§ Order read for further consideration of Lords Amendments.
§ Lords Amendment: In page 8, line 6, at end, insert new Clause "A" (TRANSFER OF PROPERTY TO COMPANIES WITH A VIEW TO THE SALE OF THEIR SHARES):
§ (1) If it appears to the Commission that it is expedient that any property held by them for the purposes of the existing road haulage undertaking should, instead of being disposed of under section three or section four of this Act, be disposed of under this section and that such disposal will not prejudice the pur poses to which the Commission are to have regard under subsection (3) of the said section three, they may make over that property, together with any such rights or obligations of theirs as in their opinion can conveniently be made over therewith, to a company under their control in the shares of which no other person than they themselves have any beneficial interest, with a view to the subsequent sale of the shares of the company:
§ Provided that the Commission shall not exercise their powers under this subsection without the approval of the Board, and the Board shall not give their approval unless it appears to them that the proposed course of action is expedient and will not prejudice the purposes to which the Commission are to have regard as aforesaid.
§ (2) Where any property is made over to a company under subsection (1) of this section it shall be made over at a price equal to the net value thereof as shown in the books of the Commission (but adjusted so as to take into account depreciation up to the time of the making over thereof so far as not already taken into account), increased by the value, if any, as so shown, of any rights of the Com mission made over therewith, and decreased by the value, if any, as so shown, of any liabilities of the Commission made over therewith.
§ In this subsection "net value" means value after deducting depreciation, and the references to values shown in the books of the Commission are references to the values so shown after making, if the Commission, in making up their books for the year nineteen hundred and fifty-two or any subsequent year, depart to any substantial extent from the principles and practice applied by them for the years falling before the year nineteen hundred and fifty-two, all adjustments which are necessary to produce the result which would have been produced but for the departure, and the requirement that the net value shall be adjusted so as to take into account depreciation up to the time of the making over of the property shall be construed as a requirement that the additional depreciation shall be allowed at the rates at which, and in the cases in which, depreciation was allowed under (he said principles and practice.1414
§ (3) Where the Commission have made over any property to a company under subsection (1) of this section, they shall proceed to the sale of all the shares thereof as soon as is reasonably practicable, and to that end shall, as soon as is reasonably practicable, by public notice invite tenders for the purchase (in one parcel) of all those shares, on conditions specified in the notice or ascertainable in a manner specified in the notice:
§ Provided that—
- (a) no invitation to tender under this section shall be issued without the approval of the Board; and
- (b) if it appears to the Commission that the sale of the shares by tender would be inappropriate and would be unlikely to secure the best possible price for the shares they may, with the approval of the Board, sell the shares (in one parcel) otherwise than by tender.
§ (4) In determining whether any tender or offer for the shares of any such company as aforesaid is to be accepted or 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 or offer 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.
§ (5) No tender or offer for the shares of any such company as aforesaid shall be accepted or refused by the Commission without the approval of the Board, and the Board shall not approve the acceptance of any such tender or offer unless they are satisfied that the price is a reasonable one having regard to the value of the company's undertaking and the rights conferred by the subsequent provisions of this section.
§ (6) If any difference arises between the Commission and the Board under this section, the Commission or the Board may refer the matter to the Minister and the Minister shall give such directions as he thinks fit and any directions so given by him shall be binding on the Commission and the Board.
§ Where Scotland is affected, the Minister shall consult the Secretary of State for Scotland before giving any directions under this subsection.
- (a) the company were and at all times since the passing of this Act (or since its incorporation, whichever is the later) had been a subsidiary company of the Commission and the Commission were and at all times since the passing of this Act had been the holding company thereof;
- (b) the Commission, in every application made for a licence under Part II of the First Schedule to this Act, being an application made before the making over of the property, had signified to the licensing
1415 authority their desire that the provisions of the said section twelve should have effect as respects the company;
- (c) the reference in subsection (1) of the said section twelve to Part I of the Road and Rail Traffic Act, 1933, included a reference to section fifty-nine of the Transport Act 1947, subsections (1) to (5) of section six of this Act and Part II of the First Schedule to this Act:
§ Provided that this subsection shall have effect in relation to a company only as respects the period preceding the date on which its shares are transferred in pursuance of the sale thereof under this section.
§ (8) Where the shares of a company are transferred in pursuance of the sale thereof under this section, the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect as if the company had, at the time of the transfer of the shares, purchased as or as part of a transport unit all the vehicles owned by it on that date which were then authorised vehicles under an A licence granted to the Commission under Part II of the First Schedule to this Act or were specified in a then pending application for such a licence as vehicles intended to be authorised thereunder and as if all such things had been done as would have fallen to be done if the vehicles had been so purchased; and without prejudice to the generality of the preceding provisions of this subsection, references in the said First Schedule to transport units, to purchasers of transport units and to motor vehicles sold as or as part of transport units shall be construed accordingly:
§ Provided that—
- (a) the total number of trailers specified by virtue of paragraph 2 of Part I of the said First Schedule in applications for special A licences shall not exceed the number of trailers made over under subsection (1) of this section by the Commission to the company;
- (b) in paragraph 4 of the said Part I, the reference to the Commission shall be deemed to be a reference to the company and the reference to the publication of the public notice inviting tenders shall be deemed to be a reference to the date of the transfer of the shares.
§ (9) The Commission, in making over vehicles to a company under subsection (1) of this section, may, by notice to the company, designate certain of those vehicles as additional vehicles, and in that event—
- (a) any application by the Commission for an A licence under Part II of the First Schedule to this Act and any licence granted in pursuance of any such application shall lapse so far as it relates to any motor vehicles so designated, but without prejudice to the substitution of any such vehicle for another vehicle in accordance with the provisions of the said Part II;
- (b) the Commission shall give all such notices and make all such applications as are necessary to secure that no such vehicle, being a motor vehicle, is included in an A licence so granted, otherwise than by virtue of such a substitution as aforesaid and that any such vehicle, being a motor
1416 vehicle, which has been included in such an A licence otherwise than by virtue of such a substitution is removed therefrom;
- (c) any such vehicles, being trailers, shall be left out of account for the purposes of paragraph (a) of the proviso to the last preceding subsection.
§ (10) Any property made over to a company under subsection (1) of this section shall be deemed for the purposes of section five of this Act to have been disposed of as or as part of a transport unit, but if, after any property has been so made over to a company but before the shares of the company have been transferred in pursuance of the sale thereof under this section, any property of the company (whether part of such property or not) is transferred to the Commission, the property so transferred to the Commission shall be deemed for all the purposes of this Act to become property held by the Commission for the purposes of the existing road haulage undertaking and shall be dealt with accordingly.
§ (11) A company to which property has been made over under subsection (1) of this section—
- (a) may dispose of any of its property in the ordinary course of its business; and
- (b) may, with the approval of the Board, dispose of any of its property to the Com mission,
§ Provided that this subsection shall have effect in relation to a company, only as respects the period preceding the date on which its shares are transferred in pursuance of the sale thereof under this section.
§ (12) Until the shares of any company to which property has been made over under subsection (1) of this section are transferred in pursuance of the sale thereof under this section, any person employed by the company shall be deemed for the purposes of section ninety-five of the Transport Act, 1947 (which relates to terms and conditions of employment of staff), to be employed by the Commission and to be under the direct control of the Commission themselves.
§ (13) Where a company to which property has been made over under subsection (1) of this section has disposed of all its property, this section shall cease to apply to it unless and until further property is transferred to it under the said subsection (1).
§ 4.5 p.m.
§ Mr. A. J. Champion (Derbyshire, South-East)
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, in subsection (3), to leave out from the first "shares," to "and," and to insert:or such number of shares as is necessary to divest the Commission of control of the company.This is a proposed Amendment to the new Clause we have been considering for some time and which found its way on to 1417 the Order Paper as a result of a decision in another place to add it as an Amendment to the Transport Bill. We welcome this new Clause as containing something which has about it the least of a number of evils.
The Government have had second thoughts in this matter and put down this new Clause, but I do not think anyone can regard it as being entirely satisfactory. For that reason we are now seeking to amend and improve it to secure that the Transport Commission will in some cases have a better chance to operate and to carry out the functions remaining to them after this Bill becomes—as I sup pose it will, even after a marathon week end—an Act of Parliament. [HON. MEMBERS: "There is next week."] We still have next week, and the business down for next week will have to be put off until the following week and so on; but at the moment I am thinking in terms of this weekend.
As I understand it, this new Clause is one which gives the Commission power to create companies and then to sell them. Having created the companies, the Com mission is charged with the task as sub section (3) makes clear, of proceeding to sell all the sharesas soon as is reasonably practicable.I do not know what the words "reasonably practicable" mean in this connection. I cannot imagine one would do it unreasonably or impracticably. All the shares are to be sold, as is made clear by subsequent words, in one parcel. I take it that "in one parcel" is a technical term known to those who buy and sell shares, and I think I understand what the Government mean in this connection. The formation of companies, as envisaged in this new Clause, appears to me to be the best way of doing what I regard as a wrong thing for the Government to do.
It is the best way of disposing of the road haulage undertaking in such a way as to provide some continuity of service for the users, and something like continued and satisfactory employment for employees of the road haulage undertaking. But the method of disposal is not the best one in the interests of anyone. It is certainly not best in the interests of the Commission and the people who will eventually have to pay any loss which 1418 there may be through the levy to be imposed on certain classes of transport users. What we are seeking to do by our present Amendment and subsequent Amendments is to give the Commission a great deal more latitude in the sale of shares in these companies.
The real purpose of the Bill is to dispose of the control of the road haulage undertaking. We have to accept that. We want to improve the circumstances in which these sales will take place. In disposing of these assets, which are now the nation's assets, the Commission is charged with the task of securing "the best possible price." These words are in the Bill. It is true that a number of other things have to be done before they begin to think in terms of the best possible price, but nevertheless those words are there.
We recognise that there are certain big advantages in the joint stock system. In the economy which we have built up, we cannot, I think, run it without some such system as we have in the joint stock company system, which provides an easier mobilisation of the initial capital, and the advantage that there is a limit of liability for the shareholders while securing them a degree of ownership.
Another point in this connection which I regard as being exceptionally important is that it is possible for the marketing of the shares to take place at the most advantageous moment for the seller of the shares. I think that it is in the public interest that we should give to the Com mission the full advantages of the joint stock company system.
We have to carry out the purpose of the Bill, and we want also to carry out the intention to secure the best possible price for these assets. This means that we do not want to have a condition existing in which we unload the shares on to the market at a time which is most unfavourable for the sellers of the shares. If we do in fact carry out the intention of the Bill as at present expressed, there is the possibility of all these shares being thrown on to the market at one time, which will create a buyers' and not a sellers' market which we want to have.
What we are trying to do by our Amendment is to carry out the intention of the Bill so as to ensure that control is divested from the Transport Commission 1419 but that, having sold at least 51 per cent. of the shares, as it must do, it shall have the opportunity to retain the 49 per cent., or some lesser percentage, not only until market conditions make it best to sell the shares, if in fact that is the best thing to do in the interests of the Transport Commission, but also—and this is of importance—to create conditions in which it will be possible for the Transport Commission to retain a permanent interest in these companies.
When this matter was first debated in another place, Lord Swinton said:But having said that, I hope that my noble friend will believe me when I say that I am not arguing against his main argument in favour of his Amendment, which was that he would like to see partnerships between the Transport Commission and other undertakings. On that I am entirely at one with him. I am not sure that any special provision in the Bill is required for that. In speaking on this point, I speak for the Minister of Transport and for the Secretary of State for the Coordination of Transport, Fuel and Power: I know that that is their view also. I believe that certain clauses which come later afford opportunity for encouraging and, if necessary, enforcing a policy which I believe the Commission would be only too ready to adopt."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 10th March, 1953; Vol. 180, c. 1195.]Here we have a responsible Minister telling us that these partnerships which we regard as being really worth while will be possible under some of the provisions of the Bill. I must say that I fail completely to understand—and I hope that the Economic Secretary when he replies will give us some answer on this point—how it will be possible for the Economic Secretary to assure us on this point if, indeed, he is going to say at the same time that all the shares must be sold in one parcel.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Champion
Or the Minister of Transport or, if this is a matter for the Attorney-General, perhaps we shall have a reply from all of them.
If the Transport Commission are to sell all these shares in one parcel, how will it be possible for the Transport Commission, acting and working under the Disposal Board, to retain an interest and be partners in these undertakings?
1420 This statement was made by a responsible Minister in another place. It seems to me that what we are suggesting in this Amendment and in subsequent Amendments is a course which must commend itself to every prudent businessman. That surely should appeal to hon. Members sitting on the benches opposite, for an appeal to the prudent businessman always seems to strike a responsive chord in their hearts. I appeal to these prudent businessmen to look very carefully at this Amendment.
Our Amendment permits the Transport Commission to retain an interest, but not, of course, a controlling interest, in a company. As to whether in fact this is done is something which ought to be left to the discretion of the Commission. It is a course which would undoubtedly have a great advantage. I see no reason why, in the light of past experience, it should not be possible for the railway interests, because the railway interests in the main will be left to the Transport Commission, to have an interest in some other form of transport. In these circumstances they might have a 49 per cent. or less share in the ownership of the undertakings. This is something which had considerable advantages under the old system.
This was something which was permitted to the railway companies as a result of Private Bills in 1928, I think, in a period when we had, if not a Conservative Government, at least a Conservative majority on the Government side. This was permitted by Act of Parliament during that period. It certainly worked out very well. I have never heard any word against it. It was a good thing for the industry as a whole and, without preventing competition and without drying up competition which the Government wish to retain in this connection, it proved a useful system of running 'buses in a great number of instances.
I understand that this will be a long weekend, but it is not my intention to make a marathon speech in discussing this matter. I recommend my proposals to the House. We regard our Amendment, and the subsequent Amendments, as reasonable. They have been framed very carefully by my hon. Friends and myself in the public interest. We believe that they would enable the Commission to secure better prices for the shares 1421 which they will have to sell. From what the Minister has said and what he has put into the Bill, I am sure that he is anxious to secure the best possible price for the undertaking which he is shamefully selling. The Amendment would enable the Commission to take full advantage of the joint stock company system while in no way undermining that which might be left after the Bill became an Act.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
I regard this as a reasonable Amendment, and I remind the Government spokesmen that what we suggest in it was in fact suggested by their own supporters in another place. Men whom they would consider to have business experience and knowledge of how these things are done and the best way to do them suggested that this was by far the best way from the point of view of both the taxpayer and the Commission—and at least one of the three men responsible on behalf of the Government must have some regard for the Commission's interests.
Having given permission for the company structure to be used, the position remains, under the Clause, that the sale has to take place as soon as practicable and it has to be "in one parcel." The phrase "in one parcel" is rather curious, and I do not know what would be its legal interpretation. It is certainly curious to find such a phrase in a Bill which has been so long before both Houses.
It means that the units have to be sold to one buyer at one time. I gather that if there is any way in which to get the worst possible price, it is to adopt that means of selling anything, and I am quite certain that if any hon. Member opposite were disposing of property or shares belonging to him, he would not adopt as an invariable rule, from which he could not deviate, the flooding of the market with all the shares at one time. What comes over hon. Members opposite? They go one way when they are acting from the point of view of personal interest, but when they are endowed with the responsibility of looking after the property of the nation and are supposed to have at heart the well-being of the nation, do they still act purely from the point of view of personal interest or the interest of their friends, or do they not 1422 seek to get the best possible bargain for the taxpayer?
A noble Lord who supports the party opposite suggested that from the taxpayers' point of view this was the most painless method to adopt. The Parliamentary Secretary used to lead crusade after crusade about this time of the year, on behalf of old people and some not quite so old, for the payment of post-war credits. I do not think he will deny that year after year he used to plead the case for the payment of post-war credits. We were told then that the money was not available, and we are given the same answer today.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)
Would my hon. Friend explain which Parliamentary Secretary he means? Is it the nominal one or the talkative one?
§ Mr. Ross
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport dealt with this question of the expenditure of money, which we were told was not there and which we are told still is not there; and we now have him in a position of responsibility when a sum of £33 million to £50 million is at stake and when he is prepared to see the property which has attracted that good will disposed of in such a way that we lose as much as possible of that £50 million.
I do not think there can be any question about the wrongs of disposing of public property in a way which is certain to lose money, but that is what the Government insist on doing. They failed in another place to listen to the suggestions from their own side and from noble Lords who support this side of the House. Once again they have an opportunity of accepting an Amendment which deletes the offending phrase, "as quickly as is reasonably practicable" and the further offending phrase, "in one parcel."
§ Mr. Callaghan
My hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) will be glad to know that we shall have an 1423 opportunity of trying to seek elucidation of the point which he is making, which is valid, on a subsequent Labour Party Amendment. We shall at that time be able to question one of the Parliamentary Secretaries on the point.
§ Mr. Speaker
I was about to intervene myself. I was trying to relate the hon. Member's speech to the Amendment which he was seconding, and it seemed to me that his speech was very relevant to the next Amendment which may be called, which deals with the phrase "in one parcel."
§ Mr. Ross
We are dealing with the first Amendment on the Order Paper, which seeks to leave out from the first "shares" to "and" and which leaves out the words about which I have been speaking. We then propose to insert,or such number of shares as is necessary to divest the Commission of control of the company.In view of what we are seeking to do, everything I have said is relevant.
§ Mr. Speaker
The next Amendment specifically directs attention to the question of "in one parcel" and I thought the hon. Member might perhaps have dealt with that aspect on the next Amendment.
§ Mr. Ross
I quite believe that. In this Amendment we seek to insert the words,such number of shares as is necessary to divest the Commission of control of the company.Having limited the financial loss by tying the Commission to a certain method of disposal of the shares, we hope to persuade the Government to leave the Transport Commission a certain amount of freedom to retain some of the shares and we go as far as to leave it merely a minority holding. I think that has two things to commend it from the point of view of the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke). If we want to bring the small man into this company structure method of disposal, and if we remember that it is admitted that the company structure is to permit the disposal of these assets in larger operable units, then surely, if the Government give to the Transport Commission the right to dispose of only a part, the position will be much more 1424 attractive from the small man's point of view. He will be able to get into the actual operational side of the business, and the Commission, with their minority shares, will be able to give a certain amount of wise direction without having full control.
So, from the point of view of introducing the small man into this part of the Bill, this gives a wider choice of buyer or tenderer and even a wiser choice in respect of dealing, not with some financial trust, but rather with someone who will be able to operate the company and take personal interest in it. Anyone interested in the small man's participation in road haulage should support the Opposition Amendment. This Amendment has everything to commend it from the point of view of orderly disposal and of applying ordinary business principles and commercial practices to the disposal of Government property, and the proper running of the service which is to be achieved by accepting the company structure.
We have not heard hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite talk about partnership before. They have denied the right of the Commission properly to run competitive long-distance road haulage services. Do they now intend to deny the Commission the opportunity of a wise partnership between private and public enterprise? The Commission in partnership with private enterprise would be something well worth trying. In fact, we have had it before. Some railway companies held controlling interests and others held smaller interests in road transport.
One cannot go to Scotland without being made aware of the existence of the S.M.T. Throughout the length and breadth of Scotland one hears of the S.M.T. in which first the railway companies and later British Railways had a considerable share. Whatever else one might have said about the S.M.T. and its monopolistic tendencies when owned by private enterprise, it certainly was efficient. Its efficiency has not lessened since it became part of the Transport Commission. There we have an instance of what could be done by joint partnership between private enterprise and the Commission on a large scale. I am sure that it could be effective on a small scale.
1425 Lord Selkirk, when he introduced this company structure in another place, commended it because it would allow people to operate on a larger scale. Here we suggest a way in which the small man can be brought in. Lord Selkirk said that the object of the new Clause was to create an organisation which could carry on a service and keep the present service going. The best way to keep the present service going is to let those who now control that service have a continuing interest in it. I hope that the Government will think again about their attitude to the Commission having a continuing share even in these companies which are to be set up.
§ Mr. W. T. Proctor (Eccles)
I hope that the House will agree with the Opposition Amendment. We wish to do a few simple things in this matter. The first is that we wish to get the best possible price for the road transport that is to be sold. We consider that by this method of selling the shares in the manner we indicate—not parting with all but only with the controlling interest— the shares will be much mote attractive on the market. Instead of losing between £25 million to £50 million, as is anticipated by the sale of the national assets of the Road Haulage Executive, we shall lose a smaller amount of money.
That should prove an attractive proposition to every patriotic citizen. It certainly should have the unanimous support of all hon. Members who really are concerned with the interests of the country. I hope that the Minister who replies to the debate will try to prove to us that that part of our case—that we shall get a better price—is false. If that case can be substantiated, then the Government, in the interests of the nation, should immediately accept this proposal.
We take a great responsibility when we float a new company from the House of Commons and suggest to the ordinary British citizen that he should acquire some shares. In those circumstances we must be certain that the company is run properly. We should take all the necessary steps to see that no financial trickery is played with these companies and that the British citizen is not robbed of the money he invests. We could not do anything better to look after the interests 1426 of the citizen who proposes to invest money in these new companies than allow the Commission to have an interest in them.
If we sell the whole of the shares on the market anyone in the City may acquire the lot. He would be able to do exactly what he liked with them. But if the Commission retain some of them they will have all the legal rights which accrue to shareholders to see that the concern is run properly. That would definitely prevent any of these companies from being run improperly. Suppose that one person acquired the whole of the shares in one of these companies so that the Commission and everybody else had none; that person could sell a fair proportion of the shares to some other citizen while retaining the controlling interest. Then he could do almost anything he liked with the controlling interest and the ordinary British citizen, not perhaps fully experienced in these matters, would be hopeless in his hands.
The controllers, owners and new managers of these companies, if the shares are in one hand, could do exactly what the Government are doing with the Commission as a whole. They are selling at knock-down prices—making money for their friends out of it in that way—and not running the affair properly in the interest of the shareholders. We as citizens occupy the position of shareholders in the Transport Commission. The Government occupy the position of directors, controllers and representatives of the shareholders. If only we had the power that goes with the ordinary law as it affects shareholders, then the action of the Government in selling our assets at knock-down prices and robbing us as a community of the assets we possess, would give us cause to take action in the law courts to prevent them from carrying it out.
I want to ensure that the companies that are to be set up shall operate under the provision that the British Transport Commission shall be able to keep a few shares. I would even go so far as to say that even if the Transport Commission, subject as it is to the high standards of our Civil Service, or in this case semi-Civil Service, had even a 1 per cent. overall interest in those concerns, we should be sure that those new companies would be run properly.
1427 My hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Champion) made the point, which I think is worth re-emphasis, that it is possible that if the Transport Commission is financially interested these companies and their work can be linked with the Commission, and we can have road and rail co-ordination. That point was emphasised in another place when this matter was dealt with there. I hope that we shall give careful consideration to this proposal.
If the Government accepted this Amendment, they would be breaking no new ground. This is a very ordinary procedure, which has been followed in many circumstances. This principle is operated at the present time, and the Bill allows it to be continued, in respect of passenger road transport. The British Transport Commision can now be financially interested in road transport concerns that run passenger routes. I hope that whoever replies to the debate for the Government will tell us what reason there is for treating goods differently from passengers. If it can be done in the case of passenger road transport, why not in the case of goods road transport?
Let us look at the principle from the aspect of national policy. There is the example of the formation of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and various other great concerns. In the case of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, the nation has a controlling interest but agrees to exercise a minority interest in management. This is not a new principle but one which has brought great benefit to the community. We are asking that it should be adopted in this case.
I say that there can be no reason on financial grounds, on the grounds of the interests of the future shareholders in these companies, on the grounds of national interest and the interests of transport for arguing against this proposition. I now wish to emphasise a further point which is so very close to the hearts of those of us on this side of the House —the interests of the workers in this industry. This House of Commons has no right, after it has been faithfully served by a body of people, to take any action that would jeopardise their interests, destroy their chances of pension and undermine their working conditions.
If the Government oppose this proposal and are successful in doing so, they will 1428 be jeopardising the conditions of the workers, every one of whom has given faithful service to the State over a number of years. Before that many of them gave efficient and faithful service to the companies that were created in the old private enterprise days. Here is a matter on which both sides of the House are united. Members opposite profess their belief in private enterprise; we on this side of the House believe in public enterprise, but we do not decry efficient enterprise if it happens to be private enterprise. The men employed in the road transport section of the industry have served both sides: they faithfully served private enterprise in the days before public enterprise. I see no reason why action should be taken that would jeopardise them.
One of the best things about the Parliamentary system is that time after time opportunities arise for us to emphasise the same point, not with tedious repetition but at different stages of the Bill. In the first place, we can emphasise it on Second Reading, then we proceed to the Committee stage and then to the Report stage. We now have a Government which interfere with that situation and prevent us from having that opportunity by their use of the Guillotine. This great constitutional system of ours is not like the American system: it is something that grows naturally, and when a bough is cut off a bud very often sprouts below where the bough was. Here we have had the Guillotine applied and now there is this beautiful bud—the Lords Amendments—by the appearance of which we are given an opportunity to express opinions about matters which we never had an opportunity of expressing before.
I emphasise this one point, which I hope my hon. Friends will take the opportunity to express—the interests of the workers who have faithfully served the State and who have committed no crime. I hope that Government representatives will carry to the Prime Minister himself our plea on behalf of the workers of this country. When I remember the service which the road transport workers and the railwaymen gave this country through the war, when I think of the immense sacrifices they made, I say that to prejudice their future interests and to deal with them in the way in which this Government are doing is a shameful act. 1429 There is always time for the Government to pause and consider before going on with their proposal. This Amendment gives them an opportunity for a compromise.
The Government are determined that we shall hand a great section of the transport industry back to private enterprise—no one can deny that the new companies will be private enterprise—but the Government can ensure, by accepting this Amendment and allowing the Commission to have a certain shareholding, that the interests of those who invest their money in those companies is looked after, and that the companies are run efficiently. I emphasise the point, which should be in the mind of every Member, of the interests of the workers. I am sorry that the benches opposite are not full. Tory Members should come and listen to us dealing with this matter this weekend. I see that a Member opposite points to these benches, but there is no need for my hon. Friends to come here to ensure that they know that the interests of the workers are being looked after.
I should like the benches opposite to be full so that hon. Members could listen to the appeals which we could make to them during this historic weekend in which we are pin-pointing this problem by keeping Parliament sitting. It would not be a bad thing if we stayed here on Sunday. There are people who will not do things on a Sunday that they will easily do during the week, and I should like on this—
§ Mr. Champion
In the event of our remaining here over Sunday, would my hon. Friend appoint the Parliamentary Secretary to read the Lesson in the Crypt?
§ Mr. Proctor
I think that matter is provided for every day. My hon. Friend has raised a substantial point. I hope that when we arrive here tomorrow morning—[An HON. MEMBER: "We shall have been here."] In any case we shall come back for the Friday Sitting—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)
I do not see how the length of our Sitting is covered by this Amendment.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
On a point of order. I think that my hon. Friend is talking about working conditions, and his observation was definitely in reference to working conditions of Parliamentarians.
§ Mr. Proctor
In dealing with the question of a Sunday service in the House of Commons, my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South-East has raised an issue which I perhaps should not follow. There is, however, a sincerity about the House of Commons. We start our proceedings every day with Prayers. I hope that the Members of the Government will on this issue consider the action that they are taking and the effect that it is likely to have on the lives of the workers in the industry.
I end on this note. Often people think that something they fear will not really happen, and the road transport workers who are now in danger of being turned out of their jobs believe that this cannot happen to them. I warn the Government that if they create chaos and unhappiness and bitterness in that way, they will reap the whirlwind they are sowing and then it will be no good asking us to save them.
Our Amendment mitigates some of the evil. Financially, industrially and in every other way it is the best thing that can be done. I appeal to the Government at this late hour to reconsider the position to see if we cannot dispose of large sections of the transport industry along these lines and thus do less harm to the industry than will otherwise be the case.
§ Mr. Frederic Harris (Croydon, North)
I do not want to start this long sitting in an unsatisfactory manner, but I find difficulty in thinking that the Government will accept this proposal. In saying that, I have not heard what the Economic Secretary has to suggest but, if that is his line, no doubt his argument will be convincing and perhaps, therefore, my remarks may enable him to put forward a strong argument. As the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Proctor) said, Clause 16 (6) says clearly:Provided that the securities required to be disposed of shall not be more than is necessary to divest the Commission of control of the first mentioned body corporate.So, apparently, we are prepared to accept the principle as far as the bus companies, and so on, are concerned.
1431 I cannot be unmindful of the fact that we do the same thing in other Government ventures, such as the Colonial Development Corporation—
§ Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)
Is my hon. Friend aware that there is power for the British Transport Commission to hold shares of any body corporate carrying on transport activities under Section 2 (2, i) of the Transport Act, 1947, which is not repealed by this Bill?
§ Mr. Harris
Perhaps I may be allowed to get on with my speech, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. My point was that since we follow that principle in the case of other Government interests—namely, we encourage others to come into various ventures and as a Government we go into partnership with them—in many cases we see that the control is not necessarily held by the Government. The proposal in this Amendment is that the Commission should dispose of such portion of the shares as will divest it of control. One can visualise many business organisations finding it difficult to put up sufficient finance to buy out an entire company at one time, so it might be helpful to follow this proposal. However, I expect the Government have that in mind.
§ Mr. Harris
In another place several noble Lords apparently felt the same thing, so, since the matter is open for consideration, if the Minister cannot accept this Amendment, perhaps he will make it clear why the general principle cannot be accepted.
§ Mr. Percy Morris (Swansea, West)
Despite the earnest plea of the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Proctor) and the helpful contribution of the hon. Member for Croydon, North (Mr. F. Harris) and the convincing statements made in moving the Amendment by my hon. Friend, I shall be surprised if the Government accept it.
§ Mr. Morris
Now that the Minister has replied so quickly, let me tell him why I think the Government will not accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The hon. Gentleman said he would be surprised if we accepted the Amendment. I said that he was quite right. I meant that he would be surprised if we accepted it; I did not say we were not going to do so.
§ Mr. Morris
I shall be happy to congratulate the Minister if he rises to accept the Amendment on this occasion. Now I will tell him why I have some misgivings about him. The disappointing feature of the debate yesterday and of earlier debates was the oft repeated lack of confidence in the British Transport Commission.
The Economic Secretary said yesterday that he had no doubt that the B.T.C. would be as loyal as they possibly could to the policy of the Government but, because they do not favour this policy, the Government thought it desirable that the Disposal Board should have some supervision over them. That has been the tenor of all the debates; that the Government do not trust the British Transport Commission. They do not trust their best friends. If they are not trusting the British Transport Commission, to whom will they turn?
§ Mr. Morris
My hon. Friend says, the United Dominions Trust, but they will not be here and have not quite the experience of the B.T.C. The Government ought not to despise the contribution made by the Commission. It consists of men who, during the past four years, have so reorganised transport in this country that they have effected an economy of £16 million per annum without worsening the conditions of employment of the staff and, so far as road haulage is concerned, have established a national trunk service and given the 1433 administrative staff, in particular, conditions of service that they have never had before. Now in dismembering the industry the Government are afraid to let the B.T.C. have an interest in the road haulage concerns.
These people have experience which would be of some value to the Government. Are they suggesting that the personnel concerned can be discounted as being worth nothing to them? Who were they? Does the Economic Secretary know? The Minister ignored them in the beginning. Perhaps it was not his direct responsibility but that of the Prime Minister, but the first White Paper was issued without any reference to the Commission. Consequently it was a tremendous flop.
The first Bill was published precipitately and it again failed. It was only when the Minister was moved by the force of circumstances to confer with the B.T.C. that they were able to make anything of the Bill. Now, when we are trying to improve it by suggesting that the men who have the widest and best experience in transport should be allowed to influence transport operations in future, the Government seem reluctant to allow them to do it. For that reason we say that if the Government reject the Amendment they will be deliberately refusing the country the benefit of the services rendered by the Railway Executive, the Transport Commission and the Road Haulage Executive during the past four years.
This combination of road and rail can be maintained if the Amendment is accepted. Does not the Economic Secretary recognise that it is not intended to circumvent the Government's intentions? It is intended to help them. As my hon. Friend the Member for Eccles said, if the Government are concerned with the technical side of the industry, surely they must also be concerned with the well-being of the employees, blocks of whom, in places like Liverpool, Preston, London and Manchester—all over the country in fact—are very concerned about their future prospects.
These men are recruited from the private transport concerns. They gave the last Government the benefit of their training and experience. If they are now to be lost to us and the Commission will be Unable to avail itself of their further 1434 experience and training, it will be a very bad thing for transport in the years to come. I hope that the enigmatic intervention of the Minister provides some reason for us to hope and believe that the Government will accept an Amendment at last. I congratulate them in advance in case they do. If not, I can only assume that they are still approaching this matter with a closed and bigoted mind.
§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. R. Maudling)
I hope it will be for general convenience if I intervene at what may be a relatively early stage in the discussion on this important matter and set out the Government's attitude to the Amendment. We have had a rather wide-ranging debate, starting with a serious speech by the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Champion), followed by the hon. Member for Ayrshire and Bute, who at one time was tempted to introduce a rather serious note—
§ Mr. Maudling
I apologise to the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross).
The debate has also ranged over the question of services on Sunday, quite apart from transport services, and the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Proctor) and the hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. P. Morris) referred again to the position of the employees in the industry. This is a point which was referred to yesterday, when I omitted, I am sorry to say, to reply to it as I should have done.
I recognise and appreciate the attitude of hon. Members opposite to the interests of the people employed in the industry, and I only ask them to accept in return our point of view. If we disagree with them in the proposals which they put forward, it is not because we have any less regard for the well being of the people in the industry or any less opinion of the ability of those who manage and run the industry. It is because we sincerely believe that the industry, reorganised on the lines that we have in mind, will provide better and greater opportunities for employment in the industry. I know that hon. Members opposite will not accept that it will do that, but those are our motives.
1435 The Amendment, which is intended to vary the Lords Amendment, seeks to provide that the Commission does not have to dispose of its entire shareholding, but only such proportion of its shareholding as would effectively divest it of control of the company. A number of points of detail have been raised. Reference has been made to the fact that the old railway companies used to have minority shareholdings in quite a number of companies operating road haulage, and an analogy was drawn with road passenger transport. There is, however, a very great difference, because the numbers of vehicles involved are entirely different.
In the case of road haulage, the minority holdings of the old railway companies were relatively small. The figures with which I have been furnished by the Commission indicate that the companies in which they had interests operated only some 550 vehicles. The railway companies' shareholdings were the equivalent of about 270 of those vehicles.
§ Mr. Cecil Poole (Birmingham, Perry Barr)
Can the Economic Secretary, then, give the number of vehicles which Messrs. Pickfords had on the road and in which the railway companies had a substantial holding, and of Hay's Wharf, in which they had a majority holding? Surely those two companies alone represented very much more than 500 vehicles.
§ Mr. Maudling
I said specifically that I was dealing with companies in which the old railway companies had a minority shareholding. These figures are supplied to me by the Commission and I am quite certain that they are accurate.
§ Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)
Let us be quite clear on the facts. Is the hon. Gentleman really suggesting that in all the road passenger companies before the war in which the railways had a minority holding and in which either Tillings or B.E.T. had a majority holding, there were together no more than 500 vehicles?
§ Mr. Maudling
The right hon. Gentleman is a little confused. I said that there was a great difference between road passenger and road haulage. These figures from the Commission refer to road 1436 haulage. They show that the road haulage companies in which the old railway companies had minority shareholdings had about 550 vehicles and that the railway companies' holdings were equivalent to about 270 of these vehicles. [Interruption.] This is only a small point, and I have quoted the Commission's figures.
§ Mr. James Harrison (Nottingham, East)
Those figures might be misleading. What about the road haulage firms in which the railway companies had the majority of shares?
§ Mr. Maudling
The Amendment we are discussing raises the question of the Commission retaining minority holdings. That is why I am quoting the figures of minority holdings. I am giving information which should be helpful, and I hope that I shall be allowed to proceed.
There is another technical point. If the Amendment were accepted it would raise considerable difficulties in the assessment of the road haulage capital loss. If the Commission disposes of all its shares, we shall know exactly how much it gets for the company, but if it retains a holding it is extremely difficult to put a proper valuation on the shares that it retains. If the Commission disposes of a 60 per cent. holding we can say how much is paid for each of the shares comprised in the majority holding, but we cannot say that the value of the shares that are left in the minority holding would be anything like as large; and the road haulage loss may not be accurately assessed.
That is a technical point of considerable importance, because it would be difficult in practice to assess the true value of the minority holding retained by the Commission. If the value of that minority holding which was retained by the Commission was placed too high because the value of the minority shares was placed at the value of the majority shares, the amount of road haulage capital loss would be minimised and the Commission would suffer thereby.
