Lords Amendment: In page 3, line 18, at end insert new Clause "A."
(1) No company being a subsidiary of the Corporation shall, notwithstanding any provision of its Memorandum of Association or its charter of incorporation or other charter, carry on directly or indirectly any activities except:—
(2) A copy of any such order as aforesaid shall be delivered by the Corporation to the Registrar of Companies.
(3) An order made under this section shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss
I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
I understand that the consequential Amendments, which are to lines 26, and 33 and in page 4, line 18, are being considered at the same time. The principle raised by this Amendment moved in another place is a simple one, and one which we should be wise not to agree with for the reasons which I propose to state. Under the Bill as it passed this House the publicly owned companies were permitted to carry out such activities as they were authorised to discharge under their memoranda of association. The position remained exactly the same as if they had remained under private ownership with this important exception, 1902 that the Minister could, at any time, order the Corporation or any of the publicly owned bodies to stop any of their activities if they appeared to be going outside the ambit of their proper province, or if they were doing anything that this House thought undesirable; so that there was an effective and proper limit on the activities of the publicly owned companies.
Beyond that it was thought unreasonable to impose any limitations, because we did not see why a company authorised to carry out certain industrial or commercial activities should be otherwise impeded if it was thought a commercial and a desirable thing to do when that company came under public ownership. That is how the Bill left this House, the powers of the companies being unlimited except that the Minister could order a cessation of any of the activities of any of the companies concerned.
The Amendment sets out a different provision, in which the companies will only be entitled to carry out Second Schedule activities, activities on which they were engaged prior to the company passing into public ownership, activities which for technical reasons in the opinion of the Minister they ought to be allowed to carry out. I pity the poor Minister who would have to decide whether certain proposals should be passed because there are good technical reasons for them. It would put the Minister in an impossible position to decide what are and what are not good technical reasons. Most important of all is that the companies may carry out any other activities—that is any activities beyond those of making Second Schedule products and in which they were engaged up to the day they were taken over—only with the consent of the Minister and the two Houses of Parliament.
If a particular company in the normal course of development wanted to carry out some new activity, which is not mentioned in its memorandum of associa- 1903 tion and which the Minister and the Corporation thought desirable and necessary for it to undertake, what would happen is that before that company could carry out the new activity it would be necessary to lay an order before both Houses of Parliament, either of which could negative that order and prevent the company carrying it out even although the Minister and the Corporation might be absolutely convinced that the activity was desirable.
That is undesirable on constitutional grounds. The supervision of Parliament over this Corporation should be on grounds of general policy, general administration and efficiency, and it is wholly wrong to ask either House to consider technical problems and whether a particular firm should be enabled to carry out some new development when the arguments in favour may be exceedingly involved. I can well understand how in a House where the Government of the day has not a majority, competitive industry might say through its spokesman, "We are already carrying out this particular technical process and, therefore, it is wholly wrong that the Corporation should do it," and then it would be found impossible to get a proposal through both Houses. In view of the difficulty and considering that in a big assembly like the Houses of Parliament, the technical merits of carrying out a new process might be difficult to present, and in view of the fact that it might be an undesirable development that new undertakings could be stifled by the veto of the House of Lords—
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
I want to understand the right hon. Gentleman's argument. Is it his view that it is very difficult for the Minister to take a technical decision of this sort?
§ Mr. Strauss
I was dealing first of all with paragraph (c), the new activities on which a company may engage. I said it was very difficult to decide what are or what are not good technical reasons. I have to decide whether this new activity should be carried out, and I say it would be difficult to say whether it would be justified on technical grounds. I was dealing then with the difficulty of this proposal, which lays down that no new 1904 activity may be undertaken apart from doubtful technical ones without the consent of both Houses of Parliament.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
In Clause 23, when it is a question of certain rights which may have been parted with, the Bill says:Where it appears to the Minister that it is in the public interest, for the purpose of securing the efficient carrying on of the business of any publicly-owned company, …Is not that exactly what is meant by the words of this Amendment? Would not the consideration there be a technical one?
§ Mr. Strauss
Yes, I would be perfectly happy if the thing were left to the Minister. I think it should properly be left to the Minister to make an administrative decision of that sort, but the paragraph goes on to say that an order must be laid before both Houses of Parliament. That is what I am objecting to. This is a responsibility which the Minister should properly discharge. He is answerable to Parliament, and the matter can be made the subject of a Question and raised in the House. That is the right constitutional procedure in this matter.
§ Mr. P. Thorneycroft
I am anxious to understand the right hon. Gentleman's argument. Is the Minister saying that he would find no difficulty in making a technical decision if only the Minister had to make up his mind, and that it would be impossible to make a technical decision if an order had to be laid before both Houses of Parliament?
§ Mr. Strauss
I am sorry that I seem to be having particular difficulty this evening in making myself clear. What I am saying is that the decision on whether a company should carry out a new activity which it was not carrying out prior to being taken over, is one which could easily and should properly be settled by the Minister after taking advice from the Corporation and possibly from the Consumers' Council. This proposal from another place does not say that. It says that the Minister should lay an order, which will be subject to the veto of either House of Parliament, and I am saying that it is wholly wrong that the decision on whether a company should expand to carry out some new activity and exploit some new idea should be subject to veto by either House of Parliament. It is on those grounds that 1905 I am objecting to this Amendment, which appears to be restrictive, and puts the relationship between Parliament, the Minister, the Corporation and the public company in the wrong perspective.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
I want to deal with a previous point. I understood the Minister is saying that this Amendment was hopeless because it imposed on him technical decisions he thought we could not possibly make. The argument about the order is a different matter. Do I understand him now to say he would have no difficulty in making decisions on technical grounds?
§ Mr. Strauss
I was pointing out in passing that the words "technical reasons" in paragraph (c) might put the Minister in some difficulty in making a decision. However, that is not my main argument. I mentioned that in passing. My main argument is—I do not want to repeat myself—that this sort of decision, about the expansion of a particular publicly-owned company, should be an administrative decision by the Minister responsible to Parliament, and not the subject of a veto by either House. For that reason I ask the House to reject the Lords Amendment.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
I must say I was astonished to hear the speech of the Minister of Supply because it conflicted with what was said by the Government in another place. I do not know if I shall be out of Order in quoting the actual words, but as they apparently lay down a matter of policy I hope I shall be in Order in quoting them. It was said:My right hon. Friend is willing we should limit the activities of the bodies to those which they were carrying on before, or such activities as are substantially of the same character.There is no mention that the Government appear to have changed their mind.
§ Mr. Strauss
We have not changed our mind a bit. That matter was being discussed in general, and if a proposition had been put forward somewhat along the lines suggested in the speech of the spokesman in the House of Lords we should have considered it; but this is something entirely different that we could not possibly accept.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
Am I to understand from this startling intervention that if this proposed new Clause had stopped short 1906 at paragraph (b) it would have been accepted?
§ Mr. Strauss
I do not go as far as that, but we could have looked at it very carefully. However, the present wording we cannot possibly accept.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The Minister is now getting into extremely deep water. The Bill as it now stands is by far the most amateurish thing that has ever been seen. Let me, for example—I must do it again—read from the memorandum of association of the Steel Company of Wales. I think this memorandum is dated some time in 1947 or 1948. It is a quite recent thing. The Steel Company of Wales is to carry on all the ordinary activities of steel makers and manufacturers, and then those offounders, smiths, engineers, miners, makers of bricks, tiles and the like products of all descriptions, manufacturers of coke, patent fuel and all kinds of products of coal and other mineral substances, tar and oil distillers, chemical manufacturers, machine and tool manufacturers, and of agents, brokers, exporters, importers and merchants in all or any of the things aforesaid. …As if that were not enough another paragraph of the memorandum goes on to say:To carry on in addition to the said trades and businesses any other trade, business or employment, manufacturing or otherwise, which may seem to the Company capable of being conveniently carried on either in connection with or in addition to any business hereby authorised or otherwise calculated directly or indirectly to enhance the value of or render profitable any of the Company's property, rights or business for the time being.It is impossible to conceive of powers which are wider than those. They are as wide as the English language can make them. The object of the Bill ostensibly—and I noted down the right hon. Gentleman's words—is "to bring under public ownership the main producing undertakings in certain sections of the iron and steel industry." The total result of the Bill is that the Corporation is left, without the estoppel of the Minister, to go into any activity that the human brain can conceive. If there is one that the Corporation cannot enter into, then that is covered by these "overcoat" articles. This is a very deep matter, because the Bill extends the competition of a nationalised concern into any field of activity which the Minister chooses to allow.
1907 7.45 p.m.
The Minister trotted out some constitutional point, but could there be a bigger one than this very power which seems to me has really to be limited? It must be limited, otherwise there is no end to the competition with the taxpayer's undertaking with the taxpayer's own money. There is no reason why the Minister should not go into the hotel business, or into pleasure steamers, or cargo carrying. There is nothing he cannot do. It is absolutely essential, if we are to have any control over these matters, that the power which the Corporation and its subsidiaries are now endowed with should be limited in some way.
§ Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, Central)
Is the right hon. Gentleman arguing that the powers of the Corporation should be annulled by the Minister in the name of Parliament, or is he further arguing for an order every time to be agreed by both Houses? His argument would apply to the first.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
The annulment order is a secondary point. The first point that I am making is, that if we are to contemplate—which I personally do not, for I do not think it will come to be—the existence of this Corporation, this State monopoly, it is absolutely necessary to define the limits within which that monopoly is to act. It is absolutely necessary. It is bad enough if it is confined to the sections of the industry in the ostensible objects of the Bill, because even there, there are large numbers of activities in the iron and steel industry owned by the taxpayers who pay the taxes, and, therefore, indirectly finance this high flowing project of the Government.
