HC Deb 15 December 1949 vol 470 cc2972-3039

6.33 p.m.

Mr. Bing (Hornchurch)

I beg to move, That, in the opinion of this House, political parties, and all other organisations having political action as one of their aims, should publish annually full and adequate statements of their accounts. It seems rather extraordinary that there should be any hesitation in any part of the House about endorsing what is, after all, one of the first principles of democracy. What my hon. Friends and I are asking is that this House should confirm what is a universally accepted democratic principle, that all political parties and all organisations which are likely to take part in the coming Election should make known to the electorate from where they get their funds and upon what they have spent them. Before they vote, the people of this country are entitled to know what particular interests have paid for propagandising the particular views which are put before them.

The Labour Party, the Communist Party and the Liberal Party publish their accounts. The Conservative Party do not. It may be that the Conservative Party believe that it is to their advantage to hide where they get their money and that they feel they will secure some electoral advantage by concealing who their paymasters are. Indeed, one gets that impression by reading the excuses offered in the "Parliamentary Review" of last autumn by their general director as to why they do not see fit to publish their accounts. But even supposing that excuse is valid, surely this House ought to determine this question on a broader basis of democracy than what is or is not to the advantage of any one particular party.

Hon. Members will notice that on the Order Paper there is a Conservative Amendment to this Motion making it a condition that before this House suggests that all parties should publish their accounts, Parliament should first enact legislation to compel them to do so. Is that not rather a peculiar point to make on the last day of the Session—to suggest that this is the time that we should propose legislation—and is it not rather a curious suggestion to come from the one party who have always consistently refused to enact this legislation when they had time to do it? If yesterday's "Daily Telegraph" is to be believed, the Conservative Party consider that in any event such legislation would be entirely impracticable. If that is the case—and no doubt the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D.Maxwell Fyfe) will give us his view on that—the practical effect of carrying the proposed Amendment would be that the Tory Party would never be under any obligation to publish their accounts. Perhaps that is the real reason why the Amendment was set down.

Therefore, my hon. Friends and I are going to ask the House to accept this Motion as it stands without amendment or qualification. If it is honestly believed by the party opposite that under-cover political organisations, such as, for example, the Aims of Industry or indeed their own Central Office,.cannot be compelled to produce their accounts by the moral pressure of a majority vote in this House, supposing we carry the Motion, but will only do it if they are threatened with legal penalties, then by all means let us have legislation-.

I will make hon. Members opposite an offer. If they will agree to withdraw their Amendment in order to give their own Central Office time in which to make up the accounts, and if the House passes this Motion and at the beginning of next Session they have still refused to produce them, then I will willingly join with them, if the subject is not mentioned in the Gracious Speech, in setting down an Amendment, in the very words of their present Amendment, to the Address on the Gracious Speech. We shall then have an opportunity of discussing it. I should like to know whether that course commends itself to hon. Members opposite.

In any event, I cannot see how the Conservative Party can quibble at the Motion as we have drafted it. It is based upon the proposals which were urged upon the Conservative Party at their Birmingham Conference in 1883 by Lord Randolph Churchill. Hon. Members will remember that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) concluded his recent speech at Wolverhampton by quoting the speech made at Blackpool in January, 1884, by Lord Randolph Churchill. On that occasion Lord Randolph had said: This Tory Party of today exists by the favour of no caucus, nor for the selfish interest of any class. Its motto is ' Of the people, For the people,. By the people.' It is a pity that, no doubt, limits of time prevented the right hon. Gentleman from telling his audience why it was at that time his father thought this about the Tory Party. It was, of course, because some two months before, Lord Randolph thought, quite wrongly as it turned out, that he had in fact democratised the Tory Party. He thought this because he had, so he thought, persuaded them to adopt a democratic constitution to do away with the control of an irresponsible committee and to publish their accounts. At the Birmingham conference which took place a month or so before the speech referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, this is what Lord Randolph said: I wish to see the control and guidance ot the organisation of the Tory Party transferred from a self-elected body to an annually elected body. I wish to see the management of the financial resources of our party transferred from an irresponsible body to a responsible body… There is no instance in history, of power, placed in the hands of a self-constituted and irresponsible body, being used otherwise than unwisely at first and corruptly at last … The corrupt practices at the last General Election on our own side, when the organisation was directed by a secret and irresponsible committee, were so grave and flagrant that our party in Parliament were absolutely prevented from exposing the graver and more flagrant corrupt practices of the Liberal Party…. I should like all the finances of the Tory Party to be open for inspection for anyone who may wish to look at them, be he friend or foe. Where you allow secret expenditure you will certainly have corrupt expenditure; and where you have corrupt expenditure you will have vitiated elections, disfranchised boroughs, party disgrace and public scandal. … Lord Randolph thought he had got his reform through and that is why he made the speech which the right hon. Member for Woodford quoted. But he had not. The Tory Party still do not publish their accounts and from an irresponsible committee they have advanced only as far as having a leader responsible to none.

This is the centenary of Lord Randolph's birth and, whatever political divisions divide us, we can all at least admire his courage. Almost his only legislative act when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer was to put through a Bill prohibiting the Tory Chief Whip using the Secret Service Funds for financing the Tory Party. It is only fair to say they had been so used by Mr. Gladstone previously. As a birthday present to the right hon. Member for Woodford, could not we all join together at last in putting through the reform which was dearest to his father's heart?

But, of course, there are many hon. Members of the party sitting opposite who are most unhappy about this undemocratic concealment of their accounts. For example, I think the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby is one. I am sure he learned at the Nuremburg Trials the dreadful and corroding effect on any party of secret subventions from great industrialists whose contributions to party funds were, in Germany, inevitably followed by degrading demands upon those who had incautiously accepted their secret help. He will remember that among the evidence tendered at Nuremburg to support a ' charge of criminal conspiracy, was that immediately prior to the Election of March, 1933, 25 leading German industrialists gathered in Goering's house to agree to raise for Nazi funds, secretly, 3 million marks, a sum of about £200,000. It seems small beer compared to some funds now. Krupps, I.G. Farben, United Steel, all the great German firms were there.

With that experience behind him, does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider it horribly frightening that exactly the same type of firms which subscribed in 1933 in Germany to Nazi funds are, in England 16 years later, subscribing in secret similarly large sums to the Woolton Fund? I am quite certain that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is worried about it. Perhaps that is why over a year ago, when chairman of the Conservative Party Committee on Party Administration, he recommended that the Tories should publish their accounts. Perhaps he has that report with him. If he has he might turn to page 14 where he will note that in paragraph 28 there is one of those fair and honest admissions which one would always expect from any committee presided over by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. It says: In the past no information about the expenditure or income or the requirements at the Centre has been available to responsible constituency officers, Members of Parliament, candidates or ordinary members of the Party. [An HON. MEMBER: "Otherwise it was all right."] Then, in the next para- graph, there is a recommendation that the accounts should be published. I understand that this recommendation was endorsed by the Conservative Executive Committee at their meeting on 2nd September, 1948. Why, then, have not accounts been published? Who overrode the decision of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's Committee? Will he tell us that when he comes to reply?

Major Sir David Maxwell Fyfe (Liverpool, West Derby)


Mr. Bing

Not only the House but, after all, the country are entitled to an answer. Was it because the publication of the accounts and of even the amount of the big subscribers would show that his party is being financed by industrialists who have plans for the future of this country quite different from the rosy promises given in "The Right Road for Britain"? Let me just give one example to the House. "The Right Road for Britain" says: We steadfastly refuse to combat our immediate difficulties by deliberately forcing a reduction in our living standards through lowering wage levels or injuring our social services. To do so. would be to embrace a policy of despair. But this is just a policy of despair which is embraced by the paymasters of the Tory Party.

I do not know if anyone on the other side of the House will be able to tell us how much the group of financial interests which is centred round the United Dominions Trust and the Austin Motor Company have contributed to the Woolton Fund or, indeed, whether they have contributed at all; but their principal spokesman, Mr. Gibson Jarvie, talks as only a man would talk who is in a position to see his policy enforced. Hon. Members may have noticed that in this morning's Press this Mr. Gibson Jarvie was the gentleman who was chosen to explain to the Austin shareholders why they should pay Mr. Lord £100,000 tax free; but, of course, in an article which was circulated by the Aims of Industry,—and I will deal with them in a few minutes—Mr. Gibson Jarvie explains that he has quite another policy for the man in the street: Cuts of a few hundred million, some of which are not immediate, are only one more expedient. Although five hundred million was the least cut we were entitled to expect, it is obvious, to anyone who understands our position, that a cut of nearer a thousand million should be our target…. But if this is the financiers' policy, and the other, "The Right Road for Britain," is the policy of the Conservative Party, why do these financiers contribute to Conservative funds? Do these financiers believe—and I hope the right hon. and learned Gentleman will deal with this argument—that they can, as the German financiers did, compel the party which relies on their secret financial support to accept their policy? Is it because of pressure from those paying for their propaganda that the party opposite are already hedging on the glib promises made in "The Right Road for Britain"?

Of course, hon. Gentlemen opposite are right in their Amendment in this sense, that it is no use compelling the publication, for example, of Tory funds unless one deals, for example, with underground Tory organisations. But our Motion, I suggest to the House, already advocates that, for example, under-cover political bodies, like the Aims of Industry and the Economic League, should tell the public just where they get their money from and just what they do with it. There is, of course, nothing wrong whatsoever in a business arguing its own case before the public and then leaving them free to judge the issue. What is objectionable—and I hope this will be endorsed from all sides of the House—is for an organisation to pretend to have no political aims and thus secure from commercial concerns Income Tax-free and Profit Tax-free contributions which are then used for political action.

The first of these bodies which my hon. Friends and I suggest should publish separate accounts showing the political expenses that it incurs is the Federation of British Industries to which are affiliated 280 trade associations and 6,000 firms. Recently its retiring president, Sir Frederick Bain, of Imperial Chemicals, said that the Federation is not a political body. Of course, they all have to say that if they are to have tax-free contributions. The new president who took his place, Sir Robert Sinclair, of the Imperial Tobacco Company, explained just how in practice the F.B.I. implemented its impartiality. He said: I believe in stating with all the emphasis at our command and on every possible occasion the case against nationalisation, State ownership or State management in any degree, including, of course, State control of what are generally called the terminal markets, the Cotton Market, the Metal Market, and so forth. But unfortunately F.B.I., as they explained in a circular to their members after their meeting in 1949, have not quite enough funds for all this non-political activity in which they indulge, and they therefore advised their members to subscribe to two other non-political bodies, the Economic League and the Aims of Industry.

As hon. Members know, the Economic League has a broad, non-party council, of which, perhaps, the most important member—and I am sorry he is not in the House—is the hon. Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers). [Interruption.] Oh, yes, so he is here. If the hon. Member for Orpington has the good fortune to catch your eye, Sir, he will be able to stress the non-party aspect of his organisation.

What I was going to remind the House of was that when it was formed in 1925—I am quoting from the 1925 report—the objects of the League were given as To disseminate economic knowledge, particularly (a) to combat the fallacious economic doctrines of Collectivism, Socialism, and Communism, and (b) to uphold individual freedom, enterprise and initiative. I take it that it has been carrying on on the same non-party lines ever since.

The other organisation recommended by the F.B.I., the Aims of Industry, Limited, is, of course, just as the Economic League, impartial and non-political. Hon. Members may have received some of its publications. There is one that says, Housewives, a word in your ear! Don't shoot your butcher. He's not to blame for tough meat, poor quality, tiny rations. The cause is State bulk purchase of meat and State control of distribution.

Sir Waldron Smithers (Orpington)

Hear, hear.

Mr. Bing

And of course, the Aims of Industry do distribute from time to time entirely impartial statements of the case of that nature. They are the body who conduct Messrs. Tate and Lyle's anti-nationalisation campaign, and as they explain in their report, Aims of Industry are now well organised to carry out campaigns of a similar nature for any industry who may want to take protective action. Of course, it is non-political.

As I did not want to do him an injustice I took the opportunity of calling on the director of this organisation, and he asked me to make a statement to the House which would put their position very clearly, and I will read it: The Aims of Industry do not support any political party, have no affiliation with any political party, and receive no funds from any political party, nor do we supply any political party with free literature in bulk. We are independent of Conservative policy since we oppose municipal trading, and, for example, are opposed to the holding of the Festival of Britain. According to the report sent to their members in 1948, these non-political activities included in the Aims of Industry are: A sustained attack upon bulk buying, municipal trading, nationalisation, unnecessary controls, Purchase Tax, and bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the director has not felt at liberty to give me the names of the members for whom these particular activities were carried out, but I have been fortunate enough to obtain from another source a list of the 187 principal subscribers to the Aims of Industry, Ltd. Mr. A. J. Rank is near the head of the list, and he is closely followed by the Brewers' Society. I think it is fair to say that this juxtaposition is due more to equality of contributions than to identity of aim.

Among the other non-political activities of this organisation was the arranging of some 39 meetings in the first month of this year for the hon. Member for East Middlesbrough (Mr. A. Edwards), who recently crossed the Floor of the House. I do hope that when the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) comes to move the Amendment he proposes to move to this Motion, he will say whether this body is one of the organisations which he considers to be political. I will give way to him now if he likes.

Mr. Quinrin Hogg (Oxford)

I was not listening. I am so sorry. Will the hon. Gentleman repeat that?

Mr. Bing

Yes. I was asking the hon. Gentleman if he considers that the Aims of Industry, Limited, is a political organisation or not. Perhaps he will deal with that point when he speaks. [HON. MEMBERS: "He does not know."] Perhaps, I may have the attention of the hon. Gentleman, because I have one or two more facts to give which will help him to reply.

Mr. Hogg

I was talking to my right hon. and learned Friend about something else.

