HC Deb 22 September 1948 vol 456 cc1015-47

10.0 p.m.

Mr. Hurd (Newbury)

I beg to move, That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty praying that the Order, dated 3rd August, 1948, entitled the Food (Seasonal Allowances) Order, 1948 (S.1., 1948, No. 1823), a copy of which was delivered to the Votes and Proceedings Office on 3rd August, in the last Session of Parliament, be annulled. For many months past we have been trying to persuade the Minister of Food to adopt a sensible policy for the issue of the small seasonal extra rations that are allowed for farm workers at hay time, the corn harvest, and the time when potatoes and sugar beet are lifted—the times when the farm workers are most busy. These modest allowances—and they are very modest—are four-fifths of an ounce of sugar, a quarter of an ounce of tea, three-quarters of an ounce of margarine, two-fifths of an ounce of cheese, three-quarters of an ounce of preserves, and half a point per day. These little extra rations are supposed to make up for the lack of canteens. It is impracticable, I think we must all re- cognise, for the establishment of works canteens, which are so useful in industry, throughout the farms of this country, but those of us who represent agricultural constituencies cannot help feeling a little envy when we set these very, modest allowances against the generous allowances of rationed goods which go to the works canteens. The Minister gave us the particulars in a Written Answer to a Question yesterday.

We have pressed the Minister to allow farm workers or their wives to draw these extra allowances directly. We have pressed that the farm workers and their wives should be trusted, in just the same way as miners and their wives are trusted to draw the extra meat ration directly. There is no new principle involved in this. We thought we had made some impression on the Minister, and the National Farmers' Union and the two workers' unions were also hopeful. However, on 3rd August the Minister. made this order that we are discussing now. It perpetuates the unsatisfactory arrangement by which the farmer must apply for these allowances and distribute them to his men, or a local officer of the men's trade union may procure the food in bulk and distribute it. By this order not only does the Minister perpetuate what we consider to be an unsatisfactory system, but he also takes powers to enforce it with most extraordinary penalties. If the farmer fails to meet this obligation, then he may be liable to a fine of £500 or to two years' imprisonment, or both. That may be a salutary warning to any laggard farmers who fail to do their duty; but when we look at this order we find the most extraordinarily fatuous provision in it which really must bring the law into disrepute if such penalties as I have mentioned are ever enforced.

Mr. Speaker

I cannot find any penalties in this order.

Mr. Hurd

I think it is the regulations which lay down these penalties but I was not going to pursue that point. What I wish to draw attention to is Section I, which lays down that if a farmer takes on even casual labour at harvest time or, it may be, at the fruit picking time, or the potato lifting time, or the sugar beet lifting time, he must give 24 hours' prior notice to the Food Office, and not only make out the form but deliver it. What a factitious impractical arrangement to make. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I will tell hon. Gentlemen why. At the moment, we are busy potato lifting. I am personally only too delighted if two extra chaps come along and say, "Look here, we can give you a hand." Under this order, I must say that I cannot take them on today or tomorrow, but I can on Saturday, after I have chased to the Food Office and got this form and completed it, but otherwise I shall be liable to very serious penalties. What a crazy way of administering what could be quite a simple matter.

We have had six weeks' experience of the working of this order, and I think that we should ask ourselves: Is it ensuring that farm workers are getting more sustaining food for their snacks, which they have to take out into the fields at these busy times? There were a good many Questions on the Order Paper on Monday, which, unfortunately, the Minister of Food did not have an opportunity of answering because his time ran out, and so they received only written answers. So dissatisfied are the farmers and the farmer workers that the three unions—the Farmers' Union and the two workers' unions—sent a deputation to the Ministry of Food on 1st September. They were unanimous in pressing for these extra rations to be issued direct to the men, and also in pointing out that in many agricultural districts the present supplies of points goods were inadequate to supply anything reasonably sustaining to put into sandwiches. I know that I must not pursue that point, but I would like to say that undoubtedly the shortage of points for allocation to farmers has been made worse by the operation of this order, by necessitating that these allowances should be drawn in bulk by the farmer. If the Minister doubts that, let one of the clever men in her Ministry go to a village in Berkshire and see how this arrangement operates.

The farmer has, say, to draw these extra-seasonal rations for 16 men. He takes the S.A. 1 forms to his grocer, the man with whom he is registered for rationed goods. The grocer is placed in a great difficulty, because if he lets the farmer have a distribution for his men of all the points goods he wants on the 16 S.A. 1 forms, he will have nothing left for his regular registered customers. Only this afternoon, we were told again that points goods are now allocated to grocers on the basis of their registrations for rationed goods. Would it not be much better if these extra points were given to the men direct and the demand spread? I am pretty certain that the farm workers' wives would get full value for them. They do not today, when they are all bulked and put in through one village shop. It is quite impossible for the grocer to satisfy that demand for a good sustaining type of points goods without robbing his other customers.

These considerations were put to officials of the Ministry of Food on 1st September by this joint deputation, and they receive the smooth, half-promising reply which one would expect from a Department presided over by the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Food, but, nevertheless, the deputation were not satisfied. They asked to see the Minister himself. Then the T.U.C. was brought into the picture. That happened because the National Union of Agricultural Workers ventured to raise this matter at the Margate Conference. We all know that the relations between the T.U.C. and the Minister are pretty close, but until this episode, I had no idea that they were as close as they are, because what happened was that immediately the Minister of Food sent one of his officials to the Margate Conference, and it was arranged that the spokesmen of the National Union of Agricultural Workers should get up on the rostrum and recant.

The farm workers, he said, were glad to report that arrangements had been made to deal with their difficulty, and they were grateful to the T.U.C. for its efforts on their behalf. Well, the T.U.C. and the Minister may have squared this up to their satisfaction, but as the representative of several thousand farm workers I am not satisfied; I am not satisfied that they are getting the sustaining food to which they are entitled. Indeed, at the week-end I talked to a farm worker's wife who came to see me because for the last ten days, while her husband and son were finishing up the harvest, she has not been able to put into their sandwiches anything better than a spread of margarine and a little jam or beetroot.

It is, in these circumstances, deplorable that the Minister has refused to receive a deputation from the employers' and the workers' unions to get this matter squared up more satisfactorily. Indeed, the T.U.C. has, I understand, forbidden the farm workers' unions to carry the matter any further with the Minister; and, of course, the T.U.C. is master. Fortunately, we in this House do not have to get the consent of the T.U.C. before we raise matters of importance to our constituents and the community as a whole. I conclude by putting this question to the Minister. Having made this order—which is window-dressing anyway, and only dummy window-dressing at that—what is he doing to ensure that these modest allowances of food are given some substance? I am sure that all of us in this House recognise that the farm-workers of this country are doing a first-rate job; they are doing their duty. It is now our duty to see that they get a square deal in this matter of food rations.

