§ Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
I beg to move, in page 2, line 25, after the first "be," to insert:constituted not less than six months before the appointed day.This is a simple but very necessary Amendment and one that we had hoped the Minister would accept; but his statement, earlier today, that he proposes to go ahead with what we regard as indecent haste in these matters shows very clearly that he will not accept it.
My hon. Friends, speaking on other Amendments, have put forward the case for delaying action in some of these matters and I do not propose to go over that ground again, except to say that we take a very grave view of the Minister's statement that the period that would elapse between the Royal Assent and the appointed day would be a matter of weeks rather than months. That seems to indicate that the period between the passing of the Act and the naming of the appointed day would be something less than seven weeks—if the Minister's words mean what they say—and we think that that is most indecent haste.
In view of that fact, this Amendment becomes rather more important. One month after the appointed day the Corporation ceases to exist unless, as the Minister mentioned on the previous Amendment, he grants the Corporation an extension for the purpose of winding up their affairs; but within that month, or whatever the period may be, the Corporation have got to wind up their affairs. prepare a final statement of accounts, and so on, and that is quite a formidable job. While that is going on, on the appointed day the new Board takes over in a great hurry.
There is, therefore, a period of only one month for an effective transfer of the main powers of the Corporation to the new Board, and with very little chance of previous preparation; because, as the 1086 Minister has said, the period between the passing of the Act and the appointed day is to be only a matter of weeks. When we consider the magnitude of the job that is to be done, I am sure we shall all agree that the period that is allowed to the Board to get into their stride and to look around and decide what is to be done is all too short.
As we shall point out when we come to other Amendments, the Board have very little power to supervise and control the industry—the word "supervision" is a bit of window-dressing all the way through the Bill—but they have extensive duties to perform. Their duties include the exercise of general supervision over the industrywith a view to promoting the efficient, economic and adequate supply of iron and steel under competitive conditions, and of keeping under review its productive capacity. …All that amounts to a whole series of extensive duties which the Board will be called upon to perform. Whereas the old Board were only concerned with the prime producers of iron and steel, the new Board's ambit is to be much wider.
§ Mr. Darling
Yes, the Forbes Board.
So far as we can calculate, something like 2,400 firms will be involved. Apart from anything else, the immense administrative task of bringing all the many firms that were left out of the nationalisation scheme into the ambit of the new Board will be formidable. We should like to know why the Minister proposes to be so hasty in this matter. What are the reasons? We think that a much longer period—the six months which has been suggested in the Amendment—would provide for a much smoother change over and would make for a more efficient operation on the part of the new Board.
I hope that the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary will forgive us if we on these benches see in this indecent haste something rather sinister. When the 1087 Board is set up, they will clearly include representatives or members of the leading firms in the British Iron and Steel Federation. They will be the people on the Board with an intimate knowledge of the iron and steel industry. There will be, as the Minister has said, representatives of steel consumers. Who they will be, what their capacities and experience will be we do not know; but at the beginning the effective members of the Board concerned with the supervision of the iron and steel industry and with the performance of this wide range of duties will be representatives of the Iron and Steel Federation.
The Minister's rather curious announcement earlier, that he would not make any commitments about appointments to the new Board before the Bill received the Royal Assent—a bungled statement, if I may say so; he was caught on the hop—indicates to me that he has already thought of some tentative arrangements about representatives from the British Iron and Steel Federation being on the Board, and has decided who they shall be.
If the Board as a whole—not just the representatives of the British Iron and Steel Federation—are not to have time to look around and see what arrangements they can make for the proper performance of their duties, the Board will be in a situation in which the effective control of this industry will pass completely into the hands of those representatives of the Federation, because the other members will have no chance to make any alternative arrangements to those that will be made by the people who have an intimate knowledge of the industry.
In any case, the Board will have to rely upon Steel House for technical services, information services and for the whole of the background of the work to be performed, and, therefore, Steel House will be completely in control of the Board. This may be the intention of the Government, but it will be manifestly unfair to the other members of the Board who do not represent Steel House. This haste is altogether wrong. The new Board should have time to look round and prepare a smooth take-over from the Corporation to the new system of supervision.
I suppose that there will be trade union representation. In any case, I do not 1088 suppose that the trade unions will behave as Steel House behaved towards the Corporation; we have every right to expect a higher standard of public behaviour from the trade unions. They ought to be given a chance to look round and see whether they can make any alternative arrangements to those made by the representatives of the Federation for the carrying out of the Board's duties, before they are called upon to carry out their legal duties. The Minister ought to reconsider this matter, and, in the interests of members of the Board other than the direct representatives of the steel industry, accept this Amendment.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply (Mr. A. R. W. Low)
I think it will be for the convenience of the Committee if I intervene now because, as the hon. Members will appreciate, the point covered by this Amendment is very similar to, if not almost exactly the same as, the point covered by the first Amendment which we have discussed. I do not think I need add anything on the major issue to what my right hon. Friend said in reply to that Amendment.
I ought to clear up two small points that were raised by the hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Darling). He said that the Board of 1946–49—the Forbes Board—were concerned with a smaller range of the industry. That is quite incorrect, as I thought was made clear on the Second Reading. They were, in fact, concerned with this range plus a few other activities which are not incorporated in the Bill. I hope the hon. Gentleman will accept that from me, because that point was made once or twice during the Second Reading, and I hope that we shall hear no more of it.
§ Mr. Darling
The hon. Gentleman realises, of course, that that does not invalidate my argument that changing over from the supervising of the present 92 firms to something like 2,400 firms will be a big administrative task.
§ Mr. Low
It does not invalidate that part of the argument, but it invalidates the argument which related to the strength of the Board.
The second point which I would make—and my right hon. Friend made it quite clearly—is that there is nothing sinister behind the Government's attitude to the Amendment. I must make this absolutely clear, so that there shall be no 1089 doubt about it; there is no bargain or anything else to do with Steel House in this matter. I thought it was made clear by my right hon. Friend and myself during the Second Reading; there is no question of Steel House being in control of the Board. That has been made clear this afternoon by what has been said about the composition of the Board.
Having made those two points I ask the Committee to reject the Amendment for the same reasons for which it rejected the first Amendment on the Order Paper today.
§ Mr. Darling
I certainly do not accept the statement that it has nothing to do with Steel House and that the Government have done no bargaining with Steel House. I am sure they have. The thing smells of Steel House all the way through.
May I put this point to the Parliamentary Secretary? Does he think it fair to issue invitations to representatives of the steel consumers and of the trade unions without giving them an opportunity to look around to decide what they should do before they are called upon to assume their full duties?
§ Mr. Sandys
I am sorry that I was out of the Chamber for a few minutes. I hear talk about bargains with Steel House and I want to reinforce what my hon. Friend has said. There is not one vestige of truth in any such suggestion. When my hon. Friend gives an assurance and makes a statement of that kind I hope that hon. Members opposite, and hon. Members in all parts of the Committee, will not challenge the honesty of what has been said.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss
As the wider point has been raised—I shall not pursue it at the moment—may I say that we accept that there has been no formal bargain with Steel House; but surely the right hon. Gentleman does not expect hon. Gentlemen on this side of the Committee to believe that there have been no informal discussions with leading industrialists, including leading people of Steel House, during the last year or the last six months, about the future of the steel industry. They are all in the same political party and have the same political view.
I do not believe that those discussions have not taken place. I accept that 1090 there has been no clear-cut and definite bargain, but, of course, there have been informal discussions with the right hon. Gentleman and the Prime Minister and his friends, with leading industrialists in the steel industry and with other people. It would be incredible if leaders of this industry had had no discussions on the future of the industry with leading Members of the Government.
§ Mr. Jack Jones
May I make this suggestion to the Minister? We accept the assurance that there has been no bargain with Steel House. But, like my right hon. Friend, I would not accept that there have been no informal discussions. If there have not been informal discussions, then the case for the Amendment is strengthened. If no preparatory work has been done in connection with this vast take-over, that strengthens our argument for time during which these discussions can take place. If the Minister is suggesting that there have been no informal discussions and no preparatory work to pave the way for these vast additional changes, surely that is evidence, given by the Minister, of the necessity for the Amendment. Having given this evidence, I suggest that the Minister should think again and, in the light of his own argument, accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. R. Jennings (Sheffield, Hallam)
Was not the Minister replying to the charge that there had been bargains made with Steel House? That was the point of his answer.
§ Mr. Darling
On a point of explanation. The word "bargain" was not used by me, but by the Parliamentary Secretary. What I said—and I repeat it—was that the Minister must have in his mind some idea of the representatives of the steel industry he will select or the kind of representatives he wishes to put on the Board. He may have had tentative talks with Steel House about that. There is nothing sinister in that part of the procedure. My reference to the sinister part of the arrangement will be seen when the right hon. Gentleman reads HANSARD tomorrow.
§ Mr. Sandys
I think we are quite out of order, but this important point has been raised and I should like to say categorically that I have not discussed 1091 with Steel House a single name of anybody who might be on the Board. It is as well to say that.
§ Amendment negatived.
§ Mr. Peter Roberts (Sheffield, Heeley)
I beg to move, in page 2, line 30, to leave out "seven nor more than eleven," and to insert "nine nor more than fourteen."
The object of the Amendment, which is in my name and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Hallam (Mr. Jennings), is to increase the number of members who may be nominated to the Board. As the Bill stands, the minimum is seven and the maximum is 11, and the Amendment suggests that the minimum should be increased to nine and the maximum to 14. We believe that the Minister will need to call upon a wider range of experience when he is composing the Board.
We say that because when the original Bill was being discussed in Committee, the minimum was put down as four by the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss) and very powerful arguments were addressed to him by my right hon. and hon. Friends that the number should be increased to six. We were discussing the whole question of the steel industry which was to be taken over under the Bill and, after the arguments had been put to the right hon. Gentleman, he accepted the figure of six.
The point I want to put to my right hon. Friend is this. Under the Bill a greater variety of industries will come under the influence of the Board. In addition, my right hon. Friend will find that to some extent consumers' interests will be taken over by consumers' representatives on the Board—and several hon. Members from both sides of the Committee have mentioned the Consumers' Council today. We find from the outset, therefore, that there will be greater and more widely varied interests to be given some place upon the Board. The Bill as drafted, increases the Board by one in each case from the present Iron and Steel Act—in other words, the Bill increases the numbers from six to seven and from 10 to 11.
As I have said, there are many interests which should find a place upon the 1092 Board. May I give this as an instance? It is the case of the special steel producers who are more or less congregated in and around Sheffield and who have made representations, I believe to the Minister and certainly to the Parliamentary Secretary, that their contribution to the steel industry is one of quality and price, not necessarily one of tonnage. There is a feeling that if decisions are taken purely on a tonnage basis, their interests may not be represented to the full extent which might otherwise be the case. As hon. Members know, there has always been a conflict between the people producing bulk steel, the cheaper grades of steel, and those who are producing high grade steel, crucible and electric arc steel of a very fine quality. I believe that there should be places upon the Board for representatives of that section of the industry.
I am not asking my right hon. Friend at this stage to give any indication, as he said he would not, of what his intentions are regarding the composition of the Board, but I feel that without this provision to raise the numbers, it may well be that it will be difficult for my right hon. Friend to find places for the interests I am mentioning. Therefore, I feel that he will be doing himself a service, and will find it very much easier at a later date when he has to deal with the conflicting interests of a great number of industries and a great number of consumers, if he has a Board with a maximum of 14 instead of a maximum of 11.
I have myself looked at the possibilities, as, no doubt, my right hon. Friend has done also. Assuming that there are three members from the trade union side, three members from the heavy steel industry side, and three from the consumers' side, then there are nine straight away, and so far that does not bring in the special steel interests, or the iron founders, or the various other interests as set out in Clause 2 (3)—the administrative, applied science, and so on.
Therefore, I suggest to my right hon. Friend that he should consider this Amendment favourably. I believe that it will help him. I am quite certain that it will give encouragement to the special steel producers in Sheffield and elsewhere, 1093 and also to those who will be representing the vast consumer interests, which, of course, will have to be taken into account, if my right hon. Friend accepts the Amendment. I put it no higher than this, that I believe it will improve the Bill; and I hope that he will see his way to accept it.
§ Mr. Jennings
During the Christmas Recess I took an opportunity of meeting most of the Sheffield steel interests. [Interruption.] There are two hon. Members opposite who represent Sheffield constituencies, and I should have thought that they would have been in support of this Amendment and in support of the Sheffield steel industry, at any rate. I feel that the special steel manufacturers in Sheffield represent a particular aspect of the industry and should have some representation.
Like my hon. Friend the Member for Heeley (Mr. P. Roberts), I am not asking my right hon. Friend categorically to say he will give them representation, but I should like him to consider that these are people who have a very high-priced type goods, very high-priced export markets and export trade. I support this Amendment in the hope that my right hon. Friend will give due consideration to the particular types of industries that we have in Sheffield. I had a great opportunity during the Recess to meet them all, and to hear about their special difficulties, and I feel that by this Amendment we should be doing a good thing by increasing the number of those represented and providing for better representation on the Board.
§ Mr. Mulley
As a Member for one of the Sheffield constituencies. I should like to say that I give my full support to the object that the hon. Gentlemen opposite have in mind, which is to see that the very important Sheffield steel interests are represented on the Board. but I should not have thought it necessary to have moved such an Amendment, because I cannot conceive of a Minister of Supply who could set up a Board without paying due regard to the important aspects of the industry in Sheffield. However. I am prepared to take the word of hon. Gentlemen opposite. After all, they know their Minister better than I do, perhaps, and if they have anxiety that the interests of Sheffield will not be taken care of by the Minister, I shall be glad to support 1094 this Amendment and to take part, in support of it, in a Division. if one is necessary.