There are also a large number of privately-owned steel operations which are embraced within the Corporation's frontiers; for instance, 16 per cent. of the total output of light sections and bars, 77 per cent. of steel castings, 95 per cent. of bolts and nuts, and so forth. I shall not weary the House by reading them all. In my submission it is bad enough to have the State monopoly competing with the taxpayer's own undertaking with the taxpayer's own money. It is bad enough that the State monopoly 1908 can deal with things which, by a little Ministerial imagination, may be described as having to do with iron and steel. That is one thing. But what we are doing here is to extend the frontier of the monopoly absolutely over the whole field.
I am not one of those who think that the present Minister of Supply, with a strong mercantile background, is likely to be the instrument that is to put the Iron and Steel Corporation into being as large dealers in general as the United States Steel Corporation is. I think he will probably stop short of that. However, these Ministers are transitory folk. They make mistakes, and get up against their colleagues, and are committed to the outer parts of the party from time to time.
I say that any House of Commons which put upon the Statute Book a State monopoly financed by the taxpayers' money without attempting to define where the outskirts of that monopoly were to be drawn would be failing in its duty, and that is precisely why in another place this new Clause was introduced—in order to define and confine the Corporation within limits.
The hon. Member for Central Cardiff (Mr. G. Thomas) raised a second matter. I should be amongst the first to agree that, if the Corporation had not already wide powers, it would be administratively undesirable to have the annulment procedure put upon the Corporation. However, let the House remember that it can engage in the whole of the Second Schedule activities. If any hon. Member forgets what they are he had better look at the Second Schedule. They are wide enough. In addition to that, the Corporation and its subsidiaries can engage in any other activities the companies were carrying on before the war.
It is only when they have exhausted all these activities that the negative procedure in the Houses of Parliament is to be invoked, and, I suggest, very properly invoked, because the extensions of these activities without some Parliamentary control puts into jeopardy any industry carried on in any sort of activity by private enterprise. Everybody is in jeopardy. Tomorrow the steel company may decide to go in for making turbo-alternators. It would be a sad day if 1909 they do because they will lose a lot of money and they will lose a lot of our money as well. If the Government wish to create an area of uncertainty as wide as possible, this is the way to do it. They say, "I am going to set up a monopoly, but any attempt to define where that monopoly shall stop I shall resist."
I think, in his explanation, the Minister would have gone as far as to agree that activities should be confined to those specified in the first column of the Second Schedule and to activities which the company was carrying on immediately before the general date of transfer. What sticks in his gizzard is the part about the activitieswhich for technical reasons ought, in the opinion of the Minister, to be carried on by that companyand such other activities as are subject to the annulment procedure.
We can hardly have Parliamentary control with fewer restrictive Clauses than there are in the new Clause. The extra-ordinary part of the Minister's reply was that, while a spokesman in another place had said the Government would accept Second Schedule activities and what I call pre-war activities, when it came to having to exercise a technical judgment, that was quite impossible, that went far beyond anything which exists even in his wildest imagination. I think these explanations are disingenuous. To reject the whole thing out of hand when you agree with half of it is not the sort of explanation which we can accept.
In conclusion, I say that it is an absolute Parliamentary duty laid upon us, to whatever party we belong, to see that the limits of a State monopoly are clearly defined—and where those limits are set is another matter. This attitude of the Government is part of their sloppy attitude in these things. They say, "The Minister will be a sensible man; leave it to him, do not let us define frontiers. As for a State monopoly, anything which a company has done let them continue. It will all work out on the day." That is a very vicious attitude, and I say that with this Corporation spreading possibly all over the field of industry, there is no one whose business is not in jeopardy and no part of the industrial, commercial, and financial machine of this country which may not one day find itself in the Gov- 1910 ernment net and which may not be changed one of these days from a profit-earning, tax-paying industry into one which will be a loss to the taxpayer and the Exchequer.
§ Brigadier Rayner (Totnes)
I have not intervened in the Debates on this Bill before, because I know nothing about steel production, but I represent 60,000 consmers of one sort and another and, in particular, several small businesses. They are considerable consumers and it is proper that I should speak in the Debate tonight.
My right hon. Friend made it quite clear that the main intention of this Clause is to eradicate unfair competition by the Government, in so far as it can be eradicated under this rather deplorable Bill. I should like to draw the attention of the House to what the Minister said in this connection on Second Reading:Critics suggest that it is undesirable for a publicly-owned company to be in competition with a privately-owned company. On the contrary, this is likely to be highly beneficial, in that both the publicly-owned and the privately-owned companies will be subjected to the competition of each other. What is wrong with that? Do people fear that private industry cannot withstand the superior efficiency of public industry?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th November, 1948; Vol. 458, c. 66.]Of course not, but what private industry fears is unfair Governmental competition. Not very long ago the President of the Board of Trade asked producers and merchants to show the spirit of adventure, but if a producer or merchant shows that spirit of adventure today and loses, the bank is on his tail pretty quickly. If he wins, then the Chancellor of the Exchequer takes most of the fruit of his enterprise. It is not only that, however. Today, more and more, particularly if this Bill is passed in its present form, he is subject to unfair Government competition, competition by a Government organisation with vast funds at its disposal to which he subscribes himself; and, of course, he is faced with an organisation in a position where it does not matter if it makes a loss. The Minister calls that fair competition.
I was in Canada in the nearly '30's, on the staff of the Governor-General, when various Canadian Ministers were discussing in the House and over the dinner table, the rights and wrongs of competi- 1911 tion between the Canadian National Railway and the C.P.R. I listened to those conversations with a great deal of interest and I notice that in these days those people are very careful about what they nationalise. The other day the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that our industry must be prepared to attack the American market. I suggest that industry, which is like an army, depends in attack upon its morale. How can we expect our industry to have high morale when it is not only fighting the Americans but is subject to all these disabilities at home, and particularly to this ever-increasing Government competition in its own field? I, therefore, support this Clause in the hope that it will do something to improve this unhappy Bill.
§ Mr. P. Thorneycroft
I must say that the Minister produced the most astonishing arguments against this Clause. He started off with what I think must have been one of the worst I have heard for a long time in this House. He is a Minister who is supposedly responsible for taking over one of the major industries of this country, but he said that this new Clause could not conceivably be accepted because it would entail the Minister having to do something upon technical grounds.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
It is no use the right hon. Gentleman shaking his head; he said that not once but several times.
§ Mr. Strauss
I am sure the hon. Member does not wish to misrepresent me. I did not say that this Clause could not conceivably be accepted because it entailed consideration of technical matters by the Minister. I put the difficulty of interpreting the word "technical" in this connection as a fact. I said that was not a reason why I was asking for the rejection of the Clause, but it was merely a comment on the wording of the Clause.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
That will not do. The Minister is responsible to the House of Commons and he puts these things forward for some reason. The right hon. Gentleman was supposedly arguing to persuade the House not to accept the new Clause. Why did he talk about the difficulties of the term "technical," if that were irrelevant to the argument he 1912 was putting forward? He went as far as that hare would run and it did not run very far. After all, what is his own interpretation as to what will happen about making a decision? On what grounds is he to make a decision? On some whim of his own?
The only conceivable grounds upon which the Minister can make a decision as to whether a company can extend its activities or should retract its activities are technical grounds—whether it would be in accordance with the general efficiency of the industry or not. Those are the only grounds. What the right hon. Gentleman really meant, and what he nearly found himself saying, was that he would not mind making technical decisions as long as the House of Commons could not come along and pass an order about them. That is what the House is here for. When that becomes manifest, even to his hon. Friends behind him, he wishes to abandon the argument altogether. I understand that he is not seeking now to persist in that sort of argument.
The Minister then went on to say that if the new Clause were accepted—he expressed considerable astonishment at the idea—and if a company wanted to carry out a new activity which was not in its memorandum of association, Parliament would have to be consulted.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss
If the activity was not carried on upon the day before the transfer. That is quite a different thing.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
The right hon. Gentleman says that if they wished such a new activity to be carried out, Parliament would have to be consulted. We do not regard with anything like as much horror as does the right hon. Gentleman the suggestion that Parliament should be consulted. Why should not Parliament be consulted? Let us look at the matter quite fairly. It is important whether the field of activity of a great corporation should be extended into new fields. We may differ about whether that is right or wrong, and it is a proper matter for discussion. It is one of the matters that we have been discussing a good deal during the last three months. Surely it is not unreasonable to say that Parliament ought to be consulted before such a corporation starts up and enters into compe- 1913 tition with almost any field of activity that the human brain can conceive and with almost any series of private companies.
The other thing that puzzled me about the right hon. Gentleman and gave me cause for suspicion was that, so far as I could see, the principle of the Clause has been accepted in another place. The right hon. Gentleman said himself that he would have been prepared to accept an Amendment that there should be restriction. If the Government think that is right, why do they not do something about it? They have had plenty of opportunities in the other place, and they have had opportunities upon the Report stage, of putting down an Amendment. What left me suspicious was that hon. Members opposite, and the Minister as well have claimed that the main purpose of the Steel Bill had nothing to do with the taking over of steel. The steel industry, they said, holds such a key position in the industry of the country, it holds the keys of power, that control of that industry would immediately give them control of many other ranges of industry.
Hon. Members on the other side and Ministers of the Crown have used that kind of argument. The Bill, without the proposed new Clause, gives those people their opportunity to get into every kind of industry and create the maximum chaos in the free competitive system. They want to create such a situation in this country that it will be impossible for us ever to get back to the system under which this country has so far lived.
