HC Deb 10 February 1954 vol 523 cc1224-57

Again considered in Committee.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Snadden

As I was explaining, this period of four weeks was arrived at after considering what would be a reasonable period to give to a farm worker so that he would have a reasonable chance to find alternative work while, at the same time, not upsetting the proper running of a farm. That was the yardstick used when the 1952 Housing Act was under consideration, and there was a considerable measure of agreement about it. I have no recollection of any representations being made against that period.

I believe that there is a greater need on the hill farms to consider the period, because whereas on farms on the low ground there is a larger proportion of stockmen or shepherds, there are not so many workers of the ploughman category. Therefore, it would be extremely difficult for the farmer on livestock-rearing land if we were to accept so long a period as that contained in the Amendment, namely, 13 weeks.

Obviously, one can envisage circumstances where the working of a holding would be so seriously upset as to interfere with food production. Therefore, we stick to the period which we decided to put into the Housing Bill. Indeed, we feel that the reasons for having the same period in this Bill are even greater, and because of that, I regret that we are unable to accept the Amendment.

Mr. T. Fraser: I am sure we are all very sorry that the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland has not been more forthcoming in his reply to this discussion. It has been made clear from both sides of the Committee that we all recognise this great human problem. The suggestion was made by the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) that, in addition to these four weeks, there should be a provision under statute that the farmer should thereafter go to the county court if the worker was still in the cottage. The Joint Under-Secretary of State has said nothing at all in regard to that suggestion.

My right hon. Friend made a powerful case in moving the Amendment, to which the Joint Under-Secretary of State has most inadequately replied. His reason for rejecting the Amendment was, shortly—and I think I can say this without doing him an injustice—that if four weeks was right under the 1952 Act in relation to the occupation of agricultural houses generally, it could not be said to be inadequate in relation to hill farms.

He went on to say that the difficulty in hill areas was greater than elsewhere, the inference being that in those areas the period should be shorter rather than longer than that in agriculture generally; but, in reply to an earlier discussion this afternoon, his hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture said that it was exceedingly difficult to find alternative accommodation in the hill areas. It is for that very reason that we on this side of the Committee want to give this added protection to the shepherds who occupy these properties.

We take the view that, no matter what period is written into this Bill, in the vast

majority of cases when a shepherd leaves the employment of one farm to take up employment elsewhere, he will immediately vacate the one cottage and go to another. Webelieve that in most cases where the shepherd has died and has left a widow and children, they will not be turned out after a period of four weeks, but will be allowed to remain in the cottage for a much longer period, and that in very many cases the farmer will be able to provide them with alternative accommodation. That is what is normally done.

In these circumstances, we do not see why under this Clause we should not give some protection to the farm worker or the widow who happens to occupy a cottage owned by a less considerate farmer. Indeed, that is all we are doing. We are not concerned with the good owners or with the considerate farmers. As I have said so many times before, relations between employer and employee are good, and we ought not to do anything to cause any worsening of the situation. Our view is that the whole Bill tends to do just that. In any case, the workers in the industry feel so keenly on this question that we are bound to express their view.

I only wish that the Joint Under-Secretary had said that he would have a look at the suggestion thrown out by the hon. Member for Leominster or, in reply to my right hon. Friend, had said, "We agree that there is something in the case which you have put and we shall have a look at it between now and the Report stage to see whether we can do something by then." But he has not been forthcoming, and if that is the Government's last word we have no choice but to divide the Committee on this Amendment.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 269; Noes, 244.

