HC Deb 29 June 1953 vol 517 cc105-57

Order for Second Reading read.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a Second time."

7.9 p.m.

Sir Herbert Williams (Croydon, East)

I beg to move, to leave out "now," and at the end of the Question to add, "upon this day three months."

I should like to consult you, Mr. Speaker, with regard to the procedure. This Bill and the Berkshire County Council Bill [Lords] in part cover the same ground, at least with regard to some of the particular Clauses to which we are taking exception. I think it would be a great convenience if the whole debate could be run solely on the Motion now under discussion, in the course of which hon. Members who wish to speak should draw attention to those Clauses of both Bills to which they take exception, that at the end of the debate we should give an unopposed Second Reading to the Cheshire Bill and that then any Instructions we feel inclined to move should be moved without debate, and that the same procedure should take place in respect of the Berkshire Bill. That procedure, I think, would save everybody's time and would make the debate more convenient than if we conducted it otherwise. I shall be grateful if, Sir, with your approval and that of the House, that course could be adopted.

Mr. Speaker

If the House agrees, I am quite willing to adopt that procedure. Any general discussion must of course take place on the Question now before the House. When we come to the Instruction there will be no debate if this procedure is followed. If the procedure were not followed it would not be possible on the Instruction to have a wide discussion.

Sir H. Williams

In those circumstances there should be no discussion on any of the Instructions and only a vote, if the vote is called for.

As a rule, most Private Bills are introduced for some single major purpose, and the local authority concerned take the opportunity of putting into the Bill a variety of other powers which they wish to obtain. Some of these powers are a little strange, and after about 20 years of watching this kind of legislation I know that sometimes they are the result of the town hall having filed in a dusty pigeonhole a complaint, coming sometimes from one individual—I remember very well a case in Croydon—and sometimes being more generally supported. Sometimes Clauses are inserted in the Private Bill by the Parliamentary Agents, who point out to the promoters that in recent years other local authorities have obtained similar powers. Sometimes a Bill which need not be more than 10 pages in length blossoms out, like the Cheshire County Council Bill, to 161 pages.

In the ordinary way, these Bills are not debated on Second Reading. They go before a Committee of four of our colleagues sitting in a semi-judicial capacity. This Committee can see witnesses and they are addressed by counsel. Everybody who has had the experience of appearing before out colleagues always pays the highest testimony to what a select tribunal of this House has always turned out to be. There is this disadvantage, that where major interests are concerned they are able to present a Petition. Those who study these Bills are aware that there are always provisos protecting the Postmaster-General, and in these days the British Transport Commission, the Secretary of State for War, the Secretary of State for Air, the Board of Admiralty and other big interests. Because they are big interests, the Promoters give them the provisos they need. When we come down to little John Citizen we find he has a poor deal. He is adversely affected by some of the Clauses and very often does not know about it.

It is much worse in a county than it is in a borough, because I understand that the county does not have a meeting and a poll. We all know that a borough has to have a town's meeting, that very often the sequel to a town's meeting is a poll and that many undesirable Clauses are knocked out by the electorate long before they are presented to this House. That protection does not exist, I think I am right in saying, in connection with county Bills. I have not the slightest doubt that the county of my birth, Cheshire, wants many of these powers, but I am quite satisfied that many of the powers they will never use. Cheshire has merely seen that some other county council has got them and says: "Let's have them too. Cheshire is as good as any other county." I am inclined to say that too, having been born in that county. I naturally am sympathetic to the county of my birth.

If hon. Members read these Clauses right through, let them say: "Suppose I was the person affected by these Clauses; what would my reaction be?" I think that a large number of hon. and right hon. Members would say that the Clauses are undesirable. These things are never considered by the House as a whole, and are never subjected to that critical examination which we give to a Bill promoted by the Government or by a Private Member on either side, and in which we weigh up the significance of the Clauses.

I am glad to say that we have found Berkshire rather amenable. I have a connection with Berkshire too, because I was once the Member of Parliament for Reading, which is a county borough in Berkshire. I have had more influence in Berkshire than in Cheshire. My hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Erroll), who has been conducting many of the negotiations, will tell hon. Members of the many reasonable offers which the Berkshire County Council have made, and which will make it unnecessary for us to challenge in a Division many of the Clauses in the Berkshire Bill. Unfortunately, the Cheshire Bill comes first. In respect of one of the Clauses, the Berkshire County Council have agreed to take the decision of the House in respect of the Cheshire Bill. It is a Clause where Berkshire have been found amenable but Cheshire have not, in regard to the hire of floral decorations. I will not go into details.

Some time ago the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) introduced a Bill called the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which has left this House and is now in another place, where it has had a Second Reading. In that Bill one of the proposals related to dustbins. The Cheshire County Council have a dustbin Clause, numbered 137. It deals with points not covered by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering. The next Clause, number 138, does, but does not take the same form. I submit that it is absurd for this House to pass in the same Session provisions with regard to dustbins—which are very important from a sanitary point of view—in two different forms. The House would make a fool of itself if, in the same Session, it gave to all local authorities one lot of powers, and different powers to particular authorities. I hope that when this matter goes upstairs this matter will be looked at. On the Paper is an Instruction about Clauses 137 and 138, which I do not intend to move. On Clause 151—(Hairdressers and Barbers)—I hope that the Cheshire people will accept the compromise we have already made in respect of Berkshire.

Now for Clause 190—(General Insurance Fund). When the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill was before this House, I referred to this matter. I took the precaution of saying that I happened to be a director of an insurance company. It is wrong for a local authority to attempt to build up a fund of this kind, because it would need many years. The fund could not be adequate for many years to meet the cost of any serious disaster. I had an experience in Croydon.

Some hon. Members may remember that about 18 years ago we had a disastrous typhoid epidemic in Croydon which killed about 100 of my constituents and made 200 of them seriously ill. The matter eventually went to the courts, and damages were given against the corporation. The total amount of the claims added up to £100,000. The corporation had not insured against any public liability in their General Powers Bill, so Croydon had to come forward with a Bill asking for permission to borrow £100,000 because we did not wish to impose that large sum on the rates in one year. Forthwith Croydon insured everything that they could see involved any positive risk.

In the discussion in Committee on the Local Government Bill I suggested that the London County Council might be able to carry insurance, but the debate convinced me that not even the London County Council was large enough, because it would take years to build up an insurance fund. With private insurance, when we insure with one company they re-insure with others against any big risk, so that it involves the whole insurance fund of the country. We have in that case a degree of protection that no local authority could possibly give to its public. In my constituency is a new school which cost £435,000. I do not know how long it would take to build up a fund enough to meet that risk. Take our town hall. I do not know what it would cost to replace it today—£1 million. It is probably much safer for Croydon to insure with a body or a group of bodies—for that is what insurance is—that can take that risk and spread it over vast resources.

Mr. Joseph T. Price (Westhoughton)

I am not denying that there is some force in the argument which the hon. Gentleman has deployed, but is he aware that three of the largest commercial undertakings in this country, Imperial Chemical Industries, Lever Bros., and the C.W.S., carry their own internal indemnity policy covering all their own risks? Would the hon. Gentleman have any objection to public authorities federating together to run their own insurance on the same lines?

Sir H. Williams

I do not mind anybody doing anything providing the results are satisfactory. It would take an enormous time to build up the requisite assets. I imagine that the resources available in respect of the risks of I.C.I. are very much greater than those Croydon Corporation have at their disposal, and Croydon is the 14th or 15th largest county borough in Britain.

But, if one is going to have this internal insurance, one must make sure that there is enough in the "kitty" before one stops insuring outside, otherwise if disaster comes in the first year the amount in the fund is negligible. Over the typhoid epidemic the Croydon Corporation had to pay out an enormous sum.

Dr. H. Morgan (Warrington)

Their potential assets are enormous.

Sir H. Williams

One cannot pay potential assets to people who are the dependents of victims of typhoid. They want something more substantial.

Mr. Scholefield Allen (Crewe)

Is the hon. Member not aware that local authorities are under no obligation whatsoever to insure?

Sir H. Williams

I know that, but if they are foolish enough not to insure at all the ratepayers ought to get rid of them.

Clause 233 makes provision as to motor vehicles let for hire. It provides that if, instead of plying for hire in the streets, people ply for hire from their own premises, their vehicles can be treated in exactly the same way as taxis. Whether that is justifiable or not is open to considerable doubt. If a man owns a car, I do not see why he should not ply to take people out without coming under the Town Police Clauses Act, 1847. I believe that this Clause arose because they have one very deplorable car in Macclesfield which nearly shifted the bones out of the town clerk. That was the only precise evidence which was produced to us when I had the privilege of meeting members of Cheshire County Council a little earlier today.

Clause 234 deals with the collection and delivery of washing. It looks like undue competition with private enterprise, but I understand that a reasonable compromise has been established between the Launderers' Association and the county council. I have indicated in broad terms some of the things in this Bill which we do not like. I leave it to my hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale to deal with them with more precision, and more particularly with the Berkshire County Council Bill.

Mr. Basil Nield (City of Chester)

I think it is proper to say that I have been asked by the promoters of this Measure to present——

Mr. Speaker

Perhaps I misunderstood the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams). Did he move his Motion to postpone the Second Reading?

Sir H. Williams


Mr. Speaker

Then I must call Mr. Erroll.

7.24 p.m.

Mr. F. J. Erroll (Altrincham and Sale)

I beg to second the Amendment.

I am grateful for this opportunity of rising early in the evening to explain some of the progress which has been made behind the scenes in reaching agreement both on the Cheshire County Council Bill and the Berkshire County Council Bill, which you, Mr. Speaker, indicated might be discussed together.

When we first came to examine the Cheshire Bill, there were some 24 Clauses about which we had very grave doubts. However, as a result of discussions, the number still outstanding has been reduced to the few now on the Order Paper. I mention that particularly because the list on the Order Paper may still seem somewhat lengthy, but it is very much shorter than it would have been had it been necessary for it to go to Press two days earlier; and had the Second Reading been postponed for a day or two it might have been possible to have an Order Paper even shorter than it is, as a result of further agreement.