§ Mr. Jennings
The object of the Amendment is to see that the Minister's attention is specifically drawn to this important matter, and then to leave it to him to accept the Amendment or not.
§ Mr. Mulley
I am rather surprised that the hon. Gentleman is already in retreat before he has heard the Minister's reply. However. I assure him that we on this side of the Committee are anxious. as I personally believe the Minister also is, to see that the industry in Sheffield is properly represented. I would remind the Committee that, so far as the value of the steel output of this country is concerned, although Sheffield's output represents in tonnage only a small percentage, Sheffield's output in value is equal to that of the rest of the steel industry in the country. I think that when I say that there should be no need for any Amendment to see that Sheffield is properly represented.
There is another question relating to this point. I ask the Minister whether the purpose of the Board is to be a representative Board, not only in the sense that this section or that is represented on it, but in the sense that it is going to be a real Board to supervise the whole industry.
§ Mr. Douglas Johnston (Paisley)
I should like in a sentence or two to support this Amendment, and I do so for the reason that I hope that the Minister will at the same time consider the possibility of getting someone from the Scottish steel industry and the Scottish steel consumers on the Board. I do not ask him to give any undertaking, but I ask him to consider this Amendment so that the possibility of including those persons may be in the Bill.
§ Mr. Sandys
It is a rare occasion on this Bill when we have such unanimous support for the Amendment from all parts of the Committee. It would be, I think, altogether ungrateful not to accede to the wishes of the Committee. One hon. Member after another, in proposing and supporting this Amendment, has said that he did not wish to press me in any way to commit myself as to the composition of the Board. I have no thought of committing myself in any way on the 1095 composition of the Board and I ask hon. Members not to misinterpret my intentions in accepting this Amendment. I am not giving any undertaking whatsoever to any interest.
One hon. Member said that it was not really necessary for the Committee to draw the attention of the Minister of Supply to the importance of Sheffield in the steel industry. I am accepting this Amendment because, as I consider the matter, I see that, in order to get a balanced Board, we are going to need pretty well all the seats allowed for under the Bill as it now stands. I am not sure that it would be necessary to go beyond the limits of the Bill as it is now drafted, but I should be quite happy just to have the extra elbow room, of three more places on the Board. It will not, as my hon. Friend the Member for Heeley (Mr. P. Roberts) suggested, be a Board of 14. With the chairman, it will be a Board of 15. In accepting the Amendment I am giving myself a little more latitude in the composition of the Board, and I am not committing myself in any way to any particular representation in the composition of the Board.
§ Mr. Mulley
Before the right hon. Gentleman sits down, will he answer the general question whether he intends the Board to be representative of the industry, or whether he is going to appoint with the object of having people competent to supervise?
I understand that the Minister has taken note of our arguments on the consumer interests being represented, and I should like to point out that we do not consider that merely putting two or three consumers on the Board would be any answer to the problems we raised.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. George Chetwynd (Stockton-on-Tees)
I beg to move, in page 2, line 30, at the end, to insert:of whom the chairman and not less than half the other members shall render whole-time service to the Board and are herein referred to as 'whole-time members'.In spite of what the Minister says about not giving facts concerning the composition of the Board, from what he has said 1096 so far the conception is slowly emerging to the Committee. We have put down this Amendment for two reasons. First, the Bill does not state whether the members of the Board shall be full-time or part-time, and this Amendment will give the Minister an opportunity of expressing his views about that. Secondly, although we resolutely oppose the denationalisation of the industry, we are now concerned with making the Government's proposals as workable as possible in the interests of an efficient iron and steel industry, and we deem it essential for the industry that the majority of the members of the Iron and Steel Board shall render whole-time service.
This Amendment goes to the root of the future of the industry. We have our conception of the Board as a supervisory body. We want it to be a strong, energetic active body controlling the iron and steel industry. On Second Reading we felt—and the Minister has never dispelled this feeling—that the Government's intention was to have an Iron and Steel Board which was, in fact, powerless, and was a sham to cover up a public demand for some kind of public responsibility for the industry.
We have put down this Amendment because we think that only by having full-time members can we ensure that the Board is an effective, strong instrument of control, and not merely a paper scheme designed to forestall the criticism of those who in the past have felt that, although the industry must be left in private hands, it is so important that public supervision is necessary.
We think that there should be five full-time members if the membership is at its minimum and seven full-time members if it is at its maximum, because under the Bill at present the Board has to carry out many comprehensive duties concerned with the whole system of the public supervision of this industry. It has to control prices and the development of the industry; and it has to make provision for the supply of raw materials. The The Minister himself, speaking on the Second Reading on 25th November, said:The Board will have the duty of keeping itself informed about the industry's plans for expansion and modernisation, and of satisfying itself that they are adequate."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th November, 1952; Vol. 508, c. 270.]1097 That seems to go to the root, not only of our industrial position but of our defence position, because the whole of our economic and defence future rests upon the adequate nature of our steel industry. If this Board has a duty to ensure that we have an adequate steel industry, it must, in the main, be a full-time body sitting regularly doing this job.
Clause 3 sets out the comprehensive and onerous duties of the Board. They are laid down: the Committee is familiar with them, and I need not go through them all. As well as maintaining relations with the Minister, as laid down in the Bill, the Board must also maintain relations with the Iron and Steel Federation. There may be difficulty about that. It will also have to maintain relations with a far wider field of industrial companies than the existing Corporation has to do. Mention has already been made of something like 2,400 instead of the present 92.
The Board cannot possibly hope to do this job efficiently and adequately if it operates on a part-time basis. How can a part-time member, spending, say, half the week in a private accountant's office, or in the office of a steel works, or wherever it may be, give proper attention to the nation's industry? Let it be remembered that, although the industry will no longer be nationalised. it will still be a national industry.
We insist that, in order to get an efficiently run Board a majority of the members should be full-time, so that those appointed to it will bring their experience and skill with them and be able to examine every issue from the national viewpoint, and not merely from the point of view of the individual firm of which they have been associated. The only body able to do this will be the Iron and Steel Board, and in our view it must be strong enough and independent enough to exert its influence properly. If it is to avoid being a nuisance to existing companies, or being a mere rubber stamp for the Iron and Steel Federation, it must, in the main, be a full-time board.
I am fortified in this view by the fact that the existing Corporation—which has had a tremendous job to do, but a job which in many respects may not be as big as the one the new Board will have 1098 to do—has seen fit so far to have five of its seven members full-time and only two part-time.
§ Mr. Mitchison
On a point of order. We are now discussing the proposed Amendment in page 2, line 30, which has been moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd). That is followed on the Order Paper by two further Amendments in page 2, line 45, and in page 3, line 11.
These Amendments raise a different point from that raised by the Amendment under discussion, but to some extent it is connected with it. Am I right in supposing that we shall later proceed to discuss those other two Amendments, but that I should not be out of order in, while not in any way discussing the principle, just referring to them while speaking to this Amendment?
The next Amendment in page 2, line 45, will be called, and the Amendment in page 3, line 11, will be joined with it. I think it would be better to leave the discussion of those Amendments until we reach the next Amendment.
§ Mr. Mitchison
With great respect, I did not propose to discuss them in any way, but I am bound to refer a little to their subject matter, which is very closely connected with this Amendment. I hope that I shall not trespass on the spirit of your Ruling, Mr. Hopkin Morris; I shall certainly do my best to conform to it.
This seems to me to be an Amendment of very considerable importance. One has to consider what the Bill does, in fact, provide. It provides for a body—a fairly numerous body—consisting of a chairman, and, as matters now stand, of from nine to 14 members. We know something about it. We have been told by the Minister that the conditions postulated by the Consumers' Council will be fulfilled. There would, therefore, be one independent chairman. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will correct me if I am in any way misinterpreting him, but I understand that there will be two independent members at least, two or three members representing the consumers, and that the Minister is glad to have three additional members for a purpose which appears to be connected, at any rate, with the representation of the consumers.
§ Mr. Sandys
I thought that I had made it clear that I was not committing myself in any way in regard to the last Amendment which we accepted. I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will not draw conclusions. I specifically asked that no conclusions of that kind should be drawn about the composition of the Board, and, in accepting the Amendment, I said that I did so in order that I might have a little more elbow room in general.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I think that the right hon. Gentleman will accept from me that I am really glad to hear that. I may have misunderstood what he said and, if so, I apologise, but I can only welcome wholeheartedly what he says now.
What we know about the Board so far is that out of its total composition, the chairman and two members will be independent and at least two members will represent the consumers' interests, because these were the conditions which were postulated by the Consumers' Council and which the Minister said would be fulfilled. The remarkable thing about the Bill is that it does not provide for a single whole-time member. The Minister may, of course, be in future the right hon. Gentleman who holds office or some other right hon. Gentleman. It rests entirely with the Minister when the appointments come up to be made or renewed, or if for any other reason, there is a vacancy, to fill the Board with part-time or whole-time members, exactly as he chooses. There is nothing in the Bill at present to prevent the Minister from appointing the chairman and 14 members, every single one of whom will be part-time.
I do not suggest that the Minister is likely to do that. I hope that, in spite of his reluctance to commit himself in public on this matter, he will be able to assure us that, at any rate, some proportion of the members will be whole-time members, and the reason I attach importance to that is this: we have just had on another Amendment an exhibition of what I can only call in the politest form and without making any kind of attack on the hon. Members who spoke on it, on this side of the Committee as well as on the other, a little bit of log rolling. It was about the representation of the Sheffield steel interests and the representation of Scottish interests. I take no objection to that, but, obviously, there 1100 will be considerable pressure for consumers' representation on this Board.
One then has to see what the Board has to do. My right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss) said very truly, a short time ago, that on a board of this kind, which has a definite job to do, we do not want the people who are there to represent special interests. If they are doing that, then their duty as members of the board is bound to conflict with their representation of special interests, and when they have a practical job to do, and a job of the highest national importance, it is wrong that they should have to weigh against it their duties to represent some special interest or another.
As was again rightly said—and I absolutely agree—no one would try to run a business on these lines. One does not put on an operative board of any sort people who represent one's customers, when those people are also to be concerned in running the works. I agree that in the circumstances of this case, and having regard to the fact that the right hon. Gentleman and his political friends have thrown the Consumers' Council overboard, we have to have some sort of representation of consumers generally on the Board, but I do say that they will not be the most useful members on it, and that they will be in considerable difficulty in contributing to the real work of the Board.
We have to consider what the Board is to do. As I see it, there are three possible boards. One is what I believe to be the right kind of board—that is to say, a board which will exercise a thoroughly effective supervision and control of the whole steel industry, and, if we do that, then certainly we should want a large proportion of whole-time members on it. Next comes the board offered by the Tory Party to the country at large. That is a hybrid board. It does not go as far as the board that I want, but it goes a long way beyond the Board as contemplated in the Bill. It was suggested quite definitely to the country, both before and since the last election, that there would be some effective control over the industry by the Board. The last kind of board, and the one which we have actually to consider at the moment, is the Board in the Bill. 1101 Its general duty is merely to supervise, and its powers of control, such as they are, do not amount to control at all. They amount to the performance of a few special functions in certain special circumstances, and no more. I do not forget that the Board has also some responsibility for training, education and research, but, after all, all that falls a very long way off any effective control of the industry. If that is to be the position, let us at least see that the supervision which the Board has to exercise is effective supervision, and let us think for a moment what it is supervising.
It is not going to supervise, any more than the existing Corporation has supervised, the day to day running of these industrial companies. No one wants it to do that, but we want it to see to two things: first, that there is a national development plan for the iron and steel industry, and, when I say a national plan. I mean a plan which conforms with national interests and not merely with the particular interests of the iron and steel industry and that comparatively small number of people who have controlled it in the past and seem likely, under this Bill, to control it in the future. That is the first thing that it has to do.
The next thing which it has to do, if supervision means anything, is to see—I say no more than to see—whether particular companies and persons concerned are conforming to that national plan, or seeking their own particular interests in contradiction or in conflict with it. I cannot believe that the right hon. Gentleman will for one moment deny that that is, under the Bill, the responsibility of a supervising body, and I believe that under the Bill and under the most broad principles of Parliamentary Government it must be his responsibility to a considerable extent. If that is the position, and if that is the sort of job which the Board has to do, then I fail completely to see how anyone can carry it out properly if, at the same time, he is also engaged in other activities.
I admit that there must be room for some part-time members, and this Amendment does not propose otherwise. but, at the same time, there must be a kernel and a substantial kernel of members of the Board who will do the real running, just as do the full-time members 1102 on other public boards. Those will have to be effective people, and it seems to me obvious that the effective kernel, if I may use the phrase again, should be at least a majority of the Board.
Is there anything in the least unreasonable in having that put into the Bill? I think there is very good reason for inserting it. There is not only the consumers' interest, but there is something much more important than that. Who is this chairman and these full-time members to be? We know because we have been told that the chairman and two members, whether full-time or part-time, are to be independent. But what about the rest of them? I do not think, nor do my hon. Friends think, that it is possible for a man to spend his time in managing a particular unit in this industry and have the spare time to attend meetings of this Board.
