HC Deb 28 June 1950 vol 476 cc2357-415

(1) Every existing officer who suffers loss of employment or diminution of emoluments which is attributable to the passing of this Act shall be entitled to have' his case considered for the payment of compensation by the Corporation such compensation to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Schedule to the Local Government (Compensation) Regulations, 1948, and subject to the provisions of this section those regulations shall apply accordingly with any modifications which the Minister may by order consider it necessary or expedient to make for the purpose of the application of the said regulations to compensation under this Act. (2) For the purposes of this section and the said regulations as applied thereby the expression "existing officer" means a person who immediately before the passing of this Act devoted the whole of his time and had devoted the whole of his time for a period of not less than eight years previously after attaining the age of eighteen years without a break of more than twelve months at any one time either—

  1. (a) to any of the following employments or to two or more or to any combination of such employments namely:—
    1. (i) employment under the Crown or in the local government service in Great Britain; or
    2. (ii) employment by any authority or body for the purposes of the Crown or of local government service in Great Britain; or
    3. (iii) employment under any officer engaged in any such employment as aforesaid for the purposes of the functions of the employing authority or body; or
  2. (b) partly to any such employment as aforesaid or to two or more or to any combination of such employments and partly to—
  1. (i) employment as a superintendent registrar or registrar of births and deaths or as a registrar of marriages or as a person designated by a local authority to act as a deputy superintendent registrar or registrar of births and deaths; or
  2. (ii) war service as defined by the said regulations undertaken on ceasing to follow any of the employments mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection or any combination thereof.
(3) Nothing in this section or in the said regulations as applied thereby shall entitle a person to have his case considered for the payment of compensation unless—
  1. (a) the cause of the claim arises not later than ten years after the passing of this Act;
  2. (b) the claim is made not later than two years after the date on which the cause of claim arises; and
  3. (c) the other conditions prescribed by paragraph (b) of regulation 5 of the said regulations are fulfilled.
(4) In this section the expression "officer" includes a servant.—[Mr. MacColl.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. MacColl (Widnes)

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The House may find the proposed change is a little complicated to understand, but I wish to make it clear in moving this new Clause that I have not the least desire or intention of holding up the Bill in any way. I am quite well disposed to it. As a native of Sunderland, nobody could feel more benevolent than I do towards South Shields, and any attempt to tidy up the local government situation in the north-east region must appeal to anyone who is interested in the future of local government.

This new Clause deals with a particular question, which is the form that compen- sation is to take for local government officers who may be affected by the proposed boundary changes. The history of the matter is that the Clause originally came up in Committee on the report of the Minister of Health and the decision of the Committee, or the recommendation, was that it should not be adopted, as the Committee were of opinion the question was one of general policy for the House to decide; and that is why it now comes before the House as a new Clause.

If hon. Members will look at the rather long new Clause and also at Section 36 of the Act, they will see that what it really amounts to is a substitution of what one might call the 1948 code for the code which is to be found in Section 150 of the 1933 Act and in the Schedule to that Act.

There are, broadly, two ways in which a local government officer can find himself suffering a loss of office or diminution of emoluments so as to entitle him to compensation. It can either happen through a change in the boundaries of his authority, or from a transfer of function from his authority to some other authority or to the central Government. In these days, that second cause, the transfer of function, is a much bigger matter than the alteration of boundaries. Many more people are affected by the transfer of function than are affected now—and so far as I can see are ever likely to be affected—by alterations of boundaries.

I wish to make clear that at present the vast majority of local government officers likely to become liable to claim for compensation already come under what one can term the 1948 code. That code, I think, has been used in something like a dozen Acts which have been approved by this House, dealing with matters like the National Health Service and the transfer of town planning powers from district councils to county councils, and so on. The Regulations which embody the code have, of course, been presented to the House in many different forms in relation to the different Acts. In particular they were presented to the House in connection with the National Health Service, and a Debate then took place on the advantages and disadvantages of the new code. Finally, the Regulations were passed without a Division. It is clear that the code has had the full sanction of Parliament already and affects the vast majority of local government officers.

This Bill is the first specific case in which the alteration of areas has come up for consideration since the war. Therefore, it seems to me to be only common-sense that we should take the opportunity of assimilating all compensation procedure in the small number of cases likely to arise in the extension of borough boundaries into that which has been laid down for the larger number of cases of transfer of function. I do not think there is anything very sacrosanct about the 1933 code which at present appears in the Bill. That code is binding in the case of a small number of extensions that come under the Order from the Minister of Health. It is perfectly true that the Clause has generally been included in Private Bills dealing with the extension of borough boundaries. But each of those extensions has in fact been in a separate Bill coming before the House, and this is the first occasion since the new code was formulated and approved by the House that the question has come up for consideration—

Sir Herbert Williams (Croydon, East)

May I ask why the hon. Member did not propose a similar Motion in connection with the Wolverhampton Bill?

Mr. MacColl

The best answer I can give to that is the one given by the hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. P. Thorneycroft) on the British Transport Bill, and that is that there is another place. If any anomalies do arise, that matter can be cleared up at some later stage.

If the House agrees to this Clause, it is reasonable to suppose it will be accepted as common form for all Bills of this character. A point to bear in mind in looking at that compensation code is that we wish to be certain we are doing nothing unjust or unfair to extremely deserving people like local government officers. Anybody who has been in local government service must be perfectly clear in their own minds about that. At the same time, there are also wider economic interests to be considered and it is necessary to see that the compensation code is sufficiently up to date that it does not create anomalies or place an unfair or unnecessary burden on the public funds.

There is a further point which is particularly important. It is that the code should not be of such a character that it encourages people to settle down as pensioners on public funds, but leaves them with an incentive to get reasonable alternative kinds of work. I ask the House to look for a moment at what seems to be the most important difference between the 1933 code at present in this Bill and the 1948 code which I am seeking to substitute for it. In the 1933 code compensation is paid without reference to length of service. Another point is that compensation once it is fixed is only suspended or abated if the officer gets employment in the public service, not in general employment, but employment in the public service. So it is quite possible that a local government officer—and local government officers being of the very high quality that they are it is a reasonable assumption that this is likely to happen—can get a very remunerative job in private employment and yet continue to be entitled to draw his pension, which he may have obtained as a result of very short service indeed.

Apart from that, it is a life pension and goes on even if he would not, had he continued in public service, become entitled to superannuation. Now that superannuation schemes are compulsory upon local authorities—they were not in 1933 when the old code was formulated—there is a bigger anomaly than ever. The 1948 code establishes an eight-year qualification period before people become entitled to compensation. It provides also for a period of review of two years during which time the compensation granted can be adjusted after taking into consideration any alternative employment which has been open to the applicant, whether it be in the public service or outside. It also provides that, when the officer reaches a pensionable age, the compensation which he receives shall be adjusted to include the pension rights which he had obtained.

Both schemes are based on a proportion of so many sixtieths of the earnings of the officer and the number of years of service. In the 1933 code there is provision for what are called "added years." For example, if a man has been 25 years in the public service, he would get 25-sixtieths of his final earnings and. in addition, added years. That means that, in addition to the years of service, he would be credited with additional years varying according to the number of years' service which he has had over a certain minimum.

The 1948 code does something which I think will commend itself to many hon. Members. It substitutes weight for age for weight for service. It does not look at the question of what the total period of service may be in order to add the extra years: it looks at what is the important problem from the point of view of obtaining alternative employment, and that is the age of the officer. The code adds additional years to the number of years of age over 45 instead of taking into account merely the number of years of service.

There is another important difference. The 1948 code does not provide compensation for part-time officers, whereas the 1933 code did. I recognise that under this provision there might be a risk of anomalies arising. I would only comment that the principle of not compensating part-time officers has already been accepted by Parliament. It is the principle which operates in the majority of Acts affecting the status of local government officers. I was not a Member of Parliament when that principle was approved, and I cannot be held responsible, but I suggest that it seems reasonable that one should accept the principle in the small group of cases under discussion.

The Act of 1948 which is mentioned in this new Clause actually dealt with the class of rating and valuation officers of whom a number are part-time officers. Therefore, it is probably more germane there than it is to this discussion. One can see the difficulties. It is not easy to assess the actual loss which has been caused to a man who has alternative sources of employment and who, perhaps, is actively pursuing his profession as well as doing local government work.

Finally, there is a provision which everyone must regard as an improvement. In place of an appeal to the Minister under the 1933 code in cases of disagreement, there is an appeal to a properly constituted specialist tribunal established by the Minister of Labour in consultation with the Lord Chancellor. In other words, instead of an appeal becoming an administrative matter dealt with in the ordinary course of events by the Minister, through his office, it becomes a matter for consideration by a specialist tribunal in a particular area. The same tribunal will operate for all the different Acts under which compensation is payable. Thus, we will get a reasonable prospect of uniformity in the standard of compensation awarded under the various Acts.

Mr. Geoffrey Hutchinson (Ilford, North)

Will the hon. Member tell the House that 10 or 12 tribunals will be set up under these 1948 Regulations?

Mr. MacColl

I used the words "in a particular district." It is correct that these tribunals deal with between 10 or 12 districts. It has been a complaint that certain disparities have been shown between the standards of compensation awarded. That seems a matter which can easily be adjusted. Although I have not come across any significant cases, if there is any foundation for the criticism, there is no reason why the matter cannot be adjusted between the various tribunals. I think it would be a sad day if this House were to reject the idea of having properly constituted tribunals for the final appeal, and if we went back to the old idea of having appeals dealt with in the ordinary course of business by the Minister. The latter practice has been violently criticised, both inside and outside this House, as an undesirable feature of administrative law.

I am sorry if I have taken up too much time. This is not a subject which lends itself to lightness of touch or delicacy of treatment. I have put before the House the main features embodied in the change which I propose. I emphasise again that it is not the case that suddenly we are picking on local government officers and trying to push something through which has not been considered and on which there has not been adequate Debate. The facts are precisely to the contrary.

We are trying to bring into line with what is now the established procedure this small group of officers who are likely to be affected by borough extensions. There are not likely at any time to be a large number, but I am sure that anyone who has had a close experience, as I have had, of this very fine body of people, the local government officers, will agree that nothing is more likely to cause trouble in the service than having two different systems of payment at work.

Therefore, the general policy ought to be to assimilate these to a common code. I suggest that the House can accept this new Clause with the confidence that they are not doing anything unjust or unfair, but that they are at this stage taking a step which it will be much more difficult to take later. This group of borough extension Bills which have been considered recently contain the first alterations of boundaries since the 1948 code was established. This is the moment at which the local government officers ought to be brought into line with the established code.

Mr. W. Griffiths (Manchester, Exchange)

I beg to second the Motion.

7.20 p.m.

Mr. Gunter (Doncaster)

I am grateful for being allowed to speak so early in this Debate. I wish to declare my interest immediately. I was Chairman of the Private Bill Committee which considered this Bill upstairs, and I should like to make the position clear to the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl). My objection to the new Clause is based on the procedure adopted by the Minister in bringing it into effect.

The Committee upstairs gave the fullest consideration to a proposal on which they never ought to have been asked to adjudicate. It is my opinion that the Committee Were faced with a conflict of interest, not between the promoters of the Bill but between the National Association of Local Government Officers and the Minister of Health. I believe that the proper place to decide the issue was on the Floor of the House, and not in a Private Bill Committee.

The Committee in their wisdom decided that the 1933 code, if I may use that phrase, which was embodied in the original Clause 36 of the South Shields Extension Bill, should stand part of that Bill, in the knowledge that the Committee had, that the Minister might have the opportunity of ventilating his case, and other Members of the House might have the opportunity of ventilating their side, upon the Floor; and this House could arrive at a decision.

I therefore wish to say, first, that I rather object to Private Bill procedure being used for this sort of purpose. I do not think it is fair to those who take the responsibility upstairs of listening to Private Bills. I wish to make it quite clear that my remarks and objections to the new Clause are based entirely upon the question of procedure. The plain issue was whether the 1933 code, which was built up—let us be quite fair to the National Association of Local Government Officers—over a long period, and was enacted upon the Floor of the House in 1933 after a very long Debate, should be removed and whether the Minister should have his way in introducing the 1948 regulations, which, if I may say with very great respect, had never been fully debated upon the Floor of the House.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Blenkinsop)

I assume that my hon. Friend would agree that they certainly came before this House and were discussed on the Floor of the House.

