Lords Amendment: In line 42, leave out:
as between the purchaser and the Commission.
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
This is purely a drafting Amendment. The words proposed to be left out are unnecessary. I gather that the Opposition take the same view as they have an Amendment on the Order Paper to agree with the Lords in this Amendment.
§ Lords Amendment: In page 5, line 43, to leave out "Part I of."
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
Hon. Members will recall that paragraph (a) of subsection (5) of Clause 3 made the provision that what are specified as "additional vehicles" should be deemedfor the purposes of Part 1 of the First Schedulenot to be included in transport units. This was necessary to ensure that they should not carry with them the right to a special A licence granted under Part I of the First Schedule. But the wording might have been taken to imply that they should for the purposes of Part II of the Schedule be part of a transport unit. This Amendment which their Lordships propose makes it clear that they are not to be so deemed for either Part I or Part II. The result, if the House takes that view, will be that the Commission will not be prevented by paragraph 6 of Part II of the Schedule from substituting other vehicles for them in their own licences.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies (Enfield, East)
We are all grateful to the Parliamentary Secretary for his explanation, but I must say it does not help us very much to understand this rather complicated part of the Bill with the Schedule to which he referred. I think it shows with what haste this Bill was drafted. It seems that only on the Report stage in the House of Lords was it discovered that the reference in this Clause to Part I could be interpreted in an ambiguous manner, and that it was then necessary to take it out.
I think it further shows the inadequate consideration which it was possible to give this Bill while it was going through this House. Owing to the Guillotine, we had to concentrate on the most important matters before us and particularly the Amendments we had put down and we were not able to go into the detailed question of the clarity of the drafting of the Bill. If, as the hon. Gentleman suggests, this is merely a necessary small drafting Amendment, it rather reflects on the Government for having allowed it to go through right up to the Report stage in the Lords. If it had been allowed to go through without being discovered, I think it would have left the Commission in a difficult position.
I have never been able to understand exactly what the purpose of providing these additional vehicles was. The Bill provides for the creation of transport units on the one hand and then we come to the new Clause A, which will provide for the setting up of companies equally for disposal of sections of the road haulage undertaking. These additional vehicles are in my view something rather extraneous to the Bill and could very well have been left in the control of the Commission.
Be that as it may, we cannot oppose this Lords Amendment because it does clarify the Bill, but I repeat that it is rather a reflection on those responsible for the Bill that a mistake like this—an ambiguous expression like this—in the drafting should have remained right up to the House of Lords.
Lords Amendment: In page 5, line 46, leave out "the said Part I" and insert
Part I of the said First Schedule.
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
This Amendment is purely drafting and consequential on the Lords Amendment to which the House has just agreed.
Lords Amendment: In page 6, line 6, leave out from "avoiding" to end of line 9, and insert:
any step which is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of competition in the carriage of goods by road for hire or reward, but no such tender shall be refused wholly or mainly on the ground that it is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of such competition as aforesaid without the consent of the Minister.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, after the first "lead," to insert:to the ownership or control of the property held by the Commission for the purposes of the existing road haulage undertaking passing to persons who by reason of their financial position, the smallness of the unit in question, or otherwise will be unable to secure the continuance of satisfactory road services or.The Lords Amendment is, I think, in response to certain views originally expressed in this House by Government supporters which the Minister later adopted. Those views were expressed by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) and the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton), both of whom were very keen about this point, as was the noble Lord the hon. Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) who, although he has been here this afternoon, is not in his place just now.
The whole purpose of the Amendment I move is to strengthen the case for the small man. I think that is probably not an unfair way of putting it. The original Bill provided that the transport units to be sold in blocks of vehicles should be sold in such a way that they should not be concentrated into too few hands. Government supporters in particular expressed their view that they were not quite sure what this meant or how far it could be interpreted. I believe they were themselves responsible at least for prompting another place to put down the form of words which now appear on the Lords Amendment Paper and which were accepted by the Government spokesman 872 in another place. Instead of saying now, as it is submitted to us by the Minister, that the transport units shall not be concentrated in too few hands, the Lords Amendment which the Minister will eventually ask us to accept, says that in the sale of transport units the Commission must avoidany step which is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of competition in the carriage of goods by road for hire or reward, but no such tender shall be refused wholly or mainly on the ground that it is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of such competition.6.30 p.m.
It is to that Amendment as at present drafted that we take exception. It is for that reason that my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) put down the Amendment on the Order Paper which widens the considerations the Commission must have in mind when they are deciding whether to accept a tender. We say the Commission should also have regard to the possibility of their property passing to persons who, by reason of their financial position, or the smallness of the unit they desire to buy, or otherwise, will be unable to secure the continuance of satisfactory road services.
Here I think is expressed the difference between the philosophy of hon. Members opposite and ourselves. Ever since the Transport Act of 1947 hon. Members opposite have been obsessed with the necessity of getting the small man back into the road haulage business, no matter what had passed. No matter if the development of the industry was against the small man; no matter whether the natural play of economic forces was starting to drive the small man out of business and to form larger units—quite naturally through the play and flow of competition and as indeed it was doing—the Conservative Party clung to their shibboleth. They were determined at all costs to get the small man back into the business, irrespective of what developments had taken place, and irrespective, let it be marked, of the needs of the consumer.
Whatever may be the political mythology of the Conservative Party, the Chambers of Commerce, composed of pretty hard-headed business men who have to deal with these matters, were under no illusions about the small man 873 and the road haulage industry. The first representations they made to the Minister dealt precisely with the point which we now wish to write into the Lords Amendment. The British Chambers of Commerce, in their first communication which they published and sent to all hon. Members of this House, insisted that it should be a necessary part of any road haulage break-up that the existing services built up by the Road Haulage Executive should be maintained. Otherwise, they said, they feared the consequences to trade and industry in this country through the disruption which would follow from the break-up of these services. Their spokesman went on record in this connection.
Nevertheless, the Minister insisted on retaining in the Bill this mythology that the small man with his one or two lorries would provide the national service which has been built up and which, let it be noted, has not been attacked by any responsible body of road users ever since these debates started 12 months ago.
I know that hon. Members opposite have produced individual complaints from various people which they have flung in our faces and which, they said, showed how inefficient is this enterprise. But it is well known to hon. Gentlemen who have studied this matter that there are many responsible bodies of road users, traders who are organised in groups of one sort or another or in particular associations for the defence of their interests, who are very ready to express their views about the services of the Road Haulage Executive. I repeat that no responsible body of road users has ventured to express a criticism of the trunk services built up by the Road Haulage Executive.
The needs of the road users have been met and they have welcomed the trunk services built up by the Executive. It has been a phenomenon in the carriage of goods on the roads of this country that there should be a regular, time-table service, equivalent to the railway service, running every night and day, and users have described it as an addition to the efficient transport of their goods. In the words of the British Chambers of Commerce, they do not wish to see it destroyed.
Therefore, we in our Amendment take account of what has happened in the Road Haulage Executive and of the fact 874 that the users of road haulage services desire those services to go on. We take account of the fact that British Chambers of Commerce have asked that the services should not be broken up. We invite the Minister to include in the Amendment submitted to us that the Commission, in selling those units, shall have regard to maintaining and securing the continuance of these satisfactory road services.
There may be instances where a man will tender for such a few lorries, one, two or three, that he cannot possibly maintain single handed the service now maintained by the Executive. In this matter our concern is not with the pride of the Executive, but with the service which the customers expect. We say if the Commission are satisfied that the break-up of one of these existing road haulage depots will be into such small units that these satisfactory services cannot be maintained that should be a reason for refusing the sale of the units.
I admit we are here looking to the interests of the customers. That is, perhaps, a little foreign to hon. Gentlemen opposite who are interested only in the welfare of the road hauliers. Their concern is to ensure that the road hauliers can get back into the industry, irrespective of the consequences to the services given to the customers which may accompany their return. But I do not think it unreasonable to ask the Minister, in his attempts to distribute largesse among the road hauliers, to think occasionally of the customer.
I do not think it undesirable to ask the Minister that while he is handing these lorries back to his pals he might consider some way of keeping for the customers the services to which they have become accustomed, and wish to retain. So we put it to him that if he wishes, as apparently he does, to write into this Bill that his friends shall have the right to go back into the industry, even though they want to buy only a single lorry, he should have regard also to the customer and the trader.
Our Amendment provides that the Commission, in considering whether to sell these units, shall have regard to the financial position of those who are going to buy them. Here I must say that we start to tread some pretty unsavoury ground because there is little doubt that the Road Haulage Disposal Board, 875 whose nominal task it will be, when it is eventually set up, to see that the public interest is safeguarded, will prove to be little more than a hollow mockery. Its activities are already being forestalled by the city spivs, speculators and sharps who are anticipating what the Road Haulage Disposal Board ought to be doing by going round now to road haulage units trying to snoop and find out what information they can get about the size, quality and nature of the units in advance of any machinery which the Minister is to set up under this Bill.
I say to the right hon. Gentleman that he should restrain these speculators who are doing this at the present time, and that he should endeavour to safeguard the public interest in this matter by ensuring that no one gets an unfair start in this matter of purchasing the lorries. Goodness knows the sale of them is bad enough and disgraceful enough, but if they are to be sold in a hole-and-corner way, through prominent supporters of the Conservative Party philosophy going round to Road Haulage Executive units and trying to get information in advance of everybody else, I say that it is a thoroughly disgraceful way of doing it.
The United Dominions Trust is a name that will not be unknown to hon. Members opposite. Mr. Gibson Jarvie, who is a prominent member of that Trust, has frequently expressed many views about nationalisation and his distaste for it; indeed he has an utter distaste for everything that is British so long as there is a Socialist Government in power, but he recovers his patriotism when the Conservatives get back. He not only recovers his patriotism but he also endeavours to get his dividends well covered. He has a vested interest in the return of the Conservative Party because the United Dominions Trust is one of the bodies to which I am referring.
I hope that the Minister is going to attend to this matter; I am making a serious allegation. It is one of the bodies which at the present time is trying to visit Road Haulage Executive depots to insinuate themselves into the goodwill of local managers, to find out what units are likely to be broken up and how they are to be sold in order that they can put in their bids in advance. What folly it is 876 to talk about the Disposal Board safeguarding the public interest in this matter.
In one part of the country there is a gentleman called Mr. Bristed—I have a photostat copy of his card here, and I take it it is correct—a director of the United Dominions Trust, who has bean visiting these depots not only to secure information in advance of this Bill but to proffer financial assistance to present employees of the Road Haulage Executive whom he can tempt into going into this business, irrespective of their financial standing. He is accompanied by a Mr. H. P. Kirkham who I see has an office in Leeds.
These gentlemen are paying visits to Road Haulage depots which are having a serious effect on staff morale. What is more they are taking advantage of the passing of this Bill to secure for themselves information and a standing and a status in advance of anybody else who is likely to go into this business. So seriously did the Road Haulage Executive regard this matter that the British Transport Commission issued a Press notice on the subject, in which they said:the Road Haulage Executive … are tomorrow issuing a reminder to all their staff that any approaches seeking information about property which may be offered for sale as a result of the new Bill, or seeking financial or statistical data, must be referred to headquarters.
§ Mr. Callaghan
It is the right hon. Gentleman's supporters who are doing this. It is no use the Minister saying, "Hear, hear." It is the very people that the Government are doing this for who are taking advantage of the Bill. What does the Minister expect them to do? What right has he to attempt to defend public probity in this matter, which concerns his supporters and the financiers of the Conservative Party coffers?
To continue my quotation:This has been found necessary because in many areas throughout the country financial representatives are now canvassing business in the knowledge that the banks, as stated by the Government in the House of Lords last week, have been told that they can lift the present ban on fresh credit facilities in favour of intending purchasers of road haulage units.A spokesman for the Executive said tonight—this was some time ago:It seems to us quite intolerable that employees who are in effect public servants 877 should be approached in this way without any regard for the elaborate procedure with all the necessary safeguards which Parliament is providing. Moreover it will tend to undermine morale which it is especially necessary at this moment to maintain.I wish to know from the Minister whether he is prepared to accept this Amendment, and in doing so to show that he has some regard for public probity and the proper disposal of these units. What administrative action is he prepared to take with the United Dominions Trust, which is publicly known to be carrying out these activities, which is publicly known to be endavouring to seek an advantage for itself over competitors in this field, who will presumably have the same rights in acquiring the units as will the United Dominions Trust. I also ask whether the Minister is prepared to go to the Chairman of the United Dominions Trust and tell him to hold off until the Bill is through and not try to get the pickings in advance of the Bill being put through Parliament.
That seems to us not an unreasonable thing to do. If the Minister wants any other information as to approaches and attempts that are being made now, I invite him to look into the question of the carriage of fish from King's Cross goods station to Billingsgate fish market, and let him uncover the particularly nasty little operation going on there at the present time, and say what his view is of that when he has finished with it. I do not think I am being unjust when I say that the passage of this Bill is revealing all the most sordid facets of Conservatism and private enterprise. It is this sort of thing which we despise in hon. Gentlemen opposite and their supporters because they cannot even play the game fairly among themselves.
When we have a disposal of public property of this nature it is our view that the public should be protected, that the assets should be sold to people who are financially stable without bribes or offers of any sort being made to them by financial trusts whose job it is and whose business it is to ensure that as far as they possibly can they get the best interest for their shareholders, and who care little or nothing about the future welfare of the road haulage industry and little or nothing about how the public is to be served in the future
878 This is the different conception that exists between us and the party opposite. I am very glad indeed that we are never likely to be saddled with the responsibility for a nasty racket like this. I am very happy indeed to think that the Minister has an opportunity, in accepting this Amendment, to show whether his pleas that he wants to protect the public interest will be followed up by deeds as well. He has that opportunity, and by his attitude towards this Amendment we shall judge whether he is really in earnest and serious in wanting to get the best price for these assets and when he says that it is his job to get the best service for the consumer, or whether, as we suspect through his whole attitude to this Bill his real purpose is to get the maximum profit for his friends, irrespective of the public interest.
§ Mr. A. J. Champion (Derbyshire, South-East)
I would support my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) in the request that he has made to the Minister that we should have a genuine answer to the charge, which is a very serious one, made by my hon. Friend. It is inevitable in the circumstances created by the Bill that this sort of thing will come about. Inevitably, we shall have those unsavoury conditions existing, and there will be flocking to the kill all sorts of undesirable characters. That this is to happen is quite clear. The information which my hon. Friend has brought to the notice of the House today makes it quite clear that already this state of affairs is developing, and, in fact, increasing and accelerating, as we proceed towards the date on which this Bill will become an Act of Parliament.
The Minister is here clearly charged by my hon. Friend and he will have to satisfy this House as to his own actions in this connection, as to the actions of the Executive for which he is responsible to the House, and the actions of the Transport Commission in connection with anything that can be done at this stage to prevent what is already going on and developing: in short, that he should do what it is his job to do, and that is to stop it at this stage and cut it off immediately.
What we are doing in this Amendment is to add to the multiplicity of instructions being given to the Commission in connection with the sale of its assets. What we 879 are seeking here, in addition to the things mentioned by my hon. Friend at the end of his speech, is to ensure that, added to those instructions being given to the Commission, is one which will clearly look after the road user, and that, in everything which the Commission does in selling these vehicles, consideration shall be given to the people who will use the vehicles and the undertakings of which the Commission will dispose.
It is quite clear that much of the success and much of the benefit obtained as a result of the work of the Road Haulage Executive came from the fact that it was engaged in large-scale operations, and the fact that it was engaged in operations on such a scale as would enable it, for example, to develop and extend the trunk and regular services, as against the tramp services provided by private operators. I think this is an extremely important part of the work of the Road Haulage Executive, and it is something which was well-known by every road user and which has been welcomed by various associations of road users, who are now afraid of the consequences of breaking up these large-scale operations in the Road Haulage Executive's business.
The Executive brought to the industry extended trunk and regular services, and provided a service which had not been previously provided by road haulage. It also commenced the worth-while task of providing a Teal service as against the old traffic-creaming process of picking out traffics here and there. This was part of the operations of the Road Haulage Executive which was welcomed by all users, because it did provide something which they could use.
In consequence of these operations, undoubtedly the Road Haulage Executive was able to improve the loading factor. It was in process of providing a service at a lower charge than would otherwise have been the case, because it was increasing its loading and ensuring that return loads in actual operations cut down the cost of transport to the user. These things have been started, and the Executive was in process of developing them, when the Minister came along with this Bill to cut off these operations at an early stage.
But the Road Haulage Executive did something else. It was as a result of 880 extending its operations that it was able to secure more economical working by the balancing of its fleet of vehicles in the various depots, and, by creating fairly large units, it was able to build up a balance of vehicles which would enable it to undertake in an economical way the task which it had to perform. This, added to the fact that they had created divisional pools of vehicles which helped to avoid an excess of vehicles in service and in the ownership of the Road Haulage Executive, undoubtedly had an effect upon industry and prevented a waste of capital and a waste of vehicles which we cannot really afford.
They were also able to make real use of and develop road haulage clearing house arrangements, by means of which loads would be obtained in the reverse as well as the forward direction, and it is here that the service became so important a part of the work of the Commission and also of the Road Haulage Executive that there are some interests in the country which are now seeking to continue and expand it. It would only be possible if we had a fairly large unit operating. It would not be possible under conditions of a number of small competing units unable to take advantage of those conditions.
It is undoubtedly the case that the Road Haulage Executive was creating a real and expanding network of both short and long distance services. The Road Haulage Executive created the sort of service of which the Association of British Chambers of Commerce said:The vital interests of users could be seriously impaired if the existing network of services, both local and national, were disbanded or disrupted; continuity of adequate services to industry and commerce is imperative.They are the users of transport. They fear that, in the breakdown which is to take place, these services which have been built up by the Road Haulage Executive will disappear as a result of these sales. Most, if not all, of the things I have been talking about were made possible only because of the adequacy and size of the organisation provided by the Road Haulage Executive. It could not be done by small competing units inadequately staffed and equipped, but can only be done by a fairly large unit which was able to look at the traffics as a whole and at the country as a whole and take such 881 steps as appeared to them to be necessary to ensure that the services that were provided were what the country needed.
Now, all these services, or most of them, I fear, are doomed to destruction by the mad act of this Government, and what we have to do is to try to save as much as possible for the user of transport. We have to consider not only the user of transport, but the effect which transport has upon the economy of the country.
I dislike adding another instruction to the mass of those already contained in the Bill, and particularly in this Clause of the Bill, but I believe that in the interest of the road user and in the interest of saving some portion of this undertaking in order that we may have an efficient industry in this country, we must add this further instruction that the Commission must have regard to the factors which are clearly set out in the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East. We particularly want to ensure that we shall be able to secure the continuance of a satisfactory road service.
We want the Commission to consider these factors when they come to sell this portion of their undertaking in order to ensure that we shall not break down the industry into such small units that it cannot satisfactorily meet the needs and requirements of the users of transport. We want the Commission clearly to understand that regard must be had to the users of transport and that they must be given absolute priority over the needs of the purchasers of the units.
Many hon. Members opposite, both on the Committee stage and on other stages of the Bill in this House, and in another place, have made it quite clear that what they have chiefly in mind is the selling back of this industry to those who were in it before and of breaking it down into the type of unit which they feel such people could purchase and manage. I am confident that this would be bad for the user of transport who ought to have priority over the friends of the Opposition who have done so much to persuade them to introduce this Bill and to get it through to this stage.
§ Mr. Frank McLeavy (Bradford, East)
I join with my hon. Friends in asking the Minister to accept the Amendment proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for 882 Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). I believe that many hon. Members on both sides of the House were shocked to hear of the activities of the United Dominions Trust in connection with the proposed sale of these vehicles. The least the Minister could do would be to make a statement tonight about the action he proposes to take to prevent this or any other trust from taking a mean advantage of the facilities which were, presumably, afforded to them.
I ask the Minister once again—I have said it on previous occasions—to consider this Amendment from the point of view both of the industry and of the workers in it. During an earlier stage of the Bill I stated—and I repeat it—that I believe that only the larger firm is capable not only of providing the essential services to industry, but of providing the conditions of employment for the workpeople that we are entitled to expect from the transport industry. The larger the unit in any industry, the greater its efficiency and the better the conditions of the workers in it.
The Minister ought to have some regard for the interest of those working in the industry. After all, the Bill is designed to make almost a present of a nationalised service to vested interests, and, as far as I can see, no attention is paid in this Measure to the interest and well-being of the workers in the industry. The Minister would at least be doing something towards preserving wage conditions, employment conditions and social conditions in the industry if he would agree to accept this Amendment and apply its terms so far as his directions are concerned.
The men in this industry are entitled to some consideration in this matter. We shall not get an efficient service by forming small units and allowing them to be operated by individuals. The success of the transport industry during the past few years has been due to the fact that the small units of ownership have been eliminated. I ask the Minister, first in the interest of the industry, and, secondly, in the interest of the workers engaged in it to accept this Amendment and to see that the units are sufficiently large in order to ensure that not only industry gets the right and proper service, but that those engaged in it get decent conditions and decent wages conforming to the principle of the fair wages clause.
§ Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Wolverhampton, South-West)
I wish to hark back to the opening arguments used by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) in favour of this Amendment. He referred to the play of economic forces in the road haulage industry prior to nationalisation, and he argued that they were inexorably converting it into an industry of large organisations and big units. Why, therefore, he argued, should we attempt to revert in this Bill, and particularly through this Lords Amendment, to a form of industry which was already obsolete?
I am prepared to accept the test which the hon. Gentleman applies. He has appealed to Caesar and to Caesar we will go together and examine what structure of industry those economic forces had brought about when nationalisation began to take effect in 1948. It was an industry which comprised a few giant organisations and in which there was a small number of moderate-sized firms. But it was an industry in which the vast majority of firms were extremely small, operating only one, two or three lorries each.
These facts are familiar to the House, and I will only remind hon. Members that up to the end of 1951 the Commission had taken over nearly 3,800 undertakings to produce the 42,000 vehicles it then had. When one makes allowance for the few giant organisations which are included, it is evident that the average size of undertakings in the road haulage industry in 1947 was extremely small. We are, therefore, confronted with the fact that the play of economic forces in the road haulage industry has left it with the majority of its undertakings run by small firms. That fact is one of the reasons justifying the attempt to ensure by the Bill that when the industry is again in private hands it shall take preponderantly that shape.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to be surprised at and to place weight upon the allegation that former customers of those small firms appear to be satisfied with the service which they get now from British Road Services. I can tell them why there is an appearance of satisfaction. In our debates on the Bill attention has been drawn over and over again to the staggering growth in C licences since nationalisation began. The great majority of those licences have been taken out to replace the services performed for in- 884 dustry by the small firms. The peculiar, personal and flexible service which those firms were able to give was no longer available to industry through the Transport Commission, so that industry reluctantly had to engage in the transport business itself to get this service.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
If the statement the hon. Gentleman makes is correct, how does he account for the fact that the largest number and the greatest increase in C licences has taken place in regard to retail delivery and not in general haulage?
§ Mr. Powell
I am aware there has been a great increase throughout the period since the war in small retail vehicles, but there has also been a great increase in C licences for vehicles over 30 cwts. Numerically, the former may be in the majority; but if we contrast the number of vehicles before and after nationalisation we shall find a sharp and marked increase. Instead of utilising gladly the alternative service of this nationalised monopoly, industry has had reluctantly to resort to means of its own to replace the small firms which it had lost.
I will mention, in passing, the old argument which has been brought out once again about the condition of employees, often self-employed people, in the small firms, as compared with the employees of the Road Haulage Executive. I refer again to the fact that if the conditions in the Executive, with its 40,000 vehicles, were so superior to those in the great mass of the haulage industry with nearly one million vehicles, we should not be faced with the 25 per cent. turnover per annum of labour in the Executive but we should have queues of road haulage employees trying to get into the Executive—
§ Mr. Powell
—instead of employees of the Road Haulage Executive anxious to be taken over by private road hauliers, while employees of private hauliers still operating in the 25 mile radius were staying on hoping against hope that they would be able to operate on a broader basis. That argument has been destroyed time and time again in the debates on the Bill.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East said, and here I agree with him. that this Lords Amendment and this 885 Opposition Amendment thereto exemplify the difference in philosophy between the two sides of the House. One could hardly have a better illustration of the outlook of Socialism than the words of this Amendment. It is designed to ensure that these transport units do not pass into the ownership or control of personswho by reason of their financial position, the smallness of the unit in question, or otherwise will be unable to secure the continuance of satisfactory road services.7.15 p.m.
Socialism looks to bureaucracy, to monopoly, to the Government to secure the continuance of satisfactory service. We on this side of the House look to enterprise and competition to ensure the continuance of satisfactory service. It may well be that some of those who will come forward to take over these transport units—and I hope many of the units will be small ones—will prove, for one reason or another, unable, in the long run, to provide a fully satisfactory service, but their places will be taken by others immediately.