I know that in this industry people come from outside in to high administrative posts. One of them was a most respected and distinguished Member of this House, but he came into the industry from outside. It has, in fact, in the past been run very largely by committees and associations on which those members had a considerable part to play. I fail to see how someone coming in from outside the industry can take part in the activities of these important committees and organisations and can properly deal with all the matters which arise from them, while at the same time taking a really effective part in this Board.
I am not suggesting that the part-time members have not had experience of one or other of the various types that are indicated in the Bill. What I am saying is that when they get on to the Board they must, if they are to be effective members, give their whole time to it. Frankly, I must say to the right hon. Gentleman that I recognise, as do all of us, that he is the responsible Minister, but he is dealing with an industry which in the past—and not the so distant past either—was run by a comparatively small number of people. These particular people have shown themselves to have—let me put it mildly—such marked views about the industry that they have refused to implement effectively the decisions of the Labour Government by entering the former Corporation. I doubt if anyone 1103 in this Committee is really prepared to deny that that is what happened.
When we have to deal with an industry like that and with those who for that sort of reason are sometimes called the iron and steel barons or collectively, Steel House, it seems to be very important to see that, if they are to be used in this particular set-up, they should be cut well adrift from what they have been doing in the past and should give their full time to this public job. They have in this instance, at any rate, to get quite clear of the old love before they start on the new.
If the Minister is not able to accept an Amendment of this sort, the only conclusion that I can draw is that he regards the Board as so comparatively unimportant that it must take second place to Steel House and to other interests in the industry, and that he must concede to them the effective power of running it—not merely the day-to-day running of it but also the implementation of the policy contained in this Bill. I cannot believe that the Minister is prepared to get up and tell us that.
We all feel that any concession of that sort would be so contrary to the national interests, having regard particularly to the past history of the industry, that it ought not to be made. Therefore, it is only to secure on the one hand an effective Board, and, on the other, an independent Board for the tasks which it has got to perform, which even in this Bill are considered of great importance. that I support this Amendment and hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see his way to accept it.
§ Mr. Aubrey Jones (Birmingham, Hall Green)
In view of the sweet unanimity which prevailed in the Committee on the last Amendment, it would be ungracious if no one on this side expressed at least partial agreement with what has been said on this Amendment. I agree with the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd) that this Board should be effective. I agree with him, too, that that effectiveness is the more likely if the Board has a full-time nucleus. That far I can go with the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees and with the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison). The hon. and learned 1104 Member used the word "kernel" while I suggested "nucleus," but thus far I can go with both of them. There, however, I part.
The hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees mentioned that the present Corporation has a preponderance of full-time members. I think he said that five out of the seven were full-time members. That is true, but if one looks at the 1949 Act it will be found that nothing at all is said about full-time members. I think indeed during the Committee stage of that Act, when the suggestion of a full-time kernel or nucleus was made, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss) replied that he wished to be allowed untrammelled discretion, and suggested that the matter be left flexible.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss
Speaking from recollection, I think I indicated that the majority of the Corporation would be full-timers. I certainly carried that out.
§ Mr. Jones
I am not differing fundamentally from the right hon. Gentleman; all I wish to do is commend to the Committee the precedent of the 1949 Act. I hope the Committee will commend to the Minister the principle of a full-time nucleus, but I think it would be far wiser to leave it to the Minister's discretion as to how exactly he carries out that principle in practice.
I hope the Minister realises that we attach the utmost importance to this Amendment. Indeed, I should have thought that he would have accepted it if he wants to maintain any sort of atmosphere of seriousness in the Bill at all. We on this side of the Committee doubt whether he ever intends that this Board should exercise any real power at all, and we shall await his reaction to this sort of Amendment. We have others along similar lines which we shall move later, but I should have thought that if he really wishes the country to believe that he is serious when he says it is necessary to exercise control over the steel industry, he would have been prepared to accept the Amendment.
I think we are entitled to say that control cannot be exercised by a Board composed of part-time people. Indeed, a short time ago, when we were discussing another Amendment, he told us quite cheerfully that the work of a body 1105 which consisted of 18 or 19 people would be taken by these people in their stride as well as other types of work. I refer to the Consumers' Council.
We heard that it was the desire of the Government that the industry should expand its production of steel considerably, and that the Board must examine the development proposals of the various firms within the industry. If we can really envisage a Board consisting of part-time people doing that sort of work I am prepared to believe that the Minister has geniuses at his disposal and not ordinary men.
Seeing that we apparently have agreement on both sides of the Committee as to the necessity for control of the steel industry—we certainly believe that and we practised it, and we have had from the Conservative Party statements in which they said that although there should be private enterprise within the industry they also believe that it should be subject to Governmental control—I should have thought that instead of waiting for an Amendment of this sort to be moved the Minister would have incorporated within the Bill provisions to make it manifest to the country that our suspicions that the Board is to be merely a sort of rubber stamp for Steel House is not true. I therefore ask the Minister to get up and say that the proportion of five to two which my right hon. Friend observed in regard to the Steel Board will be maintained now that we are to have a change in the industry.
I do not want to repeat my argument about consumers, but I hope the Minister will see that if there is to be respect for law it must be shown to be based upon morality and justice. Can we conceive the spectacle of a number of people dropping in in time for morning coffee and having a desultory conversation for an hour or two on any subject from golf to fishing, and putting that across as the sort of control which a great industry of this kind should have?
There is no room for quibbling. The Minister owes it to the House of Commons and to the country, since his desire is to get complete control of the industry, that the industry should be capable of feeding the consumer industries with steel, and that therefore as many full-time members as we ask for—even more, I should think—will be 1106 on the Board. Upon his acceptance of the Amendment will depend the country's reaction in deciding whether he is serious in wanting control or is merely playing with the subject in order to hand it back to Steel House.
§ 8.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Sandys
The mover of the Amendment, the hon. Member for Stockton-on-Tees (Mr. Chetwynd), and the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison), who spoke after him, rightly stressed the importance of the Board's functions, and I am glad that they did so. There has been a tendency at times for the benches opposite to belittle the importance of the functions which we are entrusting to the Board. From that, they drew the conclusion that at least half the members of the Board should be full-time members. The hon. and learned Member pressed the point as hard as did the mover ot the Amendment, but he said that he attached most importance to having an assurance from the Government that at least some of the members of the Board should be whole-time because the Bill did not lay it down in any way.
§ Mr. Sandys
The hon. and learned Gentleman made a fairly lengthy speech and he did definitely ask me whether I would at least give an assurance that there would be some whole-time members on the Board. I made it clear that I did not wish to be restricted in the selection—an important and difficult selection—of the members of the Board. I am prepared to say to the Committee here and now, because I am sure that it will not embarrass me, that it is our intention that a proportion of the Board, including the chairman, should be full-time members and that a proportion should be part-time.
§ Mr. Sandys
I am giving the assurance which I am prepared to give, although it might not entirely meet the wishes of the hon. and learned Gentleman. I do not wish to commit myself, here and now, to any precise proportion or to accept an Amendment which will lay down definite arithmetical rules in the Bill. What we want—and I believe it is also the wish 1107 of members in all parts of the Committee—is to get the best possible Board. The success of the Board will depend to a very large extent upon the standing and experience of its members and the respect which they enjoy.
§ Mr. Sandys
Nobody, I hope, is questioning their integrity. There is an Amendment which comes on later upon which the question of financial interest can be more appropriately discussed. If the Minister responsible is to be able to get the best Board he must have the widest possible latitude in making his selections and must not have his hands tied.
The hon. and learned Gentleman complained that the Bill did not contain any provision which would ensure that even one single member of the Board would serve whole time. I do not know whether the hon. and learned Gentleman realises that the 1949 Act did not contain any such provision either.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Perhaps I might tell the right hon. Gentleman, and I thank him for allowing me to do so, that I do realise it. The 1949 Act was an entirely different matter. It was not handing the industry back to private interests, but handing it over to public control.
§ Mr. Sandys
Those are facts. I am glad that the hon. and learned Gentleman has stressed that the circumstances were different. The 1949 Act did not give to the Corporation the duty of supervising the industry but that of owning it and controlling it in every way. There was a case then for making quite sure that we had men on the Corporation who were going to devote sufficient time to that vastly greater responsibility of direct control and ownership of a vast industry, as distinct from general supervision with certain limited powers at vital points. If there is a case for inserting in this Bill a specific rule about the proportion of full-time members of the Board, how much stronger must have been that case in regard to the nationalisation Act of 1949?
§ Mr. Jack Jones
Will the Minister refresh the memory of the Committee by 1108 reminding hon. Members that the positions which were available to be filled by the then Minister by full-time persons, had he so desired, could not be filled because those persons who were wanted and were needed would not play?
§ Mr. Sandys
Any difficulties that might have arisen arose after the Bill received the Royal Assent. It is a red herring which the hon. Member has drawn across the trail.
§ Mr. Sandys
This issue was debated in the Committee and also. I believe, on the Report stage of the previous Bill. I have looked up some of those debates, in which, naturally, the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss) took a prominent part. I find his arguments both convincing and convenient. He said:I feel that the real wisdom at this stage, while we are considering the Bill is not to lay down hard and fast rules. If the right hon. Gentleman"—I do not know who it was that he was addressing—asks what is my conception, I reply that my present view"—I mention this because the right hon. Gentleman raised it a moment ago—is that there should be a number of full-time members"—
§ Mr. Sandys
probably with some part-time members working alongside them.He went on to say:It would be quite foolish for Parliament to lay down now the exact proportions of full-time or part-time membership.…
§ Mr. Sandys
On that, we are agreed. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say:I ask the Committee not to limit the Minister in his make-up of the Corporation. to leave it flexible, to avoid rigidity at all costs. Only in that way will the Minister be able to adapt the Corporation in numbers, proportion, and balance, according to the requirements of the situation.
§ Mr. Sandys
There is wonderful agreement on all sides. The right hon. Gentleman continued:I am sure it would be wrong to lay down here and now what the exact proportion should be. and I therefore hope the Committee will not ask the Government to do so."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, Standing Committee C, 9th December, 1948; c. 145–147.]On another day the right hon. Gentleman, who spoke much on this subject, said:I am exceedingly anxious that the Bill should be flexible. I think it is right that it should be flexible, and that it should not bind the Minister in perpetuity and force him to come back to the House with an amending Bill.Finally, he said:I am most anxious that there should be no statutory proportion laid down as to the number of full-time and part-time members."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee C, 14th December, 1948; c. 175.]I do not flatter myself that I can convince the right hon. Gentleman with my arguments. but I ask him on this occasion to allow himself to be convinced by his own.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss
I am fully convinced by the arguments that I put forward then. We are trying to convince the right hon. Gentleman that the arguments I then put forward were sound and correct and that he should follow the same line, but he is doing nothing of the sort. I have rarely come across a Minister who has been in charge of a Bill before the Committee, whether on the Floor of the House or upstairs, who has been so reluctant to give essential information to the Members of that Committee. It is usual for the Minister to be forthcoming by the Committee stage and to give as much information as he can about time and numbers of people concerned. The House should know by that stage of the Bill what he is about.
Today, we have found the right hon. Gentleman most reluctant to give us any information at all. I asked how long he thought it would be between the time the Bill is passed and when the appointed day is fixed. First, we had no answer whatever. We pressed him, and then finally he gave a certain answer, very reluctantly. Now, we say to him that we do not want to know the precise—
§ Mr. Sandys
I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman is quite fair. I gave such information as I have given in the very first speech which I made in this debate.
§ Mr. Strauss
If the right hon. Gentleman looks at HANSARD tomorrow, he will find that I have had to get up two or three times and press him before he would give us any information except to say that he would do it as soon as possible.
Now, we ask: "What sort of Board do you have in mind? What are your proportions likely to be?" We say that at least half should be full-time members. The right hon. Gentleman says that he cannot tell us. Apparently, he has not made up his mind. All he says is that a proportion will be full-time. Perhaps, 10 per cent. is the proportion? Is there to be one full-time person? That tells us nothing at all. We are entitled to ask the Government to tell us, but the Minister has refused to say what sort of Board he has in mind.
Is it to be a Board largely composed of full-time members? I have not looked up the previous debates, but from the extracts of my speeches which the right hon. Gentleman has just given, two things are clear. First, there was obviously an Amendment from the Conservative side asking me to lay down in statutory form some proportion of members, full-time and part-time. That was what they demanded. Therefore, if the Conservatives thought that it was desirable that there should be a statutory division of full-time and part-time people in those days, perhaps they think so today, also.
I then took the view, which I take today, that it is undesirable to lay down in statute, in perpetuity, what the proportion should be, certainly not exactly. What we say in the Amendment is that at least half of the Board should be full-time, and probably more. That is the type of Board we have in mind.
We would be quite satisfied if the Minister were to say, "I do not want to be bound in perpetuity about this Board." He need not say that, because, at the outside, the Board will last only a year or two. We would be satisfied if he were to say, "We do not want to be bound permanently by any exact number. Therefore, please withdraw the Amendment on the understanding that it is my intention to appoint a Board where most of the people will be full-time. That is what the Government intend, and that is what we will do." If the Minister says that, we will be perfectly satisfied and will withdraw the Amendment.
§ Mr. Strauss
What does "a number" mean? Even in the words which the right hon. Gentleman has read—and I believe I made other statements about this on other occasions—it was perfectly clear that I indicated that the Board was to consist of a number of full-time members assisted by a few part-time members. Were not those the words that I used?