10.12 p.m.

Mr. Baker White (Canterbury)

I beg to second the Motion.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) has made clear, there are several things wrong with this order when an attempt is made to put it into practice. No one would complain about making it a serious offence for a farmer to fail to apply, in the words of the order, for the necessary authority to purchase harvest rations for his employees if that were the best or the only way of doing it. But it is not the best way. It is the wrong way of doing it. The order makes what could be a perfectly simple process into a highly complicated one. At first sight the order simply compels a farmer employing harvest labour to make application for yet another form. Supposedly this is intended to help farm workers, but in practice the order discriminates against them. It establishes a principle which is repugnant to both farmers and farm workers. Farm workers and their wives want to draw their own rations in the same way as the miners' wives draw their rations. This order says they must not, and that, in my submission is discrimination.

In parts of my constituency farmers' wives, farm workers' wives and miners' wives all use the same village shops. The miners' wives can draw their extra rations over the counter, but the farm workers' wives are not allowed to do so. On 31st May the Parliamentary Secretary, in defending the refusal of the Minister to allow farm workers to draw their extra rations direct—in other words, defending the principle now embodied in this order—said: Many people who would be shopping with the farm worker's wife … would feel aggrieved if she had extra rations."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st May, 1948; Vol. 451, c. 620.] Who would feel aggrieved? The miner's wife. Certainly not. Would the other dwellers in the country feel aggrieved? Certainly not. They are fully aware of what the farm workers are doing to save the people of this country from hunger. They do not grudge the farm worker his little extra. If they do not feel aggrieved, if the miners' wives draw the rations, why should they feel aggrieved when it is a farm worker's wife?

I understand that it would be out of Order to discuss within the terms of this Prayer the quality of the goods mentioned in it; to discuss, for example, the relative value of tinned steak and pilchards as a harvest ration as against tinned grapes and diced beetroot, or the existence or non-existence of the suitable goods mentioned in this order to meet the four million odd points per week issued to the farmers under this order. I must therefore limit myself to saying that on Monday the Minister said that harvesting points have never carried an entitlement to particular varieties of food. But this order, under the threat of heavy penalties, places upon the farmer the statutory obligation of applying for a special authority to purchase for his workers certain rations, including those points goods. Difficulties have arisen under this operation. The Ministry claims in a letter, to which my hon. Friend has referred, that in practically every case these difficulties have been cleared up satisfactorily. If I were not out of Order I could quote a whole bunch of cases showing that nothing of the kind has happened. I could quote a farm bailiff walking round the country with 6,000 points to spend and the grocer having nothing to offer him except tinned pineapple. I do not call that satisfactory. [An HON. MEMBER: "Go to Woolworths."]

I asked two big farmers what they thought of this order. One described it as an intolerable burden of paper work, the other described it as idiotic and unworkable. My hon. Friend has referred to correspondence and steps taken by the Ministry of Food to compel the public recantation by the farm workers' union at the T.U.C. at Margate. Well, the feeling may have been quelled in the vicinity of "Dreamland" but it has not been quelled in the villages and fields of this country. Men and women of Britain's countryside are slow to anger, but they are angry today. I started my working life 30 years ago as an agricultural labourer. Except for the war years, I have been continually in contact with the countryside, and I can tell the House that they are angry. They are angry because they think they have been diddled by the Ministry of Food. It is a matter of more than passing interest that in the same week as this swallowing of words, this recantation, took place at Margate in the county of Kent, the Kent County Branch of the National Union of Agricultural Workers passed a resolution protesting against the principles embodied in this order.

This order will not work. It will be the cause of endless trouble and irritation. There is a simple cure. It is to withdraw it and issue another allowing the farm workers and their wives to do what the mine workers and their wives do, draw their own rations. The Minister of Food often reminds me of Marie Antoinette—I do not apply that description to the hon. Lady. When the people had no bread she said, "Let them eat cake."

Dr. Morgan (Rochdale)

She never said it. It is an historical error.

Mr. Baker White

The Minister of Food says, "When you tire of mousetrap cheese, bread and jam, and beetroot sandwiches, you can eat the paper points for which I have issued no goods "—and, I suppose, this order as well. "But" says the Minister, "the one thing the farm workers must not do is to buy their own harvest rations."

10.20 p.m.

Mr. Gooch (Norfolk, Northern)

I am very surprised that hon. Members opposite should press for the annulment of this order, because the order in itself in my opinion represents another step in enabling the farm workers of this country to get the rations to which they are entitled. The hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Baker White) referred to the fact that a branch of the union in Kent recently passed a resolution protesting against the working of this order. I suggest he is entirely mistaken. Only a few days ago I addressed at least four meetings of agricultural workers in his division and at each meeting there was an expression of gratitude to the Minister for issuing this order, although I admit they asked the Minister to go a little further.

I share the opinion expressed on the opposite side of the House that the best solution of this problem of extra rations for farm workers would be to allow the farm worker's wife to draw the rations direct. [HON. MEMBERS; "Hear, hear."] I am repeating what I have been saying for months past; it is not a recent conversion on my part, and the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary have heard me say this time after time.

I wish to take hon. Members back a little into the past in order to appreciate the stage we have reached. When first rationing was introduced, agricultural employers began to give up the practice of supplying their workers with food and drink. As hon. Members representing rural districts know, it had been the custom in many parts of the country for employers to send out food and drink to employees on certain jobs in the fields. The withdrawal of these privileges was a hardship too great to be borne by the farm workers. The National Union of Agricultural Workers made representation to the Ministry and also to the Trade Union Congress and it was agreed that a supplementary allowance scheme should be drawn up to cover the operations in which the men were engaged.

It was also agreed that the responsibility for obtaining these extra foods should rest, where it had always rested, on the employers and their representatives. The Ministry said that the farmers were the only people who would know the kind of crops to be harvested and the number of people required and the number involved. Therefore, a simple form was drawn up, which the employers could obtain from their nearest food office and, when this was completed, permits would be issued to enable the employers to obtain supplementary allowances. Good employers went to a good deal of inconvenience to obtain those permits and to get the extra food, but some employers would not do so. I pay my tribute to those employers who faced their obligations in this respect. They have done well. This order is concerned with the non-co-operators.

These are the people whom the order will bring in—those men who would not apply for the extra rations for their men, because it was either a matter of taking too much trouble or they were too busy or for some other reason, or they refused to apply. The Ministry agreed' that in those cases district organisers of the National Union of Agricultural Workers should be allowed to nominate a responsible worker on each farm concerned, who would draw the permits and obtain the rations, but even then the employer was required to certify the number of workers and the number of days which the jobs would take to complete. Thus, in fact, the scheme was a failure. In other cases, particularly on big jobs, the worker who was willing to accept responsibility found it difficult to put down the money for the goods he had to draw for his fellow workers.