Anyone who, after 1955, can indicate that a fully satisfactory service is not being provided, can secure an A licence from the licensing authority. It is to the operation of competition, to the opportunity given by the Bill to those who can provide a satisfactory service to come in and do so, that we look above all for the continuance of satisfactory service. I accept, therefore, the suggestion that the two Amendments embalm, in a sense, the opposing outlooks of the two sides of the House.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, said correctly that I was one of those who were anxious to see some guarantee that small units were available for disposal, as far as possible. I am glad to see that that wish on my part has been put into the terms of the Bill. My desire arises out of experience in my constituency. In the last 18 months, not once or twice but dozens of times, small hauliers and ex-hauliers in Wolverhampton have approached me because they were anxious to be assured that they would have an opportunity when the transport units were being disposed of, of acquiring small undertakings similar to those of which they were dispossessed and which they were able to operate. They knew that they have the experience, 886 the enthusiasm and the enterprise to provide with those units the service which Wolverhampton industry received from them in the days gone by.
It is from that personal background, as well as from the conviction that opportunity to compete is the best of all guarantees of service in the road haulage industry, that I support the Lords Amendment and ask the House to reject the Opposition Amendment thereto.
§ Mr. Proctor
I am very pleased to see the Attorney-General still in his place. We had the pleasure of asking the Minister of Transport to request him to come here to advise us on legal aspects of these Amendments. His presence is wanted now in another capacity. I believe that he did not have the privilege of hearing the speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). He should read very carefully in HANSARD what my hon. Friend said. It is his duty—
§ Mr. Proctor
In that case it is all the better that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had it at first hand.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. and learned Gentleman admits that he heard it, but is he prepared to deny its truth?
§ The Attorney-General
What I objected to was the allegation made against my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport that he was trying to make money for his friends. In my ordinary life I regard such things as disgraceful.
§ Mr. Proctor
I believe that the action of the Tory Party will certainly make money for their friends on the Bill. The whole purpose of the Bill, as far as the Tory Party is concerned, seems to be to make money for their friends.
But I am looking at this matter from another aspect, from the point of view of workers who are at present engaged in the industry, and I call upon the Attorney-General not to treat this in any light manner, but to look at it very seriously and to consider the standards now observed in British public life. If, as stated by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East there are people going round the road transport depots snooping and attempting to find out information in one way or another, I want 887 a warning given to them that they should be careful to keep at least outside the Corrupt Practices Act.
We should remember that the employee of the Road Haulage Executive is under a very great strain at the present time. He does not know whether the person who is creeping about the depot, trying to find out something, may not be his employer next year and may be able to say then whether or not he is to be allowed to continue in the industry. That person may be able to say whether or not he may continue to live in his home or whether his child shall continue to receive its present education. I want this matter dealt with seriously by the Attorney-General. I want him to issue a warning that no pressure should be put on the employees of the Road Haulage Executive to be disloyal to their present employers and to give information which they properly would not be able to give.
It has been suggested that the natural play of economic forces will continue to keep the small man in the industry. All the evidence of the modern trend shows that it is the large units that are most efficient in modern industrial civilisation. We concede that when large units were being brought into being in British industry hardship was imposed in many cases upon the owners and workers in the small units. But the Government now propose to reverse the process in a most unnatural manner and to bring into being the small units. That seems to offer no advantage whatsoever to the community or to the workers.
While the interest of the transport users has been very ably put forward from this side of the House, and the general interest of the nation is something about which we on this side are always thinking. I wish I could say the same of the other side of the House, but in this transport business hon. and right hon. Members opposite are putting their private interest first and the interest of the nation last. A great part of the general body of the nation voted for the Government that brought in this Bill and they have great responsibility for it.
The workers employed in the industry have no responsibility for it and are in a very helpless condition. They do not know whether or not their jobs will be preserved. Lord help them if they fall into the hands of some of the small 888 transport units which existed before nationalisation, and especially if they fall victims of the exploitation that took place between the two wars when many of the transport firms were being built up.
Let hon. Members just imagine the situation when a man gets hold of a couple of lorries and he finds that he has not the necessary resources to keep them on the road. His first tendency is bound to be to exploit more fiercely those whom he employs. If the Tory Party are determined, as they appear to be, to go on with this business and to denationalise road transport let them at least do it in such a way as to ensure decent conditions for the workers who are in the industry. I say that there can be no place for the small unit after the big units have been built up, and I hope that the Minister will give most careful consideration to the points that I have made about these workers.
One of these people came to see me two week-ends ago. He explained that he was employed by a fairly large road transport concern that had been taken over by British Road Services. Even before the British Road Services took him over he felt fairly secure in his position with that fairly large firm. He asked me what was the present position and said that, as far as he could see, the tendency of the British Government would be to break up depots such as the one in which he was employed and to sell them in small units.
He said that he had worked very hard ever since British Road Services had taken over the firm, but now he did not know whether his position would be secure and what would happen to him. He had bought his own house in the area and his children were attending a secondary school there. If this House insists upon carrying out these marauding activities and on selling up these depots which were so successfully established by the British Road Services, this man may suffer very considerably. It may be that if his depot became part of a big unit his position would be secure. I ask the Government to give careful consideration to this point, which is a big one for workers in the industry. I ask them to ensure that the new transport firms which are to be set up should be of sufficient size to give men the necessary security and the possibility of decent employment.
889 It seems to me that the Tory Party are flying in the face of every common sense tendency in modern industrial civilisation. Years ago, when we first struck this problem in the railway world, it seemed to me that the unification of road and rail transport was essential. In the years 1923–26, when we were first considering this problem, we had a very big debate in the National Union of Railwaymen as to what we should do. A section of railwaymen thought that we should go all-out for nationalisation and attempt to unify the road and rail services of the country on the basis of public ownership. The view that I took in the political climate that existed after 1925 was that there was very little possibility of our winning a majority in the nation so as to secure the transport unification which I considered to be absolutely essential.
Inside the National Union of Railway-men I propagated my idea that we should try to secure road powers for the railways and the unification of the transport system on the basis of common ownership of road and rail. We had a considerable debate inside the union and we decided to support the railway companies in their demand for the right to use the roads. In those old days when the railway companies were really the main transport units of this country—
§ Mr. Speaker
I think that the hon. Member is unwittingly straying a little from the Amendment which is before the House. The history which he is reciting is certainly interesting, but I do not think that it bears upon this point.
§ Mr. Proctor
With respect, Sir, I tried to relate what I was saying to what I considered to be the issue before us, namely, the size of the transport units which are to be employed. I submit that that is germane to our discussion. I wanted to point out what the Tory Party did in the old days to retard the proper development of transport and to say that exactly the same thing is being done now to prevent the natural development and cohesion of these various forms of transport. In view of your opinion, Mr. Speaker, I will be as brief as possible in putting forward that point.
The one thing which prevented the railway companies from using the roads 890 in those days was the law. They were prevented, not by red tape but by blue tape from the other side, from having the opportunity to run road transport. If they wanted to move anything from one place to another they could not send it by road. It has to go partly by road and partly by rail. Today, this Bill is doing exactly the same kind of thing. We are taking all these unnecessary measures to prevent the Transport Commission, who own the railways, from dealing with the road transport side of the industry.
Later, we shall be dealing with the companies which are to be promoted. I ask the Minister of Transport to give consideration to the absolute necessity of having a large unit to preserve the conditions of the workers as well as to serve the interests of the public.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I must say that I prefer the tone and temper of the observations of the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Proctor) to the rather rough and, I think, wholly undeserved language used by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). I had intended to enlarge somewhat on some of the remarks made by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East, but as he is not here at the moment I have no doubt that he will repeat them, though I hope in not quite such offensive language, and then I will deal with them more clearly and closely when he is here.
May I straight away make one thing plain? The suggestion that there is any underhand conspiracy between Her Majesty's Government and the United Dominions Trust can, I think, be treated with the contempt that it deserves. It ought not to be necessary for me to say that no special privileges of any kind have been given to the United Dominions Trust. It is clearly impossible to make quite certain in a great change of this kind that no contacts, which perhaps should not take place in quite the form they do, should be legalised.
I do not doubt that when nationalisation was in the air and a large number of people were being persuaded by voluntary means, with inverted commas round the word voluntary, to part with their lifetime possessions and occupation in road haulage, all sorts of private contacts and hole-in-corner methods may well have been engaged in. I entirely agree with the statement issued by the British 891 Transport Commission that if there are approaches made to their staff by any outside body, whether it is a credit house or any other outside body, it must be for them to see that proper protection is given to their rank and file. The statement issued by the Commission was couched in language to which no one can take exception.
As to the provision of bank credit, there have already been two or three exchanges between my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and hon. Gentlemen opposite and my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary. I think that the OFFICIAL REPORT of last week can speak for itself in that connection. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East made a large number of observations—
§ Mr. Ernest Popplewell (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West)
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves that matter—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I will come back to it as soon as the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East returns. I do not doubt that in the course of the lengthy debates which we are likely to have he will return again to the charge about the Trust. It is important to get it on the record now that there is not a word of truth in the suggestion which I think is most unworthy of the hon. Gentleman.
Other matters have been mentioned in this debate which is reminiscent of the discussions we had some months ago. The myth, as the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East called it, of the small man has been fairly shown by my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) to be no myth at all. There is indeed a conflict of ideologies and of loyalties here. We are anxious to see the entry of small people into road haulage and the re-entry of small people who ought never to have been driven out. The more there are the better.
I cannot make out what is happening. At one and the same moment we are told by hon. Gentlemen opposite that the United Dominions Trust is using improper machinery to get people in who are going to bankrupt the organisation—and that seems a curious thing for a finance house to do—and at the same time the Trust will make a large fortune out of it. I 892 think all these things will come out when the story of this act of social regeneration is fully completed.
Now that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East has returned, I must say that I felt obliged to deal with some of the remarks he made and to condemn in the strongest possible terms some of his innuendoes against the Trust. I take it that there will be opportunities to return to that charge. If there are not, I will certainly deal with it now.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That makes the position a good deal more precise. One ought to be very chary of using the privilege of this House to make statements, which really cannot stand examination anyhow, in the extravagant way in which some of them were advanced.
The Amendment of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite seeks to put various requirements as conditions without which no transfer may take place by the Disposal Board. There is to be the requirement of financial stability and a number of other considerations. I have found a certain amount of amusement in watching throughout the last few weeks, and especially during the last few days, the various attempts of the Opposition to make up their minds how to alter the Bill to secure their avowed aim that road haulage should be organised almost entirely in large units and that there should be no opportunity whatever for the small man.
I must say that I found it rather difficult to reconcile this total disregard of the interests of the small man, often the ex-Service man, with the oft professed claims of hon. Gentlemen opposite to be the party of the forgotten men. On the Order Paper on 31st March and on 1st April there were six attempts to put in certain considerations to which the Disposal Board had to pay regard. Then we had the Order Paper of 15th April. Four of these attempts went and only two remained, but another one was added. On the Order Paper of 16th April there was added another one.
Now we are dealing with one of those considerations. We have said, and we repeat, that in our view there ought to be a large number of small people in an industry which has throughout the years 893 given an opportunity of owning one's own business to the individual and giving good service to the community by close and sympathetic contact with the customer. I was most interested to see that Mr. Marsden, whom hon. Gentlemen opposite will know and who is a most distinguished expert on transport, in an address during the Easter vacation to the Institute of Transport identified himself with this view. He said that the small haulier who identified himself with one or two customers and studied their detailed needs, whose staff understood how to handle and safeguard lightly packed or specially vulnerable goods from door to door, held a very important place. This is a class of person about whom, in his own interest and in the interests of the consumer, we are most concerned.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite talk as if we have no interest in the consumers. A large proportion of them appear to prefer us to hon. Gentlemen opposite. I see little indication of any change in public opinion—
§ Mr. G. H. R. Rogers (Kensington, North)
What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by that remark? At the last General Election we got 250.000 more votes than his party.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am judging solely by the only method of testing public opinion—the formation of the House of Commons at the moment. [Laughter.] If hon. Members deny that this House is a fair representation of public opinion now, what right have they got to claim that over the six unhappy years of their Administration, Parliament mirrored the views of the people?
It was a matter of some interest to me—although I would be out of order if I developed this overmuch—that when we were discussing the criterion to which the licensing authority should have to pay regard, when we emphasised the importance of the consumer, we were frequently told by hon. Members opposite that it was the interests of the people already providing transport that ought to be preferred. We are in favour of the interests of consumers, and we believe that the restoration of close and sympathetic contact between small people and their customers is one of the ways to help us in our present economic difficulties.
894 It does not appear to us to be in the least necessary—indeed, it seems wholly undesirable—to fit into the Bill a form of words similar to those that have been moved by hon. Members opposite. In our view, the new form of words which replace the form that describe the situation "in too few hands" is preferable to the wording that we had first intended to incorporate in the Bill. I should like to thank my noble Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinching-brooke) for his help in this matter, and to assure him that though there is a change in the Lords Amendment it is designed to express in more precise language the thoughts that he had in mind.
We were very much impressed by the arguments that were used in another place that the phrase "too few hands" was rather vague and that a refusal of a tender on these grounds was a political matter for a Minister and not for the Commission or the Disposal Board. We have therefore introduced a form of words which drew from Lord Jowitt commendation, and though I would not be in order in quoting the former Socialist Lord Chancellor as he is not a Minister and it is still the same Session, I will direct the attention of Members to column 319 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of the Third Reading of this Bill in another place on 26th March.
The new wording that I shall, I hope, shortly commend as one of their Lordships' Amendments defines more clearly the circumstances in which it is intended that a tender might be refused, and it also provides that it should not be refused wholly or mainly on such grounds without the Minister's consent. I think this puts fairly, squarely and quite properly on the Minister the final decision for what is largely a political decision.
I hope that the result of this will be that though there will undoubtedly be a number of companies formed for disposal as well as companies retained by the Commission, a large number of small people will come into this business, and I can assure them that the country as a whole will welcome it. We shall hope to provide, conditions of security and fairness which will make their restored occupation profitable alike to them and to their fellow countrymen. I therefore regret very much that I cannot do as I 895 did on the Amendment before and recommend the House to accept the Amendment. I hope that the Amendment can be disposed of in good time.
§ 7.45 p.m.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I rise now because I thought it might be convenient not for the purpose of ending the debate but because this is an important Amendment which has come from their Lordships' House and it is an important Amendment that we are moving to it. Therefore, it is perfectly proper and legitimate that the debate should go on.
It seems to me that the Government are trying to run two horses at the same time. The only difference, between the Front Bench and the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) was that he was running a horse at a somewhat galloping speed and the Minister was a little more cautious in his observations on the doctrine. Obviously, the doctrine upon which the Government started in considering this Bill is to be found in the wording of the Bill, and changes in the wording indicate that there is a change in the philosophy.
The philosophy was that the Road Haulage Executive's undertaking should be broken up into units as small as possible—the smaller the better, that the competitive principle should be vigorous and that a better public service will be provided by a highly competitive road haulage industry than by the organisation of the undertaking into larger units. I feel sure the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West will agree that that is a fair statement of his argument, and in principle the Minister advanced the same argument but not with the same degree of force. Indeed, it will be remembered that from the White Paper onwards that has been the Government's argument throughout.
But what is, in fact, happening? The Government are to some extent steadily running away from the principles on which they started. I warn hon. Members opposite that they are being sold down the river by the Minister of Transport. He is betraying their principles. He is going away from what they are arguing. He is already miles away from the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West, who is in a sort of competitive degree of reactionary faith. As between him and 896 the Minister I do not know who is the most reactionary, but certainly the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West does his best in that direction.
If one takes the Bill as it left this place to go to the House of Lords, it will be seen that it provided, in subsection (6):In determining which tenders for transport units are to be accepted and which refused, the Commission shall have regard to the desirability of avoiding the ownership or control of the property held by the Commission for the purposes of the existing road haulage undertaking being concentrated in too few hands.It does read, I agree, a little like an authorised document from the Conservative Central Office with a foreword by the Prime Minister. The Economic Secretary looks shocked. Of course, he was trained in that stable, and no doubt he will be able to incorporate in the Finance Bill some similar wording which could be used in the political propaganda of the Conservative Central Office. It is more of that nature than it is of the nature of the text of an Act of Parliament because it is difficult to know what it means in application. I think the danger of the wording is that the courts might take it too literally and not realise that it was one of these political side-stepping declarations.
The Amendment which the Government, or one of their friends presumably, promoted in another place moves away from the provision of the Bill in an important and substantial direction. It says that the Clause should read, after "avoiding":any steps which is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of competition in the carriage of goods by road for hire or reward, but no such tender shall be refused wholly or mainly on the ground that it is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of such competition as aforesaid without the consent of the MinisterWhat does that mean? It deliberately provides that the Minister can, by his own unilateral decision, completely set aside the philosophy of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West.
I do not wonder that the hon. Member is now leaving the Chamber. He could see what was coming. He now knows that he has been sold down the river, that his anarchistic principles have been betrayed by his own Front Bench and that the Minister in any case can completely set 897 aside the whole argument that the Conservative Party put forward, the whole of their manifestoes, and the whole of the principles of their undertaking to the little man in road haulage.
The Government Front Bench have attacked an hon. Friend of mine for what he said about the difficulties of the small men in this business of providing proper labour conditions, a co-ordinated service, and so on. They attack us and even drag in the ex-Service men in an attempt at a rather cheap argument. If any persons have shown themselves to be the friends of the ex-Service men it is this party. [Laughter.] Certainly. At the end of Second World War we did not leave them to go to the Mayors' Distress Fund, as did the Tory Party after the First World War. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Everybody is trying to provoke me, but to be out of order is the last thing in the world I wish to do.
One of my hon. Friends was condemned for arguing the case for considering a somewhat larger service, which he thought would be a better service. It was said by hon. Members opposite that he was trying to push out the little man, and that he was an enemy of that little man. My prophecy is not that the Conservative Government will protect the little man, but that, in the end, they will do pretty well what we are arguing that they should do. But they will do it for another reason—because they are the natural friends of big business, of trusts, combines and monopolies.
A noble Lord who is a member of the party opposite is a member of one of these trusts. I sent a message to him in the hope that he would be here. I say that the party opposite are the natural friends of big business. Let hon. Members opposite be under no illusions; if any of them does not want to see big concerns operating—and there may be a certain number who do not—this Lords Amendment gives power to the Minister to destroy the little man or to prevent him from emerging, because it gives complete mandatory freedom to set aside the interests of the small man without any question of making an Order or putting down a Prayer.
I want to refer to one or two remarks which were made by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West. He argued that it was the wish of the Government 898 and the party opposite to preserve the small man, and that competition was the great thing. Before 1921 there was a lot of competition between 100 railway com-panies. It was a Coalition Government, in which the Conservatives were powerful, which merged them into four companies. Was that in the name of competition and the preservation of the small man, or was it in the name of amalgamation? Who were the men who advocated the square deal—men coming together in road and rail ownership? They were largely Conservatives.
I now want to refer to the matter of the United Dominions Trust. I did my very best to see that my message reached the noble Lord the Member for Pentlands (Lord John Hope). My information is—and I should like to know whether or not it is true—that representatives of this undertaking have been going round some of the road transport units of the Road Haulage Executive, seeking to get information and to make contacts whereby their financial assistance and advances could be made available to smallish transport people. I am told that they sought information that would enable them to make intelligible propositions in this respect.
This is a Parliamentary Bill; it is not an Act of Parliament. I think my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) was perfectly entitled to say that this kind of thing is irregular, thoroughly objectionable and should be condemned. The right hon. Gentleman said that it might have been a little over the line; that it might be wrong or—the implication was—that it might not. I think it was the duty of the Minister to say flatly that this was wrong and that it should stop.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
This is a matter of very considerable importance. I am concerned about the integrity with which these affairs are conducted. Obviously, there is nothing improper in a finance house or a banking house approaching individuals whom they think may be anxious to get credit facilities if and when this Bill becomes an Act of Parliament. I do not see anything wrong in that. To go to offices of an organisation which is not yet dissolved raises quite different considerations, and I think it is quite right that the Transport Commission should look after the interests of their own staff.
899 The fact is that they did not prohibit such contacts, but said that any approaches should be referred to headquarters, and I consider that that was the right approach. They could then protect their people when they needed protection, without preventing the ordinary contacts which are perfectly correct.
§ Mr. Morrison
That reply justifies my description of the Minister's lukewarm attitude. He is still saying that it is not wrong. He argues that for the United Dominions Trust to approach a potential operator or an existing private firm is perfectly legitimate. I am not so sure, when the Bill is still before Parliament. But I am quite clear that it is patently wrong that they should approach officers and staff of the Road Haulage Executive with a view to getting something which I can only describe as backstairs information which they regard as useful to them.
It is quite clear that the Road Haulage Executive, having told their people to refer them to some higher office, have done so with a view to that office saying, "Get off the course." The Minister should have said flatly that they should not have approached those officers who are, in a sense, public officers, because they are officers of a public corporation. Do not make any mistake about it; what makes us suspicious, and what led my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East to make some emphatic observations, is the fact that ever since the Labour Government brought in their Road Transport Act, in 1947, there has been a closer and closer tie-up between the Conservative Party, road haulage operators and, therefore, the Government, because they are interested in it.
The Conservative Central Office are interested in it. We have no idea what amount the road haulage operators have contributed to the funds of the party opposite, but one of the members of the United Dominions Trust is a considerable politician. The Chairman of the Trust Board is Mr. J. Gibson Jarvie, who is very forthright in some of his observations. Other directors are Mr. D. Carmichael; Mr. Peter MacLeod Gray; the noble Lord the Member for Pent-lands; Mr. J. R. T. Gibson Jarvie—presumably a relation of the Chairman— 900 Mr. W. J. Johnson; Sir Brian Mountain; Sir Robert B. Pearson, and Mr. A. C. Uren.
It will be seen that a noble Lord who is a Member of this House is one of the directors. I make no charge against him; he may know nothing about this matter; but it would be better if he could make a report to the House and express his opinion about it. We do not like the situation in which credit facilities have been loosened in order to favour undertakings of this sort, as has been admitted in principle both by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and by the Economic Secretary. We think that our Amendment, which argues for the public service, a co-ordinated public service, being at any rate among the very big considerations which should be kept in mind in the handling of these sales, is right. It stands on a firm principle of public interest and the public service. We think it must be right.
We believe that the Government ought to accept it rather than this somewhat ramshackle wording into which the Government have now drifted, and we therefore ask the House, after the debate has been concluded, to support our Amendment.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
Perhaps I may say a few words about the Lords Amendment and the Opposition Amendment. Both are under discussion. I wish to question whether the moral grounds of the speech of the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) are as satisfactory to him as they ought to be. He castigated us for favouring big business and went on to make suggestions with which I will try to deal in a moment or two, but he seemed to be on very doubtful grounds.
This Amendment of the Labour Party is clearly designed to favour big business to the utmost possible extent because it tries to remove from the list of those who will receive these units people who,by reason of their financial position, the small-ness of the unit in question, or otherwise, will be unable to secure the continuance of satisfactory road services.I cannot make out what the "otherwise" means. I suppose it means one man businesses in a small way of life, a man living in a small house with an open yard in which he keeps one lorry, a man with a 901 wife and two children on £6 a week; I suppose that is "otherwise" in this Amendment of the Socialist Party. What else could it mean? They say, "by reason of their financial position." For political reasons they dare not say "a small and mean financial position," but that is what they mean. They go on to talk about the smallness of the unit. The Amendment pours scorn on the small people. There were some remarks by the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South, about the periods after the two wars and ex-Service men, but these arguments carried no conviction at all.
Whatever they may say on other Amendments or in other fields, in this Amendment the Labour Party clearly put themselves on the side of big road units, of organisations with powerful administrative businessmen, large machines of accounting and fleets of lorries. They put themselves solidly against the small units which we on this side of the House favour, as shown in the Lords Amendment.
§ Mr. Mellish
May I put one point to the noble Lord which is important? Does he still support the licensing system which controls the number of vehicles to be given for the various routes on which they are travelling, or does he not?
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
The licensing system is being modified, as has been foreshadowed already in the Bill, but that is out of order on this Amendment.
The Minister is quite right, in dealing with the Amendment which we are accepting from another place, when he says that he is to be the final arbiter on whether units are to be sold when they tend to be large. It may be that for economic reasons it is a very good plan to have one or two large units, but in general the philosophy behind the Bill and this Clause, as my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) said, is in favour of denationalisation to small units; and we are proud to have a Conservative Minister who will take the side of my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West in seeing that, in general and as far as possible, the units into which the transport is formed shall be on the small side and only in exceptional cases will they be on the large side.