§ Mr. Poole
Is not the hon. Gentleman propounding the theory that if a company's shares are quoted on the Stock Exchange at a given figure and transactions pass at that figure, the remaining shareholders who retain shares in that 1437 company are not entitled to assume that their shares are worth as much as the current Stock Exchange quotation?
§ Mr. Maudling
I am only stating the well-known fact that the price to be paid for shares in order to obtain a majority shareholding or to obtain control of a company is larger than the day to day quotation for marginal amounts passing on the Stock Exchange, a matter to which hon. Members opposite have referred once or twice on recent occasions.
My third point is that I am not quite sure how one could determine the proportion of shares of which the Commission would have to divest itself in order to divest itself of control. The mover of the Amendment assumed that if the Commission disposed of 51 per cent. and retained 49 per cent., it would have lost control That, surely, obtains only if the 51 per cent. were in one hand. If they were distributed among a large number of people, the 49 per cent. would remain a controlling interest. In fact, in certain circumstances, as little as 25 or 30 per cent. of a company can be a controlling interest.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
In that case, the hon. Gentleman is attacking the Government's own Bill. I draw his attention to Clause 16, which deals with 'bus undertakings, which states:Provided that the securities required to be disposed of shall not be more than is necessary to divest the Commission of control of the first-mentioned body corporate.The hon. Gentleman is stating categorically that that cannot be done.
§ Mr. Maudling
I think that if he studies this, the hon. Member will find that there is a considerable difference in the two circumstances—
§ Mr. Maudling
—between the circumstances in the bus industry and the circumstances with which we are dealing now. The point I was looking at is that the effect of the Amendment is that 51 per cent. is not necessarily the right figure. It might be necessary to go very much beyond that in order to divest the Commission of control of the company.
I turn now to the main argument, for those are points of detail, and to discuss the reasons hon. Members opposite put 1438 forward the Amendment. They put it forward on rather different grounds from what I had expected. They very rightly lay emphasis on the importance of getting as good a price as possible for the Commission and rather less emphasis than I had expected on the benefits to road transport, as I thought they would have seen it, in allowing a certain amount of control to remain with the Commission over the operations of the companies to be taken over in the future.
What I am not quite clear about is whether hon. Members opposite consider that in those circumstances, when the Commission retain a minority shareholding, the Commission would have a part in the control and operation of those companies. For example, in those circumstances would the Commission appoint a director of the boards of the companies? I think that is the idea, and certainly that appeared to be the idea of the hon. Member for Eccles when he referred to the advantages, as he saw it, of the Commission being able to do something to guarantee the efficient running of these companies and of coordination.
Unless the minority shareholding is intended to give the Commission some direct operational control over the running of the companies—which is a possible interpretation of the reasons of the Opposition—I do not see how the coordination and efficient running of these companies could possibly arise.
§ Mr. Paget
Surely it is not necessary to go so far as that. A substantial minority shareholder may not have any direct voice in the control, but he has an influence and, in the commercial world, that influence is often extremely valuable in securing co-operation. If we want road and rail co-operation, the fact that there is a minority influence in some of these companies could, I think, only be beneficial, as was pointed out by the hon. Member for Croydon, North (Mr. F. Harris).
§ Mr. Maudling
That is precisely my point. But our object is to create competition. We want competition between the companies that take over and we think the right way to get co-ordination is through competition and not through central control. If it is in the minds of 1439 hon. Members opposite that the retention of a minority interest will create cooperation, it is contrary to the idea we had in bringing forward the Bill. But there is another question.
On the one hand, the Opposition may be thinking of retaining central control and, on the other hand, they may be thinking merely in terms of allowing the Commission to retain an investment in these companies without any question of control. I think it is argued that in that way they might be able to obtain a better total price for the shares they dispose of, but the consequence would be to turn the Commission into a sort of investment trust holding small equity interests in private road haulage companies.
When I heard some of the things which some hon. Members opposite seemed to think about the possibilities of efficient operation of private road haulage companies, it seemed strange that they should say it is a good thing that public money should be invested in equity holdings of private road haulage companies. It seems to the Government that, on whichever leg of the argument the proposition is based, it is not acceptable.
On the question of partnership between the Transport Commission and other undertakings, I would point out that partnership can take two forms. It can be an operational partnership between two separate undertakings who are partners in a certain operation, or it can be a financial relationship for joint ownership, The Government do not think it would be a good thing to perpetuate a system of joint ownership of these companies which will be disposed of by the Commission. Of course, the terms of the Bill make that clear. But that is not to say that there is not a considerable field for partnership in operation between the retained companies of the Commission and private companies which will take over the shares of the disposal companies. I hope that
§ makes the position clear and for that reason we reject the Amendment.
§ Sir Herbert Batcher (Lord Commissioner of the Treasury) rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
There has been no opportunity, Mr. Speaker, for a Member of the Opposition Front Bench to reply to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury. This is the first statement we have had from the Government on this matter and no reply has been given. I submit to you, with all respect, that we should be given an opportunity of making our reply.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I must be definite about this. We cannot argue about the Closure; no point of order can be raised on it.
§ Mr. Speaker
It is within my power to say that I think it an infringement of the rules of the House and the rights of the minority. I have not come to that conclusion. That is the only consideration which enables me to not accept the Motion.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 267; Noes, 243.1443
|Division No. 150.]||AYES||[5.16 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Baldwin, A. E.||Bennett, William (Woodside)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Banks, Col. C.||Bevins, J. R. (Taxteth)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Barber, Anthony||Birch, Nigel|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Baxter, A. B.||Bishop, F. P|
|Amory, Heatheoat (Tiverton)||Beach, Maj. Hicks||Black, C. W.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Boothby, R. J. G.|
|Ashten, H. (Chalmsford)||Ball, Ronald (Buoks, S.)||Bossom, A. C.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Bowen, E. R.|
|Baldoek, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Boyd-Carpenter, J. A|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Osborne, C.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Partridge, E.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hollis, M. C.||Peaks, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hope, Lord John||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Horobin, I. M.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Pilkington, Capt. R. A|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Carr, Robert||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hulbert, Wing Car. N. J.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Channon, H.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Redmayne, M.|
|Cole, Norman||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Colegate, W. A.||Johnson, Erie (Blackley)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Robertson, Sir David|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Kaberry, D.||Robson, Brown W.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Keeling, Sir Edward||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Croslhwaile-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Kerr, H. W.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Crouch, R. F.||Lambton, Viscount||Russell, R. S.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Ftnehley)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip— Northwood)||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Leather, E. H. C.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Scott, R. Donald|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Shepherd, William|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Linslead, H. N.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Lloyd, Ma). Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Donner, P. W.||Lookwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Longden, Gilbert||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Low, A. R. W.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Drewe, C.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth. S.)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas (Richmond)||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Speir, R. M.|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||McAdden, S. J.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich. W.)|
|Erroll, F. J.||McCallum, Major D.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Fell, A.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Finlay, Graeme||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Storey, S.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||McKibbin, A. J.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Summers, G. S.|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Fort, R.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Foster, John||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morocambe & Lonsdale)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Hornoastle)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Markham, Major S. F.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|George, Rt. Hon. Mai. G. Lloyd||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Turton, R. H.|
|Godber, J. B.||Maude, Angus||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Maudling, R.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Maydon, Lt.-Commander. S. L.C.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Gower, H. R.||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Mellor, Sir John||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Gridley, Sir Arnold||Molson, A. H. E.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Grimond, J.||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Ward, Hon George (Worcester)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Ward, Mist I. (Tynemouth)|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon C.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Nicholls, Harmar||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Wellwood, W.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Nugent, G. R. H.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Oakshott, H. D.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Heald, Sir Lionel||Odey, G. W.||Wills, G.|
|Heath, Edward||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Sir Herbert Butcher and|
|Mr. Richard Thompson.|
|Adams, Richard||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Poole, C. C.|
|Albu, A. H.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Popplewell, E.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Hamilton, W. W.||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hannan, W.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Hargreaves, A.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hastings, S.||Rankin, John|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hayman, F. H.||Reeves, J.|
|Baird, J.||Herbison, Miss M.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Balfour, A.||Hobson, C. R.||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Holman, P.||Rhodes, H.|
|Bartley, P.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Richards, R.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hoy, J. H.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bence, C. R.||Hudson, James (Eating, N.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Benson, G.||Hughes, Heotor (Aberdeen, N.)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Beswick, F.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Ross, William|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Royle, C.|
|Blackburn, F.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Blyton, W. R.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Boardman, H.||Janner, B.||Short, E. W.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D, P. T.||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Panoras, S.)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Jones David (Hartlepool)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Keenan, W.||Snow, J. W.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||King, Dr. H. M.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Carmichael, J.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Lewis, Arthure||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Champion, A. J.||Lindgren, G. S.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Chapman, W. D.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||MaeColl, J. E.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Clunie, J.||McGhee, H. G.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Coldrick W.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Collick, P. H.||McLeavy, F.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. H.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Grossman, R. H. S.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Mallallieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Mallallieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Manuel, A. C.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Daviea, Stephen (Merthyr)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Thornton, E.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Mason, Roy||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Deer, G.||Mayhew, C. P.||Timmons, J.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mellish, R. J.||Tomney, F.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Messer, F.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Dnberg, T. E. N.||Mikardo, Ian||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mitchison, G. R.||Viant, S. P.|
|Edelman, M.||Moody, A. S.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Edwards, W J. (Stepney)||Morley, R.||Weitzman, D.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednosbury)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mort, D. L.||West, D. G.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Moyle, A.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Finch, H. J.||Mulley, F. W.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Murray, J. D.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Follick, M.||Nally, W.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Foot, M. M.||Neal, Harold (Bolsolver)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Forman, J. C.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Willey, F. T.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Oldfield, W. H.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Oliver, G. H.||Williams, Rt. Hon Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Orbach, M.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Oswald, T.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Padley, W. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Glanville, James||Paget, R. T.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||Panned, Charles||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Grenfall, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Pargiter, G. A.||Yates, V. F.|
|Grey, C. F.||Paton, J.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Pearson, A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Peart, T. F.||Mr. Wilkins and Mr. John Taylor|
|Hale, Leslie||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Lords Amendment."1446
§ The House divided: Ayes, 266; Noes, 244.1449
|Division No. 151.]||AYES||[5.26 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Foster, John||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Galtaraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Godber, J. B.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Markham, Major S. F.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Gough, C. F. H.||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Barber, Anthony||Gower, H. R.||Maude, Angus|
|Baxter, A. B.||Graham, Sir Fergus||Maudling, R.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Gridley, Sir Arnold||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Grimond, J.||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Mellor, Sir John|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Harden, J. R. E.||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Mcore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Birch, Nigel||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Black, C. W.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Bowen, E. R.||Heald, Sir Lionel||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.|
|Boyd-CarperHer, J. A.||Heath, Edward||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Higgs, J. M. C.||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Odey, G. W.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hinchingbrocke, Viscount||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Holland-Martin, C. J||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Hollis M. C.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Bullard, D. G.||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Partridge, E.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hope, Lord John||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Horobin I. M.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Carr, Robert||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Channon, H.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Cole, Norman||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Redmayne, M.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Kaberry, D.||Robertson, Sir David|
|Crouch, R. F.||Keeling, Sir Edward||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Kerr, H. W.||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Lamblon, Viscount||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Russell, R. S.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Law Rt. Hon. R. K.||Ryder, Capt. Rt. R. E. D.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Leather, E. H. C.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Deedes, W. F.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Scott, R. Donald|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Linstead, H. N.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Donner, P. W.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Shepherd, William|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas (Richmond)||Longden, Gilbert||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Low, A. R. W.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Erroll, F. J.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Fell, A.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Speir, R. M.|
|Finlay, Graeme||McAdden, S. J.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard)|
|Fisher, Nigel||McCallum, Major D.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Fort, R.||McKibbin, A. J.||Storey, S.|
|Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Turton, R. H.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Studholme, H. G.||Tweedsmuir, Lady||Wellwood, W.|
|Summers, G. S.||Vane, W. M. F.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Sutcliffe, Sir Harold||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)||Vosper, D. F.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)||Wills, G.|
|Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Walker-Smith, D. C.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Touoha, Sir Gordon||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.||Mr. Drewe and|
|Turner, H. F. L.||Watkinson, H. A.||Mr. Richard Thompson.|
|Adams, Richard||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.|
|Albu, A. H.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Morley, R.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Gibson, C. W.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Altai, Scholefield (Crewe)||Glanville, James||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mort, D. L.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Moyle, A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||Mulley, F. W.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Murray, J. D.|
|Baird, J.||Grey, C. F.||Nally, W.|
|Balfour, A.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.|
|Bartley, P.||Hale, Leslie||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Bence, C. R.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Orbach, M.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Hamilton, W. W.||Oswald, T.|
|Benson, G.||Hannan, W.||Padley, W. E.|
|Beswick, F.||Hargreaves, A.||Paget, R. T.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Blackburn, F.||Hastings, S.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hayman, F. H.||Pannell, Charles|
|Blylon, W. R.||Herbison, Miss M.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Boardman, H.||Hobson, C. R.||Paton, J.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Holman, P.||Pearson, A.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Peart, T. F.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hoy, J. H.||Plummet, Sir Leslie|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Poole, C. C.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Popplcwell, E.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Brawn, Thomas (Ince)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Rankin, John|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Reeves, J.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Janner, B.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Rhodes, H.|
|Champion, A. J.||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Richards, R.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jenkins, R. H. (Steohford)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Clunie, J.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Coldrick, W.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Collick, P. H.||Jones, Jaok (Rotherham)||Ross, William|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Royle, C.|
|Croslamf, C. A. R.||Keenan, W.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||King, Dr. H. M.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Short, E. W.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lewis, Arthur||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Lindgren, G. S.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Deer, G.||MacColl, J. E.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Delargy, H. J.||McGhee, H. G.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Dodds, N. N.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||McLeavy, P.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Snow, J. W.|
|Edelman, M.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. H.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Manuel, A. C.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Fienburgh, W.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Finch, H. J.||Mason, Roy||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Fletcher, Erie (Islington, E.)||Mayhew, C. P.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Follick, M.||Mellish, R. J.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Foot, M. M.||Messer, F.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Forman, J. C.||Mikarda, Ian||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mitchison, G. R.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Moody, A. S.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Weitzman, D.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Thomson, George (Dundee, E)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Wells, William (Walsall)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Thornton, E.||West, D. G.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Thurtle, Ernest||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Timmons, J.||Wheeldon, W. E.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Tomney, F.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A|
|Turner-Samuels, M.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.||Yates, V. F|
|Viant, S. P.||Willey, F. T.|
|Wallace, H. W.||Williams, David (Neath)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)||Mr. Wilkins and Mr. John Taylor.|
Mr. Ernest Davics
On a point of order. I rise to ask your guidance, Mr. Speaker. You will recall that while we were discussing the last Amendment speeches were made on this side of the House by the mover and seconder and another hon. Member on this side, then one speech by an hon. Member opposite followed by one from this side, and then the Economic Secretary rose, stating that he was doing so at a relatively early stage in the debate in order to assist the House. As soon as the Economic Secretary had completed his speech, I rose immediately, hoping to catch your eye in order to be able to reply to the Economic Secretary, whereupon the Government Whip rose and moved the Closure.
I ask your guidance as to how we are to conduct our debates, because it is the accepted tradition and convention of this House that the Opposition Front Bench has the opportunity of replying when matters are under discussion. On this occasion the Opposition Front Bench were denied the right of replying to the Government spokesman, who himself indicated that he was not bringing the debate to a close.
I would, therefore, ask your assurance, and also that of the Government, that this shall not occur again; that we shall have the right to conduct our affairs in the way which is normally accepted in this House; that the Opposition Front Bench shall have the right to reply, and that the debate shall not be brought to a close prematurely. I would further add that you yourself, Mr. Speaker, when I protested when the Closure was moved, said that it was your duty to respect the rights of minorities. I fully realise that in this case you had only recently returned to the Chair, and were therefore not aware whether or not a Member from the Opposition Front Bench had spoken. I do humbly submit to you that steps should be taken to prevent this occurring Again.
§ Mr. Robert Boothby (Aberdeenshire, East)
I would just like to submit for your consideration, Mr. Speaker, that the Front Bench to which the hon. Gentleman referred quite frequently take up a great deal too much of the time of this House in any case.
§ The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)
If I may continue the point of order, may I say that I was not, unfortunately, in the Chamber when this incident occurred; I was very sorry when I heard a report of it, and on behalf of my right hon. Friends I should like to apologise to the hon. Gentleman if he is feeling under any sense of grievance. Perhaps I may console him in this way. The debate on the Amendment went on for well over an hour. I have no idea whether he tried to intervene before or not.
§ Mr. Crookshank
Of course, I am not sure that there is a case on every occasion for having a Front Bench speaker on every Amendment, and I think that perhaps the hon. Gentleman is putting the claim a little high there. Anyhow, I should like to say that, as I understand the stage we are now in, we were discussing an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, and, therefore, unless I am wrong, if when we get on to the Lords Amendment itself, and the hon. Gentleman catches your eye, as I am sure he would in the circumstances, that any point that he wanted to raise earlier this afternoon could be raised then, and he could refer to the point or the general argument that he wanted to put forward.
Evidently, there was some misunderstanding, and I am very sorry that it should have occurred, and I apologise, on behalf of us all, to the hon. Gentleman. I therefore hope that such sense of grievance as he is under will be assuaged by what we have said, and that the point of order may perhaps be terminated.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
Further to that point of order, there are, after all, two matters of concern to us, and I appreciate very much the attitude which the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House has taken, as I am sure everyone does. It is the tradition of the House that such an attitude should be taken up.
May I refer you, Mr. Speaker, because you were not here when the matter was under debate and may not know what actually transpired, to the matters to which my hon. Friend referred, on which he was in one respect inaccurate. The Amendment to the Lords Amendment was moved and seconded, and was supported in one speech from this side by the hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Proctor). The hon. Member for Croydon, North (Mr. F. Harris) spoke from that side of the House, and, indeed, supported the Amendment. He expressed the hope that the Amendment would be passed. There was one speech from this side from my hon. Friend, and, at that stage, the Minister rose in his place, while several of my hon. Friends were on their feet, apologised to them for intervening and said that he had risen so early in the discussion in the hope that the information he was about to give would assist the debate.
§ Mr. Maudling
I hope the hon. Gentleman will accept my assurance that I said I had risen at what might be an early stage of this debate, because I was quite unaware of what time it would take.
§ Mr. Hale
I am very grateful for that, and I am very glad that this unfortunate incident is being discussed in this reasonable way. I apologise for giving way to the Economic Secretary while I was addressing you on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Of course, I realise that I should not have done that, but I am glad I did, because it gave the hon. Gentleman an opportunity of explaining his position.
I disagree with one point made by my hon. Friend. Everyone wants to see Front Bench speakers who want to take part in the debate given an opportunity to do so, but back benchers also have rights, and, indeed, at the time when the Closure was accepted my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), who is a Privy Councillor but who was speaking from a back bench, also rose, and was on his feet, as was my hon. and learned 1452 Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget).
There are two points with which I wish to deal. There is an obvious lack of coordination between the Opposition, the Government Chief Whip and the Minister, because the Minister said that he had no idea that such a Motion would be accepted when he sat down, and, obviously, he would not have used the words he did if he had had such an idea. You, of course, have a most difficult decision to make at a second's notice, but I wish to say, with great respect, that perhaps the whole House will think that it is most unfortunate in the circumstances that such a Motion was accepted, and that we hope it will not be a precedent.
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison (Lewisham, South:)
I gather that my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale), with his customary freedom, was having a general "all-rounder," and I am sure he was enjoying himself, and we were all glad to hear him. I am sure that everybody and every quarter will take his observations into account.
I am glad that the Leader of the House has expressed his regret and apologies for what has happened, but I think it is important that these contentions should be observed. The Government have a right to protect themselves, but so have we, and it would have been right, especially when we had moved the Amendment to the Lords Amendment, that my hon. Friend should have been heard. It is a matter of contact and so on, but there is the point that, at the end of the day, it is for you, Mr. Speaker, and not for the Government Chief Whip, to decide when the Closure can be moved.
The responsibility for accepting the Closure is not with the Government, any more than it would be with us. The Government have the right to claim to move it, and you, Mr. Speaker, have the right to give or to withhold it. I fully appreciate, from what my hon. Friend has told me, that you were not here at the time, and may not have been aware whether a Front Bench speaker had spoken or not. We should like your assurance that you would be sympathetic, and, in the ordinary way, would take into account the desirability or otherwise of Front Bench speakers being brought into the discussion.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Speaker
In reply to the points of order, there appears to have been a little misunderstanding, in which we are all involved, including myself. I had left the Chamber for half an hour, having been continuously in the Chair since we opened today. When I came in again at 5 o'clock, the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) was actually on his feet in what turned out to be an intervention in the speech of the Economic Secretary. I assumed that he had spoken, and I was under that impression, but it was perhaps an error. I know that it is a convention that, if Front Bench members want to speak, they should at least be given the opportunity of replying, but I thought the hon. Gentleman had spoken.
Now, as to the position of the Chair, I should draw the attention of the House to the Standing Order, which says that, if the Motion is moved, I have to put the Question forthwith, unless I am satisfied on one of two things; namely, that it is an abuse of the rules of the House to move the Closure, or that it would be an infringement of the rights of minorities. There must always be differences of opinion as to what are infringements of the rights of minorities, and I have to take a fair and proper decision about it. I have always tried to see that the Closure was used in its proper sense, and that is what I am trying to do.
When the hon. Member rose and protested that I had accepted the Closure, I was forced to take the action which I did in not listening to points of order or debate, because of the words of the Standing Order, which says that when this Motion "That the Question be now put" has been moved, that Question must be put forthwith and decided, without amendment or debate. My duty is laid down by the Standing Order, and I think that, in view of what has been said and of the fact that hon. Members understand what has happened, we may now proceed with our business.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Mr. Poole
May I ask you one question for our guidance, Mr. Speaker? In view of the fact that many of us want to speak on these Amendments to the Lords Amendments, but may be prevented by 1454 the acceptance of the Closure from speaking on the Amendment before the House, may we receive an assurance that those in a minority will receive your protection, and that the Closure will not be accepted until the minority point of view has been fully put forward?
§ Mr. Speaker
When the last Amendment is disposed of, the Lords Amendment itself will be open to debate, and I shall try to decide the question of any Closure with such fairness as I can possibly bring to it.
§ Mr. Callaghan
There is one other point. As we are moving most of the Amendments here, may I take it, as I am sure we can, that where the Minister speaks for the first time and the last time in response to one of our Amendments, you would normally regard it as reasonable that someone from this side of the House should at least have the opportunity of answering the Minister before the Closure is accepted on one of our own Amendments?
§ Mr. Speaker
I should not like to commit myself to any general rule. It is very dangerous, and there may be all sorts of things, but, in general, it is proper that a reply should be made by the mover, or someone speaking on his behalf.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
As one who formerly suffered under the rigid words of the Standing Order to which you refer, Mr. Speaker, may I put this to you as a supplementary to the point which has been raised? Is it not the case that those words in the Standing Order about abuse of the rules of the House and infringement of the rights of minorities really boil down to the question whether the discussion, has, in fact, been reasonable and adequate, because if it were too short to be reasonable and adequate it would obviously be both an abuse and an infringement to cut it short? Am I right about that, and, if I am, is it not also the case that that question has really nothing to do with whether the would-be participants in the further discussions are on the Front Bench or the back bench?
§ Mr. Speaker
In my eyes, and according to the Standing Orders, for the duties I have to perform all men are equal, both front and back benchers. As to the wording of the Standing Order, "abuse of the rules of the House" has about it 1455 a sound conveying moral turpitude on the part of the person concerned. It is the old English form meaning a wrongful use, and nothing worse. It is obvious that the power of the Closure could be used to stifle debate, and it is the duty of the Speaker or of the Chairman to see that it does not.
§ Mr. Paget
The word "forthwith" often appears in our Standing Orders. In my submission, Mr. Speaker, it means no more than that it shall be taken before the next business. It does not affect the general precedence given either to points of privilege or to points of order. Although I have not them with me at the moment, I can produce at least five precedents by your predecessors, Mr. Speaker, of points of order, concerning the claiming of the Closure, that have been accepted by your precedessors. In my submission that is as least a very convenient course, because the occupant of the Chair cannot always know what has happened if he has been absent at any period. This is the only opportunity of drawing it to your attention, and perhaps at some more convenient time I could bring the precedents before you. As I say, I have found at least five cases in which points of order have been considered.
§ Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)
You spoke, Mr. Speaker, of the infringement of the rights of the minority as one of the grounds on which a Closure could be refused. One of the rights of a minority is that if a Guillotine is to be imposed, it should be imposed officially and after discussion. I could not help noticing that this unfortunate incident happened at precisely 5.30 p.m. May I take it that you, Sir, would regard it as an infringement of the rights of the minority if, through the usual channels or in any other way, it was sought to impose an unofficial Guillotine by moving the Closure at certain fixed hours or after some fixed number of speeches, irrespective of the merits of the matter which the usual channels do not always understand?
§ Mr. Speaker
I have no knowledge of any such arrangement through the usual channels, but, quite obviously. Amendments and Motions vary greatly in the amount of time necessary to discuss them. There could not possibly be any set of 1456 rigid compartments into which the debate could be crammed. That would be quite wrong.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, in subsection (3), to leave out "(in one parcel)."
The intention of this Amendment is to change the new Clause in such a way that the Commission will not be compelled to sell all its shares to the same purchaser at the same time. As the subsection stands at the moment, the Commission must dispose of all the shares of the companies which are to be formed to the same person at the same time, that is to say, a tender has to be invited and the tenderer has to offer to purchase all the shares. There can be no other interpretation of "in one parcel."
There are several objections to this, and it is quite inconsistent with the principle and the policy which have been frequently expounded to us by the Economic Secretary in the last two days. He has repeatedly stated that the difference between the Government and the Opposition on the question of de-nationalisation is that, whereas the Government want to split up the industry into a large number of units and to ensure universal competition, we on this side prefer to maintain large units or a single co-ordinated and integrated form of transport.
But on this issue the Government are ensuring that when these companies are formed and are sold off, they shall be sold off in a single block, and, therefore, pass into the hands of a large owner. That is hardly the way in which the rights of the small man are protected and by which he is to be brought back into the industry. It is also inconsistent because, as the Economic Secretary pointed out to us in the early hours of this morning, the Clause says that regard has to be had to the disposal of shares to the small man in the industry and to those who want to return to it.
But if this subsection is operated and if the shares are sold in one parcel, that intention, quite clearly, cannot be fulfilled, It has been made perfectly clear by hon. Members opposite that the intention is that the company system shall be the exception and that the companies will be large and not small units. If that is so, it means that when the shares are disposed of in one parcel they will 1457 pass into the hands of large operators. What is more, in our view there is the possibility that they will pass into the hands of large enough units which might well merge, amalgamate and form monopolies in certain areas, or, of course, they might pass into the hands of one or other of the financial concerns, such as the United Dominions Trust.
We consider that it would be far better if this imposition on the Commission to invite tenders for the disposal of the shares in one parcel were deleted so that when the tenders are invited offers can be made for varying parcels of the shares. This would enable the Commission to retain a portion of the shares in the way suggested in the previous Amendment if insufficient offers for the total number of shares were available. If that were so, it would be more likely that the existing services would continue to operate satisfactorily and that co-ordination and integration could continue in the meantime.
If there is to be this imposition on the Commission to dispose of the shares in one parcel, there will be an urgency to dispose of them as soon as reasonably practicable, in accordance with the Measure, and it is conceivable that the price obtained will be less than the price if they had been disposed of in several lots.
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present;
§ House counted; and 40 Members being present—
§ Mr. Davies
The fact that attention had to be drawn to the absence of a quorum indicates the great interest which hon. Members opposite are now taking in the Bill. There are at the moment only two—
§ Mr. Davies
We are discussing a very important Amendment on a Clause which is largely the result of pressure from hon. Members on the Government benches. It is a great disappointment that those hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) and the hon. Member for Harrow, East (Mr. Ian Harvey) who sponsored an Amendment to enable the Commission to institute the 1458 company structure for the disposal of the assets, have not participated in these debates. It would be very interesting to hear their views, and to know whether the Clause as now drafted meets their requirements and whether some of the Amendments would not make it more acceptable to them; but they remain silent.
If the Commission are to dispose of the shares in one parcel there will be pressure upon them to hasten the sale, and as there will not be many buyers for these large parcels the price will be less than it would be if the shares were disposed of in a number of parcels. Companies will be formed to operate a large number of vehicles. Take only 50 vehicles, valued at £4.000 each plus other assets which will go with the vehicles, and we need a company of, say, £250,000, which will be the minimum size of company formed. Probably units will be formed into companies which will be far larger than that.
Not many persons have facilities for raising capital to purchase such large units. If it were possible for the shares to be sold off in a number of parcels it might be far easier to obtain buyers. After all, the Government desire speedy disposal of these units. It is not for us to try to assist the Government to dispose of the shares. We are concerned that the Commission shall obtain the best possible price for their assets. I repeat, as I have stated so frequently during the debate, that the Government are not concerned with obtaining the best price for the assets but with obtaining the best possible terms of sale for the purchaser.
By insisting upon units being sold off in unequal lots and the shares in one parcel, the Government are concerned simply with obtaining a buyer with large financial facilities at his disposal, possibly by means of a financial trust. They are not concerned with obtaining the best price, although these are national assets which belong to the community and are proving a profitable investment, not only financially but in good service to the transport user. The haste and speed with which the Government are trying to dispose of these shares, in such a way that they in no way protect the community by obtaining the best price, is a reflection on the motives behind the Bill.
I should like to make a final point concerning the possibility of disposing of 1459 the shares in a series of parcels. When tenders are invited, let them be open to all who are interested in buying one or more portions of the shares in the company. If that were done, and a portion of a company were sold, and there were not sufficient bids for the remainder of the shares or lots at a sufficiently attractive price, the Commission would be able to remain in partnership with the other shareholders until the balance of the shares were sold.
I cannot follow the argument used by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury in his last speech, which did not do him justice. During our debates yesterday I thought he was trying to make a case and that frequently he was plausible. He did see the difference between the points of view of the Opposition and of the Government on a number of matters, and his arguments were logical and reasonable. This afternoon he was completely unconvincing and misleading. I do not know whether the late nights have affected him and he has too much work in his real Department.
We must not forget that the Ministry of Transport is not the Department of the Economic Secretary. Who is looking after the finances of the country at the moment, while he sits here and takes over the job which should be done by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport, who has, for some reason, been pushed aside? I do not know. Quite clearly, before the—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. For purposes of greater accuracy, it is as well to remember that the company structure involves a number of financial considerations, and considerations of company law, and it seemed desirable that someone with a Treasury background should play a part. Anybody who has worked with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport will know what a valuable colleague of the Minister he is.
§ Mr. Davies
We all have the greatest respect for the Parliamentary Secretary. I am sure the Minister has noticed the cheers with which the Parliamentary Secretary is welcomed when he rises. As to the Economic Secretary's knowledge of company law, many of us were shocked this afternoon when he suggested that if 1460 the Commission did not have to divest themselves of all the shares of the companies it would be extremely difficult for the Transport Commission to assess the loss; it would be difficult for the loss on the sale of road haulage assets to be computed. That shows an incredible ignorance of company structure. Once we create a company with shares, the provision of the Clause is that there shall be made over to the company a number of assets, and that those assets shall be fixed at a certain value in accordance with the terms laid down in the Clause. Quite clearly, if there are a number of shares of the company and it is known what is the value of the assets, then the shares are divided into the assets and that is the value placed on the shares.
§ Mr. Maudling
May I ask why that basis was not used by the party opposite in the Iron and Steel Act?
§ Mr. Davies
That has nothing to do with it. In the case of iron and steel, the shares were quoted on the Stock Exchange and the value that was given to the holders was the Stock Exchange value. It was a very simple basis of compensation. But here we are fixing the value of the company in accordance with the terms laid down in this new Clause. As soon as that value is fixed, it will be the value of the shares. We have suggested in an Amendment, which I understand is unlikely to be called, that that should be the minimum value at which the shares should be sold. If it is considered that the shares are greater in value than is fixed in the Clause, well and good, the loss will be less.
Before the Minister interrupted me to come to the defence of the Parliamentary Secretary, I was going to state that one of the advantages of not compelling the Commission to dispose of the shares in one block would be that the Commission would remain partners in the transport industry. If they remained partners they would be able to carry on the existing services until the sale took place, and that would ensure that there was less dislocation and a more orderly disposal of the assets of the undertaking.
I suggest to the Minister, therefore, that he give consideration to this Amendment. If he cannot accept it, what is the objection to it and to making this voluntary condition of sale? If the Amend- 1461 ment were adopted, it would not mean that all the shares should not go to one buyer or that there would have to be a large number of buyers. It would mean that if it were possible to dispose of the assets at a better price to a number of buyers rather than to a single buyer that could take place. Surely that is in the interest of the Transport Commission and the taxpayer and, incidentally, in the interest of the private enterprise road haulier who will have to pay the Transport Levy, because the less loss there is through a better price being obtained in the sale of the assets the less the ultimate total which will have to be raised by the levy.
§ Mr. Ross
It is only a matter of about half an hour ago that this Chamber was swarming with hundreds of Members on the opposite side, determined to gag us and bring an end to our discussion. It is rather a sad reflection upon their enthusiasm for the debate and for this Bill that there is not a single back bencher in the House apart from the hon. and gallant Member for Pudsey (Colonel Banks) who is here on duty as a joint Parliamentary Private Secretary. [An HON. MEMBER: "He is fed up."] We have five hon. and right hon. Members present on the Front Bench opposite and the one hon. and gallant Member sitting behind them.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)
I do not think that that applies to the Lords Amendment.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Ross
I was going to suggest that the reason for their absence was that they all agreed with the Amendment to the Lords Amendment which we are putting forward, and I was hoping that the Economic Secretary to the Treasury would once again save the time of the House by intervening now. We should remember, however, that intervention at an early stage from the Front Bench opposite can be a dangerous thing. We remember certain events which occurred just before Christmas when the Secretary of State for Scotland did the same thing and that was not followed by the passing of an Amendment. I would advise the Economic Secretary to be very careful about these things.
Now we are dealing with the disposal of the companies and their assets and 1462 we have to remember the nature of the companies. They are pretty large operational units, and the purpose of the alternative that was suggested in another place was related to that fact. They may be very large indeed according to the Government spokesman in another place, who I think was Lord Selkirk. They might be unlimited in size. Yet in the disposal of these companies, after they have been organised and brought into full operational standard and are going to be disposed of as a working unit, the Commission and the Board have to take into consideration the two things which have applied all through—first, the rights of the small man, and second, the obtaining of the best possible price.
We have argued about both those things before, but in the circumstances it should be agreed that we want the best possible price. If we do not obtain it, that will be reflected in the state of the finances of the Commission and may eventually become a problem for the' Economic Secretary to the Treasury in his other duties. It also might be reflected in the state of transport.
Is it wise for the Government, when we are dealing with what may be very large companies, to lay down that the shares may be disposed of in one way only? There is no alternative. The Government say, "You must obtain the best possible price but you must sell your shares in this one way." To sell the shares in one parcel might be the best way, but, on the other hand, there may be circumstances where it might be wiser to withhold rather than to overfeed the market. Surely the Economic Secretary must see that point. When the Economic Secretary first came to the Box opposite, he was very fresh and buoyant. I am afraid that he has dwelt so long in the Stygian darkness of the Conservative Central Office that he has become blind to common sense.
At the same time as we ask the Commission to obtain the best possible price, is it wise to say, "You will sell the shares in this way, and only in this way, as soon as practicable and in the same parcel"? Will the Attorney-General tell us what "one parcel" means? As a Scotsman I take a down-to-earth view and I see these shares wrapped up in brown paper and tied with string. [An HON. MEMBER: "A Christmas present."] That 1463 may well be, but no prizes are offered for suggestions as to who may receive that present.
There is another consideration. Where does the small man come into this "one parcel" of shares? [An HON. MEMBER: "With the string."] How will the small man be considered in this connection? Surely, he will not enter into it at all. It is most unfair and not really honest of the Front Bench opposite to keep harping on the small man theme and at the same time to refuse the considerations which we have put forward which would permit the small man to participate in partnership with the Transport Commission. The arguments of the Economic Secretary have been far from convincing.
§ Mr. Maudling
It would be no consolation, if he wanted to operate a few lorries, to be allowed to buy shares in a company which was going to operate a lot of lorries.
