HC Deb 01 March 1951 vol 484 cc2499-504

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. H. Macmillan

We do not like this Clause, and we do not like the reason for it. This Bill is, after all, merely a stop-gap, and it is unlikely that the precise procedure as to length of call-up or categories or many other points will be of a permanent nature without change or modification. I think more flexibility may be required. We feel that this system, which has many shortcomings, will not in principle serve us in these following years without some change. After all, it does not fully meet the training needs of the Territorial Army: it does not meet the needs of the Regular Army or Air Force at home. It certainly does not meet the needs of the Air Force abroad. There are many provisions apart from the main principle which have detained us for a whole day's discussion, and about which we have had a good many doubts, and these machinery clauses may require alteration or amendment in the light of experience.

I rather doubt whether this Clause without amendment will meet the convenience of any Government. Iam confirmed in that view by something which the Minister of Defence said today on an earlier Amendment on Clause 2 in the name of the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway). The right hon. Gentleman is not in his place, but I took his words down. He said: After all this is a temporary measure which can be revised from year to year. It cannot be revised year by year under Clause 12 as I read it, and I am fortified in the view because one would have thought the present Government would not be particularly interested in this matter in 1952, because, whatever may be the uncertainties of modern life, I do not think anyone on the other side of the House who has a stake of the most modest amount of his own and not of Government money, would be prepared to say the Government would be in office next summer. Whether amendment is necessary or not I do not know. I do not like the procedure: nor do my hon. Friends. I do not like the Order in Council, even with the affirmative resolution. I do not see why if amendment is required it should not be in the Bill. If none is required, a simple one-Clause Bill can be passed.

Having regard to the fact that the Regular Army and the Regular Air Force must have a yearly Bill to prevent their becoming an illegal conspiracy, it does not seem unreasonable that there should be a yearly Bill to deal with the question of Reserves. Therefore, if the only reason for this Clause were pure altruism on the part of the Government, through their simply thinking of their successors, then they can meet us by not making any factious opposition to a one-Clause Bill which we may have to introduce next year.

Mr. M. Stewart

The right hon. Gentleman referred to this Measure as a stopgap, as, in a sense, it is. We all recognise that we are dealing here with the period before the working of the National Service Act has fully poured National Service men into the Territorial Army. But that is not a period which will be completed in one year from now. I think, therefore, that it is common ground between us that there ought to be provision for the possibility of doing something like this scheme not only this year, but in the next two or three years. So the issue narrows down to the ex cathedra way of doing that.

I understood that the right hon. Gentleman objected to the procedure by Order in Council partly on what I might compare to a priori grounds, and partly because it would not admit of amendment of the scheme. But the insertion of this Clause into the Bill does not preclude the method of introducing another Bill if that should seem to be more desirable. If we found, in the light of this year's experience, or in the light of the situation next year, that it was impossible to devise a satisfactory scheme for next year within the framework of this Bill, if it were essential to have some scheme we—and I am taking a different view from that of the right hon. Gentleman—would have to invite the House to pass a separate measure.

I think it is unreasonable to suppose that the conditions are bound to be so different. It is not something on which it is sensible to prophesy, but it is quite possible that a scheme which would be

within the framework of this Bill would also be appropriate to the needs of next year. We cannot at this stage prophesy what the needs of next year, under a scheme of this sort, will be. I think it is reasonable to have both alternatives. If it is simplest to proceed by Order in Council, we are keeping that door open. If, as might happen for a variety of reasons, that arrangement is not satisfactory, nothing in this Clause precludes our proceeding by Bill. I think, therefore, that since the door which the right hon. Gentleman wants open is open, he ought not to seek an alternative which the Bill already provides.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes. 82 Noes, 82.