Mr. Bing

Let me give the House just one example from the records of the Aims of Industry of one such meeting which they organised. The hon. Member for East Middlesbrough is standing at the coming Election—generally speaking, he is—on the issue of his difference with the Government over the nationalisation of steel, and yet this non-political organisation saw fit to organise in his own constituency a meeting on steel. This is the account which they themselves give of that: Publicity took the form of bill posting on every available hoarding within a 10-mile radius of Middlesbrough…. Posters were of three different designs on a 16 sheet size "— a very large size of poster— and these posters occupied 155 sites for three complete weeks before the meeting and were supplemented by 1,000 double crown posters over the same period. I have to give this estimate rather diffidently, because I have not had this display priced, but I understand that the cost of the display alone would be something like £500. [HON. MEMBERS: "More."]

We are not, of course, arguing—nor can we argue I think, on this Motion—any question of law in regard to election expenses. That is quite outside our ambit. What we are saying in regard to this Motion is that, whether or not such expenses should ultimately count in election expenses, at any rate it should be known by the people of this country who incurred those expenses and on whose behalf. No doubt, having to drop this non-political mask would be very embarrassing for the Aims of Industry. They manage to get over a number of political broadcasts by pretending to be impartial. In their annual report for 1949. they boast: Since August, 1948, to date Aims of Industry have provided speakers, facilities, contacts, scripts and ideas for a total of 63 broadcasts on industrial and allied subjects on the Home and Light programmes. When an organisation boasts that it can obtain facilities for broadcasts—and one of those they discussed obtaining facilities for is a steel industry broadcast—through B.B.C. "contacts," is it not time that we at least asked them to publish their expenses? Is it not time that this farce of pretending that these organisations of big businessmen are non-political was ended? Why, their own side do not even now pretend to believe in it. In the November issue of the "Commercial Motor" their political correspondent. "Janus," says: There is another expression: 'Of course this isn't being political,' much used in transport circles of late, particularly when the conversation has turned to the future of the industry, or to nationalisation. Any sentiment likely to gladden the heart of one or other of the political leaders is hastily followed by a deceptively frank avowal of political disinterestedness. It is as much a ritual as throwing spilt salt over the left shoulder. He goes on to say, quite frankly: The Conservative Party promise to be the answer to the hauliers' prayer. Any financial contribution he makes towards its success may be partly selfish, but is wholly natural. Surely this cannot be true. By subscribing to Tory Party funds are the hauliers going to get some commercial advantage which they would not get if they did not do so?

I hope that for the sake of democracy every party will join us in the Lobby tonight. The right hon. Member for Woodford ended a recent appeal to his own party by a quotation from his father, Lord Randolph Churchill. On the centenary of his birth, perhaps it is worth while repeating to the House Lord Randolph's words on another occasion: There is no instance in history, of power placed in the hands of a self-constituted and irresponsible body being used otherwise than unwisely at first, and corruptly at last. Let hon. Members on all sides of the House think of that when they come to vote.

7.3 p.m.

Mr. Harry Wallace (Walthamstow, East)

I beg to second the Motion.

My hon. Friend, who moved this Motion so stimulatingly, has dealt comprehensively with the subject. He has disclosed information which I think must disturb every Member of this House who is sincerely concerned with the integrity of our democratic institutions. His appeal that tonight this Motion should be passed without opposition is one which ought to be considered very seriously by every Member of the House. It is my intention to keep away, as far as I can, from dealing with this question on a political basis. [Laughter.] Hon. Members may laugh. I know it is impossible for some of them to think in terms of public policy. There are hon. Members opposite who talk and behave as though this country belonged to them.

Mr. Henry Strauss (Combined English Universities)

"We are the masters now."

Mr. Wallace

That is your belief, and you are disturbed because—

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-upon-Thames)

The Attorney-General's belief.

Mr. Wallace

It is your belief—

Mr. Speaker

It is not my belief.

Mr. Wallace

I am afraid I allowed myself to be drawn off, Mr. Speaker.

As I see it, the essence of this Motion is that there should be a full and adequate statement of accounts published annually. I hope the party opposite will agree to make this gesture, that they will fall into line with the other parties and publish their accounts. My hon. Friend has referred to other organisations—subsidiary organisations, if you like. There may be a difficulty in defining such organisations, though the facts are clear. If the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg), who has put down an Amendment to this Motion, wishes to have legislation, I assume he endorses the principle that accounts should be published. The other matters which he raises in his Amendment are, I think, suitable for examination in Committee. I should therefore imagine that he will support this Motion, demand legislation, and then seek the other refinements in Committee. Whether or not he will do so, we shall learn later.

I would point out that the Motion does not object to donations and gifts; it only asks that such donations and gifts shall be revealed in the accounts of political parties. If those donations and gifts were revealed, it would be for the good of democracy in this country. In these days there are many powerful and wealthy organisations which, I venture to say, are not controlled by their shareholders. The men in authority in those organisations really have undisputed control; they have great wealth at their command. If no party receives gifts and donations from such sources, where is the objection to publishing the accounts? If they do receive such donations and gifts, believing that it is in the best interests of the country, why hesitate to let the electorate know?

Mr. Beverley Baxter (Wood Green)

There is a very simple answer to that. The answer is that the industrialists who expose their contributions or gifts, will. as was said from the Government Front Bench, come under the victimisation of the Government in appointments and in contracts with nationalised industries. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] That was said from the Government Front Bench.

Mr. Wallace

I have no doubt the hon. Gentleman fears that there may be victimisation; but does he not know that some of these powerful organisations have indulged in victimisation of the workers?

Mr William Ross (Kilmarnock)

And without any protest from the Conservative Party.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)

What about the President of the Board of Trade?

Mr. Wallace

I say: Publish these donations and gifts, and that will be a protection against victimisation.

Mr. Daines (East Ham, North)

Is my hon. Friend aware that at the Conservative conference the hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr Boyd-Carpenter) openly stated that any industrialists who went over to nationalised industries were quislings, and would have to be dealt with?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would be good enough to give way to me, as I have been specifically though inaccurately referred to by his hon. Friend. In order that the record may be quite clear, I ask him to bear in mind that what I said then—and what I repeat tonight—was that an industrialist who sacrificed the interests of the shareholders of his company in order to appease the Government and thereby obtain an appointment in a nationalised industry, was a quisling; and I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he challenges the accuracy of that description.

Mr. Wallace

It is not my purpose to settle the argument between the two hon. Members. I think that the word "quisling" was used, and I shall deal with that later. In so far as the hon. Member is concerned, I look at this question in this way: It seems to me that Parliament insists—and rightly insists—upon full publicity and full examination of reports and accounts. It has an arrangement for checking those accounts. It insists upon debating these reports and accounts. In other words, it looks upon publicity as a way of checking the integrity of the administration and protecting the interests of the public. In the sphere of local Government, we have the same process. If. in Parliament, the parties insist upon publicity and the discussion and checking of accounts. I do not understand why the party opposite do not also set an example and have publicity in connection with their own accounts? Is there something to hide? [HON. MEMBERS: Yes."]

It is common knowledge, I think, that before the war and during the war, as my hon. Friend has said, there were wealthy interests who were giving support to Hitler. His agents were using influence and wealth to secure friends who would support Hitler's policy in other countries. Even this country did not escape suspicion. There were political quislings and financial quislings. This secrecy breeds suspicion, and there is suspicion in this country. If we as Members are really anxious about preserving the democratic way of life and developing our democratic institutions in accordance with the will of the people, why not remove the suspicion? Why do not the party opposite, instead of talking about legislation, make a gesture and publish their accounts, without legislation? I know I shall ask for that in vain, but do not forget that it is from the other side that this demand for legislation comes and perhaps some day, if they get it, they may not like it.

This question has been before the House in one way or another for some 40 years. In 1908, it was raised by the then Member for South Salford. From 1908 onwards this subject of the publication of accounts has been discussed in Parliament. I referred to some of those speeches and I found that there had often been general agreement that publication was desirable. The party opposite has been in power for a large number of years since 1908, but still the accounts are not published and still there is no legislation.

There was one Amendment on the Order Paper which has now been removed. It dealt with the principle of contracting-out and contracting-in; but since the Amendment has been withdrawn, I do not propose to pursue that subject now. On the other hand, it has always appeared strange to me that those holding that view did not, when they passed the Trade Disputes Act in 1927, introduce other legislation for the publication of party accounts. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) has been asking the trade unions to come into conference. Perhaps tonight he will indicate that when that conference takes place, if it does, it is the intention of the party opposite to raise this question of the publication of accounts.

In a publication called "Parliamentary Affairs" three statements appear on party funds. One is written by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Arthur Greenwood), one by Philip Fothergill of the Liberal Party, and one by the general director of the Conservative Central Office. I think that the statements made on behalf of the Labour and Liberal Parties were quite frank. They endorsed the principle of publication. Indeed, as I understand, the Liberal Party has consistently advocated the principle of the publication of accounts. I said that I would keep off party politics, and I am supporting this Motion not as a matter of tactics but as a matter of principle. It is a curious thing that the Conservative director does not see it as a matter of principle. His view is this: It is natural that a political party should want to know what its opponents are doing—how well equipped they are for the forthcoming battle. Tactical warfare is always determined by an intelligent understanding of the enemy's strength. No commander makes a practice of sending his opponent a copy of his order of battle. If I wanted to talk about class war, that, I think, would supply a very good text. Why think about this matter in terms of battle? Why not accept this Motion as a matter of public policy and something which is in the best interests of the public? I believe that great wealth gives great power, and if it is used in secret, it is because it cannot be other than bad. I believe that in our present situation this influence, working secretly, will do great harm to this country. I go further and say that if certain conditions develop in the political situation in this country, the outlook for Europe will also be bad.

So I would prefer, if the party opposite insist on demanding legislation, that they should make a gesture and tell us that they will publish their accounts. If they want an example of how to do it, let them follow the Labour Party. I have no doubt that they will criticise these accounts, but even if they say that the accounts are not satisfactory, the Conservative Party are not doing as much as the Labour Party. I am only suggesting that, as a beginning, they might attempt to do as much as the Labour Party, and no one on these benches will criticise them if they can improve on the position. Two or three years ago, the Labour Party issued an appeal for funds and secured just over £125,000. Recently, the Tory Party published an appeal for funds, which realised £1 million in three months. It has now, I understand, passed £2 million, and for all I know may be £3 million.

Mr. Hogg

Or £5 million or £6 million.

Mr. Wallace

I ask myself whether that amount, which is known as the "Woolton Fund," is in any way associated with an appeal of this kind: We are the shock troops. It is a real fight needing real money for the tools of modern propaganda, and we invite you to arm us with the finance necessary to make our campaign of economic and political education efficient and effective. One penny per cent. of the capital invested in your business may be considered a reasonable contribution to make to ensure an administration at Westminster that will not try to steal your capital. The appeal goes on: You spend much more than this on the physical welfare of your employees. Their mental welfare is of even greater importance, and our job is to give them that education necessary to preserve the constitution and to maintain prosperity in the country. Members opposite like to appeal to America, which has a method of dealing with this problem. Under an Act known as the Federal Corrupt Practices Act, the names of campaign contributors, and the amounts, are required to be filed and to foe made accessible to the public. As a participant in several campaigns says: My Friend, I will not assert that all funds contributed are expended and so reported, but a considerable proportion is—enough to make quite clear what men and measures enjoy the support of the moneyed people. If there is to be legislation, then let it be upon these lines. The right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill) also made a speech in 1908. He said: "The party of great vested interests"—

Mr. Hogg

"Patriotism by the imperial pint" again.

Mr. Wallace

—"banded together in formidable confederation. Is the right hon. Gentleman right today? I think he is, but if not, will the Tory Party accept the challenge made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield in 1948 and publish their accounts? In the "Right Road for Britain," they declare: restore the House of Commons to its rightful place as the guardian of the individual against the State. I would always say we should protect the individual. [HON. MEMBERS: "Come over here."] Tonight, my appeal is this: Let Parliament protect the individual against the great secret and powerful vested interests in this country. Let the party opposite publish their accounts; let them depart from their secrecy. Let them give the names of the donors to their funds, and the amounts. If the Conservative Party believe in democracy, they can endorse this Motion. If they do so, I believe that the Government will bring forward legislation. For 40 years the party opposite have blocked progress in this matter, and they should have the courage to take the people into their confidence and publish the names of those who supply their funds.

7.29 p.m.

Mr. Quintin Hogg (Oxford)

The last time I had the good fortune to speak after the hon. Member for East Walthamstow (Mr. H. Wallace) was on a very foggy evening in his constituency, which he will remember. He became so incited with Ms oratory that he struck the table in front of him and fountains of blood were flung all over the platform. Indeed. I am the only living man who can say, with honesty, that I am one of the "Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled."

Mr. Wallace

Is the hon. Member suggesting that it was his blood that was flung all over the place?

Mr. Hogg

At any rate, I was covered in it. That evening I acquired a great personal affection for the hon. Member, and I must say that I was very sorry to see that he had lent his name to this dirty business. I see that the hon. Member has just left the Chamber, but I fully realise that he has no intention of being discourteous.

I rather prefer the open partisanship of the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) to the kind of "holier than thou" attitude that the hon. Member for East Walthamstow has allowed himself to take. As a matter of fact, this Motion has done a certain amount of good. It has provided indisputable evidence of the existence of the occult. When I heard the Lord President of the Council announcing, during his Business statement last week, that time would be found for a Motion standing in the name of the hon. Member for Hornchurch, I looked at the Order Paper to see what that Motion was, verified the fact that there was no Motion standing in the name of the hon. Member, and discovered that the Motion did not appear until nearly 24 hours after time had been allotted for its discussion. I know that the hon. Member for Hornchurch and the Lord President of the Council are above any little piece of political conspiracy, and I know that it was second sight on the part of the right hon. Gentleman which enabled him to appreciate exactly how it was that a Motion in these terms would be put on the Order Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Hornchurch.

Not having second sight myself, I had to consult a reputable soothsayer to discover how the Motion came into existence. It happened like this: the date of the Motion appears from its terms; it dates from the period between the announcement of the result of the New Zealand Election and the period before the announcement of the result of the Australian Election. The result of the New Zealand" Election—confirmed, I understand, by cablegrams between Transport House and the headquarters of the New Zealand Labour Party—is that if Labour fights clean it is beaten, and the result of the Australian Election, as all who have studied it know, is that if Labour fights dirty it is beaten just the same. This Motion dates from the intervening period of days.