Division No. 30.] AYES [5.50 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Baldwin, A. E. Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Banks, Col. C. Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)
Alport, C. J. M. Barber, Anthony Birch, Nigel
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Barlow, Sir John Bishop, F. P.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Baxter, A. B. Black, C. W.
Arbuthnot, John Beach, Maj. Hicks Bossom, Sir A. C.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Beamish, Maj. Tufton Bowen, E. R.
Astor, Hon. J. J. Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.
Baker, P. A. D. Bell, Ronald (Bunks, S.) Boyle, Sir Edward
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Bennett, F. M (Reading, N.) Braine, B. R.
Braithwaite, Sir Gurney Hirst, Geoffrey Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Holland-Martin, C. J. Osborne, C.
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Hollis, M. C. Page, R. G.
Brooman-White, R. C. Hope, Lord John Perkins, Sir Robert
Browne, Jack (Govan) Hopkinson, Right Hon. Henry Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Peyton, J. W. W.
Bullard, D. G. Horobin, I. M. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Burden, F. F. A. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Pitman, I. J.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Pitt, Miss E. M.
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J. Powell, J. Enoch
Campbell, Sir David Hurd, A. R. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Carr, Robert Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Cary, Sir Robert Hutchinson, James (Scotstoun) Raikes, Sir Victor
Channon, H. Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Rayner, Brig. R.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Redmayne, M.
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Iremonger, T. L. Rees-Davies, W. R.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Remnant, Hon. P.
Cole, Norman Jennings, Sir Roland Renton, D. L. M.
Colegate, W. A. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Robertson, Sir David
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Kaberry, D. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Cooper-Key, E. M. Kerr, H. W. Robson-Brown, W.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Lambert, Hon. G. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Lambton, Viscount Roper, Sir Harold
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Langford-Holt, J. A. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Crouch, R. F. Leather, E. H. C. Russell, R. S.
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Scott, R. Donald
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Linstead, Sir H. N. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Deedes, W. F. Llewellyn, D. T. Shepherd, William
Digby, S. Wingfield Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Donner, Sir P. W. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Snadden, W. McN.
Doughty, C. J. A. Longden, Gilbert Soames, Capt. C.
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Spearman, A. C. M.
Drayson, G. B. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Speir, R. M.
Drewe, Sir C. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond) McAdden, S. J. Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. McCallum, Major D. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M. McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Stevens, G. P.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Macdonald, Sir Peter Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Erroll, F. J. Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Fell, A. McKibbin, A. J. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Finlay, Graeme Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Storey, S.
Fisher, Nigel Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Maclean, Fitzroy Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.) Studholme, H. G.
Ford, Mrs. Patricia MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
Fort, R. Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Teeling, W.
Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok) Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
Gammans, L. D. Markham, Major Sir Frank Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Garner-Evans, E. H. Marlowe, A. A. H. Touche, Sir Gordon
George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd Marples, A. E. Turner, H. F. L.
Glover, D. Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Turton, R. H.
Godber, J. B. Maude, Angus Vane, W. M. F.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Maudling, R. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Gough, C. F. H. Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Wade, D. W.
Gower, H. R. Medlicott, Brig. F. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Graham, Sir Fergus Mellor, Sir John Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)
Gridley, Sir Arnold Molson, A. H. E. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Grimond, J. Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Moore, Sir Thomas Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Morrison, John (Salisbury) Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Hall, John (Wycombe) Mott-Radclyffe. C. E. Watkinson, H. A.
Harden, J. R. E. Nabarro, G. D. N. Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Hare, Hon. J. H. Neave, Airey Wellwood, W.
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Nicholls, Harmar Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Hay, John Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Nield, Basil (Chester) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Heath, Edward Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P. Wills, G.
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Nugent, G. R. H. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Higgs, J. M. C. Odey, G. W.
Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Mr. Vosper and Mr. Oakshott.
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Albu, A. H. Hannan, W Parkin, B. T.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Hardy, E. A. Pearson, A.
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell) Hargreaves, A. Peart, T. F.
Andersen, Frank (Whitehaven) Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Popplewell, E.
Awbery, S. S. Hastings, S. Porter, G.
Bacon, Miss Alice Hayman, F. H. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Balfour, A. Healey, Denis (Lewis S.E.) Proctor, W. T.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Pryde, D. J.
Bartley, P. Herbison, Miss M. Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hobson, C. R. Rankin, John
Bence, C. R. Holman, P. Reeves, J.
Benn, Hon. Wedgwood Holmes, Horace Reid, Thomas (Swindon)
Beswick, F. Houghton, Douglas Reid, William (Camlachie)
Bing. G. H. C. Hoy, J. H. Richards, R.
Blackburn, F. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Blyton, W. R. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Bowden, H. W. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Bowles, F. G. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Ross, William
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Shackleton, E, A. A.
Brockway, A. F. Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Janner, B. Short, E. W.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Jay, Rt. Hon, D. P. T. Shurmer, P. L. E.
Brown, Rt. Hon, George (Belper) Jager, George (Goole) Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Burke, W. A. Johnson, James (Rugby) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Burton, Miss F. E. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Skeffington, A. M.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Jones, David (Hartlepool) Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Callaghan, L. J. Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)
Carmichael, J. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Champion, A. J. Keenan, W. Snow, J. W.
Chapman, W. D. Kenyon, C. Sorensen, R. W.
Chetwynd, G. R. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Clunie, J. King, Dr. H. M. Sparks, J. A.
Coldrick, W. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Steele, T.
Collick, P. H. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Corbet, Mrs Freda Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.
Cove, W. G. Lewis, Arthur Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Lindgren, G. S Stross, Dr. Barnett
Crosland, C. A. R. Logan, D. G. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Cullen, Mrs. A. MacColl, J. E. Swingler, S. T.
Daines, P. McGhee, H. G. Sylvester, G. O.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. McGovern, J. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) McKay, John (Wallsend) Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) McLeavy, F. Taylor, Rt. Hon Robert (Morpeth)
Davies, Harold (Leek) MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
de Freitas, Geoffrey Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Deer, G. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Thomson, George (Dundee, E)
Delargy, H. J. Manuel, A. C. Thornton, E.
Dodds, N. N. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Timmons, J.
Donnelly, D. L. Mason, Roy Tomney, F.
Driberg, T. E. N. Mayhew, C. P. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mellish, R. J. Usborne, H. C.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Messer, Sir F. Viant, S. P.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mikardo, Ian Warbey, W. N.
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Mitchison, G. R. Watkins, T. E.
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Monslow, W. Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Moody, A. S. Weitzman, D.
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Fernyhough, E. Morley, R. West, D. G.
Fienburgh, W. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Wheeldon, W. E.
Finch, H. J. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Mort, D. L. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Follick, M. Moyle, A. Wigg, George
Foot, M. M. Mulley, F. W. Wilkins, W. A.
Forman, J. C. Murray, J. D. Willey, F. T.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Nally, W. Williams, David (Neath)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Gibson, C. W. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Glanville, James Oldfield, W. H. Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Gooch, E. G. Oliver, G. H. Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Orbach, M. Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Oswald, T. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Grey, C. F. Padley, W. E. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Paget, R. T. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Wyatt, W. L.
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Yates, V. F.
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Palmer, A. M. F. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) Pannell, Charles
Hamilton, W. W. Pargiter, G. A. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Royle and Mr. Wallace.

6.0 p.m.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

Mr. Thomas Williams (Don Valley)

My right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) described this Bill as a "dirty little Bill," and I think that was a very apt description. Of course, this Clause is the Bill. I say it is a dirtylittle Bill, despite the claims made for it by the hon. Members for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin), Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson), Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Bullard) and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture. It is a Bill based upon prejudice. It is utterly mischievous and, as I will try to show, it is certainly unnecessary.

Without rhyme or reason, this Bill is deliberately weighting the scales against the agricultural worker. I am astonished that either the Minister of Agriculture or the Secretary of State for Scotland, both kindly men, should allow themselves to be associated with a Bill of this description but, once they have brought in the Bill, I am even more astonished that they have not put in an appearance but have left the conduct of affairs to their two Parliamentary Secretaries.

They have completely closed their eyes to the humiliation and misery which may fall on some workers, their wives and families as a result of this Measure. They say, in effect, that it is not for the court to decide where the greatest hardship lies, or whether the fanner was right or whether he was wrong. It is the farmer, good, bad or indifferent, who is to determine when the worker's goods or chattels, if any, must be put on the roadside. It is no use hon. Members such as the hon. Members for Leominster, Dumfries or Norfolk, South-West telling me that there are only a few cases of eviction. I know all that. But any is too many, if the farmer is wrong and the agricultural worker is right.