Hon. Members

Not fully.

Mr. Gunter

If my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary will permit me, I will return later to his interjection. The Committee, in their wisdom, decided that the matters of substantial principle that were involved in this case should come down here and be discussed on the Floor of the House.

Now, the Minister seeks to introduce the 1948 code on the grounds that the compensation Clauses of the 1933 Act are not suitable for present-day conditions, that we have moved away from the conditions that prevailed in 1933, and that a new set of circumstances exists. I am not prepared to dispute that contention of the Minister. I believe there is a real case to be made for a revision of the 1933 code, but, having said that, there is a just way in which to do it.

I repeat that I believe that the Minister is right but I wish to emphasise that I believe he is entirely wrong in the method which he has chosen. It is only five years ago since the Local Government (Boundary Commission) Act was passed in this House. That Commission was given full authority at that time to alter county, borough, and county borough boundaries, and the House at that time maintained that the 1933 code should apply to any officers who were affected under that Act. That was only five years ago. It is only seven months ago since the Local Government Boundary Commission (Dissolution) Act went through the House. I challenge the Minister that then was the time for him to bring in and to argue this case.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Not at all.

Mr. Gunter

The Minister was silent on that Bill, and therefore if I may say so with respect to the Minister, the Committee upstairs, seeking, as they must do, to understand the intentions of Parliament, were entitled to believe that it was the will of Parliament, at least, seven months ago, that the 1933 code should be maintained.

Mr. Blenkinsop

No. I do not want to keep interrupting, but surely my hon. Friend would agree that as this was certainly not included in the Bill, it was quite outside the scope of the Bill, Parliament had no opportunity at all of expressing its views upon the point.

Mr. Gunter

That is the point of which I complain. The Minister should have had an opportunity—

Mr. Blenkinsop

But the Minister—

Mr. Gunter

Perhaps I may be allowed to make my case properly; my hon. Friend will have an opportunity of making his presently. I repeat that six or seven months ago, upon the Floor of the House, was the proper time for ventilating this matter. I therefore suggest to the Minister that the House was fairly clear in its intentions that the 1933 code should prevail until, I suppose, such time as the comprehensive review takes place, if it does take place, in 1951 or 1952.

The 1948 regulations had been in operation for 18 months when the dissolution Bill was before the House seven or eight months ago. It is rather remarkable that if a change was contemplated, some mention was not made of the fact when the Bill was debated in the House. If it was in the Minister's mind that the 1933 code was completely out of date, it is a pity that he did not tell the negotiators of N.A.L.G.O. when they met him in March and April, 1948, when discussing the local government compensation regulations. It is rather strange that he did not give an indication then that he proposed to use those regulations on the wider basis of full local government operation.

I suggest to my hon. Friend that it is quite unfair to N.A.L.G.O. now to come forward by Private Bill procedure and suggest that the whole code should be altered throughout local government, or at least as far as the alteration of county boroughs is concerned, without giving them any indication in the negotiations that took place that that was in his mind. The 1933 code, undesirable as it may be for modern needs, was enacted by Parliament after a full Debate and I submit that if it is to be amended it should be amended by a general Bill and not by Private Bill procedure.

The Minister, in his own words, has restricted the scope of extension Bills upstairs. He knows very well that he will not facilitate the passage of any extension Bill if it is substantial in character. In other words, the county borough which seeks to extend its boundaries must prove an urgent and immediate need for land for housing. For that reason, no great extensions whatever are taking place. In other words, very few local government officers indeed will be affected by any extensions which take place. It is doubtful whether even five persons would be affected by the present group of extension Bills.

For the life of me, I cannot see why this matter has been raised on a Private Bill, why it could not have been left until 1951, and why negotiations could not have been entered into with N.A.L.G.O. I believe that they are a responsible body of people who would agree that there is something in the contention that the 1933 code ought to be altered. In my submission that is the way in which the matter ought to have been dealt with, or that, alternatively, the Minister should have come to the House and explained that it was his policy to use the local government compensation regulations of 1948 so far as any persons were affected by the extension of a borough.

While I could not oppose a review and an alteration of the compensation terms of 1933, while I believe that the time has arrived when consideration should be given to new and more up-to-date forms of compensation, I believe it is wrong that the Minister should niggle in this way by Private Bill procedure and do it in this manner; for let it be borne in mind that under the Local Government Boundary Commission (Dissolution) Act county review orders may come forward in 1951. The 1933 code will apply to any affected persons under these orders. We may thus have the example that a person affected by Private Bill legislation will have one set of compensation regulations and a person living next door to him and working for the next authority will have another code of compensation.

There is nothing logical in the way this is being done, and I ask the Minister seriously to consider the matter, for I have opposed it simply on the grounds of procedure. I do not want to conclude on a controversial note, but I must say that it is another instance of the utter confusion which is being created in local government by the present Minister of Health.

7.31 p.m.

Mr. Geoffrey Hutchinson (Ilford, North)

The speech of the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Gunter) will have made it clear to the House that there are involved in this matter questions which are of much wider and more general importance than the speech of the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) might have led the House to suppose. The Chairman of the Committee which considered the Bill has made a most valuable contribution to the Debate. He has pointed out that what the Minister is seeking to do by means of the new Clause is to substitute a code of regulations which have the force of a ministerial order and not the authority of full debate and discussion in this House for the earlier code contained in the Act of 1933 which was the result of long negotiations between the associations representing the parties concerned and which received the full approval of this House as part of the Local Government Act, 1933.

It is a most undesirable thing that where the House has enacted a code of regulations for determining these questions, the Minister should now be seeking to substitute for it a different code which has no more than the force of a ministerial order.

Mr. MacColl

Can the hon. and learned Gentleman say where it is laid down in the 1933 Act that the 1933 code shall be used for borough extensions?

Mr. Hutchinson

The hon. Member knows that in the Section of the 1933 Act to which he has referred it is laid down that the code in the Fourth Schedule is to be applied to all boundary extensions tinder that Act. I agree with him that that does not include extensions of county boroughs. As he knows, county boroughs can only be extended by Private Bills, but it had been the invariable practice to include in Private Bills for the extension of county boroughs the code which had received the approval of Parliament in 1933. That is what I am saying ought to be done in the case of this Bill.

Mr. MacColl

I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman does not want to be unfair. There are now two codes both of which have received the approval of Parliament, and they are both eligible to be included in a Private Bill. Before the war there was only the 1933 code. It is a little unfair to say that my new Clause substitutes something which has not been before Parliament. There is nothing in the 1933 Act which says that one code rather than another should be included. Surely it is much more sensible to choose the better code, which everybody agrees is the 1948 code?

Mr. Hutchinson

The hon. Member does not appreciate my point. I am saying that where there is a code of regulations which has received the approval of Parliament and which Parliament has enacted shall be included in the orders by which local government boundaries other than county borough boundaries are extended Parliament ought to include that code in the case of county borough extensions, which have to be carried out by Private Bills, and that we should not be invited to substitute for a code of regulations which Parliament has approved a code of regulations which has no more than the force of the Minister's order, subject only to annulment in this House.

Mr. MacColl

The 1948 code has been approved by a resolution of this House. It is not a negative matter of annulment; it has been approved by a positive resolution of the House after Debate. My argument is that it is far more sensible to include in Private Bills the code which now covers the vast majority of local government officers, Parliament having decided so, rather than to go back and resurrect the 1933 code which only applies to a comparatively small number of local government areas covered by ministerial and other orders. I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman would wish to put my point fairly, and not to imply that this is something which we have invented for the purpose.

Mr. Hutchinson

I have been endeavouring to treat the hon. Member's arguments as fairly as I can, and I think that I make my point quite plain. The hon. Member rested his argument very largely upon the grounds, as he did in his intervention a moment ago, that it was undesirable that there should be two codes of regulations. I agree with him. I think it was quite unnecessary for the Minister ever to introduce a second code at all.

The hon. Member claimed that the effect of his Clause would be to assimilate the conditions under which compensation is paid to different classes of local authority officials. What he and the Minister are seeking to do will have exactly the opposite effect. As the hon. Member for Doncaster pointed out, as recently as last November the House enacted the Local Government Boundary Commission (Dissolution) Act, 1949. By that Act the provisions for the revision of local government boundaries, other than the boundaries of county boroughs, which are contained in the 1933 Act were expressly revived.

It is something like 10 years since alterations of local government boundaries on any extensive scale took place, and we must now expect that proposals are likely to be made under the 1933 Act for alterations of boundaries. It is true that the power to make these proposals is temporarily suspended and will not come into operation until 1951, but after 1951 we must anticipate that these proposals will be made. All these proposals for the alteration of boundaries, in so far as they give rise to claims for compensation, must be carried out upon the terms of the regulations in the 1933 Act, so that we shall then get the very situa- tion about which the hon. Member complains.

We shall get one class of local Government officials becoming entitled to compensation under the old code, and we shall get another class of officials, who are affected by the extension of county boroughs, becoming entitled to compensation under the new Clause. I agree with the hon. Member for Widnes that that is a most undesirable thing. I should have thought that the right way to prevent that state of things coming about would have been for the Minister to have refrained from doing what he is doing now, by endeavouring to insert in these extension Bills his new code of regulations.

The matter really goes further than that. The hon. Member for Widnes seemed to be unaware that four Bills have passed through this House for the extension of county boroughs in the last few weeks. Each contains the regulations of 1933, and the Minister has taken no objection.

Mr. Blenkinsop

It was agreed that this particular Bill should be regarded as the case upon which the matter should be properly decided, and it has already been agreed in another place to use the new Clause in Bills which have been started in another place and will come before this House later.

Mr. Hutchinson

My information is that it was agreed in one case that a decision in this Bill should govern a decision in that Bill as well, but only in one case. My information is that there are three other Bills, on which there was no agreement at all, in which the 1933 code has been inserted and there are, I think, three Bills in another place into which the Committee in another place has decided to introduce the 1948 regulations. The result of that has been to create a chaos which is far worse than any which existed before.

Mr. Blenkinsop

If the hon. and learned Member will allow me to say so, that is just not the case. It certainly would be creating chaos if we were to insert the 1933 regulations in this Bill. In fact, in another place, as I have already explained, they have inserted the 1948 regulations; and no doubt they will take notice of the decision we come to here in their decisions about other Bills that are awaiting their attention.

Mr. Hutchinson

I think the Parliamentary Secretary is really sidetracking this point. The fact is that four Bills have been passed in this House containing the 1933 Clause. We do not know what may happen to them in another place, but, according to my information, there is no agreement at all as to what course is to be taken or not taken in another place. The position, as it exists tonight, is that there are four Bills which have passed this House, including the Wolverhampton Bill which was passed the other night, in which the Minister took no steps—

Mr. Blenkinsop

The hon. and learned Gentleman must not go on repeating this point. It is perfectly clear that they have accepted the 1948 code in another place. Therefore, naturally, they are awaiting the decision of this House as to what action they should take in regard to other Bills awaiting their attention. There is no likelihood of any confusion, provided this House does not adopt the 1933 code.

Mr. Hutchinson

I still submit to the House that it is a very unsatisfactory state of things that some Bills should be passing through this House with one set of Clauses in them and others with another set. It would have been much more logical and more respectful to the House that the Minister should have taken steps, if he thought it desirable, to make sure that this House has the opportunity of expressing an opinion on each of the Bills, dealing with this matter, which pass through this House.

As the hon. Member for Doncaster said, the Minister had an opportunity, as recently as last November, of amending the Act of 1933 if, in his opinion, the Act called for amendment. The Act of last November, dissolving the Boundary Commission, expressly revived the provisions of the Act of 1933 for local government boundary adjustments, other than the adjustment of county boroughs. I would have thought that that was the opportunity which the Minister had to amend the earlier Acts, if he thought it was desirable to do so. These regulations of 1948 had then been in force for something like 14 months. I believe they came into force in July 1948.

