HC Deb 11 February 1953 vol 511 cc424-566
Mr, R. T. Paget (Northampton)

I beg to move, That leave be given to bring in a Bill to amend the law relating to peerage. This is a very short Bill, and it will provide simply this—that no persons shall exercise the privileges or suffer the disqualifications of the peerage until such time as they have taken the oath in the House of Lords. First, I would say that this Bill has no effect whatever on the privileges of the other place. Nobody today is a peer of Parliament until he has taken the oath in the other place, and therefore this Bill affects nobody who is a peer of Parliament. It affects only those who have not become peers of Parliament.

Secondly, it does not affect the Prerogative in any way; that is to say, it does not have any effect one way or the other upon the hereditary principle, nor does it affect any of the privileges of a patent of nobility. No patent of nobility imposes the obligation to become a peer of Parliament, and this Bill affects only those who have not become peers of Parliament.

Thirdly, the only criticism which I have heard with regard to this apparently just provision is that it grants to peers an option and a privilege which they have not got now. I think that is a mistaken view. The option to become a peer of Parliament by presenting himself there and taking the oath is an option which is granted by the existing law. It is not affected by this Bill. If we want to get away from that special privilege which comes to people for hereditary reasons, we can abolish the House of Lords. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] That is a proposal which will appeal to a good many of my hon. Friends, but I think they would agree with me that it would not be an entirely suitable proposal to bring forward under the Ten Minutes Rule. This Bill does not affect that one way or the other. It merely provides that those people who do not choose to become peers of Parliament by presenting themselves and taking the oath shall not be treated as if they were lunatics or bankrupts. I, personally, hold the view, and I think a good many of my hon. Friends would hold the view, that lack of desire to become a peer of Parliament does not necessarily show either lunacy or insolvency.

To illustrate the only effect which this Bill would have, I will take the instance of the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke). He has recently vindicated the rights of private Members to hold their own opinions, one of the very few political events which was, I think, received with equal joy upon both sides of the House. So long as the electors of Dorset, South are deluded enough to elect him, it is unfair that they should be deprived of his services. I say equally that it is unfair on the electors of Bristol, South-East, so long as they are wise enough to elect their present Member, that they should be deprived of his services.

I ask the House to grant me leave to bring in this Bill because it is an ideal subject for a Bill of this sort. It removes a patent injustice of limited scope affecting comparatively few people, and it removes that injustice without imposing the slightest burden or injustice upon anybody else. I therefore ask leave to present this Bill.

Lieut.-Colonel Walter Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)


Mr. Speaker

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman proposing to speak against the Bill?

Lieut.-Colonel Elliot

Yes, Sir, I am I trust very much that the House will not see its way to give leave to bring in this Bill. This is an old question and a very large question, and certainly not one which should be dealt with under the 10-minute procedure. It opens up the whole question whether certain persons should have the right to choose in which House they shall sit. That is not a matter for perfunctory discussion and decision of this House, nor should even the principle be discussed in that way. After all, the other House is reinforced from time to time with figures from this House who have had long Parliamentary experience, and it may well be that such figures would for the moment prefer to remain in this House. It may be better for the advantage of both Houses that they should take their place in the other Chamber in accordance with the law as it stands at present. That a special reward should be given to those who have not taken the oath of Parliament seems altogether ridiculous and anomalous.

The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) made no reference to what would happen if a Member subsequently wished to take the oath and to move to another place. Is he to be given an indefinite option of choosing in which House he shall sit? I suggest that would be an intolerable position. Nor do I think it would be a good thing that those former Members of this place, such as Lord Hailsham, who have given good service in this House and who have taken the oath in the other place, should be penalised, as compared with other peers who may not have taken the trouble to take the oath.

I certainly have no desire to detain the House on the matter, but would merely say that my counsel to the House would be that this Bill should not be given the opportunity of being introduced in this way and that hon. Members on both sides of the House should vote against it.

Mr. Speaker

I was not quite satisfied from what the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) said that there might not be a question, if this Bill proceeds further, of requiring the Queen's Consent at a later stage. I will look into it—that is, if it is the will of the House that the Bill should be brought in.

Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 12.

The House divided: Ayes, 145 Noes, 238.

