HC Deb 03 March 1953 vol 512 cc257-63

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House will immediately resolve itself into the Committee on the Bill.—[Mr. Vosper.]

7.10 p.m.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)

In view of the debate we have had on Second Reading it might be more convenient if the Committee stage of the Bill were postponed to enable those who have taken a view opposed to the Second Reading to put down the Amendments they desire to put down.

This is a matter of great constitutional importance. We have had a lengthy debate on Second Reading. I cannot believe that the matter is one of such great urgency that we ought to depart from the usual traditions of this House in controversial legislation of allowing those who are opposed to a Measure to have an opportunity of putting down Amendments in Committee. It is most inconvenient for hon. Members to do that if the House proceeds immediately to the Committee stage, then to the Report stage and then, as I understand the Government contemplate, to the Third Reading.

I therefore suggest that, in accordance with Parliamentary tradition, unless there is an over-riding consideration of urgency or unless we are dealing with uncontroversial legislation, the House should not proceed immediately to the Committee stage. The Leader of the House is a great Parliamentarian, always interested in preserving the rights of minorities. I am sure that he would agree that the right course now would be to leave the Committee stage of the Bill until another day so that those Members in a minority may put down Amendments if they wish.

7.12 p.m.

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

Perhaps I may be allowed to intervene. I have listened most carefully to what has been said by the hon. Gentleman. I must point out that the House has been aware that it was the intention of the Government to proceed today with all the stages of the Bill. I announced that last Thursday and not a word of protest was made. Indeed, not only is it in accordance with precedent on this type of Bill in this Parliament, but I pray in aid the fact that in other Parliaments concerned with similar Bills the same provision has obtained. To my knowledge, a similar Bill has gone through all its stages on the same day in three other Parliaments.

It would be more convenient for everybody and more in accord with the dignity of our proceedings, in view of the subject matter of this Bill, if, after having embarked on it today and having secured the Second Reading, we concluded all the stages of the Bill. That is what I intimated that we would do without any protest being made at the time. I imagine that such objections as there are to the Bill have not all arisen during the weekend. I imagine that they were in the minds of the opponents of the Bill last Thursday. In any case, no protest having been made on Thursday, I hope, for the reasons I have given, that the House will now go into Committee on the Bill.

7.14 p.m.

Mr. Rankin

Might I remind the Leader of the House that, while no protest was made last Thursday, I raised the question of when we should get the Bill? How could there be protests about the procedure which the Leader of the House suggested when we had not got the Bill in our possession? That is a substantial point. Until we saw the Bill it was impossible to make up our minds as to the course that we might wish to pursue. For all we knew, the Bill might have been of such a nature as to win the support of everyone who voted for the Amendment tonight.

Mr. Crookshank

If it is any comfort to the hon. Gentleman, I would point out that there are other ways of protesting apart from saying something across the Floor of the House on a Thursday afternoon. I am here for a great deal of the time. Representations can be made through the usual channels. Protests of all sorts are frequently made. None was made on this occasion.

Mr. Rankin

Unfortunately, we have no usual channels. We had to dig our own channel, and there was very little time in which to do that over the weekend. I hope that this point will be carefully considered. It is the right of hon. Members to put down Amendments for consideration during the Committee stage. If we are to go straight into Committee from Second Reading the Government are depriving us of a right which the House should have. On that score I hope that further time, perhaps a further day, will be allotted for the Committee stage.

7.16 p.m.

Mr. John McGovern (Glasgow. Shettleston)

I appeal to the Leader of the House to give further consideration to this question. The Government had an overwhelming majority in the Lobby just now, but it does not do to ride roughshod over a minority in this House. There should be some protection for minority opinion. Even if the Government have an overwhelming majority they should recognise that there is among a section of opinion in Scotland deep feeling on this issue. So far, the debate has been mild. Nobody could object to it. I suggest that greater latitude should be given and more consideration shown.