The first Instruction on the Order Paper to the Committee on the Bill is to leave out Clause 64, which will authorise local authorities to hire floral decorations to outside bodies. This is a matter on which there is considerable opposition from the representatives of various florists and horticultural organisations. As can be gathered from the number of hon. Members on this side of the House who have tabled their names to the Instruction, no doubt this matter will be referred to again and in more detail. When I deal with the Berkshire County Council Bill I shall be able to inform the House that agreement has been reached with the Berkshire County Council——

Mr. J. A. Sparks (Acton)

With whom has it been entered into? What knowledge has the House on this?

Mr. Erroll

There has been agreement between those who objected to the Berkshire County Council's proposals and the Berkshire county authority itself.

Mr. Sparks

Would it be in order, Mr. Speaker, to say who they were?

Mr. Speaker

I do not know whether it would be in order or not because I do not know who they are myself.

Mr. Erroll

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, if you have not noticed the names which appear above each Instruction. Those are the names of hon. Members taking objection to the Clauses in dispute, and they are the hon. Members who have been negotiating with the authorities concerned.

Mr. G. A. Pargiter (Southall)

Can the hon. Member say whether he is acting on behalf of the Parliamentary Agents in this matter or is he acting individually?

Mr. Erroll

That can be answered quite simply. I am not acting on behalf of any Parliamentary Agents.

Berkshire County Council have proposed a compromise in regard to the florists which I understand is acceptable to those who objected to the Cause in its original state. It is hoped that Cheshire may be induced to find the Berkshire compromise acceptable.

Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)

Can we know what it is?

Mr. Erroll

I think that I could deal with it better when we come to the Berkshire County Council Bill.

Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)

Have hon. Members on both sides of the House who are from Cheshire received letters protesting about the letting for hire of plants and flowers and other floral decorations, for instance, or have those letters only come to hon. Members on one side of the House?

Mr. Erroll

I have no idea to whom people may have written. I only know that some of us on this side of the House have received letters. I should have thought that, if they were wise, those concerned would have written to hon. Members regardless of party.

Mr. J. T. Price

I happen to be a constituent of Altrincham and Sale and this is the first that I have heard of this matter. I have heard of no agitation in the district and I have received no instructions or protests from anybody.

Mr. Speaker

I do not see what this has to do with it. The Question is whether or no we read the Bill a Second time. I have agreed to the general debate on the subject matter of the Instructions set out in the Order Paper, but I did not mean that the debate should be so general as to include the question whether an hon. Member had received a letter or not.

Dr. Horace King (Southampton, Test)

On a point of order. This is a very serious matter, with all respect, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Erroll) and the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) have constantly referred to "we" and have spoken of negotiations which took place between some hon. Members and various interests in Cheshire and Berkshire. Should not the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale make clear what hon. Members of this House have powers to conduct negotiations?

Sir H. Williams

Further to that point of order. May I be permitted to explain? We put down these various Motions and we were then approached by the authorities concerned. In accordance with the time-honoured practice of this House, as Members of all parties have done, we had discussions. Other people came in and had separate discussions. I know that on the question of florists there were discussions with the National Farmers' Union and those representing the retail sale of flowers. We only appeared in the discussions as Members of Parliament, as we are entitled to do on any occasion whatsoever.

Mr. Sparks

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. What rights have three Members to enter into a binding agreement behind the back of this House, as it were, when this House might come to a totally different decision if it were free to exercise its judgment?

Mr. Speaker

We really ought to get on with this Bill. It is within the competence, power and privilege of any hon. Members of this House to put down an Amendment for the rejection of a Private Bill on Second Reading, and also to put on the Order Paper a Motion for an Instruction to the Committee. Hon. Members in doing so are merely exercising their rights as Members of Parliament. If subsequently those whose proposals are impeded by such action try to convince the hon. Members who have taken this action that they are wrong, or try to make some compromise which meets the point of view expressed, there is nothing wrong at all in that.

Mr. Erroll

I am grateful for your explanation, Mr. Speaker, because all I am trying to do is to explain to the House that, although the Order Paper seems so long, in fact a number of these Instructions will not be moved, at any rate by those whose names at present appear above them.

If I might go back to Clause 64 of the Cheshire Bill, which dealt with florists, I was saying that a compromise had been reached on a similar Clause in the Berkshire Bill whereby the hiring of such flowers would be limited to other local authorities and the premises of other local authorities. I understand that agreement meets with the approval of most of the parties affected, and it is very much to be hoped that the Cheshire County authority might see their way to accepting the Berkshire compromise. That, we understand, would meet the wishes of all concerned.

I should like to refer briefly to Clause 137 which deals with a charge being made for dustbins. A number of local authorities in the Cheshire area have dispensed with the power to make a charge of up to 5s. per annum for dustbins on the ground that the cost of collecting the money was greater than the yield of the collections. They are not entirely certain, however, that they are not acting outside their existing powers, and this Clause is therefore primarily for the removal of doubt. When the point was explained to us, that threw a different light on the Clause and so we would not wish to move the Instruction.

Mr. Harold Davies

Is that Clause 137?

Mr. Erroll

Yes, 137. Turning to Clause 151 with regard to the registration of barbers and hairdressers, Members may remember that I have from time to time protested against the registration of hairdressers in a particular area. I will not weary the House now with my detailed case, but the principal point was that even if established hairdressers desired this registration, it was undesirable that such registration should be carried out in respect of people who carried on a little hairdressing on the side particularly in their private homes or in offices or, as in one case which came to my notice, where a bus conductor cut the hair of his mates in the bus depot during the lunch interval. Clearly that type of sideline activity should not have been brought within the scope of a Clause to register all hairdressers.

I discussed this matter with the promoters of the Cheshire Bill, and they have suggested an Amendment which they are prepared to put in on the Committee stage which would limit the registration to the premises where hairdressing is being carried on by hairdressers. I feel that is a very satisfactory modification, and, in view of the assurances which I have received, I propose not to move the Instruction standing in my name on that subject.

The next two Instructions concern Clauses 190 and 191 to which my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East has already referred. Clause 233 deals with private hire cars as distinct from taxis. Taxis, as hon. Members know. ply for hire on a public highway or on a public stand and are, therefore, subject to regulations and restrictions decided upon by each local authority as regards both their standards of maintenance and the charges which may be made for their use. Private hire cars, on the other hand, are subject to no such restrictions and can be modern, up-to-date limousines or ramshackle old boxes which are not really safe to be seen on the road at all.

Neither are they subject to any control over the fares which they may charge, which fluctuate considerably, from cut prices at popular times of the day in order to undercut the regular taxi trade, to prohibitive charges when people want to get home from the last bus or the last train at night. There are some of us who regard that as a perfectly sound form of private enterprise because it tends to increase the supply of taxis at the time when they are most required, namely, late at night, and to reduce an excessive supply of taxis during the day when there are more than are needed.

Furthermore, many of us feel that it is really for the public themselves to decide what sort of vehicle they want to hire; the public should be capable of deciding whether they wish a well-controlled taxi which may not be available at night or a good private hire car or a cheap and broken-down one, and they ought to be allowed to decide this for themselves. We have seen in the London area, where standards and controls are very strictly applied, a very serious decline in the taxi population——

Mr. Pargiter

Could the hon. Gentleman explain one point? He referred to the "ramshackle old boxes" and so on which, by implication, are obviously unsafe on the roads. Is it wrong for a county council to want to control them in some way in the interests of road safety?

Mr. Erroll

I agree that that is certainly a point, but it must be remembered that such vehicles could not get certificates of insurance unless they did meet the standards required by the insurance companies. Anyone who has owned an old car will know how difficult it can be to get an insurance policy renewed without a competent engineer's certificate. I think that is a matter which should be taken into account.

Many of us on this side of the House believe that, in the field of private hire, the whole question could be decided by the law of supply and demand, particularly in view of the decline in the taxi population of London, which is declining year after year, because the control exercised by the Metropolitan Police is excessively strict and the standards imposed are too onerous to be borne on the prices which are now permitted to be charged.

On the other hand, a case can be made for a control of this sort because it can be said that the private hire cars are obtaining an unfair advantage over the taxis which ply for public hire. Personally, I think that is questionable because the taxis have the great advantage of being able to stand on certain parts of the public highway set aside for the purpose, and these have a great advantage in picking up casual custom which the private hire car is not permitted to do. I have tried to put both sides of the case fairly so that a useful decision can perhaps be reached.

The last Clause in the Cheshire Bill to which I want to refer is Clause 234. This gives local authorities powers to collect and deliver washing to and from municipal laundries. They already have the power to operate municipal laundries, and this is merely an extension to enable them to collect and deliver the washing. Originally, the main objection to this Clause was that it might become a charge on the rates and that, in effect, a municipal laundry service might be subsidised out of the ratepayers' money and operate at the expense or to the detriment of the laundry firms. This objection has been taken care of by subsection (2).

The only other outstanding point was that the launderers in a particular area wished to know when the municipal laundry was setting up a collection and delivery service, so that they could be aware of this new development. The promoters of the Bill have agreed to insert an Amendment on the Committee stage which will require local authorities to publish an announcement in the local Press, saying when they intend to begin the service which this Clause will enable them to carry out.

Turning to the Berkshire Bill——

Lieut.-Colonel Marcus Lipton (Brixton)

On a point of order. I have made a determined endeavour at the Vote Office to obtain a copy of the Berkshire County Council Bill, but I have not been able to do so. I am therefore at a very considerable disadvantage in endeavouring to follow the argument or to take part in the discussion, if I am allowed to do so.

Mr. Speaker

I am sorry that the hon. and gallant Gentleman has had that difficulty. It rests with the promoters of a Private Bill to supply a sufficient number of copies. It is not a matter for the House.

Mr. Erroll

My hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East has now supplied the hon. and gallant Member with a copy. In the Berkshire County Council Bill there were several Clauses about which doubt existed. The first was Clause 27. This Clause sought to prevent a person from allowing a vehicle, cattle or sheep to stray on to the grass verge of a housing estate, or other type of grass verge. Those of us who objected to the Clause felt that this power was going too wide, in that it might be applied against farmers who were driving cattle along a road from one field to another and who might be fined for allowing their herds to stray on to the grass verges. The promoters of the Bill pointed out that their real purpose in seeking this power was to prevent heavy motor vehicles from being parked on the grass verges at night instead of being put into the garages provided for them, and so causing a good deal of consequential damage.