During 1947 there were many complaints and the Minister decided that a working party should be set up to look into the difficulty and, if possible, suggest other ways in which the scheme could be made to function- satisfactorily. When the working party met, however, being practical men and looking at the problem only from the standpoint of agriculturists, they suggested to the Minister that the easiest and best way of dealing with this matter was to make supplementary allowances available to every farm worker on the domestic ration books. When the Minister of Food and the Trades Union Congress looked at this proposal they realised that the recommendation must be considered in relation to other industries and both the Ministry and the Trades Union Congress felt at the time that it would be impossible to agree to the suggestion without causing widespread dissatisfaction among other workers and perhaps bringing about the collapse of the present rationing scheme.

The working party were therefore asked to confine themselves to the present system and how to make it work more smoothly. They recommended, in view of their limited terms of reference, that conferences should be held of representatives of farmers and organised farm workers in every county and that representatives of the organisations should be appointed to deal with local problems as and when they arose. The farm workers, however, still felt they were not likely to get all that could be got out of the present scheme and the Ministry's own figures appeared to confirm their views. They confirmed the strong opinion which was held that there were many workers who did not receive the supplementary allowances to which they were entitled.

Many farmers persistentry refused to go to the trouble to certify entitlement even though they were released of all other obligations in securing the allowances. Then further discussions took place. The Minister finally decided he would issue the order which hon. Members opposite are asking the House to annul. In connection with the Motion which is now before the House I know that the National Farmers' Union have said they will do all they can to get this order annulled. [HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] I suggest to hon. Members opposite who are at the present time setting out to do the bidding of the National Farmers' Union that in doing that they are running a grave risk of doing a great disservice to the farm workers of this country, for whose vote they will be appealing at the next Election.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks (Chichester)

Will the hon. Member say when and in what circumstances the National Farmers' Union made a statement of that sort?

Mr. Gooch

I am assuming something which I believe in my own mind to be correct. I am suggesting that in moving to annul this order, hon. Members are acting as the tools of the National Farmers' Union.

Hon. Members


Mr. David Renton (Huntingdon)

On a point of Order. Is it in Order for a hon. Member to impute that many other Members are acting as tools of an outside body?

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member gave his own view. He is perfectly in Order in saying what he did. It is often said on both sides of the House.

Mr. Gooch

May I add that this order imposes no great hardship, especially when it is borne in mind that employers in other industries have had to provide canteens.

Mr. Wingfield Digby (Dorset, Western)

Is it in Order for the hon. Member to read his speech?

Mr. Speaker

Of course, I dislike the reading of speeches. I hope the hon. Member is only using the papers as rather extensive notes.

Mr. Gooch

I was saying that this imposes no hardship on employers in agriculture, because employers in other industries have been for a long time under the obligation either to set up canteens or give their men canteen allowances. Farmers have been getting away with it very easily indeed. I want to add a word on the general points that have been mentioned by hon. Members opposite. We have to get more food into the villages. I know that the corn harvest is of extreme importance, but there is another harvest of almost equal importance—that is the one upon which we are now entering, the potato and sugar beet harvest. I read the reply given the other day in the House by the Minister of Food in regard to this shortage of points. I regret the position that was created at that time, but I am given to understand that the Minister has sought to put this matter right and that in the days that lie ahead, difficult and hard days for thousands of farm workers, there will be a little more points food available for them. I am going to suggest that the real trouble is that too many restaurants are being opened at the present time in the cities and towns.

Mr. Speaker

So far as this order is concerned, the hon. Member is not in Order. It is made quite clear by the note on the back that the quantity and quality of the supply of food is outside the scope of this order.

Mr. Gooch

May I add that I am delighted to know that we are going to have more fish and chip shops. I hope that many of the licences to be issued will be in respect of rural areas. As a last word, may I again express my gratitude to the Minister of Food for issuing this order. He has played the game by the farm workers in this respect. Hon. Members opposite claim to speak for a few of the farm workers of this country. I thank the Minister on behalf of 200,000 farm workers and say quite definitely that they are very grateful to the Minister for the action he has taken. In asking for this order to be annulled, hon. Members opposite are asking the Minister to continue to deprive many farm workers of additional food and they must not be surprised if at the next Election they find themselves deprived of many thousands of farm workers' votes.

10.34 p.m.

Mr. Vane (Westmorland)

At one moment while the hon. Member was speaking I thought I agreed with as much of what he said as I admired his carnation, but as his speech proceeded I realised that he was just saying his usual piece. I thought his accusation that those of us on this side who might speak would be acting as tools of the National Farmers' Union was an insulting remark. Perhaps he himself is so used to speaking as a tool of an outside body that he can be excused for supposing that anybody else who speaks in the same Debate is receiving some sort of assistance from outside.

I am supporting this Motion and opposing this order because I do not consider that it is any answer to the difficulty which still arises in some cases, where farm workers may have difficulty in obtaining these extra rations. The present system of course is absolutely wrong, and the hon. Member who has just spoken has told the hon. Lady the answer, I believe he has done so time and time again. We have told her the answer, too, which is, to let the families of the men concerned draw these rations direct. That would simplify the whole problem. Nor do I believe this would lead to jealousy in any feminine breast—among the wives of miners or anyone else. The problem would be solved. Unfortunately, the hon. Lady belongs to a Party which believes that when any difficulty arises a clamp of some sort must be brought down and closed as tightly as possible, and that immense penalties must be imposed upon anyone who by chance commits a breach of the regulations. There is something typically Socialist in this approach to a simple everyday problem.

But things are not quite so easy as has been suggested when someone is supposed to be entitled to a little extra rations. The hon. Lady will have received a letter from me a day or two ago about the case of one or two of my employees. I went to the local food office for information, but they could not tell me the answer. Therefore, the only thing to do was to ask the hon. Lady. I only cite that as an example. There are probably hundreds of employees in agriculture who not only cannot themselves understand the regulations but cannot get an answer to their questions from the local food office. Now apparently in all cases of this type either one does not do the work or one exposes oneself to imprisonment for I do not know how many years—for the sort of term which one usually associates with a conviction for high treason. That is the sort of stupid basis on which this order now laid before the House has been written, and if it comes to a Division I hope hon. Members will defeat it.

10.38 p.m.

Mr. Orr-Ewing (Weston-super-Mare)

I was very happy to hear the remarks of the representative of the agricultural workers' union. I need hardly bother to mention his constituency, because I believe that was the prime representation for which he was speaking tonight when he said that he thought it would be a good thing if the workers themselves drew the rations direct. If that really is his feeling about the matter, what possible excuse can he find for opposing this Prayer? Whatever history he may give about the system built up since the beginning of rationing in this country during the last war, the fact remains that it is on record that he has said that it would be better if the agricultural workers' wives drew the rations themselves. That is exactly what we are saying tonight. I can foresee the Lobby into which the hon. Member will walk. I cannot quite foresee the explanation he will give for having voted in a directly contrary sense to his expressed view. The House, I believe, takes a rather serious view of such a thing.