Then this happened: the Lord President of the Council was sitting happily at the Cabinet board one day with his colleagues, when he said, "What can we give the boys to send them home in good heart for the Christmas holidays?" The Prime Minister, who is a simple and honest soul, said, "Why not give them a bumper debate on the glorious record of the Labour Party?" Whereupon the Lord President said, "No, thank you; they have seen the New Zealand Election result." The Chancellor of the Exchequer then thought of a nice debate about the plight of the country and the energetic measures being taken by the Government to combat it. But that would not do because they were told that the boys were not interested in the plight of the country, but only in their electoral prospects. So, that suggestion was turned down.

They were next told that nationalisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange might provide a useful send-off for the Christmas vacation. Unfortunately, they were reminded that unless they could intimidate those who are at the moment conducting rather successful propaganda against it in the country by false statements about the law relating to corrupt practices, that course might have to be abandoned in the same way as the insurance proposals. Then what was said was this: "First of all, we must have something dirty. Next we must have something unrelated to the needs of the country. Third, we must have something designed to annoy and embarrass our opponents, and enable the humbugs on our side to pretend that we are holier than anyone else." When this classification was read out to the Cabinet, the cry was heard as far as Lord Nelson's column, "We must send for Bing." The hon. Member for Hornchurch, stuffing an article for "The Times" into one pocket and concealing evidence of his Communist sympathies under his blotting paper, was duly summoned and this Motion came into being.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge (Bedford)

I wish the hon. Member would get on with it.

Mr. Hogg

The first question to discuss is whether this Motion is or is not an affront to democracy. The hon. Member for Hornchurch based his speech on what he described as one of the first principles of democracy. I submit that it is repugnant to the feelings of all decent people and, therefore, I suggest, attractive to some supporters of the Labour Party, to use the power of a party majority in the House of Commons to force a Division upon something which is designed solely to do political damage to their opponents about a controversial matter concerning the machinery of election and party administration.

The correct way to deal with the question was indicated by the hon. Member for East Walthamstow in the reference he made to Conservative Party policy. If hon. Members think there is a case on these lines about this subject, the proper method, the only decent method, of approach would have been to discuss it in an appropriate conference with all the parties and persons concerned. To use a temporary and, I believe, an evanescent majority in the House of Commons for business of this kind is a dirty business, and it will be recognised—

Mr. Frank Byers (Dorset, Northern)

Is the hon. Member suggesting that there is any cause for disagreement about publishing party accounts?

Mr. Hogg

Certainly I am, and if the hon. Member will follow my argument further he will see that I do not intend to hedge about this matter. I shall put my case point by point in an orderly way.

I say that if hon. Members opposite had the smallest faith in the honesty of their case, or if they had the smallest desire to improve the integrity or purity of our public life—which is what they falsely pretend—then this matter would have been referred to a conference, in which all views could have been put forward, before an attempt was made to employ a party majority to force it through. I cannot myself fail to recollect that the only other occasion upon which the Lord President of the Council, in his capacity as Leader of the House, has adopted, unusually for him, the procedure of allowing Private Members to have a little time, was when he proposed to launch an attack on the Press. The only difference between that occasion and this is that on that occasion he, at least, had the decency to allow his "stooge" to put the Motion on the Order Paper before he announced that the Government would give time for it.

I believe that this Motion is put down, as was that Motion, as a prelude to other action—as a means of trying to utilise a Parliamentary majority to force through legislation of a disgraceful and undemocratic kind. Time will show whether my suspicions are correct, and whether hon. Gentlemen opposite will have a chance to carry out what I believe to be their evil intentions.

Mr. Austin (Stretford)


Mr. Hogg

I do not think I had better give way at the moment. I was specially asked to keep my speech within the bounds of time, and obviously I must be a little selective about the persons to whom I can give way.

The hon. Member for Northern Dorset (Mr. Byers) said that this surely was not a matter about which there ought to be controversy. He may be right and I may be wrong, but I can only give the House my sincere opinion about this matter, and I can assure the House that I have tried to think about it as honestly as any hon. Member on either side. I can only tell the hon. Gentleman who put that question to me that not only is this a matter about which there ought to be controversy, but that if this Motion were passed, it would be a serious blow for democracy in this country.

Hon. Members, in fact, do not share that view, but I hope that they will at least listen to it, and try to follow it so far as their intelligences permit and so far as they can exhibit the manners to do so. There has been nothing said in the two speeches to which we have listened to alter my opinion or even to touch these arguments. [Interruption.] Perhaps hon. Members will do me the courtesy of listening to what I have to say, and if my views are as wholly wrong as they pretend, they will find an answer or two to the arguments which I propose to put, but they will be all the more easily answered if they are listened to first.

The hon. Member for East Waltham-stow complained that in a document, the exact authorship of which I am afraid 1 did not catch—and anyway it does not matter—somebody had referred to the party conflict as a battle. That was a little naive of him. The party conflict ought, of course, always to be subordinate on both sides to the public interest, and inspired on both sides by idealism. It ought to be coloured by chivalry and by decency of conduct, but it remains a struggle for power. It is a genuine struggle for genuine power, and it is precisely because it is that, that it possesses the sovereign virtue that it enables the people to remain free without losing to any Government their sense of authority.

It is easy in the more powerful of two armies for the stronger to betray its strength. There was a time in the war when we were not very strong, and the German Army was not at all afraid to say, "We have 300 Divisions." We could not do that, because we were the weaker force. Now it is my opinion that, so far as the powerful, vested, economic interests underlying the two great parties of the State are concerned, the Labour Party can draw upon resources which are more secure and much more powerful than those of any of its opponents. The best evidence of that that I can find is the existence of the Motion on the Paper this evening to ask the weaker of the two organisations locked in conflict with one another, to display the strength of its forces, so as to invite the stronger and bigger to seek advantage from its knowledge. It is to ask the other party to betray its plans and actions over a period of years. It is precisely because the more astute Members of the Labour Party are perfectly aware of this consideration that they have indulged in this dirty business, and I believe the public will recognise that as well as I do.

Secondly, the hon. Member for East Walthamstow was more naive and more straightforward than the hon. Member for Hornchurch. He made his demand perfectly plain. It is that we should publish a list of our financial supporters. The only financial supporter of the Labour Party that I know by name is Mr. Sydney Stanley. I do not want to know any more. The hon. Member for East Walthamstow has been long enough in the trade union world to know that no trade union has ever published a list of persons who pay trade union subscriptions. Of course they do not as long as there is any danger of victimisation. Ever since the Ballot Act in this country a man's political opinions have been regarded as his own possession—his own to reveal and proclaim if he wishes without fear, his own if he pleases to keep to himself. He and he alone is to be the judge, according to the traditions of decency and democracy in this country, whether either the extent of his commitment or its direction is revealed, and no other person than himself.

If we yield to the demand made tonight that we should publish the names of those who support our party, we shall be going back upon the sound tradition of fully 70 years ago, under which a man's political opinions are his own. With respect, it is not for those who are suspected of being likely to be guilty of victimisation to judge whether that fear of victimisation is or is not real and well grounded.

All that one can say is this, that ever since the Labour Party had a majority, its leaders, and in particular the Lord President of the Council, have sought to intimidate in one way or another all those bodies of organised opinion who do in fact differ from him. If the brewers seek to prevent State public houses in the new towns, they are threatened with dire legislative measures through the use of political power to shut their mouths. If the sugar manufacturers seek to prevent the nationalisation of their industry, they are threatened with prosecution for corrupt practice. If the Press criticise the Government it is vilified and abused and subjected to a Royal Commission, which was none the less tyrannical in intention than it was unfortunate and a failure in its result.

I certainly believe that if the names of those who support bodies hostile to the Government were known, the Lord President of the Council would keep that secret list in his office and would ensure that the humbler names were known, down to the streets and wards of the constituencies. At all events, as I have indicated before, it is not for those who are suspected of harbouring those desires to judge whether the fear is well or ill grounded. It is for those who feel the fear and who have observed the covert and the open action—both kinds—those attempts to undermine political freedom, to express whether or not they are going to give the information which is sought by those who are suspected of trying to undermine it.

I pass from the aspect whether this proposal is desirable or not to the question whether it is practicable or not. In my view, for what it is worth—and again hon. Members are perfectly entitled to differ from me if they want to, but I only ask them to believe that this opinion is sincerely held, and if they differ from' the reasons to find, if they can, an answer to them—is, that this reform is as meaningless and impracticable as it was originally I believe insincere and undesirable.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

Before the hon. Member leaves the question of the desirability of the proposal and comes on to the question of whether it is practicable, would he tell me this? He made the only understandable argument that I could gather from what he said against the desirability, the fact that a man was entitled to keep his political opinions secret. Would he be in favour of this Motion if it exempted from its operation only those who expressly withheld their consent from the publication, and published all the others?

Mr. Hogg

No, Sir, I would not be in favour of either so unfair or so ridiculous a proposal. I think I may now deal with the question of practicability, and it may be that on that ground I shall have a little more to say about the suggestion made by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman).

It is said that the Labour Party publishes its accounts. That is part of the "Holier than thou" campaign which the Pharisees and the hypocrites of the modern world try to put about. The Labour Party publishes accounts, and the accounts are cooked, as I shall proceed to show. Nothing can prevent their being cooked. I do not complain of their being cooked, but they are at least as remote from the truth as the prospectus for which the late Lord Kylsant was sent to prison. They serve no useful function except the purely internal one of keeping the various confederated forces inside the Labour Party, sufficiently informed for their own purposes of what their potential rivals and colleagues are doing. From the point of view of the public the accounts are cooked. They bear no relation to the facts. They bear no relation to those facts either as to the expenditure from the fund, or as to the way in which the fund was obtained, or as to the way in which it is expended. They are cooked accounts. I do not complain of then-being cooked because they never could have been anything else.

The position is that the accounts show, or purport to show, the income of the Labour Party as something in the neighbourhood of £250,000. I think the actual figure shown is £236,000. The real figure is something like £750,000. That is the figure which ought to be shown on a rational account, but it could not be shown, for the reasons which I shall indicate. The figure shown in the account is £250,000 or thereabouts, as income. How much is that a genuine figure? The answer, so far as I can see, is "Hardly at all." Take, for instance, the political funds of the trade unions. How much of that is shown in the Labour Party's accounts? The answer is—and again I hope I shall not be tied to an exact figure, but I think I am substantially right—about £113,000. The actual size of that fund, as is known on this occasion, though most of the other figures can only be calculated, is about £400,000. The result is— Mr. Attewell (Harborough) rose

Mr. Hogg

I do not think I can give way to the hon. Member.

Mr. Attewell

Well, tell the truth then.

Mr. Hogg

The actual size of the figure is in the neighbourhood of £400,000, so far as one can ascertain from the Registrar of Friendly Societies. The result is that two-thirds of that political fund is not disclosed in the Labour Party's accounts from the political funds of the trade unions. The figure I am taking is not the figure for expenditure, but I think I am making a reasonable assumption that over a period of years the trade unions' expenditure is not in excess of their income.

Mr. Collide (Birkenhead, West)


Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Bowles)

Hon. Members cannot interrupt if the hon. Gentleman who is addressing the House does not give way.

Mr. Hogg

I will give way to the hon. Member for Birkenhead, West (Mr. Collick) when I have finished this part of my argument. A financial argument should not be broken into.

I think that the figure £400,000 is certainly not that which is revealed in the Labour Party's accounts. Have we any information at all—not exact information but any information—as to what the balance goes on? My information is—hon. Members have the best means of knowing whether it is false or true, but I hope they will give me exact information where mine is necessarily incomplete—that the part which does not go in affiliation fees in the Labour Party's accounts includes subventions of candidates' expenses and of salaries of Members of Parliament in many cases and in special funds not included in the rules where those are in connection with the election of a Member to Parliament or to other public bodies. When I say salaries to Members of Parliament, I include salaries to members of local authorities too. If that is not what they go on I should be very interested to know what they do go on. This "holier than thou" business of saying "We publish our accounts" is all very well, but the fact is that they do nothing of the kind.

Hon. Members


Mr. Collick


Mr. Hogg

I will give way in a moment; I have not forgotten the hon. Gentleman. The real payments and the real expenditures are of a totally different order in the proportion, as I calculate, of about £2 undisclosed to £1 disclosed. I will give way to the hon. Member for West Birkenhead (Mr. Collick) now.

Mr. Collick

The hon. Gentleman has throughout been referring to a fund. Will he please tell the House to which fund he is referring?

Mr. Hogg

That is a perfectly fair question. I was referring to the total, so far as I can ascertain it, of the political funds of the trade unions with political funds.

Mr. S. Silverman

Where did the hon. Gentleman ascertain it?

Mr. Hogg

The figures are, of course, published every year by the Registrar of Friendly Societies. The published total reveals the tact that the Labour Party's account is cooked—[HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."]—and it fails to say where the money goes, which is really what we are inquiring into.

Mr. H. D. Hughes (Wolverhampton. West)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Hogg

Hon. Members must really maintain some sort of Order in this House of Commons; otherwise we cannot speak at all.

Dr. Morgan (Rochdale)

The hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) is a coward.

Mr. Hogg

I turn now to the Co-operative Movement and its relation to the Labour Party. The Co-operative Movement also has political funds of a very considerable order, but very few of these appear in the political accounts of the Labour Party or even in the political* accounts of the Co-operative Party. As I see it, affiliation fees amount to about £18,630, but they represent only a very small proportion of the political expenditure in favour of the Labour Party by the Co-operative Movement.

No proportion whatever of the affiliation fee to the Co-operative Union of £100,000 is revealed as a separate political item, and yet we know that these things are not unpolitical, impartial or unbiased in the sense which the hon. Member for Hornchurch would have liked the Aims of Industry to be. The education movement on which the Co-operative Movement spends £358,000 a year is very largely directly political and tendentious; yet no reference is contained in the accounts to this political item.