As a result of what we have suggested, they have agreed to insert a small Amendment in Committee which will have the effect of limiting the Clause to motor vehicles. Thus the farmer will still be able to drive his herd along the roads of Berkshire without the fear of incurring any penalties.

Clause 132 is the same in the Berkshire Bill as it was in the Cheshire Bill, and the Berkshire authorities have agreed to insert a similar Amendment.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood (Rossendale)

The hon. Member repeatedly says that the sponsors of this Bill have agreed to insert Amendments on the Committee stage. Surely it is not for the sponsors to insert Amendments? That is the duty and responsibility of the Committee themselves.

Mr. Speaker

The promoters can also make Amendments in their own Bill.

Mr. Greenwood

Surely they can only submit Amendments? They cannot insert them.

Mr. Speaker

That is quite true. The language is more applicable to Public Bill discussions than to those concerning a Private Bill. One frequently hears a Minister say, "When we come to another stage we will put in an Amendment to cover that point." The general tenor of the remarks of the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Enroll) is quite clear, if his language is not quite applicable to this discussion.

Mr. Sparks

May it not be that if this House were called upon to make a decision whether or not this Clause should be added there might be a very different result? We should know what are the agreements, which are not incorporated in the Amendments.

Mr. Speaker

The Bill will come back to the House on Third Reading. If the House agrees to the Second Reading, it will go to a Committee of Members of this House first, when these matters can be properly discussed.

Mr. Erroll

I am in a little difficulty. In trying to be brief I have perhaps not been giving a sufficient explanation. I shall certainly try to make my explanation a little fuller, should hon. Members prefer it. The hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) is quite at liberty to table an Amendment or to speak to any of these. He is as free to do what I am doing now as in the past.

With regard to hairdressers, the promoters have agreed to submit an Amendment similar to that which the Cheshire County Council are going to submit.

Clause 182 is of considerable importance for Berkshire. It gives the county authority power to do printing for other local authorities. The county authority have always had power to do printing for their own offices and departments, but they now have a certain surplus capacity of a modest sort, and they would like to make this surplus capacity available to other and smaller local authorities who would not find it worth while to install printing equipment of their own. "Printing plant" is perhaps a rather grandiose phrase for what are, in fact, two large, modern duplicators or Rotaprinters, but they are efficient machines and their surplus capacity could be usefully made available to other local authorities who might want small Rotaprinting jobs carried out.

Some bodies and organisations have felt that this would be an undesirable power to grant to the Berkshire County Council, as they might be tempted to set up a large printing establishment and do a great deal of contract printing for local authorities. The county council have no intention of doing that and have prepared an Amendment, for submission to the Committee, to limit the operations of this Clause to such printing as could have been carried out without the existence of this Clause.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Does that mean that this Clause has been withdrawn?

Mr. Erroll

No, the Clause has not been withdrawn, but the Instruction would not now be moved by the Members who have at present put their names to it. There is some little doubt whether the Amendment as at present suggested entirely and exactly meets the point, but the promoters have undertaken to look into the matter and make any further modification that may be necessary to meet the point of view of those who still object to the powers being granted.

Clause 188 is a Clause which I am sure will appeal to hon. Members opposite, since it enables smaller local authorities to take advantage of the ability of a county authority to buy goods in large quantities at suitable discounts. The county authority will be able to supply the smaller authorities with stationery, pencils, goods, and supplies of one sort and another and, by placing the orders for these goods in bulk, to get trade discounts, which they will be able to pass on to the smaller authorities.

In this case the Instruction was tabled solely because it was felt that they were perhaps seeking to supply too wide an area of semi-public authorities, going even as far as the University Medical School, which I understand does not yet exist in the area of this particular county. The promoters have agreed to submit an Amendment which removes the University Medical School from the Clause and, that undertaking having been given, we should not propose to move the Instruction.

Mr. J. T. Price

On a point of order. Is the House not entitled at this stage to have some further information as to the source of these objections to various Clauses to which the hon. Member is constantly referring?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Hopkin Morris)

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Erroll

I shall be very glad to inform my constituent afterwards to settle any doubts he may have in mind.

The last Clause mentioned on the Notice Paper in connection with the Berkshire County Council Bill is Clause 189. This deals with the power to hire flowers and plants. Agreement has been reached on that. Some of my hon. Friends would like to speak to that in some detail.

I apologise to the House for the length of my speech. I have tried to make it brief, but I felt it was important to explain why the Motions on the Order Paper, which had seemed so numerous, have been considerably reduced by discussion with the parties concerned. It looks at the moment as though only the Cheshire County Council Bill will be opposed, and that the Berkshire County Council Bill will be able to go through unopposed, unless there are some hon. Members who wish otherwise.

7.51 p.m.

Mr. Basil Nield (City of Chester)

Representing the county town of Cheshire, I am very glad to have the opportunity of supporting this Measure as a whole and presenting certain arguments to the House in answer to some of the objections that have been raised. I ought to make it clear at once, as I have to the promoters, that I cannot support one of the Clauses, namely, Clause 64; but, for the rest, I am satisfied that I can commend the Clauses to the House, knowing that they will be considered later on with closer scrutiny before our colleagues on the Committee.

I was very glad to hear my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) say that it is not proposed to oppose the Second Reading. Glad, but not surprised; for this Measure contains 256 Clauses, and only seven are objected to, and some of those are no longer objected to; and so it would indeed be surprising if the Measure were opposed on Second Reading. The position is that the county is a large one with a large population, and they seek to follow the example of nearly all the larger county councils who, in recent years, have sought and obtained general powers under Private Bills.

I desire to deal with some of the considerations in the proposed Instructions, which may or may not be moved, which are set out on the Notice Paper. I shall say little about those it is proposed not to move. As to Clause 64, I pass over it because I cannot support it myself, and I turn to Clause 137. I understand from my hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Erroll) that the Instruction will not be moved, but I think that I ought to say just a word or two about it. The Clause relates to the provision, maintenance and renewal of dustbins, and, quite shortly, the arguments about it are these.

First, the charge of 2s. 6d., as I think it is under the existing law, and 5s. proposed in a Bill which has gone to another place, is-really hardly worth collecting, the cost of administration and collection is too great. Second, once free dustbins are provided it is likely that all the ratepayers will take advantage of them so that the burden will fall equally. But the most important is the third reason, that it is much hoped that local authorities will be able to adopt improved methods of refuse collection if the dustbins in their areas are their own property. I am glad that my hon. Friend, who sought at first to oppose this, did not in fact do so.

The next Clause mentioned on the Paper relates to hairdressers' and barbers' establishments. My hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale assured the House that some arrangement may be agreed to in regard to it. I should have thought that there could have been but little objection fundamentally to the purpose of this Clause, which is aimed at a general standard of cleanliness in those establishments. I believe it to be the position, though I am open to correction on this point, that it has the approval of the National Hairdressers' Federation. By-laws in regard to this have been circulated to all the local authorities in the county and all the medical officers, and they have received general acceptance. They are proposed by-laws, or by-laws in fact of another authority. The Clause imposes no great burden, and, indeed, any normal establishment would abide by these provisions.

I come to Clause 190, which was referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East, and which relates to insurance, which is a more difficult problem, I entirely agree. Under Clause 190 it is desired to enable the county council to establish an insurance fund to carry such risks as may be specified in a resolution. Arguments have been advanced against this. It is proper, I think, to point out that there are three recent precedents for it, the Essex and Glamorganshire Acts of 1952 and the Nottinghamshire Act of 1951.

My hon. Friend's opposition was along the lines that it might be financially difficult for the county to discharge its ultimate obligations. The county has very considerable rateable resources, a rateable value of rather over £5½ million, and a penny rate which produces something over £22,000. As I have already said, it is large in size and population, and it is submitted that some considerable financial saving would be effected if this scheme were found acceptable. The way I present it to the House is this. This is one of the Clauses that should be at any rate considered by the Committee, when our colleagues will hear evidence upon it; and we must have in mind that when a Clause is petitioned against it is up to those who seek to have it in their Bill to establish their case.

Clause 191 follows closely upon Clause 190, extending the provisions of Clause 190 to the Cheshire police authority, and the reason for that is that that authority was established by an Order of the Secretary of State under the 1946 Act which provides the police for the administrative and for the county borough of Cheshire itself, and it is thought right that it should be extended.

Clause 233 is the next mentioned on the Paper. I think it has not been said that the Instruction is to be withdrawn, but there was some doubt expressed in regard to it.

Mr. W. R. Williams (Droylsden)

As a large number of us have not a copy of the Bill, will the hon. and learned Gentleman, when he discusses a Clause, briefly indicate what it does?

Mr. Nield

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman. I shall certainly do so, because I appreciate the difficulty of not having the Bill. Clause 233 is that which enables by-laws to be made in respect of private hire cars such as would be made and are made in the case of hackney carriages under the 1847 Act. It applies to vehicles which ply for hire on private premises. The purpose of the hackney carriage by-laws is to provide the travelling public with the minimum standard of fitness of the vehicles and with a reasonable scale of tariffs, and it is the promoters case that similar requirements should obtain in respect of private hire cars. It would, I think, be the general view of hon. Members that one does not desire to impose extravagant or too stringent conditions on anybody who is earning a livelihood in this or in any other way; but that some degree, as, I say, the minimum, of fitness should be required, is, I would submit, reasonable.

In regard to this the hon. Member for Croydon, East withdrew, or sought to withdraw, or said that he was going to withdraw, one obstruction because a similar Clause had been accepted in this Session. Therefore I have to remind the House that a Clause, similar to Clause 233, dealing with private hire cars was in fact passed by this House in this Session in the Tynemouth Corporation Bill, Clause 61. I also understand that there has been no objection lodged against this Clause.

Finally, we come to Clause 234, the substance of which I will try to explain. This Clause provides that a local authority which has provided wash houses may collect clothing to be washed there and deliver clothing after it has been washed. These are rather domestic problems, but they are problems of considerable importance. The local authority must charge enough to cover the expenses of that service. In other words, nothing falls upon the rates. This, in point of fact, is one of the model Clauses. It was similarly provided in the Nottinghamshire Act, 1951.