The Bill, in that sense, means competition with anyone, discrimination against anyone and any kind of activity without limit. In the other place it was admitted that some limit should be set. The right hon. Gentleman has admitted that limits have to be placed on the powers of entering into new activities. Some hon. Member opposite should get up and try to present some serious argument. If none can be found, the Clause ought to be agreed to.
§ Mr. Erroll
In an interjection, the Minister referred to the fact that in the proposed new Clause the Corporation were to be limited to the activities which were in existence on the day of taking over. By implication he suggested that that was an unreasonable limitation, and 1914 that the Corporation ought not to be so restricted by Parliament, which is concerned with the taking over of industry as it exists today and not with giving the Minister unlimited powers by blank cheque for the future. We say "By all means." If the House agrees, against the wishes of my hon. Friends on this side of the House, to give the Government this Bill to take over the industry, the industry should be taken over as it is known today and not as an industry which has powers in its memorandum of association to embark upon any other kind of extraneous activity.
§ Mr. Erroll
It has already embarked upon a very wide field of additional activity. It will be able to embrace a much wider field, if it is to extend its activities from the present range. The Minister could come back to the House for permission to extend, just as the Government came originally to the House for permission to take over, the industry as it is at present. The purpose of the Bill is clear. The Preamble states that the Bill is to take over certain of the producing sections of the industry, but as one reads further one finds that what is to be taken over are not just the producing sections but companies with powers to engage in many other forms of activity because of the widely-drawn nature of their memoranda of association.
There is a very good reason for the memoranda of private companies being widely drawn. I know many hon. Members opposite say that if that is good for private industry, it is good enough for public industry. That is a facile argument, because the whole situation is altered. Memoranda of association may be widely drawn for the benefit of one company as compared with another, because those firms are in competition. Here we are engaged in the creation of a monopoly against which no man can stand. If the proposed Clause is rejected, we are contemplating these very wide powers being given to a monopoly and not to individual firms who, if they show excessive ambition to extend, can have their powers whittled down and dissipated by competition from other firms who are more efficient in their own well-established field. Because private firms 1915 have widely drawn memoranda is no reason why that should be true of a public monopoly. One of the reasons for the protective Clauses of the Bill is to ensure that the monopoly does not have excessive powers. We are very strongly opposed to the memoranda of association being so widely drawn that no private company can embark upon any activity without having to come back to this House.
As my hon. Friend the Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft) said earlier, we know the reason for the Bill. It is to drive a Trojan horse into every capitalist stronghold in this country by means of the powers in the Bill, which will make it possible for the Corporation, acting on behalf of the Minister, to enter any industry it likes from within or through the back door. It can unload its soldiers within the stronghold and it can break up any centre of industrial power to which it chooses to take exception. That is the real reason behind the cleverly devised construction of the Bill. We seek to restrict that power. We say that if the Minister wishes to extend the activities of the Corporation or the companies as on the take-over date, he should come back to Parliament. Surely that is not much to ask. That is not a very great amount to expect of a Government which is always paying lip-service to Parliament.
It is said that any extension of the Corporation's activities will not matter because they will be competitive with other firms and that, as a party which advocates the maximum competition, the Opposition should have no objection to an extension of the competitive system. Quite right—if only we could be sure that the competition would be fair. The trouble is that we know it will not be fair, because the whole Bill is weighted heavily in favour of the Corporation. The Corporation can fix the selling prices of its companies. The Minister may even subsidise the Corporation with public money. The Corporation has powers of compulsory acquisition of land. Furthermore, there is a free-lance extension of the powers of the Minister. The Minister ought to have sought the minimum powers necessary to take over the producing sections of the iron and steel industry instead of a maximum extension of his powers as he has done.
1916 Our Amendment seeks to restrict not only the power of the Corporation but also the power of the subsidiary companies. It might be argued by the other side of the House that our Amendments to Clause 2 restrict the power of the Corporation and the power of the subsidiaries as well, but the subsidiaries will be able to do exactly as they please, however much the Corporation is restricted. Our new Clause allows plenty of latitude for the existing extraneous activities which are being taken over. We do not wish to suggest any unreasonable curtailment of extraneous activities which are already part and parcel of the commercial practice of the firms being taken over. It would obviously be unreasonable to suggest that many of the great iron and steel producing firms should abandon their extra activities such as bridge building, the manufacture of certain chemicals or the ownership and management of certain items of property. What we want to do is to avoid the extension of those activities, which can take place as the Bill now stands.
If the Government seek to extend the activity of the Corporation into other fields of business, they will be able to play a very strong hand against private industry. As I said just now, competition will be all right if it is fair, but how can it be fair when the assets of the industry are acquired well below their true market value and when the new capital required for any of the technical developments, to which the Minister referred without being at all specific, can be financed with money at gilt-edged rates, whereas private industry must go to the open market to secure what terms it can?
Raw materials are to be supplied to the Corporation at preferential prices, and in any case the Corporation can fix the prices of the products supplied by subsidiary companies. Advantageous terms can thus be given to the subsidiaries of the Corporation which are engaged in competition with outside firms, the outside firms being compelled to purchase from the Corporation at higher prices. We can thus see the way in which external competitors can be taken over under pressure—by nominal agreement, but in fact under pressure. This extension can and undoubtedly will take place, so that the Corporation and its subsidiary 1917 companies may come to control and operate an ever-growing sector of the British economy, to the very great detriment of the country as a whole. Our Amendment, in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c)—
§ Mr. Daines (East Ham, North)
The hon. Gentleman frequently refers to "our Amendment." Are we to understand that the Opposition in the other place and here are the same thing?
§ Mr. Erroll
Then I am surprised at his intervention. I should have thought that, as it is on comparatively rare occasions that Lords Amendments are discussed, my slip of the tongue in using the word "our" would readily be understood, but, of course, the head of the hon. Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Daines) is pretty thick, as we all know.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Erroll
Paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of the Lords Amendment cover all reasonable extensions that might be desired. We realise, of course, that the industry must not remain static. The Minister did not really think that I thought that the industry must remain entirely static, or indeed could. The whole point of the Lords Amendment is that reasonable extensions can be granted, and that any revolutionary change owing to the evolution of a new technical process which cannot possibly be envisaged at present is adequately taken care of in paragraph (b).
Surely, as we are to have a great public Corporation, the public is entitled to know what new activities the Corporation is undertaking. By means of the Amendment, they will be able to go to the Registrar of Companies and find out what new activities can be undertaken. Thereby the public and private industry can be safeguarded and the Corporation placed in a better, though perhaps less monopolistic, position.
§ Mr. Joynson-Hicks (Chichester)
I admit to being a child in these questions concerning iron and steel. I have not 1918 previously taken part in these Debates. For that reason I have listened with the greatest attention from the beginning of this Debate and I feel that it must be one of the strangest lines of argument to which Mr. Deputy-Speaker has ever had to listen. It seems to me that everyone is potentially arguing on the same side, and that is a very unusual state of affairs here.
This is how I understand the position. When we first came to consider the Bill, the general impression which would be received by a non-specialist like myself was that the companies which were scheduled by the Bill as being taken over would, in effect, surrender to the Corporation those of their activities contained in the Second Schedule and that the Corporation would run the scheduled activities of the scheduled companies. Consequently, it was a considerable surprise to me and to many others when it became evident from the Amendment that its purpose was essentially to curtail to a very great extent the powers which the Bill conferred on the Corporation to extend their activities into a vastly wider range than had originally been anticipated.
So far, I do not think that there is any difference in intention between both side of the House. It is evident, from statements made by Ministers here and in another place, that they would accept that proposition substantially as I have put it. I believe that it is correct to say that it was not the intention of the Government, and probably it still is not, that either the Corporation or its subsidiaries should engage in all kinds of enterprises and businesses quite unrelated to the main purposes of the Bill.
I understood from the Minister's speech that that was also his view. I followed him very closely and, so far as I can understand, his desire and his general intention would have been favourable towards accepting the substance of the Amendment. He did not want the Corporation to have powers which were as widespread as they are at present—without any sort of limitation at all, as my hon. Friends have already shown. He objected to this proposal, first, on the ground that it would be virtually impossible for him to arrive at a decision as to what was or was not technically desirable in the way of an extension. When 1919 my hon. Friend pointed out that the Minister already had to do that under his own Clause 23, the right hon. Gentleman, with the spur of the Opposition, took that fence and swallowed the technicality and passed on to his next objection.
The next and last objection to the Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman raised was that while he was prepared, on behalf of the Government, to decide what extensions should be permitted to the ramifications which the Corporation are allowed to pursue through the operations of their subsidiary companies, he was not prepared to tell the House why it was necessary for that to be submitted to Parliament in the form of an affirmative Resolution. If that is what the right hon. Gentleman intended us to understand, the sole point at issue between the two sides of the House is whether or not there is any objection to that decision being the subject of an affirmative Resolution.
I shall be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman will indicate his dissent from that proposition, because I listened to him with the greatest attention and desire to appreciate his argument and, so far as I could see, that was his argument. If that is so, I fail to see what we are arguing about, because the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends have accepted the main basis of the Amendment. They agree that curtailment is necessary because it is not provided for otherwise in the Bill, and I can see no ground for objection whatsoever to the proposition that such amendment as is to be the subject of the Minister's decision should in addition be subject to the affirmative Resolution of Parliament.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
One of our difficulties in dealing with this matter is the extreme paucity of argument which comes from the other side of the House, because I think the discussion on this new Clause is vital to the Bill. As hon. Members know, it relates to the way in which wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Corporation should exercise their powers.