There is nothing in the Bill which will determine whether the worker left wrongly, whether the employer dismissed him wrongly or anything related to the facts of the departure of the worker from the farm. The hon. Member for Leominster said on Second Reading that all farmers are not angels. I could say the same about agricultural workers. Indeed, I could say the same about Members of Parliament. But if the Govern- ment deliberately place all the power in the hands of one side to a bargain, leaving the other side helpless, that is too bad.

While the farm worker knows that at the end of four weeks, according to the terms of the Bill, he can be dismissed and his goods can be placed on the roadside, it is possible for the less decent farmer to exercise so much pressure on him that the relationship between the two may deteriorate. He may be dismissed summarily because he refuses to submit to the pressure put upon him.

If the worker is at fault he can, of course, be sacked and he can be evicted from his house. It is possible that in certain circumstances such an action could be justifiable. But if the farmer is at fault—wholly at fault—and the worker has fulfilled his every obligation, the farmer can nevertheless still dismiss the worker and have him evicted from his house.

Is there any human justice in all the power being vested on one side? The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture said the Government are leaving existing tenants, where improvement schemes had been carried out: they are to remain in occupation. He said that the humanity of that problem had therefore been met. But all subsequent tenants are left to the inhumanities which might arise. Sitting tenants are to remain where they are until they depart through old age or for any other reason, but all other service occupants are to be left to the inhumanity which the Bill brings.

This change will certainly help the less decent farmer to inflict moral intimidation upon his workers. If I know the National Farmers' Union leaders at all well, I think they are as hostile to that sort of action as are we on these benches. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether the Government consulted the National Farmers' Union or whether the National Farmers' Union made a request to the Government. If they consulted the National Farmers' Union, as distinct from a request received from that organisation, why did they not consult the National Union of Agricultural Workers? I could understand both Ministers calling for the president and secretary of the National Farmers' Union and the president and secretary of the National Union of Agricultural Workers and consulting both sides, singly or jointly, in an effort to find proper safeguards for both the farmer and the agricultural worker—to find safeguards which would avoid abuse or injustice against either side.

I know how difficult it could be for a farmer, particularly on the hillside, to have a tenant remaining in occupation for a very long period when the tenant does not work for him, but I can also appreciate the difficulties of the agricultural worker who is faced with eviction although he has fulfilled his every condition of employment.

If the Minister of Agriculture and the Secretary of State for Scotland wanted to make a change, one would have thought, in 1954, that the change would have been forward. But not with this Government. We never expect this Government to go forward. In fact, they have been legislating backwards ever since they took office. They denationalised steel and road transport and committed grave injustices to all sorts of people, including miners in my Parliamentary division. This is another step backward instead of forward, just as one might expect from this Government.

If the Minister wanted to make a change, I could understand him consulting both unions, bearing in mind the human problems which are inevitably involved and trying to see whether proper safeguards could be found against injustices affecting either the farmer or the agricultural worker. We do not want to see the farmer in a position in which he cannot do his job and cannot produce food. We want to see the farmers getting on with the job as fast as they can.

But not this Government; they do not have consultations. They take the easy course, the one-sided course, and then they plead from the Front Bench that it is all in the interests of the worker. Well, it is said that this is a weary world but there are some chairs in it. The Minister of Agriculture and the Secretary of State for Scotland have occupied two of the chairs, and they have taken the easy course with regard to this Bill. We are dealing with a Hill Farming Bill, as the hon. and gallant Member for Argyll (Major McCallum) has reminded us on several occasions, which provides a 50 per cent. grant for any one or any number of improvements contained in the Schedule to the 1946 Act, whether it be for farm buildings, a farm house or a house for an employee. Is it too much, therefore, for those who are sitting on these benches, at all events, to ask that the agricultural worker shall be given, not better, but the same safeguards against summary eviction as the Rent Restrictions Acts give to every other worker in the land?

I should have thought that the isolated worker on the hills required more rather than less protection. There are fewer opportunities in the remote hills, as the hon. and gallant Member for Argyll would readily admit, of obtaining alternative accommodation and lodgings, or for the worker about to be dispossessed to contact the housing authorities and other social bodies which might help him in this very human problem.

This Bill does not act on those lines at all. It just goes back seven or eight years—and Bob's your uncle so far as the Government are concerned. I repeat that the Bill is one-sided, it is wholly prejudiced against the worker, and no substantial thought had been given to it before the Government brought it to the House. As for its mischievousness, the Hill Farming Act has been in operation for well over seven years, and, as far as I can recall, the number of complaints has been infinitesimal. Then why throw this ball of discord into the centre?

Every hon. Member knows that the essential ingredients of successful farming must be good will and team work on the farm, and the team spirit is the one thing that really matters. Will this sword of Damocles help to bring good will or the team spirit? I fear not. We need more men on the hills if the improvements are to give us the extra food that they alone can produce. Will the prospect, no matter how remote—and I do not exaggerate—of being evicted after four weeks encourage a man or woman to run up the hillside? Surely there is the danger that the opposite may happen and that the purpose of the Hill Farming Act may be frustrated.

This I regard as a very mischievous Measure, and I submit that the Bill, and Clause 1 in particular, is wholly unnecessary. My hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) demanded on Second Reading some evidence to justify this Bill. Practically none was forthcoming. The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture said that all he could find was negative evidence, and not too much of that. I sympathise with him, because he had an appallingly distasteful task, and he did his best. He gave us the figures for England and Wales and also for Scotland, showing where potential schemes were not proceeded with for one reason or another, and he said that they were relatively few—only 50 in England and Wales.

6.15 p.m.

How does that compare with the positive evidence against changing the 1946 Act? I have the figures, given by the Ministry of Agriculture, telling us that schemes approved, approved in principle and those under consideration for England and Wales number 6,436, and only 50 potential schemes were withdrawn. In some cases it might have been the house, in some cases it might have been the cost, or whatever we will, but of 6,436 schemes only 50 were withdrawn. Where is the justification, therefore, for changing the terms of the 1946 Act?

Altogether, in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland there have been no fewer than 8,232 schemes of improvement either approved, approved in principle, or under consideration. Of this number, less than 100 potential schemes have been withdrawn. Only one scheme in 128, according to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, was withdrawn. Yet the Government think that that is justification for producing this Bill. I know that the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture made a bold case as to what had happened as a result of the passing of the 1952 Housing Act. But that is not the Hill Farming Act, and it is the Hill Farming Act with which we are concerned at the moment.