The real purpose can be stated in this way. When these public wash houses were erected they were situated in the populous areas, for the convenience of the people using them, but recently there have been many new housing estates. From these housing estates there is a journey to be made to the wash houses, and it is thought better to provide this service at an economic price, without resort to the rates, than to build new wash houses in the newly built-up areas. This, I submit, is the sort of matter which should meet with general approval, and I was glad to hear my hon. Friend say that some arrangement and adjustment could be reached in regard to the price.

Mr. Sparks

Would the hon. and learned Gentleman say something about Clause 64, which, he said, he did not agree with? I do not think that either he or the two previous hon. Members who spoke said anything about that Clause except that they disagreed with it. It is an important matter because most urban district councils have parks, open spaces and nurseries from which they produce floral features, and it seems unreasonable to deny them the opportunity provided for in that Clause.

Mr. Nield

I did not deal with it because I was giving as much support as I could generally to the Measure. Since the hon. Gentleman has asked me the question, it is only courteous and, I think, right to give him an answer, as I conceive it to be. I think that it is this: That to empower local authorities to provide and charge for this service would be to create unfair competition for those who earn their livelihood by providing this service, and for this reason—that the local authorities could produce that which they hire without paying for the production out of the rates. On the other hand, the trader, very often quite modest traders in the market garden field, and the florists must all discharge from their own resources their overhead expenses and this, I submit with great respect, imposes a degree of unfair competition which the House should not agree to.

I have deliberately and, I hope, very moderately put forward my own personal views with regard to this matter. I am well aware of the support which the Clause attracts, and I am also aware of the support which I have for my opposition to the Clause. I do not think that it is the sort of thing that I ought to be questioned about. I have given my view, and it may be right or it may be wrong, but, as I say, that is really the only Clause to which I seriously object.

Mr. J. T. Price

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman not aware that had it not been for the tremendous stocks of horticultural plants and flowers of all kinds raised by the local authorities many of the floral decorations provided in this City during the Coronation and many other cities in this land would never have been possible, because it is the surplus of these plants raised in public parks which has been able to make the Coronation the floral success which it has been?

Mr. Nield

I do not propose to give a legal view on this. But, without prejudice, I do not think that there is anything to prevent a local authority with parks and gardens from decorating their own town hall, and that I think is really the situation. I have tried to put the matter as reasonably as I can before the House. It is quite clear, in my submission, that no one would seek to deprive the County Council of the general powers which they seek under this Measure. That must be for the general good and, if it is, I hope that it will receive general acceptance.

So far as the objected Clauses are concerned, apart from Clause 64, which I have dealt with, they are matters which, I think, should be considered by our colleagues in Select Committee. We can rely with every confidence on our colleagues to come to a conclusion which they think is right.

8.8 p.m.

Mr. F. Blackburn (Stalybridge and Hyde)

I think that for the sake of the accuracy of the records of this House about who approached who, it ought to be stated that the first approach was made by the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) to the Cheshire County Council and not by the Cheshire County Council promoters to the hon. Member. As a result of that request of the hon. Member for Croydon, East and his group, the Cheshire County Council prepared a dossier dealing with certain Clauses of this Bill.

There is a good deal said about powers being taken away from local authorities, and yet as soon as a local authority comes forward to try to clarify the position and perhaps get some extension of its powers there is immediate opposition. There is a good deal said, too, about the way in which the rates are increasing. As soon as something is done which will go some way towards ameliorating the rates or preventing money from being wasted we immediately get opposition. I am surprised at the opposition to this Bill coming from the other side of the House.

Here we have a Conservative controlled county council with practically every local authority within its area Conservative controlled, and yet when a Bill is brought forward by general agreement between the county council and the local authorities, the opposition comes from that side. This is rather unreasonable. It is rather amazing.

Mr. David Jones (The Hartlepools)

Perhaps the chamber of commerce do not like it.

Mr. Blackburn

I think it is generally known that the Cheshire County Council, and, I believe, the Berkshire County Council also, are Conservative-controlled, but it does not seem that the Conservatives in one part of the country agree with what Conservatives want in another part of the country.

With regard to the most contentious of the Clauses—I think there will be the greatest opposition to Clause 64—I was surprised to note the difference in the names appearing on page 211 of the Order Paper against Clause 64 and those appearing on page 213 in opposition to Clause 189 of the Berkshire Bill. For the benefit of Members who do not have a copy of the Cheshire County Council Bill, I will read Clause 64: An urban district council may let on hire plants flowers and other floral decorations and may make such charges therefor as they may think fit. There is one very surprising omission from the list of names appearing on page 213. That is, the name of the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd), whose constituency is in Berkshire. I hope that it does not mean that he is opposed to the Cheshire County Council having certain powers but is quite content that Berkshire should have them. No doubt the hon. Member will be able to explain the position.

Mr. J. T. Price

Sheer expediency.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

May I draw my hon. Friend's attention to the fact that in connection with the Berkshire County Council Bill there does not appear on the Order Paper the name of any hon. Member, Conservative or otherwise, who represents a constituency in Berkshire?

Mr. Blackburn

I had noticed that.

The hon. Member for Croydon, East, when moving his Amendment, referred to the size of the Bill and said that half the powers in it were never wanted. But it is not those powers that the hon. Member is opposing. He and his colleagues oppose the powers in the Bill which are wanted. Fortunately, they have withdrawn some of their first objections, and perhaps wisely, because they would have found difficulty in making out a case for their Amendment as first tabled. What they have tried to do eventually, I think, is to bring the Cheshire Bill and the Berkshire Bill into line. I do not think they have quite done that, however, because whilst they oppose Clause 190 in the Cheshire Bill, which deals with the setting up of an insurance fund, they do not oppose Clause 157 in the Berkshire Bill.

Mr. Erroll

May I make a brief explanation? Berkshire agreed to abide by whatever decision was reached in regard to Cheshire in this matter, thus making it unnecessary to take the Amendment twice and thus, perhaps, to avoid two Divisions, which would all take up the time of the House, an arrangement which is often resorted to and is usually found convenient by all concerned.

Mr. Blackburn

It is also true, I believe, that the Berkshire County Council agreed to abide by the decision on other Clauses in the Cheshire Bill, and yet there are Amendments down to both Bills. The point which the hon. Member makes does not, therefore, carry very much weight.

There seems to be a good deal of anxiety concerning with whom these arrangements are made. There is an organisation known as what the hon. Member for Croydon, East calls "my Group," who have had some dealings with the promoters of both the Cheshire Bill and the Berkshire Bill; and I presume that the promoters of the Berkshire Bill must have had discussion with Berkshire Members, just as the Cheshire Bill promoters have had consultations with Cheshire Members.

Let me come to Clause 64. It ought to be stated, first, that authorities have a right to expect a certain consistency about the decisions which are made in this House. These powers have recently been given to other authorities; in 1952 they were given in the Leamington Corporation Act and the Preston Corporation Act. If the present Bill is forced to a Division—I hope it will not be; I hope hon. Members opposite will allow it to go through as it stands—we will expect that all the Members from Nottinghamshire, Leamington, Preston, Swindon, Worcester, Wolverhampton and Hudders-field will wish to give to Cheshire the powers which those other places have been given in recent years.

There is some misunderstanding about Clause 64. The Cheshire County Council do not want this power for themselves, because they have no parks department. The power is wanted on behalf of the local authorities within Cheshire and is desired by all of them. As I said earlier, the Bill is an agreed Measure between the county council and the smaller authorities within the area.

It has been argued that if this power is given to the local authorities, it will be unfair competition with the florists and market gardeners.

Mr. Gerald Nabarro (Kidderminster)

Hear, hear.

Mr. Blackburn

I know I am on the right side, because the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) disagrees with me. It is true that in certain parts of Cheshire there are market gardeners who would be able to supply this service, but in other parts of Cheshire that is not true at all.

Mr. Nabarro

It is true in Worcestershire.

Mr. Blackburn

I ask for your protection, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. We are dealing, not with Worcestershire, but with the Cheshire County Council Bill.

Mr. Nabarro

The hon. Member pleaded a moment ago that we ought to have consistency in these Bills. It is a matter of great interest in Worcestershire that powers of this kind, to lend or to hire floral works, should not be granted to a local authority in view of the interests of the horticultural community.

Mr. Sparks


Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I think it would be well if Members kept their interventions for their own speeches.

Mr. Blackburn

I do not think that in many parts of Cheshire there is any question of competition between florists und market gardeners and the local authority, because if this service is not supplied by the local authority it will not be supplied at all.

Hon. Members


Sir Frederick Messer (Tottenham)

Because they are not there.

Mr. Sparks

Would it not provide an income for the ratepayers?

Mr. Blackburn

In a good many of the areas of the smaller local authorities, there is not a florist with a business of sufficient size to provide the service. When it comes to a matter of floral decorations for social affairs, it is a question not so much of cut flowers as of plants, which are not stocked by the average florist in the small town.

I have come to the conclusion that a good many hon. Members opposite have never seen what a good local authority can do in the way of floral decorations. In the constituency of Stalybridge and Hyde we have some excellent local authorities and parks departments. I invite hon. Members to come along and see what can be done, and I think they would be convinced that no small florist could achieve what those authorities have done. In any case, is there anything wrong with a local authority being able to make a charge to pay for some service and helping to relieve the rates?

If hon. Members argue against this Clause, they must argue against everything by which a local authority comes into the everyday life of the people-even so far as public libraries are concerned. There are libraries in shops, but I have never heard anyone suggest that we should do away with public libraries because it is unfair competition with libraries in shops. I hope that on Clause 64 Cheshire County Council will have the support of hon. Members of this House and, although I am not concerned with Berkshire County Council, I hope, hon. Members will support Clause 189 of that Bill.

