|
|Dodds, N. N.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||McLeavy, F.||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||MacPherson, M. (Stirling)||Snow, J. W.|
|Solley, L. J.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.||Williams, R. W. (Wigan)|
|Summerskill, Dr. Edith||Turner-Samuels, M.||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Sylvester, G. O.||Vernon, Maj. W. F.||Willis, E.|
|Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||Viant, S. P.||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Walker, G. H.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)||Wyatt, W.|
|Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)||Yates, V. F.|
|Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)||Warbey, W. N.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Thomas, John R. (Dover)||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Thurtle, Ernest||White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Mr. Pearson and|
|Titterington, M. F.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.||Mr. Richard Adams.|
|Tolley, L.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Harden, J. R. E.||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Birch, Nigel||Harris, F. W. (Croydon. N.)||Neven-Spence, Sir B.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Haughton, S. G.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P|
|Bower, N.||Head, Brig. A. H||Nutting, Anthony|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Herbert, Sir A. P.||Pickthorn, K.|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Pitman, I. J.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Hollis, M. C.||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Hope, Lord J.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Hurd, A.||Renton, D.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Keeling, E. H.||Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)|
|Butter, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Lancaster, Col. C. G||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Channon, H.||Langford-Holt, J.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Savory, Prof. D. L.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Lindsay, M. (Solihull)||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Crowder, Capt. John E.||Lipson, D. L.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Lloyd, Maj. Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Darling. Sir W. Y.||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Digby, S. W.||Low, A. R. W.||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Donner, P. W.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Touche, G. C.|
|Drewe, C.||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Duthie, W. S.||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)|
|Eccles, D. M.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Eden, Rt Hon. A.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Marples, A. E.|
|Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Marsden, Capt. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Commander Agnew and|
|Gammans, L. D.||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Major Conant.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Mellor, Sir J.|
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
I beg to move, in page 2, line 4, at the end, to add:(c) into the Royal Naval Prize Fund and the Royal Air Force Prize Fund, respectively, all further moneys (other than moneys certified by the Treasury to be payable under section six of this Act) which are or may be in the Supreme Court Prize Deposit Account in such proportions as the said sums specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1) of this section bear to the aggregate of the proceeds of prize captured in the late war in the Supreme Court Prize Deposit Account.
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Mr. Bowles)
This Amendment is rather wider than the Government's new Clause (Disposal of certain stuns standing to the credit of Prize Deposit Account for prize causes), notice of which is given later on the Order Paper. I therefore hope that hon. Members who make speeches on this Amendment, will not repeat them when we come to the Government's new Clause.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
This Amendment is the second string to our bow in our effort to increase the total fund available for distribution. Not only shall I endeavour to avoid repeating what I am going to say now, when we come to the new Clause, but I shall also endeavour to avoid repeating what I have already said today. The object of the Amendment is to provide that all further moneys, other than moneys certified by the Treasury to be payable under Clause 6 of the Bill, which are or may be in the Supreme Court Prize Deposit Account, shall be brought into the Royal Naval or the Royal Air Force Prize Funds in the proportions mentioned in Clause 1.
It is clear both from what was said last Thursday night in the discussion on the Resolution which was then debated, and from what the Parliamentary Secretary has already said today, that there may well be further sums in respect of 907 ships or goods condemned as prize. If that be so, why should not those sums go to augment the Prize Funds available for distribution? Why should the ceiling be fixed at £5,250,000 if it be the case, as the hon. Gentleman has already indicated today, that there may be further ships or goods condemnable as prize?
All that this Amendment seeks to do is to ensure that if there are any further ships condemned as prize, the prize money will go into the Prize Fund. Indeed, the new Clause set out on the Order Paper in itself implies that there will be some further condemning. In the third line it refers to ships or goods "not then condemned." That obviously implies that there will be, since the date referred to there, some further condemning. In these circumstances, and having regard to the arguments already adduced, which are equally cogent for the inclusion of this new Subsection, I hope that we shall find that the attitude of the Government has altered since the last Amendment was under discussion, and that the Government are, at least, prepared to say that if there is any further ship or if there are any further goods condemned as prize, that then, notwithstanding the passage of this Bill, those sums can be brought into the account and made available for distribution.