§ Mr. Sandys
Perhaps I can make it clear. The right hon. Gentleman was, clearly, saying that he would not commit himself and that he had the idea that there would be a substantial number of whole-time members. The point I was making was that the right hon. Gentleman was not prepared to commit himself to any definite proportion, and that is precisely what I cannot do now by accepting this Amendment.
§ 8.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Strauss
The right hon. Gentleman is not. We are asking for a minimum. We say that there should be at least half. The right hon. Gentleman would not be committing himself to a definite proportion but to a minimum.
From the answers I gave, I think it is clear that I was saying to the Committee that the Board would consist of a number of full-time people assisted by some part-timers. Is not that a perfectly clear indication? Indeed, I should have
§ thought that it was a commitment on my part that the Board was to consist mainly of full-time people. Surely, if it means anything it means that. That must have been in my mind and in the minds of those who listened to the debate.
§ We want to know whether that is in the mind of the Minister. If he says that it is and if he asks us to withdraw the Amendment we will do so with pleasure. We maintain that a Board consisting mainly of part-timers, coming together, as the old Steel Board did, once a fortnight, and picking up what is happening and then disappearing, will be of no use whatever. If the Minister says that the bulk of the Committee—half of it or more, or roughly that figure—will consist of full-time people doing nothing but looking after the public interest and supervising this industry, we will be satisfied.
§ We do not want a statutory provision; but we fear that the type of Board the Minister will put up, largely consisting of part-timers, will be hopeless. We are opposed to it. We think that it is silly. If the Board is to consist, broadly speaking, of full-timers with part-timers to assist them, we are satisfied. There is nothing inconsistent in this demand and the attitude I expressed when I was Minister during the Committee stage of the earlier Bill.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 235: Noes, 250.1115
|Division No. 65.]||AYES||(8.35 p.m.|
|Adams, Richard||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Donnelly, D. L|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Driberg, T. E. N.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Burton, Miss F. E.||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S)||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Callaghan, L. J.||Edwards, John (Brighouse)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R||Carmichael, J.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)|
|Awbery, S. S||Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Champion, A. J.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)|
|Baird, J.||Chapman, W. D||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)|
|Balfour, A.||Chetwynd, G. R.||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)|
|Bartley, P.||Clunie, J.||Fernyhough, E.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon, F. J.||Coldrick, W||Fienburgh, W.|
|Bence, C R.||Collick, P. H.||Finch, H. J.|
|Benn Wedgwood||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)|
|Beswick, F.||Cove, W. G.||Follick, M.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon A. (Ebbw Vale)||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Foot, M. M.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Crosland, C. A. R.||Forman, J. C.|
|Blackburn, F.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Blenkinsop, A||Daines, P.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.|
|Boardman, H||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Gibson, C. W.|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon. A. G||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Glanville, James|
|Bowden, H. W.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Gooch, E. G.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Deer, G.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Delargy, H. J.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Dodds, N. N.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Hale, Leslie||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Manuel, A. C.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Mikardo, Ian||Sparks, J. A.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Mitchison, G. R.||Steele, T.|
|Hannan, W.||Monslow, W||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Hardy, E. A.||Moody, A. S.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.|
|Hargreaves, A.||Morley, R.||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. Georgs (Vauxhall)|
|Hastings, S.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Mort, D. L.||Sylvester, G. 0.|
|Healey, Denis (Leeds, S. E.)||Moyle, A.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Herbison, Miss M||Mulley, F. W.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Hewitson, Capt. M||Murray, J. D.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)|
|Hobson, C. R.||Nally, W.||Thomas, David (Aberdare)|
|Houghton, Douglas||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Hudson James (Ealing, N.)||O'Brien, T.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Oldfield, W. H.||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Oliver, G. H.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Oswald, T.||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Padley, W. E.||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Paling, Rt, Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Timmons, J.|
|Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Tomney, F.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Pannell, Charles||Turner-Samuels, M|
|Janner, B.||Pargiter, G. A.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T||Paton, J.||Viant, S. P|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Pearl, T. F.||Watkins, T. E|
|Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)||Popplewell, E.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford C.)|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Porter, G.||Weitzman, D.|
|Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Jones, David (Hartlepool)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Proctor, W. T.||West, D. G.|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Pryde, D. J.||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Keenan, W.||Rankin, John||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W|
|Kenyon, G.||Reeves, J.||Wigg, George|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|King, Dr. H. M||Reid, William (Camlachie)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Kinley, J.||Richards, R.||Willey, F. T.|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)|
|Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Ross, William||Williams, W. H. (Droylsden)|
|MacColl, J. E.||Shackleton, E. A. A.||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|McGhee, H. G.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|McInnes, J.||Short, E. W.||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|McLeavy, F.||Shurmer, P. L. E.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|McNeill, Rt. Hon. H.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Wyatt, W. L|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Yates, V. F.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Slater, J.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield E.)||Snow, J. W.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Pearson and Mr. Holmes.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Doughty, C. J. A.|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Brooman-While, R. C.||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Browne, Jack (Govan)||Drayson, G. B.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Bullock, Capt. M.||Drewe, C.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Bullus, Wing Commander E E||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Burden, F. F. A.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M||Campbell, Sir David||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Carr, Robert||Erroll, F. J|
|Barber, Anthony||Carson, Hon. E||Fell, A.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Cary, Sir Robert||Finlay, Graeme|
|Baxter, A. B.||Channon, H.||Fisher, Nigel|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Cole, Norman||Fletcher-Cooke, C.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Colgate, W. A.||Fort, R.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Conant, Maj. R. J. E||Foster, John|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albart||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe &Lonsdale)|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Cranborne, Viscount||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.||Garner-Evans, E. H.|
|Bevies, J. R. (Toxteth)||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. C. Lloyd|
|Birch, Nigel||Crouch, R. F.||Godber, J. B.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A|
|Black, C. W.||Crowder, Petra (Ruislip—Northwood)||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Boothby, R. J. G||Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Gower, H. R.|
|Bossom, A. C.||Davidson, Viscountess||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Bowen, E. R.||Deedes, W. F.||Gridley, Sir Arnold|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A||Digby, S. Wingfield||Grimond, J.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Dodds-Parker, A D.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N. W.)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W H.||Donner P. W.||Harden, J. R. E.|
|Hare, Hon J. H.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S.||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||McKibbin, A. J.||Russell, R. S.|
|Harvey, Air Cdre A. V. (Macclesfield)||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur|
|Heald, Sir Lionel||Maclean, Fitzroy||Sandys, Rt. Hon D.|
|Heath, Edward||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas|
|Higgs, J. M. C.||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)||Scott, R. Donald|
|Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Shepherd, William|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter|
|Hollis, M. C.||Markham, Major S. F.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)|
|Hope, Lord John||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)|
|Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Marples, A. E.||Snadden, W. McN.|
|Horobin, I. M.||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)||Speir, R. M.|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Maude, Angus||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)|
|Howard, Greville (St. Ives)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Stevens, G. P.|
|Hudson Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Medlicott, Brig. F.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)|
|Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.||Mellor, Sir John||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Hurd, A. R.||Milson, A. H. E.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Storey, S.|
|Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)|
|Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Jennings, R.||Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Teeling, W.|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Oakshott, H. D.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Jones, A, (Hall Green)||Odey, G. W.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Joynson-Hicks. Hon. L. W.||O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Kaberry, D.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Turton, R. H.|
|Keeling, Sir Edward||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Kerr, H. W.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Vane, W. M. F|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Lambton, Viscount||Osborne, C.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Partridge, E.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Peake, Rt. Hon. O||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.||Perkins, W. R. D.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H||Peto, Brig. C. H. M||Ward, Miss. I. (Tynemouth)|
|Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)||Pickthorn, K. W. M||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Linstead, H. N.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A||Webbe, Sir (London & Westminister)|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Pitman, I. J.||Wellwood, W.|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Powell, J. Enoch||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Profumo, J. D.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Raikes, Sir Victor||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Low, A. R. W.||Rayner, Brig. R.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Redmayne, M.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)||Remnant, Hon. P||Wood, Hon. R|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Robertson, Sir David||York, C.|
|Renton, D. L. M.||Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Robson-Brown, W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|McAdden, S. J.||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith and Mr. Wills.|
§ Mr. Jack Jones
I beg to move, in page 2, line 45, at the end, to insert:(4) (a) Before appointing a person to be the chairman or other whole-time member of the Board the Minister shall satisfy himself that that person will have no substantial financial interest in the iron and steel industry and the Minister shall also satisfy himself from time to time with respect to the chairman and to every other whole-time member of the Board that he has no such interest;(b) before appointing a person to be a member other than a whole-time member of the Board the Minister shall satisfy himself that that person will have no such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially the exercise or performance by him of his functions as such a member of the Board and the Minister shall also satisfy himself from time to time with respect to every such member of the Board that he has no such interest;(c) any person who is, or whom the Minister proposes to appoint and who has consented to be, a member of the Board shall, whenever 1116 requested by the Minister so to do, furnish to him such information as the Minister considers necessary for the performance by the Minister of his duties under this subsection.In discussing this Amendment, I should like also to refer to the Amendment standing in the name of several of my hon. Friends, in page 3, line 11, at end, insert:(6) A member of the Board who is in any way directly or indirectly interested in any matter proposed for the deliberation or decision of the Board shall, as soon as possible after the relevant circumstances have come to his knowledge, disclose the nature of his interest at a meeting of the Board; and the disclosure shall be recorded in the minutes of the Board, and the member shall not take any part, after the disclosure, in any deliberation or decision of the Board about that matter.I make no apology to the Committee for suggesting that we attach considerable importance to these two Amendments. I have, of course, read what the Bill says. 1117 When the Minister replies, he will probably tell us what the words in the Bill are intended to convey, but we want to be absolutely clear about this part of the Bill.
We have already had considerable healthy criticism and argument regarding the composition of the Board and the size of the Board. We have had demonstrations today of vested interest already wanting to climb on the bandwagon in order to take care of its own particular sector of the industry in its own particular locality. We have had arguments about whether there shall be full-time or part-time members of the Board. I respectfully suggest that, whoever are the full-time members of the Board, they should be persons who can in no way be suspected of having a financial interest arising from the carrying out of the duties of the Board.
The Board has immense duties to perform. I have read with considerable interest all the documents attached to the nationalisation and the de-nationalisation proposals, and I would remind the Committee that in the White Paper issued by the Government, no fewer than 23 paragraphs are devoted to indicating the duties of the Board. Those duties are extensive, important, and to my mind the fulcrum of this Bill. They are laid down in a few short words in this Bill, but behind those words there is, of course, a considerable volume of work to be done.
It is not part of my task to argue at length about the Board's duties. It is my province at the moment to argue about the extent to which full-time members, if any, and part-time members shall have a personal interest in the results of the work that the Board carries out. I do not want to be accused of being unduly provocative in what I say, but if we are to believe what the Government tell us and what Tory propaganda over the last few years has stated, this Board is to be set up to serve the public interest.
§ Mr. Robson Brown
The hon. Member said "personal interest." I take it that he means a personal financial interest.
§ Mr. William Shepherd (Cheadle)
I suggest that the hon. Member is to some extent departing from the terms of the Amendment in that he is saying that full-time members shall have no personal financial interest, whereas the Amendment states that they shall not have a "substantial" interest. Perhaps he would indicate for our guidance what he means by "substantial" interest.
§ Mr. Jones
Hon. Members opposite try to confuse what I mean by personal financial interest. One can have a substantial financial interest and one can have a lesser financial interest. Substantial interest is an interest of such a magnitude as easily to bring to the man possessed of that interest an accretion of wealth arising from his membership of the Board. If I had had my own way, I would have said that there should be no personal financial interest at all but, as has been suggested, we want to be reasonable.
The Board has important duties to perform, and it must be remembered that the Board is to be set up before it will be known from where the personnel on it will come. That sounds a difficult statement to understand. The point is that of necessity this Board must be set up before it may be known from what company or interest its members are drawn, because their current personal interest may be substantially altered as a result of the work of the Board. I grant the Minister that I believe that he personally wishes to see the best possible Board set up. I can assure him that he will need it. Its members will have one of the most difficult jobs ever given to any Board in this country.
I am mainly concerned at the moment with those persons of primary importance and not with the small fish. I am not concerned here with the specialists who may be brought in on a part-time basis or with persons who may represent consumer interests. I am directing my remarks to the bigger fish, to those who will dominate the Board because of their experience gleaned in the industry and who will formulate policy and to some extent control the remaining personnel of the Board. I know that the Committee will give me credit for trying to put the 1119 case as I see it and trying to prove my point.
A person may be appointed to the Board from a company which may or may not be sold to private ownership. It may be that those who are best fitted to deal with the major part of the industry will be drawn on to the Board, but subsequent to going on the Board they may find that they have been drawn from that part of the industry which is still publicly owned— the part that will remain with the Agency—and not from a company or group of companies which have been easily sold.
The Board's duty will be a very onerous one. We want this Board to be completely devoid of any vested interest. I have a great personal regard for this great industry. I know that it may be easy, from the short-term financial point of view, to dispose of a great part of the industry at the expense of breaking up its long-term future industrial potential. The Board has a big job of work to do in advising the Agency on what shall be grouped and on mixing the pheasants with the crows. There will be later Amendments which will deal with that point.
The particular person to whom I was referring could have a substantial financial interest in the privately-owned sector, once it was sold and, at the same time, be on the Board. On the other hand, there may be persons who find themselves on the Board and who have financial interests in companies which are still with that part of the industry which is left with the Agency. I suggest that, human nature being what it is, it will be absolutely impossible to expect that some pressure will not be brought to bear by those persons who have bought certain parts of the industry upon the persons whom they have released to serve upon the Board.