I want to say a few words about what the right hon. Member for Lewisham, 902 South said about the United Dominions Trust. I have no connection with it. I know nothing about its activities. The only person I know among those the right hon. Gentleman listed as directors of the concern is my noble Friend the Member for Pentlands (Lord John Hope). I think the right hon. Gentleman might not only have done justice but have arranged that it should be seen that justice was done. He ought to have secured that my hon. Friend was actually in his place when the allegations were made. These Lords Amendments will occupy the House for at least two days and there will be other opportunities later in the passage of the Amendments, as the Minister said, when my noble Friend could have been in his place to answer directly and immediately the very carefully phrased allegations made by the right hon. Gentleman.
What if there have been some contacts? What is wrong in that? When any great organisation is being broken up or is coming to an end, when the managing director or chairman of any business is obliged to announce that he is ceasing activities—or, indeed, long before he announces it—many of the persons engaged in those activities are doubtful about their future; and, human nature being what it is, they will make enquiries about their future and make such contacts as they can.
We have the cover from the Transport Commission for what has been done. There is nothing immoral about it. The Transport Commission say they are agreeable to the arrangements which have been made. What is there wrong in making contacts through or with an organisation which to some extent—though I myself hope to a limited extent, and I am sure my right hon. Friend agrees with me—will be an instrument in effecting the denationalisation of these units? What is wrong if representatives of that organisation make contacts where they can with those who will be affected by denationalisation?
§ Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)
Knowing his integrity and standing, I am sure the noble Lord would agree that this is a special case where men of great influence, holding national positions, should not have got themselves into a position of this kind.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
I do not know, and therefore cannot agree that they have got themselves into a position of this kind. We ought to have the details of the charges. What persons have been to what place at what times and what have they done? Until we know that, the House is not justified in drawing any conclusions. The allegations made by the right hon. Gentleman, though studied and carefully phrased, were, in fact, vague; they did not amount to anything very specific, and until we get specific charges and know what has been done, it is quite impossible for the House to decide.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith rose—
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
I shall not give way again. Let the Labour Party be very careful about casting those wide allegations before the public. People in glass houses should not throw stones. I remember very well—and I shall be studied and careful in my phraseology, too—in the early days of the last Parliament, when nationalisation was proceeding, when collectivist themes were being discussed and people were being drawn in from all parts of the country in order to serve the needs of the Socialist State, that certain things happened. The Board of Trade and certain gentlemen connected with the Board of Trade were not too careful in some of their relations. There were a few investigations before the Select Committee of Privileges. Let us have no more of this. Let us have the detailed charges against the specific persons and no vague allegations made for political advantage.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
I do not think investigations by the Committee of Privileges into actions by people connected with Governments in the past started during the Labour Government, but it would be an unsavoury thing to accept the invitation of the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) to trace through some rather sordid passages of political history.
The speech of the Minister of Transport was pretty disappointing. He did not accept our Amendment to the Lords Amendment, but I think the most disappointing feature of his speech was his reaction to the statements of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). We saw the right hon. Gentleman's seemingly righteous 904 wrath added to the hysterical indignation of the Attorney-General, but neither the Minister nor the Attorney-General denied that these things were happening.
The Minister did not seem to be at all concerned about whether they were happening. If he can recollect the debates on Second Reading and at the Committee stage of the Bill he will remember what we were told would happen during this sabotaging and destruction of British Road Services. This sordid snooping of those financial racketeers is the justification of the fears we expressed at that time, and I sincerely hope the Minister will take action and let this House know the result of what inquiry he makes and what action he proposes to take. He said that this Measure was an act of social regeneration. How on earth can he possibly condone even by silence the actions of this Trust if he really believes that this is an act of social regeneration?
His speech demonstrated either that he could not read or that he was reading the wrong Amendment. He said that we on this side of the House totally disregarded the small man. I wish he would read our Amendment. There is nothing in our Amendment that totally disregards the small man. There is nothing in the Lords Amendment, which we are seeking not to change but to add to, about the small man or special privileges for the small man. We should not start consideration of this issue by the size of a unit, whether it is a small business, whether it is a big business, or whether it is a monopoly. The proper criterion surely as to whether or not we are doing the right thing is the effect it is going to have on the transport of the country.
From the very outset of the 1947 Act we have had chorus after chorus from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and three more speeches from that side again tonight, all glorifying, almost deifying, the small businessman. He could not do any wrong. The attention of the House and of the country has been pointed to the dangers of monopoly. The hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) sits forward with interest. No one has expatiated more on this subject than he has, unless it is the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South himself. The dangers of monopoly are referred to, and there is a suggestion about what consideration should be given to them by the Commission.
905 What we are doing is to ask the Commission to consider the dangers of the fragmentation of the industry, which are very real. It is no good talking about the road haulage industry's having always been an industry of small men and small businesses, and relating it to 1946. The Minister knows quite well that development of the road haulage industry was more or less frozen by the events from 1939 to 1945. It came under direction and zoning. He must remember that before the war finished the noble Lord who is the overlord of all this suggested that something should be done for the improvement of transport after the war, and pointed to the fact that one of the greatest obstacles was the multiplicity of small firms, which was a barrier to co-ordination. The fact still remains.
If the Minister is going to carry into actuality the kind of speech he made tonight there will be practically no big firms at all. If there were to be, there would be no new Clause "A." I shall be very interested in the reactions of the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South when we discuss that. If he really means what he said he will vote against it. The creation of these small firms will not necessarily make for efficiency in transport. It is from efficiency in transport that we must start. The noble Lord surely cannot object to this, that the first consideration is whether or not the people who get the businesses will be able to secure the continuance of satisfactory road services. As far as we are concerned a man can buy one lorry or two lorries or three so long as he is able satisfactorily to continue efficient road services. That is all we on this side of the House want.
I do not know why the Minister refuses our Amendment. Why should he object to our saying that the financial position of the purchasers should be taken into consideration to see whether they will be able to provide the services required? After all, I think it was the Vice-President of the National Chamber of Trade who said not so long ago:Experience has shown that there are services which can best be given by a larger, coordinated road haulage unit.It is because that is so that we are trying to get away from the idea of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that the only danger is monopoly. They have so plugged that idea as to be forgetful 906 of other dangers. A justification of our fears is the speech we heard from the Minister. There is the gravest danger that we shall get inefficient long distance road haulage services because of the breakup of the present organisation into very small and inefficient units.
So I ask the Minister to think again about our Amendment to the Lords Amendment. Let him read it this time, and let him read it in a reasonable and cool frame of mind. We know the doctrine of the more the merrier, and that the more there are the greater the competition will be, and that the greater the competition the greater will be the benefits to be derived. It just does not work in the industrial world. Are we to go again through all the pains and pangs of bankruptcy and amalgamation to achieve an efficient road haulage service?
The Minister must not forget—I am sure he already knows it—that British industry is more or less satisfied with the service it is getting from British Road Services today. The Joint Undersecretary of State for Scotland could tell him the reactions of businessmen in Scotland to this Bill. They certainly do not want hundreds of small businesses trying to do the job that can properly be done by larger firms. I ask the Minister to abandon this blinding prejudice of Tory dogma and fancied ideas about what we mean. Let him read our Amendment and see exactly what we mean. Nothing could be more reasonable, and nothing could be better for efficiency in road transport.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I rise only because of a remark made by the Minister. I understood that one of the strongest arguments of the Government for this Bill—certainly it was an argument that appealed to me—was that it would take politics out of transport and allow transport to be organised on economic grounds; that in future there would be room in the transport system for different forms of transport, and within road transport room for big units and small units; that some services could be provided by big units and some by the small men—who I am very glad to see are to be given an opportunity of re-entering the industry; that the consumer would have the choice, to some extent, of sending his goods by a big unit or a small unit, by rail or road 907 as he liked, and that his choice would be determined on economic grounds; and that competition should, within reasonable safeguards, run within the industry.
If I understood the Minister aright—if I misunderstood him I am sure he will correct me—I thought he said that one of the features of this Lords Amendment which appealed to him was that it would allow the decision whether a tender should be refusedwholly or mainly on the ground that it is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of … competitionto be decided on political grounds.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am sorry if I gave that impression. If hon. Members read the debate in another place they will find that all Labour Peers who took part in that debate stressed the view that it was not fair to put upon the Disposal Board or the Commission the final say whether a tender should be refused on the ground that if it were granted it would tend to concentrate the disposal into too few hands. They said it was a matter for the Minister to settle—although not in any party political sense—and I felt there was something in their case and we accepted that. I entirely agree that the final set-up of transport should conform to what the consumer wants, and what we are anxious to secure is that there shall be a substantial number of small people in this business who will restore again the close association that used to exist.
§ Mr. Grimond
I am not asking whether this decision is to be taken by the Commission or the Minister. What I am anxious to clear up and to have put aside is a remark, which I think the Minister did make, that whoever made the decision it was a political decision. In my view that is a very important point. It should not be a political decision; the decision should be made on economic grounds, looking to the general interests of consumers and of the country; looking to the interests of the workers in the industry, if you like, but made on economic grounds.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
It should be made by the political head of the Department and not by the Commission or the Disposal Board, but, naturally, the political 908 head would have all those considerations in mind in coming to his decision. After listening to the debate in another place it did not seem to us fair to leave the burden solely in the hands of the Disposal Board or the Commission.
§ Mr. Grimond
I am grateful to the Minister. I think it is something, anyway, to have got that admission, that whoever makes the decision it will not be made on purely political grounds. It is noticeable in the Lords Amendment that apparently the situation is envisaged in which the Minister shall say that the Commission is not to refuse a tender wholly on the grounds that it is likely to lead to undue restrictions; that is to say, the Minister will be in a position of intervening, I should-have thought, on the side of restriction. That is a small point, but it is a point.
The experience of this country during at any rate the last 20 years has been that if there is an opportunity for a decision to be made by a Minister it has not led to greater competition and the benefit of the small men, but has led invariably to greater monopoly and the success of the big men—a situation looked on with great sympathy by the Civil Service, the advisers of the Minister, and very often the Minister himself.
I must end by stressing that if the Minister makes the decision himself I hope he will do it on economic grounds. On the very principles of his own Bill I ask him whether it is wise to vest this power in a political head instead of in a commission or some other body which is clear of politics. I regret that any suggestion of politics should come into it.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If the hon. Gentleman casts his mind back to the earlier debates he will recall that the Commission and the Disposal Board want some protection if they refuse a tender which is the best tender. Obviously, they have a statutory duty to get the best possible price, and if they turn down a really good tender on the ground that it would tend to concentrate the assets in too few hands they ought to have the protection of the Minister before they come to that decision.
§ Mr. Grimond
I think I have got something from the Minister. I hope that we have at least got it on the record that the Minister will make the decision on 909 economic grounds in the public interest, and that he will regard this Lords Amendment, if accepted, as strengthening the hand of the Commission in cases where they reject a tender on the ground that it will produce a monopoly, and not as a means of over-riding the Commission who have been moved by economic factors.
§ Mr. Popplewell
It has been very interesting tonight to hear all this talk about safeguarding the interests of the small men, and to hear the lipservice paid by way of propaganda by the. party opposite. The Minister says that he is anxious to see the industry cluttered with small men. I wonder how sincere that really is. In the immediate disposal of the transport units he is trying to ensure that a number of small men will return to the industry. Does he expect that set-up to continue? Is it not really just lip service to win support for this proposal?
The Minister may disagree, but I know a little about the Minister; I know that he has sufficient intelligence not to overlook the history of the transport industry and its growth, such as took place in the inter-war years. We know that when vesting day came there were a large number of small men in the industry. We know that in pre-war days, as a consequence of that position, the House occupied itself on numerous occasions with various Acts of Parliament to try to safeguard the safety of the road by legislating that loads should be safe. We passed legislation to safeguard the hours of the men employed on the roads. We also know that some of the biggest supporters of the Minister and of the Tory Party are behind this Bill. Just how far they are financially supporting them, we cannot get to know. Perhaps we would know if the Tory Party would publish their balance sheet.
We know that the Road Haulage Association are fairly big contributors to the Tory Party. What do the road hauliers say about this? In 1946, they gave an indication to the Labour Minister of Transport of their view and they accepted the obligation of a public service. Is it possible to get a public service with a number of small units in the industry? We all know that it is absolutely impossible. The Road Haulage 910 Association also said that they would recognise the obligation to accept without discrimination any traffic which they were asked to carry and which was within their capacity.
Does that tie up with a number of small units within the industry? Of course not. We know that it is impossible for a small unit to accept these obligations. We know that the small units cannot, as the Road Haulage Association said they would do, conform to approved standards, conditions, and a national rent structure correlated as between different forms of transport. We have experienced this in times gone by. So one can go on with all the varying six Clauses put forward by the Association.
No, this talk about small units is purely an effort to try to get support for the disposal of the nationalised transport system. We know that it cannot operate for long. The growth of transport is all against that. Is it possible for a number of small units to give a co-ordinated service over the length and breadth of this country such as we now have? Bless my heart and soul, there has been established by the Tory Party and their supporters the Traffic Licensing Commissioners. With what object? To keep out the small unit man.
Let us face up to it. We know that, whenever a small man makes an application for a haulage service, the big owners of transport bring all the legal people possible to oppose it. [An HON. MEMBER: "Jobs for the boys."] We remember the square deal proposals for the railways. Only on 17th of this month we saw an incident involving the small man. There was a suggestion to close down the Weardale branch railway. The suggestion put to the Traffic Commissioners was that they should grant a through service for this area. There were four small men involved and two of them objected to each other. It is perfectly ridiculous and it indicates that what takes place in road haulage occurs in the road passenger service.
Lip service has been paid to the needs of the ex-Service man. That sounds hollow coming from hon. Members opposite. Most of us remember well how the ex-Service men of the 1914–18 war sank their gratuities in lorries. What happened? They worked hard trying to 911 scrape a living. The majority of those small units had to dispose of their lorries or found themselves in the Bankruptcy Court. That is the history of transport.
Is it possible for these small units to establish trunk services? It is as well to look for a moment or two at the nationalised transport service at it is today, at the care and maintenance of vehicles, at the efficiency it has reached. Many deliberately overlook the increased efficiency under the nationalised transport scheme. Hon. Members opposite talk about increasing the productivity of the country, but in everything they do they try to decrease the productivity, to increase charges or to make it more difficult for us to sell our goods. In transport we have another example of how they will increase the costs of the country's productive effort.
Since we, when in office, took over some 3,000 road haulage systems, what do we find? It is worth repeating these figures, which I have given in the House before. Managers represented over 3.7 per cent. of the staff. Now, they are reduced to less than 0.46 per cent. Clerical staff represented 14.7 per cent. of the units taken over. They are now reduced to 13.12 per cent. The proportion of operating staff has gone up from 59 per cent. to 67 per cent.
It is proposed to hand back the industry to private enterprise small units. This means increasing the administrative charges tremendously and giving a much dearer service to the users of transport. Much has been said about the owners of transport, but no attention is paid by the party opposite to the needs of users of transport except on the mythical scale of paying lip service.
§ Mr. James Harrison (Nottingham, East)
Before my hon. Friend leaves those interesting figures, may I ask whether he is aware that only last week in Nottingham the Parliamentary Secretary told a selected audience exactly the opposite: that under nationalisation the administrative staff of road haulage had grown tremendously?
§ Mr. Popplewell
I am aware of many false speeches made in the country which have never been backed by facts and figures. These figures are available to disprove entirely many of the mythical 912 statements that are made in this way. I challenge the Parliamentary Secretary to contradict my figures.
§ Mr. Popplewell
The silence of the Parliamentary Secretary is very interesting. It is all very well for him to go to the country, to Nottingham and elsewhere, to make these senseless charges, but now when we produce the figures his silence acknowledges that he is wrong.
I am certainly not going to rise every time that I am misquoted by the hon. Member for Nottingham, East (Mr. J. Harrison). I merely said that there were 12,000 officials running 41,000 vehicles.
§ Mr. Popplewell
That is not quite what the Press report of the hon. Gentleman's speech says. He is somewhat churlish in his attempt to justify what he said. Far too much has been made of this in the country, and it is as well to get these things on record. Let us hope that it will end a lot of this nonsensical propaganda.
In addition to the reduction in administrative staff and to the increased efficiency, let the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary dispute what I say now. Under a nationalised road haulage system, the charges have increased less since vesting day than have those of private enterprise.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The hon. Member has referred to me and I am always anxious to oblige him, for reasons that he knows. My recollection is that charges have gone up in nationalised and in private road haulage by broadly the same extent. Sometimes the nationalised side makes an increase of 10 per cent. and then it is followed later by the private sector, or it may be the other way about. In one instance the increase came first from the nationalised sector, and with another increase it was the other way round, but by and large there is not a great deal of difference between the two.
§ Mr. Popplewell
The Minister knows full well that the average charges of nationalised road haulage have gone up by approximately 35 per cent. since vesting day while the average charges of 913 private road haulage on long distance have gone up more than 40 per cent. Those are the answers and that disproves quite a lot of the mythical statements which have been made.
I appeal to the Minister; if he is really interested in transport as a whole as distinct from serving the needs of his political party's financial backers, and interested in preserving the needs of transport, he ought to have another look at this matter. He ought to accept our Amendment. It is not all we desire, but it is the best we can make of a particularly bad job as this matter has come down from another place. The Minister knows full well that the terms of our Amendment would operate fairly quickly after the assets have been disposed of, when it is no longer within his control. He must know the history of transport and that it has evolved round the establishment of large, efficient units.
In this sell out many large depots will be disposed of. What a shocking waste of manpower and knowledge of the transport industry that will involve. In these haulage depots, some large and some smaller, have been built up trained transport minds to operate them. If these depots are broken up and become fragments these people will either leave the industry, or, if they transfer to private road haulage on a much smaller scale, we shall lose the advantages of the knowledge they have gained with a view to giving us an efficient transport undertaking. It is a tremendous waste of manpower and talent which is so necessary for the national interest. The Minister has had many looks at this Bill—it was suggested that the grandparents of the Bill were in the White Paper a long time ago—and we all know the great changes that have been made. It has been almost like a film, in which the scene changes as one watches. The Minister's mind has changed as we have watched the development of this Bill. With that flexibility which I know he has, I do hope that at this late hour he will have some qualms of conscience and try to resurrect something useful in the Bill.
§ Mr. Mellish
I want to take up with the Parliamentary Secretary the question of the intervention made by my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, East (Mr. J. Harrison), because he has not really answered the point then made. He 914 does not take much part in these debates. [An HON. MEMBER: "He is not allowed to."] I expect that it is because the Minister does not allow him to, but on this occasion this is a matter of his own personal responsibility.
As I understand, he made a speech in which he said there were 12,000 officials to 40,000 lorries and thereby conveyed the impression to that very select audience of road hauliers that there were more managers and clerks than there had ever been before and that one could visualise this as a reason why the industry should be denationalised and we should get back to private enterprise.
I wish to ask a straight question which I hope will be answered. Does the Minister agree that the number of officials and staff employed under the Commission are less than were employed under private enterprise?
§ Hon. Members: Answer!
Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hopkin Morris)
Order. I do not think it would be in order to answer that question during the discussion on this Amendment. There may be an appropriate time to deal with that subject, but it is not while we are discussing this Amendment.
§ Mr. Mellish
I am sure I can relate my arguments to it. If the Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister wish to clear this issue out of the way they have merely to say, "Yes," or "No." The Parliamentary Secretary intervened a short while ago to say what he said at Nottingham. I am asking whether he agrees with the statement which I have made. He does not say very much in this House about transport, and perhaps the Minister will deal with the matter.
It is right that we should get the position of the Commission in the right perspective. I wish to make it part of the argument I am advancing that the number of staff employed is related to the number of small men in the industry. We argue that with big units the number is not so great, but with small men in the industry the number of staff tends to become bigger. I say that the Commission, coming in as a big unit, has been able to reduce the number of staff compared with the number employed under private enterprise, and I ask that 915 the Minister confirm or deny that statement.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
In a number of grades I think that undoubtedly they have made reductions. Reading what my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary said, I think he was making no comparison between the private and the public sector. He stated that x number of people were employed to run y number of lorries by the Executive, a statement of fact which no doubt he had taken from their annual report.
§ Mr. Mellish
That part of the Parliamentary Secretary's speech which was quoted was of interest, I expect the rest was boring. But the part quoted was not true in the sense that it related to the industry before nationalisation. The Parliamentary Secretary has tried in the past to say some decent things about the Commission and now he makes a statement which he knows to be untrue in the sense in which it was said. He should have given the whole of the facts, but we have it on record that he made a statement and never told the whole story.
I wish to get back to the question raised earlier regarding the United Dominions Trust activities recently in connection with visits to some depots. The noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) said that my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) had not given the names of those who had visited the depots or details of the sort of things they had been doing. The noble Lord said it was most unfair for my hon. Friend to make statements of that character, particularly when, by innuendo, as it were, an hon. Member might be involved as he was a director of the United Dominions Trust.
My hon. Friend did mention the names of two people who had been known to visit these depots on behalf of the trust, but in case there was any misunderstanding I will repeat them. One was a Mr. Bristow, a director of a firm with an office in King William Street, London, and the other a Mr. H. P. Kirkman, who, evidently, is associated with the office of the United Dominions Trust in Leeds. These people have been to various depots and they have been making inquiries 916 from the staff to find out what are the plans for the disposal of these vehicles which are to be sold in the big sell out. It is felt that these unauthorised disclosures, or attempts to get them, may well anticipate the plan for disposal which is the job of the new Disposal Board which we have not yet set up, because this Bill is not yet law.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
This is a very important matter. When some of the earlier and wilder charges were being made I thought that they related more to the approach to individuals who might themselves be anxious to get credit facilities. Attempts to find out more about the organisation of the Road Haulage Executive are much to be deprecated. That is a very different matter. But to say that, therefore, it is wrong to approach an individual who may be just the sort of person who wants to become master of his own small business afterwards is quite another matter. I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman that it would be very wrong to get information secretly which the Commission did not wish them to have.
That is why I said that I thought that the Commission had acted quite properly in saying, if any of these people doing their perfectly legal business came along, that the matter should be referred to them before any answer was given.
§ Mr. Callaghan
If I may interrupt my hon. Friend, may I say to the Minister, who should be in no doubt about what I said, that I made two charges. The first was that the representatives of the United Dominions Trust were going to Road Haulage Executive offices to secure information about their work and the possible break up. The second charge I made was that they were bringing to the notice of the people they were approaching the very advantageous financial assistance that they would be able to give if these people desired to go into the road haulage business themselves after denationalisation. If the Minister cannot see the connection between offering a man financial advantage and, at the same time, asking him for information about the job that he is doing then he is more naive than I think he is.
§ Mr. Mellish
I know that that is what my hon. Friend said. It was obvious to me that when these people from the 917 United Dominions Trust went to the depots they did not go there merely with the idea of finding out what sort of vehicles there were there, and so on, and engaging in the sort of pleasantries adopted by an insurance agent saying, "If you want a few shillings you can get them from me." Obviously, their purpose was far more serious than that.
It is useful to have the statement from the Minister now that he deprecates it. That is why it is important that one of the men who is a Member of this House and a director of this firm should be here. I understand that every effort has been made to make sure that he knew that this matter was to be brought up tonight. The Chief Whip of the Conservative Party is a very able fellow. I know that most hon. Members of the Conservative Party are scared out of their wits to leave the House. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman is in the House.
§ Mr. Mellish
Yes. That is the whole point. We have been trying to get some assurance on this matter.
I have a photostat copy of the visiting card, as a director of this trust, of one of the men I have mentioned. He is not an office boy going round to these places. He is a director seeking information. We think that this sort of thing ought to be known. This ties up with the earlier statement made by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East about certain credit facilities which are being allowed to these people by the Government, according to facts elicited on the Floor of the House in Question and answer by my hon. Friend.
I will not pursue the point except to say that it ought to be said for the Road Haulage Executive that a Press statement was issued which said, frankly, that it was intolerable that employees who were public servants should be approached in this way without regard for the elaborate procedure and the necessary safeguards which Parliament provides. Moreover, the Executive said that this would tend to undermine morale which it was especially necessary at this moment to maintain. I hope therefore that the Minister will make it his business at an early stage—I hope tomorrow—to see 918 that a statement is issued from his Ministry deprecating the action of these people and ensuring that it will not happen again.
I now want to make reference to the question of the efficiency of the trunk services which we claim have been an important factor in the industry. I have said something on these lines before. I come from an area which at one time had 60 firms engaged in the road transport business, and, when we nationalised the transport industry, these 60 firms were taken over. I say to the Minister that, during the period in which I have been a Member of this House, I have not had a single complaint from any one of these firms or the many customers of the British transport industry with regard to the efficiency of the services given.