§ Mr. Ross
Yes, but the hon. Gentleman knows that there are many cases of partners in a firm, who have a very small interest in the firm, who actually carry out the operations of the firm and are generally called general managers, while the financial backing comes from elsewhere. The Economic Secretary should know that very well. If he is in close touch with the Minister of Transport, he should know what certain companies are proposing to do. That is no answer at all.
If the hon. Gentleman really wishes the small man to be included in this arrangement—he has got to be—I do not know how the Commission are possibly going to carry out this provision for the consideration of small men participation. They will not always be able to get the best possible price. They may do sometimes, but there may be conditions in which the market is a bit sticky and it may be far better to feed the shares in a fairly orderly way.
In another place I think it was Lord Bridgeman who suggested that, according to ordinary commercial practice, this was the way properly to dispose of these shares in these companies. No reason has been given, either in the other place or here, why flexibility and a certain amount of latitude should not be allowed to the 1464 Commission, so that if it is desirable to dispose of the shares in one parcel they may do so and also be permitted to nurse the market and place the shares in an orderly way so as not to disturb the market if that procedure would fetch a better price. Why did the Government ask the Commission and the Disposal Board to do something which is impossible—to get rid of these shares as soon as possible, and at the same time insist on getting the best price?
I hope the Government will think again, and that the Minister will not give us the answer which he gave in the previous debate when he told us that he was not going to accept our Amendment. It is not good enough for hon. Members opposite to come here already briefed.
§ Mr. Ross
We never complain about the hon. Gentleman because he prides himself on the fact that he speaks without a brief. Indeed, many of us would prefer that on certain occasions he did come properly briefed on the facts. But it is not the facts with which I am concerned; it is the decision. The Government have already made their decision. It was said by a Scotsman in the old days, in the Parliament of 1870, I believe, that he had heard many arguments which persuaded him what was the right way, but not one that counter-balanced the amount of money he was getting for voting in a particular way. It did not dissuade him when he had already been bought.
I sincerely hope that the Parliamentary Secretary, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and the Attorney-General will lend a ready ear to the pleas of common sense. Why tie down the Commission to one method only which cannot possibly, in all the circumstances, produce the result that they are asked to produce at the best possible price? A certain amount of latitude should be given. I think the new word in this context is "flexibility"; we have had it used in our Budget debates and now we have it in these debates. Why not give the Commission a certain amount of flexibility in deciding whether or not they should dispose of these shares in one parcel or two parcels as need be?
§ Mr. George Brown (Belper)
I support this Amendment to the Lords Amendment. First, I should like to say that those of us on this side of the House are in a very great difficulty. There are those serried ranks opposite, with nobody in them to talk to, and one has the feeling that, however good may be the argument, it is difficult to impress people who are not present. I next want to refer to the extreme cynicism with which, so far, I have heard every Minister answering questions. Yesterday I had to protest about the reply which the Economic Secretary gave when he merely said: "Well, you think one way, we think the other; what is there to argue about?" I suppose what he wanted to say was, "We are the masters now," but he could not quite stomach those words.
This afternoon when one of my hon. Friends said "We hope this Amendment will be accepted, although we shall be surprised if it is," the Minister said, "Of course you will be surprised," and laughed heartily. The Economic Secretary, in replying to the last Amendment, reached an extraordinary level, even for this Bill. He confessed that, having listened to our argument, he was a bit surprised. He said that that was not the argument he expected to hear. What he meant was that that was not the argument to which the brief which he had just read was addressed. He detailed the arguments that he expected and then answered them beautifully as his brief enabled him to do, and then sat down. There was not a word about the argument that we had adduced.
§ Mr. Maudling
The arguments that I adduced applied also to the arguments used by hon. Members opposite.
§ Mr. Brown
That shows that the hon. Gentleman is capable not only of cynicism but of self-deception. In a way he is entitled to be cynical, but he, as I am, is a young man both in years and in service in this House, and I should have thought that it would be a good thing if we both steered clear of self-deception as much as we can.
I want to appeal to the Government Front Bench—there is no one else to appeal to—to try to deal this time with the Amendment that is on the Paper and with our arguments, which seem to us to be strong. This Amendment and our 1466 last Amendment have a number of things in common. They have one thing particularly in common. Of course, we dislike the Bill and we shall get rid of the Bill as soon as we can, but in the meantime we want the harm that is going to be done to the public interest to be as limited as we can help to make it. That is why we want this Amendment, and it is why we wanted the last one accepted.
I see that two of the Government supporters have now come into the Chamber, and I am prepared to give a brief resume of what I have already said. I wonder whether it would be better, however, to wait and see if other hon. Members are about to come in.
§ Mr. Douglas Dodds-Parker (Banbury)
The right hon. Gentleman has already made this speech about 17 times yesterday.
§ Mr. Brown
I spoke only once yesterday. The hon. Member may treat Parliament with utter disrespect and not come until late in the day, but when he does come he should at least remain in his seat for more than 30 seconds before trying to be a clever little politician.
We want the Commission to have some discretion because of the possible effect on the public interest. I put it to hon. Members opposite that it is possible to disagree about a Bill and still want to protect the public interest. If the Commission have to sell and divest themselves of all the shares, they have no room for manoeuvre. The market is bound to be deadened; it is bound to reduce the amount of offers that will be made.
Hon. Members opposite have already made it fairly certain that the taxpayer will get less return for the shares in the assets than they might have done. If that is so, at least let us stop at the next stage. We are now being asked to agree that the Commission shall divest itself of all the shares and, in addition, shall dispose of them in one parcel. The only argument that was adduced for doing this was that of the Economic Secretary. He said that he did not want the Commission to have a finger in this pie any longer. He did not want them to have a controlling interest or a co-ordinating interest. He wanted that to end, and that was the reason for putting all these compelling forces upon them.
1467 That amounts to doing what hon. Members opposite are so fond of accusing us of doing. It means making the taxpayer pay in hard cash for the theoretical views of hon. Members opposite. Because they do not like the Commission they have made up their minds to support the theory that the Commission must be out of the field as soon as possible, and the manner in which it is done and the effect it will have upon the return which the taxpayer gets is of no concern to them.
This really is a case of the anti-nationaliser not stopping to prove his case. This really is blinding on with something that was conveived in what was called the Stygian darkness of the Tory Central Office, but which I prefer to call their Augean stables. This really is blinding along with something which was thought of there and being unwilling at any stage to stop and listen to any other arguments.
I am not arguing for this Amendment because of the views I hold about nationalised transport. This question does not alter those views and it should not be just cast aside with a cynical grin from the Attorney-General to his colleagues. We are all capable of declaring our views and principles and at the same time trying to do the best we can for the taxpayer. It is this cynical approach, this refusal to argue with us or to face up to any case which we put forward, that makes the whole debate such an outrageous farce. It is not a question of the number of hours that we have spent on this Bill, but the fact that there is virtually no debate. The moving of the Closure is only another symptom. The whole effect has been to reduce the respect which people have for Parliament.
I do not want to help the Economic Secretary to make this Bill work, but if he can show how this Amendment fails to help I shall be delighted. Can he show that the taxpayers will get a better deal if the Commission have to put all the shares on the market in one parcel? Let us be clear what is the case he has to answer. We are not saying that he must not put all the shares on the market in one parcel, but we want to reserve some discretion for the Commission and allow them to invite for tenders.
This wonderful Board which, as we demonstrated yesterday, will know 1468 nothing about company structure and shares, will help the Commission to exercise their discretion. We say there should be a discretion to invite tenders. Some may be for all the shares in one parcel and some may be for shares in a number of parcels but, having invited tenders, they should be free to decide how they should proceed, with a proper regard for other considerations, such as price.
The Minister, having just 20 more heads than we have, can go on paying no attention to our argument, but if he cares about this matter he has to show that by not giving any discretion to the Commission, by compelling them to put all the shares on the market in one parcel, the taxpayer will get a better deal. Can he show that? I do not think so. He made no attempt to do so on the previous Amendment, which was on a similar point.
If he cannot show that that is the case, I hope somebody opposite will have the gumption and the ordinary decency to say, "All right, obviously we do not really need this. The thing still goes on; we still de-nationalise; but we do not need this and if we keep it we may put the taxpayer at a disadvantage." We are very touched to see the hon. Member for Holland with Boston (Sir H. Butcher) arriving in the Chamber. We do not know what will happen in the next few minutes, but I shall be glad if he will listen to the argument. He is a distinguished member of his own party. [An HON. MEMBER: "Which party?"] The party in which he plays a very distinguished part. Now that the hon. Member for Luton (Dr. Hill) has gone to other fields, he is one of the most important men left. Let him and the businessmen opposite listen to the argument. On the previous Amendment we had a speech from one businessman sitting opposite— the hon. Member for Croydon, North (Mr. F. Harris). He listened to the argument and then supported the Amendment. He said that he could not see why it should not be adopted.
If the hon. Member for Harwich (Sir S. Holmes) were divesting himself of one of his companies, would he commit himself to putting all the shares on the market at one time and in one parcel? Would not he reserve a degree of freedom? Would not he employ all kinds of people 1469 and get even wider freedom so that one person did not know where another parcel of shares was being placed? Would not he do that? Of course he would; I know he would. There are others who know what they would do and what they have done in the past. Why do they persist, for no reason connected with denationalisation, in saying that the Commission shall not use, in the interests of the taxpayer, the very method which all hon. Members opposite who are businessmen use in their own interests in conducting their own businesses?
I ask one of them to intervene. We are in no great hurry. I do not think that the hon. Member for Holland with Boston will be in a very great hurry to speak for a little while. Let hon. Members opposite who are businessmen explain their attitude. I am quite willing to listen. I do not like the Bill, but I am willing to listen to arguments, because they do not affect my views on the principle of the Bill.
Let one of them explain the position from his own experience and let the Economic Secretary—in whose divison I have personal ties of a considerable nature and therefore have a good deal of interest in his doings—try to retrieve his reputation. The Parliamentary Secretary has gone over this; the Attorney-General's opinion does not really matter. What does matter to the Economic Secretary is that he should begin to build up a reputation in this House for honestly listening to a case and arguing it.
Let him tell us how the taxpayer gains if the Commission have to put all the shares on the market at one time and in one parcel, and how the taxpayer would lose if the Commission had some discretion. If the Economic Secretary addresses his considerable mind to the problem of producing an answer to those two questions, he will find that he cannot provide one. I am sure his honesty will quibble at giving an answer which he knows to be false.
§ Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)
I have not, of course, the fluency of my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), but I hope that what I say will support what he has already said in his far more able way. The tragedy of the Bill is that it does not matter what we say from these benches, for Ministers 1470 come here with a preconceived idea and are not prepared to listen to our arguments.
There is nothing very serious in our Amendment. It will not affect the principle of de-nationalisation in any way, but we must bear in mind that the Commission will be left with a number of vehicles and with a number of units which are uneconomic. That has been admitted in the debate many times. We can imagine what will be said later in the process of de-nationalisation. The Commission will make considerable losses on the vehicles which they have and they will be criticised politically for it, be told what a poor, miserable lot they are and be told how much money they are losing because they are operating uneconomic routes.
Our whole purpose is to try to help the Commission to overcome what is undoubtedly a difficult problem for them. At the moment roughly a dozen Conservative Members are in the House and that is about the highest attendance from the Conservative Party for a long time. It is obvious that the vast majority of the party are not interested in the effect of the Bill on the public interest. Its effect on the public interest is important to us, and we feel that the time has come when the Government ought to say that they will consider each Amendment which we put forward on its merits and without the prejudice and bias which they have shown all the way through the proceedings.
If hon. Members look at subsection (3) of the new Clause they will see that it says,no invitation to tender under this section shall be issued without the approval of the Board;Not only will the Board say when the Commission shall send out for tenders but the Government also make certain by Act of Parliament that in any case the Commission may not invite tenders for purchase of shares except in one parcel. The Commission are being directed in a way which is tragic. As my right hon. Friend said, not one businessman would ever dream of allowing it to happen in his own company. Yet, as I said earlier in the debates, we are insisting that it shall be done by the Transport Commission. To hear the Tories speak of the Transport Commission would make one feel that it 1471 was something owned by the Labour Party. In fact, it is a national asset and something for the national good, and we ought to try to make it work.
It is this blind prejudice against the Labour Party and against nationalisation in general which has dominated the proceedings. I hope that, not only on this Amendment but on all future Amendments, we shall no longer meet this blind prejudice. We respect the Economic Secretary very much more than we respect the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport, for we think he has learned something about transport even in the short time during which he has been dealing with it. We hope he will say that he has looked at this matter again, that it will not affect the principle of de-nationalisation, that it is fair that the Commission should not be hampered in this way and that even at this late hour the Government will reconsider their proposals. If he does that, I think the time will come when my hon. Friends will be able to make the progress of this Bill move a little faster.
What has annoyed most of us is the fact that it does not matter what argument we advance, hon. Members opposite simply walk out of the Chamber and do not listen to the arguments. They are not concerned with the merits of the arguments. They are activated merely by blind prejudice. The Government spokesmen get up and read from a brief, and that is that; they say, "You have to put up with it whether you like it or whether you do not."
And what a Bill it is. Surely the Minister should have learned from past experience of the number of things which he has had to do to make the Bill workable. He has been forced to take action under so many pressures that even now he should realise that, in the main, our Amendments seek to try to help the operation of the Bill, even though we do not accept the principle of denationalisation. It is impossible for my hon. Friends and I to maintain this standard of debate when, no matter what we say, the answer is always, "No," because, as my right hon. Friend said, the party opposite have 20 more heads than we have. They do not care what we say.
This is most unfair. I feel very sorry for those who are to be members of the 1472 Commission and I do not know how they will face their task. We shall later be told how badly the Commission are doing their job, yet the effect of this Bill will be to make it quite certain that it will not be possible for the Commission to run economic units. They will have all the old rubbish which is left. Although we are dealing with national assets, the Conservative Party are not prepared to help the Commission in any way.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Maudling
I will respect the warnings issued and not make any reference to either the convenience or the inconvenience of the House and I will also try to follow the warning of the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and not appear too cynical. I must have a few words with him later to discover what is the appearance of cynicism and how to avoid it.
The points which have been made by hon. Members opposite are very much in line with the discussion on the previous Amendment, which is germane to this Opposition Amendment. The hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies), who moved the Amendment, was very critical of my knowledge of the valuation of stocks and shares. I must say that, from my personal experience, I share his doubts about my knowledge of their operation, but I hope I have some knowledge of the way in which things work and I would point out to him that it is not true to suggest that all shares in a company are necessarily of the same value. If some shares are comprised in a majority holding, giving control of the company, that in itself very considerably influences the true value of the shares, as the hon. Member will see from the day-to-day movement of the Stock Exchange. It is possible to see when anyone is trying to buy control of a company, that the Stock Exchange automatically rises against such a buyer.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
Surely all the shares go up in that case. It is not a question of one section of the shares going up in price, if they are all ordinary shares, and others remaining at a different price. All the equity shares must be of the same value and cannot vary between one share and another.
§ Mr. Maudling
One man who has bought company shares may have bought 1473 control of the company, whereas the man with the remaining shares has not control of the company. Perhaps we shall never agree on that, but that is the position as it seems to me.
§ Mr. Mitchtson rose—
§ Mr. Maudling
I would rather not give way at the moment. I gave way a fair number of times during the last debate. Having disposed of the hon. Member for Enfield, East on that point—
§ Mr. Maudling
—I will turn to the next point, which is that the procedure of disposal through the company structure is an alternative. Hon. Members opposite are inclined to argue as though the Commission were compelled to dispose of their assets in this way. They are not. Under the proposals, it is to be permissible for the Commission, subject to certain limitations which we have already discussed at some length, if they think expedient to dispose of their assets by the creation of companies. It is a matter for their judgment, in the first place, whether it is a good thing to try to dispose of any particular set of assets in this way and what size company they shall create for the purpose.
For the most part, we envisage that the company structure method of disposal would be appropriate to large units. The small man will come in through the transport unit. That is why we believe, as I have said on several occasions, that the transport unit method of disposal will be the one most used, because we want to see great emphasis laid on the importance of the small units in this industry.
It is therefore for the Commission to decide whether or not to dispose of their assets in any particular case through the formation of a company, and I am quite certain that, in considering whether to form a company and what size the company shall be, they will give great thought to the availability of finance.
§ Mr. Maudling
In the first instance, subject to the limitations. I think the wording of the Lords Amendment is quite clear. It says, "If it appears to the Commission that it is expedient," and that is, subject to the Board. I quite agree it 1474 also says that. The point I am making is quite clear, I think. The Commission, in taking the initiative, as they do, in deciding whether it is expedient to form a company, would obviously consider what bidders were in the market. They know the state of the market, and they know the people likely to come along to make offers. I want to make it clear that this is an alternative method of disposal. I think there are not likely to be many purchasers coming forward with large sums. We think that disposal through large companies is likely to be the exception rather than the rule.
The discussion on this Opposition Amendment does very much follow the lines of that on the previous Opposition Amendment to the Lords Amendment, and to that extent I am afraid I am almost certain to disappoint the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper, as I shall follow the line I followed when dealing with the previous Opposition Amendment.
§ Mr. G. Brown
The same line of answering a case we have not made? Is the hon. Gentleman going to do that again?
§ Mr. Maudling
I am going to explain why it is better not to accept the Opposition Amendment, and as the previous Opposition Amendment was directed to a rather similar point I think it is not unreasonable that I should use rather the same argument against it.
The Lords Amendment says shares are to be disposed of in one parcel; that is, the shares in one of these companies shall be disposed of in one transaction to a single individual or a group of individuals acting together. If they are not disposed of in one parcel, either the Commission may retain some of them or else they will be disposed of simultaneously, a large part to one purchaser, a large part to other purchasers. I do not think the possibility is really a very serious one. I do not think this is practicable. I do not think hon. Gentlemen opposite were envisaging the idea of simultaneous disposal in a series of parcels, because the question was asked, where does the small man come into this? They said that if we could dispose of small parcels of shares there would be a chance for the small man to come back.
1475 That is to misunderstand the whole purpose of the Lords Amendment and the alternative method of disposal. The small man who wants to come back to the industry wants to be an operator, not a shareholder. The way for the small man to come back into the industry is by purchasing transport units. That is why we say that the Commission shall have particular regard, in deciding whether to act through transport units or through the company structure, to the importance of the small man coming back into the industry. We want the small man to come back, either those who were formerly operators, in many cases, or new ones. They will want to buy units to run on their own, and they will not want merely to buy parcels of shares in large companies operated by some other people.
§ Mr. S. N. Evans (Wednesbury)
Not necessarily. There has been a good deal of amalgamation as a result of nationalisation, and it may be that where half a dozen operators have been brought together some may like to have a slice of this new cake. To the extent that their resources will not enable them to buy the whole of the cake they will be deprived of securing a stake, of regaining a stake, in the industry with which they may have been connected all their lives. They will be prevented from getting a stake once more in the organisation.
§ Mr. Maudling
They can buy shares, if not control. If they want to work in an organisation in which they were working before they will presumably work again, as in the past, as employees.
I think the main point made by hon. Gentlemen opposite was the advantage of disposing of the shares of these companies over a period, so as to feed the market, to work up the value of the shares. I think the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) mentioned that. There was a very strong point made by the right hon. Member for Belper that it is a good thing for the Commission to retain some of the shares, and to work them off slowly on to the market. I can only repeat the argument I used in answer to the previous Opposition Amendment. It does not seem to us that in practice that would be for the benefit of the Commission.
1476 There are two very real objections. One is that the ascertainment of the road haulage capital loss would become practically impossible, at any rate extremely difficult administratively, for reasons I explained earlier. To reach a true estimate of the value of the shares retained by the Commission, if they were not controlling shares, would be extraordinarily difficult. Indeed, the argument of hon. Gentlemen opposite would be to the detriment of the Commission, because, if they say the minority shares should be valued at the valuation on the sale of the controlling shares, then they are saying that the part retained by the Commission should be valued at a higher rate from that at which I think it should be valued. Their interpretation is to put the Commission in a worse position than it will be under my interpretation.
§ Mr. Ernest Davies
The Transport Commission at the present time own a minority interest in certain B.E.T. companies, and those shares which the Commission hold are valued in their balance sheet at a certain value, presumably; but the majority shares held by B.E.T. are also similarly valued. Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that the 49 per cent. that the Commission hold and the 51 per cent. which British Electric Traction hold are of different values?
§ Mr. Maudling
I think this is a coherent argument. One can best determine the value of any shares by trying to sell them, but if one is selling a controlling interest the value per share is very different than if one is selling a minority interest.
Would the hon. Gentleman deal with this sort of question? Suppose those shares are sold off in many parcels at the same time. After all, that is the usual way in which shares are sold. If there is a substantial transfer of interest or a re-formation of a company, there is an issue to the public. What I want to know about this case is why the Commission are precluded from doing that. I have not had a chance to put that question fully yet.
§ Mr. Maudling
That would be a degree of fragmentation of the units of the industry and precisely and wholly opposed to all the arguments put forward by hon. Gentlemen.
§ Mr. Maudling
Where would control reside in that case? Surely what we want to aim at is the transfer of units in such a way that the ownership and control clearly remain together. I think that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite should consider the difference between the sale of shares in the equity of a large existing undertaking and the de-nationalisation, and dispersal from central control, of a large number of units. The point is that these are to be operable, working units.
Because of the difficulties of ascertaining the road haulage capital loss, if the Commission retained a large shareholding, it would lead to administrative difficulty and loss to the Commission. I do not think that it would be wise to proceed on the lines that the Commission should retain some of the shares and work them up to place them on the market at a better price. That would be asking the Commission to operate as a sort of investment trust or finance house. I did not think that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite were very fond of finance houses, because of some of their recent remarks.
I must apologise again that my arguments in this case have been similar to those I used about the previous Opposition Amendment. They may be equally unacceptable to hon. Gentlemen opposite, but they convince me, at any rate, in both cases. I would ask the House to reject the Amendment to the Lords Amendment.
§ 7.0 p.m.
Mr. A. Woodbum (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
I must say that the Economic Secretary's case seemed to be a collection of arguments on a different plane one from the other, and very often contradictory to one another. For instance, one minute he was eulogising the sale of lorries on the basis of three lorries to a man, and the next minute he jumped from that to this global idea of selling operable units. These things seem so utterly contradictory in the running of transport that it is quite impossible to reconcile them as an intelligible proposition. How can transport be organised if a large part of it is thrown off in little groups of three lorries to a man and 1478 then have operable units taking in one district at a time?
I am very interested in this, because this problem faces us particularly in Scotland, although I take it that it applies to other parts as well. Since the Economic Secretary says it is impossible to separate our arguments on these different Amendments from the general propositions we are each putting forward, they are bound to be mixed up a little, I apologise in advance if what I say seems to trail over other Amendments, and I hope that Mr. Speaker will be tolerant.
The controlling of shares is one thing and the selling of them is quite another. I gather from what the Economic Secretary says that the Government ought to decide who is to get the shares and who is to control the companies. If not, there seems to be no reason why the shares should not be sold off in parcels which bring the best price, leaving the shareholders themselves to decide who is to run the company. Unless the Government are to decide who is to run the company, there is no point in restricting them to one parcel to see that one particular section gets it. On the basis of three lorries to a man in operable units, I do not understand where the United Kingdom Dominions Trust comes in, because I cannot understand how they will purchase lorries on the basis of three to a man.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
They are not purchasing any lorries at all. The purpose— which occupied so much of our time yesterday—is to enable purchasers to finance their operations.
Another problem which faces me is that the United Kingdom Dominions Trust have formed an organisation in Scotland called Credits for Industry. This organisation—I do not know whether Scotland is now a Dominion—is presumably being formed for this particular purpose. Some members of this body happen to be very closely connected with transport, so it is reasonable to assume that part of their purpose is to purchase organisations of this kind in Scotland. If they do so, I take it that in Scotland at least the 1479 Government are giving up the idea of disposing of three lorries to every man, and the organisation in Scotland will take the form of selling companies.
Our purpose in moving all these Amendments, and indeed generally, is that, although the Government are evidently determined to destroy the national network of transport, we feel it is our duty to try to see that transport is not completely disorganised. On that basis, the Lords Amendment is an improvement. However, so far we have had no indication by the Government in their actions that they see the damage that is likely to be done by this Bill if the disposal takes place in the chaotic fashion described by the Economic Secretary, which is neither one thing nor the other, but is just a hotch-potch.
I am informed that the Government have, unfortunately, been very badly advised on road transport by people closely associated with them. I am told that the people who have been advising them have no personal experience of road transport, that they have not spent their lives in road transport. People who have that experience tell me that the Government have been very badly advised. I think they had better take other advice, because the present doctor is likely to bring about the demise of a great part of this organisation.
From the very beginning, our only purpose in nationalisation was to get an efficient network of transport throughout the country. The Government claim that they will get efficiency by competition. Must we destroy the whole system of organised road transport in order to get competition? I do not see that that is necessary at all. I do not see that it is necessary to break up the efficient organisation of road transport, even in order to get competition or private enterprise.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
As I do not propose to make a speech myself, perhaps I could answer that question straight away. The answer is that we do not intend to destroy the whole set-up in transport in order to achieve the objects of competition. We are now discussing an Amendment about whether the shares should be sold in one parcel or not. We are not discussing whether the shares should not eventually be sold at all. The fears the right hon. Gentleman has in 1480 mind, which are in any case illusory, would be in no sense dispelled if this Opposition Amendment were accepted.
If the shares are to be sold in this way, I take it the Government are determined that they shall decide, in some way, the destination of the shares. Obviously, if an operable unit is to take the shares established for it, it must be a unit which eliminates within its area the possibility of having three lorries to a man, about which the Economic Secretary is so keen.
If there is not to be this destruction in our area, I would be very relieved, because it seems to me to be completely chaotic. This Amendment gives the Government the best chance of unloading nationalised transport with the least damage to road transport. I cannot follow the Economic Secretary's argument about the Commission having a bigger loss. I am quite sure the Commission have never put forward that argument. While it may be plausible on the face of it, I am sure that he could not assure us that the Commission have raised any objection to our Amendment on the grounds he put forward.
What I deplore is the possible disorganisation caused by these contradictions in the Government's proposal. The proposal in our Amendment appears to make possible the retention of a company organisation, because whoever the shares are sold to will presumably organise the operable units—and I am in favour of operable units being sold— in such a way as to cover a district. That would conform to a system which would seem to be appropriate to our part of the country, and I respectfully offer the Government a constructive suggestion in this regard, since I shall not be intervening later. If this is to be done, the existing regional organisations ought to be formed into companies themselves. These companies can be sold, and when they are sold we shall have a number of competing operable units. That seems to be a sensible proposition if we are to have private enterprise and not the chaotic disintegration which seems to be implicit in the other proposal.
However the Government decide to dispose of the shares, they could adopt different methods so that it would be possible for these organisations to work in competition with one another. If 1481 one organisation covers Dumfriesshire, another Glasgow and another Ayrshire, they will obviously be passing across one another's territory and will be automatically in competition, but we should have competition of efficient operable units, and not the chaos that is bound to arise by following the suggestion of the Economic Secretary of three lorries to a man. What is the result of his alternative? The result is bad maintenance, bad running, dangerous conditions. on the road and bad conditions for the people employed.
§ Mr. Speaker
The right hon. Gentleman will recollect that this Amendment deals with the selling of shares, not the chattels.
§ Mr. Woodburn
I agree with you, Mr. Speaker, but the Economic Secretary offered an alternative to the main proposal by using the illustration that this was only part of the organisation, and the other part of the organisation and of the disposal was in the selling of the chattels. I said that I preferred this method to the other method he proposed because it would give the opportunity of an efficient organisation in these regions. I agree that to discuss the chattels is perhaps outside the main terms of the proposal we are discussing at present.
I would emphasise that it is desirable, whatever the method of disposing of the shares, that they should not be sold in such a way as to give a monopoly to people interested in rigging the market. I explained at an earlier stage of this Bill that I had information, so far as Scotland is concerned, that the market was pretty well rigged, and that when it came to tenders for blocks of shares or anything else the Minister would not get fair competition.
I think that the competition should start with the shares. It is no good waiting until the shares are sold to a monopoly and then trying to get competition. I think that the Minister would get a better price if he had some competition in the purchase of the shares. Our Amendment would give more opportunity for that kind of competition than would be the case if these shares were offered in one block which could only be bought by a big financial organisation.
It may be that Credit for Industry will put up the finance and work in conjunc- 1482 tion with the other people about whom I have spoken. It is certain that once we get to these big blocks of shares these people will get behind the scenes and fix the prices they are going to pay for these shares, whatever the Government may say. The Government have not left themselves much defence against this rigging of the market, and I think that we shall have a buyers' market created, so that they get the benefit of being able to depress the price by their tenders to such an extent that they can buy for an old song.
In the interests of transport generally, I hope that this Amendment and our other Amendments proposed with a view to improving the Bill will be accepted. I hope that the Secretary of State for Scotland, who must be consulted under this Clause, will not agree to chaos coming from the disorganised mind of the Government in regard to what they are going to accomplish, and that before long we shall have some scheme that appeals to our common sense and which has some sort of balance about it, so that we may know what is going to happen to transport.
I think that we must avoid the rigging of the market by selling these blocks of shares, and we are entitled to see that the country gets the price and value of the assets which it is selling. At the same time that must be done in such a way as to ensure that those responsible for the running of the organisations throughout the country run them efficiently and capably by working within the law. It is also not unimportant to see that negotiations can take place with the workers in order to provide conditions which can be observed.
There is one other point which will not make any difference to the Minister's own desire. There should be a possibility of relationship with other outside bodies such as the 'railways and coastal shipping. I think that is all bound up with our general desire to have an organisation of operable units in such a way that chaos is eliminated.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Norman Smith (Nottingham, South)
I hope to be brief and constructive. I think that it is possible to reconcile the point of view of the Government Front Bench and that of my right hon. 1483 Friend the Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn). I submit to the Economic Secretary that he put a wholly false analogy when he said that if we go into the Stock Exchange and start buying with a view to getting control we are going to force up prices against us. Of course we are. But that is a situation totally different from anything envisaged in this Clause. In going to the Stock Exchange there may or may not be shares available to buy. This Clause is purely concerned with disposing of the whole thing.
I want to put it to hon. Members opposite that it is easier to work with the grain than against it. I do not sympathise with their point of view. I do not want to achieve what they want, but since we have to achieve it, let us achieve it in the best way. If this Amendment is accepted they will be putting themselves and the Commission in the position of making the best bargain with the grain and not against the grain.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport knows that it would be far better if the Commission could offer a controlling interest in these shares by putting on the market 51 per cent. of them and selling them. That would open the door much wider and give access to a much wider range of potential buyers. The 49 per cent. minority shares could wait. There would be no hurry, and the Government would not be defeating their object.
Let them put the 51 per cent. block on the market to start with, which they could do under this Amendment. That would be a very great disinflationary move. Eventually, the purchasers of the 51 per cent. block would have to consider what they would do about the rest and whether they would or would not buy. I think that if they got 51 per cent. that is all they would want. Then we would have access to a much bigger reservoir of investable money. Means would be found of working that into those transactions, thereby promoting a valuable disinflationary trend. That would be done if this Amendment were adopted.
I submit that that is the right way to do it. I submit that it will be easier to get far more bidders for 51 per cent. holdings than would be the case if we offered the whole lot in one parcel. The 1484 Government, by proposing this one parcel system, are cutting themselves off from the most advantageous terms of sale from the point of view of the taxpayer. It is not that I like this 51 per cent. business, but I think that it would be much better than what is being done, because it would be more likely to command a satisfactory price.
§ Mr. N. H. Lever (Manchester, Cheetham)
The Economic Secretary is, I think, regarded in all parts of the House as a man of talent and intelligence. He concluded his argument by telling us that he was convinced of the validity of the argument he put before us. If that is the case, I can only assume that, contrary to what we have hitherto tended to assume on this side, he owes his elevation to his vices rather than to his virtues.
The argument which he put before the House really would not convince a man of far less intelligence than that of the Economic Secretary. The Attorney-General is here to advise on the law and we do not expect him to advise on finance. The right hon. Gentleman who is in charge of the Bill is mostly concerned with the actual matters of principle involved in transport. The Economic Secretary ought to have advised the House on this somewhat technical matter now being discussed.
I want to pursue my remarks by telling the Economic Secretary that I speak with no desire to obstruct the business of today, and that the views I am expressing are not expressed with my tongue in my cheek. What is the position? At some stage the public may be the owners of the entire share capital of some company. We are asking that when they come to sell these shares they should have the same right as any person in this country who owns 100 per cent. of the shares of any company has at the present time.
The Government are saying that this public body alone shall be restricted in its method of disposing of its own property in such a manner as to narrow the market and therefore reduce the price which it will get for that property. It is a deliberate tying of the hands of a public authority in selling public property, which would be regarded, and rightly regarded, as an outrage if it were in this manner put upon the private person dealing with his own property.
1485 What the Government are saying in effect is that if they choose or if the Commission choose or find it convenient at some point to be 100 per cent. owners of a company with a share capital of some millions, unlike the Imperial Tobacco Company, the I.C.I., or any of the other great companies of the country, they shall not be entitled to dispose of the shares in that company at their discretion, in such manner as they think fit, but shall be compelled to find a person who can put up the whole of the purchase price for the whole of the shares and eliminate a vast number of possible competitive buyers who would pay more if the shares were more intelligently and flexibly marketed.
I say in complete sincerity that it is an outrage that the Government should with their eyes open deliberately sell public property below its true value in this way, in a manner that they would never consent to being applied to private people. It is even more scandalous and frightening that the Government should be so badly advised that they attach even the smallest credence to the arguments advanced this afternoon by the Economic Secretary.
The whole of the Economic Secretary's argument does not meet the point made by the Opposition. All that we say is that it should be at the discretion of the Commission whether they sell in one lot with control or parcel it out and sell it in convenient lots, according to which pays them better. The Economic Secretary's argument is entirely convincing to the extent of proving that there may be circumstances in which the sale of the control may be more profitable than to sell it in part. It by no means goes to prove, however, that in all cases, in all sizes of company, it pays to sell in one lot to one purchaser who gets 100 per cent. ownership.
If the Economic Secretary were on the Commission and he had one small company 100 per cent. owned by the public, and if the total capital of that company were worth £500, of course it would pay to sell it in one lot, to one man, and not to offer it around in lots to 10 people at £50 each, because nobody wants a one-tenth share of a £500 company. But a quite different proposition occurs if for some reason the Commission find themselves in possession of one-tenth of the capital of a £2 million organisation. Deliberately to restrict and to deny them- 1486 selves the alternative method—we are not asking that they should be debarred from selling in one lot—
§ Mr. Maudling
The hon. Member refers to the Commission finding themselves by some means or other in possession of the shares. The companies would have to be deliberately formed by the Commission. It would not be a question of "finding themselves in possession of."
§ Mr. Lever
The companies will have been formed by the Commission because, using the best judgment that they can, they think that a particular group of operations should be undertaken by one company and that the best way of disposing of those assets is not by putting them under the hammer, but by forming a company and then selling the shares in that company. Having so decided, why should they not be permitted, for reasons of market conditions or any other change of circumstances, to have available to them the two weapons: the bulk sale, or the individual split sale?
We are not trying to tie the hands of the Commission or to deny them the advantages which the Economic Secretary cogently argued, of a bulk sale in appropriate cases. What we do not understand—I find it absolutely beyond me to understand—is why it should be made a one-handed operation, instead of leaving available to the Commission both their hands when they come to realise the assets that they have turned into a company.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
I am no authority on this, but suppose that the object of the Government were to make certain that the shares of this company were bought only by a small number of highly limited and monopolised groups or rings of people. Suppose that there are one or two trusts—or, perhaps, only one trust— in mind as a suitable purchaser. Of course, this provision which prevents the division of the shares and compels their sale to only one customer, might be a very convenient device for doing that.
§ Mr. Lever
What has just been said is true, but I must also say in the same breath that I, for one, do not honestly believe that the Government are intending deliberately to bring that about. Their obstinacy and stupidity in not listening to what has been said in argument on 1487 this matter is, however, inviting the kind of criticism and imputation which has just been made upon them.
When my hon. Friend intervened, I was about to cite the kind of thing that will happen. Imagine that the Commission are told or given to understand, after discussion with some road haulage group, that a certain group formed into a company would be attractive to that group, and they make a bid of, say, £1 million for it; whereupon the Government or the Commission then agree to form a company of £1 million capital with a view to selling it to that potential buyer. Of course, nobody is likely to contract for shares which have not been brought into existence, and so the actual binding contract will only come into being after the company has been formed. Assume that for some reason or another—a change of policy, or economic circumstances—the original buyer goes off and decides that he does not wish to proceed further. In such a position the Commission are landed with their company, in 100 per cent. ownership, and its snares are public property and have been bought with public money.