The Hill Farming Act was a good one, and farmers on the hills all over England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have taken advantage of it. If all the schemes are completed, no fewer than 5,790,000 acres of land will have been dealt with. If anything has justified itself, it is the Hill Farming Act of 1946, and all that this miserable Government can do is to come and change it in this House.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland gave us some financial details of the scheme, and the total of the schemes approved, approved in principle or under consideration was £22¼ million. If farmers had been hostile to the Act, despite Section 10, or if they had been afraid of the Act, including Section 10, should we have had £22¼ million worth of work on hand? Certainly not. That seems to indicate that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with that Act. On the contrary, there is solid evidence that schemes are still rolling in, and that the Act is fulfilling all our expectations.

Mr. Godber

I am seeking information. Can the right hon. Gentleman state what proportion of the figures which he has given relate to cottages and what proportion to other parts of development?

Mr. Williams

The Minister did not give those figures in reply to the Question. These are merely the number of individual schemes and the acreage covered by them.

Mr. Godber

So they prove nothing.

Mr. Williams

They only prove that 5,790,000 acres of land are being improved; that is all they do. If the hon. Member is anxious to know the percentage of the expense of housing in Scotland, it is 18. The average for England and Wales and Scotland is 8 per cent., and for England and Wales it is less than that average because the area of such land in Scotland is far greater than that in England; but the schemes are there, the area is there and the money is there, too.

The hon. Member for Dumfries, the hon. Member for Norfolk, South (Mr. Baker) and the hon. Member for Leominster said that the Bill will encourage, the building of new houses and reconditioning. I hope that it will, but there is nothing to prevent those who are going to have improvement schemes from building houses today, with the guarantee of a Government grant of 50 per cent. towards the cost. That is not an inconsiderable amount. I cannot imagine anyone taking a job on a hillside in a remote area merely to get a house and then leaving to find another job. After all, the process of law can already operate under Section 10 of the 1946 Act; it can be invoked and can be very speedy indeed. Therefore, there is no excuse for houses not being either built or reconditioned under the existing terms of the Act.

The hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Bullard), in an article in the "Farmers' Weekly" on 5th February, said: I have always felt that this wrangle over tied houses need not go on.…

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Williams

It seems to me that the law ought to be changed"— now let us have the "Hear, hears" from hon. Members opposite— so as to give a minimum period of notice and also to make application to a magistrates' court essential. That is precisely what the 1946 Act does. Yet three days or so before the hon. Member's article appeared in the "Farmers' Weekly" he voted for this Bill, which makes it unnecessary for a magistrates' court to be called in. The hon. Member voted against the 1946 Act by voting in favour of the Bill, which means, in effect, that he does not believe in practice what he wrote for the "Farmers' Weekly" last week.

Dr. H. Morgan (Warrington)

He got paid for that.

Mr. Williams

My hon. Friends will appreciate that it is sometimes as unfair to hit a man when he is up as to hit him when he is down.

The hon. Member followed up his vote last week by another vote this week, when hon. Friends of mine on this side tried to avoid the Bill becoming retrospective—in other words, preserving access to the court in cases where the money has already been spent. It will be interesting to know how the hon. Member votes in the next Division, because the Clause makes it unnecessary to apply to the court, while the existing Act makes it necessary to do so. If the hon. Member really believes what he wrote, we on this side will be augmented by one in the Lobby on the next Division.

I do not want to prolong the agony, but I am bound to repeat that unless the Joint Parliamentary Secretary can give better evidence and better reasons for changing the law of 1946 eight years later, my hon. Friends will not only vote against the Clause, but we will vote with enthusiasm, because we believe that it is a prejudiced Bill, utterly mischievous, utterly unnecessary, and something that ought not to have been descended to by this Conservative, or, indeed, any other, Government.

Mr. Nugent

I should say straight away that in the Second Reading debate my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland said that no one had disputed the success of the Hill Farming and Livestock Rearing Acts. The right hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) seemed to think there was some doubt about that. We all agree that it is good and that the progress is good. Our only qualification is whether there is a deterrent effect in the present provisions with regard to grants for building new cottages and improving old ones.

In much of his argument the right hon. Gentleman laid about himself freely, but I shall be pleased to meet one or two of the general points that he made. Although the figures which he obtained from my right hon. Friend in answer to his Parliamentary Question indicate the general progress, and although to some extent they are a guide to the right hon. Gentleman's point that farmers and landowners had not been deterred, the total figure is not a complete guide. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would wish the exact position to be given.

Since 1952 in England and Wales, and since 1950 in Scotland, farmers and landowners, in making their applications, have been asked to include the building of the cottage in the scheme irrespective of whether they intended to apply for the grant, and to decide whether they wished to apply for the grant only when the cottage was actually completed and at the moment when the grant would operate. This means that for all schemes which were included in these figures, which had not been completed to the point of the cottage being finished, we would not yet know whether the farmer had intended to come in under the provisions of the previous Act. That would cover the schemes approved in principle, of which there were 886, and also the schemes under consideration, of which there were over 1,000. I make the point for purposes of accuracy. It does not detract from the right hon. Gentleman's argument, but I am sure he would like to have the actual figure.

The right hon. Gentleman inquired what consultations there had been with the National Farmers' Union. My answer when I was asked before was that the National Farmers' Union had made representations to the Government from time to time ever since we assumed office in 1951. We had stated quite clearly that we intended to make this provision, and it was well known to everybody. It was not unnatural, therefore, that the National Farmers' Union made representations, the last of which was in the middle of last summer.

It is fair to say in that respect that, with regard to the farm workers' unions, they well knew that we intended to make this revision of the law, and therefore it was open to them to make any representations that they felt necessary in the same way as the National Farmers' Union did; and we would, of course, have been only too ready to hear what they had to say and to consult them generally about it.

Mr. Gooch

I dispute that.

Mr. Nugent

They have not done that. Had they asked for such an opportunity to make representations and meet us, we would have been glad to grant it. Furthermore, the Bill was published last November, when it had its First Reading, and we have had nothing from them since then.

