HC Deb 03 November 1954 vol 532 cc383-401

3.45 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Food (Dr. Charles Hill)

I beg to move, in page 8, line 45, to leave out from "section," to the end of line 4, on page 9.

This Amendment and the following Amendment, to page 9, line 6, are consequential Amendments on the Amendment to Clause 7, page 8, line 26, and I think the Committee will wish me to leave it at that.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

I do not object to the Parliamentary Secretary saying that these Amendments are consequential, but, as the hon. Gentleman might have assumed, we are opposed to them for that reason. I want to make our position quite clear. What we complain about is that they preclude the possibility of the registration of catering establishments, and they put the police force in the place of the local authority. We think the power ought to lie with the local authority, and that registration ought to remain. I do not think I need elaborate the point, but we regard it as an unwarranted betrayal of the initial purpose of this Bill, and, further, I think there is a substantial point of constitutional propriety which arises on these Amendments.

After all, as we understand it, a noble Lord, Lord Woolton, is in charge of this Bill. It is common knowledge that Lord Woolton had considerable interests in the catering industry, and that he has played a distinguished part in it. When we had substantial Amendments before the Committee earlier, I asked from which quarter recommendations had been made and by whom, and we have not yet been told. We think that some constitutional issues are raised when the Minister in charge of the Bill has had these well-recognised interests in this industry, and it is certainly very disquieting that it is in connection with this industry, and this industry alone, that this exception has been made. As far as we know, no recommendations have come from anywhere, apart from this particular section of the food trades.

However, I do not want to pursue this any further, because I rose to make an appeal to the Minister, and I make it with confidence because the Minister of Food now spends part of his time as Minister of Agriculture. In his latter capacity, he is committed to the principle of registration, which is an essential part of the marketing provisions for which he is responsible. I hope, therefore that the Minister will bring a fresh mind to bear on this question, because we do not wish to make the issue of clean food one of party politics. We have had such provocation that, if the Government insist at this late stage of the Bill in taking this course, that is really what they will be driving us to do.

I hope that we shall have a response from the right hon. Gentleman. I ask him whether he will undertake to reconsider this question, and whether, between now and Report stage, he will meet the point of view of my right hon. Friend and those of my hon. Friends who have taken part in the discussions on the Bill both in the House and in Committee so far, by reconsidering this question of the registration of catering establishments. If he will give us that assurance, which I hope he will be able to do, I am sure that we can proceed expeditiously with the remaining part of the Bill, but we take this opportunity to discuss with him what we regard as the essential issue now before the Committee.

The Minister of Food (Mr. Heathcoat Amory)

I was interested to hear the suggestion which the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) has just made. I cannot think that what is really in his mind is that if I have one more opportunity I shall succeed in convincing him and his hon. and right hon. Friends of the rightness of the course we have adopted here. I have no doubts about the wisdom of the course we have already announced, but if the hon. Gentleman feels that it would be helpful for us to have a talk I shall be delighted to see him. Perhaps we can arrange a mutually convenient time.

Dr. Edith Summerskill (Fulham, West)

Cannot the right hon. Gentleman give us some hope that he will change his mind? The finest elements in the catering trade would like him to do so. Only the worst elements would like him to stand firm. We are pressing the claims of the restaurants which are conducted in a decent manner. I fail to see what good purpose would be served by a meeting if the Minister says that his mind is already closed.

To come to a meeting with one's mind closed means that the argument must be one-sided. To be consistent and to make a second protest against the Minister's attitude on this matter, I shall ask my hon. Friends to divide on the Amendment.

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

The Committee divided; Ayes, 196; Noes, 240.