It is an extraordinary thing that all these complaints about road transport services have always been sent to Tories and never to us. I should have thought that, in an area like mine, where there was unhappiness among some employees at the time when we nationalised the industry, they would have been only too pleased to have written to me to give specific examples of the stupidity of nationalisation and so on, but they have not done it.
I can tell the Minister that what has come back to me is a report to the effect that the trunk services given by the depots in my constituency—and these trunk services are day and night services, and some are not economic—[Interruption.] The British Dominion Trust had better find out about that; probably they would not want to take them over. Quite frankly, the average customer whom I have contacted, the employers and the average trader have told me that they regarded the trunk services now being given to them as first-class, and have asked that they should be continued. They are hoping, and I do not know how it will work out, that, somehow, these services will be maintained even when this Bill becomes law.
My final point concerns this old argument about the small man. On this, I will address a few questions to the Liberal Party, because they have some weird ideas about it, too. I believe that the Liberal Party would abolish all licensing systems. They believe in anybody and 919 everybody being able to come along and buy a lorry for a few bob, get it on the roads and start operating. This is an incredible business, because, in my own lifetime, I have seen this sort of thing actually happening with a member of my own family. He did precisely what the Liberals are talking about. He bought a lorry on the cheap when there was a lot of unemployment and there were lorries about, and he decided to work very hard as a private individual and give all the service possible.
I remember that one thing he did was to take a load from London to Liverpool, for which he quoted a rate with which no decent employer could possibly compete. No employer paying decent wages and providing decent conditions could do so. However, he took that load to Liverpool, and then, to get his running expenses and the cost of his petrol and oil, he said he would be prepared to bring a load back from Liverpool. He said that the reason why he was doing it was to build up his goodwill.
That is an example of the reason why decent employers have said, "I cannot pay decent rates of pay and provide decent conditions for my workers while there are people like these." They clamoured to the Government of the day begging them to do something about it, and that was the reason why we got the licensing system, by means of which every Jones, Smith, and so on, can be given licences.
§ Mr. Mellish
If we are going back to that period, then the Government will have to do precisely what was done in the early 1930s. I am sure that bad as the Liberals are—and they are not a very bright lot—they do not really want us to bring in legislation which would put us back to the position of the 1930s, because most of the legislation in those days was not much use anyway. I believe that on all counts this Amendment is justified.
When we talk of the small men, we mean the ordinary people in the country, the customer and the consumer, who ought to have the best and most efficient service at the cheapest possible rate. It is only by having a proper co-ordination of road and rail that we can get such a service. Had the Commission been allowed to continue to operate there is no doubt that in the long run, in the not too distant future, our transport system would have become not only the most efficient in the world, but also the cheapest.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. P. G. T. Buchan-Hepburn) 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, 283; Noes, 276.923
|Division No. 128.]||AYES||[9.1 p.m.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Boyle, Sir Edward||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Braine, B. R.||Crouch, R. F.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Cuthbert, W. N.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Darling Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Brooman-White, R. C.||Deedes, W. F.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Digby, S. Wingfield|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Bullard, D. G.||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Donner, P. W.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Burden, F. F. A.||Doughty, C. J. A.|
|Barber, Anthony||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Drayson, G. B.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Campbell, Sir David||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas (Richmond)|
|Baxter, A. B.||Carr, Robert||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Cary, Sir Robert||Duthie, W. S.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Channon, H.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Erroll, F. J.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Fell, A.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Finlay, Graeme|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Fisher, Nigel|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Cole, Norman||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.|
|Birch, Nigel||Colegate, W. A.||Fletcher-Cooke, C.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Ford, Mrs. Patricia|
|Black, C. W.||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Fort, R.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Foster, John|
|Bossom, A. C.||Cranborne, Viscount||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe&Lowsdale)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Longden, Gilbert||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Low, A. R. W.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Russell, R. S.|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Glyn, Sir Ralph||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Godber, J. B.||McAdden, S. J.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||McCallum, Major D.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Scott, R. Donald|
|Gower, H. R.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Shepherd, William|
|Gridley, Sir Arnold||McKibbin, A. J.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesborough, W.)|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert.(Westbury)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maclean, Fitzroy||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Hare, Hon. J. H.||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Speir, R. M.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Hay, John||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Markham, Major S. F.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Heald, Sir Lionel||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Heath, Edward||Marples, A. E.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Henderson, John (Catheart)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Storey, S.|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Maude, Angus||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Maudling, R.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Summers, G. S.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Mellor, Sir John||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Molson, A. H. E.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Teeling, W.|
|Hollis, M. C.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Hope, Lord John||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Nichols, Harmar||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Horobin, I. M.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Tilney, John|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Oakshott, H. D.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Hurd, A. R.||Odey, G. W.||Turton, R.H.|
|Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (llford, N.)||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Tweedsmuir Lady|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Osborne, C.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Partridge, E.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W||Perkins, W. R. D.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Keeling, Sir Edward||Pete, Brig, C. H. M.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Kerr, H. W.||Peyton, J W. W.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Lambton, Viscount||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Wellwood, W.|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Pitman, I. J.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Powell, J. Enoch||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Prior-Palmer, Brig, O. L.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Profumo, J. D.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Raikes, Sir Victor||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Lindsay, Martin||Rayner, Brig. R.||York, C.|
|Linstead, H. N.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Renton, D. L. M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Robinson, Roland (BlaCkpool, S.)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Robson-Brown, W.||Mr. Kaberry and Mr. Wills.|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Adams, Richard||Bevan, Rt. Hon, A. (Ebbw Vale)||Brown, Thomas (Ince)|
|Albu, A. H.||Blackburn, F.||Burke, W. A.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Blenkinsop, A.||Burton, Miss F. E.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Blyton, W. R.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Boardman, H.||Callaghan, L. J.|
|Baird, J.||Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Carmichael, J.|
|Balfour, A.||Bowden, H. W.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Bowen, E. R.||Champion, A. J.|
|Bartley, P.||Bowles, F. G.||Chapman, W. D.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Chetwynd, G. R.|
|Bence, C. R.||Brockway, A. F.||Clunie, J.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Coldrick, W.|
|Benson, G.||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Collick, P. H.|
|Beswick, F.||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Corbet, Mrs. Freda|
|Cove, W. G.||Jones,David (Hartlepool)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Keenan, W.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Kenyon, C.||Ross, William|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Royle, C.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||King, Dr. H. M.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Kinley, J.||Shawoross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Short, E. W.|
|Deer, G.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Lewis, Arthur||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Lindgren, G. S.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Logan, D. G.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Edelman, M.||MacColl, J. E.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||McGhee, H. G.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McGovern, J.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||McInnes, J.||Snow, J. W.|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||McLeavy, F.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Fienburgh, W.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. H.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Finch, H. J.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Mainwaring, W. H.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Follick, M.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Fool, M. M.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Forman, J. C.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Manuel, A. C.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Mason, Roy||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mayhew, C. P.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mellish, R. J.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Glanville, James||Messer, F.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mikardo, Ian||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mitohison, G. R.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Monslow, W.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Grey, C. F.||Moody, A. S.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Morley, R.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Thornton, E.|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Mort, D. L.||Timmons, J.|
|Grimond, J.||Moyle, A.||Tomney, F.|
|Hale, Leslie||Mulley, F. W.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Murray, J. D.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Nally, W.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Viant, S. P.|
|Hannan, W.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Wade, D. W.|
|Hargeaves, A.||O'Brien, T.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Oldfield, W. H.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Hastings, S.||Oliver, G. H.||Weitzman, D.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Orbach, M.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Oswald, T.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Padley, W. E.||West, D. G.|
|Herbison, Mist M.||Paget, R. T.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Hobson, C. R.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Holman, P.||Palmer, A. M. F.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Pannell, Charles||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Holt, A. F.||Pargiter, G. A.||Wigg, George|
|Houghton, Douglas||Parker, J.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B|
|Hoy, J. H.||Paton, J.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Peart, T. F.||Willey, F. T.|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Plummer, Sir Charles||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Poole, C. C.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Popplewell, E.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Porter, G.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Price, Phillips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Proctor, W. T.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Pryde, D. J.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Janner, B.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Rankin, John||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Reeves, J.||Yates, V. F.|
|Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Rhodes, H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Richards, R.||Mr. Pearson and Mr. A. Allen.|
§ Question put accordingly "That those words be there inserted in the Lords Amendment."926
§ The House divided: Ayes, 272; Noes, 288.929
|Division No. 129.]||AYES||[9.11 p.m|
|Adams, Richard||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Monslow, W.|
|Albu, A. H.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Moody, A. S.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Grey, C. F.||Morley, R.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mort, D. L.|
|Baird, J.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Moyle, A.|
|Balfour, A.||Hale, Leslie||Mulley, F. W.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Murray, J. D.|
|Bartley, P.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Nally, W.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hamilton, W. W.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Bence, C. R.||Hannan, W.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Hargreaves, A.||O'Brien, T.|
|Benson, G.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Beswick, F.||Hastings, S.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hayman, F. H.||Orbach, M.|
|Blackburn, F.||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S. E.)||Oswald, T.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Padley, W. E.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Herbison, Miss M.||Paget, R. T.|
|Boardman, H.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hobson, C, R.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Bowden, H. W.||Holman, P.||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Pannell, Charles|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Houghton, Douglas||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hoy, J. H.||Parker, J.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Paton, J.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Peart, T. F.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Poole, C. C.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Popplewell, E.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Porter, G.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Carmichael, J.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Janner, B.||Pryde, D. J.|
|Champion, A. J.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Rankin, John|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Reeves, J.|
|Clunie, J.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Coldrick, W.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Collick, P. H.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Rhodes, H.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Richards, R.|
|Cove, W. G.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Keenan, W.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Kenyon, C.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Ross, William|
|Darling, George (Hillsborourh)||King, Dr. H. M.||Royle, C.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Kinley, J||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Davits, Harold (Leek)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Short, E. W.|
|Deer, G.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lewis, Arthur||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Lindgren, G. S.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Logan, D. G.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||MacColl, J. E.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Edelman, M.||McGhee, H. G.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||McGovern, J.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McInnes, J.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Snow, J. W.|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||McLeavy, F.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western isles)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Fernyhough, E.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. H.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Fienburgh, W.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Finch, H. J.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Follick, M.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Strauss, Rt. Hon, George (Vauxhall)|
|Foot, M. M.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Forman, J. C.||Manuel, A. C.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Mason, Roy||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Mayhew, C. P.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mellish, R. J.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Messer, F.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Glanville, James||Mikardo, Ian.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mitchison, G. R.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Wells, William (Walsall)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||West, D. G.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Thornton, E.||Wheeldon, W. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Timmons, J.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Tomney, F.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Turner-Samuels, M.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Wigg, George||Yates, V. F.|
|Usborne, H. C.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Viant, S. P.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Wallace, H. W.||Willey, F. T.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)||Williams, David (Neath)||Mr. Pearson and Mr. A. Allen.|
|Weitzman, D.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Doughty, C. J. A.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Drayson, G. B.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Dugdale,Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas (Richmond)||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Keeling, Sir Edward|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Duthie, W. S.||Kerr, H. W.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Erroll, F. J.||Lambton, Viscount|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Fell, A.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Astor, Hon, J. J.||Finlay, Graeme||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Fisher, Nigel||Law, Rt. Hon. R.K.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Fleelwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)|
|Barber, Anthony||Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Fort, R.||Lindsay, Martin|
|Baxter, A. B.||Foster, John||Linstead, H. N.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Llewellyn, D. T.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Bed, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Longden Gilbert|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Garner-Evans, E. H.||LOW, A. R. W.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Birch, Nigel||Glyn, Sir Ralph||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Godber, J. B.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Black, C. W.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Gough, C. F. H.||McAdden, S. J.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Gower, H. R.||McCallum, Major D.|
|Bowen, E. R.||Graham, Sir Fergus||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.|
|Boyd-Carpentr, J. A.||Gridley, Sir Arnold||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Grimond, J.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.|
|Braine, B. R.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Mackie, J. H (Galloway)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N. W.)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Harden, J. R. E.||Maclean, Fitzroy|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||MacLeod, John (Rest and Cromarty)|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Bullard, D. G.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hay, John||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Heald, Sir Lionel||Markham, Major S. F.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Heath, Edward||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Carr, Robert||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Marples, A. E.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Higgs, J. M. C.||Marshall, Douglas (Bedmin)|
|Channon, H.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Maude, Angus|
|Churchill. Rt. Hon. W. S.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Maudling, R.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Mellor, Sir John|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Cole, Norman||Hollis, M. C.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas|
|Colegate, W. A.||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Holt, A. F.||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Hope, Lord John||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Horobin, I. M.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Crockshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Crouch, R. F.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Hurd, A. R.||Odey, G. W.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (llford, N.)||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Donner, P. W.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Osborne, C.|
|Partridge, E.||Shepherd, William||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Tilney, John|
|Perkins, W. R. D.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Peyton, J. W. W.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Turton, R. H.|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Snadden, W. McN.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Soames, Capt. C.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Pitman, I. J.||Spearman, A. C. M.||Vaughan-Morgan, J K.|
|Powell, J. Enoch||Speir, R. M.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Wade, D. W.|
|Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Profumo, J. D.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Raikes, Sir Victor||Stevens, G. P.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Rayner, Brig. R.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Renton, D. L. M.||Storey, S.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Robson-Brown, W.||Studholme, H. G.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Summers, G. S.||Wellwood, W.|
|Roper, Sir Harold||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Russell, R. S.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Teeling, W.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||York, C.|
|Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Scott, R. Donald||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)||Mr. Kaberry and Mr. Wills.|
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
We have already discussed the terms of the Lords Amendment to all intents and purposes. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] It is designed to meet the criticism that the words "concentrated in too few hands" were vague and that refusal of a tender on those grounds should not be undertaken solely by the Disposal Board or the Commission. The new wording, which I commend to the House, defines more clearly the circumstances in which it is intended that a tender might be refused on these grounds. It also provides that it should not be refused wholly or mainly on such grounds without the consent of the Minister.
In our view these phrases are better designed to secure the end that we have in view than was the original wording, and I am glad to say that in another place the spokesmen for the Opposition were almost lyrical in their approval of this change of words.
§ Mr. Jay
I think the Minister's introduction and explanation of the Lords Amendment were all too perfunctory. Surely the Division on the Closure which we had a few moments ago is fairly good evidence that the House is anxious that these matters should be thoroughly and carefully considered. At any rate, that is our view. I should like to point out, first of all, that we have not as yet had any discussion on the Lords Amendment which the Minister has just moved. 930 Hitherto we have been discussing our own Amendment to the Lords Amendment. I should like, therefore, to draw the attention of the House to the Lords Amendment itself, and I should like to begin by asking the Minister, or one of the auxiliaries of the Government, a question.
A short time ago, in the previous discussion, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) said that we on this side of the House were anxious that the method of operating transport services under the Bill should be decided by the bureaucracy, from which I took him to mean the British Transport Commission. The hon. Gentleman said that he and his hon. Friends on the other hand wished the future of road transport, after the disposal which we are discussing, to be decided by the forces of competition and enterprise—or some such phrase. I should like to ask the Minister whether or not he agrees with that expression of opinion and policy by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West.
What strikes me is that it was not, of course, simply we on this side of the House who suggested that these matters should be regulated by what the hon. Gentleman called the bureaucracy, that is to say the British Transport Commission. What does the Minister's Bill itself now propose? The Lords Amendment amends Clause 3 (6). What does it say? There is no harm in looking at what we are discussing because there may be some hon. Members who have not been in the 931 Chamber the whole evening. That subsection says:In determining which tenders for transport units are to be accepted and which refused, the Commission"—and I draw the attention of the House to the word "Commission"—shall have regard to the desirability of avoiding the ownership or control of the property held by the Commission for the purposes of the existing road haulage undertaking being concentrated in too few hands.In the Bill itself as proposed by the Government it was to be the Commission, what the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West called the bureaucracy, which was to regulate how far road transport should in future be concentrated in too few hands or in a larger number of hands. Therefore, I think it is rather surprising that he should have attacked us for taking the view that the Transport Commission should have that authority. It was not merely the Bill itself which gave a large authority to the Commission in this matter. The Lords Amendment does the very same thing and leaves the supervision of this process very largely in the hands of what the hon. Gentleman called the bureaucracy.
What does this Lords Amendment do? It seeks to leave out the words from "avoiding," and to insert other words, with the result that the Clause would read:the Commission shall have regard to the desirability of avoiding any step which is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of competition in the carriage of goods by road for hire or reward, but no such tender shall be refused wholly or mainly on the ground that it is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of such competition as aforesaid without the consent of the Minister.I think the Minister will agree that the substantial words now introduced are those at the end:without the consent of the Minister.What does that amount to? It really means, first, that the principal decisions in this matter are still, even if we accept this Lords Amendment, to be taken by the Transport Commission, so that again, as I understand the Minister's present view, he wants us to leave the main field of decision in the hands of the Commission. But he goes on to say thatno such tender shall be refused … without the consent932 of what he called the "political head." It may be right or it may not be right to put the final limiting authority in the hands of the Minister.
The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grknond), from the Liberal point of view, argued against that and maintained that this should be a purely economic and administrative decision which he thought would be better taken by public servants and not the political head. I submit to the Minister that, whether it is the political head of the Department or whether it is the Transport Commission, the process should not be left in the hands of pure competition enterprise, or whatever it was the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West said was the point of view of the party opposite, and I should like to know whether the Minister agrees with his hon. Friend or whether he takes a quite different point of view.
Apparently, the purpose of this whole Clause is to limit the degree to which private road haulage should after the sell out, as it has been called today, become concentrated in very few hands—should again become, in fact, a private monopoly, or something approaching it. What will happen after the original sale has taken place? Suppose the Transport Commission and the Minister together succeed in preventing what they consider an excessive concentration of these public assets in a very few hands when the original sale takes place. What is to prevent, at a later stage—perhaps in a year or two, or perhaps a few months—mergers and amalgamations as a result of private businesses reconcentrating these road services into a very few hands again?
Following that, I should like to address a question on this Lords Amendment to the Attorney-General, who, we are very happy to observe, has rejoined the debate. The main substance of the Clause is to place a certain degree of restriction and/or jurisdiction in the hands of the Minister. Therefore, arising out of that remark which the Attorney-General made a little earlier this evening, I want to make this point. The hon. and learned Gentleman jumped to the Box in what seemed to me, for a Law Officer of the Crown, a rather hysterical mood—
§ The Attorney-General
Not the Government but my right hon. Friend, about whom a personal observation was made.
§ Mr. Jay
Well, the hon. and learned Gentleman's right hon. Friend is the representative of the Government in this matter and for the purposes of these debates. Therefore, it is not a matter of great moment whether we refer to the Minister or to the Government but, if it pleases the hon. and learned Gentleman, I will refer to the Minister.
What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by saying that there is no suggestion of helping the friends of the Minister or the Government to make money? After all, the purpose of the Bill is to help the friends of the Tory Party to make money. It has no other purpose, and will have no other effect, than to enable members of the Road Haulage Association to make profits out of the transport industry.
Since the Attorney-General made that intervention, I want to ask him the following questions, because the Minister has exhausted his right of reply and no doubt it will be the hon. and learned Gentleman who will reply to this stage of the debate. First, does he really deny that the Government, and no doubt the Minister, and at an earlier stage the Tory Party, have had consultations on these matters with the Road Haulage Association? Secondly, does he deny that members of the Road Haulage Association, if this Bill goes through, will undoubtedly make profits out of the transport industry? Thirdly, does he deny that this Bill is supported by practically nobody except by those who hope to make a profit out of the passing of the Bill?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I am sorry to call the right hon. Gentleman to order, but the criticisms he is making now may be valid against the Bill but are rather wide of the mark of this Amendment dealing with a Lords Amendment.
§ Mr. Jay
I submit, with respect, Mr. Speaker, that they are relevant to the 934 words of this Lords Amendment, which says that the Minister is to have the last authority in the case of a disposal that is:likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of such competition as aforesaid ….I should have thought, therefore, that the general purpose of the Minister and the Government in introducing this Bill is relevant in this case, but I was only going to make a few brief further remarks addressed to this point.
I think I am also entitled to ask the Attorney-General whether he denies that the Road Haulage Association has in the past, and for all I know in the present, also made subscriptions to the political funds of the Tory Party. Beyond that I will not pursue that point, Mr. Speaker, but on the general sense of the Clause I will add this. What is this Clause in the Bill doing? It is not returning these publicly-owned transport assets to free competitive enterprise, which the hon. Gentleman speaking for the Liberal Party recommended. We shall not see that situation at all. The licensing system will still remain in force.
What we shall see is a very limited competition between the members of this powerful trade association, the Road Haulage Association, behind the screen of a licensing system which was set out by the Conservative Transport Act of 1933. That seems to me strictly relevant to the whole of these debates. Obviously, of course, the firms which take over these assets, whether large or small, will have a very much better opportunity for making profits if they are protected by a system of licences which secures that only a minority of those who wish to enter the industry may be permitted to do so.
§ Mr. Arthur Holt (Bolton, West)
I am following very closely the argument that the right hon. Gentleman and some of his hon. Friends have been putting. Surely, if they take this view and are so concerned at the position that when these vehicles are returned to private enterprise, which they more or less accept as inevitable—
§ Mr. Jay
I was not arguing that it was or, was not right that full competition should be re-established—that would be out of order on this Amendment. I was merely pointing out that when the process has been carried through, it will be only a very limited system of competition which will be in force. I hope, therefore, that the Attorney-General will be able to answer these questions and, no doubt, others that some of my hon. Friends will ask.
I only add, in conclusion, that I agreed with the remark which fell from the Minister that in the whole of this subject before us there is, of course, a decisive conflict of loyalties between the two sides of the House. That is perfectly true. Our loyalty is to the nation, and that of hon. Members opposite is to the Road Haulage Association.
§ Mr. Poole
I well remember that when I first read the Bill—it seems a long time ago—the thing which struck me about it was the considerable number of occasions in it in which the Minister reserved unto himself the powers of veto. I do not mind it in this situation, because it means that there will be Parliamentary opportunity to challenge the Minister. There is, however, very great danger in overburdening the Department with a responsibility for decisions, particularly of the type and character which the Lords Amendment envisages.
The Amendment says that power shall be vested in the Commission to decide what tenders shall be accepted or refused, subject to the overriding power of the Minister. I could think of nothing more dangerous than the position that that will create. Everyone who puts in a tender for the purchase of vehicles, if it is not accepted, will write to his Member of Parliament, and his Member of Parliament will then badger the Minister to know why it has not been accepted. That would be a very unfortunate—in fact, a very dangerous—state for any Minister occupying that position. Had I been the Minister of Transport, I should never have taken upon myself the responsibility of making decisions that the Minister has taken in this connection.
936 The purpose of the Lords Amendment is to secure the maximum degree of competition in the industry. Speeches that have been made in the House from time to time would lead us to believe that there are many people who believe that there is no competition now in the industry, and that under nationalisation we have killed all the competition in it. Therefore, it would not be inopportune if we might have the figures.
The House is being asked to aprrove an Amendment that will ensure the maximum degree of competition in the industry when the vehicles are passed back to those who buy them. There are today no fewer than 425,000 private operators in the transport industry, or there were, at any rate, when I wrote my pamphlet, which I have not been able to bring up to date. Those 425,000 people operate only 925,000 vehicles, so the position today is that this industry, if one excludes the 40,000 vehicles the Tory Party are to sell back, is largely held in the ratio of about two and a quarter vehicles per operator. Is not that a sufficient degree of competition in this industry?
So far as I am concerned, if I had all the money in all the world I would not invest it in the road haulage industry at this stage. I venture to predict that if the Tory Party's philosophy of putting the small man into this business is carried into effect—which I do not believe will be the case—the bankruptcy courts will have more road haulage operators in them than any other section of the community in the next couple of years. This myth of the small man is a pure myth. It is something which the Tory Party have now thought up in order to try to make the Bill respectable. If they were really interested in the maximum degree of competition and in the small man, they could have done that so much more easily in the Bill itself. They need not have waited until the Lords Amendments and until this time.
I agree that we took many small operators' businesses away from them when we nationalised the industry. I can concede that it was very hard on many men and because I feel it was so hard on many men I say that the first man who ought to have gone back in this industry if it were sold was the man who lost his business by nationalisation. But the Tory Party does not say that, either in the 937 Bill, in this Amendment from another place, or at any time, and they are not saying it today. They are not saying that the degree of competition they introduced by this Lords Amendment shall be competition engendered by the return to the industry of the men they pledged in their election addresses to bring back into the industry. Therefore, they are not redeeming their election pledges.