Mr. Gooch

The hon. Gentlemanknows very well that a few months ago I put a Question to his right hon. Friend asking what consultations he had had with the National Union of Agricultural Workers on policy. The Minister replied giving me a date when he saw some of us, which was quite true. The hon. Gentleman knows very well that we did not talk about this Hill Farming Bill that day. He gave no warning that the Government were introducing a Bill of this character. When he talks about having conversations with the workers' representatives, they were on very limited lines.

Mr. P. Wells

Does the Joint Parliamentary Secretary not think that, having agreed to meet the farmers and the Country Landowners' Association, he might then have invited the workers' unions?

Mr. Nugent

It is plain that everybody knew it was our intention to introduce this amending legislation, and we would have been only too pleased to hear any representations.

Mr. T. Fraser

The Minister would not have paid attention to them.

Mr. Nugent

Does the hon. Member wish to say something?

Mr. Fraser

I said in an undertone—I most readily repeat it from the Box—that the hon. Gentleman has made perfectly clear that the Government had made up their mind on the presentation of the Bill. They would have listened to my hon. Friend's union had it asked to be received in deputation, but whatever was said to the Minister would have come in one ear and gone out of the other, because the Government's mind was made up.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. Nugent

I can only suppose that the hon. Gentleman is defining the principles that guided him when he was in the Government.

Mr. Fraser

On the contrary.

Mr. Nugent

They certainly have not guided us.

I straight away agree with the point made by the right hon. Gentleman that the National Farmers'Union have made it quite plain that they are not in favour of any sort of abuse of the position of the farmer vis-à-vis the worker in regard to the tied cottage, but they have done what they can in a manner which has had quite a valuable effect.

In this matter we have to face the dilemma—which is well known to the right hon. Gentleman—of equating the practical necessities of the industry, on the one hand, with the human considerations of the personal hardship to the farmer and the farm worker, on the other.

Mr. T. Williams

In an equitable manner.

Mr. Nugent

We have here the question whether any grants of public money should be made for the purpose either of improving or building farm cottages which will then be used for a service occupancy as opposed to tenancy. That is really the issue between us, and the right hon. Gentleman, I am sure, will be the first to recognise that. We are not discussing the general field of the tied cottage; the right hon. Gentleman and his Government had to recognise the practical necessities of it like the rest of us.

Do let us be clear about this. We are discussing a relatively narrow issue. On the general principle we really cannot disagree. I quite agree with a remark made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) earlier in the debate on Clause 1 that, in the interests of the worker and his dependants, all should want to give the longest possible notice. I think that it has been acknowledged on all sides that, almost invariably, the farmer does treat a worker who is leaving his place with humanity and sympathy, and does give him time to find another place and another house, but our difficulty goes beyond that. I also agree that, normally, good employers do go to the county court if and when they have a farm worker who will not leave the cottage, and that it is very rare indeed—and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch) I think confirms that—to find a case where the pressure of summary eviction is resorted to.

The problem really concerns only the exceptional case. I say at once that I entirely sympathise with the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) in his feeling that people should go to the county court. I am bound to say that I would not do anything else, and in practice I have waited months and months for a cottage in order to give the man a chance to get out. I think that we are all moved by the same humanitarian considerations.

We have to consider the extent to which the law can assist us in this matter, and my belief—and that of my right hon. Friend and the Government—is that if, by extending the statutory safeguards of the worker, a long period—perhaps three or four months—became the general rule, we should then so interfere with the necessities of the industry that we should be doing more harm than good.

This is the general problem of the tied cottage. We know perfectly well that when a man moves into a job he expects a cottage to go into, and if it is not there he will not take the job. That is the general necessity for the tied cottage system, and I am glad to think that, in the very large generality of cases, the farmer behaves with humanity and will give the man many months if and when he has to give him notice. But to create this statutory safeguard and try to extend its scope would gradually make it the rule instead of the exception—

Mr. T. Williams

Hear, hear.

Mr. Nugent

—so that when the individual man ceased his employment he could, instead of vacating a cottage, say "I shall stay until a court order comes." That would completely interfere with the working of the industry and with the individual working of many farms.

Mr. T. Fraser

Is there any evidence of it?

Mr. Nugent

No, there is not, because it does not arise. The position now is that the farm worker knows that when his employment terminates, he vacates the cottage, and the new worker knows that he will come into a cottage when he starts work.

Mr. Gooch


Mr. Nugent

Perhaps the hon. Member will excuse me for a moment. If we have a safeguard which will mean that what I have stated becomes the general rule, it will interfere with the whole industry. We think, therefore, that it is right to amend the law here to bring the cottages into line with the general practice.

Mr. Gooch

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary definitely created the impression that the farms cannot be run without tied cottages, but is it not a fact that hundreds of farms are run efficiently without them?

Mr. Nugent

No, I think I said it is a practical necessity, and in the last Government the tied cottage principle was continued. I am not making a point of it—it just is so. In our view, that principle applies in this limited field of hill farming and livestock-rearing areas.

I reject completely the right hon. Gentleman's accusation that we are either obstructive or lacking in humanity in what we are doing here. We feel that there is a deterrent effect in the requirment that a grant can only be given for building a new, or improving an existing, cottage if the landowner agrees to create a tenancy for the cottager. We see that as setting up a system which works against the normal interests of the industry and think that that deterrent effect should be removed. We feel quite clearly that, unless we do so, there will, in many areas, be dilapidated cottages which will not be improved, and in many other areas where a new cottage is needed it will not be built. It is because we feel so convinced of that that we feel it necessary to make this amendment and put this Bill—and indeed this Clause—on the Statute Book. For those reasons, I hope that the Committee will agree to the Clause.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)

This Clause not only recognises the evils of the tied cottage system but encourages it and bolsters it up. Because of that, I want to oppose the Clause as hard as I can. It is a matter which vitally affects the interests of the agricultural worker. When my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, North (Mr. Gooch) drew from the Minister the admission that he had not, in fact, consulted the representatives of the agricultural workers about this Bill, my right hon. Friend admitted that he was angry—and I must say he looked it. His words came a little more slowly than they normally do, if I may say so, and it was quite clear that he was absolutely sincere. Yet, on the benches opposite, he was greeted with laughter. Why was he greeted with laughter on those benches?