It is easy to imagine what the situation might be. Here is a Board with power to allocate raw materials. Are they going to allocate raw materials to that part of the industry which most needs to be brought up to a state of technical efficiency—those parts that cannot and will not be sold? Will they allocate the raw materials to those parts of the industry which need technical help and supplies of all sorts to a much greater extent than 1120 others? Can it be believed that persons who have been drawn from the sections which will readily find private ownership will really be able to serve the public interest on a national supervisory Board of this kind?
The Minister may say that I am a suspicious type of person. There is no need for him to suggest it; I will admit it. Here and now I admit that I have a shrewd suspicion that the persons who will buy the major part of the steel industry will buy it on the understanding—and will seek assurances when they have bought it—that they are going to get something better in return than the present steel stock provides them with. If they are not to expect that, why should they buy?
Up till now one of the great features of the debate in connection with the duties of this Board and in connection with the Bill generally has been the absence of any criticism that the present set-up has not served the public interest. We have seen today demonstrations of the desire of certain sections of the industry to be represented on the Board. I suggest to the Minister that the last refusal—if I can put it as mildly as that —to give us some indication of the number of full-time members strengthens my case. The smaller the number of full-time members on this Board the greater will be the power vested in them
This Amendment seeks to ensure that they should not have a substantial financial interest in the industry. We say, in effect, that a person with a substantial financial interest in a section of the industry, be it one that is in public hands or one that is in private hands, cannot best serve the over-all public interest and give national service to this national Board.
I want to say a word about the part-time member who may have a financial interest if thought tit but not such as could prejudice the work that he is expected to perform upon the Board. The sort of men I have in mind are the younger brilliant men such as we have in our industry. It would be wrong to give any names on the Floor of this Committee, but I assure the Minister that there are on the managerial staffs of some of our modern companies some extremely brilliant young men. They have been upgraded as a result of nationalisation. Some were upgraded 1121 before nationalisation. [Interruption.] It is all very well to sneer, but I can give names if necessary.
§ Mr. Shepherd
I was not sneering. I was interested in the right hon. Gentleman's statement that a number of these men had been upgraded before nationalisation.
§ Mr. Jones
The hon. Member can rest assured that I can give him a long list of people who were upgraded and who did not merit being upgraded, long before the industry was nationalised. However, if I went any further into this matter I should be out of order.
I want to be fair. I am referring to the younger brilliant men who might be considered an extremely fine asset on a part-time basis. I know something of the technical improvements which have taken place in our industry —the greater output of modern furnaces, oxygen induction and similar modern methods. I know young men who are specialists and who would be a great asset to the Board but who, because of the terms of their contracts with their companies, have found it necessary to hold a financial interest so that they could be upgraded. We have no desire to debar a man of that type from giving service to the Board. That is a simple exposition of the difference between the two types of person.
I do not want to repeat what I have already said, but there is lower down the scale the person who declares his interest. It may be said that that type of person is covered later in the Bill, but that is not quite true. Whereas this Amendment covers the whole field of people's work and interests, the Bill refers only to a particular contract that may be under consideration.
I have tried to indicate what we have at the back of our minds. If we are to be guided by the Minister's declaration, there cannot be a large number of full-time members who will be involved. There will be the trade union members—perhaps two or three of them. I hope that one, if not two of them, will be full-time members. They will not have a substantial financial interest in any company. It may be suggested that they may have a few shares here and there, but I know of no trade union leader likely to be called upon to serve on this Board 1122 who can be said at the moment to hold a substantial financial interest. Such men are not in their jobs at the top long enough to acquire much money, and, in my experience, they have always been careful where to put what money they have got.
I take it that the consumer interest full-time member would already have his financial interest in the industry from which he was drawn and which he represented as a consumer. Therefore, our Amendment can apply only to a limited number on the Board.
We feel that, if the Government are to convince the people in this country, and more particularly the workers in the industry, that this Board is to supervise and carry out this immense range of duties which are laid down in the Bill, as well as all the ancillary duties which will flow therefrom, the members of the Board must be completely free from the suspicion that they can in any way feather their nests because of the position in which they are placed.
The Bill as drafted makes no provision to meet the fear which we have expressed. We are anxious that the Board shall be free from the suspicion that the members are on it to look after their own interests or the interests of a particular company or the interests of the privately-owned sector, or the interests of that portion which remains with the Agency, if they are drawn from that sphere of the industry.
We ask the Minister most sincerely to consider this. The Amendment can do no harm. If the Government consider that it can do no good, certainly they must agree that it can do no harm. It is placed on the Order Paper with the intention of trying to assist the Government in creating a Board which will be concerned—to use the words in the propaganda—with the over-all supervision of one of John Bull's greatest assets, the steel industry.
As I see the international situation and economic developments in the world, it seems that we must rely more and more upon our indigenous supply of raw materials and our indigenous supply of labour. It is incumbent upon Her Majesty's Government so to create this Board as to avoid the charges which we fear will be levelled. I believe that those 1123 who will be primarily concerned would themselves see reason in what we are suggesting.
Finally, I ask the Minister not to assume that there is any motive behind this Amendment of attempting to prevent the Board from doing its work. The right hon. Gentleman may well ask why I am anxious that we should have an efficient, able Board. I will tell him. I grew up in this industry, as did my father before me, and I want to see it an efficient industry for our children and grandchildren. Our country's future is at stake in it. When a General Election comes along, we want once again to take the industry over, and we want to take over not a structure which has suffered through some activities of ours but one which has been made a better structure by such Amendments as this.
§ Mr. Shepherd
I will not detain the Committee for long, but I want to say a few words in reply to the Amendment. Most hon. Members will agree with the purpose behind the Amendment—that it would be in the general interests of the industry and of the Board, and of everybody concerned that there should be no doubt about the position of the members. Nevertheless, the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) himself realised, as he was moving the Amendment, that he was in some considerable difficulty. When I asked him to define what was meant by "substantial," for example, he gave a definition which was ingenious but which I fear was not one upon which a Department of State would try to work. That is the difficulty.
As I am not opposed to the general theme behind the Amendment, I should have thought that if right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite had confined themselves to paragraph (b) of the Amendment, they would have been on much sounder ground than they are in trying to make a specific definition of what is a substantial interest and what is not.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is no new departure? The word "substantial" appears in the Rent Restriction Acts, for example.
§ Mr. Shepherd
Probably it does, and it gives rise to a great deal of work for lawyers. Although I am surrounded by a number of them, I am not anxious to increase the work which falls to their lot.
1124 Why I particularly do not like the precise words of the Amendment is that they are unnecessarily restrictive. I wonder whether the Committee really does appreciate how difficult it is to get men of the class who are fitted to undertake this sort of work. We are to have a Board which is to tell men who are running enterprises of a capital value of something like £150 million to £160 million what they are to do, and I can assure hon. Members that we cannot pick a man off some bench and make him capable of performing that task. The hon. Member for Rotherham, I think, put the cart before the horse when he talked about the part-time men being small fish and the full-time men being big fish. I believe the part-time men will be the big fish, and if my right hon. Friend does not get some big fish as part-timers, we are going to be after him.
§ Mr. Jack Jones
I am certain the hon. Gentleman does not want to misrepresent what I said. What I said was that the bigger fish, drawn from the bigger corporations, men of extensive and long experience, would be the full-timers. They will be necessary because of their experience and knowledge. I said that they would be the people who, in the first instance, would formulate the policy which the lesser lads would be expected to carry out.
§ Mr. Shepherd
I am not even visualising that the big fish, as I call them, who will be the part-timers, would have any specific knowledge of this industry. They may have not even that. They may have something germane to it. They would be men whose prestige was such that they would impress their policies and views upon industrial leaders. Those are men extremely difficult to get hold of.
The hon. Gentleman himself said that he felt that the Amendment was restrictive in some sense, and he said that he would not mind men in the steel industry going on the Board though they had a very small financial investment. That precisely bears out my argument. This Board—and all boards of this nature are faced with this problem, and not necessarily only this one—will be faced with the difficulty of getting men who are big in their own enterprises, and unless the Board gets men whose stature is such that they are recognised in industry, the 1125 Board will be a failure, and if there are such restrictions as are envisaged in this Amendment the choice of people to serve will be unnecessarily restricted.
There are many men whom one would put in a position of this kind, with a financial interest, and yet trust implicitly. There are many men whom one would not put in a position of this kind and trust implicitly. Surely it is important that the Minister who has to select these people should be able to make a decision on such lines. It is not merely a matter of whether a man has £200 or £300 of investment. A man of integrity will not take advantage of his financial interests, whatever they are. The Minister, in choosing the individuals for this job, should bear that in mind.
I am not unsympathetic to the views expressed by this Amendment and the other Amendment, although I think the other Amendment to page 3, line 11, would have been a more reasonable proposition. I ask my right hon. Friend, in the interests of the industry as a whole, not to put unnecessary restrictions on the selection of men, which, in any case, is going to be very difficult.
§ The Solicitor-General (Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller)
It may perhaps be for the convenience of the Committee if I make some observations at this stage in answer to the speech of the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones). I am sure he carried the Committee with him in his observations about the desire on both sides to create the best Board possible for this industry. His remarks, in his moving of the Amendment, covered a wide field and I should like, in replying to him, to deal one by one with the points he made, and keep the position with regard to the full-time members quite distinct from the position with regard to the part-timers.
I wish to start by confining my remarks to the whole-time members. We have considered this matter very carefully, and we agree that the chairman and the whole-time members should not, as this Amendment suggests, have any substantial financial interest in the iron and steel industry. We are in agreement about that. But there is a difficulty, which I think the hon. Gentleman appreciated in the course of his speech, about defining precisely what is meant by "substantial" 1126 in that connection. He made a valiant effort to give a satisfactory definition, but I doubt very much whether he satisfied himself that it was correct.
I may tell him straight away that the reason why no provision of the character suggested in paragraph (a) of the Amendment is found in the Bill as it now stands is because the Minister would never contemplate appointing as chairman of this board, or as a whole-time member, anyone who retained a substantial interest in the industry.
Dealing with the second part of paragraph (a), we agree that the Minister should have the obligation upon him of satisfying himself from time to time that the chairman and whole-time members should not have any such interest. That is provided by the last few lines of paragraph (a). But, on reflection, we feel that this part of the hon. Gentleman's proposal could properly be strengthened. We feel that the duty should be imposed upon the chairman and upon the whole-time members of disclosing any financial interest in the industry of which they may become possessed after appointment.
For instance, if one of the whole-time members was left a substantial legacy of shares in a company in the industry we feel that it would be wrong that he should be under the duty of disclosing that interest to the Board and to the Minister without having to wait for the Minister to make the inquiry required by the second part of paragraph (a). So the obligation is kept on the Minister to make an inquiry, but at the same time there is the obligation on the whole-time member to disclose any interest that comes to him after his appointment.
§ Mr. Jack Jones
The hon. and learned Gentleman said it would be wrong for the member to disclose it. Did he not mean that it would be right for him to disclose it?
§ The Solicitor-General
It would not be wrong to ask him to disclose it, is what I thought I said. I hope the hon. Gentleman will recognise, not only that we have given the most careful consideration to what he has said, and indeed to the Amendment, with regard to whole-time members, but that the suggestion I have put forward rather improves upon the Amendment. Once that disclosure is made, once the Minister knows of the 1127 interest possessed by the whole-time member, it will be for the Minister to decide whether that interest is of such a character as to make it wrong for that gentleman to continue to hold that appointment.
I do not think I need say any more about the position of the whole-time members. The Committee will realise that, broadly, we are in agreement with the intention behind the Amendment; and, indeed, that we feel it might be carried a little further. We think that it may require a drafting alteration, not only to give effect to the suggestion I make about the imposition of the duty, but also in relation to the definition of "iron and steel industries" in the third line of the Amendment.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Sir Frank Soskice (Sheffield, Neepsend)
I am sure that it is entirely my fault if I have misunderstood what the hon. and learned Gentleman is proposing, but I understood him to say that it is his view that the members should be under an obligation to disclose any interest which occurs after appointment to the Board. If I correctly understood that to be his proposal, I am not quite sure what he proposes in regard to the interest that a member has before he is appointed to the Board, and at the time he is appointed.
§ The Solicitor-General
I was going on to deal with that. Perhaps I arranged my observations in an unfortunate order.
I was dealing, as I thought I had indicated, point by point with the Amendment as it is stated, and I was deliberately confining my remarks to the question of a person who was a full-time member. I was going to say something about what disclosures should be made before appointment, which, I think, will meet the right hon. and learned Gentleman's point.
I should like to come now to the question of part-time members. I think the Committee must recognise that here we are faced with a different problem from that which has arisen under any nationalisation Bill or nationalisation Act, because here, as my right hon. Friend has said, it is the intention to have as members of the Board persons who have not severed their connection with either side 1128 of the industry and consumers' representatives—with the result, of course, that up-to-date practical views and experience from both sides of the industry will be readily available to the Board.
That being the intention, as I understand it from what my right hon. Friend has said, one has to consider that in connection with the proposed Amendment in paragraph (b). Under paragraph (b) the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones), who moved this Amendment, would seek to place upon the Minister the burden of satisfying himself that the person who is to be a part-time memberwill have no such financial or other interest as is likely to affect prejudicially the exercise or performance by him of his functions as such a member of the BoardI pause to point out that paragraph (b) is in one respect a little wider than paragraph (a) in relation to whole-time members, because paragraph (a) refers to a "substantial financial interest," whereas paragraph (b) refers to a "financial or other interest".