Is it that the Tory Party believe in this principle of the small man? I heard the speech of the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South - West (Mr. Powell) with that synthetic indignation he often works up in this House on the question of the small man. But, if that is true, there is not room for the Minister of Transport and the Minister for Coordination of Transport, Fuel and Power in the same stable on this point. There is not room for both; one has to kick the other out, or one or the other has to go out. The Minister for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power never believed in securing the maximum degree of competition in the transport industry. At least, he never did when he was a responsible Minister, as Minister of War Transport.
Speaking in another place on 27th October, 1943, he had this to say:Certainly the experience of the road haulage organisation will be of high value both to the Government and the industry.He was speaking of the measures of coordination which had arisen during the war and he went on to say:Nevertheless, we must recognise that the existence of so many separate and small units in the road haulage industry vastly increases the difficulties of bringing about any permanent co-ordination between it and other forms of transport.Tonight, we would like to know whether the noble Lord the Minister who is supposed to co-ordinate transport, fuel and power still believes the things he believed in 1943. If he does how is he found lying in the same bed as the Minister of Transport on this Amendment?
Is it Tory policy that there should be large units and co-operation with other forms of transport? Or is it the view of the Minister of Transport that he ought to forget all about that sort of thing and create a semblance of seeking to shelter the small man? I regretted the decision to denationalise road transport. As 938 a good democrat I accepted the decision of the House of Commons in that matter. But now to proceed not only to denationalise but to fragmentise this industry is the height of folly.
It will do no good to the people going into the industry and incalculable harm to the nation. It will increase transport operating costs for the trader, the manufacturer, and the producer at a time when our goods must be conveyed to the dock-side in the cheapest manner in order that we may compete in the export markets of the world. The Government have had about 25 different thoughts on this Bill and have altered it until it is hardly recognisable. Now they are seeking powers to reduce this industry to the smallest possible unit.
I thought the Minister would accept the previous Amendment. That would have given him exactly what he asks now, except that we wanted to be sure the unit created would be operable in the national interest. From this Amendment it is obvious that the national interest does not matter to the Conservative Party if they can get away with some publicity and propaganda and create the impression that they are looking after the small man.
I deprecate more than I can express this decision to reduce the industry again to small units. With the industry in its highly competitive state small units cannot survive. I am not worried about railway transport. I am worried about the poor devils who will be tempted by Tory promises to put good money into this industry. They will have to sell out again, not to a nationalised undertaking from whom they will receive fair compensation for their vehicles and loss of profit, but to a combine; or else they will be put out of business and their lorries left to rot in their own backyards. I am sorry for those men, and it is hon. Members on this side of the House who take the greatest interest in their welfare.
§ Mr. David Jones (The Hartlepools)
With the characteristic modesty of a Conservative Minister, the Minister of Transport told the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) a few moments ago that this Amendment would place the responsibility for reaching a final decision upon the Minister himself. He went on to explain that the 939 Minister would not reach a decision on political grounds, but he would be interested in the economics of the matter.
When a Conservative Minister takes power to make a political decision of this kind, he does so apparently in the interests of the country. But when a Labour Minister seeks power to direct certain national matters, he is providing jobs for the boys. This Amendment from the other place will, in the last analysis, put the responsibility on the Minister to take decisions which never ought to be in the hands of a political Minister in any Government Department. The Clause as drafted gives power to the Commission. After all, they are above party politics as a body of men appointed to do a job in the interests of the country. They are mainly transport technicians able to judge the merits or demerits of any case on transport requirements and economics and not upon political convictions.
It was the Minister of Transport who on 11th October. 1952, addressing the Conservative Conference at Scarborough, said that it was his desire to take transport out of politics. The Socialist Transport Act of 1947, he said, was a purely political solution to an industrial problem. He added:It must be our task, and it is being our task, not to make the same mistake the other way round.I should like to know from the right hon. Gentleman whether, if this Amendment is accepted, it is not in fact placing the final decision as to who are and who are not to get these transport units in the hands of a political Minister. That is done in the blessed and sacred name of small men. The party opposite are not concerned about small men. What the country and the House ought to be concerned about is whether this change in the transport structure will give that service to trade and industry which it must have if it is to survive.
The Associated British Chambers of Commerce and other people connected with business, although they are in principle in favour of de-nationalisation, have expressed great concern lest when this road haulage organisation is broken up it destroys the transport arteries which have been built up from north to south and east to west. It follows that unless there 940 is some guarantee to trade and industry that there is to be a service and that the people who take over the transport units are big enough to continue these trunk routes, they will be in danger of having their business interfered with.
During the earlier proceedings on this Bill I suggested that there had been built up a large number of main trunk routes covering nearly every important town. It does not require a transport expert to see that. All one needs to do is to get out on any of the trunk routes at about this time of night and watch the lorries passing from north to south and east to west. The hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) pointed out that large numbers of these services were in existence in the days before nationalisation. I do not deny that but they were not brought into operation by the alleged small men. They could not possibly be brought into operation by small men. It requires a fairly substantial number of big vehicles to provide these trunking routes.
There were a large number of companies in operation before nationalisation such as the Bristol Haulage Company with its 300 vehicles. Thomas Allen and Company with 143 vehicles, the Mickle-ove Transport Company with 800 vehicles and Bouts-Tillotson with 350. These were not small men. These were the people who built up the trunk routes.
Now, we are told that the Minister, who has on more than one occasion during the passage of this Bill informed the House that, when this Bill started its progress, he knew very little indeed about transport but said he was learning, apparently has the capacity, the ability and the knowledge to determine all these intricate problems. He contemptuously declared, as he did at Scarborough, that it was the aim of the Conservative Party to take transport out of politics. Indeed, if the House accepts this Amendment, it will place this industry permanently in the heart of a political struggle, and, for that reason, I hope the House will refuse it.
§ Mr. Lindgren
I want to oppose this Amendment because I want to protect the small man from the Tory Party and their friends. Let me just give the history of transport in the inter-war years 941 so far as the small men are concerned. I am concerned because of the mention today, and even the encouragement by the Minister, of certain investment trusts. The Parliamentary Secretary smiles, but his speeches in the country, and particularly his Nottingham speech, show that the Tory Party and its machinations have got, if not some underhand, at least some definite, ideas about what is going to happen. Let us see what happened between the wars.
The small man who wanted to buy a lorry had not the cash with which to do it. Where did he go? He went to the finance trusts, and then what happened? As he could not keep up his payments, the finance trust foreclosed on his lorry. They put the lorry in a sale, at which they knew who was going to bid, and the bid was less than the outstanding loan on the lorry. Then the poor devil was put in the court for the balance between what was raised by the sale and the amount that was outstanding, and who got the lorry? The amalgamation obtained the lorry, and the whole history of road transport in between the wars was a story of the elimination of the small man and the amalgamation, very often, of the lorries of small men which had been bought by finance trusts at forced sales.
What happens now? The Tory Party and their friends—
§ Mr. Renton
It is impossible to agree with the hon. Gentleman in arriving at the conclusion which he has now reached when we bear in mind that the 41,000 vehicles taken over by the Road Haulage Executive belonged to over 3,000 different owners.
§ Mr. Lindgren
I agree, but does the hon. Gentleman know the numbers of people who were in road transport in the early 20s. and particularly the small men?
§ Mr. Lindgren
The hon. Gentleman now wants to start from the '30s, because the Tory Party, then in Government, tried in some measure to clear up the mess of unfettered competition which had been created between 1920 and 1930, and they themselves brought in the licensing system. These poor fellows in the early days, the ex-Service men to 942 whom they had referred, lost practically every penny they had put into the business.
What is to happen now? The investment trusts have been paraded in this House today, and I am glad they have, because it may tend to curb their activities in the country. They are now trying to play the same game as in the early '20s in order to encourage small purchasers, out of whose bankruptcies they get the lorries in amalgamations. The whole tendency, not only in transport but in all competitive industry, has been for large-scale private enterprise to come in on the bankruptcies of the little men, but nothing has been said from the other side of the House about what is equally as important—the question of public safety. Some of us who have been engaged in transport know what went on.
What happens to the man with his one or two lorries? He does everything he possibly can to keep up the payments for his lorries in order to have at least some money coming in on which to live from day to day. Very often he cannot afford—nor has he the skill to do it himself—to maintain his lorry in a roadworthy condition. The combination of a small haulier and of a first-class mechanic occurs sometimes, but not very often.
What happened before the war? Quite sensibly the small man had his lorry maintained by a local garage proprietor and agricultural engineer, who did the work reasonably well. Then the owner of the lorry could not pay the bill for the maintenance of his vehicle and the garage proprietor quite gently but firmly told him that it was no good bringing the lorry in for servicing until he had paid the outstanding account.
What did the poor devil do? He ran the lorry to death. There are some of us on both sides of the House who know from our experience, either as legal men from the point of view of prosecutions or from sitting on the bench, the sort of cases which were brought by the police because lorries were unroadworthy. We only came into contact with those cases after there had been an accident. The ones that got through without an accident are anybody's guess.
The story behind each case was always the same. The man concerned had been working his lorry to death and overloading it nine-tenths of the time. The 943 result was long hours, tiredness, accidents. Are not hon. Gentlemen opposite concerned about public safety on the roads? I see that the Parliamentary Secretary has vanished. It does not matter because he does not contribute much to our debates. The Minister has to carry all the fire of the day, but the right hon. Gentleman is responsible inside the Ministry, or at least his predecessor was, on the question of safety. Is not the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary concerned about road safety?
The question of the roadworthiness of vehicles is a prime factor in relation to public safety on the roads. There is very little to complain of concerning the actual mechanics of driving, but even the most skilled driver cannot work brakes which are not there or mend a connecting rod when it snaps. Where did we find the highest standard of maintenance of vehicles? We found it in the large-scale concerns such as Pickfords, Bout-Tillotson, Faircloughs, and similar undertakings who because of their very names dare not let a case of unroadworthiness go into court. They had the capital behind them to provide workshops manned by competent mechanics in which to maintain their vehicles.
Is it not part of the responsibility of those who are supposed to be dealing with the public safety to be concerned with the disposal of the vehicles and with how they are going to be operated and the condition in which they will be operated after they are disposed of?
I am opposed to the Lords Amendment because if it were effected it would mean that the small fellow would be encouraged to use whatever capital he had got and to borrow the rest from a finance trust; and then, in an attempt to keep his head above water, he would let the vehicle and its maintenance go. I go even further. It is bad enough with the fellow who has one vehicle but when he has two or three vehicles it is not much better. There comes in again the question of the employment of individuals. In previous debates and in Committee the Minister has paraded his concern at the general standard of remuneration, welfare and conditions of employment of those engaged in this industry. I believe that some of my hon. Friends made reference to this matter on an earlier Amendment today.
944 We in the transport industry had all our fight, and practically the only fight, on wages and conditions of employment with the fellow with one, two or three vehicles, the small operator. As my hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) said when referring to the operation of one lorry by his relative in the East End of London, they were not paying the proper rates. The only place in which we could get enforcement of the wages and conditions agreed to was the larger companies.
The biggest factor in arguing this matter with the larger companies was their immediate turn-round—I do not blame them—and saying, "Its all very well, but we depend for the payment of wages on the freight charges we can get. What are you doing about those employers who are not paying proper wages, are employing men for long hours and are undercutting us on rates?"
The employment of small men in transport, particularly in trunk transport, means undermining the whole position of wages and conditions of employment within the industry. It means what is more important even than that, danger to public safety on the roads. It means a bad service to the transport user.
§ Colonel Cyril Banks (Pudsey)
I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman realises that many of the very large concerns, with one of which I was associated, started with hire purchase. The hon. Gentleman should bear in mind that some of the largest companies which were taken over under nationalisation originally started with hire purchase and became some of the finest companies.
§ Mr. Lindgren
I concede that point. With a large number of small individuals there would be varying degrees of organising ability and of traffic available to them, and some of them were lucky or fortunate in their organising skill and the power of drawing and holding workmen. There were fortuitous circumstances such as particular contracts or nearness to building sites which meant the cartage of gravel for a long period under a long contract, which would help to get one or two individuals started.
Where do they get their extra trade from? They build up through the failures and bankruptcies of other fellows. Unless there is a continually increasing 945 volume of traffic—I know some of it came from taking business away from the railway companies, but I am not now arguing co-ordination of road and rail—there is a struggle for the traffic that is available. If there is a smaller number of operators they get a larger proportion of the traffic available.
It is so simple that it seems almost unfair to the House to expound it. I concede that a number of people who started small companies ultimately came to have large companies. I am sure that the hon. and gallant Member for Pudsey will equally agree that while he and his friends progressed as a result of operating on a large scale and of the good service which they gave to their customers, many of the others went to the wall.
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Colonel Banks
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will not wish to mislead the House. He has dealt with many subjects and made many claims about British Road Services. He makes out that overloading and the bad condition of vehicles were due to them. He must appreciate that since they have been nationalised and since they had 42,000 vehicles in the road service they have been running to only 57 per cent. of their capacity.
§ Hon. Members: No.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)
Whether that was so or not, does not arise on this Lords Amendment.
§ Mr. Lindgren
I accept some of the statements which the hon. and gallant Member for Pudsey has made, but I must correct him in one respect. I never made any accusations against British Road Services. Even under private enterprise, the main, large-scale operators did not avoid the law of this country, and of course British Road Services dared not.
The hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Renton) managed to get hold of the case of one manager who did something wrong, and, of course, it has been paraded in Tory pamphlets from one end of the country to the other. One has to look for that case with a microscope, but those of us who sit on the magistrates' bench have other operators before us every week.
Overloading arises generally through scraping for traffic and from the very hard lives which these men have to lead 946 and their necessity to make ends meet. Why did the Tory Government have to insert provisions in their 1923 Act dealing with road traffic for weigh-bridges up and down the country and give the police the right to take any overloaded lorry off the road? There was so much over-loading that they wanted to provide for an immediate check of loaded vehicles. Why did the Tory Party bring in such provisions as the requirement to carry log books on lorries?
§ Mr. Lindgren
I contend that the conditions which called for the bringing of order into road transport, and the licensing system and so on, arose from the operations of the small man. It did not arise from the operations of the Pick-fords, the Carter Patersons and the Hays Wharfs of the transport industry. It arose from the unfair wages paid and the overloading of vehicles by small-scale operators. This Clause in the Bill, with this Lords Amendment, gives power to the Government and an instruction to the Minister to use his political influence to see that units are broken down to small-scale operation, irrespective of the effect on the industry and the service to the public. I oppose this Lords Amendment because I feel that it will have the wrong effect upon transport, upon the public safety and upon wages and conditions in the industry.
§ Mr. Hale
The right hon. Gentleman introduced this very important Lords Amendment with what, to a contemplative observer, might have appeared to be studied contempt; but I think we are now satisfied that it is in fact his natural manner. But it was contemptuous to the House to refer in a very few words to a matter which he has constantly refused to consider throughout the whole of the debates on this Bill.
The Amendment which we are now considering places the House in a dilemma. We have either to accept a Clause which is unacceptable or adopt an alternative which is impracticable. When the Amendment was challenged in the early stages of the debate the right hon. Gentleman said that he could see nothing wrong with it; he regarded it as satisfactory. Day after day the debates have proceeded in this House. We had 947 the Second Reading observations; we had the Committee stage observations; we had the Report stage and Third Reading observations, and the Bill then went to another place, where Lord Silkin raised this point very fully.
He was supported by many other noble Lords. When I say "many" I am speaking relatively to the entire population of another place. At any rate, the point was made. The Minister then said that he rather thought there was something in it and that he would have a look at it. On the Report stage nothing was done, and the same Amendment was tabled on that occasion. There was a discussion, and again the Minister said that there might be something in it and he would try to do something. Then, at the very end of the Third Reading in the House of Lords, this Amendment was produced and is now presented to the House.
The right hon. Gentleman thinks that that is a matter which it is right for him to introduce merely by saying that there is nothing to say about it, as it has been discussed quite a lot before. He added one single observation in support of his Motion that the House should now adopt this Amendment, which was that when this Amendment was produced in another place it was received by the Labour Peers with—I think he said—alacrity. At any rate he said it was received with some enthusiasm. I am told that he said that the Labour Peers were lyrical.
I have looked through the Lords' OFFICIAL REPORT, and I should be grateful if the right hon. Gentleman will also look through it and direct my attention to the lyrical observations which were made at that time. The plain fact is that nobody said a word. The Amendment was produced only at the end of the debate, and there was no comment of any kind. Not only was no word sung, but no word was spoken.
I know what the right hon. Gentleman has in mind. I am speaking from recollection, and I want to save the time of the House and not constantly to refer to these masses of documents through which we have to plough to check our references. When the noble Lord who is now Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations—and, as a person interested in Commonwealth affairs, paid 948 such a lavish tribute to the United Dominions Trust—indicated his noble Friend's intention to consider this matter, there was probably a mild display of lyricism on the part of Lord Lucas of Chilworth, who accepted the proposition with alacrity.
§ Mr. Hale
At the moment I cannot think of a more august person. The right hon. Gentleman will probably remember that there was a riposte when Robert was Browning and Augusta was auguster, but that was Augusta Leigh.
The point does not very much matter, and the right hon. Gentleman does not seem to be taking it very seriously, so we will proceed to some rather more important points. In the course of this short but none the less important debate two brief interventions have been made by hon. Members opposite. The hon. and gallant Member for Pudsey (Colonel Banks) displayed what the right hon. Gentleman would call almost lyrical anxiety to open his mouth for some purpose or another. He obviously had something which he wanted to say. Ultimately he stirred up his courage and made an interjection.
Not a speech has been heard. There has been no oration from the other side of the House. These people who at Scarborough were cheering to the echo proposals to disintegrate transport are not allowed to make an observation. The snivelling wretches of Dotheboys Hall, who used to tremble under the baleful eye of Mr. Squeers, were men of courage and integrity compared with the demonstration which we have had today from hon. Members opposite and the demonstration which we have seen when the Patronage Secretary has come in and glanced round the House with that discouraging air with which he views all the motions of their knees which might indicate something other than fear and which might indicate an intention to rise.
My hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) made a speech in which some of the more moving passages were received with a certain amount of sniggering, as almost every reference to poverty is received by some hon. Members opposite. It may be that 949 the Attorney-General was just not listening and was thinking of something pleasant, but certainly no one seemed to be moved and some people seemed to think the speech irrelevant.
I speak as one who has practised in a very poor area, as one who has handled a very great many cases and who has acted on behalf of the Road Haulage Association, as one who has appeared probably in thousands of cases in the traffic courts. There is no question but that what my hon. Friend said was right. There is no question but that that was the system. In fact, the system was a little worse in the way it started because most hauliers, to begin with, in South Leicestershire, had been driven into the haulage industry by a long period of unemployment, by fear that they would never get back the jobs which they had had in the mining industry, through seeing pits close down one after another, until they used their modest savings to provide the deposit on a single lorry. They had to struggle to make that one lorry pay.
The plain fact is that it is frightfully difficult to make one lorry pay, to keep one lorry on the road, attend to all the correspondence, attend to all the necessary insurances and attend to getting the certificates—and one by one we saw them go. I know that some survived; it is the sort of operation which hon. Members opposite are sometimes apt to mention with approval. I do not think that the principle of the survival of the fittest, whether in connection with economics or in any other connection, is a particularly nice or particularly kind principle. I do not think it is for the benefit of humanity at large.
The proposal in the Bill was a pleasant proposal and everyone could understand, generally speaking, what was intended, but no one could define it. The duty of the Corporation was to prevent the haulage from getting into "too few hands" by the way in which the units were sold and so on. No one seemed to know how to manage to get over that difficulty of definition at all, and this represents the dilemma we are in, because if we vote against this Lords Amendment—and I am inclined to think that we should, although I speak only for myself—and if we succeed in defeating the Lords Amendment, we shall then 950 be back to this wretched substitute which in many ways is impossible.
It is only necessary to consider the circumstances to appreciate that it is impossible. We discussed them at great length on the Committee stage of the Transport Act, 1947. We devoted hours to it. We discussed the situation in the North of Scotland. One lorry can be a monopoly in the North of Scotland. There are many areas in which there is only one lorry. What is "too few hands" in the North of Scotland? How do we interpret that? Who is to make the decision?
We still have the system that the Disposal Board make arrangements and that the Commission have to agree. We have this curious position that the Chairman of the Board can refer any matter to the Minister, but then, in the end, if the Clause is applied, there must still be the approval of the Minister. We all know that Ministers, competent and incompetent—and no one suggests that the right hon. Gentleman can help his incompetence; we ought not to blame him for it but those who appointed him—are no doubt called upon to deal with quite Herculean tasks.
How on earth the Minister will decide on a question of sales from John-o'-Groat's to Land's End, what are the relevant circumstances, why he should take into account the limited number in one area, or what is a limited number in another, or how he will know the effect of this—an effect for which he will be responsible to this House—I do not know. But he has at least this satisfaction, that the other provisions of the Clause make the whole thing impracticable anyway, because the rest of the Clause provides tests which completely conflict with the one we are now setting up.
Subsection (3) says:In determining what are to be the transport units for which persons are invited to tender as aforesaid, the Commission shall have regard to the desirability of securing that persons desirous of entering or re-entering the road haulage industry have a reasonable opportunity of doing so notwithstanding that their resources permit them to do so only if their operations are on a small scale …This is, of course, the familiar adoption of a somewhat ancient device. This is the poor widow again, and the Tory Government are looking after the widows and 951 orphans by making a special provision which will enable them to start up in the haulage business. [Laughter.] I hope my hon. Friends will not take that as a joke; this and the price of tinned ham will be two of the most important things on any Tory platform.
At the end of subsection (3) we get this:Subject as aforesaid—and the words "as aforesaid" happen to be very important in this connection—the transport units shall be determined with a view to securing that the property held by the Commission for the purposes of the existing road haulage undertaking fetches in the aggregate the best possible price.At that stage the poor widows go out and the wealthy capitalists come in. But it is so blatantly obvious that afterwards the Government put in words which moderate its effects and give a more kindly proposition, so we got subsection (6) as originally drafted:In determining which tenders for transport units are to be accepted and which refused, the Commission shall have regard to the desirability of avoiding the ownership or control of the property held by the Commission for the purposes of the existing road haulage undertaking being concentrated in too few hands.Now that is not one of the conditions aforesaid. That is one of the conditions hereinafter. This is really important, and we may as well recognise its importance.
That is not a condition that the Commission have got to apply at all when they consider getting the highest price. They are bound to get the highest price whatever they do, except with regard to the conditions set out in subsection (3). There is no limitation in subsection (6) upon their duty to get the highest price. How on earth is it seriously suggested that they can decide to sell to the highest bidder and at the same time decide not to sell to him because it is thought that he has already got a few too many lorries, or has not got enough competition? How will they do that? The thing is utterly meaningless.
It was this sort of argument being put—and being put quite obviously much more ably, I admit, than I could possibly hope to put it because it was put in another place—which induced the noble Lord in charge of the Bill in another place to arrive at repentance on the death bed; there never has been a 952 repentance at so late a stage of a Bill. I never recollect ever reading before of an Amendment introduced on Third Reading. That could not be done in this House. It is an almost archaic and unheard of procedure, even in their Lordships' House, where things are apt to be a little archaic. That was done right at the last second because of these arguments. But then one finds, unfortunately, that the Amendment was so hurriedly produced and so hurriedly introduced that it really does nothing substantial to help.
If this Amendment is carried the Clause will read as follows:In determining which tenders for transport units are to be accepted and which refused, the Commission shall have regard to the desirability of avoiding any step which is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of competition in the carriage of goods by road for hire or reward, but no such tender shall be refused wholly or mainly on the ground that it is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of such competition as aforesaid without the consent of the Minister.They will find themselves in the dilemma that it is utterly illogical for them ever to refuse a tender on that ground because there are other matters they have to give specific consideration to. So they cannot do it anyhow and they can only refer it to the Minister, who cannot do it because subsection (3) precludes him from doing it. In these circumstances, the Minister gets up at an early hour of the evening and says quite casually, "There is nothing in this at all. I need not explain this." I am sure it was not modesty on his part or a conviction of his inadequacy which prevented him from explaining this.
§ Mr. Hale
Possibly it is true that he did not know, but I am equally certain that he did not know he did not know. So now we are to adopt this procedure. It is really quite impossible, if we eliminated all the rest of the Clause, to see how anyone can reasonably apply this scheme. The Commission have to avoidany step which is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of competition in the carriage of goods by road for hire or reward.Of course, the first step brings us into the portals of the United Dominions Trust, and it is remarkable that one of the 953 Ministers for Commonwealth affairs, taking part in the debate in another place was complimented on the advertisement he had given to the Trust. I do not resent testimonials to moneylenders who have to apply a higher standard of probity, than most professions and also generosity. We have to be frank. I usually act for the gentlemen who are relieved of 100 per cent., and I would never have dreamed of lending money to any of them, even at 100 per cent., and even if I had any money. Butany step which is likely to lead to the elimination of or undue restriction of competitionrelates to a huge financial trust on hire purchase terms advertised by the Minister in another place, flagrantly advertised.