If our Amendment were not carried, the Commission would then find themselves in a position which no private individual is in. No person who owns, inherits, wins or earns 100 per cent. ownership of a company is restricted in the manner in which the Commission would be restricted; namely, in having to sell to somebody who will buy the whole lot. If the figure is £1 million or £2 million it means that it excludes all the small operators and many of the small finance houses, especially under present Treasury policy to restrict credit facilities and finance operations, especially in the purchase of shares.
I cannot see why the Government should want to deny to the Commission the two choices as to whether they will sell in bulk or in small parcels. Obviously, if the Economic Secretary's arguments prevail in a particular case and the sale of control is beneficial, we are not asking that the Commission should be forced on some bogus principle of financial democracy to split it out into small splinters in order to get a more economic price. We are not asking for that, but 1488 merely for the Commission to be in a position, as every private person is, to decide how they will best market the shares.
The outrage of this is even more emphasised when one comes to think that if a big organisation buys the shares in one lump—because only a big organisation would be able to buy the bigger companies in one lump—they will not be restricted in the manner that the Financial Secretary is prepared to restrict the Government or the Commission in handling public property. And if we dared to impose upon that big organisation the restriction which the Government are insisting with obstinacy and determination in imposing on the custodians of public property, there would be a scream which would be heard in every national newspaper.
Let it be known that it does not need the acceptance of the Amendment to give the buyers of these shares the right to sell them as they think best, for the best price, in the best way, in big parcels or in little parcels, to one or two people or to 100 people. They have that right under the law of the land. It is only the Commission who are being restricted in this manner.
Even at this late hour, I beg the Government, to whom I do not attribute the malicious motives and the evil and, indeed, corrupt motives which are possible because of the stupidity and obstinacy which they have shown upon this matter, that even now they should not persist in their utterly indefensible purpose of crippling the custodians of public property, and deliberately compelling them to accept much below the possible price that they could realise for public assets, in the handling of this matter.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Henderson Stewart)
I should like to offer some reassurance to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Stirling (Mr. Woodburn). At the end of his speech the right hon. Gentleman said that he hoped that the Secretary of State for Scotland would be in on all this so that he would see that, in Scotland at least, what the right hon. Gentleman called "chaos" might be avoided. I scarcely need tell 1489 the right hon. Gentleman that there will not be any chaos there. Also, I scarcely need assure him that at every stage in the process as the Bill affects Scotland my right hon. Friend will be there acting closely in contact and association with the Minister of Transport.
Scottish interests in all this matter are already well safeguarded. In a few moments, or a few hours, we shall be considering a Lords Amendment to ensure that two representatives of Scotland are on the Commission. We know that the Minister of Transport has undertaken that Scottish interests shall be substantially represented on the Disposal Board. Therefore, we can be sure in Scotland that our special and peculiar conditions will toe safeguarded.
We are dealing now with the issue of shares. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to suggest that it was chaotic to think in terms of selling to one man with three lorries and at the same time to think in terms of handing over the shares in a new company in one bulk lot. But surely that is not so at all. There need be no chaos or misunderstanding. There is a place in Scotland, as the right hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do, for the little men with their feeder services, as there always has been and always will be. There is also, I agree, a place for the larger units. The right hon. Gentleman instanced units that covered counties. I personally am not opposed to units with a wider scope than counties.
What will happen? A company will be formed. It would be known with whom the Commission would be dealing and, therefore, it would be to that body that the shares in one bulk lot would be sold. That would be the only practical businesslike way of doing it. I ask the House to believe that the provision in the Lords Amendment is in because it is a businesslike provision. It is the only thing likely to happen.
Therefore, in the interests of Scotland, and especially in the interests of the views of the right hon. Gentleman who wants
§ the maintenance of the network now established, it is necessary that the body or bodies who take over such a network, or part of it, should have this group or parcel of shares. It would be impossible to work in any other way.
§ Mr. Woodburn
Can the hon. Gentleman give any assurance about the slight alarm I feel about a purely financial body coming in and buying up transport as a purely speculative financial operation when they have no interest in transport for transport's sake? Can we have an assurance that real operable transport units under transport people will be possible and that this will not merely be made a playground for financial manipulation?
§ Mr. Stewart
I ask the right hon. Gentleman to envisage the position. Here we have the Commission with Scotsmen —we hope well qualified Scotsmen—on it. We have a Disposal Board with, we believe, proper and adequate representation of Scotland on it. I do not think that it is possible that in those circumstances the Commission or the Disposal Board will hand over to a speculative financial concern a great wad of transport which the right hon. Gentleman describes in this way and which, quite properly, he fears. Of course, I cannot give any guarantee how tine Commission will operate in detail, but the common sense of the question is that such an eventuality is unlikely.
On the contrary, I believe that the Lords Amendment, which the Government support as a result of long consultation and debates in this House, is worth while and sensibly conceived to deal with the position.
§ Sir H. Butcher 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, 262; Noes, 242.1493
|Division No. 152.]||AYES||[7.35 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Astor, Hon. J. J.||Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddhigton, S.)||Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M||Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Baldwin, A. E.||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Banks, Col. C.||Bennett, William (Woedside)|
|Amory, Heatheoat (Tiverton)||Barber, Anthony||Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Baxter, A. B.||Birch, Nigel|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Beach, Maj. Hicks||Bishop, F. P.|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Black, C. W.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Partridge, E.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Peake, Rt. Hon. O|
|Bowen, E. R.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Perkins, W. R. O.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hollis, M. C.||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Hope, Lord John||Pilkington, Capt. R. A|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Horobin, I. M.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Prior-Palmei, Brig. O. L|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rl. Hon. P. G. T.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Billiard, D. G.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Redmayne, M.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Carr, Robert||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Channon, H.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W||Russell, R. S.|
|Cole, Norman||Keeling, Sir Edward||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Colgate, W. A.||Kerr, H. W.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Lambton, Viscount||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Craddook, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Scott, R. Donald|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Leather, E. H. C.||Shepherd, William|
|Crouch, R. F.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Linstead, H. N.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Snadden, W. McN|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C||Spearman, A. C. M|
|Deedes, W. F.||Longden, Gilbert||Speir, R. M.|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Low, A. R. W.||Stanley, Capt. Hon Richard|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Stevens, G. P.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Stewart', W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Stewart Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Drewe, C.||McAdden, S. J.||Storey, S.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||McCallum, Major D.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Studholme H. G.|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Summers, G. S.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Erroll, F. J.||McKibbin, A. J.||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Fell, A.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Fleetwood- Hesketh, R. F.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn Peter (Monmouth)|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Fort, R.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Markham, Major S. F.||Turner, H. F L.|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Turton, R. H.|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Marples, A E.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Maude, Angus||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Maudling, R.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Godber, J. B.||Medlicott, Brig F.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Mellor, Sir John||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Molson, A. H. E.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Gower, H. R.||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Gridley, Sir Arnold||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Nicholls, Harmar||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Harden, J. R. E.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Wellwood, W.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Harvey, Air Cdre A. V. (Macclesfield)||Oakshott, H. D.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Odey, G. W.||Wills, G.|
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Heald, Sir Lionel||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Major Conant and Mr. Kaberry.|
|Adams, Richard||Hastings, S.||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Albu, A. H.||Hayman, F. H.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Herbision, Miss M.||Pursey, Cmdr. H|
|Allen, Scholeneld (Crewe)||Hewitson, Capt. H.||Rankin, John|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Hobson, C. R.||Reeves, J.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Holman, P.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Houghton, Douglas||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hoy, J. H.||Rhodes, H.|
|Baird, J.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Richards, R|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bartley, P.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Bence, C. R.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Irvine, A J. (Edge Hill)||Ross, William|
|Benson, G.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Royle, C.|
|Beswick, F.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Janner, B.||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Blackburn, F.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Short, E. W.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Boardman, H.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stroke- on-Trent)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Keenan, W.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Snow, J. W|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||King, Dr. H. M.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Soskice, Rt. Hn. Sir Frnak|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney. S.)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Stewart, Micheal (Fulham, E.)|
|Carmichael, J.||Lewis, Arthur||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Lindgren, G. S.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Champion, A. J.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Stress, Dr. Barnett|
|Chapman, W. D.||MacColl, J. E.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||McGhee, H. G.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Clunie, J.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Coldrick, W.||McLeavy, F.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Collick, P. H.||MacMillian, M. K. (Western Isles)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Corbet Mrs. Freda||McNeil. Rt. Hon. H|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Taylor, Rt. Hon (Morpeth)|
|Crossman, R. H. S||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Manuel, A. C.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Mason, Roy||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Deer, G.||Mayhew, C. P.||Thornton, E.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mellish, R. J.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Dodds, N. N.||Messer, F.||Timmons, J.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Mikardo, Ian||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mitchison, G. R.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Moody, A. S||Viant, S. P.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Webb, Rt. Hon M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Morley, R.||Weitzman, D.|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Fienburgh, W.||Mort, D. L.||West, D. G.|
|Finch, H. J.||Moyle, A.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Mulley, F. W.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Follick, M.||Naily, W.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Foot, M. M.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Forman, J. C.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Wigg, George|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Oldfield, W. H||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Oliver, G. H.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Orbach, M.||Willey, F. T.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Oswald, T.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Glanville, James||Padley, W. E.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Paget, R. T.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur (Wakefield)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Palmer, A. M. F||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Grey, C. F.||Pannell, Charles||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Pargiter, G. A.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Parker, J.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Hale, Leslie||Paton, J.||Wyatt, W. L,|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Pearson, A.||Yates, V. F.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Peart, T. F.||Younger. Rt. Hon. K.|
|Hannan, W.||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Hargreaves, A.||Poole, C. C.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Popplewell, E||Mr. Holmes and Mr. Wallace.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Lords Amendment."1496
§ The House divided: Ayes, 263; Noes, 244.1499
|Division No. 153]||AYES||[7.45 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Fort, R||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Manningham-Buller, Sir R E|
|Arbuthnot, John||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Markham, Major S. F|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Marlowe, A. A. H|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||George, Rt. Hon. Hon. G. Lloyd||Marples, A. E.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Godber, J. B.||Maude, Angus|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Maudling, R.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Gough, C. F. H||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C|
|Banks, Col. C.||Gower, H. R.||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Barber, Anthony||Graham, Sir Fergus||Mellor, Sir John|
|Baxter, A. B.||Gridley, Sir Arnold||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Waller|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Moore, Lt-Col. Sir Thomas|
|Ball, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Harden, J. R. E.||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Bevint, J. R. (Toxteth)||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Birch, Nigel||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Black, C. W.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Boothby, R. J. G||Heald, Sir Lionel||Odey, G. W.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Higgs, J. M. C.||O'Neill, Phelim (Co, Antrim, N)|
|Bowen, E. R.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Orr-Ewmg, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weslon-smper-Mare)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Partridge, E.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hollis, M. C.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Perkins, W. R. D.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hope, Lord John||Peto, Brig. C. H. M|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Horobin, I. M.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E E||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisharn, N.)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Carr, Robert||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Channon, H.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Redmayne, M.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth. W.)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Cole, Norman||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Colegate, W. A.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Keeling, Sir Edward||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Crarddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Kerr, H W.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Lambton, Viscount||Russell, R. S.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Lancaster, Col. C. G||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Langford-Holt, J. A||Salter, Rt. Hon Sir Arthur|
|Crouch, R. F.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Leather, E. H. C.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H||Scott, R. Donald|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Shepherd, William|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Linstead, H. N.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Lockwnod, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Longden, Gilbert||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Low, A. R. W.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Spearman, A. C. M|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Speir, R. M.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||McAdden, S. J.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||McCallum, Major D.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Erroll, F. J.||MeCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Fell, A.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Finlay, Graeme||Mackeson, Brig. H R.||Storey, S.|
|Fisher, Nigel||McKibbin, A. J.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Studhelme, H. G.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Summers, G. S.|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)||Vane, W. M. F.||Wellwood, W.|
|Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Vosper, D. F.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Thompson, Lt.-Cdr, R. (Croydon, W.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)||Walker-Smith, D. C.||Wills, G.|
|Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Touche, Sir Gordon||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Turner, H. F. L.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Turton, R. H.||Watkinson, H. A.||Mr. Drewe and Mr. Kaberry.|
|Tweedsmuir, Lady||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Adams, Richard||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)|
|Albu, A. H.||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Mort, D. L.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||Moyle, A.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mulley, F. W.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Grey, C. F.||Murray, J. D.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Nally, W.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hale, Leslie||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J|
|Baird, J.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Oldfield, W. H.|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Hamilton, W. W.||Oliver, G. H.|
|Bartley, P.||Hannan, W.||Orbach, M.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hargreaves, A.||Oswald, T.|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Padlay, W. E.|
|Benson, G.||Hastings, S.||Paget, R. T.|
|Beswick, F.||Hayman, F. H.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Herbison, Miss M.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Blackburn, F.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hobson, C. R.||Pannell, Charles|
|Blyton, W. R.||Holman, P.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Boardman, H.||Houghton, Douglas||Parker, J.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. C,||Hoy, J. H.||Paton, J.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Pearson, A.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Peart, T. F.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Poole, C.C.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Hynd, J. B (Attercliffe)||Popplewell, E.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Janner, B.||Rankin, John|
|Butler, Herbert (Hacknay, S.)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Reeves, J.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Rhodes, H.|
|Champion, A. J.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Richards, R.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Roberts, Albert (Narmanton)|
|Clunie, J.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Coldrick, W.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Rogers, Geroge (Kensington, N.)|
|Collick, P. H.||Keenan, W.||Ross, William|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Royle, C.|
|Cove, W. G.||King, Dr. H. M.||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Lee Frederick (Newton)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Short, E. W.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lewis, Arthur||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Lindgren, G. S.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lipton Lt.-Col. M.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||MacColl J. E.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Deer, G.||McGhee, H. G.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Delargy, H. J.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Dodds, N. N.||McLeavy, F.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||MaNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Snow, J. W.|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Stewart, Miohael (Fulham, E.)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Manuel, A. C||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Finch, H. J.||Mason, Roy||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Mayhew, C. P.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Follick, M.||Mellish, R. J.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Foot, M. M.||Messer, F.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Forman, J. C.||Mikardo, Ian||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mitchison, G. R.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Moody, A. S.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N||Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Morley, R.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Glanville, James||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Thomas, Ivor Gwen (Wrekin)||Wells, William (Walsall)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||West, D. G.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Thornton, E.||Wheeldon, W. E.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Thurtle, Ernest||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Timmons, J.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A|
|Turner-Samuels, M.||Wigg, George||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A B||Yates, V. F.|
|Viant, S. P.||Wilkins, W A.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K|
|Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C)||Willey, F. T.|
|Weitzman, D.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Wells, Percy (Faversham)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)||Mr. Wallace and Mr. Holmes.|
§ Mr. S. N. Evans
I beg to move as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, in subsection (4), to leave out from the second "of," to the end of the subsection, and to insert:maintaining the existing services to traders and of avoiding competition contrary to the public interest on routes covered by such services.I hope that the Government will pay rather more attention to the arguments adduced on this Amendment than they did on the last. It is important that the Government should not only win the vote but should also win the argument, and I do not know anybody who listened to the debate on the previous Amendment who would not be quite certain that the Opposition had won it and not the Government. They seemed to have come here with a daisy chain of slogans and catch-phrases which were used in the course of winning the last Election and to be ignoring completely the arguments adduced from this side of the House.
We are concerned about the effect on trade and industry of what is proposed in this Bill, and this Amendment would, in part at any rate, safeguard traders against the worst consequences. I shall put a practical argument related to my knowledge and experience of Birmingham and the Black Country area. It is important that we should all understand that in these last few years a revolution in transport has taken place. When one comes to consider the dislocation which will be caused to trade and industry, it is no good thinking in terms of the pre-nationalisation situation. For example, when the industry was taken over there were 695 organisations in the West Midland area, now there are only 27, which means that a delicate instrument has been created for the service of trade and industry.
A fine feeder service has been inaugurated feeding the great trunk services that come out of Birmingham every night. I shall examine what will 1500 happen in the matter of the service given every night to two great companies, the Ford Motor Company and Vauxhall Motors at Luton. Both of those concerns draw on upwards of 200 suppliers for the components which go into the making of motor cars. These components comprise about 95 per cent. of what goes into a motor car and they are drawn from 200 different suppliers in Birmingham and the Black Country. The Ford Motor Company, Vauxhall Motors and others—I mention those two merely for illustration—depend on the services created by the Road Haulage Executive to keep their works going.
As a result of the efficiency of the present service, both firms have been able to cut down on the factory floor space which formerly was used for stocks of forgings and castings and everything that goes to the making of a motor car. They have also been able to reduce the amount of capital tied up in stock. Every night there start out from Birmingham big 14 ton machines which often have on board the products of no fewer than 40 different suppliers. I can well understand that there will be no reluctance on anybody's part to buy these big trunk service machines, but I am very doubtful whether anyone will be able to buy units of the size and comprehensiveness which is necessary to give the service at present obtained by trade and industry from the West Midland regional organisation.
The economies which have been effected are also very considerable and should be taken into account. Unless this service is maintained, great chaos will be created. When the industry was nationalised there were operating in the Birmingham and Black Country area 6,800 vehicles, and that number has now been reduced to 4,350, with the consequent economies in manpower, fuel and capital made possible by that reduction. This means that the service is today of a highly complicated and delicate nature.
1501 All day long until late in the evening, feeder machines are bringing in from the surrounding district loads of from 5 cwt. to a ton which are transferred to the 14 ton machines and are then delivered, as it were, with the milk at Dagenham or Luton next morning. The collection of the small lots is only made economical because, at the same time as the supplies for Ford and Vauxhall, other consignments are being collected from the same localities for dispatch to one of the 40 different centres linked with Birmingham which are also enjoying a magnificent trunk road service.
There is no doubt—many traders in the Black Country share my view—that if something is not done to maintain the continuity of the excellent service now being given, very serious dislocation will be caused. I hope the Minister will examine the problem of the continuity of service with rather more attention than has been devoted to it in the earlier stages of the Bill because of the important fact that today firms have neither the storage space nor the equipment to permit them to hold large stocks of various kinds of supplies, such as gear boxes, propeller shafts and brake drums. Everything that goes into the making of a motor car is today delivered almost as it is required, and there are no longer facilities for holding very large stocks of one commodity.
This is very important from the point of view of the industries concentrated in my constituency. There is no doubt that what is proposed in the Bill will lead to a very serious—I might even say "grave"—dislocation of that service, and, therefore, I ask the Minister to give further attention to this problem of continuity, which is vital to British industry.
§ Mr. G. H. R. Rogers (Kensington, North)
I regret that the appeals by my hon. Friends earlier this evening have not brought more Government supporters to listen to the debate. We now have about six Government back benchers with one hon. Member poised uncertainly between the back benches and the Front Bench. It is a very sparse attendance for this important Bill. It reminds me of a Conservative mass meeting in Kensington. On regarding the empty benches, I am not sure that they are any less intelligent looking than when they are full. I hope that everyone in the country who takes 1502 an interest in the Bill will notice the lack of enthusiasm of Conservative Members of Parliament in their own Bill.
I was impressed by the example which my hon. Friend the Member for Wed-nesbury (Mr. S. N. Evans) set in his speech. Speeches delivered from the Opposition benches are usually given by men who have practical experience in transport; speeches from the Government benches are usually by men who have only a brief theoretical knowledge. There are exceptions, but, generally speaking, the speeches of hon. Members opposite are made with no practical experience of transport. It is those of us who have had experience in transport, know what it is to run lorries and trains and know the organisational problems involved who are convinced that the Bill and this Clause are bad for the industry.
I am not quite sure of the motive behind the Clause. My right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) at an earlier stage expressed his dismay at the cynicism of the Government Front Bench speakers. I do not know whether, besides the Economic Secretary, he included the Minister of Transport and his popular Parliamentary Secretary. However, I am surprised that my right hon. Friend should be surprised at the cynicism. After all, who but a cynic would have attempted to pilot the Bill through the House. My hon. Friend the Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) has said that there might be sinister motives behind the Clause. I am not sure that there may not be some truth in what he said. [Interruption.] I shall not say anything to which the Minister will object. The Earl of Selkirk, speaking of Government policy in relation to the Clause in another place, said:The object of this new Clause"—
§ Mr. Rogers
I understand that the Earl of Selkirk is a Member of the Government and was speaking on policy, and I believe I am in order. In introducing the Clause in another place, he said:The object of this new Clause is to create an organisation which can carry on a service and … keep … the present service going. The object of this structure is to enable an organisation to be built up so that the service can be taken straight over, without any 1503 cessation of operation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 10th March, 1953; Vol. 180, c. 1187.]That is a laudable motive, but I do not think it is attributing evil motives to the Government if I say that it may also have another motive, which may be to allow larger groups of road haulage to be combined in larger undertakings without the Government having to lose face by saying that it thinks that on some occasions the small men may not be suitable or the best available in certain areas. I believe it is possible that the Government may have drafted the Clause with the idea of providing that, where small men—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The hon. Member is discussing the Clause instead of this Amendment. This Amendment deals with the retention of competition.
§ Mr. Rogers
I hope to prove that I am in order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. In any case, if I am out of order I am probably more interesting.
§ Mr. Rogers
What I was leading up to saying was that I think the Government had the possibility when drafting this Clause of showing that it might be suitable on occasion to have larger organisations, although it was stated by the Government spokesman in another place that the purpose was to preserve continuity of organisation. If I am right, I think the Government can have no objection to inserting our Amendment in the Lords Amendment.
What we do in the first part is to say that we wish to maintain the existing service to traders, which is the express intention of the Clause. We also say that we wish to avoidcompetition contrary to the public interest on routes covered by such services.If I am right in the interpretation of the meaning of this Clause, it was the intention of the Government that on those occasions where it is expedient to introduce the company structure in some parts of the country it would be necessary to avoid undue competition in order to avoid waste which would be inimical to the public interest.
1504 I hope that on this occasion the Government will be persuaded by the arguments used on this side of the House and will recognise that the Commission ought by Statute to have the right to say where it is necessary to maintain the existing services and avoid undesirable competition and that they may have the power to do so whatever the Disposal Board may say to the contrary.
§ Mr. J. A. Sparks (Acton)
I wish to support the Amendment to the Lords Amendment, first, because I think it is the only practical principle that can be applied in conjunction with the main purpose of this Clause, which is the setting up of companies for the operation of certain vehicles of the British Transport Commission service. I also support the Amendment because the words which we propose to delete from the Lords Amendment are, in my view, almost impracticable of operation. If in fact they mean anything at all and an attempt is made to incorporate this principle in any of the company formations it must lead to great chaos and anarchy.
The words that we propose to delete say that in deciding whether tenders and offers for shares of any of the companies shall be accepted or 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.That means that before they can proceed at all in forming a company they must first consider what that company is to do. What routes is the company to operate upon? How many lorries are to be placed at its disposal? In working out how they operate, if the formation of the company is sanctioned by the Minister, they must make provision for an element of competition in what they are doing.
Therefore, what the Commission will have to do in seeking to frame these new company organisations to meet with the condition of the Lords Amendment will be deliberately to exclude from the area of operation and the function of the new company certain traffics and certain routes which should be left available to private competition. In connection with the service of any one of these companies they themselves will be faced with having to provide for competition against themselves.
1505 My hon. Friend the Member for Wed-nesbury (Mr. S. N. Evans) told us about the general operation of transport services from Birmingham to 40 different places over the long-distance routes. If the Transport Commission are considering setting up a company organisation to operate a route from Birmingham to London, before they can do so they will have to take into consideration whether they are restricting competition in doing so, and obviously they would be doing so. By forming a new company for the purpose of taking over the existing traffics and convey them as before, by that act they would be restricting private competition. Therefore, they would run the risk of the veto of the Minister.
In order to be quite sure that the company could be established, they would have to denude themselves or alienate from themselves certain traffics. It would almost amount to a surgical operation, but, to meet the condition of this Clause, they would have to take away from themselves certain elements of regular traffics and make some sort of negative arrangement whereby the private road haulier could take over that portion of the traffic they would not incorporate in that company. He would be able to operate on that route with one, two or any number of vehicles, and thereby the Minister would be satisfied that by setting up this new company they were in fact not eliminating competition or placing undue restriction upon it.
In the operation of this Clause as it stands, for almost every company that the Commission would consider setting up, they would also have to allow for a parallel private enterprise organisation to run in competition with it. Otherwise, there would be danger of the proposals being vetoed by the Minister. That seems an absolutely absurd situation.
I can understand in a small locality, perhaps, where the traffic is to be conveyed on a very short distance, it might be advisable to operate this principle, that in the formation of a company the Commission should not propose to take over all the traffic but leave a certain portion for private enterprise. But, when it is a case of major traffics conveyed by the Commission and those major traffics are very largely long-distance heavy traffic, it would be absolutely suicidal to the efficiency of the service to have to 1506 make provision for two alternative systems of transport—one organised by a company undertaking and another by some private enterprise road haulier, or by some other outside company which might take over any residue of traffic.
I feel that this proposal which the Minister lays down here means setting the Commission a problem which is absolutely impracticable of fulfilment, or it means nothing at all. It is important that the Minister should give us some clearer exposition about how it is intended that this principle should be operated. We discussed to some extent a similar matter on another Amendment, when the right hon. Gentleman said that it was proposed that these company structures should be formed before the actual sale took place—I do not know whether he meant that the company structure should first be formed and then the sale of the companies should take place, or whether he was referring to shares, or what proposal he had in mind—but that in the actual sale it must be indicated that the company structure provides for a certain element of competition side by side with it.
I cannot conceive of the Transport Commission proceeding with the formation of these company structures and then saying, "When we are going to sell them we must make some arrangement to provide for competition side by side with these companies." Even before the Commission formulate the company structures, and nobody knows how many there are to be, there may be one or any number; the Minister presumably has a bias in favour of an unlimited number of private companies—we should like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman—
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The Minister has always made it plain that it is the view of the Government that the company structure is supplementary to the main process of disposal by transport units.
§ Mr. Sparks
Yes, I can quite understand that, but the Minister has still not answered the question, how many of these private company structures are there to be? They will cover a certain proportion of vehicles and operations but whether a large or small proportion we do not know. We do know that there are some private company structures to be formulated to take over certain vehicles and certain operations, but we 1507 do not know what number; it might be any number.
In the formation of these companies the transport Commission has to engage in a surgical operation. Its enterprise now is one co-ordinated whole, and the Commission has to carve it up, and to do that in such a way as to make provision for some of these company formations. To do that will be almost an impossible job without the Commission having to be hamstrung in doing that by this other condition that they must be quite sure that they are leaving a margin for private competition and avoid any step which might eliminate or unduly restrict it.
That obviously means that in the formation of these companies the Transport Commission has, in order to make way for an element of private competition, to exclude certain traffics and certain vehicles, and has to be able to come to the Minister and say, "We are not proposing to include this traffic in this company; and that traffic, which will require so many lorries, we are leaving to private enterprise, to somebody who may or may not come along, buy some lorries and run that traffic either side by side with the new company structure or in some other way."
The essential principle of this condition is disintegration of the road haulage service. That will be very bad for the country, and the proposal in this Amendment to delete the words embodying that principle, and to substitute the words,maintaining the existing services to traders and of avoiding competition contrary to the public interest on routes covered by such services,is one which can be worked by the Transport Commission in carrying out the proposals of the Clause without causing the great difficulties I have mentioned previously; and it is one which will maintain the efficiency of the service.
We are mainly concerned with the efficiency of the transport service, and undoubtedly the conditions for that efficiency are to be found in the words of the Amendment. The right hon. Gentleman talks about private competition, but ample scope is left for that; there is no need whatever for the Minister to include that provision in this Clause because these company structures are only to apply to a 1508 certain number—unspecified—of existing road haulage fleets and to certain traffics. The rest of the fleets are to be sold off by public auction, and presumably when those fleets are so disposed of their traffics are to be sold with them, unless in the meantime the traders take out C licences and do the job themselves so that there will not be anything for the private purchasers of the lorries to carry.
In other Clauses of the Bill the Minister is making provision for the resumption of private competition in the existing system of the Commission's road haulage service. If that were not enough, the abolition of the 25-mile radius by and by will release many thousands of other privately-owned vehicles to enter the field of private competition along those very routes and in those very traffics which the British Transport Commission, through the Road Haulage Executive, has been operating during the last few years.
I feel that the Minister must, in his better moments, still agree that the words which it is sought to delete are really impracticable to operate and that the principle of providing for an element of competition already exists in other Clauses. I feel that on this occasion, in view of the fact that the Minister has turned down so many of our Amendments, I do not think he has accepted one —[An HON. MEMBER: "One."]—he might show that on this occasion he will go a little way to meet us by accepting our Amendment. It is a good Amendment, one which will maintain the efficiency of the service and create the least harm to the transport services of our country.
§ Mr. G. Lindgren (Wellingborough)
I saw the Minister hesitate before he moved to leave the Chamber when my hon. Friend the Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) was speaking. I think that we ought to acknowledge that if anyone is entitled to leave the Front Bench opposite it is the Minister, because he has been most diligent in his attendance in this debate.
Mr. Percy Collide (Birkenhead)
Where are the back benchers?
§ Mr. Lindgren
I wish that I could call attention to the diligence of the Tory back benchers in the way in which I am happy to compliment the Minister. I am almost 1509 tempted to call a count. It is really one of the duties of those who sit in the "silent service" on the Front Bench opposite to give some indication to some of their supporters in some part of this building that some of them ought to transport themselves from wherever they are to this Chamber. I think that the country will take note of that fact.
I have been tempted to get away in those remarks from the fundamental point in this new Clause, subsection (4) of which cuts across all the essentials of an effective and efficient transport system. The function of transport is to move goods or people from place to place with speed, regularity and safety, and the economics of transport demand that if transport is to be not only efficiently operated but operated at the minimum cost there must be the highest degree of utilisation of the vehicles of transport, whether they be engines and coaches on a railway, a lorry or 'bus on the road, a ship at sea or an air liner.
The fundamentals, both of operation and of economics, are the same in all forms of transport. If one is to have a higher degree of utilisation of vehicles there must be in operation a system which was illustrated by the case of the Midland Region quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. S. N. Evans), an illustration which could be repeated from my own constituency and that of practically every hon. Member.
§ Mr. W. R. Williams (Droylsden)
Surely it is already the practice in most of the large areas for feeder services to work to the central depot on exactly the lines indicated by my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury.
§ Mr. Lindgren
I am obliged to my hon. Friend for that intervention. What I was trying to say, and evidently was not saying effectively, was that the general organisation which exists in the Midland area must be the general organisation in all areas throughout the country if we are to have an effective transport system. As was illustrated by my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury, under the old competitive arrangements 2,000 more vehicles were in operation than were required to do the job when a co-ordinated system of feeder services and trunk routes was established.
1510 But it is not only a question of the number of vehicles on the road. The safety, regularity and speed of transport depend also on obtaining the highest degree of utilisation of the vehicles. To obtain these essentials of numbers and maximum utilisation, a maintenance organisation is required. Under the system suggested in our Amendment it is possible to reduce capital in stocks, to reduce capital in equipment of repair shops, and to have a more effective type of equipment and service available in the shops, because the centralisation of repair work, and the general regulation, organisation and inspection of vehicles are really only possible in any system at all if there is a comparatively large-scale operation.
I do not want to repeat what I said on a previous Amendment, but where there are small competing units it is impossible to get a really effective system of inspection. There ought to be regular inspections of vehicles—the normal oiling and greasing check-overs, and the other overhaul checks at longer periods. That cannot be done on a basis of five or six vehicles. The pressure to secure an additional load when it becomes available means that a vehicle is used when it ought not to be used. I am not saying that vehicles are often used when they are dangerous, because if a vehicle is fairly well maintained, even a little laxity on occasion does not endanger public safety, but it does interfere with a complete system of inspection, and that reduces the possibility of regularity in the service. It interferes with regularity, since a breakdown often happens if an inspection does not take place.
Transport is service, and in this Amendment we deal with in on that basis. Transport is not just for the transport of people, but is intended to render a service to trade and industry in this country. The greatest degree of service is given to trade and industry if they can depend upon regularity. The knowledge that the goods can depart and arrive at certain times is more important even than speed. In all forms of transport, whether passenger or goods, the knowledge that they will arrive at a certain time is much more important than a time-table which gives fictitious ideas of speed.
To introduce competition, as subsection (4) suggests, cuts right across every one 1511 of those principles of transport. It means that there have to be more vehicles on the roads, more garages available, greater stocks of spare parts in the garages and workshops, and a greater number of men employed. In addition, the goods have either got to go to their destination on the same vehicle, which means an uneconomic load, or else there has to be set up a collection depot or general centralised depot for dealing with the smaller parcels of traffic before they go on the trunk routes.
Let me refer to what used to happen under the old competitive system to which hon. Members opposite are asking the House to agree in subsection (4). The feeder services used to go out and bring in the goods, which then lay in the yards or depots of other carriers, and whether or not they were further transported depended very largely on luck. Under the old competitive system, so ineffective and inefficient was road transport that it was possible—even in the Midlands area. as my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury will confirm—for middlemen to come in who had nothing to do with transport.
One can talk about "spivs" in London, but "spivs" entered the transport industry under the competitive system. In a number of areas it was possible for persons to come into the industry and simply make available a stacking ground into which goods could be brought by these small feeder services, and for clearing houses to be set up by these middlemen where other lorries could be loaded up.
All these additional costs have to be paid for by somebody. As was said by one of my hon. Friends, hon. Members opposite have no knowledge of transport as transport. All the costs which arise through having to have more vehicles, more drivers, more spares and more garages must be paid for by somebody. Hon. Members opposite suggest that competition means a lowering of freight rates. It does sometimes—at the expense of the vehicles themselves, because they are not well maintained, or through a lower standard of service or a lower standard of living, in wages and conditions, for the workers in transport.
I should think that anyone with any knowledge would accept it as funda- 1512 mental that the goods to be carried should be suited to the vehicle in which they are to be carried. Large vehicles should not carry small parcels, and the safety of the public should not be endangered through small vehicles carrying loads for which they are not fitted. If vehicles are running hither and thither with no degree of co-ordination an inefficient service arises. Costs have to be borne by extra freight charges, or through a reduction in the standard of service or the conditions of the workers.
I hope that, by accepting our Amendment, the Government will admit that they are concerned with the standard of service rendered to the public and trade and industry. They cannot say that the standard of service rendered prior to the setting up of British Road Services was effective and efficient. It was a scrappy and patchy service. As has been admitted so often during these debates, many road haulage operators were efficient, but in considering this question of transport the Government must realise that the only credit which arose in road transport arose from the large units.
In subsection (4) of this Lords Amendment it is not even made possible for such units as existed in pre-nationalisation days to operate. If the real intention of this proposed new Clause is given effect to, it means that we shall go back to the old small unit operator and that we are not going to get an effective and efficient service. I hope our Amendment will be accepted in order that we may get a decent standard of service for industry.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Collick
On a point of order. We are considering the Lords Amendments to a major Government Measure. For the last 20 minutes only one Member has been present on the back benches opposite. I ask you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, whether it is in order for a debate like this to continue with only one hon. Member present on the back benches opposite.
§ Mr. W. R. Williams
Do you think it is fair to the Parliamentary Secretary, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that he should be facing such a difficult situation with no resources to back him?
§ Mr. Hector Hughes (Aberdeen, North)
Having regard to what has just occurred, it would perhaps be polite if I uttered the old cliché and said that perhaps what the Government representatives here lack in numbers they gain in distinction. All four of them are attending to the Government's business. I am glad to see that one of the most distinguished ornaments not only of the Government but of the Bar, the Attorney-General, is here today as he was last night and early this morning, attending to the work of the Government. He now has with him three tenants on the Front Bench and one behind him.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. and learned Member, but I must remind him that the Amendment before the House deals with competition.
§ Mr. Hughes
I do not intend to devote much time to the point, and I content myself with one more sentence: perhaps the paucity of numbers on the Government benches is symbolic of the paucity of support which this Government—a minority Government—and this Bill have in the country.
This is a very important Amendment which merits very careful consideration. As was well said by my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren), three of the functions of transport are to provide the public with means of carriage for themselves and their goods safely, efficiently and speedily. This Amendment indicates the very clear difference of philosophy and the very clear conflict of view which exists between the Government's outlook upon them and the Opposition's outlook.
Comparisons between Clause 4 as it was drafted by their Lordships and our Amendment reveals very important differences. One thing which the Government's wording shows is that the Government want to foster competition while the Opposition wish to avoid it, and it is a notable fact that their Lordships' wording of this Clause altogether ignores the public interest. On the other hand, the public interest is emphasised and expressly advocated in our Amendment.