The next Clause to which there was opposition is Clause 137, but I understand that the group have suggested that this will not be taken to a Division. I am not a lawyer, but I am not sure that even if it had been taken to a Division it would have made any difference. I believe the Clause is merely put down for clarification and explanation. According to subsection (3) of Section 75 of the Public Health Act, 1936, a local authority is given power to supply dustbins, and that Act says: the authority may make in respect of each dustbin provided by them such annual charge not exceeding two shillings and sixpence as they think proper. "May make" are, I think, the operative words.

Under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill recently brought before the House that 2s. 6d. was altered to 5s. but, according to my reading, if they may make a charge not exceeding 2s. 6d. they may make a charge of nothing. I am glad to know that the dustbin question has been settled. The town clerk of one town in my constituency said at the weekend that he hoped it would be settled because they have to waste so much time going to the courts to decide whether the owner or occupier should provide a dustbin. The great advantage of the Clause, which is not compulsory but permissive, is that it will do away with all the controversy about the owner or occupier providing a dustbin and we know that the standard of dustbins will be good.

I understand that the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale is not pressing the Amendment in regard to Clause 151, which deals with hairdressing establishments——

Mr. Erroll

I shall not be moving that Amendment.

Mr. Blackburn

The hon. Member will not be moving the Amendment because of some compromise arrived at with the promoters of the Bill. I have seen the compromise and, as far as I can judge from the wording, I then saw it takes the stress away from "person" and puts it on "premises." But I think that in the long run it does not make any difference at all. In fact, I do not think it would prevent any hon. Member opposite who wanted his wife to cut his hair from having that ceremony performed at home even if the Clause were left as it is. I will not spend more time on that Clause as there seems to be general agreement about it.

Clause 190 deals with a general insurance fund and, for the benefit of my hon. Friends, I will read the first subsection, which says that a county council: may establish a fund to be called 'the insurance fund' with a view to providing a sum of money which shall be available for making good such losses damages costs and expenses as may from time to time arise in respect of such risks as may be specified by a resolution of the Council without prejudice to the right to reinsure in an insurance fund against the whole or part of such risks. Premiums equivalent to normal insurance premiums may be paid into the insurance fund annually. They may be discontinued, but it reduces the limit if there is a resolution.

I cannot believe that hon. Members opposite who have put down the Amendment will press it to a Division since they have not put down Amendments against Clause 157 of the Berkshire Bill.

Sir H. Williams


Mr. Blackburn

If the hon. Member had remained in the House he would have found that his hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale had raised exactly the point he wishes to raise and that it did not satisfy us then.

Mr. Erroll

It was obvious that the hon. Member could not understand the point made.

Mr. Blackburn

I certainly understood the point, but I also understood the point about other Clauses in the Bill. On Clause 190 I think hon. Members will remember that a Clause to give local authorities power to form insurance funds came before the House in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and was very narrowly defeated. I think the voting was 17 to 15. But that was a Clause to give every local authority the power to establish an insurance fund, a matter very different from the powers which are asked for by Cheshire County Council in this Clause. There is a big difference between the financial stability of a county council with a rateable value of more than £5½ million and some of the very small local authorities of the country. If I remember rightly, some hon. Members who were opposing that Clause in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill did say that probably a case could be made out for the larger local authorities to have this power.

There is no doubt that a local authority with a rateable value of more than £5½ million and where a penny rate brings in more than £22,000, is in a position to establish an insurance fund. I think the hon. Member for Croydon, East misunderstood the purpose of the county council in this Bill, because, if this Clause goes through, it would not be their intention to dispense immediately and entirely with outside insurance. It says it is without prejudice to the right to reinsure in an insurance fund against the whole or any part of allowing of the specified risks. In any case, as was pointed out by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Crewe (Mr. Scholefield Allen), there is no statutory obligation upon a county council to insure. Therefore, if the Bill were dropped they could carry on without insuring in outside insurance companies and without setting up an insurance fund. If hon. Members give further consideration to that Clause, I think they will withdraw their opposition to it. It is a matter which I think could well be left to the local authority to decide what they shall insure and what action they shall take.

I need not say much about Clause 191, which refers to the Cheshire Police authority. It is brought forward because the Cheshire Police authority was established by the order of the Home Secretary under the Police Act, 1946, and it provides the police service throughout the administrative county of Chester and the county borough of Chester and, therefore, would not be covered by Clause 190.

Clause 233 relates to motor vehicles. Again I am not quite certain whether that Amendment is being pressed or not, but it seems to me that if it is right that the owner of a hackney carriage should be subject, under the 1847 Act, to certain regulations, the owner of a private-hire vehicle should also be subject to the same regulations. The mere fact that he keeps it on private premises should not alter that position. To me it is a reasonable Clause which has been brought forward in the Bill.

Turning to Clause 234, I had better tell my hon. Friends who have not a copy of the Bill that a local authority which has provided a public washhouse may collect and deliver clothes and other washing and they must charge enough to cover their expenses. It seems strange that anyone should object to such a provision. If a local authority has a public washhouse surely no one would object to it being able to collect and deliver the washing. I understand that the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale and the opposition on the other side of the House—I take it that he is speaking for the whole opposition although I do not understand how that has come about—that provided "after the appointed day" is inserted in this Clause they will accept the position. The insertion of those words would merely mean that a public poll could be held if there was a sufficient demand for it.

I think that Members will agree that there is not a great deal of substance in the opposition which has been tabled to the Cheshire County Council Bill. I was sorry, when I heard the hon. Member for Croydon, East begin his speech, that he did not do so with the words, "We do not intend to divide on this Bill but have merely put forward our Amendments in order to have a general discussion," which I believe was the way he started his speech on the Rochester Bill last year. The Clauses of the Bill are reasonable, and I certainly hope that the support of Members on both sides of the House will be forthcoming for the Measure.

This is not a party political matter—[HON. MEMBERS: "You made it one."] I emphasise that it is not a party political matter because this is a Bill, as I stressed before, which is brought forward by a county council which has a predominantly Tory majority. I think that there are about 69 councillors and 23 aldermen, and, speaking from memory, there are, I believe, 11 Labour Members. Therefore, I am right in stressing that this is a predominantly Conservative council. I hope that hon. Members opposite will support their Conservative colleagues and will vote for the Bill and the whole Bill, not for certain Clauses of it.

8.33 p.m.

Air Commodore A. V. Harvey (Macclesfield)

The hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Blackburn) has made fairly heavy weather of the whole Bill. There are 256 Clauses, and speaking, I think for my colleagues, certainly for myself, the objection is really to one Clause. Even if the Cheshire County Council were 100 per cent. Conservative, if we objected to the Bill we should still say what we felt about it. Fortunately on this side of the House we are not so party bound that we are afraid to express an opinion.

The hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde talked about public libraries. I do not think that there is any analogy in that. One goes there and, apart from a charge for taking a book back after the proper time, the book is free; it is an entirely different matter. I think that the hon. Member was very confused in comparing a public library with the hire of flowers.

This Bill passed through all its stages in another place, and unfortunately there was no debate. I wish there had been because many noble Lords in another place have a considerable knowledge of horticulture. [Interruption.] If the hon. and gallant Member has any statement to make or question to ask, I wish he would rise and do so instead of muttering to himself so that no one can really hear what he is saying.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

I was just going to say that the hon. and gallant Member was rather unfair in his criticism of another place. The wise people sitting in another place were so impressed by the virtues of the Bill that they did not seek to raise any of these foolish objections which are now being raised here.

Air Commodore Harvey

As I said earlier, we are concerned only with one Clause out of 256.

I am informed that this Bill has been objected to, so far as Clause 64 is concerned, by the National Farmers' Union, the British Flower Industry Association, the Florists' Telegraph Delivery Association and the Retail Flower Traders' Association.

Mr. Sparks

Surely the hon. and gallant Gentleman is not opposed to ratepayers receiving an income?

Air Commodore Harvey

If the hon. Gentleman can contain himself for a few moments, he will find that I shall deal with that. I am concerned also with people in my constituency who make their living by growing and selling flowers. I have no objection to a local authority selling flowers to a non-profit-making organisation. In my constituency there was recently a demand for flowers such as does not happen very often. A large number of flowers were required and they were not readily available; they were obtained from another local authority, and I think that quite fair.

While we are discussing this matter, it might be a good thing to go further into it. Some local authorities have been trading in the sale of flowers and breaking the law by so doing, and covering it up under transport charges. It would be as well for us to understand what has been going on for a great many years. If the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) who is well versed in county matters, was aware of that, he should have looked into it a few years ago when he was Secretary of State for the Home Department.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

I was responsible only for the Home Department.

Air Commodore Harvey

But there is a way of approaching these matters through the Home Department.

Mr. J. T. Price


Air Commodore Harvey

No, I shall not give way; I will make my speech in my own way.

Though I do not sell flowers I am connected with a business in which seeds are prepared from which they are grown. It may well be that the business with which I am connected will lose by not being able to supply seeds to local authorities. But I think that this is a matter of principle——

Mr. W. R. Williams

On a point of order. May candles be brought in? Not only is it difficult to see any point in the argument of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but it is almost impossible to see the hon. and gallant Gentleman himself.

Air Commodore Harvey

The hon. Member usually shows a little more courtesy than he has exhibited this evening; but I do not mind.

In the country, and certainly in my constituency, there are market gardeners, florists and horticulturists who grow flowers for a living. They have to contend with a certain amount of foreign competition and also with the weather. Today it is not easy to make a living from growing flowers, other than in the Scilly Isles or other special parts of the country. I wish to see this Clause omitted completely, except that flowers may be sold to non-profit-making organisations, and I hope that hon. Members on this side of the House will be firm on that point.

8.40 p.m.

Mr. Scholefield Allen (Crewe)

I am happy, on behalf of the Cheshire County Council, to support this Bill and all the Clauses objected to by a few of the hon. Members opposite. I am certain that a large number of hon. Members opposite will go into the Division Lobby on behalf of that Conservative County Council.

As the hon. and gallant Member for Macclesfield (Air Commodore Harvey) has said, this Bill has been through the other place. The traditional home of Toryism, Conservatism and reaction has seen nothing objectionable in it. It has been through a Committee presided over by a Member of that noble House, and now it has come to us. It remains for the hon. Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) to run his group of objectors to certain Clauses of the Bill. He referred constantly to "my group." We on this side of the House and a large number of the reasonable hon. Gentlemen opposite know exactly what he meant by those words. They are the died-in-the-wool last-ditch defenders of every kind of private enterprise—even the private enterprise of the man who lets out on hire a ramshackle motor car.