I am sure that the hon. Member did not willingly wish to mislead the House when he gave the history of investigations into the matter of the drawing of agricultural rations for agricultural workers. But I think that he did miss one point—that an alternative was offered during the discussions. It is one which appears to me very practical, because I represent a part of the country where the majority of the farms are very small. While it is quite easy to talk about finding a workers' representative who will be appointed by the farmer and accepted by everyone else when dealing with farms employing 10, 20 or more workers, it really does become a rather Gilbert and Sullivan affair when one thinks of the problem in terms of farmers who employ only one or two men—literally one or two.

I believe that I am right in saying that the alternative, and the practicable way of dealing with this existing order, was put forward at the time. It is that the farmer should be forced to certify that the worker was working on the particular occasion and was, therefore, entitled to additional rations and, having certified this, to hand the form to the worker's wife, who would draw the rations. Am I right or wrong? [Interruption.] I am obviously right, but I ask the hon. Lady who is going to reply to correct me if I am wrong. I believe that that practicable suggestion was put forward. What would be the procedure? The farmer would have presented to him, by the worker, the form to state that the worker was on this specific work. The form could be handed back to the worker's wife, who could get the rations. It may be said that the farmer would not complete the form, but I think the House agrees that anyone of us who defrauded a man who worked for him of additional rations is not a good chap at all. The farmer would have to certify on the form. We want to see that a practicable system is introduced in a fair and proper way and that is why we pray against this order.

I do ask the hon. Lady the Parliamentary Secretary to give us the reason, when she comes to reply, why this bad method was chosen and embodied in this order against the far more practicable idea suggested, and to which the hon. Member who spoke on behalf of the agricultural workers did not refer. When we are thinking of all these additional rations for agricultural workers, for heaven's sake do not let us think only in terms of the large farmers. The problem, I do assure the House, is as acute, if not more so, on the small farms, and those hon. Members on both sides of the House who know the small farms can endorse what I am saying. I would say that the problem of additional rations is much more acute in the small areas, because, where one has the larger farms, one has the corollary of the larger villages. In that part of Somerset from which I come there are mostly small villages, with one small store, and when the farmer sends to the small village store long lists of people and long lists of additional rations, the whole points ration of the district is absorbed in that way because no additional system of supplying extra points food is available to these small shops. I do hope that, even at this late stage, more commonsense will be applied; that we shall have a more commonsense solution for this problem of the finest industry in the country—the industry of agriculture.

10.44 p.m.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks (Chichester)

I should like to say, before my few remarks, in reply to the taunt or innuendo thrown at us by the hon. Member for North Norfolk (Mr. Gooch) that I am not a tool of the National Farmers' Union; that I have had no communication with the headquarters of that body on this subject, nor, so far as I am aware, have I read any publication written by them on this subject, nor do I have any personal knowledge of their views upon it. I have, however, taken the trouble to put myself in communication with the county branch of the National Farmers' Union, which I represent, and I shall be referring to that again presently, and, in addition to that, I have taken the trouble to inform myself substantially of the views of a great number of agricultural workers and people engaged in the agricultural industry in my constituency; which are completely contrary to the views of the hon. Member for North Norfolk, with the sole exception of the one point—on which we are in agreement—that they do wish that the extension of rationing should be to the workers or their wives direct.

I will ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture for his views about this order. I have very little doubt, if he does inform the House at all of the views of his Ministry, he will say that his Ministry was consulted before the order was issued. I cannot believe that the Minister of Agriculture is in favour of an order of this sort made in connection with an industry to which he has such a responsibility. The order proves that the less the Ministry of Food has to do with the agricultural industry the better for the agricultural industry. It is a thoroughly bad order and in my submission, and I say it with all seriousness and deliberation, it is a contemptuous and gratuitous insult to the farmers.

We have, as has been stated already in the House, been pressing for a long time for additional food for farm workers—and there I would acknowledge the assistance we have received from the hon. Member for North Norfolk, although his efforts have been little more successful than our own. Instead of that, what do we get? We get held out to us by this order the hope of the agricultural workers that they will get additional points. That hope has been unfulfilled and owing to the machinery by which the order works, and through which it is operated, the failure is not brought home to the agricultural worker as being failure on the part of the Ministry of Food, but as failure on the part of the farmer who has to make the initial application, and the result of this order is to cause ill-feeling and disruption between the farmer and the farm worker.

I consider that it is one of the most disgraceful practices that any Ministry has introduced into any industry at all, a deliberate attempt to drive a wedge between employers and employed. The hon. Lady may smile at it. She may not realise the effect of her action. I think that is highly probable, for she knows very little about the farm industry at all. The form of order is not appropriate to the industry at all. It may possibly be appropriate to some industrial systems which we are not discussing tonight. It may be that it is a popular slogan—a slogan which says in effect "Soak the Bosses"; but we are not accustomed to that sort of thing in the agricultural industry, and had it been a Ministry of Agriculture order I am certain that no such framework would have been advised for the industry at all.

What is the practical result of that? The Ministry of Agriculture calls for a special effort from the farmers to increase production in the present emer- gency. The Ministry of Food promptly produces an order which says that, in circumstances which it is impossible for the farmer to fulfil, he renders himself liable to serious penalties, namely, two years' imprisonment and a fine of £500. Is that the way you will encourage farmers to get the maximum production off their farms? I wonder if the hon. Lady realises what it would mean to implement this order in the ordinary case of an ordinary farm: it would mean at least that the farmer would be required to make 100 applications separately or severally during the course of a year— and that is on an ordinary small farm. Suppose, to give an example that will be of interest to hon. Members who are not familiar with the agricultural industry, a farmer is engaged in fruitpicking, which specifically comes under this order. He calls for additional labour for that purpose and in practice the wife and the children and all the casual labour which can be spared during the summer season goes out into the fruit fields and picks the fruit. That labour in now entitled to the benefits of this order and the "stated person," the farmer to whom this order applies and who employs these people, is not entitled to set them to work until 24 hours before doing so he has made application to the local food office.

When one multiplies that week by week, with changing workers for fruit picking and all the other harvesting operations to which this order refers as well—hoeing and singling of root crops, lambing and sheep-shearing, it is easy to see that in the course of 20 weeks a farmer may have to make out over 100 applications and if he fails to make any one of those applications, he is liable to two years' imprisonment and a fine of £500. What on earth the total liability in fines would be at the end of a year I do not know, I leave it to the hon. Lady.