If the Minister thought that a repeal of the regulations of 1933 was desirable, there was no reason at all why he should not have done it then. If he had done it then, this House would have had the opportunity, which I think it ought to have, of considering an amendment of the earlier Act. It would have given us an opportunity to consider these regulations in detail and, if we thought fit, to amend them—an opportunity that we do not get under the procedure the Minister is now following.

I hope the House will take the view tonight that, if the Minister considers the regulations of 1933 are no longer appropriate to the present conditions, he ought to seek to amend the Act of 1933 in the proper way and not use the methods which are being used in this Bill. I do not propose to dwell upon the respective merits of these two codes of regulations.

Mr. MacColl

Why not?

Mr. Hutchinson

I know that some of my hon. Friends are very well acquainted with them and, no doubt, will say something about them. I only desire to say this: these 1948 regulations are not particularly good regulations. As has been said, they have been introduced into the various Acts which transfer services from the local authorities to the newly constituted national authorities; so there has been some experience of working them. They have produced some very remarkable results.

The 1948 regulations set up tribunals by which questions arising out of these regulations are determined. There are different tribunals in different parts of the country. My information is that there are now something like 10 or 12 of these tribunals adjudicating upon these questions of compensation. They are all coming to different conclusions, and there is no body to co-ordinate these decisions and make them uniform. The result is that, within the scope of these regulations themselves we are getting a great variety of decisions on their application.

The hon. Member for Widnes claimed that one of the merits of the 1948 regulations was that the whole service for which compensation is payable must be either local government service or service, in a public authority, and that it excluded altogether officers who were partly en- gaged in an occupation which was not in the public service. In fact, that has produced most unfair results. There have; been cases in which officers have spent nine-tenths of their time in public appointments but, because the whole time was not so spent, they are not entitled to compensation at all. I suggest that it is most unjust that an officer who has spent, the whole of his time in the public service, should receive no compensation at all. That is a most unfair and unjust arrangement.

I have no wish to dwell on the respective merits of these two sets of regulations because, in my submission, very much more important questions are at stake. But I desire, in conclusion, to say that if the House had to choose between the regulations which it enacted in 1933 and the regulations which the Minister is now seeking to substitute for them, then those regulations which were approved by the House in 1933 are much fairer to the officers and, on the whole, more just than those which the Minister now seeks to substitute.

I hope the House will reject this Clause and will allow the Bill to proceed in the form in which it was promoted. If the Minister desires that these regulations should be amended, he should come to the House in the usual way with amending legislation, in circumstances in which this House can discuss and debate the whole matter and can decide what it is prepared to accept as the basis for assessment of compensation for these local government officers.

7.52 p.m.

Mr. Ewart (Sunderland, South)

I am asked by the promoters of the Bill to say, first, that they are quite indifferent as to which code is placed in the Bill—the existing code of 1933 or the code as laid down in the Act of 1948. The promoters of the Bill, South Shields Corporation, are desirous to get the Bill through and to get on with the necessary job of extending their boundaries and building the houses which are urgently required. They maintain the attitude which they adopted during the Committee stage of their Bill—complete indifference as to whether, in effect, the regulations of the Minister are applied or whether the National Association of Local Government Officers win the day.

I want to say a few words about the regulations themselves. From what has been said from the other side of the House it appears that there is no objection to the 1948 code, but that there is an objection to the method and manner in which the Minister has conducted the business of opposing the code by an Amendment at this stage. It would appear from the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Hutchinson)—speaking for himself or for his party; I do not know which—that the objections from hon. Members opposite mean that we have two different codes operating in local government service and that that position should continue, even though it is top-heavy and lopsided.

The majority of local government officers are covered by the 1948 code. They are covered by that in the case of transfer of functions but, in a small number of cases under county council review orders, the 1933 code is applied. Because the 1933 code applies in a small number of cases, the Opposition argue that we should extend the anomaly by applying the 1933 code to others, although it is agreed in principle that the 1948 regulations are preferable if we are to meet modern day conditions and modern day standards. That seems to be the position.

Mr. Hutchinson indicated dissent

Mr. Odey (Beverley)

No such contention has yet been made.

Mr. Ewart

The hon. and learned Member for Ilford, North, said that his principal objection concerned the method adopted by the Minister in imposing the 1948 code in dealing with the extension of county borough areas.

Mr. Hutchinson

The hon. Member knows that I also said that if the House had to choose between these two codes, then the 1933 code seemed to me to be the more just of the two.

Mr. Ewart

Let us examine the 1933 code and see whether it is more just and equitable than the 1948 code. As I understand it, the 1933 code gives a pension for loss of office and that pension is abated only if the displaced officer takes employment as a result of which he draws his remuneration from public funds. The pension is awarded to the officer not for loss of earning power but for loss of office, and it continues for life.

Since the 1933 code was passed there has been the intervention of the 1937 Local Government Superannuation Act, and the officer displaced under the 1933 code can enjoy for life the full compensation which would accrue to him under those regulations. On the other hand, retired officers in the same grade who have not been displaced would receive the appropriate superannuation payment on retirement at 65. The 1933 code, in effect, says this: here is a pension which you take with you all the time. I would agree with the contention made by hon. Members on this side of the House that the 1948 regulations are preferable in order to meet the present day standards in so far as we are enjoying an era of full employment. The opportunities for obtaining employment are more plentiful both within the public service and outside the public service than they were in 1933.

In this case, South Shields say there will be none displaced and, in the case of the Bill which hangs on this, the Sunderland Bill, there, too, it is said that none will be displaced. It has been said that a precedent will be set here which would affect the four Bills mentioned earlier which will be amended in another place, and I estimate that in those four cases there will not be one displaced officer under the extension procedure. If there were a displaced officer in this case, he would have his compensation award met by the simple method of formal application. If he were not satisfied he could go to the tribunal.

Hon. Members opposite can take no objection to that because previously they have objected to ministerial action, particularly in the nationalisation Bills, and have demanded independent tribunals for the determination of cases. If such an award were made to a displaced officer he could very easily obtain employment outside the public service and could enjoy the full pension for life in addition to his remuneration. That would be a happy state of affairs if it applied to all classes and all grades. If it applied to the dockers, the shipyard workers and the miners there might be some justification for the Opposition arguing for its retention or its extension in the case of local government officers.

The difference between the situation now and that in 1933, is that then the Opposition could take full credit for the 1933 Act and code, as they must take full credit for the conditions that obtained at that time—conditions not of full employment but under which there was a standing army of two million unemployed, and when the prospect of obtaining employment was a dismal one. It was also a time when a man, whether he had been displaced from office or whether he became unemployed in the ordinary way, was too old at 40 and could not get a job if he was over that age. In the light of those standards there might have been some argument in 1933 in justification of the 1933 code but there is no justification today for the continuance of that code in a situation of full employment and better opportunities.

Are the 1948 regulations unjust? That is what we, particularly on this side of the House, have to ask ourselves. Is the code unjust, and will it create hardship? Its effect simply is to lay down that instead of being compensated for life for loss of office a person shall be compensated, within the scale laid down, for loss of remuneration, while that person is genuinely seeking other alternative employment and is unable to obtain it. If, on reaching 65, that person has continued to receive compensation under the code, then that compensation will be adjusted and he will receive the equivalent of what would have accrued to him under the Local Government Superannuation Act.

That is a perfectly just and reasonable arrangement, and considering that the majority of local government officers are conditioned to the 1948 code, the argument to the contrary is that a very small number displaced under county council review orders and the one or two who might be displaced under county borough extension Bills should have treatment preferential to that accorded to the majority of officers, who are conditioned to the 1948 code.

The principal argument has been whether or not the Minister has adopted the right method in introducing the regulations in Bills such as the one which we are now discussing. There is the precedent of the 1948 Act, and it might be argued that from that time every Measure affecting local government officers who are subject to displacement should have had the 1948 code applied to it. I believe it is a very serious conten- tion that when Private Bills go upstairs for consideraiton the Committees appointed to consider such Bills should consider the point of view of all people, of Ministers, of objectors to the Bill and of people who are there to promote legislation to their advantage. But the argument has been put forward here tonight that that privilege should be withdrawn from Committees considering such Bills, and that by an Act of Parliament the 1948 code should be substituted.

Be that as it may, it might be desirable for the Minister now to take the initiative of amending the 1933 Act and bringing it more into keeping with the standard of modern conditions. I wish to say, however, that it has been understood that the South Shields Bill would be the Measure on which each other Bill would hang. The South Shields Bill and the Sunderland Bill were taken together, and it was agreed in Committee that whatever applied in the South Shields Bill in the case of the Clause we are now discussing would automatically apply to the Sunderland Bill. That was accepted by all parties. The fact that the Sunderland Bill preceded the South Shields Bill in receiving its Third Reading, and has gone to another place for consideration, does not alter the position very much.

The situation now is that whatever happens in this House tonight in respect of Clause 36 of the South Shields Extention Bill will also apply, by means of amendment in another place, to the Sunderland Bill and other Bills which are hanging on the decision in this case. My argument does not concern whether or not the Minister has conducted himself in this matter with the necessary Parliamentary decorum but whether the conditions which we shall apply tonight to local government officers in Clause 36 of this Bill are equitable, just and reasonable. Because of that, I support the proposed new Clause.

8.7 p.m.

Mr. Odey (Beverley)

In rising to oppose the inclusion of this Clause in the Bill, I wish first to associate myself with the remarks made by the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Gunter), who was Chairman of the Committee which considered this Bill upstairs. The opposition to this Clause arises on two grounds. The first concerns the manner in which it was introduced or in which it was attempted to introduce it, by a side door, so to speak, in a Private Bill Committee. As the hon. Member for Doncaster has said, that Committee felt that it was not a question which the Committee should ever have been called upon to decide. They felt that it was a matter which should be considered on the Floor of the House. We are, therefore, considering the matter this evening, and the Minister is attempting to do on the Floor of the House what he endeavoured to do before the Committee upstairs.

Why is it that the opposition still persists? Surely the reason is that the time has come when this House should object to an attempt on the part of any Minister to substitute any regulations for an Act of Parliament. The hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl), who moved the new Clause, argued that from the point of view of law regulations have equal force with the provisions of any Act. He did not remind the House that when those regulations came before the House in the last Parliament they were considered for a matter of half an hour.

Mr. Blenkinsop

That is not true; the hon. Member should not say that. There was quite a lengthy Debate. I know that it was at a late hour of the night, but that Debate certainly lasted very much longer than half an hour; it went on for over two hours.

Mr. Odey

I am not particularly concerned about whether it went on for a half-hour or for two hours. The fact remains that the House is well aware that no regulations receive that detailed consideration which is given to a Bill in Committee upstairs. We say to the Minister that we are not here tonight particularly to defend the 1933 Act but to ask why the Minister cannot bring forward a Bill to amend the Act, if it needs amendment, and put the whole thing on a proper basis. It is no object of mine to defend the 1933 Act, but there have been criticisms of that Act on account of certain cases of compensation which have arisen. These cases have been grossly exaggerated. They mainly arose where there were certain agreements which enabled the people concerned to claim more compensation than we should regard as right and proper today.

When I listened to the evidence that was brought forward by the National Association of Local Government Officers before the Committe upstairs, I felt—and I am sure all Members of the House will agree—that whatever might be said against the 1933 Act, there was a great deal to be said against the 1948 regulations; because it is not only the case that any local government officer who carried on any private work at all was debarred by the 1948 regulations from having any compensation whatever, but there were also provisions in the 1948 regulations which have weighed very heavily on local government officers.

There was a provision in the 1948 regulations that compensation was to be determined by the period that the claimant had held the office he was occupying at the time when he was still employed. There was a case in Newcastle of a clerk to a mental hospital committee, with 17 years' local government service, who had this period cut to two years because it was held that that was the length of time that he had held that particular appointment.

In another case, a clerk to a joint hospital board had his service cut from 36 years to 12 years on the technical point that he was not employed directly, although he was doing the same duties, by the board for the whole of the 36 years. These instances will, I am sure, convince the House that the 1948 regulations want very carefully looking into before they are used to supplant the 1933 Act.