I understood that the Government were bound by the doctrine of the mandate. They claimed that their reason for pushing this Bill through this House, their reason for altering the Constitution, was that they had received at the last General 1920 Election this mandate which they were entitled to put into statutory form. The mandate was clearly defined by the Prime Minister. It was to nationalise the relevant portions of the iron and steel industry, not to nationalise a host of ancillary or disconnected activities. The mandate was restricted to the relevant portions of the iron and steel industry, and those of us who studied the Debates which took place in another place understood from the arguments put forward there on behalf of the Government that the Government stood by that position, and that they did not intend to make use of the powers conferred under this Bill to go beyond the relevant portions of the iron and steel industry.
Is that true or not? It is something to which this House and the country are entitled to have a perfectly clear answer. Are the Government to use this Bill as a backdoor method of nationalising a number of other activities, or will they stick to the doctrine of the mandate to which they have hitherto adhered? We have had no answer from the right hon. Gentleman on that point so far this evening, and we are entitled to know—do the Government go back on that decision or do they plainly flaunt their intention to go outside the terms of the mandate which they received?
In fact, the method which the Government have chosen to nationalise the relevant portions of the iron and steel industry opens the door to the Government to go outside the terms of the mandate. Memorandum and articles of association of limited liability companies are drawn in wide terms. The reason for that was because companies did not want to find that certain actions they took were ultra vires after they had taken them, and they also did not want to go to the trouble and expense of altering their memorandum and articles of association. So, in the interests of commercial flexibility, it was reasonable to put in the memorandum a profusion of objects.
I suggest that a completely different consideration applies to a nationalised corporation, because a nationalisation scheme is enacted to nationalise some specificed industry or activity or service. As long as the Socialist Party say that they are going to ask for a mandate from the electorate to nationalise bit by bit individual industries and services, then 1921 surely they must stick to that doctrine if they wish to be honest with the public.
I should not have thought that anyone who examines the new Clause carefully could suggest that it over-limits the activities of the new Corporation. I agree that if we are setting up a Corporation to run this industry, we do not want to hedge it round with every kind of restriction to make it difficult for it to do its job; if the country decides that it is to be a nationalised industry, we want to see it done in the most effective manner.
This new Clause comes under three heads. First, ample scope to the Corporation. They are entitled to carry out all the activities specified in the Second Schedule. It also goes a great deal further than the mandate because it says that the Corporation, or these wholly owned subsidiaries, can carry on any activities which they were carrying on immediately before the general date of transfer. If they were running an hotel, making tennis racquets, doing any one of those manifold activities at the time of the Act coming into operation, then the Corporation is entitled to say that its wholly-owned subsidiary can carry it on. That is going a long way outside the strict scope of the mandate.
Then we go a step further. We concede to the Minister power to decide that, if there are technical reasons why one of these companies should embark upon some other activity which is not in the Second Schedule or is not already being carried on, he shall have power to permit the Corporation to say that the company carries on that new activity which he thinks is technically desirable. That, again, I should have thought was going a long way but we do not stop there.
We simply say in this new Clause that if beyond those three things the Minister wants the Corporation to have one of its companies branch out into some entirely new activity, which is technically disassociated, which it is not carrying on at present, which is not in the Second Schedule, then Parliament should have its say, but not by the affirmative procedure. I think, with respect, that my hon. Friend the Member for Chichester (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) indicated that we were asking for the affirmative procedure. We are not. We are simply asking that this House should have the power of annulment.
1922 All hon. Members should be seriously concerned with this question of the democratic control of nationalised activities. We raised the same point on the last two Amendments. It is a matter of working out that which at present we have not got right. I do not think any Member on any side of the House believes that the present methods of running the nationalised industries are efficient or effective so far as democratic control is concerned. Accepting, for the purposes of my argument, that it is a good thing to nationalise these industries—which I do not believe—I still say that no one really thinks we have got the business of democratic control properly worked out.
We have been voted down on the suggestion that we should exercise some Parliamentary control as to qualifications for membership of the Corporation. Here we are asking for Parliamentary control of completely new activities by the Corporation. Is not that a very reasonable request? How else are we to get Parliamentary control of the management of this industry? As an hon. Member pointed out in a previous Debate, we have a one-day or a two-day Debate, as the case may be, but such a multitude of subjects are raised, that the Government make the whole Debate a question of confidence and we do not get an opportunity of focusing the attention of the House on some particular point. Under the procedure which we propose, the House would be given, in a manner which does not prove to be at all hampering or restrictive to the Government, a chance of exercising this control.
§ Mr. Attewell
Is the hon. and learned Member now saying that only this House has a voice in the making of orders and that the other House has no such voice whatsoever?
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
I am asking for exactly the same procedure as has operated throughout the four years of the present Parliament. In innumerable cases, orders which have been made have been prayed against in one House or the other, and the hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Attewell) knows exactly how much embarrassment has been caused to the Government thereby. On one or two occasions, I think, the Government have had some pretty narrow 1923 squeaks, but so far as votes are concerned they have always managed to get their orders approved by this House.
Nevertheless, that procedure has provided an opportunity of focusing public attention on these matters. The Government have not suffered, and the public have gained from the way in which these matters have been discussed when Prayers have come before the House, even though very frequently they have had to be discussed at a very inconvenient hour of the night for a great many of us. That is the procedure for which we are asking, and the hon. Member knows exactly the extent of the embarrassment which it has caused to the Government during the past four years.
§ Mr. Attewell
Would the hon. and learned Member answer my question? Does the other House take any part in the procedure of the annulment of orders?
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
The other House has the power to pray against orders but, as I thought was generally accepted by the Government, carries out its duties in a way not to cause unnecessary embarrassment to the Government. I think that the figure for Prayers in the other House is something like three to every one thousand orders which are made. The great majority of the discussions under that procedure, of course take place in this House, and I cannot recollect any case of an adverse vote for the Government in the other House. The effective check would be the power of praying against these orders in this House.
I ask hon. Members opposite to believe that there are some of us who think that there is a very serious danger in the extensions of these activities of the public corporations. [Interruption.] I thought I heard hon. Members opposite saying, "Hurry up." As this is the first discussion we have had on the Bill which has not been subject to the Guillotine, in spite of the presence of the right hon. Gentleman the Patronage Secretary, I propose to continue speaking until I have said what I want to say.
The danger in the extension of these activities of nationalised corporations lies in the very great power which is transferred to the hands of a particular in- 1924 dividual. The Corporation is to operate, it is conceded, under the control of the Minister. There is power to fix prices, to subsidise imports and compulsorily to acquire land. There is political control of the financial policy of the Corporation. If we do all these things together and let the Corporation branch out irrespective of the will of Parliament into all sorts of new fields which were not within the terms of the original mandate, I suggest there is grave danger.
The answer that the Minister is responsible to Parliament and that we must expect the Minister to do the reasonable thing is not good enough because, if we have a political Minister running an industry, unfortunately, politics is bound to enter into the decision. The political prestige of the Minister will be at stake and the political prestige of the Government and of the party that Government represents is bound to be at stake. Inevitably, as a result of the ordinary strains and stresses of our political system and indeed, of human nature itself, politics will enter into the running of the industry. I think that is a thoroughly bad thing.
I agree that the general policy decision has to be political, but, once the general policy decision has been made to nationalise the relevant portions of the iron and steel industry, there should not be a decision by a political Minister to extend the field of activities of the Corporation beyond the strict terms of the mandate. This new Clause is a matter of great gravity and if the Government, even at this late hour, do not accept it, it will show quite clearly that they do not intend to treat as binding upon them, or to treat with truth and sincerity, their statements that they would not nationalise unless they had a mandate to nationalise, and unless they had proved their case for nationalising.
§ Mr. Attewell
I always listen with a great deal of interest to statements by the hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd), but I rose to reply to the hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft) and I hope he will not think I am discourteous because it took me so long to follow him. My remarks are directed to the challenge made by the hon. Member for Monmouth in asking us why we are concerned about this particular matter requiring an order.
1925 My remarks are coloured by the fact that I have heard the case put forward by hon. Members of the Opposition throughout the various stages of the Bill. It is reported that on hearing that he was dead, Mark Twain said it was "an exaggeration," and when I hear Members of the Tory Opposition saying they desire to improve the Bill, I think that a gross understatement. I do not think the case put forward by the Opposition is put forward with the desire of improving the Bill. I do not impute any motive to the other House—I understand it is out of Order to do so—but the Opposition made great play with what the House of Lords would do to the Bill when they received it and it was a foregone conclusion in my mind that the House of Lords would carry out the policy put forward by the Tory Opposition in this House. I do not think I have been mistaken.
If the Corporation are denied the right to take part in these activities, the Opposition must know that that would mean the stultifying of the companies. In due course the companies would lose the competitive race and finally reach the bankruptcy courts. Companies left in the Third Schedule, carrying on various activities which the Minister agrees they should carry on, must have full liberty to introduce into their activities any changed circumstance which is necessary to the life of the company.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
Will the hon. Member agree that it is desirable that they should be allowed to carry out activities which, for technical reasons, ought in the opinion of the Minister to be carried out by them with a view to the better carrying out of their activities under paragraph (a)? If so, is not that covered by the proposed new Clause in paragraph (c)?
§ Mr. Attewell
I am much obliged to the hon. and learned Member; that is so. I wish to direct my remarks to the hon. Member for Monmouth and to show why I cannot accept the new Clause. I feel, therefore, that the companies should not only be allowed to carry on what is contained in their memorandum at the moment; in spite of the explanation of the Opposition tonight as to how wide, broad and varied those activities were, I still feel that as those companies are being taken over as viable—I think that is the 1926 word which is used—we must ensure that they are able to do what is necessary for their continued life.