Division No. 222.] AYES [3.51 p.m.
Acland, Sir Richard Freeman, Peter (Newport) Monslow, W.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N Moody, A. S.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Gibson, C. W. Morley, R.
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Gooch, E. G. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)
Awbery, S. S. Grey, C. F. Mort, D. L.
Bacon, Miss Alice Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Moyle, A.
Balfour, A. Griffiths, Rt. Hon James (Llaneliy) Murray, J. D.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Hale, Leslie Nally, W.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hall, John T (Gateshead, W.) Oldfield, W. H.
Bencs, C. R. Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Oliver, G. H.
Benn, Hon. Wedgwood Hamilton, W W. Oswald, T.
Benson, G. Hannan, W. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Beswick, F. Hardy, E. A. Palmer, A. M. F.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Hargreaves, A Pannell, Charles
Blackburn, F. Hastings, S. Paton, J.
Blenkinsop, A. Hayman F. H. Pearson, A.
Boardman, H. Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Porter, G.
Bowles, F. G. Herbison, Miss M. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Brockway, A. F. Hobson, C. R. Proctor, W. T.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Holmes, Horace Pryde, D. J.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hoy, J. H. Reeves, J.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Reid, Thomas (Swindon)
Burke, W. A. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Reid, William (Camlachie)
Burton, Miss F. E. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Callaghan, L. J. Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Paneras, N.)
Carmichael, J. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Ross, William
Chapman, W. D. Jeger, George (Goole) Shackleton, E. A. A.
Chatwynd, G. R. Jeger, Mrs. Lena Shurmer, P. L. E.
Clunie, J. Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Coldrick, W. Johnson, James (Rugby) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Collick, P. H. Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Collins, V. J. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Craddook, George (Bradford, S.) Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Snow, J. W.
Crossman, R. H. S Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Sorensen, R. W
Cullen, Mrs. A. Keenan, W. Sparks, J. A.
Daines, P. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W Steele, T.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. King, Dr. H. M. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Kinley, J. Strachey, Rt Hon. J.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Lawson, G. M. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Stross, Dr. Barnett
de Freitas, Geoffrey Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Deer, G. Logan, D. G. Swingier, S. T.
Dedds, N. N. MacColl, J. E. Sylvester, G. O.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich) McGhee, H. G. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Mclnnes, J. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) McKay, John (Wallsend) Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) McLeavy, F. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Timmons, J.
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Mainwaring, W. H. Turner-Samuels, M.
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Usborne, H. C.
Fernyhough, E. Mann, Mrs. Jean Viant, S. P.
Fienburgh, W. Manuel, A. C. Warbey, W. N.
Finch, H. J. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A Watkins, T. E.
Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.) Mason, Roy Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Follick, M. Mayhew, C. P. Wells, William (Walsall)
Foot, M. M. Mellish, R. J. West, D. G.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mitchison, G. R Wheeldon, W. E.
White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint) Williams, Ronald (Wigan) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.) Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y) Wyatt, W. L.
Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W. Williams, W. R. (Droylsden) Yates, V. F.
Wilkins, W. A. Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.) Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Willey, F. T. Willis, E. G.
Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery) Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Rogers.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Gower, H. R. Mellor, Sir John
Alport, C. J. M. Graham, Sir Fergus Molson, A. H. E.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Gridley, Sir Arnold Moore, Sir Thomas
Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Grimond, J. Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Arbuthnot, John Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.
Astor, Hon. J. J. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Nabarro, G. D. N.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M Hall, John (Wycombe) Neave, Airey
Baldwin, A. E. Harden, J. R. E. Nicholls, Harmar
Banks, Col. G. Hare, Hon. J. H. Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Barber, Anthony Harris, Reader (Heston) Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.)
Beach, Maj. Hicks Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Nield, Basil (Chester)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield) Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Nugent, G. R. H.
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Hay, John Oakshott, H. D.
Bennett, William (Woodside) Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Osborne, C.
Bavins, J. R. (Toxteth) Heath, Edward Page, R. G.
Birch, Nigel Higgs, J. M. C. Partridge, E.
Bishop, F. P. Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Peake, Rt. Hon. O.
Black, C. W. Hirst, Geoffrey Perkins, Sir Robert
Bossom, Sir A. C. Holland-Martin, C. J Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Bowen, E. R. Hollis, M. C. Peyton, J. W. W.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Holt, A. F. Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Braithwaite, Sir Gurney Hope, Lord John Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry Pitman, I. J.
Brooman-White, R. C. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Powell, J. Enoch
Browne, Jack (Govan) Horobin, I. M. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Bullard, D. G. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Profumo, J. D.
Bullus, Wing Commander E E Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N) Raikes, Sir Victor
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N) Ramsden, J. E.
Carr, Robert Hughes-Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Rayner, Brig. R.
Cary, Sir Robert Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N J. Rees-Davies, W. R.
Channon, H. Hurd, A. R. Remnant, Hon. P.
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.) Renton, D. L. M.
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Hutchison, James (Scotstoun) Ridsdale, J. E.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Robertson, Sir David
Cole, Norman Johnson, Erie (Blackley) Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Colegate, W. A. Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Robson-Brown, W.
Conant, Maj Sir Roger Jones, A. (Hall Green) Roper, Sir Harold
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Kaberry, D. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Cooper-Key, E. M. Keeling, Sir Edward Russell, R. S.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Kerby, Capt. H. B. Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Kerr, H. W. Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Lambert, Hon. G. Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas
Crouch, R. F. Lambton, Viscount Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Crowder, Sir John (Finehley) Lancaster, Col. C. G. Scott, R. Donald
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Langford-Holt, J. A. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Davidson, Viscountess Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Lindsay, Martin Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Deedes, W. F. Linstead, Sir H. N. Snadden, W. McN.
Digby, S. Wingfield Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Soames, Capt. C.
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Spearman, A. C. M.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Longden, Gilbert Speir, R. M.
Donner, Sir P. W. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Doughty, C. J. A. McAdden, S. J. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. McCallum, Major D. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Duthie, W. S. McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Macdonald, Sir Peter Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Storey, S.
Fell, A. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Finlay, Graeme Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Fisher, Nigel Maclean, Fitzroy Studholme, H. G.
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.) Summers, G. S.
Fletcher-Cooke, C. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
Foster, John Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Teeling, W.
Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok) Maitland, Cmdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Gamer-Evans, E. H. Markham, Major Sir Frank Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd Marlowe, A. A. H. Touche, Sir Gordon
Glover, D Marples, A. E. Turner, H. F. L.
Godber, J. B. Maudling, R. Turton, R. H.
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L C Tweedsmuir, Lady
Gough, C. F. H. Medlicott, Brig. F. Vane, W. M. F
Vaughan-Morgan, J K Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C Wills, G.
Vosper, D. F. Watkinson, H. A. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Wade, D. W. Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster) Wood, Hon. R
Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W) Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Wall, Major Patrick Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Ward, Hon. George (Worcester) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter) Sir Cedric Drewe and Mr. Legh