§ Mr. Dugdale
I am not quite certain how far I shall be in Order in referring to the new Clause, which I gather from your Ruling, Mr. Bowles, is to be discussed with this Amendment.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
On a point of Order. Surely we have not agreed to discuss both this Amendment and the new Clause at once? That, in my submission would be extremely inconvenient.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
My Ruling was that this Amendment is rather wider than the Government's proposed new Clause, and that I did not want a repetition, when the new Clause is reached, of the arguments in support of this Amendment. I am not asking that the new Clause shall be taken quite formally when it is reached.
§ Mr. Dugdale
A number of points were discussed in some detail at a late hour last Thursday night, as the hon. and learned Gentleman knows; and I do not 908 want to repeat more than necessary the arguments that I used then. The main point with which we are dealing here is that of goods which are non-condemnable.
§ Mr. Dugdale
These are moneys which the hon. and learned Gentleman wants to place in the Prize Account. We are, in fact, placing in the Prize Account all goods which are condemned as prize. These goods with which the hon. and learned Gentleman is concerned are non condemnable. It would be manifestly impossible to place them in the Prize Fund, desirable though it may be to increase that fund—and it might be very desirable to increase it if we could do so, and I wish there had been many more ships that had been condemned as prize, that could be used. In fact, all ships, all goods which are non-condemnable cannot be placed in this Fund, and the hon. and learned Gentleman, therefore, cannot have them given up as prize and added to the prize distribution. That is the short answer to his question. As he knows, the sums involved are comparatively small—very small indeed. We should be only too glad if they could be added to the Fund, but the position is that they are outside the terms of reference, which apply simply to condemnable goods.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
That is not at all the purpose of this Amendment. It may be that the Parliamentary Secretary is right, but there was never any intention to try to bring non-condemnable cargoes into the scope of the Amendment. We are committed under the Bill to pay out certain sums, £4,000,000 to the Royal Navy and £1,250,000 to the Royal Air Force. It may well be that, for a great number of reasons, when these sums have been paid out, there will be a balance remaining within the Supreme Court Prize Deposit Account. I think that is bound to be so for the reasons which were advanced on the Second Reading, and in respect of which we have had no answer from the Government. I understand that the Parliamentary 909 Secretary proposes to start to pay out shares practically immediately. If he does that, the Government have to fix the value of the share list to make certain that the money does not run out——
§ Mr. Dugdale
So long as "practically immediately" is understood to mean next year and not at this moment, because I do not want anyone to think that shares are going to be distributed tomorrow or the next day. They will be distributed about April of next year.
§ Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre
From the time the money begins to arrive in his Department? Presumably the hon. Gentleman is not going to wait until he knows the total amount but will meet the claims from the time they begin to arrive. If he does that, any prudent person would keep a balance in reserve to meet unexpected claims. All we want to do is to ensure that all sums that may be obtained, over and above what are specifically stated in Clause 1, shall, at a later date, be contributed to the two Funds in the same proportion as that which this House has decided to allocate. There is no question of non-condemnable goods or trying to rope in something which is not allowed. We want to make certain that there is no balance left in the Fund which, instead of going to the Services concerned, merely reverts to the Exchequer under the Resolution which was passed the other night. We want to see that all moneys that can justifiably be considered as the subject of prize are, in fact, distributed as prize. That is all that we are seeking to do.
§ Mr. Dugdale
The main answer to the hon. and gallant Gentleman is that the Treasury are not only going to receive this admittedly very small sum of £7,000, but they have guaranteed that they will be responsible for any claim that may arise. If, therefore, they have guaranteed to settle the claims, they must, in fact, be entitled to the money with which to settle them.
§ Mr. Manningham-Buller
I think that the Committee may be getting into a slight confusion with regard to this Amendment. We are not concerned here with what claims the Treasury may undertake to meet out of the £7,000. These will be claims not made by people seeking to benefit under this Bill, but claims by the owners of the goods or by people 910 who have some interest in the goods, and for the purpose of discussing this Amendment we can surely put on one side for the time being all questions of the Treasury undertaking to meet claims upon that sum of money, because these claims will not be claimed by people entitled to benefit under the Bill.