In addition, under the 1933 Act, there was in the case of a dispute the right of appeal to the Minister and there could also be an appeal to the courts. Under the 1948 regulations there were set up 10 to 12 appeal tribunals, which have been mentioned by a number of hon. Members, and the trouble with these appeal tribunals is that on the cases that go to them there is no uniformity of decision. There was a case of a legal officer of N.A.L.G.O. who went to Edinburgh to complete a case. He had to go there on two occasions. On the second occasion a point arose which he had already argued on his first visit. He therefore said to the chairman, "I do not propose to make any submission in this case"; but it was a different chairman, and the new chairman informed him that that same tribunal was in no way bound by its previous decisions.

I have had 25 years' experience of industrial management and I know—and hon. Members will agree with me—that there is nothing that creates more heartburning and irritation than to have similar men in different parts of the country doing the same work and getting different treatment.

Mr. Pannell (Leeds, West)

Is it not a fact that these tribunals are trying to judge on the merits of each case?

Mr. Odey

I agree that they are endeavouring to settle on the merits of each case, but there is no uniform code which they are able to follow, and even when they have an example in front of them, they obviously, from the case I have cited, are not following it. The fact remains that this whole system of the appeal tribunal is not giving satisfaction to local government officers. That is the main point and it is a grave defect of the 1948 regulations that that should be so. We who oppose this Bill say to the House, first and foremost, that if there is something wrong with the 1933 Act, the Government should amend it.

The Government have not a big legislative programme in front of them. When they have got rid of allotments and mid-wives, perhaps they can turn their attention to local government officers. Since 1944, the Government have taken over great powers of central government in matters like education, transport and public health, and the enactments of this House are, in fact, carried out by these local government officers, who are the most loyal body of men in the country. Surely to goodness they are entitled to receive from this House fair, just and proper treatment; and, in our submission, that uniformity of treatment which is the very essence of proper treatment can only be achieved by cutting out all these anomalies, by cutting out the circumstances whereby in a Private Bill the 1933 Act may apply or in rural district councils the 1948 Regulations may be in operation. Make it uniform, and I submit that it can only be made uniform by an Amendment of the 1933 Act.

Mr. MacColl

I am not clear about this argument. The loyal officers to whom he refers as operating nationalised in- dustries are already covered under the 1948 code. He is seeking to preserve these differences. I cannot understand why he is arguing for a uniform code, when one already exists. He may not like it in detail but that does not matter. Parliament has approved it as a uniform code for local government officers.

Mr. Odey

The fact remains that there were many local government officers taken over at the time when these various industries were nationalised, and it is the whole of my case that the regulations which govern their compensation should be the same in both cases. We do not want the 1933 Act and the 1948 regulations. The proper thing to do is to amend the 1933 Act.

8.19 p.m.

Mr. Pannell (Leeds, West)

I find it very difficult to follow the argument of the hon. Member for Beverley (Mr. Odey). Throughout the years, whether tribunals have tried cases of conscientious objectors, matters of compensation in cases such as this, or the delinquencies which doctors commit from time to time, there are local committees who attempt to assess the merits of each case. After 20 years in local government—

Dr. Hill (Luton)

The hon. Gentleman might add, for the sake of accuracy, that the final decision is reached by a central committee.

Mr. Pannell

I take it, of course, that the hon. Member is referring to the doctors, who always want to be above the law.

Dr. Hill

The hon. Member specifically quoted doctors as an example in support of his case. I proved him inaccurate, and he responded by suggesting that doctors desire to be different. I suggest that he is a little less than fair in his argument.

Mr. Pannell

The hon. Member has had enough experience of this sort of thing not to be quite so sensitive. I could not possibly match his radio broadcast during the General Election, but there need not be so much sensitiveness now on his part when I talk about the delinquencies of doctors.

We are talking about the matter of local tribunals, which are not so local, there being 12 of them in different parts of the country. They will start with reasonable and responsible people, and they will be guided in the main by the code itself. They will attempt to mete out justice, and if there is a different chairman from time to time, the new chairman will not, any more than a county court judge, be guided other than by submissions. We all know this kind of procedure in connection with evictions and other matters. The merits of the case will have to enter into it.

It has been the particular case of N.A.L.G.O. that they do not want uniformity. They want, not a centralised bureaucracy but local government broken down throughout the country. Who has raved more about central government? This is an extraordinary plea being put forward by self-interested Members opposite.

Mr. Hutchinson

Does not the hon. Member appreciate that the criticism that is being made against these tribunals is that they put different interpretations upon the same regulations? It is that lack of uniformity which is the point at issue.

Mr. Pannell

The hon. and learned Member comes from a profession which puts a different interpretation on every sentence I make. I listened to him very carefully, and it does not lie in his mouth to criticise.

The argument so far has been about the interpretation of this 1948 code and the way the Minister has done it, but I will leave the Parliamentary Secretary to reply to that, because it is outside my knowledge as a back bencher, as a new Member of the House and as one who did not take part in the proceedings upstairs. [An HON. MEMBER: "Obviously."] I have not, at least, brought knowledge to this Debate garnered at a few minutes to 12 from my local branch of N.A.L.G.O. I bring the knowledge of experience of local government for over 20 years. It is absolutely ridiculous to suggest that we are going to create in these days a privileged class of society. One can appreciate the argument, having negotiated in the trade union sense for the "most favourable" clause to be left in agreements.

The fact is that 12 Bills have passed through this House with the 1948 code. All the great nationalised undertakings have been brought in, and it has been open to pray against the code if Members wished to do a reasonable job as Members of the Opposition. It will be generally agreed by those who know anything about local government that we are now having, after a good number of years, the first of a spate of this type of Bills. It would be unreasonable, therefore, to use the 1933 code, bearing in mind what has been done in the nationalised industries and the integration of many local government services into those undertakings.

I ask Members not to worry themselves too much as to whether this Bill should be accepted or not. I suggest that these are pedantic and legalistic arguments and that we ought to get down to the code itself. I ask the House to give a verdict tonight in the sense that this Bill fulfils the needs of the times in the best traditions of local government. I ask the House not to listen to special pleadings which will only make future legislation extremely awkward and ambiguous.

8.28 p.m.

Mr. Lionel Heald (Chertsey)

As I understand it, the question before the House is whether this Bill should be amended at the behest of two hon. Members who are really the secret agents of the Minister of Health. I ask the House to reject this Clause on three grounds.

Mr. Pannell

The hon. and learned Gentleman speaks about secret agents. Can we speak of agents of the National Association of Local Government Officers?

Mr. Heald

The hon. Member can speak about them as much as he likes, but I am not an agent of the National Association of whatever he called it. I do not know what it stands for.

I was asking the House to reject this Clause on three grounds. The first is that the introduction of this Clause into the Bill, which contains the 1933 code at the request of the promoters, does, in fact, cause an injustice to a number of people. The second reason is on the basis of a constitutional objection. The third reason is as a condemnation of the administrative methods and behaviour of the Government.

On the first matter, I will not enlarge upon what has already been said on this subject except to say, in reply to the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl), that far from removing anomalies this Clause will create them; it will actually deprive people who were part-time officers, and who had a right to be considered for compensation under a Clause in the Bill as it stands now, from being considered at all. That is an unfair thing to do in the circumstances, unless it can be justified very clearly.

The second reason I gave was a constitutional reason. The 1933 Act was the result of a working out for a number of years of a system of compensation that was first put forward as long ago as the Local Government Act. 1888. What is sought to be done is to substitute for that what was done by the Minister of Health in statutory regulations applied by virtue of the 1948 Act, the 1948 Local Government Act being limited to very specific purposes. The fact is that the Minister of Health has used those regulations for the purpose of applying it to the nationalised industries. If local government officers are to be treated on the same basis as the nationalised industries, that is a very serious matter which ought to be decided by the House in the proper way, and not by the hole-and-corner methods adopted in this case. [Laughter.] Hon. Members opposite seem to find this very amusing, but some of us are interested in these constitutional matters.

That brings me to the third reason. It has been pointed out that a number of Bills have gone through in one form or another. When the Boundary Commission was dissolved in 1949, the 1933 method was adopted, and so on and so forth. Last week the House passed the Wolverhampton Corporation Bill, Clause 31 of which incorporated the 1933 provisions. The Parliamentary Secretary intervened in that Debate, as, no doubt, he will intervene again this evening, and said this: We advise the House … that in view of the very careful consideration it has had, it should be given its Third Reading."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st June, 1950; Vol. 476, c. 1421.]

Mr. Blenkinsop

As I said before, it was clearly understood upstairs that the decision upon this Bill will affect the Wolverhampton Bill, and it is a little naive of hon. Members to put the matter in this form, when that was clearly understood.

Mr. Heald

I am very much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for using such a word as "naive," but I thought it might be just as well to say that there was no agreement to which I was party; I never heard of it and I voted in the Division Lobby. The Parliamentary Secretary voted in favour of that Bill, so did the Attorney-General, so did the Solicitor-General, so did the hon. Member for Widnes, so did the hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. D. Griffiths), and so did the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) who surely never has South Shields far from his heart. If for nothing else, this is an example of administrative incompetence and an insult to this House. The Minister of Health wishes to alter the whole basis of compensation in the country but has not got the courage to argue the thing himself. He sends his Parliamentary Secretary and a few others to the House to do it for him. I ask the House to reject this Clause.

8.35 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Mr. Blenkinsop)

I find it very interesting that in this discussion we should have had many different points of view. For example, we have had the point of view put by my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Gunter). He bases his objection on the method adopted by my hon. Friend in introducing this Clause for discussion. That appears to be the point of view of many hon. Members opposite.

The majority of the Members who have spoken so far have based their objection to this Clause on grounds of procedure rather than on the grounds of the contents of the Clause itself, or of the 1948 code, which we are seeking to introduce in replacement of the 1933 code. There are a few hon. Members who have intimated that they feel that, on balance, the 1933 code is better, but they have been careful not to go into any detail about it. I think I can quite fairly assume that the main argument this evening has been on the question of the procedure used and that it is not really contended by any hon. Member that the 1933 code is now suitable for our modern conditions. Let me deal first with the point that has been raised both by my hon. Friend the Mem- ber for Doncaster and by other hon. Members opposite about the procedure adopted in this case.

I suggest that the procedure adopted is completely normal for this House, and that, although several hon. Members appear to wish to dodge this issue, this is not a new matter. In point of fact, we are not bringing this forward as a new principle for discussion in this House. This has been discussed in the House before in the form in which it related to the National Health Service which not only, let it be remembered, effected a transfer out of local government service altogether, but caused a large number of transfers from one part of local government service to another. That is closely analogous to the sort of change that might conceivably arise under boundary revision Bills. What is more, among other Statutes to which have been applied the 1948 code, we have a whole series of Measures, not only dealing with nationalisation, but a great variety, including the Local Government Act, 1948, which related, as hon. Members are aware, particularly to rating officers.

It is far from being true that this proposal introduces to the House for the first time some completely new principle. That is utterly wrong. The principle was, I suggest, accepted by the House. Objections were made, and so were suggestions for alteration, but the new code was clearly accepted by the House after Debate. If hon. Members opposite think that there should have been longer discussion, well, it was surely within the opportunity of hon. Members at that time to decide whether they would continue the Debate and vote in any way upon it, or not. There was full opportunity for discussion in the House. What is more, there has been a series of opportunities for the House to discuss the matter, had hon. Members so desired, by the Prayer procedure when other regulations were submitted. In fact, those opportunities were not taken.

Mr. Wakefield (Derbyshire, West)

Did the regulations come before the House in a form in which they were subject to amendment or only in a form in which they were subject to annulment?

Mr. Blenkinsop

They did not come before the House in a form in which they were capable of amendment. That is perfectly true, but the suggestion is being made that a new principle is being raised before the House by what is called a "back-door" method. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] That is utterly and absolutely untrue.

Colonel Clarke (East Grinstead)

Does the Minister really consider that the Prayer procedure is equivalent, in fairness to the House for purposes of discussion, to the way in which the 1933 Bill was discussed? He knows that no Amendments are possible and that the matter comes on late. It is totally unfair to say that it was properly discussed in this House.