Mr. Baldwin

He was greeted with laughter because those who took part in the debates on the Hill Farming Bill in 1946 realised that the right hon. Gentleman intended putting in the Bill exactly what is proposed today. [Hon. Members: "No, no."] It was only because of pressure from two or three Members of his own party that he did not so.

Mr. Mallalieu

I think that the matter is sufficiently within the knowledge of all of us to know what nonsense the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) is talking. I can suggest another reason why hon. Members on the other side of the House greeted my right hon. Friend's righteous and entirely sincere indignation with laughter, and that was because of the nakedness with which the cat came out of the bag. It came out of the bag without any of that sleek respectability with which the Conservative cat is so often covered when agricultural matters are discussed. On this occasion it was shown that the Conservative Party had not consulted the representatives of the agricultural workers on a matter which so obviously concerned them intimately.

What has become of the injunctions which we so often have had to sit and listen to from the other side of the Committee—that we should not drag agriculture into the party political arena? We are not supposed to accuse one another of insincerity, but I am going to take the liberty on this occasion, not to accuse hon. Members opposite of insincerity, but to draw their attention to the nausea which we feel when they talk about that sort of thing. It is all right for Conservatives to bring agriculture into the party political arena when they are quietly doing a party act.

The Deputy-Chairman (Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris)

The hon. and learned Gentleman is not concerning himself at the moment with this Clause.

Mr. Mallalieu

I must bow to your Ruling, Sir Rhys, and I will not pursue that matter any further except to say that I hope hon. Members opposite will obey that Ruling in the same way as I will myself.

This is a Clause which runs a very grave risk of jeopardising one of the most valuable assets of the 1947 Acts, which is co-operation between the farmer and landowner and the farm worker. Here the Government are acting against the farm worker in a way which is bound to have repercussions on his outlook. I happen to be a humble denizen of a Committee upstairs which at the moment is concerned with another agricultural Bill. When we tried, in that Committee, to bring in a provision to allow a farm worker to be a member the tribunal which will decide—I will only take half a minute over this, Sir Rhys, and I do think at the end of what I have said you will decide that it has been against the rules of order—whether or not a farmer should be dispossessed on the grounds of alleged inefficiency, we were told that it could not be done because such matters did not affect the farm worker personally.

Can we have a matter which affects him personally more than this question of the tied cottage, and yet we are told that he has not been consulted? Not only has he not been consulted, but he has been ignored. Hon. Gentlemen opposite say that the Bill was introduced in November and nothing has happened since then by way of protests and representations from agricultural workers. That is no argument to produce, because once a Bill is presented to the House, the Floor of the House is the place where objections are made, and we most certainly make them now.

6.45 p.m.

My right hon. Friend was angry, perhaps, because he was surprised that the agricultural workers were not consulted by a Conservative Government. I can only say that I was not surprised. I have always regarded the party opposite as the party of big business. They will take their orders for agriculture from big business, and they will consult their friends whose interests they represent. They are not concerned with those whom they do not represent. That is why the farm worker is left out of these consultations, and we protest strongly against this new Clause.

Mr. Denys Billiard(Norfolk, South-West)

I did not intend to intervene in this debate, for my constituency does not come within the category of hill fanning land; in fact a lot of it is down-hill—at any rate, it drops to sea level. But I have an interest in hill farming irrespective of that aspect of the matter, because I often wonder why people want to live up on the hills and work in the arduous conditions they do. My interest is to provide them with as good conditions as possible.

I have been honoured this evening by having a modest article which I contributed to a farming journal quoted by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. I therefore claim the right to reply to one or two of the points made. I was interested in what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and other hon. Members said about this matter and in the controversy which has arisen over it. They agreed that in the difficult cases that arise we are often dealing with the bad employer and the bad farm worker. We are not dealing in general with all cases.

This Clause requires a certain length of notice to be given, and the reason it is necessary is to afford a degree of protection to the farm worker who is in one of these tied houses. I think there is a case for saying that the restricted tenancy, of the type hitherto allowed under the Hill Farming Act, does not fit in absolutely with agricultural conditions. I should be prepared to argue a case about that at some other time, and I think my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary gave justification for it in the speech which he has just made.

But I will not develop that argument further because of the important business that is to follow, except to say that there are several reasons why a restricted tenancy does not fit all agricultural circumstances. Therefore, I was very glad when, in the Housing Act of 1952, my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norfolk, Central (Brigadier Medlicott) and other hon. Members got inserted in that Bill this provision for four weeks' notice. I should say, of course, that my hon. Friends got the provision inserted with the assistance of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

I have said that at least four weeks' notice should be the minimum period that we should provide for. Most employers do go to the courts, and I said in my article that I thought it would be a good thing if it were made very plain by the statute that they should all go to the courts. I stand by that, and I do not see anything particularly wrong in it. I do not think that in voting for the four weeks' notice I shall have done anything inconsistent with what I wrote in that article. [Hon. Members: "Oh."] The inconsistency is not apparent to me. I think it is a step forward, because it will get more houses improved and, therefore, I support it.

When hon. Members opposite do me the honour of quoting my article, I wish they would also quote what I said by way of criticism of the manner in which they try to raise unnecessary disquiet in the agricultural industry. I have also said that one of the necessary steps to solve the tied cottage question is that the general housing position should improve. I would only say this, that in the four rural districts in the division which I represent, 50 per cent. more council houses have been built in the two years since the present Government came into power than were built in the two years previously. They have done more to solve this pressing problem than all the Measures put together which the Labour Government passed. I therefore welcome this Bill, which I believe will improve the houses in the hill farming areas, and I hope the Clause will be accepted.

Mr. Mallalieu

Before the hon. Gentleman sits down, may I ask him a question? He was talking about the anxiety which he thinks we on this side of the Committee have caused in farming circles. Will he tell the Committee of the occasion in his own constituency when, after a long speech about British Guiana and a number of other things, he was asked by a farmer at the back, "How am I to sell my barley?"