I now direct my remarks to why I feel that the Minister would be very ill—advised to accept this Amendment, whatever might be the situation regarding the first part of the Amendment. Here we are dealing with the position in which the attitude of another House, long before the Steel Bill reached them, was known and proclaimed by Members of the Opposition. In their strong hostility to nationalisation, they introduced Amendments to the Bill which say that this House, which was returned by the people of this country, shall not decide matters in this Parliament but must await the verdict of another General Election. This is done by a House which is part of the Constitution, but is not elected. That being the position, I am now asked by Members of the Opposition to agree to an Amendment which means, or may mean—I am grateful to the hon. and learned Member for Wirral who made this point clear—that the matter could go to the other House, which would have the opportunity of vetoing any particular additional activities of these companies.
Is it to be expected that Members on this side of the House, who have fought for the idea that the steel industry is essential to the life of this country, would go through all the difficulty and trouble of promoting and carrying through a Bill, and then, when they consider the question of keeping these companies alive by engaging in additional activities is necessary to the life of a company, would agree willingly to place before another House the question of whether those companies should live or die? Of course not. It is a foregone conclusion that the other House would deny us that which we say we know is required. Therefore, I hope that the Minister will not agree to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. P. Roberts
I should like to deal first with the point which the hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. Attewell) made, because it is the second time I have heard today sly imputations against the sincerity of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House. I come from Sheffield, I have friends in all sections of the industry, and I wish to make it quite clear that I dislike this Bill intensely. I certainly do not want to see 1927 it passed in any form. I sincerely hope that it will not be passed, but I have to face up to the horrible possibility that it may be passed. Let me assure the hon. Member for Harborough that if it is to be passed, it is my sincere intention to do what I can to improve it for the benefit of the general public and all sections of the industry in Sheffield, and I very much dislike these sly imputations against that sincerity. I assure the hon. Member that if the Bill happens to become law, I wish it to be as little harmful as possible.
§ Mr. Attewell
I wish to correct the phrase which the hon. Members used about "sly imputations." I was as direct as possible in what I said about certain hon. Members on the other side of the House. There was nothing sly about my imputation.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Roberts
If the hon. Member continues to make those direct imputations of insincerity about Members on this side of the House, I wonder how far he is in Order in doing so. Secondly, so far as I am concerned, I directly repudiate any such imputation. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister will think further about the implications of this Motion. I wish again to refer to Sheffield. As I said, we make steel and are greatly affected by this Bill. There are thousands of firms in Sheffield, however, and tens of thousands of operatives connected with firms not taken over under the Bill, who are directly related to the iron and steel industry. It is to their welfare that I direct the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary.
What is the position at the moment? There are a large number of these concerns; they may be cutlery concerns, using special steel, or they may make magnets or files, all from various kinds of steel. They are not taken over but they are dependent upon the main industry. These industries, and especially the cutlery industries, have built up on a very carefully balanced basis. It is balanced not only with regard to home production, but also with regard to sales all over the world. In point of fact, these people do very great service, not only to Sheffield, but to the country at large.
1928 At the present moment the large companies do not go in for these smaller activities, and they realise the service which is given by the smaller firms. There is a great deal of responsibility in the industry that these big firms do not go—if I may use the term—"bashing" into the smaller industries and completely upsetting their sensitive mechanisation. There is a very good liaison between them, through the chambers of commerce and various trade associations, which leaves these smaller firms to carry on and exercise their skill which has been built up over a great number of years.
That leads to planning, and this is where I particularly draw the attention of the Parliamentary Secretary to the small family concerns which have to plan for 20 years ahead with regard to their capital expenditure. As the Bill is drawn at the moment, they see nationalisation coming to the big firms from whom they have taken their orders. As the hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) pointed out, nationalisation means a political implication. We remember the present Secretary of State for War, when he was the Minister of Fuel and Power, saying that no one who opposed him over electricity nationalisation would have a job or be given a job in the nationalised electricity concern; and there have been other cases where political action is bound to come into a queswhich is purely economic. What is the position of these smaller people who have to plan ahead? At the moment the industry is fairly well balanced, but now they fear that, for some political cause outside their scope, a direction may come from the Minister which will completely upset the industry.
§ Mr. J. Jones indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Roberts
The Parliamentary Secretary may shake his head, but their very real fear is that they may suddenly find that a whole shop of a big concern has been taken over for some kind of mechanisation in which they are themselves employed. All that this Amendment would do, as I understand it, is that if the Corporation wanted to enter into a field of this kind they would have to come to the House and the publicity of it would give the trade which was, so to speak, threatened or attacked a chance of putting its case as to why there should not be duplication or unnecessary ex- 1929 penditure. As I see it, that publicity would be very necessary. Without this Amendment all that would happen is that the big concern would carry on without anyone knowing what was happening, the publicity being motivated—if the House will forgive the term—by political rather than by economic action.
I would reinforce that by explaining to the House what is happening at the present moment with regard to the Gas Council because that is slightly analogous. There were firms in the gas industry who serviced the main gas companies. They built their gasholders, made their pipelines and so on, and they did it very well. Now the Gas Council is collecting to itself designers and technicians and duplicating all over again the mechanisation of production. The result is unnecessary cost in the production of articles. The procedure is uneconomic. That is the tendency which we already see in the gas industry. Nationalisation takes place, and the board say, "We must have big staffs, new drawing staffs, deputy drawing directors and all sorts of other people collected together."
That might well happen in some of these industries, such as those making cutlery or magnets. My point is that in the normal economic sphere those companies would not necessarily rush to upset this delicate balance. I fear that nationalised industry, either for grandiose reasons or for the sake of waving the flag, will take these steps on most unsound grounds. This Amendment would enable pressure to be brought to bear upon the Minister and the board to desist from their stupid desires. It would provide a great safeguard which would gratify a large number of people in the area I represent. I ask the Minister to reconsider the matter.
§ Mr. Pickthorn
I hope that the Treasury Bench really will think it due to the House to give us a little more reason why they are so much opposed to this particular bit of Parliamentary control over iron and steel—or rather not over iron and steel activities but over activities to be taken within Government purview under the aegis of an Iron and Steel Bill. The Minister began with the impossibility of a political Minister making technical decisions—but he dropped that one pretty quickly—and then the hon. Member for Harborough (Mr. 1930 Attewell) produced a new and very strange answer of which I hope that a Law Officer will give us some explanation if nobody else does. Indeed, in any case, I think that we ought to have a Law Officer on this matter because the argument was that it is intolerable that this should be a matter for statutory instrument so long as the House of Lords has the power to pray against a statutory instrument. That was the argument. It is, of course, an argument against every kind of statutory instrument, not only against this one.
If it is true that one of the two great parties in the State has so deep and profound and wide-reaching an objection to the Second Chamber as at present constituted, or to any other Second Chamber, that it finds it intolerable that any statutory instrument should in any way come under the control of that Chamber, then I think that is an argument for saying that the negative procedure shall be possible in this House only—in the Lower House and not the Upper House. There is a case for that. I should be against that case myself, but I see a case for that.
What there can be no case for at all is to tell us that there are to be statutory instruments over which it is intolerable that this House should have any kind of control—even negative, even occasional—because there is some faint risk that every now and then perhaps the other place might wish to use the same sort of procedure. That was the second argument put up against this Amendment. Really, with respect to the hon. Member for Harborough, I do not think that it will do. The Treasury Bench ought to put up a Law Officer either to repudiate that doctrine or to explain it further, because it is a new step in constitutional argument.
The only things I wanted to say were said by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) and by my hon. Friend for Chichester (Mr. Joynson-Hicks). I think that between them they said practically everything that I wanted to say I do not want to recapitulate, but—if I might have the attention of the Minister for one minute—I just want to put one more point. It has been said over and over again from behind him—and I think it was said by the Minister, or at least implied—that 1931 they could not believe that anyone on this side wished to improve the Bill, as if that were one of the arguments against the Amendment. It must be a bad Amendment because the Opposition want it. That is not a very high level of debating, but since it has been raised two or three times, I think it deserves some short answer.
I think the answer is, cannot they conceive that even Tories are inclined sometimes to think that half a loaf is better than no bread; that if one cannot successfully resist a Bill—and I still hope that we shall successfully resist this Bill—which one regards as deleterious to the country, one may at least wish to see it improved in some respects? That is all they have to believe in order to conceive it possible that there is something in our case, that we are neither fools nor knaves, and they ought not to find it necessary continuously to make themselves feel cosy by saying that anybody who does not swallow their extremes must either be a fool or a knave, or both.
§ Mr. J. Jones
Is the hon. Gentleman's argument that the Front Bench should put up a legal representative of His Majesty's Government to repudiate the statement made by any back bench Member on either side that he has the right to criticise the other place in the sense that he fears that it may do something hostile to this Bill?
§ Mr. Pickthorn
I am not quite sure that I followed the hon. Gentleman, but, if I am getting it, he is on my last point but one. My last point but one was that it is a new piece of constitutional argument to say that this House is not entitled to desire to see a particular kind of statutory instrument put either under the negative or the positive procedure with which we are all familiar. The argument was that this House ought not to do that so long as it means giving the Upper House the same power. I hope—I am certainly not endeavouring to cheat the hon. Gentleman—I put the argument as fairly as it can be put. Shortly, the question I want to know is, does the Treasury bench accept that argument? If it is prepared to say no, that settles it, and I do not think any of us need be sadder, even the hon. Member for Harborough. We have all used arguments which our Front Bench would not accept.