I would submit this to the Committee. This Board, as the hon. Gentleman said in moving the Amendment, would have to discharge many immense duties. His words were. "This Board will have immense duties to perform." They will be varied in character. It will be quite impossible for the Minister, in advance, before appointing a part-time member, to satisfy himself that under no conceivable circumstances will the interests of that part-time member conflict with subjects which may arise for consideration by the Board. That really cannot be said in advance.
Suppose a development proposal comes up—something that is not in the air at all at the time of the appointment, and something which might affect the part-time member's interest, in a very minor degree, but still affecting it, then the Minister could not before the appointment possibly anticipate that that would arise. If this paragraph were adopted in the form suggested, I think it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for my right hon. Friend to appoint as part-time members any of those young, able and skilled gentlemen to whom the hon. Gentleman referred. He said that he would have no objection to their being appointed part-time members while retaining a director's shareholding qualifi- 1129 cations. It would be difficult for the Minister, in advance, to say that someone with shareholding of that sort might not be prejudicially affected by some proposals coming before the Board.
It is a most difficult problem and, in my view, paragraph (b) of the proposed Amendment would operate to make it impossible to appoint as a part-time member any one having any interest on either side of the industry. That is not the hon. Member's intention, but the words would go as far as that. It goes further than paragraph (a), which refers only to a financial interest, and we do not think it is possible to accept such a restriction on the Minister's power in relation to part-time members. We recognise there is a real problem here. We do not want—I think the hon. Member called it feather nesting or was it feather bedding?
§ The Solicitor-General
We do not want anything of that sort any more than he does. We certainly do not want anything in the nature of log rolling. The real thing is to find the right men for the posts, men of integrity and reliability, and if the Minister finds them, as he will certainly seek to do, there will be no real danger of the sort the hon. Gentleman suggests.
Having considered this question very carefully, we regard it as essential that there shall be a full disclosure both by the full-time and part-time members of such interest as they have in the industry before the Minister appoints them. We think that duty ought to be placed upon them. There must also be a full disclosure to the Board and to the Minister by whole-time and part-time members after their appointment of any interest acquired in the industry by legacy or in any other way. We in the House of Commons insist on a disclosure of any interest that an hon. Member possesses. Once that disclosure is made in this House, we do not deprive ourselves of the advantage of hearing the views of the specialist with specialised knowledge, perhaps derived partly from that particular interest.
We therefore think that for this Board there should be the obligation of full disclosure. We recognise that it is not provided for in this Amendment, but it is 1130 in part provided for in the next Amendment, that is, to Clause 2, page 3, line 11. The hon. Gentleman will see that disclosure is limited to any matter proposed for the deliberation or decision of the Board, but the Amendment seeks to preclude any member of the Board from taking part in any deliberation or decision of the Board after disclosure.
That would mean that, if a man discloses that he has a director's qualification of shares in a very small company, he would be debarred from taking any part in the decisions or deliberations of the Board on that matter. We think that that goes too far. It means that a trade union representative might be debarred from expressing his views because of a very tiny interest indirectly—not even directly—in the matter under discussion. It might be that the consumers' representatives would be kept silent.
We have made provision, and a proper one, in paragraph 5 of the Second Schedule—I am sure the hon. Member for Rotherham would agree— to debar members of the Board from voting in certain circumstances, but we feel that apart from that provision, once there is full disclosure, it should be left to the individual's discretion and judgment whether it would be right for him, in the particular circumstances of the case, and with his colleagues knowing the full extent of his interest, to vote or take any part in the deliberations. We think that the proper answer is that full disclosure of interest should be made—that is essential—and that after such disclosure the risk of voting on a matter in which a member is substantially interested, or interested to any considerable degree, would be very much reduced.
I hope I have covered all the points raised by the Amendment and put forward by the hon. Member for Rotherham, and that, in the light of my observations, the hon. Member may think fit to ask leave to withdraw his Amendment. Perhaps I might summarise the position. We agree that the whole-time member should have no substantial financial interest. We agree that the Minister should satisfy himself from time to time by inquiry. In addition to that, we seek to put upon members of the Board the obligation to disclose any financial interest which they acquire after appointment, and we say that there must be full 1131 disclosure of any interest in the industry before appointment.
It will be obvious to the Committee that if the hon. Gentleman finds himself in substantial agreement with what I am saying this part of the Amendment will have to be redrafted. It will be no more than redrafting. By such redrafting we can go a long way to achieve the object which both sides of the Committee have in mind, and with that in view I ask the hon. Gentleman to consider asking leave to withdraw his Amendment.
§ Mr. Arthur Colegate (Burton)
Am I to take it that when my hon. and learned Friend talks about "disclosing" he covers both sale or disposal of any interest?
§ The Solicitor-General
The position of a member of the Board is not comparable with that of a director of a company who is selling shares in that company. I do not wish, at the moment, to put forward a draft for consideration, but we intend to secure the obligation of a member of the Board to disclose any interest and anything which might affect, or be thought to affect, his judgment on any matter which is arising before the Board. We think that the Board would be very considerably weakened in its operation and its contact with day to day affairs in the industry if we accepted something on the lines of the second part of the first Amendment, which would, in practice, debar many highly qualified people of integrity from serving as part-time members.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Sir F. Soskice
The difficulty that I feel after listening to the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman—and I believe that my hon. Friends also feel this difficulty—arises from what the Minister said when we were pressing him earlier as to the composition of the Board. We quite understand—indeed, we have asserted—that the Minister is perfectly right in saying that he cannot be tied down and that he must have a certain amount of elbow room in deciding whom he is going to appoint and how many full-time and how many part-time members there are to be.
But what we wanted to know when discussing the earlier Amendment was, broadly speaking, what was to be the 1132 proportion of full-time and part-time members. The Minister answered by saying that "a proportion" would be full-time members. I do not want to recapitulate what was said before, but our difficulty—and it arises again on the present Amendment—is that the Board may consist of, say, 10 part-time members and two full-time members—that is "a proportion." It may be that the Minister intends to appoint nine full-time members and simply two part-time members to assist them. That is, equally, a proportion of full-time members. The trouble is that we are left completely and absolutely in the dark, after the Minister's previous answers, as to what kind of a Board this really is.
The hon. and learned Gentleman and the Minister before him said that, naturally, the Government want to appoint the best people possible. That is quite understandable, and we entirely sympathise; obviously, it is the common purpose of the Committee; but where are we left with that previous answer before us?
What we wanted to do by our Amendment was this. We felt that we did not know how many full-time and how many part-time members there were to be, where the weighting was to be, and who was to do most of the work — the full-time or the part-time members. Therefore, in order to make certain, as my hon. Friend said in moving the Amendment, that there can be no vestige of suspicion, and so that there cannot be any doubt not only as to the integrity but the complete independence and detachment of the members, we put down two separate tests.
We said in the first part of our Amendment, so far as full-time members were concerned, that there should be an absolute and objective test: the full-time member must have no substantial financial interest; never mind whether the interest is one which is likely to affect his judgment, he is not, as a matter of absolute bar, to have any substantial financial interest in the industry. If he has a financial interest of that kind, he should be disqualified from appointment. That is what we said with regard to the full-time member, and that is why we said it, because we are so very much in the dark as to what this Board is going to be. 1133 It is of the utmost importance that if the Board is to exercise any effective influence on the conduct of the industry, it must be an independent Board, and independent in the fullest sense. Therefore, starting from that, being in ignorance of the Minister's intentions, we have said with regard to the full-time member that there is to be an absolute bar to his appointment if he has a substantial financial interest.
The hon. and learned Gentleman cavils at the expression "substantial," and I agree that it might, perhaps, be improved upon. It is one which, as he knows, is used in the Rent Restrictions Acts. It has given rise to a certain amount of difficulty, but nevertheless it has been, broadly, an expression which the courts have found no excessive difficulty in interpreting. At any rate, we adopted it and it implies a clear conception of what we have in mind.
When we came to the question of the part-time member, we adopted a different and more lenient test—[Interruption.]— despite what the hon. and learned Gentleman says. Listening to him, I thought he was making heavy weather over that second test. He said that it would be very difficult for the Minister to appoint anybody as a part-time member in face of that test. He said that it was likely to deprive the Board of the services of anybody who was expert and experienced in the industry, but I press upon him the view that that is not the case at all.
On the contrary, what the Minister is to say to himself when he is proposing to appoint a part-time member is simply and solely this: "I know the man. I know his character and I know his situation. I know his activities and interests and his financial standing in the industry. I have got to ask myself, not whether his judgment will be prejudicially affected because of his interests, but whether this is a situation in which there is a likelihood of there being prejudicial influence on the exercise of his judgment because he possesses certain interests."
As a matter of common sense, that is an easy test to apply. The Minister can see what the interest is and can ask himself: "Is a man having this interest likely to be put in such an ambiguous position, such a position of conflict between his private and his public 1134 duty, that his judgment may be prejudicially affected?" It is not an absolute law that there can be no conceivable possibility; the Minister has to deal in terms of likelihood. That is an easy test to apply and in the case of the part-time member it is, and is deliberately contrived to be, a more lenient test. That is how we tried to balance out the tests in the case of the full-time and the part-time members.
After hearing the Solicitor-General, we are still in ignorance about what the Minister really means to do. Take the chairman of a board of directors of a large steel company. Is he to be a person who, in the view of the Minister, is to sit as a full-time member or is he not? I take it from what the hon. and learned Gentleman said that he would not be. Take a technician, a chemist of high standing, employed by one of the steel companies. Is he, or is he not, to be a person who is to be either a full-time or a part-time member? We do not know.
The result of our not knowing, and not being told by either of the Ministers who have spoken, is that we have no conception—or very little—of what is to be the Board which the Government intend to appoint to discharge this most important public duty. The whole of the success of the steel industry under this denationalisation proposal, as we see it, will depend upon the degree and effectiveness of the supervision and control which this Board exercises. Therefore, this question is absolutely crucial. I submit that it is the plain duty of the Government that it should be clearly made known—so far as the Minister can and subject to the limitation that he needs a certain discretion—exactly what sort of Board it is intended to appoint and what kind of people are to be members. The Minister should tell us how the Board is to be weighted.
I agree that he needs a certain amount of elbow-room, but it is his duty to have considered all these matters carefully. He should not be in the position of having to come here at the eleventh hour to say, "I cannot tell you anything—or very little —about it." That is not the way to treat the Committee or the public, which is acutely interested in the further progress of this Bill.
Therefore, I press the Minister and the Solicitor-General to give us more information about the intentions of the 1135 Government. The Solicitor-General concluded by recapitulating what he had said earlier. He did not tell us how much of that was to go in the Bill. He said that it was the desire of the Minister—
§ The Solicitor-General
I thought that I had made it clear that the object of asking for the withdrawal of this Amendment was to enable us to put down a draft in proper form covering the following points: first, that the chairman and whole-time members would not be appointed if they had a substantial interest.
§ The Solicitor-General
Yes. We accept that in principle. Secondly, there should be a duty on the Minister of satisfying himself. That is also in the Amendment. Thirdly, I referred to the duty of disclosure. That is not in the Bill at present. I thought that I had made it clear that we thought that it would be an improvement, both with regard to the part-time and the whole-time members, to put upon those members the duty of disclosure. I certainly thought that I had made it clear that that would go in the Bill.
§ Sir F. Soskice
I am much obliged for that intervention. No doubt it was my fault that I had not clearly appreciated what the hon. and learned Gentleman intends to put in the Bill. He has now told us his intention. He has not yet answered the questions which I have put. If my hon. Friends take the same view, I should be disposed to suggest that my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. Jack Jones) should ask leave to withdraw the Amendment in view of what has been said by the Solicitor-General, subject to the proviso that we still have not got the answers to the questions which I have put. We should desire to discuss these questions further on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." We hope that then the Minister will give answers to these general questions.
I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham will be willing to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment in view of the statement by the Solicitor-General that on Report stage he will embody in this Bill an Amendment covering what he has intimated is the 1136 intention of the Government. We will then see whether we feel satisfied with the change that he makes, and make up our minds what we will do on Report stage. In the meantime, I express the fervent hope that either the Minister or the Solicitor-General, when the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill" is before the Committee, will give us some answers to the very important questions that have been asked.
§ Mr. Jack Jones
Subject to the assurance given by the Minister, and having regard to the matters we intend to press later on, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. E. L. Mallalieu
I beg to move, in page 3, line 22, at the end, to insert:(8) The Minister shall, as soon as possible after the constitution of the Board, lay before each House of Parliament a statement of the remuneration and allowances that are or will be payable under the last preceding subsection to members of the Board and, if any subsequent determination by him under that subsection involves any departure from the terms of the said statement or if a determination by him under that subsection provides for the payment of a pension to or in respect of any member of the Board, the Minister shall, as soon as possible after the determination, lay a statement thereof before each House of Parliament.I think these words are unexceptionable from the point of view of the Minister, but, even if they were not, I am sure that he and all other hon. Members will be quite familiar with the procedure whereby certain words are put down in Amendments which are known to be imperfect, but which, nevertheless, provide us, so to speak, with a peg upon which to hang an idea. I want to put to the Minister and to the Committee the idea that lies behind these words.