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. That question has nothing to do with this Clause.

Mr. G. Brown

I am sorry to get up now, Sir Rhys, but I understand that there is an agreement as to the hour at which the next item of business shall begin, and that it is hoped to dispose of this Clause and the next two Amendments on the Order Paper before then. Therefore, I hope I shall be forgiven by hon. Members who have a point of view to put on this Clause if I sum up the debate on this subject for this side of the Committee before we proceed to a Division.

Frankly, I am still staggered by the arguments put up from the opposite side of the Committee. At this late stage it is no use my repeating the point which has been made so often if hon. Gentlemen opposite will not see it. I really do not know how it can be argued that it is a step forward to take away from the occupier of a cottage the protection which everybody alleges he is now generally given, and to replace it by a lesser degree of protection.

If hon. Members will go on arguing and weeping crocodile tears for the people they are harming, deluding themselves that in some curious way they are doing these people good by harming them, there is little we can do. All we can hope is that their constituents will do something outside this House. As the hon. Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Bullard) said so modestly, he does not merit the attention he has had, but there is something significant in an hon. Gentleman who can state that there ought to be a minimum protection of four weeks as well as reference to the magistrates' court and then, almost in the same week, is willing to vote for a Clause which refuses the very things he stated ought to be given.

Mr. Bullard

If I may interrupt, does the right hon. Gentleman think that the restricted tenancy arrangement throughout agriculture would be a satisfactory solution of the tied cottage problem? That is a question which is pertinent to the one he has just asked me.

Mr. Brown

I would be willing to go to South-West Norfolk and debate this question with the hon. Gentleman in front of his constituents, but all I am concerned with at the moment is that he has just cast a vote diametrically opposed to what he wrote a week or so ago.

Mr. Baldwin

Not yet.

Mr. Brown

It is no good the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Baldwin) trying to come to the support of his hon. Friend. I repeat that the hon. Gentleman advocated that there should be a minimum protection and access to a magistrates' court and he has just voted against an Amendment which would have given that access. So he is diametrically opposing what he wrote. The only reason for wasting a little time on this matter is to point out that although hon. Gentlemen opposite are entitled to say one thing outside the House and do another thing in it, even in the same week, it is straining us a little when they get up here and pretend that the two things are one and the same.

Mr. Bullard

If the right hon. Gentleman will allow me a second more, may I say that I wished to develop the restricted tenancy point but I cut my speech short because of the time. So I hope he will not try to get the better of me in argument because he happens to have the last word.

Mr. Brown

I am only dealing with the four lines with which the hon. Gentleman closed his article in the "Farmers' Weekly." On this point he ought to write next week and say, "That is what I thought at the time but, when this came up in the House of Commons, I did exactly the opposite. "If he does that, he will put himself right with his own conscience, if not with the world outside.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary said an interesting thing. Earlier when I argued that we ought not to have a Clause with the four weeks in it because the four weeks would then become the general rule, I was immediately hotly attacked by the hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) on the ground that I was casting aspersions on the farmers by saying that they would make a general rule of what we wrote into the Bill. Yet, when asked by my right hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) why the Government did not write something better than the four weeks into the Bill, the Parliamentary Secretary said, "I should like to do so. That is what I do. That is what nearly all farmers do. But if we write it into the Bill, it will become the general rule, and we cannot afford to have that. "If it is wrong to write something above, or as good as, the common practice into the Bill for fear of it becoming the general rule, how can it be right to put something less than the common practice into the Bill and argue that it will not become common practice?

Hon. Gentlemen opposite are deluding themselves about this. They want to do the right thing, they want to be human, but they are so muddled about it that they are doing great harm to farm workers all over the country and, at the end, they will do great harm to the farming industry, because they will not get

the wives of farm workers to live in isolated areas and be subject to this kind of treatment.

On the question of consultation, the Joint Parliamentary Secretary made the best of a bad job about the unions having made no representations. Yet if my right hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley had ever made a major alteration in the law which affected the interests of the County Landowners' Association or the National Farmers' Union without having consultations with them in the fullest sense of the word, there would have been a terrible howl from that side of the Committee, and if we had answered that protest by saying that they could have written to us, the howl would have grown louder, not died down.

The position here is that none of the three trade unions was consulted or was even told that the Government were proposing to give way to the representations of the C.L.A. and the N.F.U. That situation was bad enough, but the fact that the subsequent Bill is such a bad one makes it worse. I ask the Committee to divide, not only because the Bill is bad and it will do harm, but to register violent protest at the action of this Tory Government in ignoring the representatives of the farm workers.

Mr. N. Macpherson

Before the right hon. Gentleman sits down, can he tell us what consultation took place between the Labour Government and the N.F.U. at the time when an alteration was made in the Act?

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. That does not arise on this Clause.

Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 270; Noes, 250.