1932 If, on the other hand, it is an argument which the Government desires to have weight with the House, then I think it should be elaborated and re-stated by the Treasury Bench, and preferably by a Law Officer. That is what I think, and I hope it was a fair thing to say. And now, I am afraid, the hon. Gentleman has rather knocked me off my perch. One can always knock a chap off his perch by answering the question he asked the day before yesterday. It rather breaks into the flow of his thoughts, and the order of my paragraphs has now been rather shaken, but I think, if I remember rightly, this was what I meant to say next.
Hon. Members opposite must not think it hypocritical if we say what I am sure they know and all the world knows—power tends to corrupt; all power also tends to kill itself. Perhaps what is not usually known and admitted is that almost every party or faction that gets into power kills its own power by not being true to its source, by defrauding its own principles—[Interruption.] I dare say Tories have been very naughty in the past, but that does not arise on this Amendment, We will talk about that at another time. What comes under this Amendment is the point, which I will not repeat but merely allude to, about the mandate, which was put by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral. He put the point more clearly than I could have done. Nobody can pretend that there is a mandate for this. Nobody could begin to pretend it.
Were I capable, as I thank my Maker I am not, of conceiving that either the Chair or the Table might err, I might have been tempted to be slightly surprised that the powers which we are trying to put under Parliamentary control came under the Title of this Bill at all. These powers to do all these quite unrelated things obviously do not in any common-sense sense come under the short Title of the Bill. They come under the long Title of the Bill only by the procedural accident that the method chosen to nationalise Iron and Steel and incidentally all these things was to leave the limited liability companies concerned in legal existence but to impose something else on top of them. That 1933 is the only reason why this is in Order under this Bill at all. I think that very much underlines the argument against the application of the doctrine of the mandate to those other trades, businesses and activities. Upon the principles of hon. Members opposite, they have got to have a mandate for this in order to do it. It is perfectly plain upon the face of the Bill and in all the arguments, that they have no such mandate at all.
I hardly ever say "quite honestly" because I observe that when other people say "quite honestly" I generally think that something pretty dishonest is just coming, and whenever other people say "frankly" I always know that they are not going to tell me something about their own sins but about mine. On this occasion, however, I will permit myself to say that honestly and frankly I cannot see why the Government make such heavy weather about this matter. How often do they suppose it would arise? They themselves have indicated—I think they have been careful not to bind themselves too tightly—that they do not desire, in the main, to take on activities which are, so to speak, accidentally or, at least, only incidentally, in the memoranda of association and so on of the companies. They do not want to do it often; they do not mean to do it generally, They have no plan and policy for doing it in order to alter things very much. Then how often would they have to come here, running the risk that there would be a Prayer against them?—a risk which, after all is not an immense risk anyway. I really have not yet seen what is the strength of the objection, and I am perfectly satisfied that the House has not yet heard any reasons even worth taking seriously against this Amendment.
§ Mr. Thornton-Kemsley
I agree with my hon. Friend the senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn) that in the last hour and a half in which we have been debating this Amendment the House has not heard any serious reason why the Amendment should be rejected. Neither have we heard more than two speches from the other side of the House—one from the Minister and one from an hon. Member on the back benches opposite. I do not think that it can go unnoticed outside—nor do I think it should—that only one back-bencher of the party opposite has risen to his feet to 1934 try to defend his Government's action in rejecting this Amendment. As my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) said, it is not only an Amendment of great gravity, but, in my view and I think in the view of many other hon. Members on this side of the House at any rate, with possibly one exception, it is the most important Amendment which we shall discuss tonight. I would except the one which alters the vesting date, but with that exception I believe this is the most important Amendment which this House is going to discuss.
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Chichester (Mr. Joynson-Hicks) I may describe myself as no technician in these matters. I do not know very much about iron and steel, but I intervene for the reason that I am concerned about the power which the Government are taking and which we want to curb by accepting this Lords Amendment. The power which the Government are taking enables the Corporation to carry on any activity, which the scheduled company or a wholly-owned subsidiary of a scheduled company, is authorised by its memorandum of association to carry on.
Before coming down to the House this afternoon, I asked my secretary to hand me some memoranda of associated companies with which I happened to be connected, though they are not iron and steel companies. One was of a public company and one of a private company, and I found when looking them through—I am not going to weary the House as to the sort of thing they are authorised to do—that the public company as a property company, owning several million pounds worth of property up and down the country, was authorised to acquire property, manage it, build on it, and so on, and it also took the power to carry on the businesses of 20 to 30 different kinds of specified undertakings. It could erect or manage about 30 different kinds of businesses, including hotels, boarding houses, lodging houses, licensed victuallers, tobacconists, dealers in aerated waters and other commodities, none of which the company would contemplate for one moment. Finally, after reciting in 30 to 40 clauses the things the company is able to do in addition to its real purpose of owning and managing property, it adds, we 1935may do all or any of these things in any part of the world …"and "… do all such things as are incidental—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Bowles)
The hon. Gentleman is going much too wide. He must concentrate on this Amendment. People know that company memoranda go very wide. He has made that point very clear indeed.
§ Mr. Thornton-Kemsley
All I wanted to do was to show that the memoranda of public and private companies are wide indeed. My right hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) in his opening speech, quoted from the memoranda of association of an iron and steel company, which allows the same kind of thing. By exercising powers of this kind, the Corporation could obtain an interest in practically any industry in the land. That is my main point, and this point has been made by other hon. Members.
It seems to me that here, with a new Corporation and a new experiment in the public conduct of a great industry, one would expect the Government, in introducing a Measure of this kind, to proceed with caution, but instead of proceeding with caution they are taking powers to cover any contingency which their own envy and malice, allied to the ingenuity of their advisers, can conjure up. What guarantee is there that these powers which they are taking for themselves will not be used deliberately by some future Government, perhaps of a more violently Left outlook than their own—if that is possible—to carry the policy of State ownership into every industry in the land? That is quite possible under the powers they are taking.
If the Government accepted this Clause, which we are defending, the Corporation would still be left with wide powers which would enable them not only to carry out the basic processes of iron and steel production, which one must assume is the main and original purpose of this Bill, but would also enable them to carry out any activity which these industries may be carrying on at the time of transfer. The kind of scheduled industries which could be carried out include all sorts of things like the making of ball and roller bearings.
I was addressing a Rotary club at a luncheon meeting the other day and the 1936 president told me that he was conducting a business which made ball bearings. He said that there was a remarkable demand from people who make skipping ropes, which now, apparently, have ball bearings fixed in them. They have patent rights. That is the kind of thing which could still be done by the Government if this Clause were accepted. They could make badminton rackets, fire bricks, golf shafts, tennis rackets, umbrella frames and a whole host of other things. They will still be allowed to do that under the terms of this Clause.
If one went further and included the processes of the subsidiaries of these Third Schedule industries, the list would be very greatly lengthened. But in case this does not give the Government sufficient powers the Clause proposes, under subsection (1, c) thatactivities which for technical reasons ought, in the opinion of the Minister, to be carried on by that companycould be included. That, together with the facilities given under subsection (1, d)—such other activities as shall be specified in an order of the Minister—seems to me to be absolutely adequate for any legitimate purpose which he may have.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
Speaking on the first Amendment this afternoon I accused the Government of being tyrannical in this Bill and if, as I believe to be the case, that argument was applicable to that Amendment, it is doubly so, in the case of this Clause. My own belief is that the Government, and particularly their supporters, do not realise what will be the effect of rejecting this Clause. As the Bill stands, we are establishing, without many people realising it, a form of tyranny far greater than we should get under a technocracy. I say that because I believe the Minister is giving himself powers, outside Parliament, without any Parliamentary control, which will be just as divorced from Parliamentary control as would be the case if we had a full-blooded technocracy in this country.
I am particularly concerned about this Amendment because in my constituency is a small engineering firm. It is a very proud firm which has served this country honourably in the war, when it was 1937 making gun mountings for the Admiralty. It is at present engaged upon making steel railway wagons. If it were allowed to do so, it would be making far more for export than it does. I have no association with, or interest in, the firm, but I mention the firm because I think it is only right that hon. Members should realise that in their own constituencies they may be endangering small firms of that character, if they reject this Amendment from another place. They will be rendering that firm in my constituency for ever liable under the Bill to be taken over and completely controlled by the Steel Corporation.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Lyttelton) mentioned the Steel Company of Wales. It is abundantly clear from its memorandum that that association is allowed to carry on, in addition to its own trade or business, any other trade, business, or employment, manufacturing or otherwise, which may seem to it capable of being conveniently carried on. Surely that memorandum gives power to the Minister to authorise the Corporation to include a far greater number of companies than will be included under the Bill as it stands?
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss
Nothing of the sort. The Corporation is not given any power to acquire any firm whatsoever beyond those set out in the Third Schedule.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
Yes, but the Corporation is given power, under Clause 2 (3):with the consent in writing of the Minister, to carry on any other activities which, at the time when the consent is given, any publicly-owned company is authorised as aforesaid to carry on.The Minister is misleading the House when he makes that intervention. It may be technically true to say that the Corporation has no power to take over any company specifically, but it can drive it out of business by competing with it.
§ Major Legge-Bourke
It can completely control the work that that firm is doing. That is almost worse than giving the Corporation direct power to take over the business by an affirmative order. At least we should know where we stand.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Is the hon. and gallant Member really inviting the House to say that in his opinion and the opinion of his Friends it would be wrong to drive a firm out of business by competing with it?