Mr. Blenkinsop

I am mentioning that there was the opportunity, had hon. Members so desired, to raise the matter by the Prayer procedure, but the particular case on which the discussion took place in the House was on an affirmative Resolution, which gave full opportunity for discussion. The point I am dealing with is the argument that this is a wholly new principle, and that the House has not had an opportunity of dealing with it. I say that the principle has been fully discussed, and that the House has had the opportunity of dealing with it. It is rubbish to suggest that, having adopted the principle, it is not normal procedure to move to insert it in these Bills coming before us today.

I must here refer to the quite fantastic remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Chertsey (Mr. Heald) who sought to suggest that just because there was agreement for the convenience of Members of the House that this matter should be raised upon this particular Bill, we were, therefore, in some way guilty of allowing another Bill to go through without this particular Amendment.

Mr. Iain MacLeod (Enfield, West)

The position is this. This matter was not raised on the Committee stage of the Wolverhampton Bill. The Parliamentary Secretary recommended the Wolverhampton Bill to this House without reservation on Third Reading. The Wolverhampton Bill has left this House ahead of the South Shields Bill. Why did not the Parliamentary Secretary in all honesty say that he recommended the Bill with the exception of Clause 31?

Mr. Blenkinsop

Really, the hon. Member is almost as childish on this issue as his hon. and learned Friend. This is the perfectly normal procedure of this House, and it is quite fantastic for hon. Members to make this sort of complaint. I have already made it perfectly clear that in another place they have already accepted in two particular Bills which started in that House the 1948 code, and it is natural that they should desire to hear expressed the point of view of this House before proceeding further with the other Bills with which we have been dealing. It is surely quite fantastic to suggest that we should raise this matter on each single Bill instead of adopting the perfectly normal procedure which has been current in this House for a long time, as hon. Members know perfectly well, of raising it on one particular Bill. It is exactly the same principle which is at stake, and it would have been quite fantastic to have brought forward each separate Bill for discussion of this item.

Mr. Alport (Colchester) rose

Mr. Blenkinsop

I have given way a reasonable number of times, and I do not really see that the repetition of the same point gets us very far.

Mr. Alport

On a point of order. Is it in order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for the Parliamentary Secretary to make a statement in regard to matters which took place upstairs without giving any ground for the assertion he made? You will remember that earlier, in his intervention in the Debate, he said that the problem with which we are dealing at the moment was well known to the Committee. I have heard no reference to that in his speech, nor has there been any evidence produced by him.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Milner)

I do not think there is any objection to that because the minutes and report of the Committee are on record and are available to all hon. Members

Mr. Alport rose

Mr. Blenkinsop

I understand that the hon Member is not raising a further point of order.

It was for that reason—that the matter of principle had already been discussed in this House and that the same issue could have been discussed on many occa- sions—that the normal procedure was followed of proposing the introduction of this Clause in the Bill when it was upstairs. It was only when N.A.L.G.O. petitioned against the alteration that we knew they were opposing this proposal. As far as we knew, they had accepted this principle after the discussions that had taken place previously, as indeed they had. I am not saying that they welcomed it—far from it—but there had been long discussions upon it on the other Bills that we had had before us in the House, and we understood that they accepted the principle for general application.

Mr. R. S. Hudson (Southport)

May I interrupt the hon. Gentleman? It is a matter of some importance to the procedure of this House. The Parliamentary Secretary has been accused by hon. Members on this side of a lack of candour, to say the least of it, in his speech on the Wolverhampton Bill in not mentioning this fact when we discussed it here. I was present, and I confirm to the best of my recollection that he did not, but he now says it was understood upstairs in the Committee—to which most of us have not had access or have not read the proceedings—that this question would be raised on the South Shields Bill. I think we are entitled to ask that the hon. Gentleman should substantiate that statement. One of my hon. Friends behind me has doubted that statement from his own recollection. You, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, have stated that the proceedings are on record, and we are entitled to ask that the Parliamentary Secretary should justify the remarks and quote the page and the column in HANSARD in which this alleged statement was made. Otherwise we are bound to assume that he has no justification for the statement he made.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Hon. Members are making a great deal out of a very little. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] Certainly. If there are quite a number of Private Bills coming forward on which precisely the same point arises, it is obviously desirable that the matter should be discussed on one and not necessarily on each.

Mr. Hudson

But on the important point affecting the veracity of the hon. Gentleman, he has made a specific statement to this House within the recollection of all of us. His veracity has been questioned. We say he ought to substantiate his statement or else withdraw it.

Mr. Blenkinsop

As I say, the right hon. Gentleman is trying to create a certain amount of heat in this Debate—

Mr. Hudson

No, I am not.

Mr. Blenkinsop

—and my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary advises me that he is succeeding, whether he is trying or not. The simple point is that it was understood that in all these Bills—

Mr. Hudson

That is a very different statement.

Mr. Blenkinsop

—that in all these Bills which require a compensation Clause we would take the decision that was reached on this Bill as the guiding factor in the decisions that might be come to on them. It is quite absurd for hon. or right hon. Gentlemen opposite to raise a storm on this perfectly natural and desirable procedure. Otherwise, it would mean that we should be raising this same issue on a series of separate Bills.

Mr. Hudson rose

Mr. Blenkinsop


Mr. Hudson

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I venture with all humility to suggest to you that this is treating the House with a lack of candour. The Parliamentary Secretary has made a statement. He has been challenged by this side of the House. We say the statement has no truth in it.

Mr. Blenkinsop

I find that the right hon. Gentleman, who has had a long experience of this House, is really attempting to introduce a point of order which hardly seems to be a point of order at all. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman is now saying that he has had much longer experience at this Box than I have. Certainly, he has, and do not we all know it? It is not, indeed, a happy experience.

Let me now get back to the issue we are discussing here. It has been alleged, and this is the main argument of hon. Members opposite, as indeed it is the main argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster, that this has been introduced in a back-stage way. My contention is that, so far from that being true, the matter has been fully discussed in this House already, that there has been ample opportunity for discussion of the principle on a whole series of different occasions, and that therefore the method adopted of introducing this new Clause is a perfectly normal and natural one.

The next main point raised was that of the creation of anomalies. It has been said by many hon. Members—and quite rightly and fairly—that it is undesirable to have in operation two different codes for different members of local government staffs doing similar types of work. We quite agree that it is desirable that we should establish a single code and that that code should be applicable to our modern times. Hon. Members opposite, so far as I can find out, seem to suggest that we should continue to use the 1933 code, which even they will admit is not in tune with our present situation, and which in many ways can only mean a considerable waste of public money.

One would have thought that hon. Members opposite would have taken note of that fact. They complain in this House of the importance of keeping a close check on public expenditure, but when we suggest in this new Clause that we should adopt a procedure which will effect a much closer check and is much more in tune with our economic needs today, we find them opposing us. I can only suggest that it is because they feel that they have an opportunity of gaining a little extra support from one organisation or another. [Interruption.] It is quite obvious. In fact, were we to do what hon. Members opposite suggest, were we to accept the 1933 code in this Bill, it would certainly mean that we would create a great number of new anomalies, for the simple reason that, over the major field of the local government service, the 1948 code is in operation.

Therefore, if we were now to accept the 1933 code in this Bill, although it is perfectly true that very few, if any, officers are likely to be affected, they would be in clear contrast to the position of their brother officers in other fields. It is therefore highly desirable, in order to secure just that uniformity which hon. Members opposite are claiming we should have, that we should have introduced the 1948 code in this small remaining field, and it is, indeed, a very small field. I agree that it is desirable in future, as soon as it becomes practicable to bring forward proposals for reform in local government, that we should introduce a new and revised modern procedure for the 1933 code, and that, I am quite sure, we shall do as soon as opportunity offers.

I am asked why we did not take the opportunity of the 1949 Dissolution Bill, but the intention and scope of that Bill was a very narrow one. It was designed merely to dissolve the Local Government Boundary Commission and restore the position that previously had been in existence. In fact, it would require considerable amendment to the 1933 Act to have made it apply to the type of Bill with which we are now dealing. To deal with the extensions of county boroughs, which are not normally covered by the 1933 Act, would have required a major amendment of the 1933 Act, which was certainly not within the intention of the Government when they produced the Bill. Of course, there was no opportunity for this House to consider the principle on this issue when that Bill was under consideration.

The main issue before the House is whether it is right or wrong to adopt a code of compensation for local government officers that is broadly fair for the officers themselves and also—and this is a vital matter—fair for the country as a whole. We suggest that, although the 1933 code might have been suitable for the times of depression and unemployment that were the natural counterpart of the Governments of that day, it is not the natural code for a Government which is succeeding in maintaining full employment in this country.

It is vital for this country that there should be no disincentive to any working man, to any employee of a local authority, to seek alternative employment, whether it be in the public field or the private field, and therefore I suggest that the 1933 code is not only out of date for our present needs, but is positively dangerous in its operation as it might affect our main economic needs today. Therefore, this House must face the fact that my hon. Friend is proposing to introduce a new Clause which brings these Bills into line with our general practice and general procedure. Were we to reject this Clause, we would bring about a very large number of serious anomalies and might indeed set back the economic recovery of which we are all so proud.

Mr. Odey

May I ask the hon. Gentleman this question? If his right hon. Friend the Minister of Health is dissatisfied with the 1933 Act, why does he not bring in a Measure to amend it? Could I have an answer?

Mr. Blenkinsop

I do not think there is any necessity for a further answer. I have already answered the hon. Member by saying that as soon as practicable, we shall undoubtedly bring forward amending legislation on local government and will need to include this revised code, but that does not mean that we shall not take action now in the interim.

8.59 p.m.

Dr. Hill (Luton)

It seemed to me, as I listened to the admirably fair and comprehensive speech of the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Gunter), that one of the strongest points he made was the point over which the Parliamentary Secretary passed all too lightly. In November last the Government had their opportunity of embodying the principles of the 1948 regulations in the boundary dissolution legislation. Those regulations had been in existence and in operation for some 16 months then and it is not to be wondered at that the failure of the Government to deal with that question then has made the public and the House wonder what, in fact, were the genuine intentions of the Government.

I recall some weeks ago that when I was speaking in the House in support of a piece of legislation calculated to raise the status of a borough, the substance of the Minister's reply was that to do things by piecemeal legislation would result in chaos. Yet that is precisely the method which it is proposed to follow now.

I was impressed when I first heard the hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Ewart) argue the case for uniformity, but does this create uniformity? Not a bit of it. It means that where a county officer suffers a loss of office because a county borough has extended its boundaries he will be compensated on one formula; but if he suffers loss of office because a district council has extended its boundaries he is compensated on an entirely different formula. It seems to me that the main issue before the House is not the comparison of the two codes. I confess that I find arguments in support of some of the changes and would wish to criticise others. But the real issue is whether it is right to modify a code which has been in operation for 17 years, and which will still be in operation for county districts.

Mr. Blenkinsop

The 1933 code is not in operation in the case of the majority of local government officers.

Dr. Hill

I made my contention, on which I insist, that so far as a compensation issue arises as a result of a review of county districts—and that issue will soon be upon us—the 1933 code will cover their compensation. All we are doing, if we accept this new Clause, is to introduce a new code of compensation for officers who are displaced under certain circumstances, leaving the old code to apply to officers who are displaced under different circumstances.

I accept the argument for uniformity, but I suggest that the right and proper way to deal with it is by a general Bill presented to this House fairly and uniformly. To deal with it in this piecemeal fashion is not to create uniformity, but to create such anomalies as will gravely disturb local government servants. I hope that the House will reject this proposal and insist, not on one or other code or consideration of criteria, but on a proposal of a uniform and comprehensive character being submitted to the House for discussion and decision after full consideration.

9.4 p.m.

Mr. William Elwyn Jones (Conway)

The conventions of this House demand that I should declare my interest in this matter. I am a local government officer, and as such may be indirectly affected by the subject matter of this Debate. I do not wish to pursue the argument as to the respective merits of the 1933 and the 1948 codes. I think that the main objection to the new Clause is that it introduced a discussion, or a possible discussion, on the merits of these codes at an inopportune moment. If the merits of the codes are to be discussed they should be considered in the House on a general Bill, and not incidentally to a Private Bill promoted in this way.