Division No. 50.] AYES [2.5 a.m.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell) Gutter, R. J. Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Bartley, P. Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley
Benn, Wedgwood Hall, John (Gateshead, W.) Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Bing, G H C. Hannam, W. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Bowden, H. W. Harg[...]eaves, A. Simmons, C. J
Brockway, A. F. Hayman, F. H. Slater, J.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S) Henderson, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Tipton) Snow, J. W.
Callaghan, L. J. Herbison, Miss M. Soskice, Rt. Hon Sir Frank
Collick, P. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Sparks, J. A.
Collindridge, F Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Cooper, John (Deptford) Hynd, J. B (Attercliffe) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Janner, B. Stross, Dr. Barnett
Crawley, A. Johnson, James (Rugby) Sylvester, G. O.
Cullen, Mrs. A. Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Davies, A. Edward (Stoke, N.) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Taylor, Robert (Morpeth)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Thomas, David (Aberdare)
Davies, Harold (Leek) MacColl, J. E Wallace, H. W.
Delargy, H. J. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Donnelly, D. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Oriberg, T. E. N. Moeran, E. W. Williams, David (Neath)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Moody, A. S. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Morgan, Dr. H. B. Wyatt, W. L.
Evans. Albert (Islington, S.W.) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Yates, V. F.
Fernyhough, E. Moyle, A.
Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Nally, W. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Follick, M. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Mr. Wilkins and
Foot, M. M. O'Brien, T. Mr. Kenneth Robinson
Gibson, C. W Pearson, A.
Alport, C. J. M. Fisher, Nigel Low, A. R. W.
Ashton. H. (Chelmsford) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.
Assheton, Rt. Hon R. (Blackburn, W.) Fraser, Hon Hugh (Stone) MacLeod, Iain (Enfield, W.)
Birch, Nigel Fraser, Sir I. (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)
Bishop, F. P. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A Manningham-Buller, R. E.
Boles, Lt.-Col. D. C. (Wells) Grimston, Robert (Westbury) Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A Harden, J. R. E. Marshall, Sidney (Sutton)
Boyle, Sir Edward Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Maude, Angus (Ealing, S.)
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cmdr. Gurney Head, Brig. A. H. Mellor, Sir John
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W Heald, Lionel Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Heath, Edward Nabarro, G.
Butler, Rt. Hn. R A, (Saffron Walden) Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Nicholls, Harmar
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Higgs, J. M. C. Oakshott, H. D.
Channon, H. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Odey, G. W.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W) Hornsby-Smith, Miss P. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence Orr-Ewing, Ian L (Weston-super-Mare)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E Joyneon-Hicks, Hon. L. W- Pickthorn, K.
de Chair, Somerset Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Powell, J. Enoch
Deedes, W. F. Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.
Digby. S. W. Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.) Profumo, J. D.
Renton, D. L. M. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Roberts, Emrys (Merioneth) Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.) Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Roper, Sir Harold Studholme, H. G. White, Baker (Canterbury)
Ross, Sir Ronald (Londonderry) Teevan, T. L. Williams, Charles (Torquay)
Russell, R. S. Thomas, J. P. L. (Hereford) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Smith, E. Martin (Grantham) Thompson, Lt.-Cmdr. R. (Croydon, W.) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Turner, H. F. L.
Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard (N. Fylde) Vosper, D. F. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Drowe and Major Wheatley.

Question put, and agreed to.

Whereupon The DEPUTY-CHAIRMAN stated that he thought he should vote for the provisions of the Bill as introduced, and declared himself with the Ayes.

Clause 13 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Schedule be agreed to."

Mr. Fenner Brockway

On a point of order. I understand that the proposed new Clause in the name of the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Leslie Hale) and myself—(Registration of conscientious objectors)—is not to be called. I understand it is not to be called on the ground that the cost involved would be beyond the estimates for this purpose. I am going to ask your serious consideration, Sir Charles, of the point of order I now raise. This new Clause in actual fact applies the Act to the proposals of the Government administratively to deal with conscientious objectors. There will be no increased cost, at all. I therefore suggest that the new Clause is in order.

Mr. Emrys Roberts

Further to that point of order. There is a new Clause to the same effect in my name and those of my hon. Friends dealing with registration for conscientious objectors. There is another— Certificate of postponement)—dealing with the persons who suffer personal hardship by being called-up. Can I have some indication, Sir Charles, whether it is intended to call these new Clauses?

The Deputy-Chairman

I have called the Schedule. The reason that this new Clause referred to by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Fenner Brockway) is out of order is that it provides for payments which are outside the Money Resolution.

Mr. Fenner Brockway

That is exactly the point of order I raised. There is no increased cost in this new Clause at all. All it does is to give statutory effect to what the Government have already agreed administratively to do. There- fore, I am arguing that as no increase in cost is involved, it is in order.

The Deputy-Chairman

I disagree with that. I am sorry.

Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended, to be considered upon Monday next. and to be printed [Bill 76].