§ Major Legge-Bourke
I am not saying anything of the kind. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman), who has already committed a discourtesy during these proceedings, is now trying, in his characteristic way, to mislead the House. What sort of competition will face that unfortunate company? The hon. Member knows that the Corporation would be in an immensely privileged position. To start off with, it would be financed at gilt-edged rates, possibly under a Treasury guarantee. It may be supplied with raw materials by other publicly-owned companies at preferential prices and on preferential terms. I could go on with a list of the privileges which the Corporation would have against unfortunate private companies.
§ Mr. J. Hynd
Is not the argument which is used from the other side that nationalised industries will have such tremendous costs that their prices will inevitably go up to tremendous heights? How then will the Corporation have an advantage in competing with a private firm?
§ Major Legge-Bourke
The hon. Member knows very well that the Corporation will have virtually complete control of the supply of raw steel, sheet steel and practically all the raw materials for the sort of firms about which I am talking. He knows very well that to expect a company under private enterprise to stand up against the whole might of the State, with the Minister in the position of a complete dictator without any control at all from Parliament, is to expect the impossible.
The truth of the matter is that apart from being doctrinaire, the Bill endangers the whole structure of democracy as we understand it. My hon. Friend the senior Burgess for Cambridge University (Mr. Pickthorn)—I think I have him right—said that most Governments who take power are apt to lose power by failing to continue to abide by the principles under which they took those powers. So far from the Government having principles on which they are taking powers, most of their supporters—I may know 1939 the principles of the right hon. Gentleman—are doing it blindly, purely as a piece of Socialist legislation, as they think. What they are doing in fact is endangering one of the most valuable industries which we have ever had in our history, an industry upon which we depend more for our recovery than on any other industry, and at the same time—perhaps even more serious—taking away from this House the power which it should have over its Ministers. It is that which is, constitutionally, so dangerous.
I believe that even the right hon. Gentleman is not fully aware where he is taking us today. He is taking us down a path which leads inevitably to complete tyranny and to the loss of all we have tried to build up over the years in our Parliamentary democracy. Not merely is this House not grateful, not merely is this generation fearful of what he is doing, but we think he will impose upon future generations something, the greviousness of which, he has not the sense to see.
§ Sir P. Bennett
I am prompted to intervene because of a remark made by the Minister in an interruption. There have been suggestions about what the Minister would or would not be able to do. It would be far better to approach the problem from the point of view not of what he can do, but of what he cannot do. I should like the Minister to study the memoranda of the companies which it is proposed to take over. I should be very surprised to find that under those memoranda there was anything in the country which he could not do.
I have had something to do with the putting through of memoranda and articles of association, and I know how one proceeds. One gives one's lawyers instructions like these, "As regards articles, we know that we can go to our shareholders at any future date and, by resolution, we can get them altered,
§ but not so with memoranda. Therefore, in drafting the memorandum, please see to it that it is so wide that we never have to go to the courts to get it altered." What do the lawyers do? They lay out the lines of business on which one is proceeding and go into the connected and ancillary lines, and then wind up by going into the highways and by-ways, saying, "Anything else which, in the opinion of the directors, will be conducive to the interests of the company." That power is put into their hands and it is being put now into the hands of the Minister, enabling him to do anything he likes with the industry of this country.
§ As I have said before, I have considerable respect for the Minister of Supply. I sat next to the right hon. Gentleman the other night at dinner and told him what I thought, and he told me what he thought. We got on well together; I proposed his health, and did it with great pleasure. But we say that it is not wise to put into mortal hands powers of this description because we do not know how long the right hon. Gentleman will sit there, we do not know who will take his place, and we are giving statutory powers to the right hon. Gentleman and his successors to do anything they like. Could anything be more totalitarian than that—to put it in the way of some future Minister to do exactly what he likes without coming to Parliament? That is why I feel that the Minister and His Majesty's Government would be well advised to accept this Amendment which would safeguard the country and would remove the bogy, it may be a serious one, to which I have referred.
§ Mr. Whiteley rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 325; Noes, 169.1943
|Division No. 221.||AYES||[9.27 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Austin, H. Lewis||Barstow, P. G.|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Awbery, S. S.||Barton, C.|
|Albu, A. H.||Ayles, W. H.||Battley, J. R.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V||Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Bechervaise, A. E.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Bacon, Miss A.||Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Baird, J.||Benson, G.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Balfour, A.||Berry, H.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Beswick, F.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Grierson, E.||Monslow, W.|
|Binns, J.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Moody, A. S.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Morley, R.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)|
|Boardman, H.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)|
|Bottomley, A. G.||Gunter, R. J.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E)|
|Bowden, Fig. Offr. H. W.||Guy, W. H.||Mort, D. L.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl. Exch'ge)||Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Moyle, A.|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Hale, Leslie||Nally, W.|
|Bramall, E. A.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Neal, H. (Claycross)|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hardman, D. R.||Noel-Buxton, Lady|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Hardy, E. A.||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Harrison, J.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Orbach, M.|
|Burden, T. W.||Haworth, J.||Paget, R. T.|
|Burke, W. A.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Callaghan, James||Herbison, Miss M.||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Carmichael, James||Hewitson, Capt M.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hobson, C. R.||Parker, J.|
|Champion, A. J.||Holman, P.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Pearson, A.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Horabin, T. L.||Peart, T. F.|
|Coldrick, W.||Houghton, Douglas||Perrins, W.|
|Collick, P.||Hoy, J.||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.|
|Collindridge, F.||Hubbard, T.||Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)|
|Collins, V. J.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Popplewell, E.|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)||Porter, E. (Warrington)|
|Cook, T. F.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Cooper, G.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Pursey, Comdr. H.|
|Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)||Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)||Randall, H. E.|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Ranger, J.|
|Cove, W. G.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Rankin, J.|
|Crawley, A.||Jay, D. P. T.||Rees-Williams, D. R.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Johnston, Douglas||Reeves, J.|
|Cullen, Mrs.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Daggar, G.||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Rhodes, H.|
|Daines, P.||Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Richards, R.|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Robens, A.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Keenan, W.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Kenyon, C.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Robinson, Kenneth (St Pancras. N.)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||King, E. M.||Rogers, G. H. R.|
|Deer, G.||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Kinley, J.||Sargood, R.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Kirby, B. V.||Scollan, T.|
|Diamond, J.||Lang, G.||Scott-Elliot, W.|
|Dobbie, W.||Lavers, S.||Segal, Dr. S.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Donovan, T.||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Sharp, Granville|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Leonard, W.||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)|
|Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Levy, B. W.||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|Dumpleton, C. W.||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Dye, S.||Lewis, J. (Bolton)||Shurmer, P.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lindgren, G. S.||Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.|
|Edwards, John (Blackburn)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly)||Logan, D. G.||Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Longden, F.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||Lyne, A. W.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||McAdam, W.||Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.|
|Ewart, R.||McAllister, G.||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Farthing, W. J.||McEntee, V. La. T.||Smith, C. (Colchester)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mack, J. D.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)|
|Field, Capt. W. J.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N. W.)||Smith, S. H. (Hull. S. W)|
|Follick, M.||McKinlay, A. S.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Foot, M. M.||McLeavy, F.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Forman, J. C.||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Steele, T.|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Freeman, J. (Watford)||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Stokes, R. R.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)|
|Gibbins, J.||Mann, Mrs. J.||Stross, Dr. B.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Stubbs, A. E.|
|Gilzean, A.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. Edith|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Mathers, Rt. Hon. George||Swingler, S.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mellish, R. J.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Goodrich, H. E.||Messer, F.||Symonds, A. L.|
|Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Middleton, Mrs. L.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Mikardo, Ian.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)|
|Grey, C. F.||Mitchison, G. R.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Weitzman, D.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Thurtle, Ernest||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Timmons, J.||West, D. G.||Willis, E.|
|Titterington, M. F.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh, E.)||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Tolley, L.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H.|
|Ungoed-Thomas, L.||Wigg, George||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Usborne, Henry||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Vernon, Maj. W. F.||Wilkes, L.||Woods, G. S.|
|Viant, S. P.||Wilkins, W. A.||Wyatt, W.|
|Walker, G. H.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)||Yates, V. F.|
|Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)||Willoy, O. G. (Cleveland)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Warbey, W. N.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Watkins, T. E.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)||Mr. Snow and Mr. George Wallace.|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Harvey, Air-Comdre A. V.||Nutting, Anthony|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Haughton, S. G.||Odey, G. W.|
|Astor, Hon. M.||Head, Brig. A. H.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Osborne, C.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)||Pickthorn, K.|
|Birch, Nigel||Hope, Lord J.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Hurd, A.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Boothby, R.||Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Prescott, Stanley|
|Bower, N.||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Keeling, E. H.||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Kendall, W. D.||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Brown, W. J. (Rugby)||Kerr, Sir J. Graham||Renton, D.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Langford-Holt, J.||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Butcher, H. W.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Roberts, P. G. (Ecclesall)|
|Carson, E.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)|