It is true that after the announcement was made last Thursday, representations could have been made through the usual channels; but it was not anticipated that the Bill would be driven right through all its stages this evening. A considerable number of Members did not even get into the debate on Second Reading. Many hon. Members were under the impression that the debate could not be continued after seven o'clock because of the private business set down for consideration at that time. Though that business has been postponed, the result has been that they have been deprived of the opportunity to express their point of view.

I should have liked to make some comments on the Bill which would not have disturbed the atmosphere in any way. This Bill has gone through with very little consideration for Scotland, and not even the Secretary of State for Scotland has spoken upon it. It is shocking that a Bill of this description should go through in this way and that the voice of the Secretary of State for Scotland should not be heard, because even Conservative circles in Scotland in many organisations have protested against the Bill. I suggest that further consideration should be given to this question and that the Committee stage should be postponed, not for an unreasonable period, but for a short time.

7.19 p.m.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

I, too, wish to ask the Leader of the House to reconsider the position. On Thursday, when he said that it was proposed to pass this Bill through its three stages, we did not have the Bill in our possession until six o'clock. I stood outside the Vote Office with Members for Northern Ireland constituencies waiting for a copy of the Bill. We did not have an opportunity on Thursday to register our protest, otherwise we would have done so. Three separate issues were raised in the debate this evening. There was the Scottish issue, the Irish issue and the rather complicated question raised by the hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell).

At the opening of the debate and at the end of the debate the Home Secretary stressed the fact that it was a very important constitutional issue. If it is a very important constitutional issue affecting the whole of the territories mentioned in the White Paper, then I suggest that this Bill ought not to be treated in this casual way and that we should have an opportunity of putting our detailed Amendments on the Paper so that hon. Members on both sides can give them the necessary consideration and attention.

Mr. Manuel

I also wish to appeal to the Leader of the House. I think his approach to this matter is wrong and that he is regarding it as a party issue. I cannot imagine any Bill that is more worthy of being treated on a free vote basis than is this one, and I hope that we shall have an opportunity, during the Committee stage, to put down such reasoned Amendments as we may think fit so that the impression will not be created in Scotland that the thing is being

rushed through to avoid discussion in the House. That would react very badly against the Scottish Members of the House, and would create a very wrong impression indeed.

Question put.

The House divided: Ayes, 278; Noes, 55.