I wish, however, to make one comment on the discussion, namely about the various interpretations placed on the 1948 code by 12 different tribunals. It is true that the 1948 code is a uniform code which applies to all local government officers who come under the 1948 Act, but there is no appeal to a central authority against the decision of each of these tribunals. With the 1933 code it is for the Minister to decide what is the correct interpretation to be placed upon it and, thereby, there is a uniform interpretation as to the precise meaning of that code. In the case of the 1948 code, however, there is no uniform interpretation. That, I think, is the reply to one of the earlier speakers on this side of the House.

The fact that some hon. Gentlemen opposite have taken a certain line on this matter is causing considerable embarrassment to those of us on this side of the House. I ask that those who take the view that this new Clause should not be supported should not seek to make this into a party matter. Some of the arguments advanced by hon. Gentlemen opposite are those to which we on this side, who take the same view as myself, could not possibly subscribe. This, indeed, is the greatest reason to do the right thing for the wrong reason. Some hon. Members are coming to the right conclusion on this matter, but for the wrong reasons.

My objection is to the method by which the new Clause has been introduced. The Parliamentary Secretary stated that this is not a new principle and that it is one which has been discussed in various Bills considered by the House. He cited certain of the nationalisation Acts and, in particular, the Local Government Act, 1948. That is, in part, true, but there is a vast difference between the general code embodied in the Local Government Act, 1933—a code which is applicable to all local government officers adversely affected by extensions—and a code which is specific to certain officers who are affected by the nationalisation Acts. The code of 1948 was designed to apply to a particular kind of officer—those officers who were specially affected by the 1948 Act and who, in the main, are officers who were dealing with rating matters. The 1933 code is of general application. The subsequent codes were for specific cases. That is a material matter which the House should consider.

My second point is that it is undesirable that the same type of officer should be subjected to two different codes of compensation. That is the gravamen of the case against the new Clause. It is undesirable that there should be two codes of compensation for the same body of officers. Those officers adversely affected by extensions, by the review of county districts under the 1933 Act, will be compensated under the 1933 code. Those who are affected by county borough extensions by Private Bill, will be compensated, if this Clause is adopted, under the 1948 Act. It is undesirable, in my view, that the same body of local government employees should be subjected to two different types of compensation Clauses.

Mr. MacColl

As my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary has said, in 1951 there may be opportunities for further consideration of the question of anybody who is affected by an alteration of boundary under the 1933 Act. At the moment there are no such opportunities. There may be two people working in the same town planning office; one of them may be affected because the town planning powers have been transferred, and the other may be affected by boundary alterations. Those people, surely, would come under the same Clause.

Mr. William Elwyn Jones

With great respect to my hon. Friend, the review orders which will be made by county councils under the 1933 Act can be made at any time.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Not until 1951, even under the recent Act.

Mr. William Elwyn Jones

I take it that my hon. Friend is referring to the 1949 dissolution Act. In other words, in six months' time county councils will be considering the making of new orders to review their county districts.

The point I am making is that in six months' time those officers will be subjected to different codes of compensation.

Mr. Blenkinsop

They are not at present.

Mr. William Elwyn Jones

But they are. When an order is made—and an order can be made in six months' time under the 1933 Act—they will be subjected to two different codes of compensation, and I suggest that that is an undesirable state of the law. If I may use a phrase with which my right hon. Friend the Minister if Health is very familiar, it creates a "statutory dichotomy", which is a most unfortunate state of affairs.

I want to make it plain that I do not think that the 1933 code is perfect. Some of the criticism which has been levelled against it, particularly that in view of the change of economic circumstances, has very great force, and I think that the time has come for the House to consider those points. When the House does come to consider the respective merits of the 1933 and 1948 codes, however, and legislates upon a new code, then that should be done by an Act and not by way of statutor regulations.

Hon. Members are aware of the restraint on discussion by the procedure in this House if the matter is one which is the subject of an affirmative or negative resolution upon a statutory regulation. There may be certain parts of the code which are good and which should find approval, but there may be other parts which are not so good and which require amendment. It is unfortunate that the procedure by way of statutory regulations prevents the House from making any amendment to the draft code and therefore I suggest that for those reasons the House should not accept the new Clause.

9.13 p.m.

Sir Herbert Williams (Croydon, East)

I sat here for three hours last Thursday hoping that this Bill would come on for discussion. I heard the earlier part of tonight's discussion, but as I required some alimentation, I missed a substantial part of the speech of the Parliamentary Secretary. When I came back into the House he was saying "we" and I wondered to whom the "we" referred, whether it was to the two hon. Members whose names appear on the Order Paper as the mover and supporter of the new Clause or whether he meant the Ministry of Health.

This is a very strange business. A Bill is brought in containing a certain code of compensation; the Minister of Health submits to the Committee upstairs a memorandum suggesting, not what was in the Bill, but what is in the new Clause; and four hon. Members upstairs consider it. They are helped by counsel, witnesses and all the rest and they turn down the proposal of the Minister of Health by a majority of three to one.

It is not the Minister of Health who is proposing the Clause tonight. He has got hold of two other hon. Members to do it. Why has not the Parliamentary Secretary put his name to the Clause, because we know where it comes from? It does not come from the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl), who moved it. He did not draft it; I do not think that he thought of it. The thought came not from the Parliamentary Secretary but from the absent Minister. I am amazed that when there is an issue of this kind the Minister is not present to look after his bit of what I think is rather dirty work. I notice that the Parliamentary Secretary has the support of the Home Secretary, who represents the offending borough.

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

I greatly resent the borough being called "offending" in this matter. It is the innocent victim of this discussion.

Sir H. Williams

I always regarded the Home Secretary, to use a friendly phrase, as a rather "fly" right hon. Gentleman, and for once he has risen. He has declared that the borough is not an offender. In other words, the borough was right in its original intention and it is his colleague the Minister of Health who is trying to corrupt the borough.

Mr. Ede

My hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Ewart) gave the borough's view about this when he said, as was said upstairs, that the borough council itself stands outside the conflict and is willing to accept whichever Clause is preferred by the House.

Sir H. Williams

Do I understand that the county borough of South Shields, which is represented with such great distinction by the Home Secretary, has not got a mind? Strangely enough, every other county borough has a mind.

I only learnt about this controversy through a conversation with an hon. Member who served on the Committee. Probably most hon. Members had not heard about it until we received communications from a variety of people putting forward what they regarded as legitimate claims. I have had communications from two or three bodies representing officials who may be affected by this, and all of them think that they will be worse off. The hon. Member for Widnes said that he was moving the Clause in the interest of economy. He admitted that the Clause would put officials in a worse position than they would be under the 1933 code. Have I cast another fly?

Mr. MacColl

What I suggested was that it would put in a worse position local government officers who do not require assistance, but would put in a better position local government officers who need compensation because they have suffered.

Sir H. Williams

The hon. Member has missed my point. I was quoting the effect on public expenditure. At one stage in his speech he said that he was speaking in that interest and that he thought that the Clause would cost the local authorities less money than the 1933 code would. Quite clearly, they would be worse off unless his words mean something different from their normal meaning.

Mr. MacColl

What I said was that, if under the 1933 code local government officers who already have good jobs are drawing a life pension, the local authority will be worse off than if it does not have to pay compensation to people of that kind. I did not suggest that the local authority would save money at the expense of people who needed help.

Sir H. Williams

That was not the point that I was making. The hon. Member said in general terms that his Clause would save money for the local authorities. Tomorrow, when he reads his speech in HANSARD—if he likes he can read it tonight—he will find that that is what he said. His two interventions have not cleared up the point to which I directed attention, that he was moving the Clause in the interest of economy in public expenditure, now so ardently desired at the Ministry of Health—a rather late conversion. I think it was last Wednesday night that we had three Private Bills down—the British Transport Commission Bill, the Wolverhampton Corporation Bill and this one. This Bill should have come up the same night, but hon. Members will recollect that the proceedings were rather prolonged, and we ran to 10 o'clock on the Wolverhampton Bill.

Mr. Pannell

The hon. Member will agree that this was intended to be dealt with on the same night. If so, that kicks the legs away from one of his colleagues who sees in this a belated act of treachery by the Minister.

Sir H. Williams

There were three Orders down—the British Transport Commission Bill, the Wolverhampton Corporation Bill, to which there were certain Amendments, and this Bill, and this Clause was on the Order Paper. I happen to have some interest in all three. I took part in the Wolverhampton Bill Debate, and I had intended to take part in the Debate on this Bill, but it was not reached. If it had been reached we would have had the interesting situation that the House would have agreed to the Wolverhampton Bill, unanimously as they did on Third Reading [HON. MEMBERS: "Not unanimously."]. I forgot that there was the hon. Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Snow), who was not opposing the Bill on anything to do with this Clause but who was opposing it because he thought it was going to take the county of Stafford into the borough of Wolverhampton.

Nobody said a word about this code on the Wolverhampton Bill. The hon. Member for Widnes did not put this Clause down on that Bill because they were "dozey" at the Ministry of Health. They had not spotted that this was in the Wolverhampton Bill. I think four Bills have gone through in this Session with the 1933 code in them, and the Ministry only woke up when they got to South Shields—I suppose because the Home Secretary had been on their track.

Mr. MacColl

I am not arguing the merits of whether it should or should not be in the Wolverhampton Bill. The hon. Member suggested some people were asleep. In fact I did notice it, and I inquired what the position was in regard to the Wolverhampton Bill. I was given precisely the same information as that now given to the House by the Parliamentary Secretary. Therefore, so far as that is concerned, the hon. Member's flight of fancy has been "grounded."

Sir H. Williams

The hon. Member is now contending that he was awake when the Minister of Health was asleep. That does not surprise me in the least. In fact they have both gone from the Chamber now. We have lost the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary.

This is rather a scandal. We have a procedure for Private Bill legislation. The Ministry do, before the Committee, very much what outside people do, except that they have a greater facility. They send a memorandum to the Committee; other persons have to petition. But upstairs-they are in very much the same position. The Minister petitions that the Bill should be altered on the lines of this Clause. The Committee upstairs turn it down. Some people know all about the difference between the 1933 code and the 1948 code. I do not. All I do know is that all the people likely to be affected prefer the 1933 to the 1948 code; and nobody has replied to that point. [An HON. MEMBER: "Yes."] Nobody that I heard. I understand that the hon. Lady the Member for Plymouth, Sutton (Mrs. Middle-ton) wishes to give tongue on this subject. As I do not want to take more than my fair share of the time of the Committee between now and 10 o'clock, I will give her an opportunity to say her piece.

Mrs. Middleton (Plymouth, Sutton)

I have no piece to say.

9.25 p.m.

Mr. John Cooper (Deptford)

I was hoping to be called in this Debate quite early, because I feel this is a very important matter indeed, but after the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Gunter) had spoken, I felt it would be wrong to repeat all that he had said so well and so clearly.

This Bill first came to my attention when I saw the recommendation of the Committee. I submit to the House that it is rather unusual for a Committee to receive a recommendation from a Minister and then to come to a finding as follows: That the recommendation be not adopted, the Committee being of the opinion that the question was one of general policy which it was for the House to decide. I have risen at this stage because, having gone into the case very carefully and having listened to the Debate very carefully, I am more than ever convinced that this Amendment should be rejected I will give my reasons very briefly. From time to time tonight, reference has been made to the merits of the two codes—the code under the 1933 Act and the code under the 1948 Act; but I think it has been apparent that, although we have been debating the subject since seven o'clock, on such a fundamental principle the time which has been available has not been sufficient for us to take such an important decision. I think the House would agree with that contention.

Frankly, I do not think the House is being treated fairly. Some of the answers which have been given to questions indicate clearly how unfairly we are being treated. Let me illustrate that. It has been made abundantly clear by the Parliamentary Secretary that if this new Clause is agreed to, it will be a precedent as far as borough extensions are concerned. I do not think the Parliamentary Secretary will deny that. Yet when an hon. Member suggested, very properly I submit, that if there is something wrong with the 1933 code, which has governed exclusively the position of local government officers—

Mr. Blenkinsop

It is just that which we contend is not the case. We insist that the great majority of local government officers are today covered by the 1948 code.

Mr. Odey

They do not think so themselves.

Mr. Cooper

That only means that there has been a transfer of services from local government into services which are completely new in their functions.