|Challen, C.||Lindsay, M. (Solihull)||Robinson, Ronald (Blackpool, S.)|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Linstead, H. N.||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Cole, T. L.||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Low, A. R. W.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Spence, H. R.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Darling, Sir W. Y.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Stewart J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Strauss, Henry (English Universities)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||McFarlane, C. S.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Donner, P. W.||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster)||Taylor, Vice-Adm E. A. (P'dd't'n, S)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Teeling, William|
|Drews, C.||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Eccles, D. M.||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Walter||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Marples, A. E.||Touche, G. C.|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Marsden, Capt. A.||Turton, R. H.|
|Fox, Sir G.||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Fraser, H. C. [...] (Stone)||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Gage, C.||Maude, J. C.||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Medlicott, Brigadier F.||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Mellor, Sir J.||Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)|
|Gammans, L. D.||Molson, A. H. E.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Gates, Maj. E. E.||Moore Lt.-Col. Sir T.||White, Sir D. (Fareham)|
|George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'ke)||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||Morris-Jones, Sir H.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Glyn, Sir R.||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Granville, E. (Eye)||Mullan, Lt. C. H.||York, C.|
|Gridley, Sir A.||Neill, W. F. (Belfast, N.)|
|Grimston, R. V.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Nicholson, G.||Mr. Studholme and|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Nield, B. (Chester)||Brigadier Mackeson.|
|Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."1944
§ The House divided: Ayes, 324; Noes, 169.1947
|Division No. 222.]||AYES||[9.43 p.m.|
|Acland, Sir Richard||Edwards, John (Blackburn)||Lewis, J. (Bolton)|
|Adams, Richard (Balham)||Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly)||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Albu, A. H.||Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.||Evans, Albert (Islington, W.)||Logan, D. G.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Longden, F.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Ewart, R.||Lyne, A. W.|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Farthing, W. J.||McAdam, W.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Fernyhough, E.||McAllister, G.|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Field, Capt. W. J.||McEntee, V. La. T.|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Mack, J. D.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Follick, M.||McKay, J. (Wallsend)|
|Ayles, W. H.||Foot, M. M.||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N. W.)|
|Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.||Forman, J. C.||McKinlay, A. S.|
|Bacon, Miss A.||Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||McLeavy, F.|
|Baird, J.||Freeman, J. (Watford)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Balfour, A.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Ganley, Mrs. C. S.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)|
|Barstow, P. G.||Gibbins, J.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Barton, C.||Gibson, C. W.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield)|
|Battley, J. R.||Gilzean, A.||Mann, Mrs. J.|
|Bechervaise, A. E.||Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Gooch, E. G.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.|
|Benson, G.||Goodrich, H. E.||Mathers, Rt. Hon. George|
|Berry, H.||Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Beswick, F.||Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Messer, F.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Grenfell, D. R.||Middleton, Mrs. L.|
|Binns, J.||Grey, C. F.||Mikardo, Ian.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Grierson, E.||Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Boardman, H.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)||Monslow, W.|
|Bottomley A. G.||Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)||Moody, A. S.|
|Bowden, Fig. Offr. H. W.||Guest, Dr. L. Haden||Morley, R.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl Exch'ge)||Gunter, R. J.||Morris, Lt.-Col. H. (Sheffield, C.)|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Guy, W. H.||Morris, P. (Swansea, W.)|
|Bramall, E. A.||Haire, John E. (Wycombe)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||Hale, Leslie||Mort, D. L.|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil||Moyle, A.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Nally, W.|
|Brown, George (Belper)||Hannan, W. (Maryhill)||Neal, H. (Claycross)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ince)||Hardman, D. R.||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Hardy, E. A.||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)|
|Burden, T. W.||Harrison, J.||Noel-Buxton, Lady|
|Burke, W. A.||Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Haworth, J.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Callaghan, James||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Kingswinford)||Orbach, M.|
|Carmichael, James||Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Paget, R. T.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Herbison, Miss M.||Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)|
|Champion, A. J.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Hobson, C. R.||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Cluse, W. S.||Holman, P.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Coldrick, W.||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Parker, J.|
|Collick, P.||Horabin, T. L.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Collindridge, F.||Houghton, Douglas||Pearson, A.|
|Collins, V. J.||Hoy, J.||Peart, T. F.|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Hubbard, T.||Perrins, W.|
|Cook, T. F.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr)||Poole, Cecil (Lichfield)|
|Cooper, G.||Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'ton, W.)||Popplewell, E.|
|Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N. W.)||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Porter, E. (Warrington)|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Pritt, D. N.|
|Cove, W. G.||Irvine, A. J. (Liverpool)||Pursey, Comdr. H.|
|Crawley, A.||Irving, W. J. (Tottenham, N.)||Randall, H. E.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Ranger, J.|
|Cullen, Mrs.||Jay, D. P. T.||Rankin, J.|
|Daggar, G.||Johnston, Douglas||Rees-Williams, D. R.|
|Daines, P.||Jones, H. Hon. A. C. (Shipley)||Reeves, J.|
|Davies, Edward (Burstem)||Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool)||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Rhodes, H.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Jones, J. H. (Bolton)||Richards, R.|
|Davies, Haydn (St. Pancras, S. W.)||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Ridealgh, Mrs. M.|
|Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)||Keenan, W.||Robens, A.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Kenyon, C.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Deer, G.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Robertson, J. J. (Berwick)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||King, E. M.||Robinson, Kenneth (St Pancras, N.)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.||Rogers, G. H. R.|
|Diamond, J.||Kinley, J.||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
|Dobbie, W.||Kirby, B. V.||Sargood, R.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lang, G.||Scollan, T.|
|Donovan, T.||Lavers, S.||Scott-Elliot, W.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Segal, Dr. S.|
|Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Dumpleton, C. W.||Leonard, W.||Sharp, Granville|
|Dye, S.||Levy, B. W.||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Shurmer, P.||Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)||Wigg, George|
|Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.||Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)||Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.|
|Silverman, J. (Erdington)||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)||Wilkes, L.|
|Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Simmons, C. J.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Skeffington, A. M.||Thurtle, Ernest||Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)|
|Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.||Timmons, J.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Skinnard, F. W.||Titterington, M. F.||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Smith, C. (Colchester)||Tolley, L.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke)||Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)||Ungoed-Thomas, L.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Smith, S. H. (Hull, S. W.)||Usborne, Henry||Williams, W. R. (Heston)|
|Sorensen, R. W.||Vernon, Maj. W. F.||Willis, E.|
|Sparks, J. A.||Viant, S. P.||Wills, Mrs. E. A.|
|Steele, T.||Walker, G. H.||Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H.|
|Stokes, R. R.||Warbey, W. N.||Wise, Major F. J.|
|Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Watkins, T. E.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Lambeth)||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)||Woods, G. S.|
|Stross, Dr. B.||Weitzman, D.||Wyatt, W.|
|Stubbs, A. E.||Wells, P. L. (Faversham)||Yates, V. F.|
|Summerskill, Rt. Hon. Edith||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Swingler, S.||West, D. G.|
|Sylvester, G. O.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John (Edinb'gh, E.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Symonds, A. L.||White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)||Mr. Snow and Mr. George Wallace.|
|Amory, D. Heathcoat||Haughton, S. G.||Odey, G. W.|
|Astor, Hon. M.||Head, Brig. A. H.||O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C.||Osborne, C.|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Peaks, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Hope, Lord J.||Pickthorn, K.|
|Birch, Nigel||Hurd, A.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells)||Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Ponsonby, Col. C. E.|
|Boothby, R.||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)||Prescott, Stanley|
|Bower, N.||Jeffreys, General Sir G.||Price-White, Lt.-Col. D.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.|
|Bracken, Rt. Hon. Brendan||Keeling, E. H.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Kendall, W. D.||Ramsay, Maj. S.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.||Kerr, Sir J. Graham||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Kingsmill, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Langford-Holt, J.||Renton, D.|
|Butcher, H. W.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth)|
|Carson, E.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Roberts, H. (Handsworth)|
|Challen, C.||Lindsay, M. (Solihull)||Robertson, Sir D. (Streatham)|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Linstead, H. N.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.||Lloyd, Maj Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Cole, T. L.||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Ross, Sir R. D. (Londonderry)|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Low, A. R. W.||Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Smith, E. P. (Ashford)|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.||Smithers, Sir W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||MacAndrew, Col. Sir C.||Spence, H. R.|
|Darling, Sir W. Y.||McCallum, Maj. D.||Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||McFarlane, C. S.||Strauss, Henry (English Universities)|
|Donner, P. W.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Sutcliffe, H.|
|Dower, Col. A. V. G. (Penrith)||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Maclean, F. H. R. (Lancaster)||Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S)|
|Drewe, C.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Teeling, William|
|Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Eccles, D. M.||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)|
|Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Walter||Manningham-Buller, R. E.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Thorp, Brigadier R. A. F.|
|Foster, J. G. (Northwich)||Marples, A. E.||Touche, G. C.|
|Fox, Sir G.||Marsden, Capt. A.||Turton, R. H.|
|Fraser, H. C. P. (Stone)||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Wakefield, Sir W. W.|
|Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)||Walker-Smith, D.|
|Gage, C.||Maude, J. C.||Ward, Hon. G. R.|
|Galbraith, Cmdr. T. D. (Pollok)||Medlicott, Brigadier F.||Watt, Sir G. S. Harvie|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Mellor, Sir J.||Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)|
|Gammans, L. D.||Molson, A. H. E.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J. (Dorset, E.)|
|Gates, Maj. E. E.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.||White, Sir D. (Fareham)|
|George, Maj. Rt. Hn. G. Lloyd (P'ke)||Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)||White, J. B. (Canterbury)|
|George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)||Morris-Jones, Sir H.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Glyn, Sir R.||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Granville, E. (Eye)||Mullan, Lt. C. H.||Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl|
|Gridley, Sir A.||Neill, W. F. (Belfast, N.)||York, C.|
|Grimston, R. V.||Neven-Spence, Sir B.|
|Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Nicholson, G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Nield, B. (Chester)||Commander Agnew and|
|Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.)||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Mr. Studholme.|
|Harvey, Air-Comdre A. V.||Nutting, Anthony|