All these are not matters of complaint. I am not asking for further information on these subjects at all. I should not get it, and I do not propose to waste my breath. What I am showing is that it is wholly impossible and impracticable for a political movement to publish significant accounts and that, in fact, the Labour Movement does not do so. How do the services of paid members of the trade union movement—whole-time secretaries and the like—some very considerable part of whose time is spent in tendentious or political activities, become shown in the account? Yet if it was an honest account on the ordinary basis of accountancy, those items would have to be shown. They are, of course, quite unshowable, but that only goes to show that the whole demand for accurate or full accounts is an impossible demand.

I now turn to the question of associated movements with which the hon. Member for Hornchurch specifically invited me to deal and with which he dealt at some considerable length.

Mr. Woods (Mossley)


Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Hon Members must not forget that they can only interrupt if the hon. Member who has possession of the Floor gives way.

Mr. Hogg

It really is not practicable, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to give way to interruptions on the scale on which I am receiving them without completely occupying the whole of the rest of the time of the House, which I do not propose to do despite frequent interruptions.

The question of associated bodies, in my judgment at any rate, provides insuperable difficulties to the person who demands accurate or fair financial accounts of political movements. The hon. Gentleman dealt with a body called the Aims of Industry. I shall make a further reference to it in a moment or two in answer to his Question, so far as I am informed at all. He did not take an obvious, from his point of view, and far stronger case. Take the case of the Primrose League, for instance, I am not pretending in any political sense that the Primrose League is not a Conservative body, but I am speaking in a legal sense. After all, in the end we are discussing legislation. It is a wholly separate body controlled by different people and with different ascertained legal ends, although I am happy to think that it is still possible to believe in God, King and country and not be a Socialist. Still, the Primrose League would be quite outside the Conservative Party for any definite legal account. What sort of significance could accounts have if it is so easy to create separate bodies like these.

The hon. Gentleman asked about two bodies, the Economic League and the Aims of Industry, with neither of which, I hope be will believe, am I in any way associated at all. The fact about these two bodies is that it would be very much preferable from the Conservative point of view in many ways if they could be induced to come under the Conservative wing. There was a fund organised by my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) called "The Fighting Fund for Freedom." In collecting money that was a direct rival to the Conservative Party. Money which would otherwise have come into our funds was diverted into it, but no doubt from the point of view of the hon. Member it would have to be treated as a purely Conservative organisation. Supposing I take, on the other side of the fence, something like the Socialist Fellowship, presided over, I think, by the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. Ellis Smith), who occupies the same sort of position in the Labour Party now, as my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington does in the Conservative Party. How is that to be shown in the political accounts of the party? I do not think it would be possible to do it.

The Aims of Industry and the Economic League, which, so far as I know, although it is no doubt honoured by the presence of my hon. Friend the Member for Moseley (Sir P. Hannon), does not directly reflect the political or economic views of my hon. Friends, are, so far as I can see, bodies with very largely parallel political aims to those professed by most Conservatives and no doubt in close alliance in a practical way with many individual Conservatives. They are still entirely independent and completely unbound by party decisions and policy sometimes directly hostile to them. They are not to be included in the Conservative Party funds, as I gathered was suggested by the hon. Member. What about the Left Book Club?

Mr. Bing

All this Motion suggests is that all such organisations should publish the political expenditure in which they indulge. They need not be grouped under political headings; it is sufficient if they separate their political from their other expenditure.

Mr. Hogg

Then I utterly fail to understand that part of the argument of the hon. Gentleman which was designed to ridicule and attack the Aims of Industry as an organ of the Conservative Party. It must have been irrelevant and deliberately made in order to inflame party feeling on the other side of the House and to prevent it arriving at a just and impartial judgment of this issue.

But what about the Left Book Club for instance? The Fabian Society, of course, is affiliated to the Labour Party or was affiliated to the Labour movement. Where are its accounts? They are not very fully published. What about private enterprise? I have a little book in my hand which I should describe as straightforward Labour Party propaganda. The House knows that I have followed with attention the recent statements of the Attorney-General on the subject of accounts, although not always with agreement. What value will these political accounts have if they do not help in the discharge of perhaps the most important accounting duty which a politician may have today, namely, the accounting duties in relation to election expenses, especially in relation to election expenses provided by political organisations and parties?

Look at this little book in my hand. Is it or is it not designed to influence the result of the Election?

Mr. Artewell

That has nothing to do with this Motion.

Mr. Hogg

Does it or does it not cost money? Is it or is it not designed to disparage particular candidates, and is it or is it not intended to be disseminated throughout the constituencies of the country? The House may one day have an answer to those questions because I propose to send this little book to the Attorney-General with a request that it be passed on to the Director of Public Prosecutions so that, when the supporters of the Aims of Industry and Mr. Pugh—[An HON. MEMBER: "What is the book? "]—and other political figures find their way into the dock, they may have some distinguished company—

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton (Brixton)

What is the book?

Mr. Hogg

—with this difference, that those who are found guilty under the Section are disqualified from sitting in the House for seven years—

Mr. Austin

On a point of Order. The hon. Gentleman is referring to a book; surely hon. Members are entitled to know the name of the book in question?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

That is not a point of Order.

Mr. Hogg

—with this difference only, that of the gentlemen who will be in the dock, if the Attorney-General is right, only two would he disqualified effectively from sitting in a House of Commons to which they had been elected. The tendentious character of this material—[An HON. MEMBER: "What is the book? "]—and the desirability of including it in any political account which there may be is clearly seen from the index alone. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is the name of the book?"] I find in the index the following names in close connotation to one another—Herbison, Margaret; Hinchingbrooke, Lord; Hitler, Adolf; Hoare, Sir Samuel; Hogg, Quintin.

An Hon. Member

Who is he?

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

What is the name of the book?

Mr. Hogg

The hon. and gallant Gentleman can read I hope, though I doubt it. I have shown the book to the hon. and gallant Gentleman, it is in legible characters—

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

I cannot see.

Mr. Hogg

—and if he can read this, he can see its title. If he cannot read, I will tell him afterwards. It is manifest that when we come to demand the financial activities going on behind things like this it is utterly meaningless to ask for exact or accurate political accounts of the organised political parties in the land. In fact, as I have indicated, any financial account, produced by a political party, as are those produced by the Labour Party, would be manifestly misleading and obviously cooked.

The hon. Member for Hornchurch some time ago, in the course of his extensive researches, said he had found an old and interesting book in the Library to which he referred for inspiration and guidance. Let me remind the hon. Member for Hornchurch of a saying in that book which is at the same time replete with spiritual insight and practical vision. It is this, that one should not try to remove the mote from one's neighbour's eye until one has dealt with the beam in one's own. This Motion of the hon. Gentleman is dirty business. It will be recognised as such by the country; it will not pay. On the contrary, what ultimately will pay in politics is clean fighting and a chivalrous attitude towards opponents but, if one persists in an attitude which is replete with party venom, one will both lower the tone of public life and ultimately bring down upon one's own head a retribution which will be none the less horrible because one will richly deserve it.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Is the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head) seconding the Amendment?

Brigadier Head (Carshalton)

I beg formally to second the Amendment which has been so lucidly and forcefully moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg).

Mr. S. Silverman

On a point ot Order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I heard you ask whether the hon. and gallant Member was getting up to second something, but I have not yet heard the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) move anything.

Mr. Hogg

I beg formally to move, at the end of the Question, to add: but only if the submission of such accounts can be regulated by legislation designed to secure the fullness and accuracy of such accounts, their submission by all such organisations, and the inclusion therein of entries in respect of services rendered to each organisation concerned by other organisations or individuals or the servants of such organisations or individuals.

Brigadier Head

I beg to second the Amendment.

8.18 p.m.

Mr. Frank Byers (Dorset, Northern)

I hope that I shall not detain the House as long as the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) did. The best comment I can make upon his speech is that after 17 minutes he used this phrase: "The first argument which occurs to me—". I was extremely sorry to see an hon. Member with his reputation in the difficult position in which the hon. Member for Oxford found himself tonight. If we want an advertisement of the poor case which the Conservative Party can put up, it is that one of their most distinguished and brilliant back benchers should have to pad his speech in order to get through.

I know very little indeed about the Labour Party's accounts and I do not propose to deal with them in any detail tonight. I understand that they are published. I have not heard much criticism about those published statements. There is a certain amount of criticism about the money which is used by trade unions for subventions, but there again, I feel that so long as adequate publicity is given, that really is the principle at stake.

I am sorry to deal in some detail with the speech of the hon. Member for Oxford, but he made some provocative remarks. He referred to "this hypocritical 'holier than thou'" attitude. I do not see that there is anything hypocritical about it. Indeed, I hope that we are, in fact, "holier than thou." The fact that we in the Liberal Party have published our accounts for a considerable number of years—over 25—makes us a great deal holier than the Conservative Party.

Mr. Hogg

Did the Lloyd George Fund come within those published accounts, and where is it?

Mr. Byers

If the hon. Member thinks that he will embarrass me by that remark—

Mr. Hogg

The hon. Member has not got the fund. I know that.

Mr. Byers

I have not got it, but I understand that the right hon. and gallant Member for Pembroke (Major Lloyd George), who sits on the Conservative Front Bench and was there only an hour ago—[An HON. MEMBER: "He has gone now."]—is one of the trustees of that fund.

Mr. Hogg

He is a Liberal.

Mr. Byers

The hon. Member for Oxford says that he is a Liberal. It so happens that he does not take or accept the Liberal Whip for this House, that he was a member of the Caretaker Government and sits on the Conservative Front Bench. In fact, I should like to know where that fund is.

One of the most remarkable comments by the hon. Member for Oxford was that this was a dirty business. Really, what does that mean? He is suggesting that because a perfectly reasonable Motion has been put down on the Paper—I shall support the Motion without any hesitation whatsoever—it is a dirty business. Because the Conservative Party are asked to publish their accounts, it is a dirty business. It may be, but not until this Motion is accepted. Another remarkable argument was that this publication of accounts would strike a blow at democracy. That is the sort of argument that was put forward in the old pre-war days in the Oxford Union. When one could think of no other argument to put forward, one inverted the whole Motion and said that black was white merely because of the necessity to keep the debate going.

Mr. Hogg

The hon. Member should speak for himself, from his own experience.

Mr. Byers

I can speak for myself and with my own experience. I only spoke in the Union on one occasion.

Mr. Hogg

That is what happened then.

Mr. Byers

This idea that a political party should not divulge its strength or its weakness is not an argument which can stand up to inquiry. The electorate has the right to know which vested interests are behind a political party. That is an elementary right. It does not matter whether a man, as a candidate, is put forward by an association or whether big business or trade unions subscribe to political funds—the electorate has the right to know who is doing it and who is behind him.

The right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Arthur Greenwood) and I—I am not sure who started this, but think that I did—challenged Lord Woolton in about 1947. I have challenged him regularly, and there has been a good Press for it. I should think that he cannot have missed it. But not a murmur about the Woolton Fund. I have some experience of raising money for the Liberal Party. I have raised about £100,000 in two and a half years. It is not easy, and I will explain why. In a democratic organisation it has to be got in small sums. I say quite frankly that to get £1 million some very large sums must be subscribed.

I should like to put this question to the Conservative Party: How many individuals or firms subscribed more than £20,000 each to the Conservative Party's Woolton Fund? I am not asking for the names now—I would like to know how many. The electorate ought to know that because that is the sort of sum which wields power. It is not so much the contributions of £5 or £100; it is when they get up into the £5,000 and £10,000 mark. That is where one gets into the patronage class and into power.

Mr. Austin

Is the hon. Member, as one who was present at the 1947 conference of the Tories at Brighton when the campaign for £1 million was launched by Lord Woolton, aware that the first £1 million was subscribed within three months, by December of the same year?

Mr. Byers

Yes, we followed it very closely indeed and we have our own research department on these and other matters. The fact remains that to get £1 million in that period of time is a very difficult business unless firms and very wealthy individuals subscribe large amounts. Quite frankly, I do not believe it can be done on what we normally term a democratic basis. If it can be done, then let us have the figures. That is the only answer. It is no use giving opinions; we must have figures.

What amused me most in the speech of the hon. Member for Oxford was when he said that the only contribution he had thought of to the Labour Party which had been published was that of Mr. Sydney Stanley. Of course, we are not sure whether Mr. Sydney Stanley subscribed to the Conservative Party. I think we ought to know.

Mr. Hogg

We did not call him "my dear Stan."

Mr. Byers

If that was the only reason why the Conservative Party were not on speaking terms with that gentleman, then it is important that they should publish their accounts, because their formal transactions may be as much involved as the informal ones over which Christian names were used.

On the question of publication, the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) made a devastating speech. On the principle, surely, there can be no disagreement. The electors have the right to know from where the money is coming. When the hon. Member for Oxford says that it is impracticable to give details, he should consider what we have been able to do in the Liberal Party. We have not found it impracticable at all.

There are two aspects of this point: one is the statement of accounts, which may or may not be misleading, the other is the list of donors. We have given both, with this exception, which, I think, covers the point that was made by the hon. Member for Oxford—that where a man or woman has come to us and said, "Will you please keep my gift anonymous," we have definitely respected that anonymity. If legislation is to be introduced, I think that some way round it could be found. If the gift is very large, one should hesitate to keep it anonymous and should say to the donor, "If it is as large as that, it will have to be published, because obviously people do not give sums as large as £20,000 or £30,000 for nothing." If it is a reasonable sum, however, we ought to respect people's anonymity.

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

Does the hon. Member also say that the Liberal Party are publishing, or propose to publish, any record of help given to their candidates by way of election expenses from large trade bodies or federations?

Mr. Byers

I think the hon. Member is referring to one of those large federations—I think it is the Meat Trades Federation—which has promised support to a particular Liberal candidate. This is the only occasion that has been brought to my notice and I say it must be published, and I understand the candidate himself is only too anxious that the electorate and constituents should know who is supporting him—not for all election expenses but for part of his election expenses.

Mr. Mitchison (Kettering)

Would the hon. Member agree that, even if anonymity is to be kept in the case of individuals, there is not the same reason for recognising the democratic freedom of those legal creatures, limited companies?