The Lords Amendment says nothing whatsoever about routes covered by existing services. This point was very well dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. S. N. Evans). 1514 Our Amendment expressly takes this into account while the Lords Amendment ignores it entirely. [Interruption.] It is a little embarrassing that these reinforcements for the Government should come one by one and elicit so much applause from my side of the House. They interrupt the few observations I wish to address to the House. Nevertheless, I am glad to see six Members on the Government benches now.
The last part of the Lords Amendment reads like passages from a Conservative Party handbook rather than part of an Act of Parliament. The Opposition Amendment to the Lords Amendment should be enacted for the benefit of the transport industry. It would avoid the damaging proposals which are introduced in the Lords Amendment. The words we propose should be left out, should be left out; the words proposed to be inserted should be inserted; not only for the reasons I have stated, but because that would ensure a higher, better and more efficient service in the public interest.
§ Mr. Richard Adams (Wandsworth, Central)
I am very glad to have an opportunity of saying a few words in support of our Amendment so ably and convincingly moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury (Mr. S. N. Evans). Since this is the first occasion I have had an opportunity of intervening in these debates, I should like to explain to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that it was only the operation of the Guillotine on the previous stages of the Bill that prevented me from taking a closer interest in the procedings.
I have an interest in this Bill as a user of the transport services. I have long been a student of transport problems, and I also have the honour to represent in my division of Wandsworth, Central a great number—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The hon. Member has just explained why he could not take part in the debates before. That is quite adequate.
§ Mr. Adams
I was going to say that I represent a great number of transport workers in Wandsworth, Central, and I am glad that now, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, you are seized of the point that, with many other hon. Members on this side 1515 of the House, I was forced by the Guillotine procedure to impose a self-denying ordinance. I am very glad to see that the case for this Amendment to the Lords Amendment is to be answered by the Parliamentary Secretary. I believe he has been almost as silent during these proceedings as I have myself. I hope that, as the Minister has resolutely refused all our Amendments to the Lords Amendments, his absence on this occasion means that the Parliamentary Secretary has been left to accept this one.
I thought that my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury put up an overwhelming case for our Amendment. The figures he gave must have convinced even the Parliamentary Secretary. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to apply his mind to the situation which now prevails in the Birmingham area and to the situation which is likely to prevail if this Amendment is not accepted. He will recall that my hon. Friend mentioned that at present the co-ordinated road transport service in the Birmingham area is provided by 4,380 vehicles, whereas before the British Transport Commission took over that service private enterprise required no fewer than 6,800 vehicles.
The Minister interjected during the speech of one of my hon. Friends to say that subsection (4) will only operate subsequently to the main provisions of the Bill; in other words, the widows and orphans provision will operate first, and the British Transport Commission will be forced, first of all, to sell off in odd job lots. Under subsection (4) the Commission are very much restricted in their ability to preserve intact the services they have created.
What will happen if this Amendment is not accepted? At present a closely co-ordinated centralised service is provided in the Birmingham area. What has been provided in that area has also been provided in the other main centres, such as Manchester, Newcastle, York and elsewhere. In Birmingham, private enterprise required 6,800 vehicles, but the British Transport Commission, by the policy so often enunciated by my hon. Friends that I need not repeat it now, have succeeded, with an efficient, more closely co-ordinated and correlated service, in providing the same service with 1516 4,380 vehicles. That in itself is a tremendous tribute to the work of the Commission.
What will happen if, as is proposed in the Bill, this closely co-ordinated service of 4,300 vehicles is sold in odd job lots? Does the Parliamentary Secretary suppose for one moment that those 4,300 vehicles operating in small packets will be able to provide the service which private enterprise previously needed 2,000 more vehicles to operate? I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will deal with that. Does he think that with fewer vehicles they will, after reverting back to private enterprise in small lots, be able to provide the service for which private enterprise previously required 6,000 vehicles?
The Minister confirmed in his brief interruption that the company structure is third on the list. As the Bill has progressed the Government have been forced more and more to accept the views of my hon. and right hon. Friends. At the beginning they intended to dispose of the whole transport system in penny packets, but they were convinced by our arguments that that would be fantastic. Then they gave power to the Commission to create units of their own, and under further pressure from this side of the House they very grudgingly increased the size of those units from six-fifths to five-fourths—a still totally inadequate proportion.
Under further pressure they have now introduced this new Clause A, which goes some tiny way towards meeting the need we have stressed so often for maintaining large, economical transport units. What do we find in subsection (4)? We find that the Clause is made wholly nugatory by the fact that this provision for a company structure is made supplementary to the original intention of the Bill which is to let the widows and orphans come in by acquiring small penny packets of transport units.
The Minister himself confirmed that subsection (4) will not in fact be followed up. Any student of transport is bound to accept the argument put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury and other hon. Members who have spoken on this Amendment, that if the transport system is to be maintained 1517 efficiently it is essential that large working units created by the Transport Commission should be maintained. My hon. Friend gave overwhelming evidence that the only way in which we can maintain the efficient trunk service which has been built up so quickly by the Transport Commission is by using the system which they have created, namely, the feeder services coming into the central depots and transferring into the larger vehicles for the trunk service.
I would ask the Parliamentary Secretary, if he should be rejecting this Amendment, to explain to us how this efficient trunk service is to be maintained when the transport system has been broken up into small units to permit, as the Bill itself states, new entrants and small hauliers to acquire penny packets. I should have thought that the Parliamentary Secretary, little as he knows of transport problems in this country, having listened to my hon. Friend the Member for Wednesbury, must have been convinced that the instruction to the Transport Commission and to the Disposal Board should be the words contained in the Amendment, which provides that these company structures should be created for the purpose ofmaintaining the existing services to traders and of avoiding competition contrary to the public interest on routes covered by such services.Subsection (4) is, of course, the complete antithesis of those words. The Government want by this subsection, if at all possible, to continue with their policy of breaking down the system to the smallest possible units. The hon. Member for Wednesbury and others who have spoken have shown clearly that that policy will mean the end, for the time being, of an efficient transport system in this country.
I defy the Parliamentary Secretary, speaking at any length he likes, to satisfy us on this side of the House that, having destroyed and broken up the transport system which has been created during the past few years, any private enterprise with units operating in penny packets will be able to provide in any way a comparable service.
I do not want to detain the House. I am quite sure that the Parliamentary Secretary has followed the line of argu- 1518 ment put from this side of the House, and I hope that he will astonish us all by accepting the Amendment. I hope that when the time comes for him to reply, he will please us all and justify his position by accepting it.
§ Sir Frank Soskice (Sheffield, Neepsend)
The Amendment which we are now discussing I and my hon. Friends on this side of the House regard as of crucial importance. We hope that the Parliamentary Secretary, when he gets up to reply, will be able to give us a very full answer to the anxieties and doubts we feel.
The reason we argue that this is such an important Amendment is that Subsection (4) of this new Clause, which the Government moved in another place, is really the Clause which defines the whole policy which has to be adopted when this company structure is used. It sets out what the Commission are to have principally in mind when they are deciding whether or not they will accept tenders, and the terms on which the tenders are to be accepted. According to the Clause as it stands, they are to have regard to the desirability of avoiding any step which is likely to lead to the elimination of competition in the carriage of goods.
It seems to us, for the reasons which my hon. Friends have given in very full detail and with a great wealth of exposition and evidence, that that is putting completely the wrong emphasis on what should be uppermost in the minds of the Commission, in so far as the Commission are still allowed to have a mind in these matters having regard to the presence of the Board. They are told by the subsection primarily to consider competition. My hon. Friends are concerned that the effect of the Bill may be to disrupt the existing services which are provided under the nationalised road transport system on a nation-wide basis.
I want to draw the attention of the House and the Parliamentary Secretary to what was said in the report produced by the Central Transport Consultative Committee. It has a very important and pregnant passage on the topic. The report was dated 13th January, 1953. What appears in it reflects the views and suggestions of the transport users consultative committees which were sent to the Central Transport Consultative Commit- 1519 tee and could thus be collated into the collective wisdom of the committees throughout the country. The report says about Clause 1:This clause provides for the disposal of the Commission's existing road haulage undertaking, and we are of opinion that there is a grave risk of disruption of the present road haulage services at the point at which the transport assets are sold to private hauliers. In our view it is important that the services now available should not be impaired, especially in the remoter districts where there is less likelihood of regular traffic passing in substantial volume.I am sure that it is unnecessary, and indeed wholly superfluous, to remind the House of the tremendous extent to which our industry and our national life depend on an adequate road service. Since the service was nationalised, there has been built up a nation-wide system which provides for the needs of industry better than any collection of private road hauliers operating individually, even in very small units, could possibly do it. Pickfords (Special Traffics) Division of the B.R.S. covers the country. The Smalls and Parcels Division carries parcels between some 13,000 towns and villages throughout the length and breadth of the country, conveying 1½ million consignments weekly. This is an unrivalled service; it cannot be equalled by any number of individual small private operators.
I need only make reference to the third constituent element of this nation-wide service, which is the trunk services with their long-distance services, some 750, operating through the medium of some 6,000 vehicles. One has only to consider that service to realise the immense difficulty of ever approaching anywhere near what it achieves in the wide variety and the enormous scope of the territory that it covers and the mileage that it manages to achieve.
Anybody considering this matter through the eyes of the trader will have this kind of problem in his mind. It was the experience of many traders before the service was developed that when they wanted to send a substantial load they could not, as they can under the nationalised system, pick up a telephone and be certain that the load, however big it was and whatever its destination, would—as a result of a single telephone call—be picked up by vehicles adequate in 1520 capacity to carry the whole of it and transport it to wherever it had to go.
Traders will recollect that before this nation-wide system was incorporated to get their goods carried they had to have, not one telephone conversation, not half a dozen, but often a dozen in order to assemble the carrying capacity available to a whole variety and host of small operators. All that inconvenient system, which was apparent under the old makeup, has gone and has been replaced by a system which we have seen improving day by day since nationalisation came about.
The Central Transport Consultative Committee warned the Government that there is a grave and urgent danger of this great system being disrupted. My hon. Friends feel deeply on this subject, and I should like the Parliamentary Secretary to answer the question that has been put to the Government over and over again. The backward areas are being properly served now with the system being constantly improved. How do the Government contemplate, if this great industry is parcelled off to a number of small individuals, that these backward areas are to be served? Are we to go back to the old days when there was no adequate service and when the profitable routes were creamed off, with the result that the railways and the road services were not developed as they should have been? What is the Government's answer to that and what countervailing measures do the Government propose to take when the industry is de-nationalised to prevent the same thing happening as did before the war, and which we can all remember so well.
It is for those reasons that we put forward our Amendment, though they are not the only reasons which have been deployed successively in public debates outside the House and in our discussions here against the introduction and the carrying through of this Measure. We are acutely anxious on this matter, and therefore we attach great importance to this Amendment. As I said at the outset of my remarks, this Clause formulates and defines the policy which is to be followed by the Commission wearing the blinkers imposed upon them by the Disposal Board. We think that this Bill is a disastrous Bill, but it is particularly 1521 disastrous because it is going to disrupt the existing services.
For these reasons, my hon. Friends have carefully considered the appropriate wording of their Amendment in order to insert in the Bill at any rate something by way of useful and constructive guidance to be followed by the Commission in carrying out the functions in relation to the company system. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to pay particular attention to the wording of our Amendment. We desire that the subsection should contain a reference to the urgent necessity of maintaining the existing services. That is the core and kernel of it.
We feel it very difficult to understand, if the Government are not going to take the attitude which I hope they will —the Parliamentary Secretary seems pleased and well disposed towards the Amendment, which perhaps he will accept, though that will be only the second Amendment accepted during debates on the Lords Amendments- -how they will reconcile that with striking out a provision requiring that the maintenance of the existing services shall be the primary consideration while at the same time leaving in the subsection, which we are criticising, and which requires that the primary consideration shall be the parcelling amongst small private hauliers of this great road transport system, particularly when it will be given to individuals who will be unable to carry the burden of it but will cream off the profits on the best routes, thus damaging this great service upon which the industrial life and the prosperity of our economy immediately depend.
I hope that as a result of those arguments the Government will at least see some glimmer of light, and that the Parliamentary Secretary will at once spring with alacrity to his feet and say that this is a real improvement and that he is glad to accept it.
§ 9.15 p.m.
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. Gurney Braithwaite)
I can at least spring with alacrity to my feet to congratulate the right hon. and learned Gentleman on an extremely effective presentation of the case for this Amendment. May I also say with what pleasure I listened to the 1522 hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. S. N. Evans). It is the first occasion on which we have heard him speak during these long debates on the Lords Amendments. He will allow me to add, I hope, that his presence in the Chamber makes some of us think nostalgically of the feather beds which we have been unable to occupy during the past two or three days.
At the commencement of his remarks, the hon. Gentleman said that he hoped the Government would pay more attention to this Amendment than they did to its predecessor. I assure him that we listen with the most careful attention to all the Amendments moved and all the views placed before us, but by the same token hon. Members will realise that while attention is one thing, acceptance, acquiescence and agreement are quite another. If I may use an example which will put the case to the House with clarity, a poignant chapter from my own life, there was a time some years ago when I was engaged in a particularly agreeable piece of courting, when a proposal which I made was listened to with the keenest and most polite attention but failed to achieve acceptance. [An HON. MEMBER: "There is no justice."] May I disclose to the House that at that moment I should have been in favour of the elimination of competition but, looking back over the years, I realise that I have done a great deal better since, and that there is a lot to be said for competition.
The hon. Member rested himself with considerable emphasis upon the situation in the Midland area, quite rightly. He gave as an example of the more efficient conduct of our transport affairs under the R.H.E. system figures showing that there had been a reduction in the number of vehicles in that area, if I have the hon. Member's figures correctly, from 6,800 to 4,350 as compared with the year 1951.
That makes my case rather stronger, because the hon. Gentleman did not tell the House that it would have been a very odd thing if this swingeing reduction in the number of vehicles had not taken place. I have here the over-all figure for the country, but although since the hon. Gentleman spoke I have tried to do so, I could not get the breakdown for the Midland area. However, I cannot think there is much 1523 difference. In the year 1952 there was an over-all reduction of five million tons in the freights carried by B.R.S.
Oh, yes, it is. If the hon. Member is using this argument, I am entitled to tell him what the situation has been regarding the tonnage carried by the British Road Services. Obviously, when there is a fall, and a serious fall, in freights, there is, obviously, a fall in the number of vehicles required to carry those loads. The fact is that whereas in 1950 and 1951 the figures were in the vicinity of 46 million tons, in round figures, for the whole country, in 1952 they were down to 41 million tons.
§ Mr. Mellish
That is right, of course, but in 1950 and 1951 the docks were working to full capacity. In 1952 there were cuts of approximately £600 million in imports and thousands of dock workers were out of work. Do not blame it on to B.R.S. but on the Tory Government.
I am a little sorry now that I gave way to the hon. Member. [Interruption] Perhaps I may have his attention? I can claim to have listened carefully to the whole of the speeches which have been made and can ask hon. Members opposite to listen without interruption to what I have to say, even if my remarks are unpalatable to the Opposition because I am putting the case from another point of view altogether.
Had the hon. Member not interrupted, I was about to add that during those five months of 1952 there was a decline in the goods to be carried in this country. What is significant—and I put this to hon. Members opposite, and to the hon. Member for Wednesbury in particular— is that while the railway figure in 1952 was down by 6 per cent., the B.R.S. figure over the same period was down by 11 per cent. In other words, compared with the railway facilities, there was a definite fall in the total tonnage carried.
I do not want to be discourteous, but I have listened to a long debate and it was agreed between us that I should wait for the right hon. and learned Gentleman. It was also agreed that I should not occupy too long myself in view of the fact that we have a formidable amount of business to transact—all hon. Members know that. I am trying to put the case as succinctly as I can. What I am saying, in all good temper, to the hon. Member for Wednesbury— [Interruption]—I think that I am entitled to be heard—was that the decline in the number of vehicles in the Midland area cannot be attributed solely to some streamlined and efficient method of administration, but that there has been this important factor of the decline in freights.
On 9th December, when the Bill was going through its Committee stage, we had a debate of considerable length upon this topic. I read it again yesterday and I noticed that 31 columns of HANSARD were employed with the verbatim report. I sat here tonight, pencil in hand, waiting for some new point to emerge which was not made on that occasion. Despite the eloquence of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, I find that the arguments which he deployed were in much the same form as those advanced and adduced to the Committee upon that occasion.
The plain fact is that this is a head-on collision between the two sides of the House. This is a political issue. We do not agree with hon. Members opposite. I say with particular respect to the right hon. and learned Member, who left us with the impression that if this change were to be made the country would be deprived of efficient scheduled trunk services that those existed prior to nationalisation.
The hon. Member is entitled to his opinion. During the last few days hon. Members opposite have made remarks which led me to the same conclusion about them. However, I endured it in silence, knowing that my time would come. The hon. Member is entitled to think what he likes about the case I am putting, but we shall not get very far in this House if every time a remark disagreeable to others is made it is immediately met by shouts of, "You do not know what you are talking about."
I wish to recapitulate to the House the reasons the Government take the opposite view to that expressed to us by hon. Members opposite. In the first place, there were scheduled trunk services of the highest efficiency operating under private enterprise before nationalisation. The large increase in C licences which has taken place since 1948 is, we suggest, not entirely of course—there are many reasons why traders take out C licences —but to a considerable extent, due to the frustration of traders, who would never have bought lorries for themselves had it not been for the fact that they felt the service left something to be desired. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) is not in his place, but he will read this debate. He frequently takes exception to the fact that some of us have had criticisms of the existing system of B.R.S. He seems to think that there is something wrong and disloyal about representatives of the Ministry of Transport, who are the mouthpiece in this House for B.R.S., ever suggesting that there is room for improvement.
Again, the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) does us less than justice. If the hon. Member casts his mind back to the debate, last July, on the Report of the British Transport Commission he will find that my right hon. Friend went to considerable length to point out his appreciation of the efforts made by the British Transport Commission and their staffs. I said the same when I had the honour of winding up that debate; but I pointed out, as one was entitled to, that we felt there were certain defects and certain comparisons which could be 1526 made as between the B.R.S. system and private hauliers, and that we felt that an improvement could come. I say to the House that when the right hon. and learned Member for Neepsend rested his case on what he felt would be the disintegration—I think he went as far as to say the disappearance—of the trunk services, he was far too pessimistic.
I do not think hon. Members opposite will quarrel with this representation of what lies behind their Amendment. I think it seeks, quite deliberately, to perpetuate in a new guise, or a new dress, the existing state of affairs under the Transport Act, 1947. It is our intention on this side of the House to alter that situation. That is the difference between us: there is the collision. We discussed it at great length on the Committee stage. This Lords Amendment, to which the House is now giving such careful attention and examination, provides this new Clause of the company structure, but it does not alter the arguments on one side or the other as to what the general set-up should be, whether it should be a system of State management or not. These arguments remain. We have discussed over and over again the machinery by which this change is to take place; it has been argued, I would say ad nauseam.
§ 9.30 p.m.
We had a very lengthy debate on this topic, even under the Guillotine. I do not think that the hon. Member for Enfield, East (Mr. Ernest Davies) would deny that, whatever was the fate of other topics which fell under the Guillotine, we had a considerable discussion on that subject. I do not want to throw this across the Floor of the House, but really those who lived in the glasshouse of the Timetable procedure when their own Bill was going through the House in 1947 must not complain—
§ Mr. Mellish
We do not want to know what happened in 1947 or before that. Would the hon. Member address himself to the reason why we should not maintain the existing service to traders and avoid competition which may be contrary to the public interest when there is a denationalised industry?
We have argued this question to and fro and I see no prospect of coming to an accommodation about it. It is our view, on this side of the House, that the private haulier will give the trader a better transport system than he at present obtains under the British Transport Commission. If I were to stand at this Box for the next 12 hours —[Interruption.] If I can satisfy the hon. Member, I would say that it is probable that I shall stand here intermittently for a considerable time.
I can only say again that here is a clear-cut difference of opinion, a cleavage as to which is the best system. The hon. Member for Wednesbury and his friends have put their case. I have stated that we do not believe that their case can be supported; we believe that the system which we propose is the best—that of the Disposal Board and the Commission, with my right hon. Friend to be appealed to in the event of a collision between the two of them. In view of the business which awaits us, I can only recommend the House to resist and reject this Amendment.
§ Mr. Julian Snow (Lichfield and Tamworth)
I will not comment upon the capacity of the Parliamentary Secretary to conduct his case in dealing with this Bill which is before the House. I should like to address myself to him in his capacity as the junior Minister who looks after the question of road safety. My only qualification for intervening is that for the whole of my business life before the war I was in an industry closely allied to transport. One impression which nobody in my position could possibly have avoided was that the multiplicity of small transport units was a very strong factor in road danger and road accidents.
§ I should like to underline the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren). I challenge the junior Minister, who has this responsibility for road safety, to consult those officials and organisations who had experience of road transport before the war and ask them to deny that this question of road safety largely depends on the elimination of the small units. The whole question of maintenance and the enforcement of the Road Traffic Acts were known before the war to be almost, if not entirely, impossible. One of the worst possible things that can happen under this Bill is that we shall be re-introducing the very same conditions as made the work of drivers and others the subject of very great danger on the wholly inadequate road system of this country.
§ The maintenance of spares, such as tyres, is a very much more expensive proposition when one has a small unit than when the unit is large; and the incorrect maintenance of the tyre stocks of a transport unit is, I suppose, from the mechanical point of view, the most important factor in the transport system other than the maintenance of brakes. Therefore, in relation to road safety alone, I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will use his influence, deriving from his responsibility for safety measures, to see that our Amendment is carried.
§ Sir H. Butcher 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, 259; Noes, 239.1531
|Division No. 154.]||AYES||[9.35 p. m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Bullard, D. G.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Bennett, William (Woodside)||Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Burden, F. F. A.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Birch, Nigel||Butcher, Sir Herbert|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Bishop, F. P||Campbell, Sir David|
|Arbuthnot, John||Black, C. W.||Carr, Robert|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Boothby, R. J. G||Cary, Sir Robert|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Bossom, A. C.||Channon, H.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Bowen, E. R.||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M||Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Boyle, Sir Edward||Cole, Norman|
|Banks, Col. C.||Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Colegate, W. A.|
|Barber, Anthony||Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N. W.)||Conant, Maj. R. J. E.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Brooman-White, R. C.||Cranborne, Viscount|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon P. G T.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Raikea, Sir Victor|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Keeling, Sir Edward||Redmayne, M.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Kerr, H. W.||Rees-Davies, W. R|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Lambton, Viscount||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Robson-Brown, W|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Leather, E. H. C.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Russell, R. S.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Linstead, H. N.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Drewe, C.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Scott, R. Donald|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Longden, Gilbert||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Low, A. R. W.||Shepherd, William|
|Erroll, F. J.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Fell, A.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Fisher, Nigel||McAdden, S. J.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. P.||McCallum, Major D.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||MaCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Fort, R.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.||Speir, R. M.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||McKibbin, A. J.||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollock)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Stevens, G. P.|
|Galbraith T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Stewart, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Garner- Evan, E. H.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|George, Rt. Hon, Maj. G. Lloyd||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Godber, J. B.||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Storey, S.|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Gower, H. R.||Markham, Major S. F.||Summers, G. S.|
|Gridley, Sir Arnold||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Marples, A. E.||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maude, Angus||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Maudling, R.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Medlicott, Brig. F||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Mellor, Sir John||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Molson, A. H. E.||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Heald, Sir Lionel||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Turton, R. H.|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Tweedsmuir Lady|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Nugent, G. R. H.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Odey, G. W.|
|Hollis, M. C||O'Neil, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Hope, Lord John||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Ward, Hon. Geroge (Worcester)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Horobin, I. M.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Partridge, E.||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Peake, Rt. Hon. 0.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Perkins, W. R. D.||Wellwood, W.|
|Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Payton, J. W. W.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Pilklnglon, Capt. R. A.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Pitman, I. J.||Wills, G.|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Powell, J. Enooh||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Oakshott and Mr. Kaberry.|
|Adams, Richard||Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth|
|Albu, A. H.||Benson, G.||Brockway, A. F.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Beswick, F.||Brock, Dryden (Halifax)|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Blackburn, F.||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Blenkinsop, A.||Brown, Thomas (Ince)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Blyton, W. R.||Burton, Miss F. E.|
|Baird, J.||Boardman, H.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.||Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Callaghan, L. J.|
|Bartley, P.||Bowden, H. W.||Carmichael, J.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Bowles, F. G.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.|
|Champion, A. J.||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Ross, William|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Royle, C.|
|Clunie, J.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Coldrick, W.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Collick, P. H.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Short, E. W.|
|Cove, W. G.||Kenyon, C.||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lewis, Arthur||Skeffington, A. M|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Lindgren, G. S.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||MacColl, J. E.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Snow, J. W.|
|Deer, G.||McLeavy, F.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Delargy, H. J.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Dodds, N. N.||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Mann. Mrs. Jean||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Manuel, A. C.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A||Swingler, S. T.|
|Fernyhough E.||Mason, Roy||Sylvester, G. O|
|Finch, H. L.||Mayhew, C. P.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E)||Mellish, R. J.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Follick||Mikardo, Ian||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Foot, M. M.||Mitchisison, G. R.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Forman, J. C.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Morley, A. S.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Thomson, Geroge (Dundee, E.)|
|Gailtskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mort, D. L.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayon)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Moyle, A.||Thornton, E.|
|Glanville, James||Mulley, F. W.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Murray, J. D.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Nally, W.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Viant, S. P.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Grey, C. F.||Oldfield, E. H.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Oliver, G. H.||Weitzman, D.|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Oswald, T.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Hale, Leslie||Padley, W. E||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Paget, R. T.||West, D. G.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Paling, Rt. Hon W. (Dearne Valley)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Hannon, W.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Palmer, A M. F.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Hastings, S||Pannell, Charles||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Pargiter, G. A.||Wigg, George|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Parrker, J.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Paton, J.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hobson, C. R.||Peart, T. F.||Willey, F. T.|
|Holman, P.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Poole, C. C.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Houghton, Douglas||Popplewell, E.||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Hoy, J. H.||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Proctor, W. T.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Rankin, John||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Reeves, J.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Wyatt, W. L|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Yates, V. F.|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Rhodes, H.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon G. A.||Richards, R.|
|Janner, B.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Mr. Pearson and|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Mr. Arthur Allen.|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Lords Amendment."1532
§ The House divided: Ayes, 259; Noes, 241.1535
|Division No. 155.]||AYES||[9.47 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Barber, Anthony|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Baxter, A. B.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Astor, Hon. J. J.||Beach, Maj. Hicks|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M||Beamish, Maj. Tufton|
|Amory, Heatheoat (Tiverton)||Baldwin, A. E.||Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Banks, Col. C.||Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Partridge, E.|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Heald, Sir Lionel||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Higgs, J. M. C.||Perkins, W. R. D|
|Birch, Nigel||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Black, C. W.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Pickthorn, K, W. M.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Bowen, E. R.||Hollis, M. C.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hope, Lord John||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Horobin, I. M.||Rayner, Brig. R|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Redmayne, M.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon P. G. T.||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Bullard, D. G.||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander, E. E.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Russell, R. S.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Carr, Robert||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Channon, H.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Keeling, Sir Edward||Scott, R. Donald|
|Clarke, Brig, Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Kerr, H. W.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R|
|Cole, Norman||Lambton, Viscount||Shepherd, William|
|Colegate, W. A||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W)|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Langford-Holl, J. A.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Leather, E. H. C.||Smyth, Brig. J. C. (Norwood)|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Snadden, W. McN|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Lennox-Boyd Rt. Hon. A. T.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Linstead, H. N.||Speir, R. M.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G (King's Norton)||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Stanley, Capt Hon Richard|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Longden, Gilbert||Stewart, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Low, A. R. W.||Stewart, Henderson, (Fife, E.)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Storey, S.|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||McAdden, S. J.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||McCallum, Major D.||Summers, G. S.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon M. S.||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Drayson, G. B.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne.)|
|Drewe, C.||Maekenson, Brig. H. R.||Thomas, Leslie (Canternbuty)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||McKibbin A. J.|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W)|
|Erroll, F. J.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)|
|Fell, A.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.|
|Finlay, Graeme||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Turton, R. H.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Markham, Major S. F.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Fort, R.||Marples, A. E.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Maude, Angus||Vosper, D. F.|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Maudling, R.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Mellor, Sir John||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||Molson, A. H. E.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C|
|Godber, J. B.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Wellwood, W.|
|Gower, H. R.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E)||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Gridley, Sir Arnold||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Williams, Rev. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Odey, G. W.||Wills, G.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Mr. Oakshott and Mr. Kaberry.|
|Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)|
|Adams, Richard||Hannan, W.||Popplewell, E.|
|Albu, A. H.||Hargreaves, A.||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Hastings, S.||Pursey, Cmdr H|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Hayman, F. H.||Rankin, John|
|Awbery, S. S.||Harbison, Miss M.||Reeves, J.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hewitson, Capt. M||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Baird, J.||Hobson, C. R.||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Balfour, A.||Holman, P.||Rhodes, H.|
|Barnet, Rt. Hon. A. J||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Richards, R|
|Bartley, P.||Houghton, Douglas||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Hoy, J. H.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Benson, G.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N)|
|Beswick, F.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Ross, William|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Shackleton, E. A. A.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Blenkintop, A.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon E.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Short, E. W.|
|Boardman, H.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Shurmer, P. L E.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G||Janner, B.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Bowden, H. W.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Simmons, C J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Snow, J. W.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S)||Keenan, W.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Carmichael, J.||King, Dr. H. M.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Champion, A. J.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Stress, Dr. Barnett|
|Chapman, W. D.||Lewis, Arthur||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Lindgren, G. S.||Swingler, S. T|
|Clunie, J.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Coldrick, W.||MacColl, J. E.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Collick, P. H.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||McLeavy, F.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Cove, W. G.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||McNeil. Rt. Hon. H.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Manuel, A. C.||Thornton, E.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A||Thurtle, Ernest|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Mason, Roy||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Dear, G.||Mayhew, C. P.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mellish, R. J.||Viant, S. P.|
|Doddt, N. N.||Messer, F.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Delargy, T. E. N.||Mikardo, Ian||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon, J. C.||Mitchision, G. R.||Weitzman. D.|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Moody, A. S.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Morely, R.||Wells, William (Walshall)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||West, D. G.|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednetbury)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mort, D. L.||Whealdon, W. E.|
|Flenburgh, W.||Moyle, A.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Finch, H. J.||Mulley, F. W.|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Murray, J. D||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Follick, M.||Naily, W.||Wigg, George|
|Foot, M. M.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B|
|Forman, J. C.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J||Wilkins, W. A|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Oldfield, W. H.||Willey, F. T.|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Oliver, G. H||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Orbach, M.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon H. T. N||Oswald, T||Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Padley, W. E||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Glanville, James||Paget, R. T.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Winterbottam, Richard (Brightside)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Pannell, Charles||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Grey, C. F.||Pargiter, G. A||Yates, V. F.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Parker, J.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Paton, J.|
|Hale, Leslie||Peart, T. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W)||Plummet, Sir Leslia||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Arthur Allen.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Poele, C. C.|
§ Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, in subsection (8, a), to leave out from the second "trailers," to the end of the paragraph, and to insert:in the possession of the company at the time of transfer of the shares.I do not know who is to reply to the case for this Amendment. I prefer the Minister to the Parliamentary Secretary in this regard. I would call the Minister's attention to the general trend of these debates. We hope that the Treasury Bench will not keep on taping on the theme that we are out to destroy the Bill. We have got so far with the Bill now that our Amendments to the Lords Amendments are directed to improving the Bill. This is a remarkable example of Parliamentary drafting. [Interruption.] Mr. Deputy-Speaker, when I got up to move this Amendment there was comparative quiet, but I am having great difficulty in making myself heard against all this noise. I was asked earlier today for assistance by the Official Reporters because they could not hear me because of the noise. I do not know how my speech can be heard and reported against all this babel.
§ 10.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Pannell
I should have thought that after this passage of time and by 10 o'clock hon. Members would have had a thirst.
The First Schedule of the original Bill read:Provided that the number of trailers so specified, together with the number of trailers (if any) specified by him in other such applications relating to the same transport unit, shall not exceed the number of trailers (other than additional vehicles) included in that transport unit.Evidently that was too much for their Lordships, who could not understand it any more than I could. They then got going and made an Amendment, which we see in paragraph (a) of subsection (8) of this new Clause A, which says:The total number of trailers specified by virtue of paragraph 2 of Part I of the said First Schedule in applications for special A licences shall not exceed the number of trailers made over under subsection (1) of this section by the Commission to the company.1538 In order to resolve this difficulty we have now proposed this simple Amendment to leave out from the second "trailers." and to insert:in the possession of the company at the time of transfer of the shares.Trailers are not in the same category as vehicles, because "trailer" is a broad term indicating many different types of vehicles. There are box trailers which could be attached to 30 cwt., a 2-ton, a 3-ton or a 5-ton vehicle, which would go to different parts of the country. In this category would be trailers which could be attached to mechanical horses. Anybody who buys a Scammell or a Bedford mechanical horse reckons to buy about three trailers for each one. It is quite common to make a journey between two points, say London and Birmingham or London and Hereford, leaving one trailer in one place and one trailer in another. The number for each vehicle would not necessarily be limited to three, of course.
What we are concerned about, and what we hope the Minister is concerned about, is that every vehicle, whether in private or public hands, shall be efficiently used, and that there is no waste of capital equipment. What is the principal argument which has induced the Minister to do away with the 20 miles-an-hour speed limit and substitute a 30 miles-an-hour speed limit? It is because, broadly speaking—and here the Minister and I agree—the lower speed limit causes a waste of our capital equipment; vehicle for vehicle it does not allow us to get value for the capital sunk into it.
In this sense, broadly speaking, capital is a combination of labour and materials, consequently, any reference in any subsection limiting trailers is, in my view, completely reactionary. It would be far better to have no reference to trailers in the Bill. Does it really matter if there are half-a-dozen trailers to each vehicle provided the vehicle is being used efficiently and there is no waste in turn round and pick up?
We are not concerned about whether it is the British Transport Commission, some company fostered by them, as envisaged in this case, or the private haulier. We are not concerned about the amount of equipment they have, but rather with whether they do the job 1539 quickly and expeditiously. In a fleet such as I worked on before coming here, although there may have been three trailers to a vehicle they were interchangeable between vehicles. With a Bedford or a Scammell fleet there might be 20, 30 or 50 trailers for the whole fields of operations, and they would be interchangeable. Why has this been written into the Bill at all? If it has to be written in, it seems to me better that it should be in the terms of our Amendment. Between the time a company is floated and the time when it is finally established, if any extra trailers are taken on they should go into the strength.
It is, I suppose, what would be called a thoroughly restrictive trade practice to speak about the limiting of the number of trailers. I think that the Minister will have to say what he has in mind on this subject. It is not uncommon when we are considering the matter of trailers, even in the shorter fields of operation, to leave a whole series of trailers on the dock sides and at the factories, even with C licences. Unless they are operated to the full there is a good deal of waste of capital equipment.
I do not think that their Lordships knew much about trailers or technicalities of this kind. I can only conclude by telling a story. I remember going into one of the Government Departments when I was asking about engineering matters and a civil servant started posing to me all sorts of difficulties that faced them and all sorts of paradoxes in the language which lawyers use. I asked him if he appreciated how well that sounded to an engineer.
We are not concerned with trailers in the context of the Bill but with the efficient operation of trailers on the road. I can only say that I have approached this matter as objectively and as practicably as I can, and I hope that the Minister will give some answer. Let us get away from the idea that every Amendment moved has to be offset by a Departmental brief composed by people who know nothing about lorries and that after 1½ hours discussion we must have a Closure whether there is any merit in it or not. I hope that the Minister will reply with a good deal more sense of practicability than the Parliamentary Secretary did in a previous speech.
§ Mr. Mitchison
If I may act as a sort of legal trailer to the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Pannell) I should like to stress a particular point in the Amendment which he has moved. It really relates to the special A licences which in certain circumstances may be obtained for trailers. The special A licences are the licences which have various advantages, the most obvious of which is that the 25-mile arrangement does not apply to them. They have other advantages as well which are gratuitous, like attendance at debates in this House.
If one looks at the First Schedule to the Bill, one finds that, where a transport unit includes trailers, application may be made for a special A licence with regard to a specified number of trailers. The effect of the Lords Amendment in the context of the company procedure is that the number of special A licences for trailers which may be obtained by the final purchaser is not to exceed the number of trailers made over to the Commission's company on its formation; that is, if for the purposes of disposal the Commission forms a limited company and transfers to it under subsection (1) of the new Clause a given number of trailers, the privilege of special A licences in respect of trailers is only to attach to that number of trailers.