The thing is simply unworkable; and for what is it all intended? What is it intended to give the farm worker as a result of this order?—the right to make an application for non-existent food? What good is it to him? Do we really think that farmers, who are probably the hardest-worked and the most busy people at the present time throughout the whole of the country, have the time for filling up all these forms of application for the benefit of their workers? The hon. Lady will no doubt say, as has been said on a number of occasions, that the scheme has produced very few complaints. I think that Members who represent rural constituencies have received quite a number of complaints and that is confirmed not only by the farm workers, but by the farmers themselves who have had to do the work for them. I have received a letter from the county secretary of our branch of the National Farmers' Union and he tells me to some slight extent the immediate history of this order.

The hon. Member for North Norfolk went far back into the history of the order, but I simply want to tell the House about this one point. Exactly a fortnight before this order came into operation there was a conference of South-Eastern Regional Food Officers and others in order to work out the practical side of the scheme. It was realised, my correspondent says, that a great many difficulties would have to be overcome, but by the goodwill of the farmers' representatives themselves it was felt that those difficulties would be overcome.

My correspondent says: Unfortunately, however, within a fortnight of this Conference when so much promise had been shown, our Members started to find tremendous difficulties as regards points goods for the harvest rations for their workers. These difficulties have persisted until now and, from the complaints we are getting, it would seem that the conditions have improved little, if any, since then. Reference is next made to the point raised by the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd)—the attempt of the National Farmers' Union to see the Minister himself. They asked that a deputation might be received following the unsatisfactory interview they had had with the Department. So far, however, despite the pressure which has been brought to try to interview the Minister, he has declined to see them upon this matter. Surely, it is most incredible, that when a Minister has made an order which puts the whole of an industry into Chancery and renders people liable to penalties, a liability which they cannot avoid incurring, he still refuses to discuss the matter with them. Is this the democracy to which we are coming under this Socialist Government?

Finally, the situation is summed up by the county secretary who writes: The position, therefore, is that the farmer with one or two men can usually get something from his regular retailer but the farmers or their managers on larger farms find it practically impossible to get points goods which can be used to supplement food which the workers can take to the field. As an example, he quotes a named farmer in my constituency who .. reported to me only yesterday that the only points goods he could get from his regular retailers for his men were tins of spaghetti.

Mr. Shurmer (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)

That is very nice on toast.

Mr. Joynson-Hicks

That interjection is absolutely typical of the attitude of the Ministry of Food in dealing with the agricultural industry. It displays a complete and utter ignorance of the circumstances with which we are trying to deal. How on earth does the hon. Lady believe that a farm labourer can be nourished and can enjoy a mid-day packed meal, after working five hours in the fields and probably cycling three or four miles to get there, on a sandwich filled with cold spaghetti? I should like to see the hon. Lady herself at the end of a week's harvesting on rations such as that. If I may be allowed one reference which has a double meaning, I would say that this order is entirely pointless. I repeat that it is contemptuous of the farmers. It is obviously unworkable and it is calculated to promote ill-feeling throughout the industry. Of that there is not the slightest doubt whatever. It is disruptive of the effort which the farmers are trying to make to produce more food. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for North Norfolk may say, "No." That only shows that he is not in touch with the farming community, as he should be. If, owing to the brief with which he has been supplied tonight, he will not vote with us in the Lobby, nevertheless, I hope that all other hon. Members opposite representing agricultural constituencies will do so.

11.0 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Dr. Edith Summer-skill)

During the three years which I have served at the Ministry of Food, I have met many of the hon. Members opposite who have spoken tonight. I have learned that they are farmers, and I have listened to them in the House and have formed the opinion on certain occasions that they were concerned with the welfare of their workers. Tonight, with a sense of great surprise, I listened to the same hon. Gentlemen identifying themselves with the bad farmers of the country, bad farmers who show little concern for the welfare of their workers. [HON. MEMBERS: "Cheap."] Tonight they have deliberately evaded the real issue. They have tried to confuse the issue by talking on matters which Mr. Speaker has already said are out of Order. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Mr. Speaker ruled that a speech on the quality and quantity of food was out of Order tonight.

Brigadier Thorp (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

On a point of Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, can you tell me when either you or Mr. Speaker gave that ruling?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Major Milner)

Certain matters are clearly out of Order. Matters to which reference has been made have not, so far as I know, been out of Order.

Hon. Members


Dr. Summerskill

Certainly not. My colleagues on this Bench who have been listening very carefully, agree that I am quite right. Mr. Speaker got up after consulting the order and said there was nothing in the order dealing with the quantity or quality of food, and I have observed that every hon. Member opposite has been out of Order in so far as not one hon. Member opposite has refrained from discussing differential rations. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Orr-Ewing) got up and asked me a question on differential rationing which was quite out of Order. Therefore, in case there are hon. Members who are not aware of the principle which is embodied in the order—

Mr. Orr-Ewing

Since the hon. Lady has mentioned me I wish to state that she has completely distorted what I said. I never made any mention of differential rations, and I ask her to withdraw.

Dr. Summerskill

Perhaps the hon. Member does not know that the subject he mentioned is technically known as differential rationing.

I want again to remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that if this Prayer were accepted by the House tonight, if would mean that the protection afforded to agricultural workers in this country, who have been denied these seasonal allowances m the past by the bad minority of farmers—this protection which my Department has sought to give them—will be removed. I am very surprised that the right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite who are concerned with the Party machine, have allowed their supporters at the back to come here and make speeches which are against the interests of the agricultural workers of this country.

Mr. Renton

Will the hon. Lady allow me?

Dr. Summerskill

The hon. Lady has allowed enough tonight. The peroration of the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) was striking. "We demand far more sustaining food," he says. "The workers are doing their duty; let us do our duty." Yet he moves a Prayer to annul an order which will do justice—justice which has been denied to some agricultural workers. He has the effrontery to ask for more sustaining food, yet if this annulment of the order were accepted tonight he would be denying the agricultural worker his entitlement.

Then again, hon. Members have raised the question of penalties. Surely they must know that my Department does not prescribe penalties. These penalties were prescribed in the Defence Regulations. Hon. Members must know enough about the law to know that the maximum penalty is not always the penalty upon which the court decides.

Mr. R. S. Hudson (Southport)

As the hon. Lady is so keen on referring to Rulings given by Mr. Speaker while he was in the Chair, may I remind her that Mr. Speaker ruled when my hon. Friend was moving this Motion, that any reference to penalties was out of Order, because they were not included in the order?

Dr. Summerskill

I will accept that, but if I did not mention all the things that have been mentioned tonight which were out of Order, there would be no reply to the hon. Member who moved the Prayer. I noticed that the right hon. Gentleman took the Defence Regulation to Mr. Speaker to make sure that it was out of Order.

Mr. Hudson

I went to Mr. Speaker to show him that in my humble opinion he was wrong, but at all events he did rule that it was out of Order.