Mr. Byers

Yes, I would agree there. Without using the same phraseology as the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), I would say that if business interests are giving large sums—say more than £100—that fact ought to be declared, because it can have very serious effects upon the attitude of members of a party in the House of Commons when legislation is passed. I believe that is important. The Liberal Party publish annually, as part of the report to the assembly meeting every year, their statement of receipts and payments and details of all expenditure by their organisation on publications, publicity, committees, appeals and so on. They also give a complete list of their investments. I do not know whether that is done by the Labour Party, but we certainly do it—[HON. MEMBERS: "It is done."]—and those accounts are audited by Deloitte Plender Griffiths & Co., chartered accountants. Why cannot the Conservative Party do that? Why not? Are they suggesting that those accounts are not accurate, because if they do, it is a direct slur on the auditors?

Brigadier Prior-Palmer (Worthing)

No one said it.

Mr. Byers

If there is to be any suggestion, I think the hon. and gallant Member might stand up and make it.

Brigadier Prior Palmer

The hon. Member was putting words in our mouths and then proceeding with the old trick of shooting them down. I merely asked whether anyone on this side said that.

Mr. Byers

What I said was that it had been said that it was impracticable and that the accounts had been cooked. If anyone says that about the Liberal Party accounts, I refer them to the auditors.

The next point is the question of donations. On the question whether it is practicable, we have a magazine published every week—" The Liberal News." We have had a number of appeals; we have had a campaign fund appeal. We published the names of all donors with the amount they gave, week by week. We published them on what was called the Byers Appeal and 15 copies carried lists of donors with all the amounts they gave. There is no question of impracticability in this. Look at the kind of literature of the Conservative Party which could carry the names of such people. We have carried them down to half a crown and a shilling. People like to know who else is subscribing, and why should they not know? On all occasions we have sought to give maximum publicity to support of our funds.

This argument of impracticability is absolute humbug and the hon. Member for Oxford and the Conservative Party know it. I challenge them and say that the reason they will not publish their accounts, or their subscriptions, or donations, is that they are frightened to do so. They know very well that if those accounts were published the people of this country would know quite conclusively to which vested interests the people of the party above the Gangway are absolutely tied. If they want to prove to the country before the Election that they are not tied to any vested interest, let them in the next two months publish the full story of the Woolton Fund and their accounts. If they refuse to do so, we shall reserve the right to continue to call them the party of privilege and big business.

8.35 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Greenwood (Wakefield)

I should like to congratulate the hon. Member for Northern Dorset (Mr. Byers) on a very gallant speech. I shall have something to say about the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) in a few minutes, and it will not be couched in* too kind language. I first address myself to the purpose of this discussion and this Debate.

In the "Daily Telegraph" yesterday, Mr. Colin Coote had an article covering very wide ground, most of which would be out of Order tonight, and in the article he said: The only connection between this Motion "— that is, the Motion on the Order Paper today— and the election expenses stunt is that both seek to create prejudice against the Conservatives. Now, this is the sentence I want to read, and there is in it a word which I hope to heaven will never disgrace an English dictionary.

The insinuation is that the Conservative Party is secretly subventioned "— What a word! I gather what he means, however— by 'big business' and much more wealthy than the Socialists. I say now that that is not an insinuation; I say it is a fact. The Tory Party are subventioned by big business and I am not ashamed to say so tonight.

I turn to the substance of this Debate. The question is: Where did the Tories get their money? I watched their fund with very considerable interest. I refer again to the article in the "Daily Telegraph ": There is, in fact, nothing secret about the sources of Conservative funds; and all Socialist chatter about the ' Woolton million mystery' is completely vapid: Lord Woolton raised his fund by collections from clubs, constituencies and institutes "— of a democratic type— and from many thousands of individual subscribers, every one of them voluntary in the sense that some subscribers to Socialist funds are not. I remember a statement made by Lord Woolton, made with tears in his voice, with pride and with humility, as to how this sum was raised in humble half-crowns and so on by the common people. It takes an awful lot of half-crowns to make a million pounds. The hon. Member for Northern Dorset is right, and I support him, when he says that that fund raised a good deal more than a million pounds.

The Tory argument tonight has been most astonishing. The real argument is that we do not tell them enough—not that we tell them something, but that we just do not tell them as much as they would like to know. They have the snooper's mind. The hon. Member for Oxford showed tonight that he had the snooper's mind, sneaking round to find out more than we tell. The point is that the Tory Party do not tell us anything. I refer again to the "Daily Telegraph"—a cross-heading: "No secret Tory source." That interested me. The article said: If the Conservative Party published their accounts on the lines of the Socialist accounts, I doubt whether any Socialist could discover who had contributed. But the real secret is this; this is how we can find out: The Socialists could, however, find out whether any ' big business' had in fact contributed, if not from the published accounts of a firm, then by asking at the statutory general meeting of shareholders. This really is shadow-boxing on the part of the Tory Party.

Sir William Darling (Edinburgh, South)

Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me?

Mr. Greenwood

I am now going to make a challenge to the Tory Party, and I will ask the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) to give an answer to that challenge. When the Tory Party publish as much as we do, then I will undertake—and my comrades will agree with me—to march with them and give any more disclosures they will agree to. That is a fair and open challenge to which I am entitled to receive an answer.

Mr. S. Silverman

My right hon. Friend will not.

Mr. Greenwood

They have not gone as far as we have now, and yet they complain that we have not gone far enough. I will march as far as they will any time once they have come up to the standard we have already achieved. They want more detailed disclosures of funds. So far as I am concerned, from our point of view they can have them. We have nothing to hide.

It is more important that I should deal with the hon. Member for Oxford, who has now left the Chamber, and with the Tory Amendment. The Tory Amendment has been destroyed by the hon. Member for Oxford. I have never heard a more disgraceful, contemptible speech in my life. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] He has, by implication, charged me personally, as an officer of my party, and charged my party, with dishonesty. I resent it. We do not have the opportunity—those of us who are not shareholders in those big companies—to go to get the truth. Can we get it from the Tories now? Who is doing the shilly-shallying? Who is dishonest in this matter? Who is the last party to accuse us of being politically dishonest? I noticed a term the hon. Gentleman used several times—"a dirty business." Well, they should know. The hon. Gentleman has moved this Amendment, which accepts the Motion. It does not move anything in the nature of rejection. It says, "We accept this Motion." But—there is a "but"—it goes on to impose even further restrictions—even further conditions about publication of political funds. Yet the hon. Gentleman's speech was not about that at all. He lied when he said that he believed all this—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The right hon. Gentleman must withdraw that word.

Mr. Greenwood

I withdraw it, and substitute a term which was used by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition many years ago. The hon. Gentleman was guilty of "a terminological inexactitude: "The hon. Gentleman made a speech which was cynical. He does not believe a word of this Amendment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] He defeated it by his own arguments. Every argument that he adduced was deadly to his own Amendment.

Hon. Members

Where is he?

Mr. Awbery (Bristol, Central)

He has run away.

Mr. Greenwood

If I thought that this Amendment was meant in all sincerity and without any dirty business, I would recommend my hon. Friends to support it. We will march further than the Tories will in the matter of publication of accounts and of money which is asked for. I say that this is a dishonest Amendment. It was put on the Order Paper, not for the purpose of throwing any further light on political funds but for the purpose of obscuring the issue, for purposes of deception—of which the hon. Member for Oxford is a great expert, as his speech tonight showed.

I think that the case is clear. Certainly the hon. Member for Northern Dorset made it clear. If the people of this country choose to support a political party, they are entitled to do so, and they are entitled to know from what source the money of that party comes. I am told by the hon. Member for Oxford that the accounts of the Labour Party are cooked. That is completely untrue. The hon. Member quoted from published figures—from trade union figures, Cooperative Society figures, and Friendly Society figures. Where did he get them? From published documents issued in accordance with the requirements of the law of the land. There can be no question of the cooking of our accounts. We, as a political party, have always published the funds over which we have control. If a way can be found, and if the Tories will tread the path with us, so that we can have the disclosure of the funds of all affiliated organisations—and most of ours do it—and the local parties, too, we will march with them.

Mr. Thomas Reid (Swindon)

But will they march?

Mr. Greenwood

They will not march. They dare not.

The further particulars for which we are asked in this Amendment are very very difficult to obtain. Our accounts, like those of the Liberal Party, are audited by a highly respected firm in London, and if the hon. Member for Oxford were to make his charge outside, he would probably have to face the consequences in a court of law. An hon. Member who says that my party, or that I as its principal financial officer, its treasurer, would be guilty of cooking the accounts, is not worthy to be a Member of this House. My honour stands as high as that of any hon. Member opposite, and my record of service in the public interest is as good, and I say that that charge of cooking accounts is beneath the dignity of this House. Who is he, that he should say that? His party do not have accounts to cook; nobody sees them; they are all smothered up somewhere, in some great building over the road. Nobody knows about them. This huggermugger of the Tory Party is just too terrible. There is only one answer: decency in politics. My party will take the lead. We will march as far as anybody and give the utmost publicity to political accounts of money collected. I cannot say fairer than that. Finally, I ask the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby whether he accepts my challenge.

8.49 p.m.

Mr. Baker White (Canterbury)

I had not intended intervening in this Debate, and would not have done so had it not been that an organisation with which I was connected for many years was attacked by name by the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing). That organisation is the Economic League. I want to make my personal position perfectly clear. I was its director from 1925 to 1945. If I had not entered into party politics I might well be its director today. The Economic League has a rule, which it has had for 30 years, that if its director wishes to embark upon party politics he must resign his position with the League before he is even considered for adoption, and not after he is adopted. I therefore want to make my position clear. When I resigned, the league made me a member of their council in recognition of the services I have given to them.

So far as the Economic League is concerned, I suggest that the hon. Member for Hornchurch is trying to make mystery where mystery does not exist. Throughout the 30 years of its existence, it has had no association with party politics. It has never received any money from party political funds. There is no secret at all about the sources of its funds. There is no secret now and there never has been. Its money is received from industrial federations, firms and private individuals who support its aims and its work.

The hon. Member for Hornchurch quoted its aims as stated in 1935. He is a little out of date, because after the war they were completely re-drafted, and the constitution of the organisation was re-drafted. I will read a small extract from that constitution. It says: To promote and improve, by means of public meetings, the delivery of lectures, the formation of schools and training classes and such other means as may seem expedient, the knowledge and study of economics and of other industrial and social subjects affecting the interest of the community and of members thereof, from the standpoint that the preservation of personnel freedom and free enterprise is essential to national well-being. It goes on: While maintaining its complete independence of any political party, the League must actively oppose all subversive forces—whatever their origin and inspiration—that seek to undermine the security of Britain in general and of British industry in particular. Do hon. Gentlemen opposite want us to support these subversive forces? The hon. Member for Hornchurch spoke of bodies—I think that I have his words right—"likely to take part in the General Election." I will make the Economic League's attitude perfectly clear by reading a letter of the 16th November, 1949. If the hon. Member for Hornchurch had taken the trouble to see Mr. Morgan Phillips, he could have shown him a copy of that letter. It says: I have been asked by my Chairman to inform you of the decision taken by unanimous resolution passed at a meeting of the Central Council of the Economic League held on 9th October, 1949. All indoor and outdoor meetings, speaking engagements and distribution of literature of the Economic League, other than its regular publications, Notes and Comments and Facts, shall cease during any General Election period, and all such activities shall therefore be closed down on the day the writ is issued until the day after Polling Day—usually a period of approximately three weeks. It goes on: No full-time employees of the League shall be freed for election work during that period by terminating or suspending their appointments. I shall now turn to the literature of the League. First, the current issue of Notes and Comments is entitled, "How can agriculture help?" I do not think that has much association with party politics. In the October "Facts" the first article deals with the need for more incentives in industry, the second with the British aircraft industry, and the third with the importance of the use of tracing paper in industry. The November issue deals with the effects of devaluation on agriculture in its first article. The second article is entitled "Canada Strikes Big Oil," and the book review deals with the stag of the Commandos' "Green Beret."

Mr. Braddock (Mitcham)

Would it be in Order to ask the hon. Member to stand in the middle of the Chamber, because we might then be able to hear him?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Member is not being heard because there is rather too much noise on the Government side of the House.

Mr. Baker White

I will now turn to some of the leaflets that have been recently published.

Mr. John Paton (Norwich)

The hon. Member has been spending a considerable amount of time endeavouring to prove that this body is entirely non-political. Will he say, then, why this body thinks it necessary to close down during the General Eleotion?

Mr. Baker White

For the simple reason that it is non-political. The answer is perfectly clear. It is a non-political body which conducts open-air meetings and distributes literature in exactly the same places as the meetings and distributions of literature of candidates at the General Election.

I will now turn to the leaflets that have been issued in this period just before the General Election. I have one here called "Do You Know?" I will read just one passage. I shall willingly supply any Members opposite with a complete set of these leaflets.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood (Heywood and Radcliffe)

And the accounts?

Mr. Baker White

I am coming to that At the end of this leaflet, it is stated: The job of management is to produce goods that will sell. The union's job is to look after the welfare of their workers. These two working in the right spirit will get the country out of a tough spot. Here is a leaflet on agriculture. It states: The land of Britain is a priceless heritage, handed down to us by our forefathers. Within our lifetime, between the wars, we made the tragic mistake of neglecting that heritage. That meant hard times for all on the land. Let us never make that mistake again. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear.] Hon. Members saying "Hear, hear" are proving my point. Take the next leaflet—"The Red Plot." It says: Your task is to fight Communism all the time. It is no use leaving it to someone else to do the job. I turn to the next leaflet—

Mr. S. Silverman

On a point of Order. I am a little puzzled to know, Sir, what bearing this advertisement of the Economic League has upon the question of whether or not political organisations should publish their accounts.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I understand that the hon. Member is replying to the case made by the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing).

Mr. Baker White

I do not think that the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) has been here all the time.

Mr. Silverman

I have.