Division No. 113.] AYES [7.21 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Lambert, Hon. G.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Langford-Holt, J. A.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Alport, C. J. M. Fell, A. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Amory, Heathcoat (Tiverton) Finlay, Graeme Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Lewis, Arthur
Ashton, H. (Chelmsford) Follick, M. Lindsay, Martin
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Fort, R. Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Awbery, S. S. Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Lockwood. Lt.-Gol. J. C.
Baldwin, A. E. Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Logan, D. G.
Banks, Col. C. Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Longden, Gilbert (Herts, S.W.)
Barlow, Sir John Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok) Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Garner-Evans, E. H. McAdden, S. J.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Gibson, C. W. McCallum, Major D.
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Godber, J. B. McKibbin, A. J.
Benson, G. Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. McKie, J. H. (Galloway)
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Gooch, E. G. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Birch, Nigel Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Maclean, Fitzroy
Bishop, F. P. Gower, H. R. Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.)
Black, C. W. Graham, Sir Fergus MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)
Blackburn, F. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Blenkinsop, A. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)
Blyton, W. R. Grimond, J. Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Bowden, H. W. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E.
Bowen, E. R. Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Markham, Maj. S. F.
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A. Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) Marples, A. E.
Boyle, Sir Edward Hall, John (Wycombe) Maude, Angus
Braine, B. R. Hargreaves, A. Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Harris, Reader (Heston) Mayhew, C. P.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Medlicott, Brig. F.
Browne, Jack (Govan) Harvey, Air Cdre A. V. (Macclesfield) Mellor, Sir John
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Harvie-Watt, Sir George Mitchison, G. R.
Bullard, D. G. Hay, John Moody, A. S.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Hayman, F. H. Morley, R.
Burden, F. F. A. Heald, Sir Lionel Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Campbell, Sir David Heath, Edward Morrison, Rt. Hon. H.(Lewisham, S.)
Cary, Sir Robert Hewitson, Capt. M. Mort, D. L.
Champion, A. J. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Moyle, A.
Channon, H. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Nabarro, G. D. N.
Chetwynd, G. R. Hirst, Geoffrey Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Holland-Martin, C. J. Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Holmes, Horace (Hemsworth) Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)
Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L. Holt, A. F. Nugent, G. R. H.
Coldrick, W. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Nutting, Anthony
Cole, Norman Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Oakshott, H. D.
Colegate, W. A. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Odey, G. W.
Collick, P. H. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Oldfield, W. H.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J. O'Neill, Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hurd, A. R. Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Hutchinson, Sir Geoffrey (Ilford, N.) Osborne, C.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hutchison, Lt.-Com. Clark (E'b'rgh W.) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Crouch, R F. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Palmer, A. M. F.
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Pargiter, G. A.
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Parker, J.
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Davidson, Viscountess Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Pearson, A.
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Janner, B. Peart, T. F.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Deedes, W. F. Johnson, James (Rugby) Pitman, I. J.
Deer, G. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Popplewell, E.
Digby, S. Wingfield Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Porter, G.
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Kaberry, D. Powell, J. Enoch
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Keenan, W. Price, Joseph T. (Westhoughton)
Donner, P. W. Kenyon, C. Proctor, W. T.
Doughty, C. J. A. Kerr, H. W. (Cambridge) Raikes, Sir Victor
Drewe, C. King, Dr. H. M. Rayner, Brig. R.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir Thomas (Richmond) Kinley, J. Remnant, Hon. P.
Renton, D. L. M. Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Rhodes, H. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.) Walker-Smith, D. C.
Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M. Wallace, H. W.
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Storey, S. Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N) Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.) Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.) Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray) Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Summers, G. S. Wellwood, W.
Roper, Sir Harold Sutcliffe, Sir Harold West, D. G.
Russell, R. S. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Ryder, Capt. R. E. D. Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas Teeling, W. Wilkins, W. A.
Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. Thomas, George (Cardiff) Willey, F. T.
Scott, R. Donald Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford) Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Shepherd, William Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.) Williams, Sir Herbert (Croydon, E.)
Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Thornton, E. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Snadden, W. McN. Thurtle, Ernest Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Soames, Capt. C. Tilney, John Wills, G.
Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Turner, H. F. L. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Sparks, J. A. Turton, R. H. Wood, Hon. R.
Speir, R. M. Vane, W. M. F
Spens, Sir Patrick (Kensington, S.) Viant, S. P. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Stevens, G. P. Vosper, D. F. Mr. Studholme and Major Conant.
Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.) Wade, D. W.
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Oswald, T.
Bartley, P. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Bence, C. R. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Pryde, D. J.
Bowles, F. G. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Rankin, John
Brockway, A. F. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Richards, R.
Clunie, J. Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Ross, William
Delargy, H. J. Jeger, Dr. Santo (St. Pancras, S.) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Edwards, John (Brighouse) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Sorensen, R. W.
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Lindgren, G. S. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Fernyhough, E. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Fienburgh, W. MacColl, J. E. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) McGhee, H. G. Timmons, J.
Forman, J. C. McGovern, J. Usborne, H. C.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) McInnes, J. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Freeman, Peter (Newport) MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Yates, V. F.
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Hale, Leslie Mann, Mrs. Jean TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hamilton, W. W. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Mr. Manuel and
Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh) Masser, F. Mr. Emrys Hughes.
Herbison, Miss M. O'Neill, Michael (Mid Ulster)

Question put, and agreed to.

Bill accordingly considered in Committee.

[Sir CHARLES MACANDREW in the Chair]

  1. Clause 1.—(POWER TO ALTER STYLE AND TITLES OF CROWN.) 8,600 words