I believe that the idea which is expressed in this Amendment will be quite as welcome to hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the Committee as they are to those on this side. The idea or principle behind these words is that, when public money is paid out to members of public boards, it should be publicly paid out and should be quite above board. Here are sums to be paid out, by way of fees, salaries, allowances or pensions—allowances being at least as important as any of the others—and to be paid out of public funds to members of public boards. I am sure that everybody would think that it is desirable, in 1137 the interests of the Board itself and of the industry of the country, that it should be well known what these sums are, and it is really in order to achieve publicity—a very healthy publicity in these cases — that my hon. Friends and I have put down this Amendment.
I need not waste very much time on this point, which is perfectly clear. I am emboldened to make one point because of what was said on a previous occasion by hon. Members on the opposite side of the Committee. We have heard a great deal of quotation from both sides as to what the other side said on a previous occasion, but on the occasion to which I would refer the Committee at the present time, not only were things said by the then Opposition that now graces the benches opposite which we found entirely acceptable, but when we were on that side of the House we accepted those propositions, so I think that this is something rather new in the debate that has taken place so far today.
I very much hope that when the Minister gets up to reply, as I hope he will very soon, he will say that he has decided to follow the excellent example of my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss) who, when he was Minister, accepted in a similar position the plea put forward very strongly by Members of the Conservative Party that these funds which, though, of course, they come out of the industry, are, in a sense, public funds, should be paid out in the light of day.
I wish to make one small quotation from one of the most excellent pleas put forward at that time. I do not know to what extent the right hon. Gentleman sits at the feet of the now noble Lord who led the somewhat buccaneering attack upon the Gas Bill in Committee upstairs, but, at any rate, I have some words here which I should like to bring to the attention of the Minister and with which I am happy to say I can agree entirely. It is no use saying, as I am sure the Minister will not attempt to say in this instance, that the circumstances are different, because in the quotation I propose to read to the Committee the noble Lord is enunciating a perfectly general principle which I hope will find very wide acceptance in the Committee. In dealing with this precise point, he said: 1138In matters of finance, I am satisfied that publicity is essential. I do not believe in any hole-and-corner methods of remunerating people. The only way to do it is to give full publicity.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 18th March, 1948; c. 294.]Those were fine, free and freebooting words, but may I, in somewhat more mild, moderate arid respectful terms, say to the Committee tonight that it is most desirable when these allowances, salaries, fees or pensions are paid out that, for the sake of the reputation of the Board itself, they should be paid publicly? After all, almost every cheap-jack in the country thinks himself clever if he gets up and attacks a public board. It is some sort of reaction, I suppose, against the feeling of impotence which an individual has against the immense power of the State. We may all have been guilty of it from time to time, but at any rate here is a chance for the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends at least to show that they want this Board to be beyond suspicion so that it shall have no unfair and uninformed criticism levelled against it on the grounds of expenses and fees. If publicity is given in this manner, there can be no such uninformed criticism.
§ Mr. Sandys
I think it may be for the convenience of the Committee if I intervene now. I regard the point more as one of regularity and procedure than of politics. This Amendment, as the hon. Member knows, is copied directly—it was mis-copied in the first place—from the 1949 Act.
Without laying any great stress on it, let me explain why we did not originally include this provision. The reason is that the circumstances of the Board and the Corporation are not precisely the same. The hon. and learned Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu) said that when public money is being paid out it is right and proper that a public statement should be made so that all may know exactly what is being done.
It was clearly public money which paid the remuneration of the members of the Corporation which owned the industry on behalf of the State. The position of the Board is not the same. When the industry has returned fully to private enterprise there will be no public money involved at all. The salaries and pensions of the members of the Board will be paid out of contributions from the industry. 1139 Therefore, it will be private money being spent by a public Board, although so long as the Agency continues to hold any part of the industry it can be maintained that some public money is involved.
It was because of this difference that we did not insert this same provision in the Bill. I do not think that it is a very important point Under the Bill the Minister has the responsibility for fixing the salaries and other emoluments of the members of the Board. He is therefore accountable to Parliament, and there is nothing to prevent an hon. Member asking the Minister on any day of the week, "What salaries have you fixed, and what pensions have you accorded?" Also the Board will, under the Bill, have to present its accounts annually to Parliament, and I presume that salaries and pensions of members of the Board will be shown in that account.
§ Mr. Arthur Palmer (Cleveland)
Was not that the case with the nationalised industries and the public Corporations?
§ Mr. Sandys
I am not saying that it was or was not. What I am saying is that there would be no secrecy or need of secrecy about the remuneration of the members.
§ Mr. E. L. Mallalieu
Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that if accounts were presented annually, it is only too likely that those accounts would show sums in the aggregate and not in the particular? Therefore, would it not be better that there should be publicity each time that there is an appointment or a change in the original appointment?
§ Mr. Sandys
My point is that Questions can be put down about the salaries and pensions fixed by the Minister and the answers would appear in HANSARD in the ordinary way. To sum up, I regard this Amendment as wholly unobjectionable but perhaps somewhat unnecessary. I am anxious wherever possible, however, to be co-operative, and in that spirit I am quite ready to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss
I am very glad that the right hon. Gentleman has seen his way to accept this Amendment. I quite agree that the proposal now is slightly different from the proposal under the Iron and Steel Act when the Corporation was in charge of and owned 1140 all the industries, but the difference is not very great. Anyhow, the Minister has seen our point of view and I am glad he is prepared to accept it and to accept the Amendment. I only ask him to see our point of view, which is reasonable at all times, on even more important matters which may follow in subsequent Amendments. I ask him to follow his own very good example when we reach those important Amendments.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ Mr. G. R. Strauss
Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to make any further statement about the Board, its composition, its proportions, and so on? We are most anxious to know what it will be like. We have very little information so far and I should like to make a few comments and ask some questions and find out where we are going. But it would be much more convenient if the right hon. Gentleman, to start with, told us what sort of thing he has in mind; then our comments would be more informed and less tentative.
§ Mr. Sandys
I am not anxious to withhold reasonable information from the Committee, but I think the most convenient course would be for the right hon. Gentleman to fire a few questions at me, which I shall do my best to answer.
§ Mr. Strauss
I shall do that with pleasure.
We consider that the two most important parts of this Bill—quite apart from the principle of selling publicly-owned property into private hands—is the composition of the Board and the powers they will have with which to supervise and, as we think they ought to do, control the industry. At the moment, we have very little information as to what sort of Board this will be. We know that it is to consist of between nine and 14 members; we know there will be a proportion—which may be five per cent, or 10 per cent.—of full-time members, and we know that people who have any substantial financial interest in the industry will not be on the Board.
But we want to know a great deal more than that before we can decide whether this is the sort of Board which can really 1141 supervise this industry in the public interest. The fundamental thing which we want to know is whether it is to be a Board like the Forbes Board —a stopgap Board which had certain responsibilities pending the nationalisation of the iron and steel industry. That Board consisted of representatives of the iron and steel industry, some trade union representatives, an independent chairman and, I think, another independent member.
That Board met, roughly, once a fortnight and, with the exception of the chairman, who was a full-time member, it did not bother itself with the problems of the industry except once a fortnight. Practically every person except the chairman had an interest in the industry. If that is the sort of board that is to be appointed in this case—and we fear it is, with some very small modifications—it cannot possible effect adequate public supervision over this industry.
The right hon. Gentleman, acting on behalf of the Government, seems to be riding two horses which are going in quite different directions. He is saying, "We do not want Government interference in the industry. The industry can take care of itself and it must be asked to do so." He also says that a Board will be appointed which will consist, we believe, very largely of representatives of the industry, with perhaps some trade union members on it, and that Board will be charged with the duty of looking after the industry. While the Government are saying that the industry must be charged with looking after itself they also say that there must be public supervision.
Which is more important in the Government's mind? The two things are not identical. Either the industry looks after itself and supervises its own affairs or there is public supervision. Various statements have been made about Government supervision of this industry. In the White Paper and in most of their speeches the Government have spoken of adequate public supervision; but some Ministers have gone further. The right hon. Gentleman who is now Secretary of State for the Colonies, in speaking on this matter in a previous Parliament—and this speech was quoted with approval by the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Minister of Supply—talked of Government supervision of this industry being necessary.
1142 One stops a moment to ask why, in the opinion of the Conservative Party, is any public or Government supervision of this industry necessary. It is a change. Some 10 or 15 years ago that principle would not have been conceded. The reason why the Conservative Party think that some public supervision is necessary is because they fear that it is possible—I shall not put it higher than that—that this industry, or elements within it, may do something which is in their interest but not in the public interest, and therefore there has to be a measure of control over it.
We go further. We say that if there is to be public supervision that supervision must be carried out by people who will act solely in the public interest and who have no interest in the industry. If we were told by the Minister that this Board was to consist primarily of full-time members with no interest in the industry, who would, therefore, have only the public interest at heart and in mind, and that there would be only a small number of part-timers with knowledge of the industry, that would be all right. But we are told nothing of the sort.
We believe, judging from the speeches which have been made by the Government, that this is to be a replica of the old Forbes Board, manned largely by representatives of the industry with perhaps one or two independent industrialists outside the industry, and that the Board will not be manned. as we say it should be, by people who are working full-time in the public interest.
We say that it is ridiculous that supervision of the industry should be carried out by the people who ought to be supervised. It is no use having on this Board leading people in the steel industry in a majority to carry out the job of supervision, when the whole alleged purpose of this Bill is to bring about public supervision of these very people. Let us start off with that conception. Actually, we on these benches go much further and say that there should be not only supervision but control of ownership, but I am taking the Government's case that there should be public supervision. We say that, taking that case, there should be supervision by people who are to have responsibility to the public and who are not in any way connected with the industry. 1143 What we want from the Government is an undertaking which is quite simple and, I should have thought, quite obvious. I do not know why they cannot give us a simple straight answer. We say that there should not be supervision by the steel masters or their representatives. That is no good at all. A Board of that sort, as we said on the Second Reading—and I fear we have got to say it again—is a sham. At the moment, it has not got any really effective powers to carry out its supervisory responsibilities. If it is to be controlled by the steel masters themselves—the very people who are to be supervised—the whole thing is a farce.
We are not in the slightest reconciled to a Board of this sort just because there are a certain number of trade union representatives on it. Something which is wrongly conceived is not made right by putting trade union people on it. We do not believe that this industry should be controlled by any syndicalist organisation. There should not be a combination of employers and trade unionists, however worthy those persons may be, any more than it should be a body consisting of employers alone. We say that it should be controlled by people drawn from outside the industry concerned solely with the public service. It is on that point that we want further information. Perhaps our fears will be removed by what the Minister says, but, so far, he has not removed our fears in the slightest.
Perhaps we are suspicious, but the sort of thing I visualise as having happened is this. There have been discussions between the Government—I will not say with Steel House, if the right hon. Gentleman dislikes the idea of discussing a bargain with Steel House, but let us say with the steel masters. The Government said, "We have to have some public supervision of your industry." I am sure that the leaders of the steel industry do not like that idea at all. They may have had to accept it reluctantly, but their case has always been that the industry is perfect, that it is the finest industry in the world and only serves the public.
Plainly, they will resent the position which the Conservatives have been forced to take up as a result of the public pressure and the behaviour of the steel indus- 1144 try in the past, that this industry has to be controlled and supervised. I imagine that the Conservative Party have said to the steel masters, "There has to be public supervision of your industry," and the steel masters have protested and said, "It is quite ridiculous and unnecessary."
I imagine that the Conservative Party then said, "Because your behaviour in the past has so aroused public opinion, because we had to make the promise for political reasons, and because we put it in our Election promises—and we must keep at least one of our Election promises—we are bound to have this control." Then they went on, "But you need not worry about the fact that we shall appoint a Board to control the industry because that Board will largely be manned by your own people. There is nothing to ear. If it is not your own people it will be some trade unionists working in the industry, who have the same interests, and there may be one or two outside industrialists. The whole thing need have no terrors for you at all. You need not worry about it. It will not do anything serious; it will not interfere or control. As a Government we are against controls. We are in favour of the maximum freedom for industry. You people in industry do not want control, and we are all agreed that we shall get out of this horrible dilemma by appointing a Board which will largely represent the iron and steel interests."
The Government probably went on to say, "Moreover, there is a good chance that if we appoint a Board of this sort, very similar to the one appointed by the Labour Party in 1945–never mind that it is for different purposes—there is a good chance that the Labour Party will accept it as a solution of the iron and steel problem. This proposal has every type of advantage and the Labour Party will not want to renationalise the iron and steel industry. You accept it and we will all be happy boys together and be prosperous."
If anything like that happened, I can assure all those who even thought that way that they are living in a fools' paradise. We say categorically that if the Board is to carry out proper public supervision or, as the Secretary of State for the Colonies said was necessary, Government supervision, it must be 1145 a Board consisting not entirely but largely of independent people concerned only with the public interest. Of course, if it were to carry out the sort of purpose which we had in mind for the industry it would be an altogether different Board from that proposed. But, in any event, we say that this Board must be composed of people concerned solely with the public interest and divorced from the iron and steel industry.
If the right hon. Gentleman has a Board of that sort in mind, we shall be very pleased to hear it. We may then revise our idea about this section of the Bill. If he cannot give that undertaking and information we shall be confirmed in the view which we have held so far—that the Board is nothing but a sham and that its sole purpose is to hoodwink the public and Parliament.