Mr. Baker White

The hon. Member for Hornchurch made a direct attack on this organisation, accusing it of political activity.

I turn now to the Economic League's attitude to nationalisation, which is of some importance. It has always been opposed to nationalisation. It opposed the nationalisation of mining royalties when it was introduced by an anti-Socialist Government. It opposed the centralisation of London Transport, so I suggest that in this matter it is completely consistent. There is another point which may interest hon. Members opposite. A good deal of the work of the league is done inside factories and canteens. Its one inflexible rule is that it will not hold a meeting inside a factory unless the assent of the trade unions has been obtained. I challenge any hon. Member to tell me of a case where this rule has been broken.

The hon. Member for Hornchurch mentioned my hon. Friend the Member for Orpington (Sir W. Smithers) as being a member of the committee of the league. So is another of my hon. Friends and so am I, but we are only three out of the 538 members of the committee. The hon. Member for Northern Dorset (Mr. Byers) might like to know that until his death a very well known and greatly respected Liberal Peer, Lord Gainford, was president of the organisation.

Now I come to the balance sheet and statement of accounts. They are audited and laid on the table at the annual meeting of the league's various corporate bodies, and are open to inspection by any of its supporters at any time in the year. I strongly suspect that the hon. Member for Hornchurch obtained his information about the Economic League from pamphlets issued, by the Labour Research Department. That Department is the research department of the Communist Party.

9.3 p.m.

Mr. H. D. Hughes (Wolverhampton, West)

All I wish to say about the Economic League, in reply to the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Baker White), is that when he came to deal with its accounts, he was extremely evasive. He said that they were open to inspection by the league's supporters, but what we are asking is that they should be open to the public, which is a different thing. The hon. Member's definition of non-political organisations opposed to nationalisation is one to which we are becoming increasingly accustomed. He and the Economic League have talked a good deal about crypto-Communists; we are also interested in crypto-Tories. Of the 93 members of the staff of the Economic League who, presumably, will be dismissed if it is closing down, how many will be carrying on full-time propaganda for the Tory Party during the Election campaign?

Mr. Baker White

I did not want to detain the House by reading the last paragraph of the letter which was sent to Mr. Morgan Phillips and the other political parties, but it says: During the period of the General Election a course of economics and a youth course will be held in London for selected speakers nominated by the League's ten area organisations. Area officers will arrange local courses for the balance of staff left over in areas, so as to ensure that the best use is made of the three weeks in question for the purposes of training and studying. Not one member of the staff will be dismissed, released or stood off during the General Election.

Mr. Hughes

I want now to turn to the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg). I am amazed at the showing which the Conservative Party have put up in this Debate. Those of us who have studied this question of the publication of political accounts have been led to believe that there was a serious move in the Conservative Party which favoured the publication of accounts. My hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) referred to an important committee which had recommended this to the Conservative Conference at Llandudno. We understood that an even higher-powered body under the chairmanship of the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe) was considering the recommendations after that conference. The impression that the country was given at the time of the Llandudno Conference, as reported by Trevor Evans in the "Daily Express" and by other people, was that the Conservative Party would shortly be publishing their accounts. Now we understand from the hon. Member for Oxford that what these Conservative committees are in favour of is what he called "a dirty business." That is the only conclusion we can come to as a result of his speech.

His attack on the Labour Party has already been dealt with by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Arthur Greenwood). I want only to say that the whole tenor of his remarks on the trade union, Co-operative and Labour Party organisation showed that not only had he not read his own Amendment, but he had not read the Motion to which it was an Amendment. If he had, it would have been clear, even to the hon. Member for Oxford, that all we are asking for in this Motion—and what the Amendment is asking for as well—is that all organisations having political action as one of their aims should publish their accounts independently in a way that makes them available to the public.

That is done by the Labour Party for all the funds which pass through its channels. It is done by the trade union movement, for all its political funds, whether in the form of donations or affiliation fees to the Labour Party, or whether used for independent political action. However they are spent they are published in accordance with the requirements of the Registrar of Friendly Societies and are available to the public. The same is also true of the Co-operative movement. In the Labour Party accounts there appears the affiliation fee of the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society; in the National Council of Labour accounts it is clear what sum comes from the Co-operative Union and the Co-operative Party accounts show the public what the Cooperative Party spends itself.

That is all that this Motion is asking—not that these organisations, whether they are the three I have mentioned, or the Fabian Society, or the Economic League, the Federation of British Industries, the National Union of Manufacturers or the Aims of Industry, etc., should amalgamate their accounts together in one amorphous mass, but that they should make their own separate accounts available so that any intelligent citizen who wishes to understand what economic forces are backing different political movements in this country shall be able to ascertain the elementary facts.

We have reason to believe that when it comes to questions of finance, not only is the Labour Party the weaker vessel, but it is a very considerably weaker vessel. I will give some reasons for that. Lord Woolton set out to raise £1 million. On 3rd October, 1946, he appealed at the Brighton conference for that sum. Next day in "The Times" it was announced that promises of well over a quarter of a million had been received from the constituencies. Was that done on the doorstep? Was that good democratic money got in shillings, sixpences or even amounts of five pounds? Of course, it was not. A month later the "Evening News" announced that the sum had run into six figures and that there were several individual contributions of £10,000.

If there are citizens of this country misguided enough to want to spend £10,000 on Conservative Party propaganda, they are entitled to do so, but it is an elementary democratic right that the citizens of this country should know who these people are. On 17th March, five months later, the £1 million target was reached. There was not very much good democratic money in that.

The position is obvious if we look at the expenditure of all political parties in the country at the present time. Look at the poster campaigns of the Tory Party. It has been estimated that in the two last local government elections, on their hoarding campaign alone, the Tory Party spent half as much as the total expenditure of the Labour Party headquarters in the 1945 election. The hoarding campaign which the Tory Party are running at the present time vastly exceeds anything that has been spent before in a comparable period in this country. Never has so much money been collected and expended by so few in so short a time.

I want to give a little evidence, in the few minutes at my disposal, about where this money is coming from, and how it is being collected. I can give a little evidence from the Midlands, which is the part of the country I represent. How do the Tory Party get their money in the Midlands? I have here photostat copies of two pages of the accounts of the Birmingham Unionist Association. Is this good democratic money? No. Everything is in terms of 25-guinea contributions by companies and firms in the City of Birmingham. I do not propose to give the names. How, in the Midlands, are the Tory Party getting their money? Here is a circular from Sir Francis Joseph, Baronet, from Federation House, Stoke-on-Trent, sent out to the industrialists in the Midlands. He talks of the Woolton Fund and goes on to say that they were united to raise money to fight the present crippling controls on industry by the Government. Then he says: As a guide to you we are asking firms to contribute on the basis of ½ d. in the £ on the annual salary and wages account of the firm. He encloses a circular sent by a body called the Midland Industrialists' Advisory Council, which, curiously enough, has the same address as the West Midlands Headquarters of the Conservative Party.

I have discussed the national issue and the regional issue; let me now come down to the local issue. What is happening in my own constituency of South-West Wolverhampton? The methods being used in that district are the same as in every district. How are they trying to get their funds? They do not rely on the doorstep appeal to the individual. They appeal to the shopkeepers, first of all, for subscriptions of £5 to £10 a time. They then circulate the business executives in the town and suggest subscriptions of between £10 and £100. They say this: Many employers are basing their subscriptions on the number of people they employ. This method has the advantage of spreading evenly the support received from firms of varying sizes. The annual subscription is worked out as follows: 1d. per week for every person employed by the subscriber. I believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite have some objection against contracting out, but the employees under this system have no opportunity either of contracting in or of contracting out, because their employers, over their heads, without consulting them, or the shareholders whose interests they are supposed to represent. are pouring funds into the coffers of one political party. So that is where Tory funds are coming from.

Then there is the National Union of Manufacturers, if I may give another illustration of a crypto-Tory organisation. Mr. W. Blackwell, the chairman of the Midland area of this union, has invited manufacturers in the Wolverhampton area to band together in a united front against the tyrannies of a Socialist totalitarianism. He goes on to say that the union is not a political body, but that as industrialists they can approach the problems of the day politically unbiased. Those are the methods by which these organisations are collecting their funds. We have evidence to show that sums as large as £100,000 at a time have come from big vested interests in this country to the Aims of Industry. They are entitled to pay the money, just as the Co-operative movement is entitled to pay money to the Labour Party. On the same basis, they should publish their accounts. We are not disputing the right of big vested interests to contribute to a political party. We are saying that it is an elementary right of democracy that the citizens should know the forces behind the political parties before they go into this Election.

I appeal to the Government tonight to accept this Motion—[Interruption.]—and if the Tories do not publish their accounts, to take the earliest opportunity to introduce legislation, which the democracy of the United States of America has shown can be framed on practical lines.

9.16 p.m.

Major Sir David Maxwell Fyfe (Liverpool, West Derby)

I am very glad that the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton (Mr. H. D. Hughes) will only have the brief period of my speech before he is put out of his agony and the great suffering which he must be undergoing in his doubt as to whether the Government will support the Motion. I should have thought that if we all approached this Motion with complete frankness, the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) would not claim that his sole motive in moving it was an academic desire to have discussed where the line should be drawn as to the publicity to be given to anyone who gives financial support to a political cause.

I thought from the method of his speech that it might well be termed his final "Operation Mudlark," and that his hope was that the mud would outweigh and cover the preliminary larks with which he introduced it. I want to say one other thing, and here I am sure that I speak for the whole House. It was a joy to all of us, wherever we sit, to see and hear the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Arthur Greenwood) back in his fighting form, hitting with that vigour and strength which have delighted all hon. Members of the House all the time he has been in it.

The hon. Member for West Wolverhampton tried to call us back to the terms of the Motion and the Amendment, and I want to make quite clear—whether the right hon. Member for Wakefield accepts it or not is a matter for him—why I am supporting our Amendment. I believe that if the accounts are to be given they must satisfy certain conditions. They must be fully informative; they must cover all the sums received for the general purpose indicated; they must include services which are given to a cause but the payment for which is covered by a contract for service of the person giving them with some other organisation; and they should not be used, and should not be capable of being used, as a method of intimidation. In order to fulfil these qualities I say that it requires that the scope and nature of the accounts should be laid down in legislation. That is what the Amendment says. That is what I stand for and that is my answer to the challenge which the right hon. Member for Wakefield was good enough to put to me.

Mr. S. Silverman

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman give way?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

No, Sir. May I explain, Mr. Deputy-Speaker? The right hon. Gentleman has been good enough to say that I may have half an hour. We have only had two speeches from those who sit with me in the House and it is very difficult to develop the subject and give way as I like to do, when I can, for which I think hon. Members will give me credit. The right hon. Gentleman has given me half an hour and it is difficult enough to cover the subject in that time.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede): All I asked for was 20 minutes, but if that embarrasses the right hon. and learned Gentleman, he can have a part of it.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I am sorry. I shall of course, see that the right hon. Gentleman has that, but that makes my point a fair one.

The right hon. Member for Wakefield waxed indignant about the Labour Party accounts. What i say with regard to that is that if the choice is between no accounts and accounts as rendered by the Labour Party, the choice is between no accounts and a completely misleading set of figures. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] May I develop the point? What anyone would expect if they were told that the income of the Labour Party is £236,000 a year, is that, apart from a few odds and ends, that represented the financial support given to the Socialist movement in this country. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] That is what they would expect. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I say that it is totally unconnected with reality when we are told—and there is no dispute about this—first, apart altogether from affiliation fees, that the sum of the political funds of the trade unions comes to £400,000. If one takes off the £113,000 of the affiliation fees, there is another £286,000 which is spent on the election expenses of candidates for Parliamentary—

Sir Richard Acland (Gravesend)

How does the right hon. and learned Gentleman know?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

The hon. Baronet need not get so excited. I am coming to the point. If he will subside for a moment, and take it gently, he will get the point quite clearly. I am saying that we begin with £286,000 which is used for Parliamentary and local government expenses, for the maintenance of candidates and for other expenses connected with nomination.

Mr. Collick

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman allow me—

Sir D, Maxwell Fyfe

No, I cannot. The hon. Gentleman said that the matter was published, but the same does not apply to the general funds of the trade unions.

Mr. Keenan (Liverpool, Kirkdale)

Yes it does; it must do.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

If the hon. Gentleman were not so impatient he might gather what I am about to say. These funds do not show it. In no place can one see in aggregate how much of it is used for the production of pro-Socialist pamphlets which are paid for out of the general fund of the union. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Oh, yes. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] In no place is it shown.

Mr. Tiffany

How do you know?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I do know—because they are not covered by the political fund. [HON. MEMBERS: "They are."] No account shows the value in £ s. d. of the most valuable time paid for by trade unions and given by trade union officials as part of the job they have to do for Labour Party politics. The general fund of the trade unions pays for the journals of the various unions, which are also used as vehicles for Socialist propaganda. If the hon. Member opposite who has been interrupting so loudly will consider that, let me give him one example, of the A.E.U. journal for November: This brings us, as trade unionists, up against the hard facts. Beyond question, the Government is calling upon the organised working-class movement to co-operate in saving the revolution, though they do not call it that. The Labour Party has to win the 1950 Election. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Exactly. Nobody on earth can discover how much of trade unionists' money is devoted to Labour Party propaganda of that pattern. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is all in the accounts."] It is not in the accounts. Therefore, one has to consider that these sums are entirely unknown to the general public.

I was very interested when the hon. Member for West Wolverhampton mentioned the question of American law. I wonder if he wants that section of the American law introduced by which no Labour organisation is allowed to subscribe to political funds?

Mr. H. D. Hughes

That was wartime legislation only.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

It is still in force.

Mr. Hughes

indicated dissent.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Well, we can look it up. If the hon. Member is right I will let him know, but that is how I understand it.

I take now the case of the funds of the Co-operative Movement. Again, I put it in this way. Nobody has disputed the statement of my hon. Friend as to the £100,000, which is based on 2§d. per member per year, which is paid by 1,003 out of 1,118 Co-operative societies to the Co-operative Union. The Cooperative Union is one of the constituent bodies, with the Labour Party and the T.U.C, of the National Council of Labour. With regard to the education—[Interruption]—I take it that hon. Members opposite are agreed about the £358,000, which the public learn is being devoted to education, but which we all know is devoted to political propaganda.