Air Commodore Harvey

Would the hon. and learned Gentleman explain what he means and give the name of the vehicle concerned?

Mr. Scholefield Allen

I give to the hon. and gallant Gentleman the name of the clerk to his own county council who is most interested in the approval of Clause 64 because his council have to go to Salford to get flowers. The hon. and gallant Gentleman knows quite well that his own council desire the Clause to be passed.

This Bill has been passed by the other place. Who else supports it? The Cheshire County Council support it. My hon. Friend the Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Blackburn) told us that that council is predominantly, almost overwhelmingly, Conservative. One hon. Member opposite asked what representations had been made about this Bill by constituents. I have had one letter from one firm in one of the smaller urban authorities in my constituency. I was asked to oppose this Clause. But I am in considerable difficulty because the chairman of the county council, Alderman Wesley Emberton, is also a constituent of mine, and as chairman of the county council he asks me to give the council every support in getting this Bill through. This is the only occasion that I can remember when he and I have been in complete agreement. I am happy to give him my support.

I turn to the various Clauses. The first one objected to is the floral one. If there were an active private enterprise floral market in the Cheshire area perhaps there would be some point in the objection. I appeal not to the hon. Member for Croydon, East and the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. C. S. Taylor) who have no interest in Cheshire at all——

Mr. Nabarro

We have an interest in flowers.

Mr. C. S. Taylor (Eastbourne)


Mr. Scholefield Allen

I will give way to any Cheshire Member.

Mr. Taylor

The hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned my name.

Mr. Scholefield Allen

We are discussing, not the difficulties of Eastbourne, but those of certain rural and urban district councils in Cheshire who wish to have floral displays when they organise public functions. I am instructed on their behalf that they cannot get them except from the local authority. The clerk to the county council in the constituency of the hon. and gallant Member for Macclesfield, as I have already pointed out, had to go outside Cheshire to Salford to get flowers for a display. There is a public demand in many parts of Cheshire for the supply of plants and flowers on hire by local authorities, and this is an attempt to meet a public demand.

In most cases, I can assure the reasonable hon. Members opposite, as a Cheshire man and having some knowledge of this matter, that there is no other source from which they can get them. If this were a demand to sell flowers, there might be some ground for the opposition, but all that is sought here is power to let out on hire plants, flowers and other floral decorations and to make charges. Surely the ratepayers are entitled, if they let out their plants and flowers on hire, to have some recompense for it? Is it objected that the ratepayers are getting something out of their parks and gardens? Yes, certainly, it is; but Eastbourne does it.

As the hon. and gallant Member for Macclesfield pointed out, this has been going on for some time, and they have, in fact, been letting out plants and covering themselves by a charge for the labour. All that is required here is that we should regularise the position. It is no part of the local authority's wishes to go into the private enterprise floral market. They do not want to do that. They simply want these powers in order to be able to supply plants on hire where there is a public demand for them and where there is no other source of supply.

Let me now turn to the dustbin Clause, which is Clause 138. The county council desire to make no charge for dustbins, and "my group" opposes that provision. Both Eastbourne and Croydon are in "my group." Clause 37 is no longer being opposed, nor is Clause 151. Why should objection be taken to making barbers' shops hygienic and clean, and why should the county council be involved in time, trouble and expense in meeting frivolous objections of that kind? If hon. Members opposite really want to save the burden on the ratepayers, they should not frivolously oppose a responsible council when it is asking for reasonable powers.

Let us come now to what is, perhaps, the really contentious Clause—Clause 190—which seeks to set up a general insurance fund. There are arguments both ways, and I have listened to them, but here we are not dealing with a small authority of low rateable value. The Cheshire County Council are a large authority with a rateable value of £5½ million and the product of a penny rate is £22,000. The council need not insure at all, but prudently, of course, they would do. There can be no real objection if such a responsible body desire to create an insurance fund of their own, nor to such a powerful body covering their own risks.

The hon. Member for Croydon, East said that this would lead to disaster in the first 12 months. The council have powers of borrowing money to meet contingencies of that kind, and if they care to maintain their own insurance fund, they will, in fact, be saving the ratepayers a considerable amount of money. The cost of administering an insurance company is quite high and includes an agent's commission of 15 per cent. The county council would save that commission, and the administrative work would be done within the council by its own legal and financial officers as a result of which, I have no doubt, the ratepayer would benefit considerably.

I think it was my hon. Friend the Member for Westhoughton (Mr. J. T. Price) who pointed out that some of the large private enterprises, such as I.C.I. and Lever Bros., carry their own insurances. Surely, if such bodies can do it, a body like the Cheshire County Council can, in its discretion, embark upon this enterprise. I will not appeal to "my group" because they will vote against anything, even without thought.

It is unfortunate that so many hon. Members opposite are not present and, therefore, will not hear the case for the county council. I hope that the hon. and gallant Member for Macclesfield will make it quite clear to some of his colleagues on the county council that his only objection is to Clause 65 and that he has no objection to Clauses 190 and 191 to which the Cheshire County Council attach considerable importance.

I will now deal with Clause 233. Surely authorities are entitled to see that private hire cars which are on their roads and which are carrying their citizens are up to the same standard as taxicabs. If it is right to insist that taxicab owners should conform to a certain standard, then it is also right that private car hirers should do the same. Anyone who has had experience of hiring a private car knows that the price paid is very different from the price paid for riding in a taxi. The reason for the difference in price is due to the fact that the taxicab proprietor is controlled in the matter of the charge he makes whereas the private car hirer is free to charge what he likes.

What could be more frivolous than the objection to making a charge for carrying things to and from public wash-houses? The hon. and learned Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Nield) put his case admirably in explaining the need for this Clause. In the bad old days, when the population was crowded into the central part of the urban authority, these wash-houses were set up. They are now some distance from the new, clean and healthy housing estates, and the problem confronting those living on the estates is how to transport their washing to and from the public wash-houses which may be one, two or three miles distant from where they live.

All this Clause does is to give local authorities the power to call at the houses on the estates in order to collect and take the washing to the public wash-houses and in due course to deliver it back again and to make a charge for so doing, a very great convenience to tens of thousands of harassed housewives. I hope that not only my hon. Friends on this side of the House, but that the majority of hon. Members opposite will give the Conservative Cheshire County Council and the chairman of my Conservative council in the Crewe division of Cheshire this Bill for which they are asking tonight.

8.55 p.m.

Mr. Anthony Hurd (Newbury)

I rise to commend very briefly to the House the Berkshire County Council Bill. I am anxious that we should get the Second Reading of the Bill tonight, but if the discussion goes on very much longer and if we have one or two Divisions on the Cheshire Bill I am fearful for the fate of the Berkshire Bill. I therefore appeal to my hon. Friends and to hon. Gentlemen opposite to give us a chance, if it is the will of the House, to approve the Second Reading of our Bill.

This Measure has been the subject of much discussion in the county. I wish the consultations had been even fuller and more detailed at an earlier stage so that it would not have been necessary for my hon. Friends to suggest Instructions to the Committee. In the last three or four days it has been possible for the promoters to listen to and to be convinced by the views that have been put to them. Some curiosity has been expressed from the benches opposite about the source of these objections. I can only speak for myself. I happen to be one of the Members of Parliament for Berkshire, and I have received from florists in my constituency objections to the proposal which would have led the borough councils to go into the floral hire business.

Mr. Blackburn

Would the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Hurd

No, I would not. I shall conclude my point. Objections have also been put to me on other Clauses, for example, the hairdressing Clause. There is one objection from a village postman who is accustomed to cut people's hair in the evening—God bless him. This is not his regular business. After discussions which we have had with the county council, they agree not to hinder such service which is of benefit to a man's neighbours.

On the floral decorations Clause there are suggestions which the promoters of the Bill, the Berkshire County Council, will put to the Committee so as to meet the objections of local market gardeners and local florists. What is proposed is that the council of an urban district may let on hire to the council of a local authority or parish council plants and flowers for floral decoration for use on land or premises owned, occupied or maintained, or required, in connection with the exercise of the powers and duties of the council, local authority or parish council, as the case may be. The powers shall not include any power to let their land or premises on hire. The effect of that is that the council can provide these floral decorations on local authority premises, but is not going into trade in competition with established florists and market gardeners. I think that will meet the case of my constituents who are ratepayers in Berkshire.

I should like to mention Clause 27 which, it has seemed to farmers who live alongside the Bath Road, would prevent them having the use of the verges in order to move cattle from their cowsheds to pastures on the other side of the Bath Road. It has been suggested that we should exempt horses and cattle from the Clause. This should apply to Clause 26 as well as to Clause 27. I ask the promoters to look at this point more closely.

I do not want to say any more, because the Bill has been thoroughly discussed in Berkshire. There is still one outstanding objection. Several printers have objected to the Clause which would enable the county council to do printing work for other local authorities. It is not printing as we understand it in this House, but a form of duplication which nevertheless might enter into competition with the printing trade.

The promoters tell me that they are impressed with the objections which have been raised and they will try to make fully clear when the Bill comes before the Committee that it is not their desire in any way to set up a big printing press that will compete with ordinary commercial printing. With these words, I commend the Berkshire County Council Bill to the House and hope that it will have a Second Reading tonight.

9.0 p.m.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

I am speaking only for myself when I intervene in this debate, but I want to make it clear that I support these two Bills; I believe that they put forward necessary powers which these two county councils ought to have. I welcome also the form of the Bill, which collects the needs of the county district council within the county and puts those needs forward in one Bill instead of each of the non-county boroughs, urban districts and rural districts having to promote a separate Bill of their own.

The hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. Hurd) appears to be quite ill-informed about the Clause relating to floral decorations. The Clause gives no power to the county council at all. The hon. Member said that he was protecting his constituents from the county council going into this business, but they receive no powers at all. The boroughs in the county get no powers, and neither do the rural districts. The only people who get powers are the urban district councils. That is the case with the Cheshire Bill and, as I read the Berkshire Bill, which I have had in my hands in the last few minutes, that Bill also limits the powers to an urban district. Will the hon. Member for Newbury say whether my memory has failed me during the short space of about eight minutes?