§ Mr. Sandys
It may be convenient if I intervene right away. As I said earlier, I am anxious to be as helpful as I can and to give the Committee all possible information. The only reason why I am reluctant to give figures and proportions and details about our proposals for the composition of the Board—and the right hon. Gentleman, who was in a similar position will, I am sure, fully understand —is the reason which he does not believe, namely, that we have not fixed the whole Board already. If we had done what he suggests and had already settled the names, I should have been in much less difficulty in describing the composition of the Board.
Having given assurances to the Committee I do not want to find any difficulty when I begin discussions with a view to building up a satisfactory, balanced and efficient team. It may be that the jig-saw puzzle does not quite fit the proportion which I quoted in the Committee, and then I shall be in the dilemma either of appointing a Board which, in my opinion, is not the best possible or, alternatively, feeling that to some extent I have committed an act of bad faith towards the House of Commons.
That is the only reason why I have been a little cagey. The right hon. Gentleman has pressed me, and I do not want to appear to be unforthcoming, but I want to preface my next remarks by saying that I hope the Committee will understand that I am going to describe 1146 the sort of composition I should like to see for the Board. But there are sometimes difficulties, and I hope that the Committee would not regard it as an act of bad faith if, in small details here and there, we did not find its composition to accord exactly with what I am now saying. If the Committee will accept that, I shall feel freer to say what is in our minds. I hope that that will be generally acceptable.
The Board—I have just jotted down a few things while the right hon. Gentleman was talking—should, in our view. be composed of a number of elements. First of all, the chairman, who, in our view, should be independent and full-time; that is to say, not connected with the iron and steel industry, and that if he comes from the industry, he severs his connections with it.
§ Mr. Sandys
Then a nucleus of full-time members which should include, if possible, men drawn from both sides of the industry; a consumer; and, possibly, also an independent member. The third element should be part-time members. some drawn from within industry—when I say "within industry" I am not saying within the iron and steel industry, but within industry—and, of course. from both sides of industry; consumer industry as well as the iron and steel industry. Of course, we now want some people not engaged in industry, that is to say, independent members, with experience of administration, business, science, and so forth—the qualifications set out in the Bill. Steel producers—I wonder if I may have the attention of the right hon. Gentleman, because he made so much of this point—
§ Mr. Sandys
I should like to take this opportunity of saying that, in our opinion, the steel producers on the Board should not number more than about three, and there should be equal representation of the trade union side in the iron and steel industry.
The right hon. Gentleman asked whether the industry was going to run itself, or whether it was to be publicly supervised. First of all, the Board must not be a board of representatives of interests—
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Sandys
—interests warring with one another. I think that that was the expression used. That is certainly not our conception of this Board. I entirely agree that the members of the Board should not be regarded, or regard themselves, as delegates or representatives of industries or of interests. All will be appointed in their individual capacity, and their decisions should be regarded as corporate decisions. But that does not mean, I hope, that we must avoid appointing to the Board people who are closely in touch with the industries concerned. It should not be assumed that a member who is drawn from a particular industry must necessarily, for that reason, regard himself as its advocate. On the contrary, he will, as I conceive it, bring to the Board the benefit of his knowledge of that particular industry.
I think that on all sides of the Committee we can agree that we want a Board whose members together have a wide experience over the whole field covered by the Board's duties, including their duties towards consumers. To exclude men coming from industry would result in a Board of independents and officials, and we should rightly be criticised for appointing men who, by their lack of experience, were not qualified for the task.
To sum up, I would say that the Board must not be a cockpit in which divergent elements will fight for their respective interests. On the contrary, it must be a body of persons—I wonder if I could have the right hon. Gentleman's attention; it is largely for his benefit that I am saying this. I was saying that the Board must not be a cockpit in which divergent elements will fight for their respective interests. On the contrary, it must be a body of persons with wide experience entrusted with an important public responsibility which they will discharge collectively. We believe that a body of this kind will provide the public supervision which we consider desirable, and which we are confident this Bill will secure.
§ Mr. Fienburgh
We have received a small measure of satisfaction from the Minister in outlining some of the ways in which he hopes to make this Board more 1148 acceptable to the forthcoming Labour Government. As has already been pointed out, it will take rather more than a certain amount of jiggery-pokery with names on paper to ensure that we are satisfied that a proper degree of public supervision is being exercised over this industry.
There is one point which we do want to hammer home, and that is that, mainly due to the activities of the Government. this must be a very hard-working Board indeed. Not only has it got a very wide and responsbile range of tasks within the industry previously under public ownership, but at the same time it will have a supervisory role over a large number of other industries not previously under public ownership. With all that it will be surrounded with snags, baffles. and mazes of all types of construction to prevent it from doing its work adequately and effectively. That is why we insist that these men must be men of probity and independence, judgment and strength. and men prepared to fight against the Government on these issues.
There is a great temptation, in merely listing people for membership of this Board, to say that if they have their roots in a particular section of industry that is satisfactory and sufficient. It is also important to look upon the nature of their connection with the industry and the nature of the other tasks they perform. We are all—particularly those of us in politics—very familiar with the professional committee-sitter who dashes into a board meeting or a committee meeting, gobbling his documents as he arrives, and who uses them, half-digested, in the process of discussion.
It would be very dangerous indeed—and I am sure hon. Members opposite are more experienced in this kind of committee-sitting than those on this side of the Committee—if a Board of such vital importance were to be manned by a large number of people who are not able to concentrate fully and effectively on the tasks they have in front of them.
The great danger which we have before us at the moment is that once the industry is handed back to private ownership we shall see the same kind of duplication as we had before. Before public ownership, we found that the 14 directors of Stewart and Lloyds held together 85 seats on the boards of companies, including 19 1149 direct subsidaries of Stewart and Lloyds, and those companies ranged from iron and steel to chemicals, bicycles, and Smith's Potato Crisps.
I feel that it would be a danger for the Minister to have a part-time producer on the Board, not concentrating fully on the industry, and concerned not only with the properties of Stewart and Lloyds but with the sale of potato crisps, making an occasional attendance at a part-time Board which is pretending adequately to supervise the industry.
We could go all through the wide range of the steel industry before the war under private ownership. We could disclose
§ fairly effectively the closely interlocking directorships between the various companies, and our experience of that only strengthens us still more in demanding that this Board should be independent. should have the tools which it needs to do the job and have an adequate number of full-time people on it, so that they can steep themselves in the wider questions affecting the industry, and so faithfully discharge their responsibility.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 265; Noes, 240.1153
|Division No. 66]||AYES||[10.24 p.m.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Digby, S. Wingfield||Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hurd, A. R.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.)|
|Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Donner, P. W.||Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm||Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.|
|Ashton, H. (Chelmsford)||Drayson, G. B.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)||Jennings, R.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. D. M.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Eden, Rt. Hon. A.||Jones, A. (Hall Green)|
|Barber, Anthony||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Erroll, F. J.||Kaberry, D.|
|Baxter, A. B.||Fell, A.||Keeling, Sir Edward|
|Beach, Maj. Hicks||Finlay, Graeme||Kerr, H. W.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Fisher, Nigel||Lambert, Hon. G.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. [...]||Lambton, Viscount|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)||Fort, R.||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Bennett, Sir Peter (Edgbaston)||Foster, John||Law, Rt. Hon. R. K.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lansdale)||Leather, E. H. C.|
|Bennett, William (Woodside)||Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)||Legh, P. R. (Petersfield)|
|Birch, Nigel||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A T.|
|Bishop, F. P.||George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd||Linstead, H. N.|
|Black, C. W.||Glyn, Sir Ralph||Llewellyn, D. T.|
|Boothby, R. J. G.||Godber, J. B.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Bossom, A. C.||Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Bowen, E. R.||Gough, C. F. H||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.||Gower, H. R.||Longden, Gilbert|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Graham, Sir Fergus||Low, A. R. W.|
|Braine, B. R.||Gridley, Sir Arnold||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)|
|Braithwaite, Lt.-Cdr. G. (Bristol, N.W.)||Grimond, J.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt--Col. W. H.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon O.|
|Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||McAdden, S. J.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Harden, J. R. E.||McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M S|
|Browne, Jack (Govan)||Hare, Hon. J. H.||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Bullock, Capt. M.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N)||Mackeson, Brig. H. R.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||McKibbin, A. J.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Harvey, Air Cdre A. V. (Macclesfield)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Campbell, Sir David||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maclean, Fitzroy|
|Carr, Robert||Hay, John||MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)|
|Carson, Hon. E.||Heald, Sir Lionel||Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Heath, Edward||Macpherson, Maj. Niall (Dumfries)|
|Channon, H.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)||Higgs, J. M. C.||Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)|
|Cole, Norman||Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)||Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.|
|Colegate, W. A.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Markham, Major S. F.|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Holland-Martin, C J.||Marples, A. E.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hollis, M. C.||Marshall, Sir Sidney (Sutton)|
|Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C||Halt, A. F.||Maude, Angus|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Cal. O. E.||Hope, Lord John||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry||Medlicott, Brig. F.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Mellor, Sir John|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Horobin, I. M.||Molson, A. H. E.|
|Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Howard, Greville (St. Ives)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Robson-Brown, W.||Teeling, W.|
|Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)|
|Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P.||Roper, Sir Harold||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Nugent, G. R. H.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Oakshott, H. D.||Russell, R. S.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)|
|Odey, G. W.||Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Turton, R. H.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. (Rochdale)||Vosper, D. F.|
|Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)||Scott, R. Donald||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Osborne, C.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)|
|Partridge, E.||Shepherd, William||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Peaks, Rt. Hon. O.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)|
|Perkins, W. R, D.||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Watkinson, H. A.|
|Peto, Brig. C. H. M.||Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)||Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)|
|Peyton, J. W. W||Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)||Wellwood, W.|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Snadden, W. McN||Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)|
|Pilkington, Capt. R. A||Speir, R. M.||Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)|
|Pitman, I. J.||Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.)||Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)|
|Powell, J. Enoch||Stevens, G. P.||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Profumo, J. D.||Steward, W. A. (Woolwich. W)||Wills, G.|
|Raikes, Sir Victor||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Rayner, Brig. R.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Redmayne, M.||Storey, S.||York, C.|
|Remnant, Hon. P||Strauss, Henry (Norwich. S.)|
|Renton, D. L. M||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Roberts, Peter (Heeley)||Sutcliffe, Sir Harold||Mr. Drewe and|
|Robertson, Sir David||Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)||Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith.|
|Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Adams, Richard||Driberg, T. E. N.||Janner, B.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.|
|Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell)||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)||Edwards, John (Brighouse)||Jenkins, R. H. (Stochford)|
|Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Jones, David (Hartlepool)|
|Baird, J.||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Balfour, A.||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Bartley, P.||Fernyhough, E.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Fienburgh, W.||Kenyon, C.|
|Bence, C. R.||Finch, H. J.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Benn, Wedgwood||Fletcher, Erie (Islington, E.)||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Follick, M.||Kinley, J.|
|Bing, G. H. C.||Foot, M. M.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Blackburn, F.||Forman, J. C.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Boardman, H.||Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Lewis, Arthur|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Bowden, H. W||Gibson, C. W.||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Glanville, James||MacColl, J. E.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Gooch, E. G.||McGhee, H. G.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C||McInnes, J.|
|Brook, Dryden (Halifax)||Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale)||McLeavy, F.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Wakefield)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||McNeill, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mainwaring, W. H.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S)||Hale, Leslie||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Carmichael, J.||Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hamilton, W. W.||Manuel, A. C.|
|Champion, A. J.||Hannan, W.||Mayhew, C. P.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Hardy, E. A.||Mikardo, Ian|
|Chetwynd, G. R||Hargreaves, A.||Mitchison, G. R|
|Clunie. J||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)||Monslow, W.|
|Coldrick, W.||Hastings, S.||Moody, A. S|
|Collick, P. H.||Hayman, F. H.||Morley, R.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Cove, W. G.||Herbison, Miss M.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hewitson, Capt. M||Mort, D. L.|
|Crosland, C. A. R.||Hobson, C. R.||Moyle, A.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth)||Mulley, F. W.|
|Daines, P.||Houghton, Douglas||Murray, J. D.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)||Nally, W.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||O'Brien, T.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oldfield, W. H.|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Deer, G.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Orbach, M.|
|Delargy, H. J||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Oswald, T.|
|Dodds, N. N.||Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)||Padley, W. E.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Pannell, Charles||Snow, J. W.||Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Pargiter, G. A||Sorensen, R. W.||Weitzman, D.|
|Paton, J.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Peart, T. F.||Sparks, J. A.||Wells, William (Walsall)|
|Popplewell, E.||Steele, T.||West, D. G.|
|Porter, G||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)||Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John|
|Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W|
|Proctor, W. T.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||Wigg, George|
|Pryde, D. J.||Sylvester, G. O.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Pursey, Cmdr. H||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Rankin, John||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Willey, F. T.|
|Reeves, J.||Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Reid, Thomas (Swindon)||Thomas, David (Aberdare)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertiliery)|
|Reid, William (Camlachie)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Richards, R.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)||Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)||Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)|
|Ross, William||Thornton, E.||Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)|
|Shackleton, E. A. A.||Thorne, Ernest||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A|
|Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Timmons, J.||Wyatt, W. L.|
|Short, E. W.||Tomney, F.||Yates, V. F.|
|Shurmer, P. L. E.||Turner-Samuels, M.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K|
|Silverman, Julius (Erdington)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynr|
|Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Viant, S. P.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Slater, J.||Wallace, H. W.||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Arthur Allen.|
§ Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.
§ It being after Half-past Ten o'Clock, The CHAIRMAN, pursuant to Order, left the Chair to report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.
§ Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.