Mr. Daines (East Ham, North)


Mr. Arthur Greenwood


Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I am prepared to give way to the right hon. Member for Wakefield.

Mr. Dames

On a point of Order.

Mr. Speaker

It is not a point of Order. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has not given way, although I think he was prepared to give way to the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Arthur Greenwood).

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I was giving way to the right hon. Member for Wakefield and I am quite prepared to do so.

Mr. Dailies

The statement made by the right hon. and learned Member is not true and he knows it.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I am sorry that the hon. Member should say that. I know he is a great authority in the movement, but he is not so great an authority as Mr. Brothers, who is the chairman of the National Association of Co-operative Education Committees. Mr. Brothers says: It is not unfair to claim that the Movement made some contribution to the change in public opinion which brought about the return of a Labour Government in 1945. I suggest it is up to us as Co-operative educationalists to play our full part in aid of the Government with the determination to do all in our power to secure that the next General Election shall see it is returned to power again. Why should I not believe Mr. Brothers?

Mr. Daines

I am much obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for giving way, because I wrote to him precisely on this point. I wish to quote the speech he made—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—The right hon. and learned Gentleman has just made a statement in line with his previous speech that the £100,000 of the Co-operative Union is placed behind the National Council of Labour. That is untrue. The total sum in seven years is £1,500 and I have the figures here and challenge the right hon. and learned Gentleman. The right hon. and learned Gentleman went further and said that if the £100,000 was available to the Co-operative Movement it would be paid in dividends. I say that statement is misleading and that he knew it was misleading when he made it.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

The hon. Member has now got it off his chest. The hon. Member can say what he pleases. I have given the House the result of my researches, most carefully made, and I have nothing to withdraw at all. I notice that the hon. Member did not say a word about the £358,000. He contradicted me and told me I was telling an untruth. I give him Mr. Brothers' words and he has not the decency to withdraw.

I put it to the right hon. Member for Wakefield whether the annua] account of the Labour Party at £236,000 fairly represents expenditure on behalf of the Socialist movement of £989,000.

Mr. Tiffany

No one has claimed that.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

Oh, it does not. I thought the Motion applied to everyone. There is £236,000 income of Labour Party headquarters, £286,000 from the political funds, £18,000 affiliation fees to the Co-operative Party, £100,000 from the Council of the Co-operative Union and £358,000 Co-operative expenditure on education, making £989,000 in all.

I must say we have had many amusing interjections this evening, and I think the most amusing of all was when the right hon. Member for Wakefield, with these facts in mind, described himself and his colleagues as the poorer party and said he was proud of it. Now I understand why the right hon. Gentleman once called pounds, shillings and pence "meaningless symbols." I say that the accounts are valueless as a picture of the support for the Socialist cause without the figures I have mentioned. Of course I have not started on some of the outside bodies. I do not want to say too much about the "Daily Herald" whose shares are as to 51 pec cent. owned by the Labour Party, 'because on Monday the "Daily Herald" published an article which, in my view, raised its standard considerably and whose only fault was that it also published the face of the author.

Apart from that, I want to put this point to the hon. Gentlemen who have brought this Motion before the House. I say that to ask for the accounts of any organisation which has political action as one of its aims is really, when we come to consider it, quite out of the question. Let me take one matter which hon. Members of all parties will experience in a short time, if, indeed, they have not alreay experienced it. They will be asked by the Roman Catholic community in each division for their views on Catholic schools. That, of course, is a political aim, a political matter on which they come to us to find out our views. It would be quite absurd, I think, to take voluntary organisations of that kind and to ask them to split up their accounts, to say how much it costs and how much of the priest's time was devoted to matters of that kind.

The same applies to the Spinsters' Union and to many political organisations the importance of which hon. Members with a shorter political experience than my own will realise as the years go on. What I say is that, with, regard to organisations of that kind, our electoral law is entirely sufficient because it directs and controls their expenditure to the two vital limits—one, that it must be at the time of the Election, and the other that it must, be directed to securing or promoting the return of a particular candidate.

I want to say one word on the matter which I put as my fourth point, and that is intimidation and oppression. I do not think hon. Members will deny this point—that one test of democracy is whether the free right constitutionally to form an Opposition is given in a country. It is a test which is generally accepted and which was accepted by all the nations of Western Europe at Strasbourg with no dissent from any one at any time. I put this point, and I ask hon. Members who have gone into the matter to consider it. Where you have a State which is already centralised and which is growing more centralised, and when you have 5½ million out of approximately 22 million—one quarter—of the workers in a State working in nationalised bodies closely related to the State, then the opportunity for intimidation becomes infinitely greater.

There is no one in any business who will not be threatened by the chance of losing work or of having his job threatened in one way or another. There are examples of employees of nationalised boards who have already been talked to because they have belonged to Conservative clubs. I say that that is a real danger and I do not agree with the suggestion that everyone who subscribes should, ipso facto, have his name given so that he may be approached, got at and intimidated in that way.

Mr. Byers


Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I cannot give way. I say it is contrary to the primary principles of democracy, as accepted by everyone, that it should necessarily be known that a man subscribes to an Opposition party.

I want to deal in a short time with one further point. The hon. Member for Hornchurch was good enough to give me notice of the fact that he would raise the question of the report which he mentioned. I am grateful for the politeness which he always shows when he quotes; he has shown it before when he quoted my speeches, and I thank him. I call his attention to the second paragraph to which he referred, paragraph 29 of the interim report of my committee, which says: We agree … that the treasurer of the party should publish an annual financial statement, the exact form to be settled after consultation with the chairman and the party officers of the National Union and the area chairmen. I do not know if the hon. Gentleman followed it up. That was the interim report of my committee, and the report was passed by the council of our party in July. In paragraph 4 of our final report we took up that point and explained the methods of publication which we suggested. There were two methods. Perhaps I may summarise them. It is a published document and the hon. Gentleman can get it. There were two methods suggested. The first method is to go from the consultative committee to the finance committee and from there, I suggested, to the executive of the party, and from the executive to the council, a body of some 2,000 people who meet in public. The second method was through the area treasurers to the chairmen and treasurers of divisions, who are 1,250 people. So that we follow it up.

The hon. Gentleman will appreciate that it was passed by the body of the party only in July, and it is still in the stage of implementation. When one makes changes of that kind—[Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen can sneer if they like. I was chairman of the committee. When one makes changes of that kind it takes some time to put them into operation.

Mr. S. Silverman

Why oppose the Motion?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

The hon. Gentleman asks why I am opposing it. I will put my reasons. I am not asking the hon. Gentleman to agree, but I am asking hon.

Gentlemen to consider them as being the reasons which seem valid to me. I do not think a bald Motion in this form deals with the situation. I say we have to deal with these points—truth, accuracy, and fairness of result in presenting the accounts of a political movement. I say in the second place we must in the modern centralised State guard against intimidation.

I want only to say this in answer to the point which the hon. Gentleman was good enough to raise. The essence of the Report which bears my name—I am sure he has read it—is to urge on my party the democratisation of financial contribution. It urges on them not only to pay for the constituency expenses, not only to pay all the election expenses of a candidate, but to confine the candidate's payment to £25 and £50 for a Member—which is much less than the Labour Party's, whose figure is £250. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO."] Yes, I am right. I put that forward because I believe that the healthy way in which to run a party is to get the people who work with it to pay for their politics themselves.

I am sorry if I have taken too long. I have tried to put the matter in perspective.

Mr. Arthur Greenwood

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman give me a categorical answer to the challenge I put to him? Yes or no?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I thought I had. Will the' right hon. Gentleman repeat it? I have tried to answer it. Let him repeat the challenge and I shall try to answer it.

Mr. Greenwood

I do not want to waste the time of the House. My challenge was perfectly clear to hon. Members. [HON. MEMBERS: "What was it? "] I said that if the Tory Party will publish as much as we publish, we will then from that point go on to publish anything they like, that they will—with equal publication on both sides.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. I had forgotten that part of his speech, and I will answer it quite flatly now. I will not agree to the publication—[HON. MEMBERS: "Ah!"] Be fair; I did not interrupt the right hon. Gentleman. I will not agree to the publication of accounts, except on conditions that meet the points I have made, and are made in this Amendment. But I will do this: On behalf of my party, and on behalf of my hon. and right hon. Friends and myself, I am prepared at once to enter into a conference, if you, Mr. Speaker, would be good enough to be chairman, to consider these points, to discuss them, and in that way to decide what is the proper basis on which to proceed. In that sense I support this Motion.

9.46 p.m.

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

We have had the advantage of four speeches from the other side—from the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg), the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton (Brigadier Head), the hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Baker White), and the right hon. and learned Member for West Derby (Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe). Of them all I can say that the only one I have understood is that of the hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton.

We have had a Debate which those of us who can recollect the days in the old House, in the earlier years of this century, find strangely reminiscent. We had a very brilliant speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) in opening this Debate, and the challenges that were thrown out by him have not been answered. We have now had a speech from the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who tells us that he supports the Amendment, but does not say what he will do if the Amendment should be defeated and the Motion is then put as a main Question unamended.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I shall vote against it.

Mr. Ede

Now we know that the principle of publication of accounts is opposed by the Opposition. We have had from the right hon. and learned Gentleman a speech with his usual clarity, lucidity and analytical skill—

Lord John Hope (Midlothian and Peebles, Northern)

I thought the right hon. Gentleman said he did not understand it.

Mr. Ede

—which was devoted entirely to the Committee points that might be raised if legislation were introduced.

On all those we shall be.quite willing to consider the matter when we reach that stage. But the issue submitted to the House is whether it is advantageous to the public interest that the funds of political parties and of organisations having political aims, should be publicised in the way that at the moment the funds of two of the great political parties are publicised.

It is quite clear that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has found no great difficulty in ascertaining what he regards as the sources of the funds of the Labour Party. He has added them up, but I shall not say that I have checked the arithmetic and would mark the sum correct at the end: he may have under-estimated, and he may have over-estimated. At any rate, all those funds to which he has alluded are published, and most of them are audited by public auditors. What he made out to be the largest sum is, in fact, subject to the checking of the Registrar of Friendly Societies, and people who do not make complete and accurate returns pre liable to heavy penalties under the laws which that officer administers if there are any discrepancies in the accounts.

It may be, of course, that one cannot expect the Tory Party to be regarded as a friendly society, and that for that reason they are not willing that their funds should come under the same supervision. I should be quite willing myself to see the kind of work that would be involved if this sort of Motion were implemented handed over to the Registrar of the Friendly Societies. Let him be the person who would have the duty of auditing these accounts and making quite certain that they were accurate and represented what should be known to the public. Clearly it is right that the electors should know, in the great play of economic forces that now goes on in this country, who is behind a particular policy that is being advocated, and who is willing to lend his support to the policy that has been announced.

When one is asked to accept the view that the weaker of the two organisations is the Labour Party, I am bound to say that I do not accept the view that the weaker of the two organisations is the Conservative Party. [An HON. MEMBER: "The right hon. Gentleman said ' Labour Party'."] I am sorry if I made a slip, but I am trying to hurry because I gave a considerable part of my time to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I do not accept that point of view. What I do say is that the public has a right to know what are the forces aligned behind a political party, whether weak or strong. If I am asked to accept from the hon. Member for Oxford that it would be better for the Conservative Party if the Aims of Industry and the Economic League were under the Conservative wing, our view is that it would be better that the country should know whether or not the Conservative Party are under the wing of the Aims of Industry and the. Economic League.

I cannot imagine that the hon. Member for Canterbury really believes that the object of the subscribers to the Economic League is to increase the strength of the Labour Party in the country and to increase the number of Labour Members in this House. He told us that throughout the 30 years of its existence it had never been associated with a political party. Hon. Members on both sides of the House have probably seen the League at work in industrial districts, and I would not insult them by suggesting that they would need me to answer on that point the speech made by the hon. Member for Canterbury.

The Economic League closes down during the Election. After all, political parties close down during the Election. The first thing that has happened in every constituency with which I have been connected in every General Election since 1892 has been that the various political parties met and dissolved for the period of the Election—so that does not prove that it is a non-political body.

The right hon. and learned Member for West Derby made some comments about the expenditure of the Co-operative Union. The Co-operative Union publishes its expenses. Anyone who writes to the headquarters of the Union at Manchester can obtain a copy of the financial statement, whether he is a member of the Union or not. It may be that the right hon. and learned Gentleman thinks that it ought to be added to the total Labour Party funds. Very well, if that is the requirement of the law, that will have to be done. At the moment there is no concealment, and everyone who wants to do so can check what is being spent by that body. I am bound to say that I thought the right hon. and learned Gentleman's reply about the resolution of this committee was a little disingenuous. Paragraph 28 reads: We agree with the principal finding of Committee A, which is that readiness to contribute towards the central fund of the party will only grow in proportion as the genuineness and urgency of the need are made plain. In the past no information about the expenditure, or income, or requirements of the centre have been available to responsible constituency officers, Members of Parliament, candidates, or ordinary members of the party. The advantages of secrecy are outweighed by the disadvantages of failing to tell Conservative supporters frankly what bills they must foot if they want the country properly governed. I am sure that they were concerned not about making the funds public, but merely to deal with that difficulty which arises in all political parties, jealousy of the constituency organisation on how the money that goes to the centre is spent.

Lord John Hope

The right hon. Gentleman's party has that difficulty then?

Mr. Ede

Everyone does, and I have even known it to happen in the case of the wards. I am not trying to conceal any of the difficulties, which I am sure we all encounter.

That is all very well, but I recollect the shock that occurred in the town where I reside when Lord Beaverbrook wrote to the Epsom Divisional Conservative Association to say that he was going to withdraw his annual subscription of £100. I gather that this was because the recently-adopted candidate had formerly been associated with my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, when he was Minister of Labour. I am quite sure that it came as a shock to a good many people in the Epsom Division that

a subscription as large as £100 had been paid by the noble Lord. The noble Lord was quite frank; he did not like the policy, or it may be the personality—although I cannot understand why he did not like the personality—the association had adopted, and he openly said it. I cannot think that there are many people who subscribe £100 who are going to be frightened of what the Labour Party are going to do to them if their names are revealed.