That is the Lords Amendment. Like so much in the Bill and in the Lords Amendments, it neglects the simple elementary question: What is to happen if the shares of the company in this case, or the transport units in another, are not sold immediately and the lorries, trailers and the rest have to be operated and the transport business carried on by someone meanwhile? "Meanwhile" depends not only on the terms of the Bill, on the Minister, on the Commission or on the Disposal Board; it depends on who may be willing to buy and at what price. "Meanwhile" may be a very considerable period, and during that period the company formed by the Commission will presumably not lock up its lorries, trailers and the rest in some dismal shed but will carry on the business of transport.
I do not imagine that even the Tory Party in its most benighted moments of pure ideology would wish the transport unit to cease functioning and the lorries 1541 and trailers to be shut up in silent oblation to a property-owning democracy. It would be realistic of hon. Members opposite to come down from the heights of pure reason temporarily occupied by the Conservative Central Office and its representatives opposite and to consider for a moment what are vulgarly called "the facts of life," in this case, the maintenance of the transport system of the country and the reasonable use of lorries and, here, trailers.
It may be that this enterprise, though no doubt hampered by the fact that its shares happen for the moment to be owned by the Commission, will struggle along and do a useful job, as, after all, British road transport has been doing, and it may even be so anti-Tory or perversely minded as to expand during the period which I have called "meanwhile" and acquire more lorries or even—let us face the facts with courage—more trailers.
If that happens, let us consider the position when the shares have to be sold. The Lords—there are some very distinguished surgeons there—appear to contemplate a process of amputation. The original lorries, the ones that were there first—the hereditary lorries, for this is a Lords Amendment—will survive, but the up-and-coming lorries, the mere commoners which have been added by the success of the business under public ownership, will be amputated. They are not to have any privileges at all. Only those lorries at first passed to the company will get the benefit of a free licence without any special restriction to the 25-mile radius.
This will not do. Privilege among human beings is bad enough; privilege among lorries, and hereditary lorries at that, is really too much, and I would suggest to the Minister that, as a matter of democracy in the trailer world, he should extend to the acquired lorries the privilege which the original lorries are to have of getting a special A licence. I hope he will respond in a suitable manner to this appeal, remembering that these inanimate things are very important, and that if he affronts the trailer world it may have the most appalling consequences to human beings.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am seriously disturbed by the concluding words of the 1542 hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison). The prospect of adding to the many people who distrust my motives the vast army of trailers all over the country is something which I think would damp the martial ardour of anyone. I cannot accept the view of the hon. and learned Gentleman that there ought to be no privilege among trailers. It seems to me highly desirable that trailers or motor cars designed to carry abnormal and indivisible loads of my height or of other people's weight ought to have some advantage in return.
I wish I could say "Yes" straight away to everything that has been said. I may be able to say "Yes" to some of the things which have been said but not to everything which we have heard in the two most cogent speeches putting forward this Amendment. The hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Pannell) said that the Opposition Amendments had been designed to improve the Bill. I hope he spent a profitable day somewhere else, for he cannot have been in the House of Commons.
I agree with the hon. Gentleman when he says that the preservation of the existing 20-miles an hour limit on heavy vehicles would be a waste of the capital equipment of the country. I know that he will say that at any trade unions meetings he is privileged to attend, whether as a member or as a visitor, and that he will convince everybody whose interest must be considered and consulted that what he says is true. He also said that trailers are not the same as vehicles. We also accept that piece of brilliant truth, and the Government have tried to give expression to that in another part of the Bill to which I will refer only in passing.
On page 2 of the Lords Amendments to this Bill hon. Members will see an Amendment to leave out lines 33 to 37 in the Bill and insert certain paragraphs. We have in fact provided that the Commission can have an unlimited number of trailers in the categories (b) and (c). Category (b) are motor vehicles which in the opinion of the Minister ought to be regarded as special vehicles constructed for special purposes other than the carriage of abnormal indivisible loads. Category (c) is other motor vehicles. We have not extended that privilege to vehicles in category (a) which are specially constructed to carry abnormal 1543 indivisible loads for the very obvious reason that in that category the trailer is very often more important than the vehicle, the trailer being a big vehicle constructed for the carriage of special indivisible loads. We are not on that Amendment and must I apologise, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, for drawing attention to it, since we have already passed it.
This Amendment deals with the amount of guaranteed A licences that should attach to companies formed under the company structure. Under the Bill purchasers of units or of all shares in a company will get with their purchase guaranteed A licences to apply for five years. They will also get trailers that are in the possession of the Commission at the time of the formation of the company and have been made over to the company under subsection (1) of the proposed new Clause.
The purpose of the Amendment is that the company should be allowed, after it has been formed, to acquire any number of trailers by purchase or by hire agreement for the company itself, and that these trailers should carry with them automatic A licences for five years. There is no logical reason why there should be a different treatment between the trailers and the vehicles themselves. There is no logical reason, but the party to which I belong realises that from time to time logic is not enough, and I do not think it will have a staggeringly disastrous effect on the future course of this Bill or the way it works out in practice if I accept the Amendment, and I am prepared to do so.
§ Mr. Callaghan
With the greatest good will in the world, I cannot let this historic moment pass. I am almost mellow and genial by the action of the Minister, which has shocked and astonished me almost in speechlessness, and that is rare enough.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I hope the Minister has not brought too much trouble on his shoulders and will not have to face too many inquests tomorrow when he discusses these matters in another place. We ought to put on record that this is the second Amendment out of those we 1544 have been discussing which the Minister has accepted. The first was a matter of form and I would be out of order to refer to it in detail. In parenthesis, it was a matter of inviting a board who had been given instructions by the Minister to report to the House what they had done about those instructions. So we did not feel that the world had come to an end when it was accepted.
Here, however, is an Amendment which affects the number of trailers that are to be kept by a company and to which special licences are attaching. This is almost epoch-making.
§ Mr. Callaghan
It means that in the case of some companies perhaps 20 trailers will be able to get special licences
§ Mr. Callaghan
It only goes to show the depths to which I have been reduced by this Bill that such a modest concession as this should have brought me to the point of almost lyrical gratitude to the Minister. Had we had other concessions of a major nature during the course of the debate, perhaps I should have regarded this as purely nugatory and trifling and would not have been as overcome with gratitude as I am. We must be making some progress and the ice is melting somewhere. I am wondering whether the Minister does not think that this would be a convenient moment to adjourn the debate in order to give the House an opportunity of recovering from the effects of this concession and recharging our batteries?
With regard to the 20 miles an hour speed limit, whatever may be the merits or demerits of that proposal in relation to capital investment, the Minister is choosing the worst moment in which to raise it—here I am on a more serious point— at a moment when these lorries are being denationalised. With the temper of the men as it is at present—and we have many illustrations of this—it is inviting trouble at the moment to talk about raising the speed limit of lorries when the nationalised undertaking has operated under a 20 miles an hour speed limit. I put this to the Minister because when looking at these issues he will have to 1545 consider the effects of this proposal, which, I know, he is considering.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I assure the noble Lord that, if asked and invited, I shall be able to do that. I only hope that he will himself consider the important issues that I am raising and on which he knows there is a good deal of feeling, and that he should take this factor into account.
I am grateful indeed to the Minister for accepting the Amendment. This historic occasion will long live in my mind and I should like the right hon. Gentleman to know how much I value the attention he has given to the consideration of this proposal.
§ Mr. Mellish
Somebody ought to say something on behalf of the back benchers. We are grateful to the Minister. Let my own Front Bench take note that this great triumph has been obtained on an Amendment that was moved and seconded by back benchers. This being so, I am sure that our Front Bench would willingly concede to us all future moving and seconding of Amendments for the rest of the debate. Whatever else the Minister has done in the past, he will go down in history as the friend of the trailers.
§ Amendment to the Lords Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the Lords Amendment, at the end of subsection (11, b), to insert:(12) No property shall be made over to a company under subsection (1) of this section unless the company is so constituted as to have the necessary powers to carry on business as carriers of goods by road in Great Britain including power to purchase any property required for that purpose.I scarcely dare rise in view of what my hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) has just said, but as the moving of this Amendment is allocated to me, I must use my poor powers of persuasion on the Minister. It would certainly be expecting too much to expect the right hon. Gentleman to accept a second Amendment, even though to us this is rather stronger than the case which we have been putting. Nevertheless, we must all do our poor 1546 best, and I shall try to use such powers as I have to persuade the Minister that this is a good Amendment.
We think that the Lords Amendment as drafted is rather peculiar in its relationship to the powers of the company. I am not a lawyer, but in subsection (11) there are, as I understand it, certain limiting factors which will apply to the company. The first is scarcely a limitation, but paragraph (a) says that the companymay dispose of any of its property in the ordinary course of its business.I find that slightly surprising. I should have thought that that would have been almost understood, but perhaps for technical reasons it has to be written into the Bill.
Then there is this second limitation in paragraph (b), that the companymay, with the approval of the Board, dispose of any of its property to the Commission.I suppose that what is in mind is that if a company is formed and for one reason or another its shares cannot be sold, it will be possible for the company to sell the property back to the Commission and then for it to be re-sold to another company.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
That is so, but it would be a book-keeping transaction and it would not, of course, be obligatory on the Commission to form another company. They could dispose of the old company as transport units.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I follow that. I can, therefore, follow the purpose of this provision.
Then come the words:but, save as aforesaid, may not dispose of any of its property.We thought that this was unduly limiting. Our Amendment is both exploratory and affirmative in the sense that we think there is something to commend it to the Minister. It is intended to make it quite clear that such a company shall havepowers to carry on business as carriers of goods by road in Great Britain including power to purchase any property required for that purpose.10.30 p.m.
Our point is that if the company can apparently sell property, dispose of any of its property in the ordinary course of business and sell such property as it has back to the Commission, why should it 1547 not also be given the power in the ordinary course of business to buy property? I know that the Minister has in mind the fact that these companies are purely companies for the purpose of realisation, that they are only formed in order better to be able to commit suicide. I can understand that approach.
But that is not what may happen to these companies. We are envisaging the possibility that these companies may have a continuing entity, the more so as the Minister, rather unwisely in my view, rejected the Amendment upon which we put considerable store earlier, namely, that they should not be required to sell their shares in one parcel. We think that that has a limiting effect upon the companies. As the Minister has insisted upon keeping that provision in the Bill, it seems to me that it is much more likely that the company may have a life that may continue perhaps longer than a few months, indeed for two or three years before the shares can be marketed in a way that will fetch a proper price, if the company may have the property transferred back to itself in order that it may acquire units.
Our conception, therefore, is that these companies are not just realisation companies with, as it were, a life that will gradually pass away. Let us suppose that the company has not the power to acquire property. Suppose it is not sold, and suppose that the Commission do not take the property back again. Presumably, we are then to have a company with a number of lorries and trailers diminishing in value over a long period, getting more and more obsolescent each year, without the possibility of replacement.
I should not have thought of this Amendment of ours in the first place had it not been for the limitations placed upon the powers of companies in subsection (11) of the Lords Amendment. It is precisely because of those limitations that I am suggesting to the Minister that we ought to make it clear that these companies can function as continuing entities in the event of the shares not being realised; and that that includes the power to carry on business and also to acquire the necessary property for them to maintain their business.
Suppose that one of these companies, if not sold for more than a year or 18 months, had the opportunity of attracting 1548 new business to itself. Suppose it is asked to take on a new line of business for which it has not the lorries. In my view it would be folly if such a company were denied the power to get that business because it had not sufficient lorries and it had not been made clear in the Bill that it should have the power to acquire that property.
If the Minister can give an assurance that these companies will have the power which I am trying to write into the Bill by this Amendment, that would meet the case, provided that it is absolutely clear beyond a peradventure. It is to make the position of the companies clear that we have put this Amendment on the Order Paper.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Great statesmen are divided into two classes—those who, being profoundly logical, occasionally apply a little bit of illogicality to their logic, and those who, being fundamentally illogical, occasionally apply a little logic to their illogicality. I ask the Minister to apply a little logic to his illogicality. He told us in accepting the last Opposition Amendment that he felt that it was rather illogical and, quite rightly on that occasion, arrogated to himself the British virtue of being illogical at the right moment. He said that he nevertheless accepted it.
I want him to go on and be, if he so regards it, illogical on the same lines but to follow the logical consequences of what he then did. What he did by accepting the last Amendment—and we all thank him for it—was to accept the principle that these companies may have to carry on business as lorry owners, transport units or whatever they may be called, for an indefinite period of time. No one can say for certain how long it will be.
In those circumstances it seems the merest common sense that they should not be deprived of any of the usual powers for carrying on such a business. One would have said at first sight that it was really unnecessary to move an Amendment of this sort. But it must be remembered that the new Clause which the Lords Amendment seeks to introduce attributes certain functions to these companies. One has to consider how in effect and on what lines the companies are to be formed in the first place and thereafter continued.
1549 When one does that one realises that there may be a certain necessity to make it quite clear that they shall have the ordinary powers of a company to carry on business as transport owners, including the power to purchase property for the purpose—such property, for instance, as the trailers we were talking about in connection with the previous Amendment. One must remember that they are being formed nominally by the Commission, but the Commission cannot move a step towards their formation without the approval of the Board.
Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite will remember that we had a look at the Board last night. It is a very odd body indeed. It consists of these representatives of lorry-owning interests, of representative of trade and industry, and, I agree, one representative of the Commission and a couple of nominees of the Minister. It so operates under this Bill that it is really quite fair to describe it as, to a considerable extent, as a board of stooges. I hope that nobody will mind it being called that because that is what it appears to be. So far as it is not merely a facade, it represents the buying interests, that is to say the gentlemen in the transport industry who are themselves likely to be concerned—perhaps I should not say that because that disqualifies them, but they and their friends —in buying these lorries.
In those circumstances one must remember that they might, if they so chose —though of course they might do it by a majority vote and without having the need to refer to the Minister at all —so limit the powers of these companies, while they continued to hold the lorries and to act as transport contractors, to complete successfully with those already in the industry or those who were getting into it at the moment by purchasing transport units.
It is reasonable in those circumstances for us to safeguard the position of the Commission and the interests and rights of the public by putting in this Amendment, which will no doubt add little to what the Government say their intention is already, but which will make it clear to the public as well as to the Board that there is a definite intention that these companies should carry on business until their shares can be sold, and that for that purpose they ought not to be pre- 1550 cluded from acquiring other property like any other person carrying on a similar business. That is the object of the Amendment.
I can see only two objections to it. One I will merely mention to disregard it, and that is that it is not intended by the Government that the companies should have these powers. I cannot possibly see how that can be the case, having regard to the acceptance of the previous Amendment and the recognition that there might be purchases during the period between the formation of the company and the sale of the shares.
The second objection I have already dealt with, and that is that the powers are unnecessary and might be presumed to exist in any case. I would ask the Minister to remember the collection of lorry owners, C licence-holders, etc., who are temporarily and strangely being introduced to the business of company formation and high finance in the disposal of public property. It still seems to me remarkably odd to put them there at all. If we are to do that, and if the first and last word is to rest with this very funny Board for the purpose, let us at least give them one or two definite signposts to what they are to do. This Amendment seems a necessary and advisable signpost.
§ Mr. Maudling
While I am not able to accept the Amendment, I am prepared to give the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) the assurance for which he asked, and I hope he will regard it as adequate. We agree that companies to whom property is to be made over under the subsection should have these powers. It appears to us that they undoubtedly have the powers under the Lords Amendment, as drafted. Companies are to be formed by the Commission, if it appears expedient to them to do so, to be wholly subsidiary to the Commission. The Commission will determine the formation and the articles of association, and so on. The only limitation placed upon the constitution of the companies is that placed by subsection (11), which is a limitation of their powers to dispose of property. Because there is that specific limitation, it is clear that there is no specific limitation which prevents them acquiring and using the normal powers open to a company under company law.
1551 It appears that the Amendment is unnecessary because the Commission will form the companies as their subsidiaries, entitled to have all the powers allowable under company law. The only limitation will be that specifically set out in subsection (11). I hope that that explanation meets the point put forward by the hon. Gentleman.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Leicester, North-East)
I am not quite satisfied about this. I appreciate the intention the Minister has indicated. But subsection (11) is not purely a restrictionist subsection in its phraseology. If we look at paragraph (a) we read:A company …(a) may dispose of any of its property in the ordinary course of its business;That definitely confers a definite power. What strikes one at first sight in approaching subsection (11) is that one would expect a corresponding power, if it is intended there shall be a corresponding power, in the case of purchasing as well as in the case of disposing. The provision which deals specifically in express positive terms with disposal of itself suggests, in the absence of express positive terms, that there is no intention of enabling the company to purchase.
I fully appreciate the intention of the Government and that the intention indicated in other parts of this Clause could not be carried out unless it had the powers for which our Amendment provides. To avoid any ambiguity, however, and to make it perfectly clear, it seems desirable that the Amendment put down by the Opposition should be accepted. It would then leave the matter beyond all doubt.
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Lionel Heald)
Might I say a word in answer to the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas)? What he has said in regard to subsection (11) ought to be carried a little further. There is a specific provision that,A company …1552 and these are the important words—
but, save as aforesaid,"—
- (a) may dispose of any of its property in the ordinary course of its business; and
- (b) may, with the approval of the Board, dispose of any of its property to the Commission,may not dispose of any of its property:It is the ordinary principle of law that if certain things are specifically laid down, other things not specifically mentioned may be assumed to be omitted deliberately. It is an arguable matter, but I know that the hon. and learned Member is very familiar with this. The view we have taken quite deliberately in considering this wording is that it was adequate. In subsection (1) one sees that there is provision for taking over property and it says:together with any such rights or obligations of theirs as in their opinion can conveniently be made over therewith.That certainly reinforces the view that this is not to be a mere holding company but may be an operating company as well, and I hope the hon. and learned Member will accept that.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Will the Attorney-General answer one simple question, since he has chosen to rise? Applying the principle he so lucidly explained to us, is there not some risk, if we say that a company is to be formed in effect for the purposes of disposing of property and give it powers to dispose of the property with certain exceptions, that that statement may raise some doubt as to the company's power to buy further property? The second question is: would our Amendment conceivably do any harm or have any other purpose than to remove doubt as to the position of the company in this respect?
§ The Attorney-General
As far as the power to buy the property is concerned, that need not be specifically given. One would want to see if there is anything which prohibits a company from buying property, and there is nothing of that kind. The other argument which the hon. and learned Member has put forward seems to be answered in this way. Supposing those words I have mentioned were not there in subsection (1), it might be supposed to be a possibility that this company should be a mere holding company. But I would have thought the mere fact that those words are there show that it is intended that it shall do something more and I should have thought that that was enough. Therefore, I would follow the same principle urged on me yesterday from the Opposition not to put in words which are not necessary.
§ Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)
I should like to put one point to the Attorney-General. I do not think he has fully appreciated the intention behind our Amendment. We fully realise that the Government are anxious to meet the spirit which has prompted my hon. Friends to put down this Amendment, but I do not think that it will be sufficient merely for the Government to say that they accept its intention.
It seems to me that two separate and distinct points are involved here, and unless we have these words in the Clause we shall not achieve the object which I now gather we all have at heart. If the Attorney-General will look at the Amendment he will see that it aims, first, at introducing a negative injunction to prevent a transfer of property unless certain particulars are complied with and, secondly, to make it clear beyond all possibility of doubt what are the powers of the company to which property may be transferred.
It is not possible to understand the precise purpose of this Clause unless one carries one's mind back to the preceding Clause in the Bill. The real difficulty is that the only previous occasion on which the powers of the companies are referred to is in Clause 4. That says that one or more companies may be formed under the direct or indirect control of the Commission.… the powers of which include power to carry on business as carriers of goods by road in Great Britain.One of the objects of this Amendment is to make sure that these companies, when formed, shall not only have the power to carry on the business of carriers of goods by road in Great Britain but also— beyond any possibility of doubt—the power to purchase property.
We are anxious that these companies should have the power to do so, but will they be able to do so unless words to that effect are specifically put into the Bill somewhere? I should have preferred the power to purchase property in England to have been expressly mentioned in Clause 4 (1), but it is not open to us to go back to that Clause. Therefore we can only secure the clarification we seek on that Clause by having these words introduced in this Clause.
The Minister has said that he accepts the spirit of this Amendment. For the 1554 reasons which I have urged, it seems to some of us that there would be great doubt about the matter unless those words were expressly written into the Bill. Would it not therefore be better for the Government—who, for the first time, are showing signs of appreciating the arguments we have been addressing to them—to accept the Amendment as it stands?
§ Sir F. Soskice
I would like to put to the Attorney-General one suggestion which I think would help to tidy this Bill and make it more intelligible. We have spent some time arguing about what at first sight might appear a small point; but as the argument developed it became clear that in the minds of many of my hon. Friends there is considerable doubt about exactly what the effect of the existing text of the Bill is. When this Bill was first put before the House, Clause 4 contained, in subsection (1), power for the Commission to cause companies to be incorporated having certain powers, namely, the power to carry on business as carriers of goods by road in Great Britain.
Then the Government moved, in the other place, an Amendment which incorporates this long Clause which we are now discussing. As a concomitant of that, they took subsection (1) out of Clause 4 and put it into Clause 24, I think. I do not know what, in its final form, will be the number of the long Clause which we are now discussing, which was introduced in the Lords. I do not know whether it will come before, or after, Clause 24. I should have thought that as a matter of re-arrangement it would be more satisfactory, if the Commission is to be entitled to transfer property to particular companies, and has that power in Clause 4 and in this new Clause, to set out the power to form companies at an early stage in the Bill before these two Clauses make their appearance. I hope that the Attorney-General will consider that. It is desirable, if the Commission is to be entitled, under powers contained in two Clauses, to transfer property to companies, that one should know what companies are being talked about.
If one looks at the new Clause, one finds that the Commission is to be entitled to transfer road haulage units to "a company under their control." Is 1555 that to be one of the companies which is to be formed by them under the provisions of what was, before, Clause 4 (1)? Those companies have to be formed within a limited period, namely six months, which is specified in subsection (1) of the old Clause 4. Can they now, under the new Clause which the Government is introducing, transfer property to companies other than those formed within the limited period? As the Bill stands at the moment there is considerable doubt about which companies are referred to in the new Clause. Are they companies which must have been formed by the Commission, or do they include existing companies?
As has been pointed out by my hon. Friends during the debate on this new Clause, we do not know what the constitution, articles, or memoranda of the companies are to be. Are they to be public or private companies? When, by a short Amendment, the position could be put beyond doubt, it is undesirable, and not in the public interest, to leave the matter wrapped in obscurity. In a rather cavalier fashion the Attorney-General dismissed objections to the present form of the Bill. The hon. and learned Gentleman shakes his head. I hope he will follow that with some serious thought on the matter. I hope he will say that he will not be quite so cocksure in the view he has just expressed, and will see whether some slight re-arrangement of the Clauses of the Bill will not remove the doubts and difficulties which have perplexed and distressed a number of my hon. Friends.
I can only make the suggestion. If the Attorney-General is not receptive of a constructive suggestion I cannot carry it any further, but I hope he will be, because obviously there is force in what has been said by many of my hon. Friends. I hope that the Attorney-General, as a matter of common courtesy to this side of the House, if for no other reason, will say that he will carefully consider what has been said.
§ 11.0 p.m.
§ The Attorney-General
I hope that I am always as courteous to the right hon. and learned Gentleman as he is to me, and I certainly would not want to depart from that standard this evening. I would 1556 only say that even he now appears to have recognised that, in order to satisfy his position and that of his hon. Friends, it is necessary to do something more than adopt this Amendment, and he suggests a re-arrangement of the Bill. Quite clearly—and I think the House will agree with me—to do a thing of that kind offhand at this time of night and at this stage is something that we cannot be expected to do.
What the right hon. and learned Gentleman has done, in effect, is to endorse the view that I have already expressed —that this Amendment is not really a matter of any importance. What he would really like to see would be some other alteration of the Bill. I hope that he will not be cross with me for saying this, but to ask me to produce, apparently, some manuscript Amendment to carry out the object that he wants to achieve is asking a little too much of me. I am very sorry, but I am afraid I am not prepared to do it.
§ Mr. Fletcher
Before the Attorney-General concludes his remarks, might I ask him this question? As I understood my right hon. and learned Friend's suggestion, he was not asking that there should be any re-arrangement of the new Clause. What we are asking the Attorney-General to tell us is whether this new Clause will appear in the Bill if this Lords Amendment is accepted. This is, after all, an entirely new Clause, and in interpreting the effect of it we are anxious to know what position it will have in the Bill. Will it come after Clause 4 and before the present Clause 5, or will it come after Clause 24? When we have to interpret the effect of this new Clause it will be important to know whether it follows immediately after the existing Clause 4 or whether it comes at a much later point in the Bill as at present drafted.
I hope that I have not intervened unduly, but this is an important point, and the only possible reason I could have for repeating my question would be to enable the Attorney-General and those who are assisting him to reflect on the vital importance of this question, and, 1557 before they give the answer to the House, which the whole House is anxious to have, to be sure in their own minds that they are giving the right answer.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
It might interest the hon. Gentleman to know that it will appear as stated on the Order Paper, which says, "Page 8, line 6, at end, insert new Clause 'A'." If he wants to see where this and any other consequential changes come he had better get the Transport Bill as amended on Third Reading and ordered to be printed on 26th March; that is the Lords copy; we have been arguing on the Commons copy. If he does that he will see where in the Bill the Government hope that the various Lords Amendments, if carried, will find their eventual resting place.
§ Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)
I understood the learned Attorney-General to say that in order to make our Amendment acceptable a new Bill would be required.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Perhaps the hon. and learned Gentleman would clarify the position, because that was my impression.
§ The Attorney-General
What I said was that the right hon. and learned Gentleman apparently wanted some Amendment in addition to that which we were discussing, and I said that if he did I thought it was much better to ask him, with his great skill in these matters, to formulate it. and we would consider it, rather than that I should formulate something which I did not want to formulate for a purpose which I did not then understand.
§ Sir F. Soskice
I should like to ask the hon. and learned Gentleman one question. If I formulate it, will he undertake to accept it?
§ The Attorney-General
I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would not expect me to say I would accept it. I could not accept something which I had not the advantage of examining in advance, but to say that I would not examine anything which the right hon. and learned Gentleman submitted to me is something I would never do. I should be delighted to consider anything he suggested although I will 1558 not guarantee that anything he submits will be accepted.
§ Mr. G. Brown
I have always thought that the more lawyers speak about any particular subject the more confused it becomes. After my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) had moved the Opposition Amendment, I thought I knew what it was about. I still had some suspicion I knew what it was about after the Minister had spoken. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) did not unduly shake me, but since then there has been interventions by lawyers from all branches of the profession, and we seem now to be completely in a tangle.
I want to get clear in my mind what the proposal is. The Attorney-General has now shaken the view which he gave me earlier as to whether this matter is covered by the Bill. It does not seem to me that our arrangement of the Clause deals with this point, because it is what is in the Clause that matters. If the power is not in the Clause, it can be put anywhere in the Bill, but it does not alter it.
The Attorney-General took his stand on a defence which always gives me the greatest grounds for suspicion. He said that if it were not in the Bill, it was there by implication. I asked him where it was specifically, and he merely said that since there is a Clause which limits their right to dispose and does not refer to purchasing, therefore by implication they must have the right to purchase. I would have thought that equally an opposite deduction can be drawn from it. The fact that the Clause only mentions disposal, and, indeed, goes out of its way to confer such rights upon them and says nothing about purchasing. I should have thought made it possible to deduce that the power to purchase was not there.
Then the hon. and learned Gentleman went on to a different line of argument. It is one which one hears from Ministers of all kinds and in all parties very repeatedly, though it is not one which one can be altogether happy about. The hon. and learned Gentleman said, in effect, "I agree with the other side of the House that this power ought to be there. I agree that companies and particularly trading companies should have 1559 the normal rights of such companies and that that should include the power to purchase property, but I am not prepared to put an Amendment into the Bill. You must rely upon my assurance." When later there are challenges in the courts upon the wording of the Bill, it will be found that an assurance even by such a distinguished Member of this House as the Attorney-General is of no use to anybody at all. One cannot give an assurance. Therefore, if the Attorney-General says that is the intention of the Bill, I think we are entitled to ask, "Why not put it into the Bill?" It cannot do anything wrong by his own standards; it cannot possibly be limiting anywhere; it can only make the position clear.
Although I would take that view on principle, I am encouraged to take it for an altogether different reason. I have listened during the last two days to Minister after Minister casting doubts in my mind upon the extent to which they want these companies or the Commission to be effective operating and trading bodies. The Government have spent two days suggesting that we ought to limit the trading powers, prestige and standing of the companies and the Commission, have resisted Amendments of ours which would have improved the position from our point of view, and have told us, as the Economic Secretary has done on so many occasions, that the great difference between the two sides of the House is that we believe in this and the other side do not, that they have the power and that is the end of the argument.
Thus, I get suspicious when the Attorney-General, no matter how specious or plausible may be the ground, resists putting into the Clause an Amendment which would make it clear beyond peradventure what the companies should do. I do not suggest that the hon. and learned Gentleman is at all an improper person. I had an occasion this afternoon to say that his opinion did not matter, but that is as far as I would go about him. I am sure he would not hide his intention; I would not suggest that he would keep a bad intention up his sleeve and mislead us: but the fact that he is taking this line of defence, on top of what has happened during the past two 1560 days, must give anyone less charitably-minded than I am good reason for doubt.
I urge the hon. and learned Gentleman to face this again. He admits that the worst that can be said of the words is that they are unnecessary, but he also admits that they are not at the moment in the Bill, that there is no specific similar power in the Bill and that the only possible defence of his ground is that one could deduce from certain other words that the power is there. I am sure he will agree with me that one could equally deduce the opposite.
For all those reasons, I hope the House will not easily accept his contention that the Amendment is unnecessary, but will press it and put it into the Bill.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. and learned Gentleman must ask the leave of the House if he desires to speak again.
§ The Attorney-General
If I may have the permission of the House once more, Mr. Speaker, to answer a question, I am sure that all hon. Members will agree upon one thing, that we are all very fortunate that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) did not take part in the contest of our profession, because we should probably have been in rather a bad way if he had. Without any training, he appears to have attained great heights in the ability to present arguments.
In answering his question, I have very carefully to remember an injunction that was given to me yesterday, that I ought to confine myself to dealing with questions of law, and that is what I propose to do now. Therefore, all I can do is to say that I was asked to advise with regard to this matter, and the advice that I gave was that it was unnecessary to have the Amendment. It is not for me to say in those circumstances whether the Amendment should be inserted or not, but I gave that advice, and I give it again now to the House.
I would once more draw attention to the fact that a company set up under subsection (1) of the Clause will have the powers which the hon. Gentleman wanted it to have, unless some reason can be found to say that it is not to have them. There is no such provision 1561 of a negative character there, and, on the other hand, from the references to the rights and obligations of the Commission which can in their opinion conveniently be made over therewith, it is quite clear it must at any rate include a company which has all these powers,
§ and the natural construction of the words would lead me to suppose that this is so.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Lords Amendment, as amended."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 213; Noes, 244.1563
|Division No. 156]||AYES||[11.15 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard||Hargreaves, A.||Pluntmer, Sir Leslie|
|Albu, A. H.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Poole, C. C.|
|Alien, Arthur (Bosworth)||Hastings, S.||Popplewell, E.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hayman, F. H||Price, Joseph T. (Weathoughton)|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Herbison, Miss M||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hewitson, Capt. M||Proctor, W. T|
|Bacon. Miss Alice||Hobson, C. R.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Baird, J.||Holman, P.||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Reid, William (Camlachie)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J||Houghton, Douglas||Rhodes, H.|
|Benn, Hon Wedgwood||Hoy, J. H.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Benson, G.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Beswick, F.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Ross, William|
|Blackburn, F.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Royle, C.|
|Boardman, H.||Irvine, A. J (Edge Hill)||Shackleton, E. A. A|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A G||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Janner, B.||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Snow, J. W.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Sorensen, R. W|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Carmiehael, J.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A||Keenan, W.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Champion, A. J.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Chapman, W. D||King, Dr. H. M.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Chetwynd, G. R||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Coldrick, W.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Collick, P. H.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Swingler, S. T.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Lewis, Arthur||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Cove, W. G.||Lindgren, G. S.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Crosland, C. A. R||MacColl, J. E.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||McLeavy, F.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H||McNeil, Rt. Hon. H.||Thomas, Iowerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thornton, E.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Thurtle, Ernest|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Deer, G.||Mason, Roy||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mayhew, C. P.||Wallace, H. W.|
|Dodds, N, N.||Mellish, R. J.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Mikarder, Ian||Weitzman, D.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C||Mitchison, G. R||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Moody, A. S.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Morley, R.||West, D. G.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Mort, D. L||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Finch, H. J,||Moyle, A.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Mulley, F. W||Wigg, George|
|Foot, M. M.||Nally, W.||Wilcock, Group Capt C. A. B|
|Forman, J. C.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Wilkins, W. A|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J||Willey, F. T.|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Oldfield, W. H.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Oliver, G. H.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Orkash, M.||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Oswald, T.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S)|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Padley, W. E.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||Paget, R. T.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Pannell, Charles||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Pargiter, G. A.||Yates, V. F.|
|Halt, Leslie||Parker, J.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Paton, J.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Pearson, A||Mr. Bowden and|
|Hannan, W.||Peart, T. F||Mr. Kenneth Robinson.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Godber, J. B.||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Cough, C. F. H.||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Gower, H. R.||Noble, Cmdr, A. H. P.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Graham, Sir Fergus||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Gridley, Sir Arnold||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Odey, G. W.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim. N.)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weslon-super-Mare)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Partridge, E.|
|Barber, Anthony||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Heald, Sir Lionel||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Heath, Edward||Peyton, J W. W.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Higgs, J. M. C.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Price, Henry (Lewisham. W)|
|Bevins J. R (Toxteth)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Birch, Nigel||Hollis, M. C||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Bishop, F. P.||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Rayner, Brig. R.|
|Black, C. W.||Hope, Lord John||Redmayne, M.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss, M. P||Rees-Davies, W. R|
|Bowen, E. R.||Horobin, I. M.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Braine, B. R.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N)||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr, G. (Bristol, N. W.)||Hutuchinsion, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N)||Ropner, Col, Sir Leonard|
|Bromely-Devenport, Lt.-Col. W.H.||Hyde, Lt.-Col, H. M.||Russell, R. S.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Ryder, Capt, R. E. D.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Bullard, D. G.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E||Jones, A. (Hall Green)||Shepherd, William|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L W||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Keeling, Sir Edward||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Kerr, H. W.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Carr, Robert||Lambton, Viscount||Snadden, A. C. M.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Channon, H.||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon W. S.||Leather, E. H. C.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinslead)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Stevens G. P.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth,W.)||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W)|
|Cole, Norman||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon A. T.||Stewart, Henderson (Fife E.)|
|Colegate, W. A.||Linstead, H N.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Storey, S.|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C||Studholme, H. G.|
|Crantaorne, Viscount||Longden, Gilbert||Summers, G. S|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H F C||Low, A. R. W||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Croslhwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S)||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Crouch, R. F.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L (Hereford)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||McAdden, S. J.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||McCallum, Major D||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S)||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Mackeson, Brig. H. R||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Deedes, W. F.||McKibbin, A. J.||Turner, H. F. L|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Turton, R. H.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Vane, W. M. F|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K|
|Drayson, G. B.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W.E||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Erroll, F. J.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Fell, A.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Finlay, Graeme||Markham, Major S. F||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F||Marples, A. E||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Maude, Angus||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Ford, Mrs. Patricia||Maudling, R.||Webbe, Sir H.(London & Wesminster)|
|Fort, R.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L C||Wellwood, W.|
|Fraser, Hon Hugh (Stone)||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Mellor, Sir John||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croyden, E.)|
|Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Molson, A. H. E.||Williams, R. Dudley(Exeter)|
|Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas||Wills, G.|
|Gamer-Evans, E. H.||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|George, Rt. Hon Maj. G. Lloyd||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Drewe and Mr. Kaberry.|
§ Mr. Crookshank
I beg to move, "That further consideration of the Lords Amendments be now adjourned."
I do so not because the Government have any desire that it should be adjourned now but because it is the only technical way in which I can inform the House of anything of what is in the mind of the Government regarding future progress on this Bill. I hope that hon. Members will not be too disappointed if afterwards I ask leave to withdraw this Motion and carry on with the business on which we are engaged. But we recognise that there is an element of interest and possibly anxiety to know what we propose to do tonight.