Division No. 85.] AYES 14.5 p.m.
Acland, Sir Richard Hamilton, W. W. Palmer, A. M. F,
Albu, A. H. Hannan, W. Pennell, Charles
Astor, Hon. J. J. Hargreaves, A. Pearson, A.
Bacon, Miss Alice Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Perkins, W. R. D.
Balfour, A. Hastings, S. Plummer, Sir Leslie
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.) Popplewell, E
Bence, C. R. Herbison, Miss M Proctor, W. T
Bann, Wedgwood Holt, A. F. Raikes, Sir Victor
Benson, G. Houghton, Douglas Reid, Thomas (Swindon)
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Reid, William (Camlachie)
Blackburn, F. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Rhodes, H.
Blenkinsop, A. Isaacs, Rt. Hon G. A. Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Boardman, H. Janner, B. Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Bowden, H. W. Johnson, James (Rugby) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Bowen, E. R. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Brockway, A. F. Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Ross, William
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Shurmer, P. L. E.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Burton, Miss F. E. Kenyon, C. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Carmichael, J. King, Dr. H. M. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Lambert, Hon. G. Sorensen, R. W.
Champion, A. J. Lambton, Viscount Sparks, J. A.
Chetwynd, G. R. Langford-Holt, J. A. Steele, T.
Clunie, J. Legh, P. R. (Petersfield) Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Coldrick, W. Lindgren, G. S. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Cranborne, Viscount Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Culler, Mrs. A. McGhee, H. G. Swingler, S. T.
Daines, P. McGovern, J. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) McInnes, J. Thomas David (Aberdare)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) MoLeavy, F. Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Dodds, N. N. MacMil'an, M. K. (Western Isles) Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Donnelly, D. L. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Tilney, John
Edelman, M. MaIlaliau, E. L. (Brigg) Vane, W. M. F.
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mann, Mrs. Jean Wade, D. W.
Ewart. R. Manuel, A. C. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Fernyhough, E. Mayhew, C. P. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Fienburgh, W. Mitchison, G. R. Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John
Finlay, Graeme Moody, A. S. Wheeldon, W. E.
Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Follick, M. Mulley, F. W. Williams, David (Neath)
Forman, J. C. OldfieId, W. H. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Aberlitlery)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Orbach, M. Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Freeman, John (Watford) Ormsby-Gore, Han. W. D. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightfide)
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Yates, V. F.
Garner-Evans, E. H. Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Griffiths, David (Rather Valley) Oswald, T. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Padley, W. E. Brigadier Prior-Palmer and
Grimond, J. Paget, R. T. Mr. Beswick.
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Digby, S. Wingfield
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Browne, Jack (Govan) Dodds-Parker, A. D.
Alport, C. J. M Bullard, D. G. Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Bullock, Capt. M. Donner, P. W.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Drewe, C.
Arbuthnot, John Butcher, Sir Herbert Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Campbell, Sir David Duthie, W. S.
Awbery, S. S. Carr, Robert Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Baldwin, A. E Carson, Hon E Edwards, John (Brighouse)
Banks, Col. C Cary, Sir Robert Erroll, F. J.
Barber, Anthony Chapman, W. D. Fell, A.
Barlow, Sir John Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Fisher, Nigel
Bartley, P. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F
Beach, Maj. Hicks Cole, Norman Fletcher-Cooke, C.
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Fort, R
Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston) Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)
Bishop, F. P. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Fraser, Sir lan (Morecambe & Lonsdale)
Black, C. W. Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell
Boothby, R. J. G. Crouch, R. F. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N
Bowles, F. G. Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollek)
Boyle, Sir Edward Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hiilhead)
Braine, B. R Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Gammans, L. D.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N,W.) Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Davidson. Visoountess Glanville, James
Godber, J. B. Lyttelton, Rt Hon. O. Ryder, Capt R. E. [...]
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. McAdden, S. J. Sandys, Rt Hon D.
Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) MacColl, J E. Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas
Grenfell, Rt. Hon D R. McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S Schofield, Lt.-Col. W (Rochdale)
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Macdonald, Sir Peter Scott, R. Donald
Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) McKibbin, A. J Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Harden, J. R. E McKie, J H. (Galloway) Short, E. W
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Maclay, Rt. Hon John Simon, J. E. S (Middlesbrough, W.)
Harrison, Col. J. H (Eye) MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Slater, J.
Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Mainwaring, W. H. Speir, R. M
Hay, John Maitland, Comdr. J. F W. (Horncastle) Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Hayman, F. H Markham, Major S F. Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)
Heald, Sir Lionel Marlowe, A A. H Stanley. Capt. Hon. Richard
Higgs, J M. C Maude, Angus Stevens, G. P.
Hill, Dr Charles (L[...]ton) Medlicott, Brig. F Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Mellor, Sir John Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Hirst, Geoffrey Messer, F. Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Holland-Martin, C. J Molson, A. H. E, Stuart, RI. Hon. James (Moray)
Holman, P. Morgan, Dr. H. B W. Summers, G. S.
Holmes, Sir Stanley (Harwich) Mor[...]ey, R. Sylvester, G. O.
Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham,S.) Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Hornsby-Smith, Miss M P. Morrison, John (Salisbury) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon Florence Mott-Radclyffe, C E. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Howard, Greville (St. Ives) Murray, J. D Thomas, Rt. Hon. J P L (Hereford)
Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Neal, Harold (Bo!saver) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Nicholls, Harmar Thompson, Lt.-Cdr R (Croydon, W.)
Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Thornton-Kemstey, Col. C. N
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Touche, Sir Gordon
Hurd, A. R Noble, Cmdr A. H. P Turton, R. H
Hutchison, Lt -Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Nugent, G. R. H Tweedsmuir, Lady
Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Nutting, Anthony Viant, S. P
Hynd, J B. (Attercliffe) Oliver, G. H Vosper, D. F.
Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Jeger, George (Goole) Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super Mare) Wakefield, Sir WaveII (St Marylebone)
Jenkins, R. H (Stechford) Paton. J. Ward, Hon George (Worcester)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Peaks, Rt. Hon. O. Waterhouse, Capt Rt. Hon. C.
Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Pelo, Brig. C. H M. Watkinson, H A
Jones, A. (Hall Green) Payton, J W. W Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Joynson-Hicks, Hon L. W. Pilkington, Capt. R. A Wellwood, W
Kaberry, D. Pitman, I J Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Keenan, W. Porter, G. Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Kerr, H. W. Powell, J. Enoch Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Kinley, J. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W) Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Law, Rt Hon. R. K. Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton) Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Profumo, J. D Wills, G.
Legge-Bourke, Maj E. A H. Remnant, Hon. P Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Linstead, H. N Richards, R. Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Llewellyn, D. T Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Wood, Hon R.
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Roberts, Peter (Heeley) York, C.
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Robson-Brown, W.
Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J C. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Low, A. R. W. Roper, Sir Harold Lieut.-Colonel Elliot and
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Mr. Nabarro.
Lucas, P B (Brantford) Russell, R. S
    1. c431
    2. IRON AND STEEL BILL 12 words
      1. cc431-521
      2. Clause 4. (PROVISION OF PRODUCTION FACILITIES.) 35,533 words, 2 divisions
      3. cc521-49
  3. c566
  4. ADJOURNMENT 17 words