Mr. Hurd

If the Clause were passed in its present form local authorities would be enabled to enter this trade.

Mr. Ede

The Clause only says "urban district." It does not say county, non-county borough, or rural district. A county is not made up only of urban districts. This is a very limited power, and it deals with the smaller towns in not all of which are florists available. The hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) said that he was standing up for Worcestershire. Why did he not stand up for it in 1951 when the city and county borough of Worcester obtained exactly these powers for itself?

Mr. Nabarro

The answer is simply that the Bill at that time was being dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester (Mr. Ward) who adequately covered this point, and also because I was not fortunate, Mr. Speaker, in catching your eye.

Mr. Ede

Let us face this further point. This Bill has already been through another place.

Mr. Nabarro

Answer me.

Mr. Ede

The hon. Member could have voted against that Bill. I do not know whether he had been elected to the Active Back Benchers Group then.

Mr. Nabarro

The right hon. Gentleman is entirely deficient in his memory on this matter. Will he tell the House when a Division took place on that Bill, what was the result and what were the Instructions? The right hon. Gentleman has no knowledge on this matter.

Mr. Ede

Oh, yes, I have. The hon. Gentleman could himself have put down an Instruction had he been watching the interests of Worcestershire flower growers.

Mr. Nabarro

That is not my constituency.

Mr. Ede

It is quite foolish to talk of this Bill as if it were some revolutionary invasion thought up either in Berkshire or in Cheshire. As a matter of fact, these powers have been given to Nottinghamshire, Leamington, Preston, Swindon, Worcester Borough, Wolverhampton and Huddersfield.

Mr. Nabarro

Not to Kidderminster.

Mr. Ede

The hon. Gentleman had better watch out. He can never tell what may get through another place. The National Farmers' Union, after all, is a body that has a very active Parliamentary side and they could have petitioned in another place against this Bill. They are not unused to Parliamentary procedure or to the steps that are necessary to protect their members.

Here I think I speak for my hon. Friends on this side of the House. I want to protest against the way in which the active back benchers on the other side get in at the wrong stage in these matters. I suggest that the proper time for them to intervene is after the Bill has been examined in Committee upstairs where the statements that are made to the Committee are made on oath, where we can be quite certain that anything that is said is said with, as the lady said when she had to form of the oath read to her, all those limitations which have been imposed on free speech.

I imagine that many of us here have served on Committees upstairs and we know the careful way in which the four Members appointed examine these matters and the care with which learned counsel employed by the various parties appearing before them set out the case for and against the interests of certain people. I suggest that after that has been done, when the Bill comes here for consideration, if Members object to what has been done, they should at that stage intervene because then the general body of Members of the House can have access to the proceedings upstairs and can know what the promoters and the opposers say.

Sir H. Williams

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me in how many cases he has intervened during the consideration of a Bill on Report rather than on Second Reading?

Mr. Ede

No, I am not undertaking to give any information of the sort. I am suggesting that when there is an active body, as I understand these hon. Gentlemen call themselves—the "active back benchers"; a club, I understand, to which some of them belong, and I am not using that term in any offensive sense—they should exercise their powers in that way and then the House, called upon to reach these decisions, would have far more information available to them. I sincerely hope that tonight they will not proceed with these Instructions. I have never heard it suggested that any Private Bill Committee have reached decisions on anything other than the evidence which has been heard upstairs, but if hon. Members are still dissatisfied, or think that their colleagues upstairs have not preserved a judicial attitude, we should then have an opportunity of further considering the matter.

9.10 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Ernest Marples)

It may be convenient to the House if I intervene at this stage to give my hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite the views of the Government. As I undertsand it, my hon. Friends are moving that Instructions be given to the Committee and, as that is a Committee upstairs, they are in effect moving Amendments to the Bill.

They have put many Instructions on the Order Paper, but they have withdrawn a great number of them on reaching a compromise with the promoters. In the case of the Berkshire County Council Bill, there is now no dispute, but in the case of the Cheshire County Council Bill agreement has been reached on some but not on all points. The discussions tonight have covered not only the points in dispute but a much wider range of Clauses which have been agreed, and we have had a much wider discussion than we might have had if we had devoted ourselves to those Clauses about which there is a dispute.

As I understand it, there are three disputed Clauses in the Cheshire County Council Bill. They are Clause 190, which is concerned with a general insurance fund; Clause 191, which is an extension of that general insurance fund to a police fund, and Clause 64, which deals with the letting or hiring of plants and flowers by urban district councils.

Clause 190 enables the county council to establish a general insurance fund. There are many precedents for such a Clause, but provisions to make the power general were dropped, as my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) said, in the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which was a Private Member's Bill moved by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison). He withdrew that provision from the Bill because he realised that it was a controversial point.

The same thing applies to Clause 191, which extends to the Cheshire police authority the powers sought by the Cheshire County Council to establish an internal insurance fund. On both those related Clauses the Government have formed the view that they would not like to issue any advice to hon. Members on this side of the House or to the House in general, and they intend to leave the matter entirely to a free vote, whichever view hon. Members are inclined to take.

Clause 64 provides that any urban district council of Cheshire may let or hire: plants flowers and other floral decorations and may make such charges as they may think fit. The Berkshire County Council have agreed to confine the sales to other local authorities, but the Cheshire County Council want power for urban district councils to sell to anyone and make appropriate charges.

Mr. Sparks

They do not say "sell," but "hire," which is a very different matter.

Mr. Marples

They say: … let on hire plants flowers and other floral decorations …. I stand corrected by the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks). My hon. Friends object on the ground that this is municipal trading of an unfair character. To summarise their views, they say it is unfair because private individuals acting as florists, or connected with horticulture, not only have the expense of cultivating the flowers but also have to pay rates to the local authority, who might themselves be competing with them.

Street decorations—a question which was mentioned by an hon. Member opposite in an interruption—would not be affected if this Clause were rejected, because local authorities can use their own flowers on their own buildings and in the streets on any occasion such as the Coronation.

Mr. J. T. Price

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware—with all the academic arguments on this matter of municipal trading—that precisely the same objections as are made to this simple Clause are being made against municipal transport, municipal gas and other municipal undertakings? What we object to is that under cover of raising a question of principle the trade interests are putting pressure on this House to adopt views which do not accord with those of constituents.

Mr. Marples

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) said that the National Farmers' Union have not objected at this stage.

Mr. Ede

No. I said in another place.

Mr. Marples

I have a document here from the promoters. As I understand it, a petition against this Clause has been deposited by the National Farmers' Union and the florists' Association. It will be heard upstairs. They object, but have not objected in another place. In this case also the Government do not wish to give any advice to the House.

Mr. W. R. Williams

They cannot make up their minds.

Mr. Marples

The hon. Member says we cannot make up our minds, but I thought that hon. Gentlemen opposite wanted a free vote. I felt sure that, as they take the advice of the Government so frequently, on this occasion they would care to dispense with it. Therefore, on this occasion the Government have decided to leave it entirely to a free vote of the House. Hon. Members are free to vote as they think, and I myself—and I am speaking now as a private Member—shall vote whichever way I think.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles Mac Andrew)

I should have thought that the House could have come to a decision on this now.

Hon. Members


9.16 p.m.

Dr. Horace King (Southampton, Test)

I should not have intervened in this debate if it had not been for the fact that I am troubled about the proceedings in the case of these Private Bills. Private Bill procedure in this House makes one who is used to party government thank goodness we have party government and the party system as the ordinary method of conducting proceedings in this House. I should have liked to have defended at some length Clause 233 in the Cheshire County Council Bill, which gives the taxi-men, not a privileged position over the private hire car, but secures free and fair competition as between the taximen and the private hire traders, but I want to say a word about what has happened tonight and what has happened in the days just before.

A group of hon. Members, because they object to six or seven Clauses in a Bill of 256 Clauses, have got into contact with the parties behind the Bill, have tabled an Amendment by which they threaten to divide the House against the Bill, have put on the Notice Paper a number of Instructions to the Committee by which they threaten again to divide the House seven times against the Bill, and in this way point a pistol to the head of a county council who seek to secure a number of powers that people of all parties in the county believe essential. Those hon. Members seek to make the county council modify those provisions.

I think the procedure on Private Bills is something that ought to be reformed, that there is a kind of blackmail in it when a single hon. Member or a small group of hon. Members can exert pressure on those who need a Bill, the promoters of the Bill, who are handicapped by the problem of getting time to debate a Private Bill. I think something ought to be done to reform this procedure.

9.19 p.m.

Mr. C. S. Taylor (Eastbourne)

There seems to be some misapprehension among hon. Members opposite about the Private Bill procedure. For many years now it has been customary for any hon. Member who wishes to object to any part of any Private Bill to say "Object" when the Second Reading is called by the Clerk, and it is perfectly in order, and always has been, so far as I know, for any Member to raise any objection to any Private Bill. Some hon. Members may have done so in the case of Bills affecting their own constituencies, but those hon. Members who are associated with me in objecting particularly to provisions of the Cheshire County Council Bill raise those objections as matters of principle.

We want to make it perfectly clear that what may become law so far as Cheshire is concerned today may become law in other parts of the country at a later date. In fact, already, by the lack of vigilance of this House, certain authorities have been given these powers.

Mr. J. T. Price


Mr. Taylor

If those powers are reasonably necessary they should be applicable to the whole of the country and should not be dealt with by piecemeal legislation in this way.

There are three main Clauses to which we take objection. There is no question of blackmailing the local authority. Obviously, after objections to the Cheshire Bill and to the Berkshire Bill week after week, there comes a time when the Chairman of Ways and Means says that these Bills must be discussed at a certain time and on a certain day. Obviously, the local authorities, or their Parliamentary agents concerned, approach the Members who have objected to the Bills and say, "What is your objection; perhaps we can reach some compromise to overcome your objection?"