Dr. Summerskill

The right hon. Gentleman is not being friendly to his own back benchers. If I were to follow his advice I would not answer any question. I would make a short speech on this order and leave the matter there. But I would ask that I should be allowed to answer on the point of penalties, because on the face of it it appears that hon. Members charge my Ministry with prescribing penalties that are harsh and ruthless. We had nothing to do with fixing them. They are in the Defence Regulations. I believe the maximum penalty for larceny is 14 years, but a pick-pocket gets something like 14 days so that hon. Members need not be too worried. If they decide not to observe this order perhaps the penalty will not be the maximum prescribed by the Defence Regulations.

But I do want to refer to this order [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Certainly, I like to set hon. Members an example. In 1941 my Ministry, in consultation with the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Farmers' Union, and the T.U.C. decided to make these seasonal allowances. They can be obtained for harvesting, hay-making, hoeing and singling of root crops, lambing, sheep-shearing, and threshing. The hon. Member from Chichester (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) described the woes of the farmer. The poor man had to fill in hundreds of forms. But these are the only operations which entitle a farmer to apply for seasonal allowances. I find it difficult to understand why he should be called on to fill in hundreds of forms.

I will remind the House of what the procedure is. Hon. Members have given a picture of this poor, harassed man who is incapable of grappling with the difficulties with which the Ministry of Food has presented him. All he has to do is to make a separate application for each of these processes. The farmer need not make the application, his nominee can do so. [An HON. MEMBER; "His wife.] Certainly, if you like. A farmer's wife is not a completely helpless woman. Hon. Gentlemen opposite must not be so nineteenth-century about women. I think most of them know that women can write letters. The farmer, or his wife, or a representative of the agricultural workers, or any other reputable person acting on their behalf, can do this. The local doctor could do it. [HON. MEMBERS: "He has enough to do already."] I certainly know that. The local vicar could do it. It is not only the farmer who has to make this application. The application can be made by any of these people. They can go to the Food Office. The only thing the farmer has to do is to sign the application. If he cannot sign it, he can make his mark. Then, any of these people can collect the rations and distribute them. Nobody can say here that the farmer is not capable of appending his signature to an application for seasonal rations.

I know that it is out of Order to mention differential rationing, but it has been mentioned by every hon. Member, and I want only to say—I have said it before—that we have resisted differential rationing because we have to allocate the food of this country in the light of the demands of all groups of workers. We have had an Adjournment Debate on this question, and I think that on that occasion I made a fairly long answer to it.

I think it was the hon. Member for Westmorland (Mr. Vane) who said that the procedure was so complicated that it was very difficult for these people to find the right answer to every question, and that in order to answer one of them he had had to come to me. I must say that that is a gross exaggeration. We have arranged that the farm workers' representatives, the Ministry officials and the representatives of the National Farmers Union can meet at both the divisional and local office levels and that any question there will be answered by an official whom we ask to attend. Furthermore, the whole procedure has been simplified. A pamphlet has been agreed upon and will be distributed widely in which even the simplest question will be answered. Therefore, we have tried as far as possible to meet the difficulties, not only of the farmers, but of the farm workers.

I want now to come to the reason why we had to make this order. Complaints came to us concerning a certain minority of the farmers. Only a minority. I am glad to say that the majority of the farmers of this country recognise their obligations. I am surprised to find that no hon. Member opposite has mentioned the fact that this order applies only to England and Wales. I wonder that no Scots farmer has asked why it does not apply to Scotland. I want to pay tribute to Scotland. All Scots farmers are applying for their workers' seasonal allowances. They find no difficulty about it, and the Scots find that, far from causing disharmony between farmers and farm workers—as the hon. Member for Chichester mentioned—it cements the bonds which bind the farmers and farm workers together. It does not apply to Northern Ireland for the same reason. We found not one complaint came from a farm worker in Northern Ireland. Therefore, we decided it should apply only to this country.

I think the hon. Member for Chichester told the House of all the complaints he had received from farm workers, and other hon. Members opposite have told the House that they are concerned with the interests of the farm workers. Surely, however, he will agree with me that the hon. Member for South-Western Norfolk (Mr. Dye)—I am sorry he is not here tonight—who is a farmer himself and represents a farming constituency, also has experience that equals that of the hon. Members opposite. I observe that in the Debate on the Address he made a contribution. I hope hon. Members will realise that that was certainly not prompted by me or my Department. It was not until I read HANSARD that I realised he had tackled this question. On Wednesday, 15th September, the hon. Member said: Those farmers who took advantage of those arrangements to secure extra rations for their workers at the beginning of the harvest were able to get the extra rations for their men. The grumbles arose from those who after the harvest had been well under way suddenly awoke to the fact that someone ought to have some extra rations and then began to get necessary permits and, after dilly-dallying about for some time, make application to shopkeepers to honour those extra permits. From my Division, which is one of the largest agricultural divisions in the Eastern counties, I have only had one letter of complaint about short rations."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 15th September, 1948; Vol. 456, c. 199.]

Major Legge-Bourke

The hon. Lady has quoted the Member for Norfolk, South-Western (Mr. Dye), whose constituency adjoins mine, May I, in con- tradiction to him, quote from a letter the hon. Lady sent to me on 21st September. She said then: It is quite true that during recent months supplies of points food have been barely sufficient to honour points allowances …

Mr. Speaker

I have ruled that supplies are out of Order. The quantity of supplies has nothing to do with this order.

Major Legge-Bourke

Surely the hon. Lady was implying that there was plenty.

Dr. Summerskill

I realise that these questions which have been raised on the other side are out of Order and it would be quite improper for me to answer them. I will therefore confine myself to the principle embodied in the order. In view of the fact that I have already told the House that this order was made in the interests of agricultural workers and in order to compel the bad farmers to do their duty, I ask the House to reject the Prayer.

11.18 p.m.

Mr. R. S. Hudson (Southport)

In the course of the very small part of her speech devoted to defending this order, the hon. Lady said this order was made in the interests of the agricultural workers. The hon. Lady may think it is made in the interests of agricultural workers and her Department may think that it is made in the interests of agricultural workers, but I venture to assert that if agricultural workers and, above all, their wives, were consulted, they would agree with what the hon. Member for one of the Norfolk Divisions said, that the best solution of all would be to allow the farm workers' wives to draw the supplementary rations direct. That is the fundamental difference between us. The hon. Lady made no attempt in the course of her speech to justify denying to the agricultural workers and their wives the elementary right to go and shop for themselves in the shops of their choice.

Dr. Summerskill

I understand that that is quite out of Order.

Mr. Hudson

On the contrary, if I may correct the hon. Lady, subject to Mr. Speaker's Ruling, that is precisely in Order.