I hope, therefore, that I may be allowed, first of all, to say—and I do not want to be long—that I think it is only right that the House, at this stage, should look at the progress we have made, if progress it can be called, on the Lords Amendments to this important Bill. When we met this afternoon the time that we had already spent on the Lords Amendments to this Bill was 21 hours— a massive period of time. Since then, taking four o'clock as the time when we got on to the business, we have sat seven and a half further hours.
That is inordinately long when we consider that what we have largely been discussing have been Amendments to Amendments. We have not been discussing for most of the time even the Lords Amendments themselves, but Amendments to Amendments to a Bill which, as you, Mr. Speaker, have already pointed out on a point put to you, has already technically passed this House. I am not evaluating the Amendments themselves when I say that when the Transport Bill of 1947 came to the House in that year from another place there were 241 Amendments. No doubt many were drafting Amendments, but a great many were Amendments of substance. The difference between the Lords Amendments then and the Lords Amendments now is that during the debates on the Lords Amendments to that Bill the Government of the day were largely opposing Amendments which had been inserted, whereas on this occasion the Government of the day are largely proposing to this House the acceptance of Amendments, a great number of which 1566 are either a complete or partial acceptance of the point of view of hon. Members opposite. That is a very essential difference.
However, the fact remains that on that occasion the total time spent on Lords Amendments was 24 hours. That was considerably less than what we have spent up to now on these Amendments, the great majority of which, taking them as a whole, are concessions or part-concessions to the Opposition point of view. Therefore, on that calculation, we have already spent the best part of more than four Parliamentary days. That is quite a lot of time. I think that I can say on behalf of my right hon. Friend who has been conducting the Bill so admirably on behalf of the Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad to receive that tribute from all quarters of the House. I think I can say that the Government have certainly been very lenient in not moving "That the Question be now put."
What happened on the first day may have escaped the notice of some hon. Members who are now in the Chamber. Four Amendments—I think they were the first four—occupied, the first 1½ hours, the next 1¼ hours, the next 1¾ hours and the next 1½ hours. No one can say that those amounts of time are anything but ample, if hon. Gentlemen care to remind themselves of an appropriate yardstick. After all, the Standing Committees of this House do very valuable work in moulding the legislation of Parliament, but for the sittings upstairs two hours and 2½ hours is the normal amount of time. That should be kept in mind when I say that on the first day of these proceedings that was the sort of time which Amendments were taking.
On that sort of calculation, which I admit does not carry one very far. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] If hon. Gentlemen would only wait until the end of the sentence they would see that perhaps there is nothing they want to cheer. That sort of calculation does not carry one very far, because some Amendments are more important than others. But at the pace at which we have been going, I estimate that it would now take about 90 more hours to get through the Lords Amendments. I have only to state that 1567 proposition for every hon. Member, whether he has been in this House for a long time or a short time, to realise that it is ridiculous. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the Gas Bill?"] We happen to be talking about the Lords Amendments to the Transport Bill.
We all recognise the rights of minorities. I hope that we try, so far as it rests with us—and even if we fail in amply giving weight to them, it is your duty, Mr. Speaker, to do it—to recognise the rights of the minorities in the House. It is equally true, however, that the majority have certain rights with which it is imbued as a result of the last Election. So long as we carry this House with us, we are entitled to carry our legislation. I agree that there has got to be a certain amount of give and take, and I must say that when we review the course of these debates on the Lords Amendments, I think that we have done most of the giving so far. I put it to hon. Members that, considering the rights of the minority, as we have done, considering certainly the rights of the majority, we are all, wherever we sit, agreed that it is of paramount importance at any time, but I think perhaps more than ever now, that Parliament should not be made a mockery—[Interruption.]—and that our business should not be reduced to nonsensical proportions.
Bearing all these considerations in mind, as my right hon. Friends and I tried to do before this Sitting ever started, the Government came to some tentative conclusions about what they thought would be an appropriate amount of time to devote to the rest of the debate. We came to the conclusion, weighing all these matters, having already had two Sittings, one a very late one and one last night not very late, and one more day—that is to say, this sitting day— that sitting late today, but not unduly late, say, all told about 12 hours from four o'clock, was an ample and reasonable time for concluding this business. We never had any suggestion of sitting through Friday or Saturday, because, weighing the matter up, we concluded that 12 hours was a reasonable time. [Interruption.] Twelve hours from four o'clock do not take us into late tomorrow or into Saturday. [Interruption.]
1568 I hope I may be allowed to say that we communicated that view to the right hon. Gentlemen who are leading the Opposition. They, also no doubt weighing up and considering these matters, did not agree that that was sufficient time. That is, therefore, where we stand. We made our suggestions about what we thought was a reasonable time in which to conclude this business; they disagreed, so it falls upon the Government to offer to the House our own decision how the business should proceed. We had some hopes that right hon. Gentlemen opposite would have thought that what we suggested was right. Perhaps they did, but did not like to accept it. Anyhow, no agreement was reached on that subject, so I would now put it to the House that we propose to make some more progress tonight. After all, it is only
We would think it reasonable, if it was acceptable to the House as a whole, to sit to, say, 2 a.m.—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, all night."]—and then adjourn. [HON. MEMBERS: "The whole week."] There is no necessity to sit for the whole of the week because we have come to the conclusion that 12 hours or so is reasonably ample, and hon. Members know perfectly well that it is. We are proposing to put to the House a plan by which, with an hour or two's tolerance each way, it should be achieved.
First, we propose that we should make some more progress tonight, sitting to 2 a.m. or thereabouts and then adjourn. Then we shall put on the Order Paper a Motion—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]— arising out of the decision of the House on 24th November. [Interruption.] There is no need to abolish anything; it is merely a question of carrying out and exercising the powers which this House has within the last few months accorded to the Government. [An HON. MEMBER: "Guillotine the Lords."] It has nothing in the world to do with the Lords. This is a question of the time in which this House thinks it is reasonable to conclude a debate on their Amendments which has already gone on for the hours I have mentioned.
It is not necessary, in order to, bring the matter to a reasonable conclusion on Monday, to have an Allocation of Time Order. There is no necessity for a 1569 Guillotine Motion or anything of that sort. The Resolution of this House on 24th November makes it open to the Government to put down a Motion, which we will do, for debate, and that debate can last for only two hours—again by decision of the House on 24th November —setting out the time within which this matter must be concluded. At the end of the number of hours which will appear in the body of that Motion, you, Mr. Speaker, have no option but to put the Question to the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] All this has been decided by the House. You will then, Sir, have to put the outstanding questions, and that will conclude the matter—
§ Mr. Crookshank
This is not a decision which we have to take now. The Motion will be put on the Paper. That Motion has to be decided within two hours. That Motion will say that the debate on the Lords Amendments must be concluded by a certain hour. Of course it is within the power of the Opposition to use up the remaining time tonight and the time on Monday as they think best. How the remaining time tonight and on Monday is used of course obviously depends on those who have Amendments to propose and those who wish to debate them.
The right hon. Member asks how long the Government had in mind for the debate on Monday. We thought that given assiduity and not loquacity, about 12 hours would suffice from the beginning of today's Sitting. I think we might sit to, say, about 2 a.m. [An HON. MEMBER: "You have said that."] Well hon. Members are really anxious to know.
§ Mr. Crookshank
I had thought that in all the circumstances, and my right hon. Friends agree with me, we might go a little longer than the 12 hours I suggested and bring the debate on Monday, under this procedure, to a conclusion at 10 o'clock. That would mean that there would, under the Motion, be at least four hours available.
That is more than was the Government's intention when we started this debate. I hope, therefore, that right hon. 1570 and hon. Gentlemen opposite will consider that in view of the time taken up already on this debate the time which I have suggested will be available will be enough to satisfy the needs of all those who really want to bring forward points of importance on the Lords Amendments which still remain to be discussed.
I thought it was only right to inform the House of our intentions at the earliest opportunity, and it is very much in the hands of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite how they occupy the time which I have indicated will be available. I should not think of asking the House to adjourn before 2 a.m. There is, therefore, time to discuss this Motion or the Amendments. That is the proposal I make, with the full support of all those who sit on this side of the House.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
The right hon. Gentleman has made a very, very grave statement to the House—of new and, I rather think, unprecedented constitutional significance. One of my hon. Friends thinks that there is perhaps some precedent, but I do not think there is, although I may be proved wrong, like anybody else.
I have warned hon. Gentlemen before. There is a lot to be said for not merely getting excited at party meetings, which they evidently have done, instead of sitting quietly like my hon. Friends did and thinking out the future and deliberately deciding things. Hon. Members opposite have got excited. They have got their blood up and they are supporting decisions which may come back on them some day—and then they or their successors will be saying, "Why ever did we do that thing? Why did we make this precedent?"
They are not only making a precedent; they are using—call it an order within the Allocation of Time Order; call it a supplementary order; call it what you will—what is in fact a Guillotine on the Amendments which have come from their Lordships' House. I may be wrong, but my impression is that this device—an Allocation of Time Order in respect of Amendments from another place—has not been used before. It is perfectly true that the Liberal Government's Education Bill, in the early days of the great Liberal Government, came back severely amended by the Lords. The Prime Minister was a Member of that Govern- 1571 ment. It came back and it was so emasculated that the Government of the day decided to treat the Amendments, as they called it, globally. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman moved, "That this House doth disagree with the whole of the Lords Amendments," and I believe that Motion was carried but the Bill was lost.
That was the end of that Bill. But that was not an Allocation of Time Order. This is, and it is going to mean that important Amendments made by their Lordships—some of them, like the great Clause which we are now considering, which is in size the equivalent of many an Act of Parliament—and sent to this House after the Bill has gone there, will not be properly discussed here. Many others will not be discussed here at all.
This is increasing the power of another place. It does not amuse me, but the smiles of hon. Gentlemen opposite making light of these grave things are idiotic. It is an idiotic attitude to take. They will be sorry for this. What are they deciding by this decision? Because of the Guillotine in this House, we were unable adequately to consider the Bill, and the Minister, time after time, with his record of friendship for Franco Spain —[Interruption.] I will go on when I get order from the gentlemen of England. In the meantime, I will maintain my complacency and my good temper. About five minutes ago I referred to the Minister of Transport and his outlook on politics, and to his general temperament, which is not unrelated to his friendship for Franco Spain; the friendship which existed at the time of the cruel Spanish war, when Hitler and Mussolini were in that battle. [Interruption.]
Time after time when, during consideration of the Bill, matters of substantial importance were raised, the Minister said, "I am not sure what I am going to do about this. I may do something, and if I do, I will do so in another place." That is all we knew on more than one occasion. That meant that the power of legislative initiative, on a Bill which had originated in the House of Commons, had been sent up the corridor to another place, and it is a big 1572 piece of new legislation upon which we in this House have not had a Committee and Report stage. It came from another place. It was framed in another place. It was drafted by the Government and approved in another place.
Now we are told not only that the power of legislative initiative on a large scale has, in part, been transferred to another place, but that this Government on Monday will move a Motion which will prevent, and is intended to prevent, the House of Commons discussing a whole series of Amendments. Now, what is this? This is single Chamber Government—
§ Mr. Morrison
And the wrong Chamber at that. I am not a friend of single Chamber Government, but if I had to be I would choose this Chamber and not the other Chamber. That is what they have done, and let hon. Gentlemen opposite face it; that is what they have got to answer for—that legislative initiative on this Bill has passed to another place and this House is being denied the opportunity critically to examine the legislation which is coming from another place. This is single Chamber Government the other way round, and I say that it is a constitutional monstrosity worse than the original Guillotine Motion.
The right hon. Gentleman says that there is no surprise about this; that it was all in the original Allocation of Time Order and there is nothing new about it: cards on the table, so to speak—face upwards. I ask the right hon. Gentleman: Was there a single word said when that Order was brought in to show that it was intended to use it on House of Lords Amendments? Was it mentioned? Did it dawn upon a single Member of this House that it would be used for the Amendments of another place? I ask the Leader of the House. Did he mention it? Did any other Minister mention that this was intended to cover Amendments from the Lords? Can he tell me? I will willingly give way. I think he ought to answer. I will give way willingly. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] He will not because he cannot. He will not because he is afraid. He will not because he is unwilling to 1573 live up to his responsibilities as Leader of the House of Commons.
§ Mr. Crookshank
All this, of course, stands to be discussed when the Motion is on the Order Paper. All I was doing was announcing the intentions of the Government. The time for explaining and justifying is in the debate on the Motion, not now.
§ Mr. Morrison
So the right hon. Gentleman will not answer. The present Leader of the House of Commons is getting a terrible reputation. He knows the answer. He knows the answer perfectly well.
§ Mr. Morrison
I am asking a question that is relevant, but I am now being invited by hon. Members opposite to divert myself into a lengthy debate on foreign policy. If I did I should like to ask the Government what they have done about it anyway, with all the brave words that they offered at the time.
This device of the Government is unacceptable. They themselves did not anticipate using it. It is single Chamber Government the wrong way round, and leading to a greater constitutional outrage than the original Allocation of Time Order. The Leader of the House recited the progress that has been made on the Lords Amendments. He gave some figures and some averages of one sort and another. Apparently 1¼ hours was spent on this Amendment, 1¼ hours on the other Amendment and so on. It does not seem to be an unreasonable time to take on Amendments to a Bill which, after all, is threatening the livelihood and security of thousands of British working people, and for which we have had no effective Committee or Report stages. That is not a reasonable argument.
The right hon. Gentleman then made a comparison with 1947. He said that the then Opposition did not take as much time on the consideration of the Lords Amendments as we have on these Amendments. Why should they? They were Tories dealing with Amendments that came from a Tory House of Lords at the other end of the corridor and with which 1574 they were more likely to agree than would the Labour Party in opposition. That also seems to me to be an unreasonable argument. It cannot be shown that we have been filibustering or obstructing. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Hon. Gentlemen opposite seem in a merry mood tonight, which we can understand, but they have not been here for the greater part of our proceedings. For a considerable part—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)
On a point of order. Is it in order for the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Colegate) to make the use of the following words, which I quote, "Bloody lie?"
§ Mr. Speaker
If the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Colegate) used that expression he should instantly withdraw it.
§ Mr. Arthur Colegate (Burton)
In spite of very great provocation that was addressed to me, I regret I used the word "bloody," and I beg leave to withdraw it.
§ Mr. Speaker
It was not the word "bloody" I objected to. That word may have quite a harmless signification. It was the word "lie." which the hon. Member ought to withdraw, and he ought to do it at once.
§ Mr. Morrison
I was reminding hon. Members who suggest that they are quite sure what has happened during these proceedings that the great bulk of them have not been here. I am told that for a solid hour tonight the only hon. Gentleman opposite, apart from those on the Front Bench, was a P.P.S. Therefore, what do they know about what has been happening on the Bill?
I say that there has been no obstruction, no filibustering, and that we have seriously argued their Lordships Amendments and the proposed Amendments to the Lords Amendments. A high proportion of the argument which has taken place—not all of it; it ought not to be —has come from responsible trade union hon. Friends of mine, and nobody would accuse them of having engaged in that kind of thing. The right hon. Gentleman's implications are unfair and unjust. He says that Parliament should not be 1575 made a mockery. Who is making Parliament a mockery? The present Leader of the House of Commons has made a greater contribution than any other single hon. Member towards making the House of Commons a mockery, and the Chief Whip has ably assisted him; and I hope they will be sorry.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to certain conversations—he told us that he would, and, therefore, he had a perfect right to do so—that we had with him before the sitting began this afternoon. What happened was that he offered us today to a reasonable hour and the whole of Monday to a reasonable hour. That was a free offer, free of restrictions and free of the Guillotine. We did not think it enough. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Indeed, we did not.
We may be right or we may be wrong, but we conscientiously and genuinely believe that we could not adequately fulfil our duties with regard to these Amendments from another place in the time which would thus be available. We had a perfect right to think so and to say so. We were offered the whole of today and the whole of Monday. [HON. MEMBERS: "Too generous."] That was a conversation between the two Front Benches.
That has now been withdrawn. We have now been offered this day, which we have had, and Monday, less two hours which would be taken up by the discussion on the new Motion; and we have the prospect that a whole series of Amendments from another place, made on the responsibility of that other place, will be made without any discussion in the House of Commons whatever. We shall, of course, discuss all this on Monday, but it is a monstrous state of affairs; and the House is to adjourn on Monday at 10 p.m.
The time will come when the Conservative Party will be sorry they ever started this thing. It is no good praising the virtues of the revising Chamber down the corridor, and then refusing us the opportunity of considering the results of the revision. The Prime Minister and the Government could have agreed to unbend. After all, only one single Parliamentary day is in dispute as far as they are concerned out of the time at 1576 their disposal. Consideration of these Amendments is an important period for us. I thought the Prime Minister would have done the big thing tonight. I had hoped he would, but he has not done so.
We sounded the other side on a basis of today, Monday and Tuesday, so that it was a matter of one day at stake. That was not an unreasonable offer. Even so, it would have meant some sacrifices on our part. The Prime Minister could have come along and done the generous thing, which now and again he does. He has not done it tonight. He has preferred a spiteful, and I think in spirit, an unconstitutional course.
After all the Prime Minister himself is in difficulty. If he had come along in a generous mood, it would have got him out of his difficulty as well because of what he said last night. It was quite clear, according to his statement, that he was determined, and the statement was repeated more than once, to have this Bill and the Lords Amendments by the end of this week. He said that only the Opposition would suffer in the public estimation. He then went on to say that he wished to make it clear that as far as the Government were concerned they had every intention of carrying the Bill into law and dealing with the Lords Amendments before this week was out. That is according to "The Times," and he said the same thing more than once.
Having declared that he would have the Bill and these Amendments out of the way before the week was out, he is now in the humiliating position that he has to confess that what he said last night he cannot live up to, because he did not think enough last night about the consequences of what he said. He is not thinking enough tonight about the constitutional position. What are we to do with a Prime Minister who one night says that he will have these Amendments all cleared by the end of this week —which means sitting tomorrow and Saturday, if not more—and then less than 24 hours later has to come to the House and admit that he could not carry through what he had threatened?
This is a sad state of affairs for the right hon. Gentleman. The course he is advocating, and the course his Government is taking, is a bad and a wrong one, and we condemn and bitterly resent it, not only because it is another 1577 Guillotine within a Guillotine, which no one anticipated would be done, not only because it is denying us our reasonable Parliamentary rights and the right to discharge reasonably our Parliamentary duties, but because this is the beginning of a constitutional change which is calculated to transfer effective legislative power from this House to the House of Lords.
§ The Prime Minister rose—
§ Mr. S. Silverman
On a point of order. I would like your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, on a point which arose out of the statement made by the Leader of the House. He said in the course of his speech that the Motion which the House passed on 24th November last—namely, the Guillotine Motion—had not spent its force, was still operative, and that we were not being called upon in this proposal to apply any new decision. That would be true only if the stages of the Bill were not yet concluded.
Yesterday you, Sir, gave a Ruling. That Ruling—and we must all assume that it was correct—would completely dispose of that contention by the Leader of the House. May I call your attention to it? It is to be found at column 1185 of the OFFICIAL REPORT for Wednesday, 22nd April. It arose in the course of the attempt of my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham. South (Mr. H. Morrison) to defer consideration of these Amendments in order to call attention to something to which he wished to call attention. You. Sir. said this:The business before the House is the consideration of Lords Amendments to a Bill which has, apart from these Amendments, already passed both Houses of Parliament. This is not a stage in the Bill. This is the consideration of Amendments to a Bill which has already passed."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd April, 1953; Vol. 514, c. 1185.]The point I am submitting is that if that Ruling is correct, if the Bill has already passed, if what we are now considering is not a stage in the Bill—and you, Mr. Speaker, declared that it was not a stage in the Bill—the Leader of the House was quite wrong in saying that the Motion of 24th November last was still operative and had not spent its force. It could only be still operative if this were a stage of the Bill. Since this 1578 is not a stage of the Bill, it is not operative, and until that matter has been cleared up it seems to me to be impossible for us to consider the proposal which the Leader of the House has made. I ask for your Ruling, Sir.
§ Mr. Speaker
The first point on my Ruling is that the Question before the House is, "That further consideration of the Lords Amendments be now adjourned." The Leader of the House has mentioned that he proposes to table a Motion of a certain character, which I, of course, have not seen. When that Motion is tabled it will be, of course, proper for us to consider whether it is in order or not. I have not seen the Motion yet, so I cannot say whether its terms will comply with the Order of the House of 24th November, and I shall defer what I have to say until then.
In regard to what the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) mentioned about my saying that this was not properly such a stage in the Bill, it would, perhaps, be sufficient for me now—because I have given this matter some consideration, being very anxious to see that nothing was done to injure the rights of Parliament in this matter-to say that the Order begins by saying:That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining Proceedings on the Transport Bill.My view at the moment, subject to seeing the Motion and to further study, is that it is covered. I give that Ruling provisionally, because I have not seen the Motion and I must study it when it is tabled. Until then, I cannot say more.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I presume, therefore, that points of order can be raised at the time when the Motion is about to be called.
§ Mr. Speaker indicated assent.
§ Mr. Speaker
When I get the Motion, I shall study it. If any hon. Member has a submission to make to me, it is my duty to study it and to give my Ruling as I am advised.
§ Mr. Silverman
I am perfectly content with what you have said, Mr. Speaker. Between now and the receipt of the Motion with which the Leader of the 1579 House threatens us, would it be proper for you to consider whether there can, in the ordinary meaning of words as they are used in their natural sense, be very much distinction between a stage in a Bill and a proceeding on a Bill? Are they not in a sense, in effect, the same thing? And there is the further point whether there can possibly be any further proceedings on a Bill which has already passed.
§ The Prime Minister rose—
§ Mr. Callaghan
On a point of order. I apologise to the Prime Minister, but I wish to go further on the point of order. I only wish to ask you, Mr. Speaker, whether, when you are considering this matter, you will also give consideration whether the time that obviously is going to be taken up, as I imagine, in arguing this constitutional point, will have to come out of the two hours which are allowed for the discussion of the Guillotine Motion.
§ Mr. Speaker
I shall certainly consider that, and I shall give my decision after the most careful thought and on the best advice that I can get. I hope that, in accordance with our practice here, there will not be too much argument about it.
§ The Prime Minister
I was hoping that we should find ourselves in a friendly atmosphere tonight. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] I think it is a great pity that we should try to shout each other down. I had great difficulty in making myself heard last night, and I am sorry indeed that we cannot find ourselves more in agreement on the position which we have now felt ourselves bound to adopt. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lewisham. South (Mr. H. Morrison) spoke of my being humiliated by the decision which we have taken as a Government, because I said last night that we intended to finish this Bill this week and get it through, and certainly that was what I felt at the time.
But I have come to the conclusion that it will be more for the convenience of the House and more for the progress of public business that it should go over 1580 until Monday. It is all very well that the right hon. Gentleman says that I am humiliated by doing that. I do not mind feeling stultified, frustrated or humiliated if I am doing something which, on the whole, I consider makes it easier for Members of the House to live together and work together and also enable public business to go forward with greater efficiency.
I say to the right hon. Gentleman he should learn to be more magnanimous in victory because, as far as I am concerned, he has scored off me. He should go and trumpet that about the country. I can put up with it. I only want to see the business of Parliament carried forward in an effective and resolute manner in accordance with the great maxim that governs all our proceedings—that a majority in Parliament must be enabled to carry forward its business in a regular way.
I think we have been confronted with one of the most extraordinary performances of—I believe "obstruction" is not Parliamentary, but "filibustering" apparently is quite all right. We have certainly been confronted with something the like of which in my experience, so much longer than anybody else's, I do not remember having seen. Here was a Measure which I think I may say nine Members out of 10 imagined was going through quite smoothly before the Easter Recess. I am told I must not say anything about what happened through the usual channels, so I will not say anything about it, but all I know is that, after talks through the usual channels, statements on business were made in the House by my right hon. Friend which were for the conclusion of the matter before Easter, and not a word was said or anything done.
What has happened since? Three or four days of Parliamentary time have been expended on trying to debate this Bill all over again on fundamental principles. Members tried to spend as much time as possible, and the Government have felt themselves up against this issue: are we going to assert the right of the majority in the House of Commons—[HON. MEMBERS: "House of Lords."]—of the majority in the House of Commons—
§ The Prime Minister
You are not a Lord yet—in the House of Commons to carry through their business, when three or four days more than had been expected had been allotted to the issue in question? I think there must be some stop. It was said there would be 90 hours more debate if we did not take these steps. I think that would be an intolerable burden upon Parliament—90 hours. [Interruption.] We cannot have five people speaking at once. I really think that the right hon. Gentleman ought to take a more cool view. After all, what did he say, if I understood him rightly tonight—"Give us Tuesday, and it is all O.K."
On the difference between Monday and Monday plus Tuesday turns this vast revolution of Parliamentary procedure, this terrible spectre of single Chamber Government enforced upon the House of Commons by the Amendments of the House of Lords being rushed through. And it all turns on one day. There have been four days, and there is to be a fifth day. And now it is a question of whether it is a fifth or a sixth day. We may differ about it. We do differ about it. We have our view and we are going to fight for our view. But to pretend that on the difference between a fifth and a sixth day depends the entire movement of the British constitution is, I think, one of those many exaggerations into which we all may fall at times when we have a very poor case to put and a considerable lack of real passion to support it. I have never seen such a row with so little real passion behind it.
It is quite ridiculous to suppose that we are all hating each other at this moment, as I have often seen Government and Opposition hate one another. As to this question of Franco, I thought that it was the Transport Bill we were debating. It is now Franco and Abadan. I am willing to write the pair of hon. Members off together. They can go outside and settle it between themselves. What is this about Franco? I do not understand how this nonsense about "introducing Franco here" can be shoved down our throats when every step we take has to be assented to by a democratically-elected Parliament, and what we do tonight and on Monday has to be settled on the opinion and authority 1582 of a freely-elected democracy. You can take Franco home—with Abadan!
In the present state of affairs we find it absolutely necessary and right, and in conformity with true House of Commons tradition—[HON. MEMBERS: "House of Lords"]—to use the facilities which the Order of November undoubtedly gives us. So, except for any points of order which may very properly be raised on Monday, within the two hours provided—I will not attempt to forecast that, Mr. Speaker—we intend to close this matter on Monday if it is within our power, and if we have a Parliamentary majority. [Interruption.] I will willingly surrender my statement that the matter should be ended this week, as it ought to have been, or tonight, as it would have been if any reasonable give-and-take and fair-play had existed.
We intend to press this through, and we hope that hon. Gentlemen opposite, with full consideration of matters, will utilise the time which is still at their disposal in such a manner as to make the discussion of Amendments as full and as reasonable as possible. I am very much astonished that this outburst, this four-day episode, should have occurred. We are not trying to make party strife bitter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] We are not trying to prepare for an election or anything of that kind, as the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) is writing in his newspaper, quivering with fear. We are very anxious to carry matters forward—
§ Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale) rose—
§ Mr. Speaker
That will not do. If the Prime Minister does not give way, no other Member may stand up.
§ The Prime Minister rose—
§ Mr. Hale
On a point of order. Is it not part of the immemorial traditions 1583 of this House that when a personal attack has been directed against a right hon. Member and he seeks to intervene the person attacking should give way? Do not some of the regulations of this House apply even to the right hon. Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill)?
§ The Prime Minister
I was hoping in a very few seconds to sit down and then, no doubt, an opportunity would be offered to the right hon. Member, or anyone else who happened to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, to carry on the discussion. All I wish to say is that we think any good Parliamentarian in his heart and conscience, when he looks back on this story of the Transport Bill since the night before the Easter Adjournment, when we separated, will see that what has happened has been a very unfair use of Parliamentary time. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] It is the duty of Her Majesty's Government to use those Parliamentary resources which are at their disposal to carry their proposals into law.
That is what we intend to do, and we are confident that the course we propose, although one day shorter than that asked for by the right hon. Member, will in fact be greatly to the convenience of the House and will be preferable to our sitting on hour after hour tonight and tomorrow and killing Private Members' time and so forth, which would be the alternative. Those are the two options that weigh in my mind. I have no doubt whatever that the decision we have taken is the best for the House of Commons and also the one which we intend, with all the force we have at our disposal, to carry through.
§ Mr. Ede (South Shields)
The right hon. Gentleman started his speech by saying he was surprised that there was not a friendly atmosphere; I am bound to say that he has not done much to promote it. There is no doubt that what he has told us tonight is a complete reversal of what he told us rather less than 24 hours ago. His assertion just now that he had thought the matter over and thinks the course he proposes now is the best for the House to pursue only indicates that last night he spoke without having given the matter any con- 1584 sideration at all, as we suspected at the time. The right hon. Gentleman cannot ask us to limit our views on this matter to what has happened during the period since the day before the Easter Recess and now.
Those hon. Friends of mine who heard what I said towards the end of the debate on the Guillotine Motion, will recollect that on that occasion I made 14 quotations from the Second Reading speech of the Minister of Transport, in each of which he said that there were points which needed very considerable discussion in this House. He went so far even as to particularise with regard to Clause (1), that there should be a long discussion in Committee on the Motion "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." A Guillotine Motion was then arranged which made it quite certain that the Motion would never be discussed at all.
The right hon. Gentleman says that we shall have taken 90 hours. Before he had heard these proposals that hon. Members opposite now allege to have discovered in the Motion that was passed on 24th November he proposed that we should sit continuously until the Bill was disposed of—which would be done by the end of this week—and I think he also said that the Bill would become law by the end of the week. From the time we started until the night of Saturday there would be only 73½ hours, so he could not have given that matter very great consideration either.
He says there have been exaggerations on this side of the House, in the way in which my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) presented his case. I do not know how far he would like to say that the statements he made last night—in the course of his somewhat ebullient effort—were actually accurate and contained no rhetorical exaggeration in order to inflame the feelings of the House.
Everyone knows exactly what has happened. Hon. Members sitting behind him have said they were not going to sit for the hours ordered by the right hon. Gentleman; they had no intention of obeying the behest of the right hon. Gentleman last night. His talk to us reminded me very much of the first sergeant-major I had in the Royal Engineers, who said, "You may break your mothers' hearts but you will never 1585 break mine." [HON. MEMBERS: "Who broke the pairs last night? "] Hon. Members opposite broke the pairs. They compelled the breaking of pairs when they transferred business from a non-controversial Measure to a matter which it is now quite apparent everyone recognises is highly controversial.
Many a person may be willing to grant a pair on a day when he does not expect that there will be a Division, and feel that he has been unfairly treated if he is expected to honour that on a day when the whole course of business has been altered and something of the highest controversy has been introduced.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)
May I point out that pairing is a matter between one individual and another? If the business changes it is perfectly right for an individual to approach another and say, "We must break our pair." What is wrong is to say that pairs will be broken by behest.
§ Mr. Ede
That is not at all new. In the last Parliament the same thing was done by hon. Members opposite, at a time when I was Leader of the House. I am not speaking of this matter without experience. If the course of business is altered there can be no feeling that wrong has been done if, for the general convenience, it is announced that one side feels that in view of the changed state of business pairs are no longer to be recognised.
The Prime Minister based a good part of his claim on the fact that this House is democratically elected, but the House has also to be conducted democratically if democracy is to be realised. Democracy is not realised when Closure Motions, Guillotines and other devices are used in order to prevent the expression of views of the minority on issues that have never been before the House.
That is the gravamen of our case on this particular period in the discussion of this Bill. We have had brought back to us from another place a Bill which really ought to have been marked "H.L.", indicating that its important provisions were those that had come from the House of Lords, just as a Bill which originates in the House of Lords is marked "H.L." so that everyone knows it is a Bill which originated in another place.
1586 12.45 a.m.
The Clause under discussion when the Leader of the House moved this Motion is one which has never been before this House. It covers a considerable area. It will be recollected that when we were discussing the original Guillotine Motion great play was made by the Home Secretary on the acreage of the Bill we were then discussing; the acreage, as it was called, of the Bill which the Labour Government introduced.
There are few Clauses which come into a Bill that are as long as the Clause we are discussing. A Clause four and a half pages long, which is brought before the House in a way which means that it cannot be discussed on Committee or Report, is entitled to meticulous examination. The right hon. Gentleman cannot expect us to accept the view that the discussion on this Clause, and the way in which it has been introduced, can be regarded as a vindication of the democratic possession and use of power in this House. The right hon. Gentleman says that he is not trying to make Party strife bitter. He knows that I have considerable admiration for his Parliamentary and other gifts. I hope he will not think I am going too far if I say that, outside politics, I have considerable affection for him as well.
The Minister of Transport had led us to expect that, having regard to the large number of interests involved, we would have the fullest opportunity for discussion. Then the Leader of the House put down the original Guillotine Motion, which made it certain that all the 14 points which the Minister of Transport had mentioned would not be discussed during the Committee and Report stages of the Bill. I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that he should allow the Leader of the House to lead the House.
I have been Leader of the House, and I found it necessary once or twice—on one occasion there was some demonstration against me by my own side because I insisted that it was my duty as Leader of the House—to say to my colleagues sitting beside me, "You are going too far, and you are forcing the pace too fast." I should like to feel that the present Leader of the House is in a position to say that to the right hon. Gentleman, and be listened to—not neces- 1587 sarily to be agreed with, but to be listened to, because we live in a very different House of Commons from that which the right hon. Gentleman first entered. Even in those days there were occasions when it was not necessary for the Leader of the House always to have the First Lord of the Treasury or the Prime Minister sitting beside him.
In this modern world, where legislation and administration present much larger problems, I say to the right hon. Gentleman that the position of Leader of the House will increasingly have to be a post the occupant of which will occasionally have to say to his colleagues, "If you expect to get your business through the House of Commons you must be prepared to listen to me when I have ascertained that difficulties will be encountered."
§ The Prime Minister
I must say that I agree with every word the right hon. Gentleman has said. The Leader of the House has an authority residing in his office which is very great indeed, and I should be very sorry if I had in any way usurped his authority. However, the issue was put to me whether we should take a certain course or not, and I felt that although to some extent it stultified what I said last night, it was for the general convenience of the House, and I therefore deferred to the advice which was tendered to me.
§ Mr. Ede
That, of course, is the whole point. When it comes to a matter of the procedure of the House it is not the Leader of the House who is to settle it; it is to be the Prime Minister, according to the statement we have just heard. After all, negotiations have been going on and conversations have taken place during the day, and we have been told, "Well, we must wait till the Prime Minister comes back. The Prime Minister is at a dinner." I do not complain of the right hon. Gentleman being at a dinner; I want to make it quite clear that I am not complaining of that. But I think that when the right hon. Gentleman is Prime Minister, acting Foreign Secretary and leader of the majority party in the House he ought not to worry himself with the details of the day-to-day administration of the House. That ought to be vested in the Leader of the House, and he should be in a position to act.
§ The Prime Minister
My right hon. Friend was fully in a position to act, and if he was good enough to consult me I am indebted to him for that. But I do not admit at all that the Prime Minister of the day, whoever he may be, has no responsibility for the general conduct of Government business. I have been in a very good and close association with my right hon. Friend in following out these difficult propositions, and I was very glad when I heard that it had been reduced to a difference between carrying over till Monday and Tuesday. Well, I was strongly of opinion that Monday was enough, and I am in the heartiest agreement with my right hon. Friend on that subject.
§ Mr. Ede
The great pity is that the Leader of the House did not go to the dinner with the Prime Minister, because then he could have come back rather earlier and told us exactly what he had pursuaded the Prime Minister to accept. If there is a desire, as the right hon. Gentleman started off by saying, that there should be a friendly atmosphere in this matter and he does not wish to stir up party strife, the argument about one day cuts one way just as much as it does the other. If the one day is such a small matter, why cannot we settle the other way?
§ Mr. Ede
If what the right hon. Gentleman proposes is one less than we asked, the argument about the one day comes back to the same thing in the end.
I cannot help saying that I agree with every word of what my right hon. Friend said about the position that we are now adopting with regard to the other place. This Clause receives less consideration in this House than it would have done had it been in the Bill originally; than it would have done had the Bill originated in another place and been brought down here. It is now being merely considered in a kind of Committee stage—I do not think the right hon. Gentleman will say that that is an unfair way of putting it —and at some stage or another we shall get to the position where the new Clause will be put in the same way as it would have been put had the Motion been put that the Clause stand part of the Bill.
1589 I still hope that the right hon. Gentleman will feel that he wants a friendly atmosphere, and that he wants to see the business of the House of Commons conducted without undue strife. After all, the right hon. Gentleman would be the first to suffer if there were no strife in the House. I can well understand that he does not desire that the strife should be bitter. Nobody does, but if he wishes for reasonable strife without bitterness and a friendly atmosphere, I think the price we offer to him is very cheap. He can have it for one extra day.
§ 1.0 a.m.