Mr. Blenkinsop


Mr. Cooper

In local government, as such, the 1933 code operates. It took 40 years of negotiations to build up the code and it operated up to the time the Boundary Commission was established. When the Boundary Commission was suspended, it was made quite clear that it would operate again.

Let me revert to the answer given when it was suggested that if there was something wrong with the 1933 code, then we should have it amended by a general Act, giving the House an opportunity to go into detail on the respective codes. The answer was, "When we come to local government reorganisation in a year or two, we can take such a step." But that was no answer at all because if this Clause is accepted and becomes a precedent, then the 1933 code will die out. If this Clause is carried, there will be no opportunity for this House to deal fully with the 1933 code.

This is not a party matter in any sense. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, yes."] Well, for some people everything is a party matter. This is the matter of a code which has stood the test of time and has been recognised by all parties for many years. The interesting thing is that there are very few people involved, or likely on county borough extensions to lose office or lose emoluments. I mention that to show that there is no real urgency to try, by a backdoor method, to bring in the 1948 code where the 1933 code has always prevailed. I hope that the House will have an opportunity of carefully comparing the merits of the two codes, and I suggest that the only way that we can do that is by rejecting the new Clause and leaving this to be done by a general amendment of the Act.

9.31 p.m.

Sir William Darling (Edinburgh, South)

At seven o'clock, when this Debate began, I thought that it was a relatively unimportant matter. I have now come to the conclusion, having heard the greater part of the Debate, that it is a very important matter. To the Parliamentary Secretary this is a small matter dealing with a few anomalies. If his argument is correct, why do this thing which both sides of the House think undesirable? Would it not be better to wait? The right thing to do surely is to rectify this, not by regulation but by legislation.

I know nothing except in a general way about the 1933 code; very few right hon. and hon. Members know very much about it, yet we are shortly to pass an opinion as to whether it is a more desirable code than the 1948 one. I suggest that there is a great deal behind this. There is known to some of us an important organisation known as the National Association of Local Government Officers. It suffers one great defect in the eyes of some that it is not affiliated to the Labour Party. For that reason, some think that this important organisation is not worth listening to. The National Association of Local Government Officers are not in favour of this new Clause. They favour legislation by law and not by regulation, and it is because I favour legislation by law and not by regulation that I shall oppose the Clause. I suggest that the Motion should be withdrawn and that the House should have an opportunity of considering local

government legislation in the fullest possible degree.

Question put, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

The House divided: Ayes, 223; Noes, 138.

Division No. 50.] AYES [9.35 p.m.
Acland, Sir Richard Gilzean, A. Moody, A. S.
Albu, A. H. Glanville, J. E. (Consett) Morgan, Dr. H. B
Allen, A. C. (Bosworlh) Grey, C. F. Morley, R
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Morris, P (Swansea, W.)
Anderson, F (Whitehaven) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Mort, D. L
Awbery, S. S. Griffiths, W. D. (Exchange) Moyle, A.
Ayles, W. H. Hale, J. (Rochdale) Mulley, F. W
Bacon, Miss A Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Murray, J. D.
Balfour, A. Hall, J. (Gateshead, W.) Nally, W.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J Hall, Rt. Hn. W. Glenvil (Colne V'll'y) Neal, H
Bartley, P. Hamilton, W. W. O'Brien, T.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J Hannan, W. Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Dearne V'lly)
Benson, G. Hardy, E A. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Beswick, F Hargreaves, A Pannell, T. C.
Bing, G. H. C. Harrison, J. Pargiter, G A
Blenkinsop, A. Hastings, Dr. Somerville Parker, J
Blyton, W. R. Hayman, F. H. Paton, J
Boardman, H Herbison, Miss M Pearson, A.
Booth, A. Hewitson, Capt. M Peart, T. F.
Bottomley, A. G Hobson, C. R Popplewell, E
Bowden, H. W. Holman, P. Porter, G.
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton) Holmes, H. E (Hemsworth) Proctor, W. T
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Houghton, Douglas Pursey, Comdr. H.
Brook, D. (Halifax) Hubbard, T. Rees, Mrs. D.
Brooks, T. J. (Normanton) Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, N.) Reid, T. (Swindon)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr) Reid, W. (Camlachie)
Brown, T. J. (Ince) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Richards, R.
Burke, W. A. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.) Irving, W J. (Wood Green) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Paneras, N.)
Callaghan, James Isaacs, Rt Hon. G. A Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Carmichael, James Janner, B. Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jay, D. P. T. Royle, C.
Champion, A. J. Jeger, G. (Goole) Shackleton, E. A. A.
Chetwynd, G. R Jeger, Dr. S. W (St. Pancras, S.) Shawcross, Rt. Hon Sir H
Clunie, J. Jenkins, R. H. Shurmer, P. L. E.
Cocks, F. S. Johnson, James (Rugby) Silverman, J (Erdington)
Coldrick, W. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Simmons, C. J.
Collick, P. Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool) Slater, J
Collindridge, F. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Cook, T. F. Keenan, W Snow, J. W.
Cooper, G. (Middlesbrough, W.) Kenyon, C Sorensen, R. W.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Peckham) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir F
Cove, W. G. King, H. M Sparks, J. A.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E Steele, T.
Crosland, C. A. R. Kinley, J. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Kirkwood, Rt. Hon. D Stokes, Rt. Hon R. R.
Daggar, G Lee, F. (Newton) Sylvester, G. O.
Daines, P. Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Lewis, A. W. J (West Ham, N.) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Darling, G. (Hillsboro') Lindgren, G. S Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) Logan, D. G. Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)
Davies, R J. (Westhoughton) Longden, F. (Small Heard) Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Deer, G. McAllister, G Thurtle, Ernest
Delargy, H. J. McGhee, H. G Tomlinson, Rt. Hon. G
Diamond, J. McGovern, J Tomney, F.
Dodds, N. N. Mclnnes, J. Vernon, Maj W F
Donnelly, D. Mack, J. D Viant, S. P.
Driberg, T. E. N. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Wallace, H W
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mackay, R. W. G. (Reading, N.) Weitzman, D.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. N. (Caerphilly) McLeavy, F. Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) West, D. G.
Evans, E. (Lowestoft) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Mainwaring, W. H White, Mrs. E. (E. Flint)
Fernyhough, E. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Finch, H. J. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Hudderfield, E.) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Follick, M. Mann, Mrs. J. Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Foot, M. M. Manuel, A. C Wilkes, L.
Forman, J. C. Mellish, R. j. Wilkins, W. A.
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Messer, F. Willey, F. T (Sunderland)
Freeman, J. (Watford) Middleton, Mrs. L Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Mitchison, G. R Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Ganley, Mrs. C. S Moeran, E. W. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Gibson, C. W. Monslow, W. Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Huyton)
Winterbottom, I. (Nottingham, C.) Woods, Rev. G. S. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Winterbottom, R. E. (Brightside) Yates, V. F. Mr. MacColl and Mr. Ewart.
Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Alport, C. J. M. Gunter, R. J Osborne, C
Amory, D. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Harden, J. R. E. Perkins, W. R. D
Arbuthnot, John Harris, F. W. (Croydon, N.) Pickthorn, K
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Hay, John Powell, J. Enoch
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W) Head, Brig. A. H. Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)
Baldwin, A E. Heald, L. F. Profumo, J. D.
Bamish, Maj. T. V. H. Henderson, John (Cathcart) Redmayne, M.
Bell, R. M. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Remnant, Hon. P.
Bennett, Sir P. (Edgbaston) Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Roberts, Entry (Merioneth)
Bennett, R. F. B. (Gosport) Hill, Dr. C. (Luton) Robertson, Sir D. (Caithness)
Bennett, W. G. (Woodside) Hirst, Geoffrey Robinson, J. Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Bevins, J. R. (Liverpool, Toxteth) Hogg, Hon. Q. Robson-Brown, W. (Esher)
Black, C. W Hopkinson, H. L. D'A. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Hornsby-Smith, Mist P. Roper, Sir H
Bossom, A. C. Howard, G. R (St. Ives) Ropner, Col. L.
Braine, B. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Russell, R. S.
Brooke, H, (Hampstead) Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Ryder, Capt. R. E. D
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Bullus, Wing-Commander E. E. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W
Butcher, H. W. Hylton-Foster, H. B. Smithers, Peter H. B. (Winchester)
Carr, L. R. (Mitcham) Jeffreys, General Sir G Snadden, W McN
Channon, H. Jennings, R. Soames, Capt C
Clarke, Col. R S. (East Grinstead) Leather, E. H. C. Storey, S.
Colegale, A. Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral) Studholme, H. G
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Sutcliffe, H.
Cooper, A. E. (Ilford, S.) Longden, G. J. M. (Herts, S. W.) Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Cooper, J. (Deptford) Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Teeling, William
Craddock, G. B. (Spelthorne) McAdden, S. J. Thomas, J P. L. (Hereford)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon H. F C. Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Thompson, K. P. (Walton)
Crouch, R. F. McKibbin, A. Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Cundiff, F. W. Maclean, F. H. R. Touche, G. C.
Darling, Sir W. Y. (Edinburgh, S.) MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.) Turton, R. H.
Davies, Nigel (Epping) Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Davies, S. D. (Merthyr) Manningham-Buller, R. E. Vosper, D. F.
Digby, S. Wingfield Marples, A. E. Wakefield, E. B. (Derbyshire, W.)
Donner, P. W. Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord M Maude, A. E. U. (Ealing, S.) Wheatley, Major M. J. (Poole)
Drayson, G. B. Maude, J. C. (Exeter) Williams, C. (Torquay)
Drewe, C. Molson, A. H. E. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond) Morris, R. Hopkin (Carmarlhen) Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, E.)
Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Waltet Mott-Radclyffe, C. E Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Fisher, Nigel Nabarro, G. Wood, Hon. R.
Fort, R. Nicholls, H. York, C.
Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Nugent, G. R. H. Young, Sir A. S. L.
Gridley, Sir A. Oakshott, H. D.
Grimond, J. Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Grimston, R. V. (Westbury) Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare) Mr. Odey and Mr. Geoffrey Hutchinson.

Clause added to the Bill.

Amendment made to leave out Clause 36.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Standing Order 205 (Notice of Third Reading) be suspended, and that the Bill be now read the Third time."—[The Chairman of Ways and Means.]—[King's Consent, on behalf of the Crown, signified.]

9.45 p.m.

Sir H. Williams

In view of the very important decision that has been taken tonight in changing one Clause for another, on a matter which excites very great public interest, we should not agree to the suspension of the Standing Order without which the Third Reading cannot be taken. I do not think that the Third Reading should be taken tonight. There ought to be an opportunity to discuss that which we should be allowed to discuss on Third Reading, namely, matters which are now in the Bill. We have had a most strange statement made by a Minister tonight that if this Clause be put into the Bill then all the Bills containing Clauses like the one which we have left out will be altered when those Bills reach another place. That is a constitutional doctrine which excites—

Mr. Speaker

We cannot discuss the problem of all Private Bills. We are discussing one Bill, namely, the South Shields Extension Bill, and nothing else.

Sir H. Williams

I am trying to give reasons why we should not part with the South Shields Extension Bill because of the threat by a Minister of what would be done, presumably by him or his agents, in another place. I want an opportunity for the Bill to be discussed on Third Reading and not late in the evening when, as we are all aware, these matters do not receive the publicity they get at an earlier hour in the evening. The Third Reading of this Bill ought to be taken at a time when we can discuss the matter in such a way that it will have the widest publicity.

We all know the difficulties under which newspapers are working and that very little that happens in this Chamber in the ordinary way is reported. It is therefore quite wrong that the Bill should receive its Third Reading tonight. It cannot receive its Third Reading unless the Motion to suspend the Standing Order, moved automatically and properly by the Chairman of Ways and Means, is acceded to. I am expressing the hope that this Motion will not be carried, in order that the Third Reading may be discussed at a later date.

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

I happen to be the South Shields representative in this House, and I make an appeal to the House to vote on the Third Reading tonight. The South Shields Corporation have had very bad luck with the Bill. Earlier in the Debate the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) called it the "offending" borough. When he said that I suggested that the borough was an innocent victim of the procedure. What has happened on this Bill is this: it is well known that in the promotion of Private Bills it is decided that one Bill shall be taken as that upon which a precedent shall be founded. For some reason or another, which I do not know, and which I do not think greatly concerns me or the House, this Bill was chosen.