Earl Browder said the Martin Dies Committee gave him 100,000 dollars' worth of publicity, and a former client of mine paid £10,000 a time for getting noble Lords' names on his notepaper, knowing the risk he was running if they attended a board meeting. Now we are told, and the challenge has gone out for a considerable time, that it is no longer in dispute that this Trust has been given access to road haulage depots by the Transport Commission and has been seeking to purchase information about the state of things.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The hon. Member has just said that he has been told that the United Kingdom Trust has been given access of a special character. What exactly does he mean by that?
§ Mr. Hale rose—
§ Mr. Hale
The Minister asks me a question, and then when I rise to reply he raises a taunting finger to me. Access is not a thing given on a tray, or wrapped up in a parcel. If one has access and does not obtain it by assault, or other attack, or by breaking down doors, then one has been given access.
I do not for one moment wish to introduce any personal matter, but we have waited hour after hour after having been told that we have the privilege of numbering among us a director of the United Kingdom Trust, and who should be glad to help us with this most serious 954 matter, this most serious accusation which has been made by my hon. Friends. There have also been Press statements.
We are told that he is one of our number, but we do not know if he is here or not; and while we appreciate that hon. Members opposite are subjected to a certain discipline and a certain enforcement of silence and restriction of language, I should certainly be the last person to suggest that the Patronage Secretary would impose any discipline upon an hon. Member of this House with the effect of not allowing him to make a statement on so important a subject as this which we are now discussing. I do think that we should try to get the hon. Member here in view of the attack on a large company with which he is associated.
The Minister asks me what is meant by "access." Access was allowed to the premises, and time was allowed to develop inquiries with old bosses when they lost their jobs.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
If the hon. Gentleman continues to make these allegations he should substantiate them. No special privilege has been given of any kind to the United Dominions Trust. It is equally open to anybody to make the same arrangements with the Road Haulage Association so far as the Government are concerned. They are entirely free to make whatever arrangements they like, and I think the hon. Gentleman is eating his own words pretty effectively.
§ Mr. Hale
I do not know what I have just eaten, but I would tell the right hon. Gentleman that I feel no indigestion as I should have expected. The argument was that this was a closed door, but now we are told that anybody can go in. But let us speak with care, as I always wish to do, and in this case especially because we are criticising people who have no immediate opportunity for a reply in this Chamber. If it is true that people go to employees of road haulage firms—and no effort has been made from the other side of the House to contradict it, and all this matter was listened to with studied contempt and silence until I raised it now—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The hon. Gentleman is now misquoting what I said. I have already stated that no special facilities of any kind have been given to the United Dominions Trust; and so 955 far as the representative of the Trust going to depots of the Road Haulage Executive is concerned, I have myself stated that I thought the Commission was perfectly right in saying that such a request should be referred to headquarters. If the hon. Member had been here through the debate, as I have been, except for the last 25 minutes, when I was out for the first time in the whole day, he would know I have said more than once that I approve of the statement by the Commission, and I think it entirely right that they should have referred to them any such approach. Some approaches might be proper and some might be improper, and they are the people to decide.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Hale
I am always very glad to have even this explanation from time to time from the right hon. Gentleman. Now, he really is consuming his own words in one enormous swallow. He challenged me when I used the words that they "had been given access." Now, he says that they "have been given facilities."
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The hon. Member is now confusing two separate transactions. One was the creation of the company between the Road Haulage Association and the United Dominions Trust. The other is the approach to the buildings and depots of the Road Haulage Executive. In regard to the first, I said that no special privilege whatever had been given to the United Dominions Trust. In regard to the second—that is, approach to the depots of the Road Haulage Executive—I have said throughout that this is a matter of internal decision and control, which the Commission is quite entitled to protect, and are capable of protecting, for itself.
§ Mr. Hale
The right hon. Gentleman did, in fact, say "the same facilities" were available to all the other companies 956 as had been offered or afforded to the United Dominions Trust. He will not tell us what those facilities are. As I pointed out before, when one talks of evidence there is such a thing as suppressio veri and suggestio falsi. When a right hon. Gentleman gets up to interrupt a Member of this House on something like four occasions in five minutes to challenge a statement, and declines on every occasion to say what he thinks the truth to be, one is a little inclined to think that his intervention is hardly justified.
What I was going to say was that if it be the fact that offers have been made of financial assistance to people who may or may not be retained in the job of disposing of these vehicles; if they have been assured that they can have the benefits and the assistance of this great Trust if they wish to buy up any of the vehicles from their own employers, to whom they are for the moment responsible, and if at the same time they have been asked, or information has been sought, as to the nature of their present operations, then a jury considering this matter might take a very much more serious view of it than the right hon. Gentleman appears to do.
But I have been tempted to get just a little away from the subject. The whole relevance of the point about finance is that this is precisely the way in which the Government will not be able to ensure that there is complete freedom of competition. It is the old classic method of creating monopolies, and everyone knows, of course, that in a business like road haulage, although it sounds like an Irish bull, one can have quite a considerable number of monopolies. There can be a considerable number of monopolies because of area limitations and area difficulties.
The right hon. Gentleman has not been very candid with the House in another connection. He refused this Amendment to the Commons. He has never told us now why he accepts a suggestion that has come from another place when he refused it in the Commons. There is no explanation of this change of attitude. There used to be a noble Lord Chancellor who was referred to as "a sturdy oak at Westminster and a willow at St. James's." Here we have a sturdy oak in the Commons and a willow in the Lords. 957 The right hon. Gentleman failed to be moved by the kind hearts, but he is bowing in humble curtsies to the coronets. The whole of the eloquence of my right hon. and hon. Friends failed to move him to accept an Amendment that was accepted, at last, after three short speeches in the Lords. It is not the way in which to commend himself to the House or the way in which he should be able to convince us in these matters.
I have dealt with the first part of the Lords Amendment, and I can deal briefly with the second part, which states thatno such tender shall be refused wholly or mainly on the ground that it is likely to lead to the elimination or undue restriction of such competition as aforesaid without the consent of the Minister.We are told the procedure is to be by tender and that there will be advertised for sale a lot which must consist of not more than 50 haulage vehicles and, which, presumably, will usually consist of a much smaller number. The price is to be submitted by a certain date.
What is the procedure suggested? Have those who tender to submit a full series of details about the nature of their operations and their business? If they have not, then it is hopelessly impracticable for the Minister to apply his mind to the matter. How can he say he has a tender which creates undue restriction of competition unless he has the necessary information? If he has, we are back to the old object of Tory attack. We shall have cries of "snoopers" again in the land and before one can buy a lorry, one will have to show what lorries one possesses, and so on. In other words, one has a fairly full McCarthy investigation.
Without that information, it is wholly impracticable to apply this provision. For instance, here we are sitting in Edinburgh considering applications for the Scottish area. There is a lorry to sell in Wick, and there is one tender. It is a reasonable tender and comes from the man who owns all the other lorries in Wick. It is right, in these circumstances, that it should, because there is not much of a livelihood for a man who owns a single lorry in Wick. The nearest town is hundreds of miles away and road haulage is a specialised business. But the people who have to decide are happy. They refer the matter to the Minister, 958 who, in his infinite wisdom, comes to a decision.
Then we get the case where there is the man with five lorries and the man with one lorry, both in competition. The man with five lorries offers half as much again as the man with one lorry. At what stage does the demand and insistence of getting the maximum price in the interest of the poor taxpayer begin and at what stage in the proceedings does the Minister become overborne by the Tory desire to encourage the widows and orphans to enter the industry?
The Commission has to consider so many grounds. There are the people who desire to enter or re-enter the industry. The very use of the word "re-enter" indicates some desire to get some preferential treatment for the people who have been in the industry before. What the words "wholly" or "mainly" mean in the Lords Amendment, I do not know. The Amendment clearly cannot mean "wholly" because the Commission are bound to consider price and try to get the highest price. They are bound to consider the needs of people entering or re-entering the industry. It is on the whole of these considerations that we have this business of trying to dispose of the life-blood of the arteries of transport and of this great nation.
It really is monstrous that the right hon. Gentleman should treat this exceedingly important Clause in this cavalier fashion, and say, "I have nothing to say about this. It has been talked over in another place, and I am sure you will understand this. If you want a single reason for accepting it, it was received with lyrical praise in another place"—praise which we have not even had repeated or intimated to us here.
It is unfortunate that in the normal course of events this will be the last occasion when we shall have an opportunity to consider this exceedingly important Clause, at any rate, the last occasion until the repeal of this Measure. The consideration of Lords Amendments is usually the last occasion on which the matter can be discussed. There remains only the Royal Assent, and possibly some observations from Mr. Cohn and Mr. Schine, before the Measure becomes embodied in the legislation of this country—at any rate for the duration of the present Government.
959 In those circumstances, I suggest we ought to have had more opportunity to consider this matter and table Amendments. We should have had more time to try to produce some sort of workable scheme which could be put before the Transport Commission and the people charged with the onerous duty of disposing of these vehicles.
§ The Attorney-General
I hope I shall not be thought to be out of order if I direct a few observations to the Amendment before the House and the reasons why we are asking the House to accept it. I was glad that the hon. Member for Perry Barr (Mr. Poole) was given an opportunity to make his Second Reading and Third Reading speeches which he was unfortunately prevented from delivering for reasons about which we all sympathise with him.
I should be out of order were I to deal with some of the interesting topics we have discussed. We have had a discussion with regard to juries and their behaviour, and prosecutions, and we have heard a discussion about what bed the Secretary of State for the Co-ordination of Transport, Fuel and Power is lying in. We have had a discussion about road safety and snivelling wretches and finally about two gentlemen from the United States whom I shall not advertise again. I think it may not be unhelpful—I hope it will not be—if I remind the House of how this Amendment comes to exist.
It arose as the result of an argument advanced partly in this House and partly in another place that the words, "concentrated in too few hands" were vague and undesirable. It was also said that the refusal of a tender on such grounds, which it was agreed might very well be a desirable thing, should be regarded as a matter not suitable for decision by the Commission, but as one which ought to be dealt with by the Minister. That view having been strongly pressed by the Opposition in another place, this Amendment was put down in order to meet it.
We expected to find that view welcomed here. We assumed there was more agreement between the Opposition in this House and in another place than exists between members of the Opposition in this House. But we find that there is 960 just as much division between the Opposition here and in another place as there is between hon. Members opposite in this House.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ The Attorney-General
I am not, of course at liberty to quote the speech made by a noble and learned Lord who sat on the Woolsack during the previous Government—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]—it was made in the present Session, and I understand I am not allowed to quote it verbatim. But I wonder if anyone would have been surprised if he had said something like this that he thought it was satisfactory to get rid of the provision about too few hands; that a decision of that kind is one which could eminently be left to the Minister and not dealt with by the Commission.
Would anybody be surprised if he had said this sort of thing—I cannot, of course, quote his exact words; but supposing he said that he was happy and content to find that this decision had been made to have it dealt with by the Minister? Supposing that was what he said, might not we be entitled to expect that those in this House who admired him so much, and I am sure still do, who agree with him politically, would have accepted the same point of view?
So that I do not think it is altogether surprising that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Transport was entitled to assume, when he moved acceptance by the House of this Lords Amendment, that there would be unity of view between the Opposition in this place and another. If it has turned out during the discussion that that is not so, I do not think he ought to be blamed. It is the fact that this Lords Amendment was directly the result of the discussions which took place in another place, in that most valuable assembly of our democratic system which, once again, has done good service to the nation by producing a useful Amendment.
If I may, I will once more point out what the Amendment involves. First it avoids the use of the words "too few hands" which were the subject of a lot of discussion—
§ The Attorney-General
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) is a great expert on all matters of cleanliness, so I should defer to him in that matter. The second point was who should decide? Assuming there was to be a position of this kind, was it desirable that it should be dealt with by the Commission? The general view seemed to be, both here and elsewhere, that it was desirable that it should be dealt with by the Minister. I was a little surprised to find such vehement opposition to the idea of the Minister having this power by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Batter-sea, North (Mr. Jay). After all some of us have good reason to remember with great gratitude his view, expressed so strongly, that the gentleman in Whitehall knows best. Surely he ought to have applied that in this instance also?
The new wording which is now being adopted defines much more clearly, certainly in the opinion of very eminent lawyers who do not speak with prejudice in favour of the Government, the circumstances in which it is intended that the tender might be refused on the grounds stated. It also provides clearly that it shall not be refused wholly or mainly on any of those grounds without the consent of the Minister acting, as we should all in this House believe that he would act, in the proper interests of all.
And, as was said—or as perhaps I should say, might have been said—it is entrusted to a Minister who, if necessary, can be brought to book in whichever of the two Houses of Parliament he happens to be at the moment. That is the way in which it has been put. It has also been said that it can be challenged in the sort of way which is provided for by one of the great features of our Constitution. That is the basis, and there is an example of consultation between Government and Opposition in the other place which has produced a result which they thought was satisfactory, which we put before the House as such, and which we therefore ask the House to accept.
§ Mr. Harry Wallace (Walthamstow, East)
I wish to make a short statement which is relevant to the discussion. I understand that the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinching- 962 brooke) thought he had reason to doubt the reference made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) that he had given previous notice to the noble Lord the Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Lord John Hope) that he would be referred to in the Chamber this evening. I undertook on behalf of my right hon. Friend to give the noble Lord prior notice. That was given before seven o'clock this evening before my right hon. Friend spoke.
§ Mr. Jay
Is the Attorney-General not going to answer any of the specific questions addressed to him? Surely it is his job to do so. I will recall one of them, though I should like him to answer them all. How are the Government to secure, after these vehicles have been disposed of in the way laid down in the Clause, that they are not at a subsequent date re-concentrated again in a few hands and possibly under a complete monopoly? I hope that the Attorney-General will answer that question and also those I asked about consultation between the Government and the Road Haulage Association.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The answer to the first question is that there is nothing to prevent subsequent mergers or amalgamations, but we are entitled to call in aid the history of road haulage over the last few years. When the Socialist Government nationalised road haulage they took over only 79 companies with over 50 vehicles and 22 companies with over 100 vehicles. Those figures, though impressive, would not be altogether convincing if in fact those 79 companies with over 50 vehicles had covered the bulk of the road haulage vehicles, but I am advised that the large concerns, taken over on the whole in the earlier stages by the Commission, covered some 14,000 vehicles out of the 42,000 which were eventually acquired.
So we are entitled to assume that the pattern of trade in this field where there was full freedom to merge or amalgamate has led, despite that freedom, to wide dispersal among a large number of comparatively small units. That is my answer to the right hon. Gentleman. I missed what he said on the other point because I was not here.
§ Mr. Jay
As the Attorney-General said that it was untrue to suggest that any of 963 the friends of the Government would make money out of this Bill, I asked him certain questions. First, I asked whether it was not the case that consultations took place between the Government and the Road Haulage Association in the course of the framing of the Bill, and before. Secondly, I asked whether it was not the case that certain firms and members of the Road Haulage Association will enter the industry and carry on a profitable trade if this Bill is passed.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
In reply to the second part of the question, I very much hope that a large number of members of the Road Haulage Association will enter this business and give useful service. If the right hon. Gentleman had had his livelihood taken away and his industry broken up by State action he would have found it difficult to retain the same solidarity and mutual loyalty that the Road Haulage Association has kept during the last few rather grim years for them.
§ On the question about consultation, I would say that if we had been favoured with the attendance of so many people as there are here today during the 14 days when we discussed the Bill earlier, then the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) would have heard me refer more than once to the consultation that took place. The Road Haulage Association, the British Transport Commission and a large number of other people were brought into consultation when the broad format of the Government's intentions was settled. If they had not been I think we should have been censured.
§ Mr. Buchan-Hepbum 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, 278; Noes, 258.967
|Division No. 130.]||AYES||[11.10 p.m|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Gridley, Sir Arnold|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Grimond, J.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N)||Cote, Norman||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Colegate, W. A.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Arbuthtnot, John||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Harden, J. R. E.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hare, Hon. J. H|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R (Blackburn, W.)||Cranborne, Viscount||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Crouch, R. F.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Cuthbert, W. N.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Barber, Anthony||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Hay, John|
|Barlow, Sir John||Davidson, Viscountess||Heald, Sir Lionel|
|Baxter, A. B.||Deedes, W. F.||Heath, Edward|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Digby, S. Wingfield||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Higgs, J. M. C.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Dormer, P. W.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenthawe)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Drayson, G. B.||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Holland-Martin, C. J.|
|Birch, Nigel||Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Hollis, M. C.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Erroll, F. J.||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)|
|Black, C. W.||Fell, A.||Holt, A. F.|
|Bottom, A. C.||Finlay, Graeme||Hope, Lord John|
|Bowen, E. R.||Fisher, Nigel||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Horobin, I. M.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence|
|Braine, B. R.||Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Fort, R.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Foster, John||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Hurd, A. R.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (llford, N.)|
|Bullard, D. G.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Hutchison, Lt. Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E||Gammans, L. D.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H|
|Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Glyn, Sir Ralph||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Carr, Robert||Godber, J. B||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Kaberry, D.|
|Channon, H.||Gough, C. F. H.||Keeling, Sir Edward|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Gower, H. R.||Kerr, H. W.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Graham, Sir Fergus||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Lambton, Viscount||Nicholson, Godfrey (Famham)||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Stevens, G. P.|
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Nugent, G. R. H.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Odey, G. W.||Storey, S.|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Lindsay, Martin||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Linstead, H. N.||Orr, Capt, L. P. S.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Summers, G. S.|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Osborne, C.||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Partridge, E.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Teeling, W.|
|Longden, Gilbert||Perkins, W. R. D.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. P. J. L. (Hereford)|
|Low, A. R. W.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Pilkington, Capt, R. A.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R (Croydon, W.)|
|Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Pitman, I. J.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|McAdden, S. J.||Powell, J. Enoch||Tilney, John|
|McCallum, Major D.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O.L.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Profumo, J. D.||Turton, R. H.|
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Raikes, Sir Victor||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Rayner, Brig. R.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Maclean, Fitzroy||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Renton, D. L. M.||Wade, D. W.|
|MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Robson-Brown, W.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Roper, Sir Harold||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Russell, R. S.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Markham, Major S. F.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Marlowe, A. A. H.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Marples, A. E.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Wellwood, W.|
|Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Scott, R. Donald||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Maude, Angus||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Maudling, R.||Shepherd, William||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Wills, G.|
|Mellor, Sir John||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Molson, A. H. E.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Snadden, W. McN.||York, C.|
|Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Spearman, A. C. M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Nabarro, G. D. N.||Speir, R. M.||Sir Herbert Butcher and|
|Nicholls, Harmar||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Mr. Oakshott.|
|Adams, Richard||Champion, A. J.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)|
|Albu, A. H.||Chapman, W. D.||Follick, M.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Chetwynd, G. R.||Foot, M. M.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Clunie, J.||Forman, J. C.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Coldrick, W.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Collick, P. H.||Freeman, John (Watford)|
|Baird, J.||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Freeman, Peter (Newport)|
|Balfour, A.||Cove, W. G.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Gibson, C. W.|
|Bartley, P.||Crosland, C. A. R.||Glanville, James|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Gooch, E. G.|
|Bence, C. R.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.|
|Bonn, Hon. Wedgwood||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)|
|Benson, G.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R|
|Beswick, F.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Grey, C. F.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Blackburn, F.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Griffiths, William (Exchange)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Deer, G.||Hale, Leslie|
|Boardman, H.||Delargy, H. J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colin Valley)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Dodds, N. N.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)|
|Bowden, H. W.||Donnelly, D. L.||Hamilton, W. W.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Driberg, T. E. N.||Hannan, W.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Hargreaves, A.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Edelman, M.||Hayman, F. H.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)|
|Burke, W. A.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Hewitson, Capt, M.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Hobson, C. R.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Fernyhough, E.||Holman, P.|
|Carmichael, J.||Fienburgh, W.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Finch, H. J.||Houghton, Douglas|
|Hoy, J. H.||Moyle, A.||Snow, J. W.|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Mulley, F. W.||Sorensen, R. W|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Murray, J. D.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Nally, W.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon P. J.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||O'Brien, T.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Oldfield, W. H.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Oliver, G. H.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Janner, B.||Orbach, M.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Oswald, T.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Padley, W.E.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Paget, R. T.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Pannell, Charles||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Pargiter, G. A.||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Parker, J.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Keenan, W.||Pearson, A.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Kenyon, C.||Peart, T. F.||Thornton, E.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Plummer, Sir Leslir||Timmons, J.|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Poole, C. C.||Tomney, F.|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Porter, G.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Usborne, H. C.|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Webb, Rt. Hon. M (Bradford, C.)|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Proctor, W. T.||Weitzman, D.|
|Lewis, Arthur||Pryde, D. J.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|MacColl, J. E.||Rankin, John||West, D. G.|
|McGhee, H. G.||Reeves, J.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|McGovern, J.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|McInnes, J.||Reid, William (Camlachie)||While, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|McLeavy, F.||Rhodes, H.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wigg, George|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Willey, F. T.|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Ross, William||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Royle, C.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Manuel, A. C.||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Mason, Roy||Short, E. W.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Mayhew, C. P.||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Mellish, R. J.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Mikardo, Ian||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon A.|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Simmons, C. J (Brierley Hill)||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Monslow, W.||Skeffington, A. M.||Yates, V. F.|
|Moody, A. S.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Morley, R.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mort, D. L.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Wallace.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."968
§ The House divided: Ayes, 276; Noes, 257.971
|Division No. 131.]||AYES||[11.20 p.m.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Black, C. W.||Cole, Norman|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Bossom. A. C.||Colegale, W. A.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Bowen, E. R.||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverlon)||Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Boyle, Sir Edward||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Braine, B. R.||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Cot. W. H.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Crouch, R. F.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr J.M.||Brooman-White, R. C.||Cuthbert, W. N.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P.G. T.||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Barber, Anthony||Bullard, D. G.||Deedes, W. F.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Digby, S. Wingfield|
|Baxter, A. B.||Burden, F. F. A.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Campbell, Sir David||Donner, P. W.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Carr, Robert||Doughty, C. J. A.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Cary, Sir Robert||Drayson, G. B.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Channon, H.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Erroll, F. J.|
|Birch, Nigel||Clarke, Brig, Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Fell, A.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Finlay, Graeme|
|Fisher, Nigel||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Lindsay, Martin||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Fort, R.||Linstead, H. N.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Foster, John||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Russell, R. S.|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Lookwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Longden, Gilbert||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Low, A. R. W.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Gammans, L. D.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Scott, R. Donald|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Glyn, Sir Ralph||McAdden, S. J.||Shepherd, William|
|Godber, J. B.||McCallum, Major D.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlebrough, W.)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Gower, H. R.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Gridley, Sir Arnold||Maclean, Fitzroy||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Grimond, J.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)||Speir, R. M.|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Stevens, G. P.|
|Hare, Hon. J. H.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Markham, Major S. F.||Storey, S.|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Marples, A. E.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Studholme, H. G.|
|Hay, John||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Summers, G. S.|
|Heald, Sir Lionel||Maude, Angus||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Heath, Edward||Maudling, R.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Teeling, W.|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Mellor, Sir John||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Molson, A. H. E.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Hollis, M. C.||Nichols, Harmar||Tilney, John|
|Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Holt, A. F.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Hope, Lord John||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Turton, R. H.|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Horobin, I. M.||Nugent, G. R. H.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Oakshott, H. D.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Odey, G. W.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Hurd, A. R.||Osborne, C.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Partridge, E.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Wellwood, W.|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Peto, Brig, C. H. M.||Williams, Rt.Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Keeling, Sir Edward||Pitman, I. J.||Wills, G.|
|Kerr, H. W.||Powell, J. Enoch||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Lambton, Viscount||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||York, C.|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Profumo, J. D.|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Raikes, Sir Victor||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Rayner, Brig. R.||Sir Herbert Butcher and Mr. Kaberry.|
|Adams, Richard||Beswick, F.||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)|
|Albu, A. H.||Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Brown, Thomas (Ince)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Blackburn, F.||Burke, W. A.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Blenkinsop, A.||Burton, Miss F. E.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Blyton, W. R.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Boardman, H.||Callaghan, L. J.|
|Baird, J.||Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Carmichael, J.|
|Balfour, A.||Bowden, H. W.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Bowles, F. G.||Champion, A. J.|
|Bartley, P.||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Chapman, W. D.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Brockway, A. F.||Chetwynd, G. R.|
|Bence, C. R.||Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Clunie, J.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Coldrick, W.|
|Collick, P. H.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Cove, W. G.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Rhodes, H.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Keenan, W.||Ross, William|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Kenyon, C.||Royle, C.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||King, Dr. H. M.||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Deer, G.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Short, E. W.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Lewis, Arthur||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Lindgren, G. S.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||MacColl, J. E.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Edelman, M.||McGhee, H. G.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||McGovern, J.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mclnnes, J.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||McLeavy, F.||Snow, J. W.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Finch, H.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Follick, M.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Foot, M. M.||Manuel, A. C.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Forman, J.C.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mason, Roy||Swingler, S. T.|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Mayhew, C. P.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Mellish, R. J.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mikardo, Ian||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mitchison, G. R.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Glanville, James||Monslow, W.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Moody, A. S.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Morley, R.||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mort, D. L.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Grey, C. F.||Moyle, A.||Thornton, E.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mulley, F. W.||Timmons, J.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Murray, J. D.||Tomney, F.|
|Griffiths, william (Exchange)||Nally, W.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Hale, Leslie||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Usborne, H. C.|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|O'Brien, T.||Weitzman, D.|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Oldfield, W. H.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Oliver, G. H.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Hannan, W.||Orbach, M.||West, D. G.|
|Hargreaves, A.||Oswald, T.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Padley, W. E.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Hayman, F. H.|
|Healey, Denis (Leeds, S. E.)||Paget, R. T.||White, Mrs. Eirence (E. Flint)|
|Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Palling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Wigg, George|
|Hobson, C. R.||Pannell, Charles||Wilcook, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Holman, P.||Pargiter, G. A.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Parker, J.||Willey, F. T.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Pearson, A.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Hoy, J. H.||Peart, T. F.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Plummer, Sir Les[...]||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Anglesey)||Poole, C. C.||William,, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Porter, G.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hynd, H. (Acorington)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Proctor, W. T.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Pryde, D. J.||Yates, V. F.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Janner, B.||Rankin, John|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Reeves, J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Wallace.|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ 11.30 p.m.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I beg to move, "That further consideration of the Lords Amendments be now adjourned."