That, again, is a Committee point—the exact minimum subscriptions to be shown separately. What I do say is that it is highly desirable in the interests of clean Government in this country, that it should be clearly known who are the people, who are the great organisations, the medium-size organisations and even the small organisations, behind the policies that different political parties are advocating. I cannot believe that it is in the best interests of the country that they should be open to the suspicion that all too often in these days attaches to some of these organisations. I have a letter here from a young lady—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—yes, it is by no means the first—which says: The Luton office of 'Aims of Industry is supposed to be 48, Guildford Street, Luton. but this happens to be the side entrance to 58, Bute Street, a Tory office. A request for the telephone number of ' Aims of Industry' elicits the statement from directory inquiries that this organisation is not known to them. However, I know that it is possible to obtain them by ringing Luton 4500, which is the same number as the Tory Office.

I suggest that it is highly desirable that this Motion should be carried tonight.

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The House divided: Ayes, 110; Noes, 214.

Division No. 309.] AYES [10.0 p.m.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Crowder, Capt. John E. Fyfe, Rt, Hon Sir D. P M.
Amory, D. Heathcoat Darling, Sir W. Y. Gage, C.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. Davidson, Viscountess Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. De la Bere, R. Gammans, L. D.
Bennett, Sir, P. Digby, S. Wingfield Gates, Maj. E. E.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Dodds-Parker, A. D George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G- Lloyd (P'ke)
Bower, N. Donner, P. W. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) Gridley, Sir A.
Bromley-Davenport, U.-Col. W. Dower, E. L. G. (Caithness) Grimston, R. V.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Drayson, G. B. Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)
Butcher, H. W. Duthie, W. S. Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)
Butler, Rt. Hn Ft A. (S'ffr'n W'ld'n) Eden, Rt. Hon. A. Head, Brig. A. H.
Carson, E. Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L. Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Challen, C. Fletcher, W. (Bury) Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Channon, H. Foster, J. G. (Northwich) Hogg, Hon. Q.
Clarke, Col. R. S. Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale) Holmes, Sir J Stanley (Harwich)
Hope, Lord J Moore, Ll.-Col. Sir T. Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Hurd, A Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Hutchison, Col. J. R: (Glasgow, C) Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Smithers, Sir W.
Jeffreys, General Sir G. Nicholson, G. Spearman, A. C. M.
Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Stoddart'Scott, Col. M.
Keeling, E. H. Nutting, Anthony Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Odey, G. W. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Law, Rt. Hon. R. K. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H. Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Orr-Ewing, I. L. Thomas, J. P. L. (Herelord)
Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Peake, Rt. Hon. O. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Linstead, H. N. Pitman, I. J. Turton, R. H.
Lucas, Major Sir J. Ponsonby, Col. C. E. Walker-Smith, D.
McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry) Ward, Hon. G. R.
McFarlane, C. S. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E)
Maclay, Hon. J. S. Rayner, Brig. R. White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster) Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury) White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham) Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.) Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Manningham-Buller, R. E Ropner, Col. L.
Marlowe, A. A. H. Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir J. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Sanderson, Sir F. Mr. Studholme and Major Conant.
Maude, J. C Savory, Prof. D. L.
Acland, Sir Richard Follick, M. Messer, P.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V Freeman, J. (Watford) Middleton, Mrs. L.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Gartskell, Rt. Hon. H. T N. Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.
Attewell, H. C. Ganley, Mrs. C S Mitchison, G. R.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Gibson, C. W. Morgan, Dr H. B.
Austin, H. Lewis. Gilzean, A. Morley, R.
Awbery, S. S. Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)
Ayrton Gould, Mrs, B. Gooch, E. G. Moyle, A.
Bacon, Miss A. Gordon-Walker, P. C Naylor, T. E.
Baird, J. Greenwood, fit. Hon. A. (Wakefield) Neal, H. (Claycross)
Bartlett, V. Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood) Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Barton, C. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Battley, J. R. Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Noel-Buxton, Lady
Bechervaise, A. £ Guest, Dr. L. Haden O'Brien, T.
Bing, G. H. C. Gunter, R. J. Oldfield, W. H.
Blenkinsop, A Guy, W. H. Oliver, G. H.
Blylon, W. R. Hale, Leslie Orbach, M.
Bowden, H. W Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil Paget, R. T.
Bowen, R. Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Braddock, T. (Mitchant) Hastings, Dr. Somervill. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Bramarl, E. A. Herbison, Miss M. Palmer, A. M. F.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D Hobson, C. R Pannell, T. C.
Brown, George (Belper) Holman, P. Pargiter, G. A
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Horabin, T. L. Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushciiffe)
Burden, T. W. Houghlon, Douglas Paton, J (Norwich)
Byers, Frank Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W) Pearson, A.
Callaghan, James Hughes, Emrys (S Ayr) Peart, T. F.
Carmichael, James Hughes, H. D (W'lverh'pton, W) Platts-Mills, J. F. F.
Castle, Mrs. B. A Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.) Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)
Chamberlain, R. A. Jay, D. P. T. Popplewell, E.
Champion, A. J. Jeger, G. (Winchester) Price, M. Philips
Cobb, F. A. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Proctor, W. T.
Collick, P. Jenkins, R, H. Pursey, Comdr. H.
Collindridge, F. Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley) Randall, H. E
Colman, Miss G. M. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool) Ranger, J.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N W) Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow) Reeves, J.
Corlett, Dr. J. Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Reid, T. (Swindon)
Crossman, R. H. S. Keenan, W. Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Daines, P. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Davies, Edward (Bursiem) Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Kinley, J. Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Kirby, B. V. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Davies; Haydn (St Pancras, S W) Leslie, J. R. Rogers, G. H. R.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lever, N. H. Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Delargy, H, J. Levy, B. W. Royle, C.
Dodds, N. N. Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Sargood, R.
Donovan, T. McEntee, V. La. T. Segal, Dr. S.
Driberg, T. E. N. McGovern, J. Shackleton, E. A. A.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Mack, J. D. Sharp, Granville.
Dumpleton C. W. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Silverman, J (Erdington)
Eds, Rt. Hon. J. C. McLeavy, F. Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Edwards, W J. (Whitechapel) Macpherson, T. (Romford) Simmons, C. J.
Evans, Albert (Islington, W) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Skeffington, A. M.
Evans, E. (Lowestoft) Mallalieu, J. P. W (Huddersfield) Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.
Evans, John (Ogm'ore) Mann, Mrs. J. Skinnard, F. W.
Ewart, R. Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping) Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Farthing, W. J.. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Field, Capt. W. J Mathers, Rt. Hon. George Snow, J W.
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Mellish, R J. Sorensen, R W
Soskiee, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G. Wilkins, W. A.
Sparks, J. A. Turner-Samuels, M. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.) Ungoed-Thomas, L. Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth) Vernon, Maj. W F. Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Sylvester, G. O. Viant, S. P. Woods, G. S
Symonds, A. L. Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst) Wyatt, W.
Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth) Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.) Yates, V. F.
Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet) Warbey, W. N. Voung, Sir R. (Newton)
Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare) Webb, M. (Bradford, C.) Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin) Weitzman, D.
Thomas, John R. (Dover) Wells, P. L. (Faversham) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton) Wells, W. T. (Walsall) Mr. Binns and
Tiffany, S. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W Lieut.-Colonel Lipton.
Tolley, L Wigg, George

Main Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 213; Noes, 104.

Division No. 310.] AYES [10.10 p.m
Acland, Sir Richard Gibson, C. W. Naylor, T. E.
Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V Gilzean, A. Neal, H. (Claycross)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth) Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Niehol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Attewell, H. C. Gooch, E. G. Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R Gordon-Walker, P. C. Noel-Buxton, Lady
Austin, H. Lewis Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield) O'Brien, T.
Awbery, S. S. Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood) Oldfield, W. H.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Oliver, G. H.
Bacon, Miss A Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side) Orbach, M.
Baird, J. Guest, Dr. L. Haden Paget, R. T.
Bartlett, V. Gunter, R. J. Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Barton, C. Guy, W. H. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Battley, J. R. Hale, Leslie. Palmer, A. M. F.
Bechervaise, A. E. Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil Panned, T. C.
Bing, G. H. C. Hannan, W. (Maryhill) Pargiter, G. A.
Blenkinsop, A. Hastings, Dr. Somerville Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)
Blyton, W. R. Herbison, Miss M. Paton, J (Norwich)
Bowden, H. W Hobson, C. R.. Pearson, A.
Bowen. R. Holman, P. Peart, T. F.
Braddock, T. (Milcham) Horabin, T. L. Platts-Mills, J. F. F.
Bramall, E. A. Houghton, Douglas Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.) Popplewell, E.
Brown, George (Belper) Hughes, Emrys (S Ayr) Price, M. Philips
Brown, T. J- (Ince) Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W) Proctor, W. T.
Burden, T. W. Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.) Pursey, Comdr, H.
Byers, Frank Jay, D. P T. Randall, H. E.
Callaghan, James Jeger, G. (Winchester) Ranger, J.
Carmichael, James Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.) Reeves, J.
Castle, Mrs. B A Jenkins, R. H. Reid, T. (Swindon)
Chamberlain, R. A Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley) Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Champion, A. J. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool) Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)
Cobb, F. A. Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Colliok, P. Jones, J. H. (Bolton) Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)
Collindridge, F. Keenan, W. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Colman, Miss G. M. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Rogers, G. H. R.
Corbet, Mrs, F. K. (Camb'well, N.W) Kingdom, Sqn.-Ldr. E Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Corlett, Dr. J. Kinley, J. Royle, C.
Crossman, R. H. S Kirby, B. V. Sargood, R.
Daines, P. Leslie, J. R. Segal, Dr. S.
Davies, Edward (Burslem) Lever, N. H. Shackleton, E. A. A.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield) Levy, B. W. Sharp, Granville
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton) Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S W) McEntee, V. La T. Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) McGovern, J. Simmons, C. J.
Delargy, H. J. Mack, J. D. Skeffington, A. M.
Dodds, N. N. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Skeffington-Lodge, T C
Donovan, T. McLeavy, F. Skinnard, F. W.
Oriberg, T. E. N. Macpherson, T. (Romlord) Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)
Dumplelon, C. W. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield) Snow, J. W.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mann, Mrs. J. Sorensen. R. W.
Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel) Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Evans, Albert (Islington, W.) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Sparks, J. A.
Evans, E (Lowestoft) Mathers, Rt. Hon. George Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Evans, John (Ogmore) Hellish, R. J. Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)
Ewart, R. Messer, F. Sylvester, G. O.
Farthing, W. J. Middleton, Mrs. L. Symonds, A. L.
Field, Capt. W. J. Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R. Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.) Mitchison, G. R. Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Follick, M. Morgan, Dr. H. B. Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Freeman, J. (Watford) Morley, R. Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Ganley, Mrs. Cc S. Moyle, A Thomas, John R. (Dover)
Thorneycrott, Harry (Clayton) Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow. E.) Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Tiffany, S. Warbey, W. N. Wills, Mrs. E. A
Tolley, L. Webb, M. (Bradford, C.) Woods, G. S.
Tomlinson, Rt. Hon G Weitzman, D. Wyatt, W.
Turner-Samuels, M Wells, W. T. (Walsall) Yates, V. F.
Ungoed-Thomas, L Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Vernon, Maj W. F. Wigg, George Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Viant, S P. Wilkins, W. A.
Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst) Williams, Rt Hon T. (Don Valley) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Binns and Lieut.-Colonel Lipton.
Agnew, Cmdr P. G. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Odey, G. W.
Amory, D. Heathooat Gridley, Sir A. O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.
Assheton, Rt. Hon R. Grimston, R. V. Peake, Rt. Hon O.
Baxter, A. B. Hannon, Sir P (Moseley) Pitman, I. J.
Bennett, Sir P. Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge) Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Boles, Lt.-Col D. C (Wells) Head, Brig. A. H. Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Bower, N. Henderson, John (Cathcart) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O
Boyd-Carpenter, J A. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Rayner, Brig. R.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col W Hogg, Hon Q Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Holmes, Sir J Stanley (Harwich) Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)
Butcher, H. W. Hope, Lord, J. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Butler, Rt. Hn. R A (S'ffr'n W'ld'n) Hurd, A. Ropner, Col. L.
Carson, E. Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C) Sanderson, Sir F.
Challen, C. Jeffreys, General Sir G. Savory, Prof. D. L.
Channon, H. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W. Shepherd, W. S (Bucklow)
Clarke, Col. R. S. Keeling, E. H. Smith, E. P. (Ashlord)
Crowder, Capt. John E. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Smithers, Sir W.
Darling, Sir W. Y. Law, Rt. Hon. R. K. Spearman, A. C. M
Davidson, Viscountess Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
De la Bare, R. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Strauss, Henry (English Universities)
Digby, S. Wingfield Linstead, H. N. Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Lucas, Major Sir J. Thomas, Ivor (Keighley).
Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith) McCorquodale,[...]. H. Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford)
Drayson, G. B. MoFarlane, C. S. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Duthie, W. S. Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster) Turton, R. H.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Walker-Smith, D.
Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L. Maitland, Comdr. J. W. Ward, Hon. G. R.
Fletcher, W. (Bury) Manningham-Buller, R. E. Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)
Foster, J. G. (Northwich) Marlowe, A. A. H. White, Sir D (Fareham)
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale) Maude, J. C. White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon Sir D P M Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T. Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gage, C Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester) Young, Sir A. S. L. (Partick)
Galbraith, T G. D. (Hillhead) Mott-Radclyffe, C E.
Gammans, L. D. Nicholson. G. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gates, Maj. E. E. Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Mr. Studholme and Major Conant.
George. Maj. Rt. Hn G. Lloyd (P'ke) Nutting, Anthony

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved: That, in the opinion of this House, political parties, and all other organisations having political action as one of their aims, should publish annually full and adequate statements of their accounts.