§ Mr. Bevan
I do not mind the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister losing his temper and making wild statements on comparatively unimportant matters. He ought not to make charges in the House of Commons without having the slightest evidence about their accuracy. Without the slightest evidence he attributes to me certain writings. He imagines that I am responsible for those writings because his stupid newspapers put up ridiculous headlines saying so. I repeat that the right hon. Gentleman ought not to have made that statement at all. When I write I sign it. Nor do I sell it for American dollars, nor do I carefully prepare my speeches in the House of Commons in private session and then peddle them to American magazines.
§ Mr. Derek Walker-Smith (Hertford) rose—
§ Mr. Bevan
No. May I say to the right hon. Gentleman that I do not agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) that the right hon. Gentleman is a good Parliamentarian. He never was. He never used the House of Commons for anything at all except to come down to now and again and make exhortations or use it as an audience. He never used it as a workshop. He does not understand it and he never has. The fact of the matter is that the right hon. Gentleman does not understand our Standing Orders and he never has. I have seen him make the same muddle over and over again. He has never respected the House of Commons except as an audience. The right hon. Gentleman is behaving now as he always did.
We ask the right hon. Gentleman a simple question. This Bill we are dis- 1590 cussing is a most unusual Bill. With the Steel Bill it in fact completely reverses the whole tendency of social legislation in Great Britain. It is, in fact, without precedent in that respect. It has always been accepted and been part of our Constitution and history that major changes in legislation have been accepted and allowed to work themselves out, sometimes resisted but never completely reversed. This legislation completely reverses the legislative tendency of 100 years. In that respect it is entirely without precedent. I do not know what the right hon. Lady the Minister of Education is grinning at. I was told by one of my hon. Friends this afternoon that that is a face which has sunk a thousand scholarships.
This unusual Bill has been subjected to a very rigid Guillotine, and it has never been properly examined. Will the right hon. Gentleman answer this? What is to prevent a Conservative Minister normally doing what has been done in the Transport Bill; that is, deliberately leaving out great chunks of the Bill from discussion in the House of Commons, putting them in in the House of Lords, and then applying the Guillotine here, thus preventing the Commons from discussing them? What is to stop him? The Labour Party could not do it because it could not carry them in another place.
Hon. Members opposite must not imagine that they are discussing an unimportant Parliamentary incident. If this stage is to be used not for the two constitutional and conventional processes of considering Amendments, cleaning up Bills, and giving them greater verbal felicity so that they can be more exactly interpreted by the courts, or the other function of fulfilling promises made in the Commons, but in order to introduce entirely new principles and major alterations into Bills and to deny us the opportunity of amending them in ordinary Committee process in the House of Commons, the relationship between the House of Commons and the other place will have been completely revolutionised.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me? I am grateful to him for giving way. He said that one of the normal functions of the House of Lords was to allow the Government an opportunity of giving expression to undertakings made in the House of Commons. The Amendment that we have 1591 spent two whole days discussing is such an Amendment.
§ Mr. Bevan
I am not denying that that may be the case. All I am saying is that a vast number of other Amendments go much further than that and are very much different from that. In fact, the whole of the Transport Bill has been so mal-adroitly handled and so ill-conceived that the Government have had to reconsider the matter on several occasions. All I am asking hon. Members to consider is the consequence of transforming this stage in the consideration of a Bill and, by this device, transforming it in a manner which is denied to the Opposition. That is what we have to remember. It is entirely a one-sided Constitution. We could not do that if we were in charge of legislation and were the Government of the day.
If we introduced into a Bill in the House of Lords such substantial Amendments or Clauses their Lordships' House would not agree, and therefore we could not bring it back here for this sort of procedure. But the Conservatives can. The Conservatives can therefore, if this process is developed, convert the House of Lords into the effective legislative Chamber and deny to the elected House any effective control over its legislation. I know there are hon. Gentlemen in the House who do not agree with me but, if that be a fact, then the only thing left for the Labour Party, in order to protect itself against such an abuse of the Constitution, is to abolish the Lords. It is therefore not a very simple matter that we are discussing.
§ The Prime Minister
Is it really the difference between Monday and Tuesday that makes all this constitutional point?
§ Mr. Bevan
That is really a very foolish argument. If it is the case that the weighting of the Constitution in this fashion is entirely against one party in the State, and one party only, then it is that party which is disadvantaged which should have the selection of the days. The hon. and gallant Member for Knuts-ford (Lieut-Colonel Bromley-Davenport) makes grimaces. Nature has already been sufficiently unkind to him.
§ Lieut-Colonel Bromley-Davenport
I was grimacing with pain because I could 1592 not bear the appearance of the right hon. Gentleman at such close quarters.
§ Mr. Bevan
We are all delighted to hear the right hon. Gentleman pleading his cause. It therefore seems to us a perfectly reasonable proposition, if in those circumstances with this constitutional disadvantage that arises out of the destruction of political power between the parties, that if we say we would prefer to have two, three, or four days to consider this unusual situation under this Clause it is we who should be listened to and not the Government. When the right hon. Gentleman says all this furore is only about whether we have one more additional day, surely that is what the Government are doing. What they are doing is inviting serious constitutional repercussions in order to satisfy the bad temper of the right hon. Gentleman last night.
There is a further argument I want hon. Gentlemen to listen to. These are very very important pieces of legislation, original in their conception and without any precedent. I am frequently asked at meetings by transport workers, "Why should we accept a piece of legislation which is going to affect our employment, livelihood and conditions of work? Why should we not fight it and use exactly the same kind of action in order to oppose this legislation that the members of the steel control board used in order to prevent legislation they disagreed with? Why should we not strike?"
I have always said that in my view, when Parliament has taken charge of something, whether it is right or wrong in taking charge of it; once it has taken custody of a principle, of an action, of a piece of legislation, and has decided it by Parliamentary processes and by the Parliamentary majority, it is entirely improper for any action to be taken outside the House of Commons in order to try to coerce the will of Parliament. That has been my view.
But if that man gets up at the meeting and says, "I do not elect the House of Lords. I have no power over the House of Lords. I am perfectly prepared to abide by a decision of the House of 1593 Commons, even although I dislike it, because I have lost in the ballot; and so long as I have the opportunity of fighting at a General Election I am prepared as a good democrat to accept the majority decision. But this particular Clause affects my whole livelihood—and what happened? It was never introduced into the House of Commons. You never had a chance of voting on it. You never had a chance of defending my conditions of livelihood. This Clause went first of all to the House of Lords, and when it was brought back to the House of Commons the Conservatives used their majority to prevent you from voting or arguing about it in the House of Commons. In those circumstances, what argument have you got against me if I invite my fellows in this depot to come out on strike against that Measure? "
Where is the answer? [HON. MEMBERS: "There is no answer."] Where is the democratic answer?
§ The Prime Minister
The democratic answer is that the power of the House of Commons to reject any Measure is sovereign and effective.
§ Mr. Bevan
But when the Government limit the democratic rights of the House of Commons. [Interruption.] When the right hon. Gentleman limits his description of our democratic rights in so terse a fashion, all he says is this: that it is only necessary for a Government to introduce the Preamble of a Bill and to have a Division on it, and our democratic rights have been exhausted. The democratic rights of the House of Commons consist in very much more than merely saying "Yes" or "No" to the general provisions of a Bill. That is why there is a Committee stage—
§ The Prime Minister
The right hon. Gentleman was arguing about direct action by strikes, and I was glad to hear the line he took, although I was not quite sure that that was the line he took. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I was glad to hear the line that he took. To say that a man must strike because that is the only way he can get any effective Parliamentary action is quite untrue, because everything has to be carried on, not only 1594 the Bill, but from day to day by the House of Commons.
§ Mr. Bevan
Certainly—the right hon. Gentleman has not taken that away yet. That is why I warned the House that he was a very bad Parliamentarian. The mere voting on whether one agrees with a Bill or not is very little removed from Government by decree.
What the worker expects is that his public representative should be able to espouse his personal cause. If indeed the industry is being legislated for in the House of Commons, the only way in which the worker can be convinced that he is having democratic protection is that when he reads his newspaper and opens HANSARD he will find that his public representative has had the opportunity of expounding the circumstances of his case.
§ 1.15 a.m.
§ Mr. Bevan
But if, in fact, that is denied, a very grave constitutional situation has arisen. It is not enough for hon. Members to laugh these things away at this hour of the morning, because hon. and right hon. Members on this side of the House have been responsible for very considerable legislation. We never did this. Hon. Members can go back in the records to 1945 and they cannot find a single precedent for this. And we had a very large majority here and in the country, whereas the Government party are forcing this legislation through without any mandate in the country for doing it.
It seems to me to be an unreasonable pass. We were hoping—and I suggest that hon. and right hon. Members in all parts of the House a few hours ago believed—that by 11 o'clock we would be home. There was a general anticipation that the usual channels had reached agreement. I think that is true. I think 1595 that everybody expected that we should be home by 11 o'clock and that we would have next Monday and Tuesday to consider the remaining stages of the Bill.
What has the right hon. Gentleman done? He has come down to the House of Commons tonight and he has disappointed his own people as well as us. When we come to consider the Steel Bill it will be necessary for the Government to consider once more, having regard to the atmosphere created, whether they will not need to have a Guillotine on that Bill too. So we have in fact reached a situation when not only do we have these Guillotines on major Measures in the House of Commons but, by what the right hon. Gentleman is now doing, the permanent use of the Guillotine for the consideration of the Lords Amendments on every occasion on a major Bill. Write that into the procedure of the House of Commons and one can reckon the House of Lords written out.
§ Mr. Crookshank
I moved this Motion some two hours ago in order to have the opportunity of explaining the general proposals of the Government. It is in the hands of the House whether it wishes to go on or not and get back to discussing the Bill. If it is the wish of the House to get back to the Bill now I shall be quite prepared to withdraw the Motion. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO, sit down."] If, on the other hand, the House wishes to go on discussing this matter—which I may remind hon. Members is again discussable on Monday—it is for the House to decide. If it is the wish of hon. Members to get back to the Bill, I should be very glad to withdraw the Motion.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I shall not detain the House for very long. It might not have been necessary for me to detain it at all if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) had had the courtesy to give way. It is one of the drearier and less democratic aspects of these days in Parliament that whenever we have one speech from a right hon. Gentleman opposite we are promptly subjected to three or four more competitive orations from other right hon. Gentlemen opposite. We should count ourselves lucky that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Dalton) and the right hon. Gentleman the 1596 Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) have, so far at any rate, resisted the temptation of verbal incontinence.
I certainly do not want to ascribe to them any virtue they do not possess. [Interruption.] The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), with his characteristic lack of courtesy and courage, insists on making a sedentary squawk instead of a proper intervention. If he wants to put a question to me I will give way.
§ Mr. G. Brown
What I said I should like to repeat. I invited the hon. Gentleman not to be a pompous silly little man and to make a speech worthy of the House and the occasion.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
No doubt if the right hon. Gentleman had his way nobody who disagreed with him would ever address this House at all. I want to return from the right hon. Gentleman, who really is beneath contempt, and to address a question to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale. The right hon. Gentleman was provoked into making his intervention by an attack upon his own personal vanity.
In reply to that the right hon. Gentleman made a categorical statement that all his political writings were duly signed by him. I can recall a work ascribed to the right hon. Gentleman, written I think in the war-time years, called, "Why trust the Tories?" I ask the right hon. Gentleman this categorical question: was that signed by him, or was it not?
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The right hon. Gentleman is suffering either from lack of veracity or loss of memory.
§ Mr. Bevan
I assure the hon. Gentleman that he is quite wrong. He is forgetting that in those years a series of books was written by a number of people, and in order to maintain the convention the work which I then wrote was described by the publisher as written by "Celticus" with my name underneath.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that his name did not appear inside the book. [Interruption.] He made a statement which was not true and in his subsequent 1597 writings and in his newspaper—[Interruption]—that is the position.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)
The Question is, "That further consideration of the Lords Amendments be now adjourned," and this is some reason why it should be adjourned.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The point arises directly out of the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman and is, I submit, relevant.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Further to that point of order. You have said, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that we are still on the Motion for the Adjournment of the debate and that the hon. Gentleman's remarks are in order. May I point out that we are not on the Motion for the Adjournment.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The Question is. "That further consideration of the Lords Amendments be now adjourned."
§ Mr. Silverman
How, on that Question, can discussion of the authorship of my right hon. Friend's book be in order.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The right hon. Gentleman has produced reasons why he considers that the course proposed is unsuitable. I am asking the House to judge his reasons in the light of observations that he has made in regard to other matters which can be easily tested. That is surely a fair test by which to judge the standard of his observations. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that there was something undemocratic and unprecedented in the course being taken at the present time; but it does not lie in the mouth of the right hon. Gentleman or of his hon. Friends to make criticism in regard to the Guillotine. It is illogical. We have to judge the attitude of hon. Gentlemen opposite to the Guillotine not by what they say now in Opposition but by what they did when in power. They are six years out of time in making that sort of point.
It is within the recollection of us all that in 1947, by guillotining the Trans- 1598 port Bill and the Town and Country Planning Bill on both Committee and Report stages. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not on Lords Amendments."] It is suggested by hon. Members opposite that it is a precedent to guillotine the Lords Amendments. What I say is that it was a much more important and dangerous precedent in 1947, for the first time, to guillotine a Bill both in Committee and on Report, which had never been done before in the history of our Parliament. The result of that was that far greater parts of the Transport Bill and the Town and Country Planning Bill of that year went undebated than has been the case with any Bill in this Parliament.
Another point I should like to make is in regard to the observations of the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede). He made an observation—I may have misunderstood it—to the effect that pressure had been exercised on hon. Members on this side of the House because they were disinclined to face any all-night Sitting. That was what the right hon. Member was understood by hon. Members on this side of the House to say.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
It is true that the right hon. Member enjoyed from my hon. Friends a courteous attention. I naturally accept at once the statement of the right hon. Member that he was misunderstood by hon. Members on this side of the House. Nevertheless, I should still like to ask him what authority he has for making that statement. I ask him to believe that hon. Members on this side of the House are perfectly prepared to face the rigours of all-night Sittings or continuous Sittings. [Interruption.] When an hon. Member accuses hon. Members on this side of the House of breaking their pairs I would point out that hon. Members opposite acquiesced in another breach of the traditions of this House in accepting the principle of a mass official repudiation of pairs. Hon. Members on this side of the House—
§ Mr. Hale
In those circumstances, can the hon. Member remember the definition of "live pairs" which was introduced in 1951? Might I remind him, and ask him to comment on, the incident when a right hon. Gentleman, now a distinguished member of Her Majesty's Government, came to me at 12 o'clock and asked me if I would please give him a pair because he had to go into hospital at 10 o'clock in the morning and was not allowed to pair on his own. I told him that one of our Members was dying upstairs and that they could both go home.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I did not quite follow that. I should have thought it was quite clear to the hon. Member, with his perspicuity, that there is a difference between the concept of a pair as an individual contract and something which can be broken by mass repudiation. We do not believe that the principle which has been adopted is consonant with the traditions of this House, or in its best interests.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
The right hon. and learned Gentleman must appreciate that there cannot be an ending of the contract unless there is a release on both sides. I would go this far with the hon. and learned Gentleman: quite obviously, between any two Members who have made a pair, one of the circumstances to take into account is whether there has been a fundamental change in business. I agree with that; but what I do not agree with—and I should have thought that the right hon. and learned Gentleman would not agree with it—is the right of the Opposition Chief Whip to make a mass repudiation of pairs, thereby relieving hon. Members opposite of any necessity of obtaining from or granting to Members on this side individual releases from what are personal arrangements.
§ Mr. William Whiteley (Blaydon)
I have never objected—and I never will— to a pair that has been made in the 1600 ordinary course of Parliamentary business; but when the Government deliberately change the type of business I say that that creates a new situation and does not allow the ordinary pair—which has been made for different reasons and on a different occasion—to stand.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
Did the right hon. Gentleman allow any individual discretion to hon. Members on his side in this matter, or did he give instructions that there was no need for them to communicate with hon. Members opposite with whom they had been paired because his repudiation was sufficient for them?
§ Mr. F. Beswick (Uxbridge) rose—
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
If the right hon. Gentleman does not answer I do not suppose he wants any hon. Member behind him to try to do it for him.
§ Mr. Beswick
If the hon. Gentleman is being so angry about these matters will he say, with his customary honesty, whether, in the last Government, the Members of his party were allowed any individual initiative at all. either in making or breaking pairs?
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I am not in the least angry about the matter. I am putting forward what I believe to be the right and the traditional principle of the House of Commons. In answer to the hon. Gentleman's question, I do not believe that on any occasion instructions have been issued from Whips on this side of the House that individual Members should cancel pairs by a mass repudiation.
§ Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)
I thank the hon. Member for his courtesy. Will he kindly not continue with the fiction that pairs have not been broken or not agreed to by his own whips, because I had to come back from a trip which would have been to China because I could not get a pair from his side of the House, and the Whips would not permit me one. It was the Whips' order that I should not be given a pair.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
Order. There is so much noise that I cannot hear what is being said. Mr. Walker-Smith.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I do not think it would be in order for me to go into the 1601 circumstances of the hon. Gentleman's frustrated visit to China. I was making the simple point that we developed a line of conduct in regard to these matters, and it has been varied by the other side of the House; and no evidence has been adduced to the contrary. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
I have for about the last ten minutes been engaged in answering points put by the hon. Member's hon. Friends. If his hon. Friends put the points it was they who were out of order. I have made the position clear that by our standards. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I really must ask the House to be more quiet. It is impossible, at this end of the Chamber, to hear what is being said.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
On a point of order. I have been listening to the hon. Member for quite a time. His speech is a little on the dull side, though that is not your problem, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. However, I have not heard him address one word to the Question which is before the House. Is it in order for us to have this classical debate on pairing? I realise that, because of the bombshell the Government dropped tonight, it is almost impossible to conduct serious business; but having a debate which has nothing to do with the Motion is humiliating the House of Commons.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
The Motion is very wide, but I would ask that speeches should be confined to reasons why the debate on the Lords' Amendments should, or should not, be adjourned.
§ 1.45 a.m.
§ Mr. Walker-Smith
Perhaps I have given way far too often to points put from the other side, which has extended my speech beyond the length of one that I would normally make. I apologise to the right hon. Gentleman that I have not dealt fully with his argument about Franco and other relevant matters to this Motion.
In conclusion, I say only this: we on this side of the House certainly do not flinch from any physical endurance by way of late Sittings which hon. Gentle- 1602 men opposite may thrust upon us, but it is for them to consider whether their tactics in this and other debates in which they have indulged in the filibuster are likely either to enhance their credit in the country or to do good to the business of the House of Commons.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
During the course of the last two hours we have had raised a number of questions, most of which were not really very relevant to the Transport Bill. [Interruption.] I am quite prepared to wait for silence.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Hon. Members leaving the Chamber will please do so without talking and making a lot of noise.
§ Mr. Silverman
I had always thought that the business of the Leader of the House was so to advise the House in the conduct of its affairs that he provided ample time to consider matters which inevitably involve conflict between the two sides of the House, but in such a way as to avoid unnecessary eruption. Only in that way is a House of Com mons which is fairly evenly divided able to get through its business at all. If we are to judge the conduct of the Leader of the House by that test the disastrous nature of that leadership be comes abundantly clear. I should like to have his attention if possible. If the Government Chief Whip wishes to con duct negotiations he ought to do it out side the Chamber and not disturb the debate in order to do it.
§ Mr. Silverman
Because the right hon. Gentleman's conspiracies are best conducted, like all conspiracies, in private and not in public view.
The result of the intervention of the Leader of the House some two hours ago has been to bring into issue in this de bate the future of the House of Lords, the future of Parliament, political strikes in industry, a long discussion about the ethics of pairing, a discussion of the atti tude of Ministers to a tragedy in Spain nearly 20 years ago, and a variety of other matters on which opinions are necessarily divided but the conflict on which is not directly relevant to the matters the House is supposed now to be 1603 discussing. [An HON. MEMBER: "What is your contribution?"] I am delighted to hear that the hon. Gentleman is so far still with us as to display any interest whatever in what is being said. I did not even know he was awake, and until quite recently he was not in the House.
I would suggest to him with all respect and courtesy that the best way for him to find what any contribution to a debate is is for him to keep quiet and listen and then he will find out. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] That is advice not for the hon. Member, but for his much more courteous hon. Friend who was seeking to discover what the debate was about. If the hon. Member listens to what is being said he can find out what a debate is about, which is more than can be said to the speech to which we have just listened with great patience from the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith), at the end of which not even the hon. Member himself knew what he was talking about.
In view of what has happened in the last few hours, I wonder whether the Leader of the House really thinks that he has made any contribution to the problem of preventing the House of Commons and its proceedings being turned into a mockery. There has never been a greater mockery of Parliamentary proceedings than what the House has been asked to do in the last four or five days. We have had brought down to us from another place what amounts not merely to one new Bill, but to several. The right hon. Gentleman could have avoided the whole of tonight's discussion, he could have had his own way and the Government could have got everything they wanted, if he had spoken his mind in his consultations with the Prime Minister and had done what he knows was the right thing to do.
The proposals that were made are known, and I think it is no secret that the right hon. Gentleman himself would have taken a totally different course than that proposed if the Prime Minister had not intervened. What was at stake? I see that the Leader of the House is examining the sole of one of his shoes. It is another kind of soul that he ought to be analysing.
What is keeping us here tonight? Is it the Transport Bill? Is it the Lords 1604 Amendments? Is it our Amendments to the Lords Amendments? No. What is it that is keeping us all night? It is the Prime Minister's refusal to agree to one more Parliamentary day. All this arises out of the obstinacy of the Prime Minister and his conversion into a principle of fundamental importance of the question whether we conclude at 10 o'clock on Monday or 11 o'clock on Tuesday. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that to permit that to happen is good leadership of the House of Commons? Does he think that he is making a contribution to Parliamentary democracy? Does he think that our proceedings tonight, resulting from so narrow and so unimportant an issue, are really advancing the prestige of Parliamentary democracy?
He knows perfectly well that it is not so. If he had determined to have his own way we should have reached agreement long ago. What really happened is that the right hon. Gentleman has sacrificed his duty to the House, his duty to himself, his duty to his party and his duty to the country because he was mortally afraid to stand up to his Prime Minister when he knew his Prime Minister to be wrong. That is perfectly true, and the right hon. Gentleman knows it.
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
One aspect of the matter seems to have escaped the notice of the Leader of the House and the Prime Minister. When we began our consideration of the Lords Amendments on 21st April the Minister stated:We shall not be operating under the Guillotine. The Minister will have to rely upon conviction in order to convince the House that what he is doing is right and proper."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st April, 1953; Vol. 514, c. 819.]The reason that he made that statement was, as the Minister pointed out, that:… one-third of the Amendments are to meet points raised by the Opposition in this House or in another place."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st April, 1953; Vol. 514, c. 820.]But he went on to say that other Amendments were to meet the wishes of the British Transport Commission
I repeat what was said by my right hon. Friends last night, that the personal honour of the Minister is involved by reason of the steps which have now been taken. The Minister, on 21st April, categorically assured hon. Gentlemen on 1605 both sides of the House that we were not operating under the Guillotine and he gave specific reasons why he was relying upon intellectual conviction and argument, because one-third of the Amendments were being introduced as a result of representations which had been made to him outside this House and outside another place. In those circum stances, I should have thought that any honourable man, faced with the situation with which the Minister is faced tonight, would at least have told us why he changed his mind.
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman does not wish to mislead the House. I have been trying to find the reference which he mentioned. As far as I can discover, it was his hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) who was responsible for the statement that we were not operating under the Guillotine, and my right hon. Friend said that one-third of the Amendments were to meet points raised by the Opposition.
§ Mr. Wigg
That is true. I have two quotations here; one from my hon. Friend and one from the Minister. [HON. MEMBERS: "The hon. Gentleman said it was the Minister's statement."] There was a great deal of interruption when I began, and perhaps I did say that. It was the Minister who pointed out that one-third of the Amendments were to meet points raised in another place and others to meet points raised outside.
I want to refer the Leader of the House to another occasion just a year ago when, whether he likes it or not, not only the balance of the argument, as on this occasion, rested with my right hon. and hon. Friends, but also all the balance of power. It was the occasion of the debate on the Army Act. It was from the Opposition that a modus vivendi was found which enabled a difficult situation to be overcome. There was give and take—give on our side and take on the other side.
On this occasion the balance of the argument still rests with us. The Government, because of their small majority, is enabled to override the arguments and to force through a measure which will have the most far-reaching results. A little later this year the Government will 1606 be trying to get the Army Act through by 31st July. Do they expect us to be as accommodating as a year ago, in view of the situation which now confronts us?
The truth is that the difficulty the House has been placed in tonight—as it was placed a year ago—arises from the same set of circumstances. The Leader of the House and the Prime Minister have never realised and do not understand the significance of the narrow majority obtained at the General Election. Our Constitution works in such a way that when a Government have a large majority they can carry through large and important Measures because they can command sufficient Parliamentary time, but when the majority is small it is impossible and legislation can only become effective by the Government abusing the democratic machine and forcing through Measures for which they have no sanction.
The Leader of the House has never understood or appreciated the situation in which he finds himself. As a result of situation after situation he had turned himself into an object of derision, but he has gone beyond that tonight, and he is now regarded as an object of contempt. As Leader of the House he has no regard whatever for the rights of the House of Commons collectively, or for the rights of individuals. He has gone to the Prime Minister and said that the Opposition would accept a proposal which involved two more days of Parliamentary time, but he has not stood up to the Prime Minister. He has waited until he has returned from his dinner, and what happens to the rights of this House and democracy in the country depends upon the after-dinner mood of the Prime Minister. Not only does he not enjoy the confidence of the House, but he is little more than the office boy to the Prime Minister. He is, in fact, an object of contempt for every right-thinking man on every side of the House.
The second villain of the piece is the Patronage Secretary. He has all the qualifications of an unpaid lance-corporal, except that he has had the fortune —or misfortune—to be born into a family with plenty of money. When he goes into the barrack room what he sets out to do is not to try to manage a situation by persuasion and exercise of command, but by throwing his weight about. It is 1607 characteristic that on this and other occasions in the last few months he just lets the situation get worse and worse and does nothing about it.
If it was right for the Government to put down a Motion involving the use of the Guillotine for next Monday it would have been quite right to have put it down last night or earlier, and any Patronage Secretary worth his salt would have appreciated the situation which was developing, and, presumably, in consultation with the Leader of the House, put down a Motion. But the Patronage Secretary did not have a clue. The result was that he had to wait on the return of the Prime Minister from his dinner before taking any action of any kind.
Frankly, I welcome the situation that has arisen. I am delighted that the Government have taken measures which effectively reveal to everyone the true nature of the Government's use of power, and the extent to which they have gone to protect the rights of property by the sanction that can be imposed by the House of Lords. I hope, therefore, that out of the time that we have wasted— [Interruption]—that we have spent on this Measure, there will be a realisation in the country that we must do something fairly drastic about the House of Lords.
I hope, also, that a Labour Government in the very near future will face up to that task along the line advocated by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan), when he said that as a result of the steps which are being taken tonight, it is perfectly clear that one of the first tasks which must be undertaken by any Labour Government which is to carry through a far-reaching programme is to hamstring permanently the House of Lords. The only way to hamstring the House of Lords is to abolish it.
§ Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham, East)
One or two things in the speech of the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith) should not pass without comment. He has now left the House, but that does not preclude us from commenting on 1608 some of the things he said. He made a long and rambling speech, but I am not sure whether the House fully realises why he extended it to that length. It was so that we should forget its rather disreput able beginning.
The hon. Member began by asserting that my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) had written a book to which he had not signed his name. That statement was totally untrue. It could be properly characterised by an adjective and a noun used previously by an hon. Member on the other side, to which exception was taken—at any rate, I understood Mr. Speaker to take exception to the noun, if not to the adjective. An hon. Member who begins his speech with a complete misstatement of that kind and then declines to withdraw it is hardly in a position then to give the House a lecture on the ethics of pairing, personal honour, and all the rest of the humbug which we have had from so many hon. Members opposite during the evening.
Let me say a word about this question of pairing. The hon. Member for Hertford and one or two others have spoken as if this could be a purely private matter. They seem to forget that the days when gentlemen came into Parliament to pursue their private fortunes are over and that we are now here as public servants. It is in the highest degree irresponsible for anyone to enter into an undertaking that he will be absent from the House without regard to the business from which he is absenting himself.
It is further suggested that it is the universal view on the other side of the House that the pair relates merely to the date and not to the business. That, again, is not true. On such limited number of occasions as I have paired, the arrangement has always been with regard to particular business, and it is quite common for all of us, if we do make pairs at all occasionally, to make them for only part of the day. Here, again, the pair is made not with regard primarily to the clock, but with regard to when a certain piece of business ends.
If I enter into an undertaking with somebody that we will both, for sufficient public reasons, be absent from the House, and if we both believe when we make that arrangement that a certain non-controversial piece of business will be 1609 before the House, it is not within the rights of either party to that contract to say, in effect, "You made an agreement with me to be absent from the House when a particular piece of business was on. I am now going to insert into that contract a different piece of business altogether." If that kind of procedure were conducted with a written document, it would be regarded as forgery. It is an attempt, once an agreement has been made, to alter the terms of it.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) pointed out that that was, in fact, the kind of swindle in which the Government were engaging, in allowing Members to make arrangements and to contract pairs on the assumption that there was to be non-controversial business, or comparatively so, on Thursday and Friday, but afterwards putting on controversial business instead. My right hon. Friend pointed that out, and when he said that pairs were cancelled he was not issuing an order to stop—a fact that possibly escaped the attention of the Leader of the House, as so many other things escape his attention. As to the suggestion that there is nothing revolutionary in guillotining discussion on the Lords Amendments, the hon. Member for Hertford tried to justify it by reference to the Guillotine in Committee on the Town and Country Planning Bill in the last Parliament but one.
I happen to remember very well some of the circumstances that led to the imposition of that Committee Guillotine. What were the tactics employed by the Opposition on that occasion? I remember that one day when we duly assembled —we were meeting in the afternoon— they were all absent except one. The one had to be there for fear that if we were there in sufficient numbers to make a quorum we should have such a majority as to make speedy progress. The rest were not there because they hoped that not sufficient of our side would turn up to get a quorum on the Bill.
Those were the kind of tactics which the Opposition then pursued. Oddly enough, the hon. Member for Hertford was one of the members of that Committee and was showing his high regard for Parliamentary procedure by absenting himself from the work of the Committee and by depriving the Committee of a 1610 quorum. It is complete humbug for someone who behaved like that to hold up his hands in horror because the Government of the day imposed a Guillotine on this kind of procedure.
Then it is suggested that we ought not to make a fuss about this because it involves only a day. The Prime Minister says that the Constitution cannot really be in question over a matter of 24 hours. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hear, hear."] I hear one of the least well-informed Members on that side of the House saying, "Hear, hear." But let us look more closely at the matter. Is it impossible for a constitutional question to arise in a matter of 24 hours? Let the Secretary of State for War try to introduce the Army Act 24 hours after the legal day for doing it and see how the House greets an action of that kind. Let an hon. Member try to move a Prayer 24 hours after the last opportunity to do so has passed and see what sort of shrift he would get from the Chair.
§ Mr. Stewart
I am only pointing out that constitutional matters can be determined by 24 hours. We have not said that the action of hon. Members on the opposite side of the House will wreck the Constitution because, of course, they do not have the last word in matters of that kind. The Constitution will survive their attacks upon it. What I am saying is that a matter of 24 hours can be of great constitutional importance.
If the Prime Minister thinks that 24 hours one way or another is a matter of no great moment, what is the purpose of imposing a Guillotine on the Lords Amendments merely to save 24 hours? If it is really true, as the right hon. Gentleman argues, that one day, more or less, does not matter, why introduce this exceptional step, which is not justified by what the hon. Member for Hertford or anyone else said, merely to make a difference of 24 hours?
I see a certain amount of activity on the part of the Patronage Secretary going on. May I remind the House that it is a matter of natural history, recorded by Rudyard Kipling, that storms are to be expected when the peacock starts to dance?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
Does the hon. Gentleman remember the other observation, that when the guns go home the rabbits come out?
§ Mr. Stewart
When the Minister says that, I take it that he is referring to the fact that the exit of the Prime Minister and the rising of the hon. Member for Hertford occurred at the same time. But with reference to the quotation I made myself just before that, in view of the activity which I have observed and in view of the desire of many hon. Members that possibly some decision should be
§ reached on the matter, I will not weary the House further.
§ I did not think it right to let the hon. Member for Hertford get away with a speech made primarily for the purposes of self-advertisement and containing a very large number of inaccuracies.
§ Mr. 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, 221; Noes, 173.1613
|Division No. 157]||AYES||[2.16 a.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Fell, A.||Longden, Gilbert|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Finlay, Graeme||Low, A. R. W.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Fisher, Nigel||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.||Lucas, p. B. (Brentford)|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Arbuthnot, John||Ford, Mrs. Patricia||McAdden, S. J.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Fort, R.||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Fraser, Sir lain (Morecambe & Lonsdale)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)||Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Barber, Anthony||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G Lloyd||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Baxter, A. B.||Godber, J. B.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Gough, C. F. H.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Gower, H. R.||Markham, Major S. F.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Graham, Sir Fergus||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Grimond, J.||Marples, A. E.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maude, Angus|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maudling, R.|
|Birch, Nigel||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Black, C. W.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V.(Macclesfield)||Mellor, Sir John|
|Bossom, A. C.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H||Moore, Lt.-Col. Sir Thomas|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Heald, Sir Lionel||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Braithwarite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Heath, Edward||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Higgs, J. M. C.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nield, Basil (Chester)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P|
|Bullard, D. G.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hollis, M. C.||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D|
|Carr, Robert||Hope, Lord John||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Partridge, E.|
|Channon, H.||Horobin, I. M.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O.|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. W. S.||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Peto, Brig. C. H. M.|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Cole, Norman||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelrhorne)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Redmayne, M.|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Keeling, Sir Edward||Roberts, Peter (Heeley)|
|Crouch, R. F.||Kerr, H. W.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Lambton, Viscount||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Deedes, W. F.||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Digby, S. Wingfield||Leather, E. H. C.||Russell, R. S.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E, A. H.||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Shepherd, William|
|Drayson, G. B.||Linstead, H. N.||Simon, J E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Drewe, C.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Erroll, F. J.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Spearman, A. C. M.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Ward, Hiss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)||Walkinson, H. A.|
|Stevens, G. P.||Touche, Sir Gordon||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)||Turner, H. F. L.||Wellwood, W.|
|Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Turton, R. H.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.||Tweedsmuir, Lady||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Storey, S.||Vane, W. M. F.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.||Wills, G.|
|Studholme, H. G.||Vosper, D. F.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Sutcliffe, Sir Harold||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)||Walker-Smith, D. C.||Sir Herbert Butcher and Mr. Kaberry.|
|Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Adams, Richard||Hannan, W.||Peart, T. F.|
|Albu, A. H.||Hargreaves, A||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Hastings, S.||Poole, C. C.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Herbison, Miss M.||Popplewell, E.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hobson, C. R.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W)|
|Benn, Hon. Wedgwood||Holman, P.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Benson, G.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Beswick, F.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen. N.)||Rhodes, H.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Bowden, H. W.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Ross, William|
|Brockway, A. F.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G A.||Shackleton, E. A. A|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Janner, B.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Champion, A. J.||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Snow, J. W.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Coldrick, W.||Keenan, W.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Collick, P. H.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Sparks, J. A|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||King, Dr. H. M.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Cove, W. G.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Stross, Dr. Barnett|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Lewis, Arthur||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lindgren, G. S.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||MacColl, J. E.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||MoLeavy, F.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Deer, G.||MoNeill, Rt. Hon. H.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Dodds, N. N.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Edelman, M.||Mason, Roy||Wallace, H. W.|
|Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Mayhew, C. P.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Mellish, R. J.||Weitzman, D.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mikardo, Ian||Weils, Percy (Faversham)|
|Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Mitchison, G. R.||West, D. G.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Moody, A. S.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Finch, H. J.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.|
|Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Wigg, George|
|Foot, M. M.||Mori, D. L.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B|
|Freeman, John (Watford)||Mulley, F. W.||Willey. F. T.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Gordon-Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||Oldfield, W. H||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||Oliver, G. H.||Winlerbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Orbach, M.||Winlerbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Griffiths Rt. Hon. James (Lanelly)||Paget, R. T.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Yates, V. F.|
|Hale, Leslie||Pargiter, G. A.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Parker, J.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Pearson, A.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Wilkins and Mr. Royle.|
Question, "That further consideration of the Lords Amendments be now adjourned," put accordingly, and agreed to.