Division No. 31.] AYES [6.57 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Browne, Jack (Govan)
Alport, C. J. M. Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Bullard, D. G.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Bennett, Or. Reginald (Gosport) Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.
Arbuthnot, John Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Burden, F. F. A.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Birch, Nigel Butcher, Sir Herbert
Astor, Hon. J. J. Bishop, F. P. Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)
Baker, P. A. D. Black, C. W. Campbell, Sir David
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Bossom, Sir A. C. Carr, Robert
Baldwin, A. E. Bowen, E. R. Cary, Sir Robert
Banks, Col. C. Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Channon, H.
Barber, Anthony Boyle, Sir Edward Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)
Barlow, Sir John Brains, B. R. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)
Baxter, A. B. Braithwaite, Sir Gurney Cole, Norman
Beach, Maj. Hicks Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Colegate, W. A.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Brooman-White, R. C. Conant, Maj. R. J. E.
Cooper, Sgn. Ldr. Albert Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.) Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Cooper-Key, E. M. Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Peyton, J. W. W.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Iremonger, T. L. Pitman, I. J.
Crouch, R. F. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Pitt, Miss E. M.
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Jennings, Sir Roland Powell, J. Enoch
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Davidson, Viscountess Kaberry, D. Raikes, Sir Victor
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Kerr, H. W. Rayner, Brig. R.
Deedes, W. F. Lambert, Hon. G. Redmayne, M.
Digby, S. Wingfield Lambton, Viscount Rees-Davies, W. R.
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Langford-Holt, J. A. Remnant, Hon. P.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
Dormer, Sir P. W. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Robertson, Sir David
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Drayson, G. B. Linstead, Sir H. N. Robson-Brown, W.
Drewe, Sir C. Llewellyn, D. T. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond) Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Roper, Sir Harold
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Duthie, W. S. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Russell, R. S.
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Longden, Gilbert Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Erroll, F. J. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Scott, R. Donald
Fell, A. Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Finlay, Graeme Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Shepherd, William
Fisher, Nigel McAdden, S. J. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. McCallum, Major D. Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Fletcher-Cooke, C. McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Snadden, W. McN.
Ford, Mrs. Patricia Macdonald, Sir Peter Spearman, A. C. M.
Fort, R. Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Speir, R. M.
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) McKibbin, A. J. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David Maxwell Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok) Maclean, Fitzroy Stevens, G. P.
Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.) Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Gammans, L. D. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Garner-Evans, E. H. Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G Lloyd Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Storey, S.
Glover, D. Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Godber, J. B. Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A. Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E. Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
Gough, C. F. H. Markham, Major Sir Frank Teeling, W.
Gower, H. R. Marlowe, A. A. H. Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Graham, Sir Fergus Marples, A. E. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Gridley, Sir Arnold Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Grimond, J. Maude, Angus Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Maudling, R. Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Touche, Sir Gordon
Hall, John (Wycombe) Medlicott, Brig. F. Turner, H. F. L.
Harden, J. R. E. Mellor, Sir John Turton, R. H.
Hare, Hon. J. A. Molson, A. H. E. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Vane, W. M. F.
Hay, John Moore, Sir Thomas Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Morrison, John (Salisbury) Vosper, D. F.
Heath, Edward Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Wade, D. W.
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Nabarro, G. D. N. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Higgs, J. M. C. Neave, Airey Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)
Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Nicholls, Harmar Walker-Smith, D. C.
Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Nicholson, Geoffrey (Farnham) Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Hirst, Geoffrey Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Holland-Martin, C. J. Nield, Basil (Chester) Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Hollis, M. C. Noble, Cmdr. A. H. P. Watkinson, H. A.
Holt, A. F. Nugent, G. R. H. Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Hope, Lord John Oakshott, H. D. Wellwood, W.
Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry Odey, G. W. Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Horobin, I. M. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Wills, G.
Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare) York, C.
Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Osborne, C.
Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J. Page, R. G. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hurd, A. R. Perkins, Sir Robert Mr. Studholme and
Mr. Robert Allan.
Albu, A. H. Bacon, Miss Alice Bence, C. R.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Balfour, A. Benn, Hon. Wedgwood
Anderson, Alexander (Motherwell) Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Beswick, F.
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Bartley, P. Bing, G. H. C.
Awbery, S. S. Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Blackburn, F.
Blyton, W. R. Holmes, Horace Porter, G.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Houghton, Douglas Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Bowden, H. W. Hoy, J. H. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Bowles, F. G. Hubbard, T. F. Proctor, W. T.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Pryde, D. J.
Brockway, A. F. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Brook, Dryden (Halifax) Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Rankin, John
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Reeves, J.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hynd, H.(Accrington) Reid, Thomas (Swindon)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Reid, William (Camlachie)
Burke, W. A. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Richards, R.
Burton, Miss F. E. Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Janner, B. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Callaghan, L. J. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Carmichael, J. Jeger, George (Goole) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Cattle, Mrs. B. A. Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Ross, William
Champion, A. J. Johnson, James (Rugby) Shackleton, E. A. A.
Chapman, W. D. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley
Chetwynd, G. R. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Clunie, J. Jones, Frederick Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Short, E. W.
Coldrick, W. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Shurmer, P. L. E.
Collick, P. H. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Keenan, W. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Cove, W. G. Kenyon, C. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Skeffington, A. M.
Crosland, C. A. R. King, Dr. H. M. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)
Daines, P. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Lewis, Arthur Soremen, R. W.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Lindgren, G. S. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Sparks, J. A.
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Logan, D. G. Steele, T.
de Freitas, Geoffrey MacColl, J. E. Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Deer, G. McGhee, H. G. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.
Delargy, H. J. McGovern, J. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Dodds, N. N. McKay, J. (Wallsend) Stross, Dr. Barnett
Donnelly, D. L. MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Driberg, T. E. N. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Swingler, S. T.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Sylvester, G. O.
Edelman, M. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Mann, Mrs. Jean Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Manuel, A. C. Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Mason, Roy Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mayhew, C. P. Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Mellish, R. J. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Fernyhough, E. Messer, Sir F. Thornton, E.
Fienburgh, W. Mikardo, Ian Timmons, J.
Finch, H. J. Mitchison, G. R. Tomney, F.
Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Monslow, W. Usborne, H. C.
Follick, M. Moody, A. S. Viant, S. P.
Foot, M. M. Morgan, Dr. H. B. W. Warbey, W. N.
Forman, J. C. Morley, R. Watkins, T. E.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Morris, Perey (Swansea, W.) Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Weitzman, D.
Gibson, C. W. Mort, D. L. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Glanville, James Moyle, A. West, D. G.
Gooch, E. G. Mulley, F. W. Wheeldon, W. E.
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Murray, J. D. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Nally, W. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Grey, C. F. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. Wigg, George
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Oldfield, W. H. Wilkins, W. A.
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Oliver, G.H. Willey, F. T.
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Orbach, M. Williams, David (Neath)
Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) Oswald, T. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Hamilton, W. W. Padley, W. E. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Hannan, W. Paget, R. T. Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Hardy, E. A. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Williams, W. R. (Droylesden)
Hargreaves, A. Palmer, A. M. F. Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Pannell, Charles Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Hastings, S. Pargiter, G. A. Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
Hayman, F. H. Parker, J. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.) Parkin, B. T. Wyatt, W. L.
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Pearson, A. Yates, V. F.
Herbison, Miss M. Peart, T. F. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Hobson, C. R. Plummer, Sir Leslie
Holman, P. Popplewell, E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Royle and Mr. Wallace.