That is what has happened in the case of the Berkshire County Council Bill. They have been advised—I think wisely advised—and in consequence the time of the House has not been taken up in making objections to the Berkshire County Council Bill; but the Cheshire County Council have been advised in a different way, and although the Berkshire County Council have agreed to a compromise Clause on the supply of floral decorations, the Cheshire County Council have not agreed.

I do not think that I need deal at great length with the insurance Clauses. The House decided on a previous occasion that this particular type of Clause was an undesirable Clause for general application, and I see no reason why the Cheshire County Council—or the Berkshire County Council for that matter, because Berkshire had agreed to abide by the decision taken over Cheshire—why this county council should indulge in insurance of their own property. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] Because it is not the duty of a county council to effect their own insurances.

Mr. J. T. Price


Mr. Taylor

One of the hon. Member's hon. Friends opposite attacked me personally by mentioning me in this House and then refused to give way, and the hon. Member must allow me to finish my remarks because time is getting short.

The only other Clause to which we took exception was that concerning private hire cars. So far as I can understand, the only two cases which Cheshire have against the type of private hire cars that are operating within the boundaries of Cheshire is that one is an old taxi in which the town clerk of Macclesfield goes occasionally because there is no other taxi available—and if the Cheshire County Council decide to do away with this one late-night taxi they will not be any better off because there will not be

a taxi at all—and the other case—mentioned in the discussions beforehand, is the case of Runcorn which has only private hire cars and no taxis at all.

I am proud tonight that the group presided over by my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, East (Sir H. Williams) has drawn the attention of the House to these Private Bills. A number of Members of this House—[HON. MEMBERS: "How many?"]—thirty or forty, have always made it one of their jobs to see that Private Bill legislation does not go through this House of Commons without it being fully and properly considered. We are proud tonight that we have been able to draw the attention of the House to matters which otherwise might easily have escaped the attention of this honourable House.

Mr. Nield

rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 150; Noes, 101.

Division No. 206.] AYES [9.25 p.m.
Albu, A. H. Griffiths, William (Exchange) Mason, Roy
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Hale, Leslie Mellish, R. J.
Allen, Scholefieid (Crewe) Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) Mitchison, G. R
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Hannan, W. Monslow, W.
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Hargreaves, A. Moody, A. S.
Awbery, S. S. Hastings, S. Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.
Bartley, P. Hayman, F. H. Morley, R.
Bence, C. R. Healey, Denis (Leeds, S. E.) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh) Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.
Bing, G. H. C. Herbison, Miss M. Moyle, A.
Blyton, W. R. Hobson, C. R. Mulley, F. W.
Boardman, H. Holman, P. Murray, J. D.
Bowden, H. W. Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth) Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Holt, A. F. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J
Brockway, A. F. Hoy, J. H. Oakshott, H. D.
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Orbach, M.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hurd, A. R. Oswald, T.
Champion, A. J. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Paget, R. T.
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Clunie, J. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Coldrick, W. Janner, B. Palmer, A. M. F.
Collick, P. H. Johnson, James (Rugby) Pargiter, G. A.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jones, David (Hartlepool) Parker, J.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Pearson, A.
Deer, G. Keenan, W. Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)
Delargy, H. J. King, Dr. H. M. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Kinlay, J. Proctor, W. T.
Edwards, John (Brighouse) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Pryde, D. J.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Redmayne, M.
Fernyhough, E. Lewis, Arthur Reid, William (Camlachie)
Finch, H. J. Lindgren, G. S. Remnant, Hon. P.
Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Rhodes, H.
Gibson, C. W. Logan, D. G. Richards, R.
Glanville, James MacColl, J. E. Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Gooch, E. G. McGhee, H. G. Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) McGovern, J. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. McInnes, J. Ross, William
Grey, C. F. McKay, John (Wallsend) Royle, C.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) McLeavy, F. Shurmer, P. L. E.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Manuel, A. C. Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth) Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent) Thornton, E. Wills, G.
Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield) Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Snow, J. W. Viant, S. P. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Sorensen, R. W. Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.) Wood, Hon. R.
Sparks, J. A. Weitzman, D. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A
Steele, T. West, D. G. Wyatt, W. L.
Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John Yates, V. F.
Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Sylvester, G. O. Wilkins, W. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Taylor, John (West Lothian) Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y) Mr. Blackburn and Mr. Nield.
Aitken, W. T Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Osborne, C.
Arbuthnot, John Harden, J. R. E. Partridge, E.
Asshelon, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Perkins, W. R. D.
Baldwin, A. E. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Powell, J. Enoch
Barlow, Sir John Harvey, Air Cdr. A. V. (Macclesfield) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L
Beach, Maj. Hicks Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Black, C. W. Holland-Martin, C. J. Renton, D. L. M.
Bossom, Sir A. C. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
Boyle, Sir Edward Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.) Robertson, Sir David
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Roper, Sir Harold
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D
Brooman-White, R. C. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Scott, R. Donald
Bullard, D. G. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Shepherd, William
Campbell, Sir David Linstead, Sir H. N. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Cary, Sir Robert Llewellyn, D. T. Stevens, G. P.
Cole, Norman Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Cooper-Key, E. M. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Storey, S.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Low, A. R. W. Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Crouch, R. F. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Summers, G. S.
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Deedes, W. F. Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Tilney, John
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Turner, H. F. L.
Fisher, Nigel Maclean, Fitzroy Vane, W. M. F.
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Ford, Mrs. Patricia Markham, Major Sir S. F. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C
Fort, R. Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Medlicott, Brig. F. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Gower, H. R. Mellor, Sir John
Graham, Sir Fergus Nabarro, G. D. N. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gridley, Sir Arnold Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Sir Herbert Williams and Mr. Erroll.
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)

Question, "That 'now' stand part of the Question," put accordingly, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time, and committed.

Mr. Speaker

Does the hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) move his Instruction?

Mr. Erroll

May I move it on his behalf, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker

The name of the hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Erroll) is to the Instruction.

Mr. Erroll

I beg to move, That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to leave out Clause 64.

Sir John Crowder (Finchley)

I beg to second the Motion.

Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 128: Noes, 140.

Division No. 207.] AYES [9.35 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Brooman-White, R. C. Deedes, W. F.
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.
Arbuthnot, John Bullard, D. G. Drewe, Sir C.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Campbell, Sir David Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.
Baldwin, A. E. Cary, Sir Robert Elliot Rt. Hon. W. E.
Barlow, Sir John Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Fisher, Nigel
Beach, Major Hicks Cole, Norman Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.
Birch, Nigel Cooper-Key, E. M. Ford, Mrs. Patricia
Black, C. W. Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Fort, R.
Bossom, Sir A. C. Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale)
Boyle, Sir Edward Crouch, R. F. Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Gower, H. R.
Graham, Sir Fergus Mackeson, Brig. H. R. Roper, Sir Harold
Gridley, Sir Arnold Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Salter, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Maclean, Fitzroy Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Harden, J. R. E. Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.) Macpherson, Nial (Dumfries) Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macolesfield) Markham, Major Sir S. F. Storey, S.
Hay, John Marples, A. E. Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Heald, Sir Lionel Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Studholme, H. G.
Heath, Edward Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Summers, G. S.
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Medlicott, Brig. F. Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
Holland-Martin, C. J. Mellor, Sir John Taylor, Charles (Eastbourne)
Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Hurd, A. R. Nabarro, G. D. N. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford. N.) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Tilney, John
Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark-(E'b'rgh W.) Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Turner, H. F. L.
Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Nugent, G. R. H. Vane, W. M. F.
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Kaberry, D. Osborne, C. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Partridge, E. Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Perkins, W. R. D. Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Linstead, Sir H. N. Powell, J Enoch Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Llewellyn, D. T. Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Rayner, Brig. R. Wills, G.
Longden, Gilbert Redmayne, M. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Low, A. R. W. Rees-Davies, W. R. Wood, Hon. R.
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Remnant, Hon. P.
Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Renton, D. L. M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Roberts, Peter (Heeley) Sir Herbert Williams and
McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Robertson, Sir David Mr. Erroll.
Albu, A. H. Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth) Pearson, A.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Holt, A. F. Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Hoy, J. H. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Proctor, W. T.
Awbery, S. S. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Pryde, D. J.
Bartley, P. Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Reid, William (Camlachie)
Bence, C. R. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Rhodes, H.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Janner, B. Richards, R.
Bing, G. H. C. Johnson, James (Rugby) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Blyton, W. R. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Boardman, H. Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Bowden, H. W. Keenan, W. Ross, William
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth King, Dr. H. M. Royle, C.
Brockway, A. F. Kinlay, J. Shurmer, P. L. E.
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Champion, A. J. Lewis, Arthur Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Clunie, J. Lindgren, G. S. Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)
Coldrick, W. Lipton, Li.-Col. M. Snow, J. W.
Collick, P. H. Logan, D. G. Sorensen, R. W.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) MacColl, J. E. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Davies, Harold (Leek) McGhee, H. G. Sparks, J. A.
Deer, G. McGovern, J. Steele, T.
Delargy, H. J. McInnes, J. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. McKay, John (Wallsend) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) McLeavy, F. Sylvester, G. O.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.) Manuel, A. C. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Fernyhough, E. Mason, Roy Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
Finch, H. J. Mellish, R. J. Thornton, E.
Gibson, C. W. Mitchison, G. R. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Glanville, James Monslow, W. Viant, S. P.
Gooch, E. G. Moody, A. S Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Morgan, Dr. H. B. W Weitzman, D.
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mcrley, R. West, D. G.
Grey, C. F. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Wheatley, Rt. Hon. John
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Moyle, A. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mulley, F. W. Wilkins, W. A.
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Murray, J. D. Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Hale, Leslie Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Hannan, W. Orbach, M. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Hargreaves, A. Oswald, T. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hastings, S. Paget, R. T. Wyatt, W. L.
Hayman, F. H. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Yates, V. F.
Healey, Denis (Leeds, S. E.) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Herbison, Miss M. Palmer, A. M. F. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hobson, C. R Pargiter, G. A. Mr. Blackburn and
Holman, P. Parker, J. Mr. Scholefield Allen.

Question put, and agreed to.

Mr. Speaker

I understand that it is now desired to move only the Instruction on Clause 190.

Mr. Enroll

No, Sir.

Mr. Speaker

Do I understand it is not desired to move any other Instruction?

Mr. Erroll

Yes, Sir.