I want to bring the Parliamentary Secretary back to consideration of this Amendment. The Amendment covers all further moneys which are, or may be, in the Supreme Court Prize Deposit Account—all further moneys. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that these further moneys could be divided into two categories: (1) moneys in respect of ships or goods condemned as prize; (2) money in respect of ships or goods which cannot be condemned as prize. It is well to have those two categories in one's mind distinctly. With regard to the first category, does the hon. Gentleman really say at this time that there will be nothing else condemned as prize? If he cannot say that, then he ought to accept the proposition that any further moneys in respect of prize should be added to the Prize Fund.
Before I pass from that point, may I remind him of what he said in winding up the Debate on the previous Amendment, when he referred to the possibility—I cannot quote his exact words—of further ships or goods being condemned? This Amendment would achieve the result that if further goods were condemned the proceeds would go to the Prize Fund in the proportions mentioned in the Bill, and I cannot understand why the hon. Gentleman should oppose that, if he relies upon precedent, because under precedent these sums would normally go to the Prize Fund and not to the Exchequer, as they will if this Amendment is not accepted. It would be a departure from precedent for the proceeds of prize to go to the Exchequer. That is as far as the first category is concerned.
The second category, which is the only category to which the hon. Gentleman referred, is the category of the proceeds of goods not condemnable as prize. All the hon. Gentleman has to say is that it is manifestly impossible to pay the proceeds of such goods into the Prize Fund. Does he really mean that? I should have thought that the passage of this Amendment would have achieved what he has announced to be 911 manifestly impossible. If the Committee likes to say that the proceeds of these goods should go to the Prize Fund, surely that would be effective and what the hon. Gentleman has declared to be manifestly impossible would, in fact, be achieved. It is quite true that so far as that part is concerned there is no precedent, but the argument in favour of the departure from precedent in that respect is surely a very strong one, and is the same argument as that adduced in the discussion of the previous Amendment.
I am sorry to have spoken again on this Amendment. I hoped that I would not have to do so, but the Parliamentary Secretary's reply was very unsatisfactory, which may have been my fault for not taking up more time in explaining the argument, but I tried to put it as briefly as I could. I hope that now I have tried to make the argument clear to him, he will deal fully with it and will not brush it on one side by saying that it is manifestly impossible to put these sums into the Prize Fund.
§ Mr. Dugdale
I am sorry if I misunderstood the hon. and learned Gentleman. That obviously must he my fault
§ and not the hon. and learned Gentleman's. So far as there has been any misunderstanding, I will try to correct it. The position is that amounts to go into the Prize Fund already include all the amounts as estimated as likely to be condemned in future. There will not, in fact, be any condemned proceeds in the amount to pass to the Treasury; they just will not pass to the Treasury. It is perfectly true to say, as the hon. and learned Gentleman said, that it is possible for the money to be paid into any Fund into which Parliament should desire that it should be paid. I said in my speech that this House could do anything it likes with the Prize Fund—I said that it could presumably pay the incomes of all hon. Members into the Prize Fund. It is obviously perfectly competent to the House to pay any sums which it wants to pay into the Prize Fund. I submit, however, that this is not a proper amount to pay in. The amount is very small and would not greatly affect the Prize Fund one way or the other.