I do so for the purpose of ascertaining what are the intentions of the Government with regard to further progress 972 on these Amendments. I think that all of us can say, on both sides of the House, that we have had a debate of substance and interest, which has raised important points, and legitimate points, of public policy. I freely admit that the time occupied has been somewhat more than 973 is customary on Lords Amendments, but we must consider the history of this matter. One point is that the Bill passed through this House under a very severe Guillotine, in the course of which it was not possible adequately to discuss all the principles of the Bill so far as the Committee and Report stages were concerned.
Furthermore, unlike the former Opposition, which deliberately talked and talked on the earlier Amendments in order not to get on, and thereby to have a grievance at the end of the day, we adopted a more rational course and almost guillotined ourselves in order that the greatest number of matters of public interest should arise. But, it was the case that many Clauses were not discussed, and many Amendments were undebated, and the Bill was transferred to another place.
It is also the case that, in the course of the Committee and Report stages the Minister told us that, although we were discussing matters of some importance, we need not worry; he would do something in another place. He did not say what in any detail. In a way, he said, "You are only the House of Commons: I will see to this in another place". Now the Bill has returned and we have, for example, a Clause to set up companies, which could be another Bill by itself, and another Clause of some substance.
In these circumstances, much to our sorrow and regret, it has been inevitable that in the public interest and in our duty to our constituents we should give time to all these matters and proper consideration. It will be our duty to continue to give all these matters adequate and proper consideration. That includes my trade union Friends, who have a lifelong association with some form or other of the transport industry, to whose views I attach, perhaps, special importance.
In these circumstances, I think that reasonable progress has been made today. I do not think any fair-minded person can say that there has been undue talking or improper continuation of the proceedings. The Lords Amendments raise matters of important principle and substantial public policy, and all that we are doing is to carry out the elementary discharge of our public duty and to give reasonable and proper consideration to the Amendments from another place and the Amendments to them that we have 974 moved—or, at any rate, to the Amendments in so far as we are able to move them.
I think, therefore, that we have done a good day's work. We have not seen so much of the Prime Minister, but he appears to be quite happy tonight at this hour. We are always glad to see the Prime Minister, even if it is a little late.
§ Mr. Morrison
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman has. If I was the Leader of the House the Prime Minister would be in every Division also, and therefore the right hon. Gentleman need not claim any special virtue about that, because he has got to be in the Divisions. We have, therefore, given him reasonable exercise.
In the circumstances, I think it would be right at this hour—it is approaching midnight—if the Leader of the House, the Minister, or whoever is in charge, or the Prime Minister himself—after all. he has been in every Division; he must be beginning to be a little tired and fatigued—would be so good as to give an indication to the House of the intentions of the Government regarding further consideration of these very important Amendments that we have received from another place.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)
I gladly respond to the right hon. Gentleman's questions. It has to be remembered, of course, that earlier this afternoon the House suspended the Rule in order that we might continue this debate after the normal hour. I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman about the general tone of the debate and that matters of substance have been discussed.
The right hon. Gentleman admitted that somewhat more time was being given to the consideration of the Lords Amendments on this Bill than was usual, and he explained why it was. We accept that this is not quite the same as other Bills for which there has not been a time-table in the earlier stages—that, of course, is obvious. It is, indeed, for that reason that when last Thursday I announced the business for this week I said it was proposed to give today and tomorrow to this consideration; and I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman—he was leading 975 then for the Opposition, as he is tonight—that no adverse comment was made on that suggestion of time. Therefore, I and my right hon. and hon. Friends naturally assumed that that was considered reasonable by the Opposition. [Interruption.] They made no comment to the contrary at the time, anyhow.
Of course, in these matters there has to be a certain amount of give and take in debate—we quite recognise that; but I also claim that we are giving a fair and reasonable amount of time for the discussion of the Lords Amendments. It all turns on the question as to what is considered reasonable progress at any particular moment of time. The right hon. Gentleman urged that the work that we have done today was a reasonable amount. On the whole, without contravening whether the work has been well or ill done up till now, I think that before we pan we should, perhaps, make further progress tonight.
I hope, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman will withdraw his Motion, and then we will, to use a phrase of his—a very favourite one—when he was in the position I now occupy, "see how we get along." Perhaps, I may be allowed to imitate the right hon. Gentleman and say, "Let us not adjourn further consideration now. On the other hand, let us go on giving further consideration and see how we get along."
§ Mr. Morrison
If I may say so, I cannot resist the bland and charming manner of the Leader of the House, nor resist having one of my favourite phrases quoted against me. Therefore, let us see how we go on. I do not think the House need be kept to an unduly late hour. In the circumstances, I respond to the invitation of the right hon. Gentleman. Let us go on a little longer. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Lords Amendment: In page 6, line 19, leave out "to the purchaser."
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I beg to move, "That the House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
We have just had a long and very interesting debate, in which we were able to show that the solution we put forward was one which had been recommended 976 by noble Lords supporting the Opposition in another place. That did not seem, unfortunately, to work the magic on the minds of the Opposition which we had hoped it would, and they proceeded to try and demolish a Lords Amendment which largely sprang from the ideas of their own supporters elsewhere. Therefore, it is without very much confidence that I commend this Lords Amendment and say that the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, when he heard the arguments for it, said, "This has met us completely."
Shortly, the Bill, as it left this House, provided that the Disposal Board must not approve acceptance of a tender unless they are satisfied thatthe price is a reasonable one, having regard to the value to the purchaser of the property and rights which he will obtain by the purchase.There was a great deal of discussion on this matter in another place, and I know that a number of hon. Members in this House also had some doubts about whether these wordsthe value to the purchaser of the property and rights which he will obtain by the purchase.were appropriate.
As the result of various talks I had in this House, and the arguments advanced in another place, we propose to amend this part of the Clause so that it would read:that the price is a reasonable one having regard to the value of the property and rights which the purchaser will obtain by the purchase.The result of this change is that the reasonableness of the price would have to be considered in relation to the property and rights disposed of, and not in relation to their value to a particular purchaser. As I said, the noble Lords who, in another place, had very much interested themselves in this matter and who are supporters of the Labour Opposition, regarded this as a very successful way out of the difficulty to which they had drawn attention. In the hope that the same feelings will prevail among their colleagues in this House, I commend this Lords Amendment.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
I think I can immediately put the mind of the Minister at rest. I would explain that there is a difference between the previous Amendment and this one as regards the attitude of the Opposition. The reason why 977 we divided against the previous Amendment, despite the fact that in another place it was considered to be an improvement of the Bill, was largely because we do not consider subsection (6) should be in the Bill at all.
We cannot deny that this Amendment is an improvement. It was made as a result of proposals in another place, and it definitely changes the basis on which the value of units to be disposed of shall be determined. I would remind the House that the original proposal fixed the determination of the price according to the value to the purchaser of the property and the rights he would obtain by the purchase. That was typical of the attitude of the Government in the original Bill.
The Government have been concerned all the way through with obtaining the best price for the purchaser. It was only after pressure in this House and in another place, and when attention was drawn to the fact that it was wrong and unjust to put the interests of the purchasers before that of the community, that this change was made.
Though this Amendment is a considerable improvement and we shall not divide against it, it is still somewhat vague. One cannot help feeling uncertain about how value is to be determined. It now reads that the price is reasonable,having regard to the value of the property and the rights which the purchaser will obtain by the purchase …That on the face of it is reasonable, except that we have no knowledge of what standard is to be applied. How is the value to be determined?
The reason we have some doubts is because of the manner in which the disposal is to take place. It is to be in the hands of the Disposal Board. It would not be in order to discuss the Board except to say that we have made it clear we have no faith in the Board. We do not think they will use objective methods to determine the value which should be accepted when tenders are made. We consider the Board to be prejudiced in view of the manner in which the members are to be appointed and the persons who will serve on the Board. In our view it would have been impossible for the original provisions in the Bill to have been carried out, and for the value to be 978 determined according to the value of the units to the purchaser. This provision is an improvement, but I hope that we may be enlightened about how the value is to be determined.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
This Amendment is a good example of how this Bill has been handled. Every other major Bill since I have been in the House, and I think within the history of Parliament, has been a Measure proposed by Government but moulded by Parliament itself. This Bill was treated in an entirely different way. From the start a Guillotine was imposed which nobody, not even on the Government side—
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. and learned Member is going far outside this Amendment, which is a very small one.
§ Mr. Paget
If you will permit me to develop for a moment what I was going to say, Mr. Speaker, I think I can show you that what I am saying is entirely within the scope of this Amendment. The point which I was about to make was that here we have a typical Amendment which, if the machinery of this House and the Committee machinery had been used, would have been included before it ever went to another place. Instead of that, because the machinery of this House was not used, not only in relation to this Amendment but throughout this Bill, we are faced with a situation that every kind of Committee Amendment which would have been put in here in the course of moulding the Bill, has been left to come back to us in this way.
It has also come back to us in a half-baked form. The manner in which the Government originally intended the price to be ascertained has been left out, and nothing else has been put in to tell us the basis upon which valuation shall be carried out. If we had had this provision moulded in Committee in the normal way, not merely the suggestions as to what was wrong, and what everybody now agrees was wrong with the proposal of the Government, would have been considered, but we should also have had the opportunity to consider the alternatives. Those have never been considered apparently, either here or anywhere else and as a result, in this instance and in many other instances, we are getting and the country is getting a much worse Bill than would have been available had the proper machinery of 979 Parliament been used in the first place. I only hope that the shocking precedent set up by the manner in which this Bill was handled will never again be followed.
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan & East Stirlingshire)
I want to raise one or two points on the question of the value. This is the only point at which he will be able to explain to me exactly what will happen in certain instances. Is the value—as I gather was explained in another place—to be viewed largely on the basis of how it appears in the books of the different parts of the road transport organisation? I went round a good many of the road transport organisation depots and looked into a lot of questions, of which this was one.
The Minister may remember I mentioned that, when the road transport organisation took over the vehicles, about 4,000 of them had to be scrapped. A great many of these vehicles, while they were scrapped as vehicles, were rebuilt and the vehicles themselves would be in the books at precisely nothing. Of course, organisations which are building up a great system like this work on the basis of what is known in the industry as conservative finance. That means that although the assets are built up, they are not necessarily so shown in the books, just as, in the case of the shipping lines during the war, when the ships were sunk and were replaced at replacement value, the Cunard and other companies received millions of pounds because they were paid not the book value but the replacement value of the ships lost.
Many lorries are down in the books at an infinitesimal sum compared with their present value, having been rebuilt into proper running vehicles. When the question of the value of the vehicles is considered, what guarantee will there be that they will not be sold at the value in the books, which may be one-fiftieth of what it ought to be, and that they will be sold at their real value to the purchaser?
Generally speaking, the organisation in Scotland has a value beyond its mere material value. Not only is there the value of the vehicles, the material and the workshops, but there is the value of a combination of these as units. It may be that they will be sold as units and, frankly, from the point of view of who- 980 ever runs the transport, I hope that they will be sold as units. The new proposal about company structures makes that possible.
How will that organisation be valued? Will it be sold as an organisation which is of much greater value than it would be if sold off at an auction with the parts offered separately? With the whole pattern complete its value is two or three times as large as it is when it is considered in bits. There has been a considerable amount of organisation behind the scenes to try to rig the market against the Disposal Board. The tenders which come in will not be tenders which cover anything like the value of the organisation.
Where the Disposal Board see clearly that this sort of activity will be organised like a "racket" to do the community down, what steps will the Minister take to see that public property realises its proper value? I should be glad to have some explanation. I raised this question in an earlier debate but there was no possibility of discussing the matter thoroughly then. I should like to have some assurance that these assets will not be sold off like goods at a jumble sale.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I will do my best to provide at least a partial answer to the questions which have been put by the right hon. Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn) in his courteous and, as always, informative way. We are not dealing here with the capital loss to the Commission. That will be discussed on the Lords Amendments to the Third Schedule. We are dealing with the price which will be charged to the prospective purchaser. The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that this is a two-way traffic. It is no good the Disposal Board arriving at a price which is unrealistic and which there is no possibility of anybody paying. That is no contribution to discharging the intention of the Bill. That would merely frustrate the whole purpose of the Bill.
It must be for the Disposal Board to weigh up the evidence and come to their own conclusions as to what is a reasonable price, having regard to the value of the property and rights which the purchaser will obtain by the purchase, bearing in mind that it may be worth more to one purchaser than to another. There 981 may be somebody anxious to complete a fleet, and the vehicles available may well lend themselves to just that purpose. Obviously, the value of the property and rights which the purchaser will obtain by the purchase will be greater in a case like that than in the case of somebody who is not filling up vacancies in his fleet.
As the right hon. Gentleman said, the fact is that through the company structure, to which I hope we shall come shortly, it will be possible to sell spares and rights and credits and the whole machinery of a living entity. Of course, the value in many cases like that might be considerably more than the value of transport units. In another place it was at first suggested that the value should be the current value, but I think that Lord Selkirk had no difficulty in showing that this was a better way of doing it. He showed how the current value might fall, and that in the view of the Disposal Board more than the current value ought to be obtained for the business.
He also argued, as I have done, that a particular business might be worth more to one person than to another; so much so that the noble Lord who was then leading for the Labour Party in the House of Lords said—I must paraphrase his remarks—that he had never been particularly enamoured of the phrase "current value" and he thought that Lord Selkirk's Amendment was better than the one that he had moved. That being so, we have some further authority to support this form of words.
I am afraid that I cannot do what I know the right hon. Gentleman would like me to do—give here and now a long catalogue of the considerations which the Disposal Board will bear in mind, but when the names of the members of that Board are announced I hope it will be found that we have been able to choose people who will be good servants of the public, whatever may be their political views. I shall not inquire into that aspect of the matter.
They will be good servants of the public, whose duty it will be to try to get the best price for these national assets. It should also be borne in mind that the capital loss which the Com- 982 mission suffer will be recouped from the levy, with the addition, as the right hon. Gentleman may have noticed, of the further £2 million which, after a further talk with the Commission after the concluding stage of the Bill in this House. we have found it possible to have incorporated in the Third Schedule. I hope that that explanation will go some little way to meet the fears in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I had not intended to say anything about this matter, until I heard the speech of the right hon. Gentleman, in which, so far from allaying any doubts, he most skilfully contrived to raise them. He took the case of the purchaser for whom, for reasons peculiar to that purchaser, property might have a special value. What we are doing here is to leave out the words "to the purchaser"—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
This Lords Amendment must be read in the light of the one immediately following, which is to leave out "he" and insert "the purchaser," but I did not want to give the impression that I was steam-rollering the House through these various Lords Amendments. This part of subsection (7) would then read:…satisfied that the price is a reasonable one having regard to the value of the property and rights which the purchaser will obtain by the purchase….
§ Mr. Mitchison
I am very much obliged to the right hon. Gentleman, and I hope that he will not think me rude if I say that I am really not quite halfwitted, and that I did see what he was proposing to do. I repeat that he proposes to take out the words "to the purchaser" immediately after the word "value." That involves the proposition that when he comes to the word "he" he may say whom "he" is and for that purpose put "the purchaser" back again.
But the objection to the words "value to the purchaser" was precisely what the right hon. Gentleman now tells us the omission of these words is not going to remove. The instance he gave us was the case in which the public, the Commission or the Board would do better because of the purchaser's particular requirements; but there is the converse case, which had just been put to him by my right hon. Friend the Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn). That is the 983 case where the value to the purchaser, for private reasons, is a great deal less than the real value.
If the Minister is going to take account of one case he is apparently going to take account of the other, and we are back exactly where we started. Instead of having a true and objective value we are to have the value to our old friends or enemies, the members of the Road Haulage Association. It has just been suggested to the right hon. Gentleman—and I venture to think that the course of the debate both now and previously lends some colour to the suggestion—that it is not wholly impossible that those gentlemen may come to the kind of nasty combination which was reached recently by the London builders and which is now to be investigated by the Monopolies Commission.
That is exactly what we wish to prevent. If the value to the purchaser is going to mean the value to a number of persons who combine to put in an artificial bid, that is exactly what we wish to avoid. Let me tell the right hon. Gentleman what I have in mind. Let us take the passage in the Bill as it is going to read when these two Amendments have been made. The Board have to be satisfied that the price is a reasonable one, having regard to the value of the property and the rights which the purchaser will obtain by purchase.
I confess that what puzzled me was why that was put in at all. If one is going to look at the value of the property, one must see what the property is. Anyhow, if one is ever going to decide what is reasonable, one must obviously have regard to the value of what is being sold; and it seems to me that the words which, in this and the following Lords Amendment, we are to be asked to accept, are completely superfluous. I did indeed have at the back of my mind the intention of asking the Attorney-General, whom one is particularly glad to consult on these matters, exactly what effect he thought the wordshaving regard to the value of the property and the rights which the purchaser will obtain by purchasemeant, and whether in fact they added anything at all to the idea of a reasonable value. I should still like an answer to that question.
984 It does not seem to me that it is going to make any difference whatever if these words are left out. But there is something much more important than that. The original form of this passage in the Bill did at any rate give a valuer, if one was going to have a valuer, something on which to act by way of instruction. Suppose I am going to sell some property on valuation; the valuer will understand perfectly what is meant if he is asked to give a value on the basis of value to the purchaser. He will equally understand what is meant if he is asked for the value to the seller. But if one simply says "find a reasonable value," he may very well ask for a little more information as to what exactly is meant.
I do not understand, particularly in the light of what the right hon. Gentleman has just said, what is the real intention about this reasonable value. I had hoped that at any rate he was going to give some kind of objective answer, perhaps incomplete, but he has completely destroyed that hope by putting back into his reading of what the Clause, as amended, will mean, the very words which it is sought to amend.
§ Sir Frank Soskice (Sheffield, Neepsend)
May I just add a little to what my right hon. Friend the Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn) and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) have said. I think that this Lords Amendment is obviously an improvement, as the noble Lord said, but it does still leave room for the doubts which have just been voiced. The conclusion I would urge upon the House, in view of these doubts, is that we were right in the earlier stages of the Bill in pressing upon the Government that there should be some reserve price. That really is the only solution of this difficulty.
The Government have, as I understand what the right hon. Gentleman said at the start of our consideration of the Lords Amendment, substituted a real test of value in so far as one can ascertain a test of value. I think that is an improvement because, for reasons I myself advanced in the earlier stages, if one takes the simple value to the purchaser, one might often be taking a value that is far too low. Therefore, in my view at any rate, and in the view of the noble Lord who spoke in another place, the present form of wording is better.
985 My hon. and learned Friend has felt doubts about the succeeding words, which, if this and the following Lords Amendment are accepted, will read:which the purchaser will obtain by the purchase.I take it that those words are simply meant to identify the property and for no other purpose. But whether I or my hon. and learned Friend are right or not, and whether there is room for the doubts he has voiced, I hope that the learned Attorney-General will assist us on that point.
The conclusion which obviously emerges from this debate is that the Government were quite wrong in rejecting the many endeavours that we made during the earler stages of the Bill to try to apply some objective test, some objective minimum reserve price. We made many endeavours, but the Minister, for one reason or another, rejected all of them. The Bill now comes back from another place with many changes made in it there, but we still find that there is no reserve price anywhere in the Bill.
The Minister said we might find something of that sort when we come to look at the definition later in the Bill of "road haulage loss." I have studied that definition but it does not seem to supply what is still required. There is a definition of "road haulage loss" which is open to the objection voiced by my right hon. Friend. The Minister replies by saying, "Well, if and in so far as the definition of 'road haulage loss' gives too low a value, gives simply a book value instead of a real value, that difference is to some extent made up by the provision that there shall be an extra £2 million paid." The Minister has no doubt seen on the Order Paper our Amendment to the Lords Amendment in page 47, line 34, that that sum should be altered to £4 million. We think that £2 million is quite inadequate.
The net result is that we are still where we began in this debate: there is no reserve price; therefore, the value which is to be obtained upon the disposal of these lorries is still left completely in the air. The Minister then said, "Oh, well, that difficulty is got over partly by the provision for the sale through the company structure introduced by subsequent Lords Amendments." That again, is not 986 in any sense an answer, because all those shares have to be sold in one parcel.
For those reasons, although my hon. Friends feel that they ought not to vote against this Lords Amendment, because it is undoubtedly an improvement on the Bill as it stood before, I feel great regret that the Government have consistently and obdurately, and without any real reason, rejected the many suggestions we made for embodying in this Bill some provision that there should be a reserve price. We formulated various definitions, but apparently they have all been rejected. I do not know how far they have been studied. At any rate, none have been adopted.
Without a reserve price being fixed, the sum to be received upon the sale of these lorries is still a matter of complete uncertainty. Unsatisfactory as the Bill is in our view, not only in many other respects but also in this particular respect, we feel that we cannot vote against this Lords Amendment because it makes the Bill slightly better than it was before, but I think that the whole matter has been left in a very unsatisfactory state and that the Minister certainly does not come out of this aspect of the matter with any credit.
§ The Attorney-General
I entirely agree with the right hon. and learned Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice) in the legal construction he has placed upon this Clause. I think there was a slight misunderstanding about the matter, which arises in this way. There are two Lords Amendments involved here: the first one leaves out certain words and the second one substitutes the words "the purchaser" for "he." If one is considering only one of those Amendments as having been made, one approaches the matter from one point of view. If one imagines they are both made, it is a different matter. We want to be quite clear that, as the Clause stood before the Lords Amendments, the value might vary as between one purchaser and another if one considered the circumstances of the individual purchaser. It was discussed on that basis and an undertaking given that an Amendment would be considered to deal with that situation.
Another point which was raised was that it was suggested by the Opposition in another place that the phrase 987 "current value" should be adopted. That was not considered to be satisfactory; therefore, what was done was to say that we would put this matter beyond any doubt and first omit the words, "to the purchaser," in page 6, line 19, and then insert the words "the purchaser" instead of "he." The result would be that the Clause would then read:that the price is a reasonable one having regard to the value of the property and rights which the purchaser will obtain by the purchase.That means that the reasonableness of the price will have to be considered in relation to the property and rights which are actually disposed of, and not in relation to their value to a particular purchaser. I do not think there can be any doubt of the property and rights with which we are concerned; I do not think there is any ambiguity about what that means. As regards the reserve price, I would not feel entitled to say more than that, as I read the Bill, there is no reason why the Disposal Board should not itself apply a reserve price, but there is no provision for any arbitrary reserve price.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Suppose the objective of the reasonable price is one figure, and that the price, because of special requirements of the purchaser in regard to his fleet, or other such circumstances suggested by the Minister, is another figure, which is the price indicated by the Clause as it will now be drafted? I am asking in a polite form whether the Attorney-General agrees with the interpretation given by the Minister.