The choice lies between two alternative methods. In this order the Government are selecting one method, the method of saying that farmers should be compelled to collect these rations and distribute them to the workers, under a heavy penalty. I shall have a word to say about the ludicrous results that ensue and the quite unnecessary difficulties it imposes on farmers. The alternative, which we believe to be the right method, is to say that the farm workers' wives should be given a right to these points direct and allowed to go into the shops and buy what they like with these points. That is the fundamental difference between us on this matter. I repeat: if it was put to a plebiscite of farm workers and their wives, there is not a shadow of doubt on the part of any reasonable being here which way they would vote. They would vote in favour of being allowed to draw these rations themselves.

The result of what the Government are doing under this order is definitely to discriminate against a particular class of the community, namely, the farmers. They are compelling the farmers to do in respect of their workers—and I am sure that the hon. Lady will agree with me—what no other employer in the country is compelled to do in respect of his workers. They are compelling farmers to do what no firm in this country running an industrial canteen for, say, 100 workers, is compelled to do; that is, to say, 24 hours in advance, that on the following day there would be 101 workers using the canteen. One only has to put it that way to see the ridiculousness of the position. The unfortunate farmer is compelled to say 24 hours in advance the exact number of men or women, or children for that matter, he is going to employ on a certain day.

The hon. Lady said she could not understand why the hon. Member for Chichester (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) said that the farmer might have to make 100 applications. That just shows her ignorance of the difficulties of practical farming today. Let me quote my own case.

Mr. Alpass (Thornbury)

The right hon. Gentleman is on dangerous ground there.

Mr. Hudson

I happen to have a crop which will shortly be ready for harvesting and I require a considerable number of casual workers. I went to the local employment exchange and asked if they could provide labour for this work, which is a light job which married women can easily do. I said that I could arrange the hours of work on any particular day of the week to suit any particular woman who has a few hours to spare and is willing to help. They said that, of course, they could get a certain number of women for the work. But there is no means of my knowing from one day to another exactly who is going to come the following morning or how many will come, or whether they will come in the morning or in the afternoon. Yet under this ridiculous regulation I am compelled either to break the law or, when the women turn up, to say, "I did not know, Mrs. Jones, that you were coining today; I thought you were coming tomorrow. As I have no application in, you cannot work today." It is fantastic. The hon. Lady has not taken the trouble to read her own order, which says: Where any person employs, gratuitously or for reward, any worker for the carrying out of any seasonal operation on agricultural land, that person shall, not later than 24 hours prior to the commencement of each such operation, complete and deliver to a Food Executive Officer of the Ministry of Food for the area in which the Agricultural land, or part thereof, is situate an application form. That means that for every single day in respect of every single man who happens to be employed not continuously, but perhaps with a gap, I have to send in a separate application. It will not be a case of 100 a year in my case; it will be a case of 100 a month. It is no good the hon. Lady laughing, jeering and sneering. That is the case.

Dr. Summerskill

The right hon. Gentleman knows that he has never sent in 100 applications. He knows that the conditions he is describing just do not exist.

Mr. Hudson

There is a tradition in this House that if an hon. Member makes a statement, and especially from this Box, about something which he knows, that statement is accepted. If the hon. Lady is deliberately accusing me of telling a lie, I shall ask her to withdraw. I am telling the House what is going to occur in my particular case in the months of November, December and January, if this order goes through. She will have to take it from me that that is the case. I will have to send in hundreds of applications before the end of the year. I hope now that in the light of that statement the hon. Lady will withdraw her remark.

Dr. Summerskill

I say that that is a gross exaggeration.

Hon. Members


Mr. Hudson

I must press the hon. Lady to say whether there is any evidence to show that the statement which I have made is not right.

Dr. Summerskill

The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well, because he has been a Minister, and at the Ministry of Agriculture, that that Ministry discussed this matter with my Department; and he also knows that before an order of this kind is made, the farmers and farm workers' representatives are consulted and, if 24 hours—the figure which is put in—is ridiculous, as he suggests, it would never have been put into the order.

Mr. Hudson

All I can say is that I am glad the hon. Lady makes that point because my information is that the Department, so far from consulting the farmers and the farm workers on this particular matter, actually refused to meet a deputation; what is more, a deputation designed to urge that, instead of this, there should be the solution that the farm workers' wives should be allowed to draw the ration direct. What actually happened was that the Ministry refused to agree to receive a deputation from the farmers, and I was very surprised indeed to hear the hon. Member for North Norfolk (Mr. Gooch) make the statement which he did make. I admired his courage because I have it on the authority of the Ministry of Food that the T.U.C. refused to allow the National Union of Agricultural Workers to go on a deputation, but, instead, urged the adoption of this scheme which, he says, is not the best solution.

Mr. Gooch

The right hon. Gentleman knows that, even when he was Minister of Agriculture, we pressed for the food to be made directly available to the farm workers' wives. We still stand our ground on that point, despite anything which may be said about what the T.U.C. has stated.

Mr. Hudson

Yes, but what the T.U.C. says is the important matter. This is the letter from the Ministry of Food: … I have an explicit assurance from the T.U.C."— here we see the connection— that they would not consent to any such deputation being sent by individual unions… It is pretty clear, on the face of it, that this question of rations for farm workers has not been decided on its merits in the real interests of the farm workers. It has been decided by the Ministry of Food and the T.U.C. on quite other grounds; and when we talk of "differential rations"—which were not mentioned until the hon. Lady referred to them—and she says that the T.U.C. objected to "differential rations", how does she reconcile the position to which we refer with the fact that miners' wives may draw additional rations? What I want to know is why farm workers' wives should not

be allowed to draw additional rations because, if it were not for the hard work of the farm workers and their wives, we should not be so well fed as we are even at present. I remind the hon. Lady that it is not the agricultural workers who practise absenteeism; who are demanding always shorter hours, and yet they are being called upon by the hon. Lady, in this one respect to do what they do not want to do. It is farm workers' wives who have deserved this ration far more than miners' wives. For that reason, we shall vote against this order because we believe that it is not in the best interests of farm workers or their wives.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. William Whiteley)rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes. 151: Noes, 48.