§ Question put. "That those words be there added."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes. 92; Noes, 183.913
|Division No. 12.]||AYES||[5.21 p.m.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Harden, J. R. E.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Haughton, S. G.||Nutting, Anthony|
|Birch, Nigel||Head, Brig. A. H.||Orr-Ewing, I. L.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Peaks, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Bower, N.||Hollis, M. C.||Pickthorn, K.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Hope, Lord J.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan||Keeling, E. H.||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Prior-Palmer, Brig, O.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Lancaster, Col C. G.||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Langford-Holt, J.||Renton, D.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n)||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.||Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)|
|Channon, H.||Lindsay, M. (Solihull)||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Lipson. D. L.||Sanderson, Sir F.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col U. (Ludlow)||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Savory, Prof. D. L.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col O. E.||Low, A. R. W.||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Crowder, Capt. John E.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Darling, Sir W. Y.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Digby, S. W.||Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Donner, P. W.||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)|
|Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Manningham-Butler, R. E.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Drewe, C.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Marples, A. E.||Touche, G. C.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Marsden, Capt. A.||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Eccles, D. M.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Webbs, Sir H. (Abbey)|
|Eden, Rt. Hon A.||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Fletcher, W. (Bury)||Mellor, Sir J.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. M.||Morris-Jones, Sir H.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Gammans, L. D.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||Major Conant and|
|Grimston, R. V.||Nicholson, G.||Brigadier Mackeson.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Granville, E. (Eye)||Perrins, W.|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Grey, C. F.||Piratin, P.|
|Albu, A. H.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Popplewell, E.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Porter, E. (Warrington)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Hale, Leslie||Pursey, Comdr. H|
|Attewell, H. C.||Hamilton, Lieut -Col. R||Ranger, J.|
|Ayles, W. H.||Harrison, J.||Reeves, J.|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B||Haworth, J.||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)||Ridealgh, Mrs. M|
|Balfour, A.||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Barstow, P. G.||Hewitson, Capt. M||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Barton, C.||Hobson, C. R.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Batlley, J. R.||Horabin, T. L||Royle, C.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Hoy, J.||Sargood, R.|
|Benson, G.||Hudson, J. H. (Ealing W.)||Segal, Dr. S.|
|Berry, H.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Beswick, F.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Sharp, Granville|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)||Simmons, C. J.|
|Binns, J.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Blackburn, A. R.||Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Janner, B.||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Bowen, R.||Jenkins, R. H.||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Bramall, E. A.||Jones, P. Asterlsy (Hitchin)||Snow, J. W.|
|Brock, D. (Halifax)||Keenan, W.||Solley, L. J.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Summerskill, Dr. Edith|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Burden, T. W.||Kinley, J.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Byers, Frank||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Levy, B. W.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Chamberlain, R. A.||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Chater, D.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Thomas, John R. (Dover)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Longden, F.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Cluse, W. S.||Lyne, A. W.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Cobb, F. A.||McAdam, W.||Titterington, M. F.|
|Cocks, F. S.||McEntee, V. La T.||Tolley, L.|
|Collick, P.||Mack, J. D.||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.|
|Collindridge, F.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Collins, V. J.||McLeavy, F.||Vernon, Maj W. F.|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||MacPherson, M. (Stirling)||Viant, S. P.|
|Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Mallalieu, J, P. W. (Huddersfield)||Walker, G. H.|
|Cove, W. G.||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)|
|Cross man, R. H. S.||Mayhew, C. P.||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Daggar, G.||Mellish, R. J.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Daines, P.||Messer, F.||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Weitzman, D.|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Mikardo, Ian||While, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Millington, Wing-Comdr E. R||White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Deer, G.||Mitchison, G. R.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Moody, A. S.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Morgan, Dr. H. B.||Williams, R. W. (Wigan)|
|Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Moyle, A.||Wills, E.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H.|
|Evans, E. (Lowestoft)||Oliver, G. H.||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Ewart, R.||Orbach, M.||Woodburn, Rt Hon A.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Paget, R. T.||Wyatt, W.|
|Follick, M.||Parker, J.||Yates, V. F.|
|Foot, M. M.||Parkin, B. T.||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Paton, J. (Norwich)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Peart, T. F.||Mr. Pearson and|
|Mr. Richard Adams.|
§ The following Amendment stood upon the Order Paper in the name of Mr. J. P. L. THOMAS:
Page 2, line 4, at end, add—
(2) If His Majesty is pleased by Proclamation or Order in Council to signify his intention to make a grant of prize bounty in relation to the late war in accordance with the provisions of section forty-two of the Naval Prize Act, 1864, there shall be paid by the Treasury out of moneys provided by Parliament into the Royal Naval Prize Fund and the Royal Air Force Prize Fund, respectively, upon production of an official decree of the Prize Court
such proportions of the aggregate of the sums ascertained to be due in respect of prize bounty in accordance with the provisions of section forty-three of the Naval Prize Act, 1864, as the said sums specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1) of this section bear to the aggregate of the proceeds of prize captured in the late war in the Supreme Court Prize Deposit Account.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
This Amendment and the consequential Amendment on Clause 2 are out of Order because they visualise the initiation of expenditure without a Financial Resolution of the 915 Crown; and, although the scheme of the Naval Prize Fund under the 1864 Act is still in force, the scheme visualised here extends to the Royal Air Force.
§ Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.