It is true that some Bills have gone through to another place with the Clause that was in the Bill at the beginning of the evening. If the other place removes that Clause and substitutes the one we have put in tonight, those Bills will have to come back here for the Amendment to be accepted or rejected by this House. I suggest, therefore, that there will be ample opportunity, if it is the desire of any Member of the House, to have that Clause discussed when the Bills come back. If they do not come back, then the Clause which hon. Members opposite voted for tonight will be in those Bills, so that they will have no grievance. But should the other place substitute the Clause which we have substituted tonight, the Bill must come back here for consideration of that Amendment. I suggest, therefore, that the rights of the House are fully safeguarded, and that this Bill might be given a Third Reading tonight.

Mr. Hutchinson

Notwithstanding the plea which has just been made by the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary, I hope the House will take the view that this matter is of such importance that we ought not to suspend the Standing Orders now and allow the Bill to proceed to its Third Reading. The right hon. Gentleman has indicated that we shall have another opportunity later, in different circumstances and on some other Bill, to discuss this matter again. I suggest to the House that it would be much more convenient, much more expeditious, and would do no very great harm to South Shields if we dealt with the matter finally on this Bill and not on some other Bill.

The Debate tonight has attracted a great deal of conflicting views from different sides of the House. This is obviously a matter upon which opinions will differ, and I hope that the House will take the course suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) not to agree to the suspension of Standing Orders tonight so as to give us another apportunity of discussing this matter. I will conclude by repeating that no great harm will be done to South Shields if we take that course. A few days' delay will make very little difference to the changes in the structure of the borough which this Bill proposes.

Sir W. Darling

I rise to support the proposal of my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams). I do not think this is a matter of very great urgency. To start a Bill of this character at seven o'clock, and then, after discussing it till 9.30, to be asked to pass the Third Reading at ten o'clock, seems to me to be like having two meals in one evening. There should be a period of reflection and reconsideration which will not be available if the device of the suspension of the Standing Order is successfully adopted tonight. I should have thought that as the representative of South Shields, the Home Secretary would have wanted his constituents to contemplate the result of the decision of this House and formulate any new views they might have arising out of that decision.

This rather indecent haste is more suggestive of a criminal than a legislative act—as if one wanted to dispose of the body before any inquiries were instituted. These are far-reaching considerations; they concern the very roots of local government. That is not my view, but the view of experienced and distinguished hon. Members opposite. They know that this is not a matter on which haste is a seemly thing; it is a matter for reflection and deliberation, and I profoundly hope that in these circumstances the suspension of Standing Orders will not be carried.

Mr. Arbuthnot (Kent, Dover)

I support the point of view put by my hon. Friend although I do not know that I would support the simile suggested by the hon. Member for Edinburgh, South (Sir W. Darling). He suggested that we would have had two meals if this were taken twice this evening, but perhaps a more apt simile would be that we would have had two emetics. There has been a principle accepted in this Bill which it would be entirely wrong for the country to be asked to accept again tonight without there being a great opportunity for further deliberations. I therefore hope that the Standing Order will not be suspended.

Dr. Hill

I join with my hon. Friends in asking the House to resist this Motion for the suspension of Standing Orders. One can sympathise with the Home Secretary that this Bill has been selected as the occasion for beginning this experiment as a side door through which this newer code of compensation can be introduced, but it is a penalty of being selected for a test case that the attention of the House is focused on the principle involved. [Interruption.] I did not hear any of the observations but only the noise which followed them. I think the noise proceeded from the benches opposite, followed by some noise on these benches.

Perhaps hon. Members will allow me to proceed with my observations. I want to stress the importance of the issue involved in this Private Bill. It cannot be said that we are considering in ordinary circumstances a Private Bill which should receive such expedition—

Mr. Speaker

That would be a sound argument on Second Reading but on Third Reading we are confined to what is in the Bill. We cannot discuss matters which might conceivably come into the Bill.

Dr. Hill

I appreciate your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, and will confine myself to the point whether it is desirable to suspend the Standing Order so as to permit the Third Reading immediately to follow. The substance of my submission is that so important is the issue involved that it would be undesirable to depart from the position as laid down in Standing Orders. Indeed, it is desirable that the normal and proper procedure should be followed in order that the Parliamentary Secretary and the Minister may more fully reflect upon the exceptional situation which has been created by the addition of this Clause during Second Reading.

The Parliamentary Secretary pinpointed the exceptional importance of the added Clause, and so the need for exceptional and continued consideration of it. He pin-pointed it when he said that there was a prospect of dealing with the point in a general way as part of a comprehensive review of local government before long. I make that point—

It being Ten o'Clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded to interrupt the Businesswhereupon The CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS 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, 220; Noes, 112.

Division No. 51.] AYES [10.0 p.m.
Acland, Sir Richard Blenkinsop, A. Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S)
Albu, A. H Blyton, W. R. Callaghan, James
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven) Boardman, H. Carmichael, James
Awbery, S. S. Booth, A. Castle, Mrs. B. A.
Ayles, W. H. Bottomley, A. G. Champion, A. J
Baton, Miss A. Bowden, H. W. Chetwynd, G. R
Balfour, A. Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Ctunie, J.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J Brockway, A. Fenner Cocks, F. S.
Bartley, P. Brook, D. (Halifax) Coldrick, W.
Benson, G Brooks, T. J. (Normanton) Collick, P.
Beswick, F. Broughton, Dr. A. D D. Collindridge, F.
Bing, G. H. C. Burke, W. A. Cook, T. F.
Cooper, G. (Middlesbrough, W.) Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Pearson, A.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K, (Peckham) Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Peart, T. F
Cove, W. G. Janner, B. Popplewell, E
Graddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jay, D. P. T. Porter, G.
Crosland, C. A. R. Jeger, G. (Goole) Proctor, W. T.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.) Pursey, Comdr. H.
Daines, P. Jenkins, R. H. Rees, Mrs. D.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Johnson, James (Rugby) Reid, T. (Swindon)
Darling, G. (Hillsboro') Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Reid, W. (Camlachie)
Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) Jones, D. T. (Hartlepool) Richards, R.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton) Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Jones, William Elwyn (Conway) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Paneras, N.)
Deer, G. Keenan, W. Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Delargy, H. J. Kenyon, C Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Diamond, J. King, H. M. Royle, C.
Dodds, N. N. Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E Shackleton, E. A. A,
Donnelly, D. Kinley, J. Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir H
Driberg, T. E. N. Lee, F. (Newton) Shurmer, P L. E.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Silverman, J (Erdington)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Lewis, A W J. (West Ham, N.) Simmons, C J
Evans, E. (Lowestoft) Lindgren, G. S. Slater, J.
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury) Logan, D. G. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Fernyhough, E. Longden, F. (Small Heath) Snow, J. W.
Finch, H. J. McAllister, G Sorensen, R. W
Foot, M. M. McGhee, H. G Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir F.
Forman, J. C. McGovern, J. Sparks, J. A
Fraser, T. (Hamilton) Mclnnes, J. Steele, T.
Freeman, J. (Watford) Mack, J. D Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Freeman, Peter (Newport) McKay, J. (Wallsend) Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.
Ganley, Mrs. C. S. Mackay, R. W. G. (Reading, N.) Sylvester, G. O.
Gibson, C. W. McLeavy, F Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Gilzean, A. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Glanville, J. E. (Consett) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Grey, C. F. Mainwaring, W. H. Thomas, I. R. (Rhondda, W.)
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Thurtle, Ernest
Griffiths, W. D. (Exchange) Mann, Mrs. J. Tomlinson, Rt. Hon G
Gunter, R. J. Manuel, A. C. Tomney, F.
Hale, J. (Rochdale) Mathers, Rt. Hon. George Vernon, Maj. W. F
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Mellish, R. J. Viant, S. P.
Hall, J. (Gateshead, W.) Messer, F. Wallace, H W
Hall, Rt. Hn. W. Glenvil (Colne V'll'y) Middleton, Mrs. L. Weitzman, D.
Hamilton, W. W Mitchison, G. R. Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Hannan, W. Moeran, E. W. West, D. G.
Hardy, E A Monslow, W. Wheatley, Rt. Hn. John (Edinb'gh, E.)
Hargreaves, A Moody, A. S. White, Mrs. E, (E. Flint)
Harrison, J. Morgan, Dr. H. B. White, H. (Derbyshire, N. E)
Hastings, Dr. Somerville Morley, R. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Hayman, F. H Morris, P. (Swansea, W.) Wilcock, Group-Capt C A B
Herbison, Miss M. Mort, D. L. Wilkes, L.
Hewitson, Capt. M Moyle, A. Wilkins, W. A
Hobson, C. R Mulley, F. W Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Holman, P. Murray, J. D Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth) Nally, W Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Houghton, Douglas Neal, H. Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Huyton)
Hoy, J. O'Brien, T Winterbottom, I. (Nottingham, C.)
Hubbard, T. Orbach, M. Winterbottom, R. E (Brightstde)
Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, N.) Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Dearne V'lly) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayr) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Woods, Rev. G. S
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Pannell, T. C. Yates, V. F
Hynd, J. B. (Attereliffe) Pargiter, G A
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Paton, J. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. MacColl and Mr. Ewart.
Alport, C. J. M. Colegate, 'A. Grimston, R. V. (Westbury)
Arbuthnot, John Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Harris, R. R. (Heston)
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Cooper, A. E. (Ilford, S.) Heald, L. F.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Craddock, G. B. (Spelthome) Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Baldwin, A. E. Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. H. Crouch, R. F. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)
Bell, R. M. Crowder, Capt. John F. E. (Finchley) Hill, Dr. C. (Luton)
Bennett, Sir P. (Edgbaston) Cundiff, F. W. Hirst, Geoffrey
Bennett, W. G. (Woodside) Darling, Sir W. Y. (Edinburgh, S.) Hopkinson, H. L. D'A
Bevins, J. R. (Liverpool, Toxteth) Digby, S. Wingfield Hornsby-Smith, Miss P
Black, C. W. Donner, P. W. Howard, G. R. (St. Ives)
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord M Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)
Bossom, A. C. Drayson, G. B. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
Braine, B. Drewe, C Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)
Brooke, H. (Hampstead) Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond) Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Elliot, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Walter Hylton-Foster, H. B.
Bullus, Wing-Commander E. E. Fisher, Nigel Jeffreys, General Sir G
Butcher, H. W. Foster, J. G. Leather, E. H. C.
Carr, L. R. (Mitcham) Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)
Clarke, Col. R. S. (East Grinstead) Grimond, J. Longden, G. J. M. (Herts, S. W.)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir H. Redmayne, M. Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
McAdden, S. J. Remnant, Hon. P. Touche, G. C.
Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Robertson, Sir D. (Caithness) Turton, R. H.
Maclay, Hon. J. S. Robinson, J. Roland (Blackpool, S.) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
MacLeod, lain (Enfield, W.) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Vosper, D. F.
Macpherson, N. (Dumfries) Roper, Sir H. Wakefield, E. B. (Derbyshire, W.)
Marnningham-Buller, R. E. Ropner, Col. L. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Marples, A. E. Russell, R. S. Wheatley, Major M. J. (Poole)
Marshall, D. (Bodmin) Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. Williams, C. (Torquay)
Maude, A. E. U. (Ealing, S.) Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. Williams, Sir H. G. (Croydon, E.)
Molson, A. H. E. Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Morris, R Hopkin (Carmarthen) Snadden, W. McN. Wood, Hon. R.
Nabarro, G. Soames, Capt. C. York, C.
Nicholson, G. Storey, S. Young, Sir A. S. L
Oakshott, H. D Studhoime, H. G.
Orr-Ewing, Charlee Ian (Hendon, N.) Sutcliffe, H. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Orr-Ewing, Ian L. (Weston-super-Mare) Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.) Mr. Odey and
Osborne, C. Teeling, William Mr. Geoffrey Hutchinson.
Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.) Thompson, K. P. (Walton)

Question, "That Standing Order 205 be suspended and the Bill be now read the Third time," put accordingly, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time, and passed.