§ The Attorney-General
I think one must be fair to my right hon. Friend. One has to be quite clear whether we are speaking about the original wording, or after we have agreed to the first Lords Amendment, or after the two Lords Amendments have been agreed to. If both Amendments are concerned there is not the slightest doubt about the first matter the hon. and learned Member raised. Special conditions which affect one purchaser rather than another do not affect the matter under the Clause, as amended. What the Minister said was certainly open to misconstruction, but I do not think anyone could have a doubt about what will be the position when both Lords Amendments are agreed to. One must consider the absolute value of 988 the property and not the property in its relationship to the particular circumstances or a particular individual.
§ Mr. Callaghan
We agree with what the Attorney-General says about the construction of this Amendment and the meaning he has attached to it. I think there was a shade of difference between the words he used and the words which the Minister used, perhaps more than a shade. But if the interpretation which is to be opened up by the Government is in the words which the Attorney-General now uses we would accept that and believe it to be the right interpretation.
The Attorney-General has, however, raised a very interesting point in the last comments he made, and I should like to hear the views of the Minister on that. We sought them before on this Clause on the question of the reserve price but, unfortunately, we were guillotined at the time when we were trying to compress a substantial discussion into a short space of time. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Neepsend (Sir F. Soskice) said, we consistently raised the question, in so far as the Guillotine would allow, whether it would not be at least be made apparent to the public that the Government were trying to do justice as between the public, whose vehicles are being sold, and the Road Haulage Association, who are buying them, if a reserve price were attached to these vehicles by the Commission, with the consent of the Disposal Board.
The Attorney-General has just made an interesting proposal, and one worthy of our attention. I think we should hear from the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary—[Interruption]. No, I think that the Parliamentary Secretary, who is in his place, has always distinguished himself by the sharpness of his wit, his acerbity, and the clarity of his diction, and we should all be glad to hear what are his views.
It is a serious point. The Attorney-General says there would be something to be said for the Board considering whether a reserve price should not be put on these units. Would a spokesman for the Government reassure us on this matter by saying that it would be his view that it would be a desirable thing if the Board, and the Commission, agreed to put a reserve price so that we could then know, 989 beyond all doubt, that the prices at which units will be sold will equalthe value of the property and the rights"?Those are the words of the Clause.
If, in fact, the Commission and the Board, either between them, or separately, could get down to making an objective valuation of the worth of these units as going concerns, and place a reserve price which they themselves would intend to adhere to, there would be something to be said for the statements that the road hauliers are not going to pay bargain-basement shop-soiled prices—jumble sale rates, or any other phrases which my hon. Friends can offer—for first-class goods. I am sure that the Minister sees the importance of our point.
It was a great pity that we were cut off by the Guillotine when this subject was previously raised; but cannot the Minister now give us. an assurance that a reserve price will be fixed and adhered to, so that, when tenders are made, they can be measured against the prices fixed? If so, we should feel that the wording of the Amendment would be a little more effective.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I can certainly tell the hon. Gentleman that I do not suppose he will expect me to say there will be a reserve price, whether disclosed or undisclosed, but there is nothing to prevent the Disposal Board making such an arrangement. To make it mandatory, however, to disclose a reserve price, would be absurd.
§ Mr. Callaghan indicated assent.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
We might get a great deal more if we did not come into the open and say that so-and-so was the reserve price; but if we are counting, as we are, on the help of distinguished people who can be relied upon to do this whole business efficiently, I think it far better that we leave it to them. This is the first venture of its kind that there has been, and—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That remains to be seen.
The steady improvement in the Government's position in the country as a whole—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] I must be careful what I say, because of the 990 Chair and not from the point of view of accuracy—cannot be wholly dissociated from the welcome that the Bill has received. But it must be for the Disposal Board to make up their minds on the matter.
Speaking for myself, I feel fairly sure that in certain cases, at all events, they will come to some such conclusion. I do not propose to saddle them in advance, however, with obligations before I have had a chance of discussing the problem with them or of hearing their views, and until they have come to their own conclusion.
§ Mr. Popplewell
The Minister has gone some way and we are appreciative of the progress which he is making in this direction. It is the first intimation he has ever given to the House that he has something in mind regarding a reserve price. The Minister has taken a tremendous number of powers to himself in the Bill, and taking note of the number of times that the Minister is to do this, that and the other, I suggest that he should not be shy now. He should take to himself power to give instructions that a reserve price has to be obtained.
I have often heard it said by our legal friends that a cardinal point of British law is that justice must not only be done, but must appear to be done. In the Bill we are dealing with public assets, and if it is necessary for justice to appear to be done to private individuals, it is just as necessary for justice to appear to be done so far as public assets are concerned. When we passed our 1947 Act we laid down very clearly the value that had to be paid for assets taken over. That is a criterion for the Minister to follow. If we lay it down for taking over private assets, surely, if justice is to appear to be done to the public, it must be laid down also as regards the value at which public assets are being disposed of.
It is interesting to know that the Minister is thinking about this. I was intrigued by the Attorney-General's observations. I suggest that even at this late stage the Minister should show some repentance and change of mind and say that he will not throw away these valuable public assets at any old price. Members in another place have said 991 that as far as the financial arrangements were concerned, the disposal of these assets would rank equal to financial help that was granted for the export drive. That being so, the Minister should indicate to the House what is behind the Government's mind concerning the value of these assets, and should say just how far they are prepared to go in assisting, or in giving some direction or indication to the banks to assist, people to buy these assets.
If this financial assistance is to be given, surely it is fair to ask that it should be given only when we are assured that there will be a fair payment for these valuable assets. It is interesting to know that the Minister shows some repentance after all his stonewalling. The Parliamentary Secretary goes to Nottingham and makes all kinds of statements, but when challenged in the House is very silent. This is an opportunity for the Parliamentary Secretary to be the referee between his two seniors and to give us the benefit of his advice; but I ask the Minister to go a little further.
§ 12.30 a.m.
§ Mr. F. Beswick (Uxbridge)
I, too, express appreciation that the Minister should have given some indication of what was in his mind about this problem. We appreciate also that he should say that in considering a price, the Disposal Board should have some reserve in mind, and that there should be the possibility of some reserve. Would he go a little further and say whether he is going to indicate to the Disposal Board the principles upon which a reserve price could be based; and, if so, what these principles will be? Must they bear in mind the total figure they can expect from the different sales? Is that to be the governing factor that the Disposal Board must have in mind if they fix a reserve price? If it is not to be the total realisation, then on what principles will the Disposal Board be expected to base this reserve price, which the Minister now says they may very likely have at the back of their minds when deciding whether or not to accept a particular bid?
§ Mr. Callaghan
I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if you would be prepared, in view of the discussion which you have heard and in which the 992 Attorney-General opened a door, giving us a glimpse at an objective with which we have a great deal of sympathy, to accept a manuscript Amendment in the terms:The Board shall, furthermore, not give their approval to any such acceptance unless the price is not less than such sum as they have previously fixed as being reasonable as a reserve price to be obtained in relation to the property of the character in question?
Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hopkin Morris)
The hon. Member cannot move an Amendment at this stage, and he can only speak by leave of the House. I cannot accept such an Amendment at this stage.
§ Mr. Callaghan
May I ask whether you are ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that you will not be able to accept manuscript Amendments during the course of this debate, or is it just at this particular stage?
§ Mr. Callaghan
In view of the procedure which we are following in considering the Lords Amendments, if you put the Question on this Lords Amendment, then, as I understand Erskine May, we may not, after that, move an Amendment. I would submit that this is the moment to seek your guidance, Mr. Deputy-Speaker.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The Question has been proposed, and once the Question has been proposed, an Amendment cannot be moved.
§ Mr. Callaghan
In that case, would it be possible for me to give notice to you now that I desire to move this manuscript Amendment as an addition to page 6, line 21, at the end of subsection (7), which deals with this point? I now propose this as you will not have put the Question by then.
§ Lords Amendment: In page 6, line 19, leave out "he." and insert "the purchaser."
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Mr. Lennox-Boyd.]
§ Mr. Callaghan
I think that this is the moment when, if I am to get this manu-scrip Amendment considered, I have to move it.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I realise that it is within your power to refuse to accept such an Amendment, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but, with your permission, I would ask the Minister to move an Amendment. We have had an interesting discussion, and the Minister has shown us clearly that he is in favour of a reserve price being fixed.—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I take it that the Minister is not going back on what he said, even if his supporters are. I shall be sorry if we have to go over this again, but it is important that we should have on record exactly what is in the mind of the Minister. He has disagreed once with the Attorney-General, and we know that this Government speaks with a united voice.
The position is that the Attorney-General suggested that there was a lot to be said for having a reserve price fixed for the sale of these units.
§ The Attorney-General
What I said was that there was no reason why the Board should not fix a reserve price. I said no more than that.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am prepared to accept that wording. We took up the suggestion of the Attorney-General, which was very much in line with a number of suggestions which we had made during the Committee stage. I endeavoured to move a manuscript Amendment to give the Minister power to fix a reserve price which would not necessarily be disclosed. We believe that would enable the public to feel that some regard was being paid to their welfare in the matter and not merely to the interests of the road hauliers.
994 You, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, have intimated that you are unable to accept a manuscript Amendment from me, and I am asking the Minister if he will move such an Amendment, which is bound to be accepted, especially after the suggestion of the Attorney-General. We feel that he should move an Amendment requiring the Board and the Commission to fix a reserve price; that such price should not be published, because it would clearly influence bids, but, that it being known to the Commission and the Board should be adhered to when tenders are made.
This reasonable request came from us in the first place in the Committee stage, and was guillotined without proper consideration. It has now been repeated in a modified and tepid form by the Attorney-General at the end of some remarks he has made. We want to know from the Minister what objections he has to following this course, and we want to know whether he would not consider, in view of the fact that he thinks his party is going ahead in the country at the present time—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am now about to suggest a way by which they can go further ahead, and back benchers opposite should be grateful to me.
I am suggesting that if the Minister puts a reserve price into the Bill the public will know that their interests are being looked after by the Government. At the moment all the public know is that their interests are being sold down the river for the benefit of the road hauliers. If the Minister wants to claim real credit for himself and show that he is doing a real job in the public interest he might himself move a manuscript Amendment to put a reserve price into the Bill and to let us know that this disposal is being done decently, honestly and above board.
§ Mr. Paget
Obviously this is a matter of tremendous importance. Whether the sale should be upon the basis of the best price that can be got, or whether it will be on the basis of a reasonable price, and there will be no sale unless there is a reasonable price is a matter involving millions of public money; because, when one has reason to suspect, as we have here, that there will be a ring against one, without a reserve one is helpless.
995 The Minister and the Attorney-General indicated that this would be done. They have had many second thoughts in the past. Surely this is the convenient moment at which we should suspend our proceedings in order to give the Government an opportunity to consider whether they will put in a manuscript Amendment? Owing to the unfortunate way in which this Bill has been dealt with, this is the last opportunity when that can be done. The Opposition regard this as a most vitally important point. Will not the Government, in view of the differences between the Minister and the Attorney-General, give this assurance to the public that they will take an evening, a night and a morning to consider it?
After all, the indication of the Leader of the House was that we would see how we got on. We have got through one Amendment without a Division. Now is surely the time, when something important has arisen, to see whether the Government cannot have second thoughts and meet us in some way. If they do meet us on this point, which we regard as one of the most important, the Amendments may then begin to go much more easily—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] The moment the Opposition begin to feel that their point of view is being considered and that the Government are trying to meet them, it has been the experience of this House over and over again that that is when a Bill begins to go through.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I think I am right in saying that, within three minutes of my accepting an Opposition Amendment, we started a 2½-hour debate on another Amendment, despite the fact that that Amendment was giving expression to a view put forward by many hon. Members opposite.
§ Mr. Paget
He has already done that, but he cannot contradict himself within a few minutes. We cannot have the 996 Minister differing both from the Attorney-General and the Leader of the House. I should have thought any Minister with perhaps a little more experience of the workings of this House would know what a difference it makes when the Opposition feel that the Government are really trying to meet their serious troubles. As I have said, the serious consideration of this Bill has had to take place on the Lords' Amendments because there was, owing to the Guillotine, no Committee stage, so this is the last opportunity. Will the Government reconsider the matter?
§ 12.45 a.m.
§ Mr. Mellish
This is an opportunity for the Parliamentary Secretary to intervene. We are now in the second day of our consideration of the Lords Amendments. The Parliamentary Secretary spoke once during the first day for about one and a half minutes. He has not spoken at all today. As Parliamentary Secretary, it might be time for him to enter the debate.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The Question before the House is, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ Mr. Mellish
I agree. We have been arguing whether or not the Minister should at this stage introduce a manuscript Amendment to cover the points raised by my hon. Friends. There has been a difference of opinion between the Minister and the Attorney-General. Here is a good opportunity for the third man, the odd man out, the Parliamentary Secretary, to come in now and settle the matter. This is a good opportunity for the Parliamentary Secretary to show how much he knows about the matter and also to start earning his salary.
§ Mr. Mellish
We are entitled to know whether the Government will move a manuscript Amendment. This is our last opportunity. The moment it has gone we shall have no further chance to talk about the possibility of a manuscript Amendment to introduce what we think is an important consideration. I agree with my hon. Friends that there are millions of pounds involved. Surely, this is sufficiently important for the Government to treat the matter seriously.
§ The Attorney-General
I did not hear the Nottingham speech, but I ought to remove any misconception there may be by saying that there is not, and never has been, any difference of opinion between the Minister and myself on this point. I also agree with him that there should not be any suggestion from our side of a manuscript Amendment. When I said what I did a short time ago, that there is ample power to fix a reserve price, I was referring to the opening words of subsection (7):In performing their duties under this section the Commission shall consult the Board and act on lines settled from time to time with the approval of the Board …One of the matters which may well be agreed between them is that there should be a reserve price, but if the matter is to be handled in a businesslike way it is much better to give people power to act in the ordinary way in which people do act when they are disposing of things. If they think it right and desirable to fix a reserve price they have power to do so. If, on the other hand, they think that there ought to be a reserve price and the Commission do not agree, or vice versa, and there is disagreement between them, then under subsection (8) the Minister can decide. That is why I said that there is ample power for them to deal with the matter. There is no disagreement whatever between my right hon. Friend and myself. It is very much better to give the Commission that power and let them exercise it.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I really think we ought to have a statement from the Minister as well as from the Attorney-General. We are much obliged to the Attorney-General for the help he has given us, even if, in the process, he has got into something of a tangle with the Minister. [Interruption.] The Parliamentary Secretary is not allowed to say anything, so he had better be quiet. The Minister is perfectly right to keep him quiet. I disagree with some of my hon. Friends who are anxious for the Parliamentary Secretary to speak. If he were my Parliamentary Secretary I think I should keep him quiet. I pay that restrictive compliment to the Minister.
The point is that this Bill is going to tear up by the roots a road haulage organisation that was in process of development, and one of the consequences 998 is that the Road Haulage Executive and the Commission are being financially damaged. There is provision for public money of some sort—whether it is the taxpayers' money, the Commission's money or money from the levy—to be brought in in order to compensate the Commission. Is it not better and more reasonable to see that there is a minimum or basic price below which it is not possible to go?
When we took over the private undertakings we provided a minimum basis of compensation. It was argued that it was not enough, but we thought it was right, just and fair, and we provided it. There was a reserve price. This is a transaction the other way round. This is a transfer from public to private ownership. Is it not right that the public interest should be protected on the same lines of principle as were the private interests?
When we took over those private interests the Opposition were vociferous in their demand that those private interests should not only be compensated but should be luxuriously compensated. We took a line which we thought to be fair and just in all the circumstances of the case; but there is no provision here for any minimum or reserve price, and it may be that public property will be disposed of at prices which are inadequate, unfair and unjust to the public authority.
We have not argued, either on the Measure of 1947 or on this Bill, that the public authority should be treated more generously than the private interests. I do not want to interfere with the Minister and the Attorney-General reconciling their differences; I am all in favour of it—
§ Mr. Morrison
I am in favour of their cementing their alliance. It means that things are being squared up. We are not claiming that the public interest should be treated differently from private interests, but that it should not be treated worse than private interests. If it was right in 1947 to guarantee to private owners a minimum and fair compensation surely it is right, when we are gambling not only with public property but the public interest, that there should be a reserve price.
The Attorney-General argues that the words contained in Clause 3 (7) really 999 meet in principle what we are seeking. The words are:In performing their duties under this section, the Commission shall consult the Board and act on lines settled from time to time with the approval of the Board….That gives a possibility of a reserve price, but we are not satisfied that it is adequate. First, the Commission must act with the approval of the Board, and the Government have been remarkably determined that there shall sit on the Board representatives of the vested interests who are to buy the property.
We do not trust the Board. We think it is wrong that the Board should be in a position superior to the Commission, which is a legitimate public authority, and that the Commission must act with the approval of the Board, when on the Board there sit the very representatives of the vested interests who are to buy the property. The Attorney-General has said there is a possibility of a reserve price, but on whom are we to rely to give this possible reserve price? We are to rely on a body which includes representatives of the interests concerned.
The Attorney-General's argument may be good theoretical law, but it is not good sense, and it is not likely. I therefore ask the Minister for a responsible pronouncement on these points. Why should we go to the trouble of providing a sum of money from some source to compensate the Commission partly, I do not say wholly, because we are not putting in a reserve price. Secondly, why is it not reasonable for provision for a reserve price of some sort to be put in the Bill? If it be the case that it is not competent for us to move a manuscript Amendment, and if it is competent for the Minister to do so—although I am bound to say I do not quite follow why the Government can do it when we cannot, but I am only anxious that the public interest be served—I would ask the Minister to consider doing it. If he will not do it, will he be good enough to inform the House why he thinks that it should not be done.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I will gladly try to answer the right hon. Gentleman again. He asked me two questions and to suit the convenience of the House I will answer them—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
—with the leave of the House. I certainly do not wish to speak again. It is, in fact, the first time I have spoken on the Amendment to leave out "he" and insert "the purchaser," which the hon. Gentleman may be interested to know is the Amendment we are considering. The right hon. Gentleman asked why we have to compensate the Commission partly because there is no reserve price. That really puts ideas into people's minds which would be better not there. There is no question of the presence or absence of a reserve price affecting the sum which the Commission are to get.
The real difficulty that the Disposal Board and the Commission will find themselves in about the disposal of this property is that the goodwill is largely gone. If the Opposition think after all these years that they have no responsibility for the loss of that goodwill, and the fact that firms making, on their own estimation, £10 million annual profit, are now not bearing their full share of charges, they have a strange capacity for forgetting where the responsibility really lies. The difficulty of the Disposal Board in getting the best possible price will not be because there is no reserve price, if they decide not to have one, but because of the loss of goodwill.
The second question was, why did we not have a reserve price. The reason is that the Disposal Board will make their own arrangements for carrying out their statutory responsibility. If the Commission recommend that there should be a reserve price, and the Disposal Board rejects it, that is the sort of conflict that might come to me to be resolved.
§ 1.0 a.m.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I certainly do not intend to make the elementary mistake of saying in advance what I am going to do in a certain set of circumstances when I do not know what the facts will be. I have been very polite throughout this discussion, and I hope I have not been offensive to any hon. Member, but may I say that it is because so many hon. Members opposite said in advance what they were going to do before they saw the facts of our economic situation that we are in our present difficulties.
§ Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ The House proceeded to a Division.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The Question was proposed at the beginning, immediately it was read from the Table.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The Question was proposed immediately it was read from the Table. I myself proposed from the Chair the Question, "That this House
§ doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
§ Mr. Callaghan (seated and covered)
With respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I think that at the moment when you rose to put the Amendment, I interrupted in order to preserve our right to submit a manuscript Amendment to you. I was not aware that after that point you then in fact put it.
§ The House divided: Ayes, 257; Noes, 238.1003
|Division No. 132.]||AYES||1.00 a.m.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Crouch, R. F.||Holt, A. F.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Cuthbert, W. N.||Hope, Lord John|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Davidson, Viscountess||Horobin, I. M.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J||Deedes, W. F.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence|
|Arbuthnot, John||Digby, S. Wingfield||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)|
|Assheton, Rt. Han. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Donner, P. W.||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M||Doughty, C. J. A||Hurd, A. R.|
|Baldwin, A. E||Drayson, G. B.||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)|
|Barber, Anthony||Fell, A.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Finlay, Graeme||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Fisher, Nigel||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Kaberry, D.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Fort, R.||Keeling, Sir Edward|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Foster, John||Kerr, H. W.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Birch, Nigel||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Lambton, Viscount|
|Bishop, F. P.||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Lancaster, Col. C. G|
|Black, C. W.||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.|
|Bowen, E. R.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Godber, J. B.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon A. T.|
|Braine, B. R.||Gough, C. F. H.||Lindsay, Martin|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Gower, H. R.||Linstead, H. N.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H||Graham, Sir Fergus||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Grimond, J.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Longden, Gilbert|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Low, A. R. W.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Bullard, D.G.||Harden, J. R. E.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||McAdden, S. J.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Harris, Reader (Heston)||McCallum, Major D.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Carr, Robert||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Channon, H.||Hay, John||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Heald, Sir Lionel||Maclean, Fitzroy|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Heath, Edward||Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)|
|Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)|
|Cole, Norman||Higgs, J. M. C.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hirst, Geoffrey||Markham, Major S. F.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hollis, M. C.||Marples, A. E.|
|Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)||Raikes, Sir Victor||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Maude, Angus||Rayner, Brig. R.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Maudling, R.||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Teeling, W.|
|Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Renton, D. L. M.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Mellor, Sir John||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Molson, A. H. E.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Roper, Sir Harold||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Nabarro, G. D. N.||Russell, R. S.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Nicholls, Harmar||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Tilney, John|
|Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Nield, Basil (Chester)||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||Turton, R. H.|
|Nugent, G. R. H.||Scott, R. Donald||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Nutting, Anthony||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Oakshott, H. D.||Shepherd, William||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Odey, G. W.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Snadden, W. McN.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Soames, Capt. C.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Osborne, C.||Spearman, A. C. M.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Partridge, E.||Speir, R. M.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Peake, Rt. Hon. O.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Wellwood, W.|
|Perkins, W. R. D.||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Peyton, J. W. W.||Stevens, G. P.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Wills, G.|
|Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Pitman, I. J.||Storey, S.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Powell, J. Enoch||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Studholme, H. G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Profumo, J. D.||Summers, G. S.||Major Conant and Mr. Vosper.|
|Adams, Richard||Dodds, N. N.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Albu, A. H.||Donnelly, D. L.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Driberg, T. E. N.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Edelman, M.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Baird, J.||Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Janner, B.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.|
|Bartley, P.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Bence, C. R.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Benson, G.||Fernyhough, E.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)|
|Beswick, F.||Fienburgh, W.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Finch, H. J.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Follick, M.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Foot, M. M.||Keenan, W.|
|Boardman, H.||Forman, J. C.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Freeman, John (Watford)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Gibson, C. W.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Glanville, James||Lewis, Arthur|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Gooch, E. G.||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Burke, W. A.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||MacColl, J. E.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||McGhee, H. G.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Grey, C. F.||McGovern, J.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Mclnnes, J.|
|Carmichael, J.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||McLeavy, F.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Champion, A. J.||Hale, Leslie||McNeill, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Coldrick, W.||Hamilton, W. W.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Collick, P. H.||Hannan, W.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hargreaves, A.||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Cove, W. G.||Hayman, F. H.||Manuel, A. C.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)||Mason, Roy|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Herbison, Miss M.||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Holman, p.||Mikardo, Ian|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Houghton, Douglas||Monslow, W.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Hoy, J. H.||Moody, A. S.|
|Deer, G.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Morley, R.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H (Lewisham, S.)|
|Moyle, A.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Mulley, F. W.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Boss, William||Thornton, E.|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Royle, C.||Timmons, J.|
|O'Brien, T.||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Tomney, F.|
|Oliver, G. H.||Short, E.W.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Orbach, M.||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Oswald, T.||Silverman, Julius (Erdinglon)||Wallace, H. W.|
|Padley, W. E.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Paget, R. T.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Weitzman, D.|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Skeffington, A. M.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)||West, D. G.|
|Pannell Charles||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Parker, J.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||While, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Pearson, A.||Snow, J. W.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Peart, T. F.||Sorensen, R. W.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Wigg, George|
|Popplewell, E.||Sparks, J. A.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B|
|Porter, G.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Willey, F. T.|
|Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Proctor, W. T.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Pryde, D. J.||Stross, Dr. Barnett||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Rankin, John||Swingler, S. T.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Reeves, J.||Sylvester, G. O.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Reid, William (Camlachie)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Rhodes, H.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Yates, V. F.|
|Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Thomas, David (Aberdare)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Mr. Bowden and Mr. Wilkins.|
Question put, and agreed to.