Division No. 9.] AYES [11.31 p.m.
Adams, Richard (Balham) Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. (Derby)
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Gooch, E. G. Orbach, M.
Allen, A C. (Bosworth) Grey, C. F. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Palmer, A. M. F.
Alpass, J. H. Guy, W. H. Pargiter, G. A.
Attewell, H. C Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Awbery, S. S Hardy, E. A Paton, J. (Norwich)
Baird, J. Hastings, Dr. Somerville Pearson, A
Balfour, A Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick) Peart, T. F
Barnes, Rt. Hon A. J Hewitson, Capt. M Perrins, W
Barstow, P. G Hobson, C. R Porter, E. (Warrington)
Barton, C. Holman, P Price, M. Philips
Bechervaise, A. E Hey, J. Pryde, D. J.
Blackburn, A. R. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Randall, H. E
Blenkinsop, A. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Ranger, J.
Blyton, W. R. Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme) Reid, T. (Swindon)
Boardman, H. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Rhodes, H.
Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W. Jeger, G. (Winchester) Richards, R
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge) Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E) Robens, A
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Jenkins, R. H. Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Bramall, E. A. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool) Royle, C
Brook, D. (Halifax) Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow) Scollan, T.
Brown, George (Belper) Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Sharp, Granville
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin) Shurmer, P.
Burke, W. A. Keenan, W. Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E. Simmons, C. J.
Champion, A. J. Lavers, S. Skeffington, A. M.
Collindridge, F. Lee, F. (Hulme) Smith, C. (Colchester)
Collins, V. J. Lewis., A. W. J. (Upton) Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Colman, Miss G. M Logan, D. G Snow, J. W.
Corlett, Dr. J. Lyne, A. W. Soskice, Rt. Hon Sir Frank
Daggar, G. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Steele, T.
Davies, Edward (Burslem) McKinley, A. S Stokes, R. R.
Deer, G. McLeavy, F. Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Delargy, H. J Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Sylvester, G. O.
Diamond, J. Mann, Mrs. J. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Driberg, T. E. N. Middleton, Mrs. L. Thomas, D E. (Aberdare)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mitchison, G. R Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Evans, Albert (Islington, W.) Monslow, W. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Evans, John (Ogmore) Moody, A. S. Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Morgan, Dr. H. B. Titterington, M. F.
Ewart, R. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G
Fairhurst, F. Nally, W. Ungoed-Thomas, L
Farthing, W. J Neal, H. (Claycross) Usborne, Henry
Fernyhough, E Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.) Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Gibbins, I. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E)
Warbey, W N Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B Wise, Major F. J.
Watson, W. M Williams, J. L (Kelvingrove) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A
Weitzman, D. Williams, R. W. (Wigan) Yates, V. F
Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh. E.) Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. Wills, Mrs. E. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES;
Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Wilkins.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G Hurd, A. Renton, D.
Baldwin, A. E. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. Keeling, E H. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Lancaster, Col. C. G. Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Studholme, H. G.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Teeling, William
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n) Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Clarke, Col. R. S. Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O E Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Vane, W. M. F.
Digby, S. W. Manningham-Buller, R. E. Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness) Marshall, D. (Bodmin) White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Drewe, C. Mellor, Sir J. Williams, Gerald (Tunbridge)
Duthie, W. S. Mott-Radclyffe, C. E Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge) Nicholson, G. York, C.
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Orr-Ewing, I. L
Hollis, M. C. Peto, Brig. C. H. M TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hudson., Rt. Hon R. S (Southport) Price-White, Lt.-Col. D Major Conant and Brigadier Mackeson.

Question put, That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, praying that the Order, dated 3rd August 1948, entitled the Food (Seasonal Allowances) Order, 1948 (S.I.. 1948. No. 1823),

a copy of which was delivered to the Votes and Proceedings Office on 3rd August, in the last Session of Parliament, be annulled."

The House divided: Ayes, 47; Noes, 148.

Division No. 10.] AYES [11.38 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W Renton, D.
Baldwin, A. E. Keeling, E. H. Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Studholme, H. G.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Mackeson, Brig, H. R Teeling, William
Butler, Rt. Hr. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n) Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Clarke, Col. R. S. Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.
Conant, Maj, R. J. E. Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Vane, W. M. F.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E Manningham-Buller, R. E. Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Digby, S. W. Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Dower, E. L G. (Caithness) Mellor, Sir J. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Drewe, C. Mott-Radclyffe, C. E York, C.
Duthie, W. S. Nicholson, G.
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge) Orr-Ewing, I. L. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hollis, M C. Peto, Brig. C. H. M. Mr. Hurd and Mr. Baker White.
Hudson. Rt. Hon. R. S (Southport) Price-White, Lt.-Col. D
Adams, Richard (Balham) Collins, V. J Hewitson, Capt. M.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South) Colman, Miss G. M Hobson, C. R.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Corlett, Dr. J. Holman, P.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Daggar, G. Hoy, J.
Alpass, J. H. Davies, Edward (Burslem) Hudson, J.H (Ealing, W.)
Attewell, H. C Deer, G. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Awbery, S S. Delargy, H. J Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)
Baird, J. Diamond, J. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Balfour, A. Driberg, T. E. N. Jeger, G. (Winchester)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. [...] Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)
Barstow, P. C Evans, Albert (Islington, W.) Jenkins, R. H.
Barton, C. Evans, John (Ogmore) Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)
Bechervaise, A. E Evans, S. N (Wednesbury) Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)
Blackburn, A. R. Ewart, R. Jones, J. H. (Bolton)
Blenkinsop, A Fairhurst, F Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)
Blyton, W R. Farthing, W. J. Keenan, W.
Boardman, H. Fernyhough, E Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.
Bowden, Flg. Offr. H. W. Gibbins, J Lavers, S.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge) Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Lee, F. (Hulme)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham) Gooch, E. G. Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)
Bramall E. A. Grey, C. F. Lindgren, G. S.
Brook, D. (Halifax) Griffiths, D (Rother Valley) Logan, D. G.
Brown, George (Belper) Guy, W. H. Lyne, A. W.
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Hannan, W. (Maryhill) McKay, J. (Wallsend)
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Hardy, E. A. McKinlay, A. S
Champion, A. J. Hastings, Dr. Somerville McLeavy, F.
Collindridge, F. Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick) Mallalieu, E L. (Brigg)
Mann, Mrs. J. Pryde, D. J. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Middleton, Mrs. L. Randall, H. E Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Mitchison, G. R Ranger, J. Titterington, M. F.
Monslow, W. Reid, T. (Swindon) Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G
Moody, A. S. Rhodes, H. Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Morgan, Dr. H. B. Richards, R Usborne, Henry
Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Robens, A Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Nally, W. Ross, William (Kilmarnock) Wallace. H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Neal, H. (Claycross) Royle, C. Warbey, W. N
Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.) Scollan, T. Watson., W. M
Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford) Sharp, Granville Weitzman, D.
Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. (Derby) Silverman, J. (Erdington) Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
Orbach, M. Simmons, C. J. Whiteley, Rt. Hon W
Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Skeffington, A. M. Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B
Palmer, A. M. F. Smith, C. (Colchester) Williams, J. L (Kelvingrove)
Pargiter, G. A Snow, J W. Williams, R. W. (Wigan)
Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Paton, J. (Norwich) Steele, T. Wills, Mrs. E. A
Pearson, A. Summerskill, Dr. Edith Wise, Major F. J
Peart, T. F Sylvester, G. O. Woodburn, Rt Hon. A
Perrins, W. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth) Yates, V. F
Porter, E. (Warrington) Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Price, M. Philips Thomas, Ivor (Keighley) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Wilkins.