Further Amendment made: In page 9, line 6, leave out "those purposes," and insert: purposes for which registration is required by virtue of the order."—[Mr. Amory.]

4.0 p.m.

Captain J. A. L. Duncan (South Angus)

I beg to move in page 9, line 11, to leave out "may," and to insert "shall."

In this Clause we are dealing with the extension of registration to all food businesses except those already covered by the 1938 Act—ice-cream and processed meats—the other exception being the catering trade. The operation of registration of food premises for the first time on an annual basis is a big operation. If registration is refused it means that the premises cannot be used for purposes of food businesses at all.

It seems only right, therefore, that there should be an automatic right of registration in the first place, and that thereafter the local authority should have the right to refuse to renew a registration when it has had an opportunity of inspecting the premises, and so on. I hope the Government will regard this as a reasonable Amendment.

Dr. Hill

It is intended here that, where an order is made extending registration, sufficient time shall be given for premises already used in the businesses to be brought up to the local authority's requirements. The present wording is "may," and, as it is our intention that this should be done, I suggest that the Committee accept the Amendment.

Mr. F. Blackburn (Stalybridge and Hyde)

When, on a previous Amendment, we sought to change the word "may" to "shall" in regard to making regulations, the Minister also said that it was the intention to make regulations, but resisted the Amendment. Might we know the reason for the change?

Dr. Hill

What I said related to this particular proposition in this narrow context. I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that it should be so regarded.

Mr. Blackburn

But the Minister did say, in regard to that previous Amend- ment, that it was the Government's intention to make the regulations. Therefore, we could not understand why he resisted the alteration of the word "may" to the word "shall." In this case he agrees to it.

Mr. M. Turner-Samuels (Gloucester)

Would the Minister explain whether, by this Amendment, it is really intended to cut down, or cut out, the right of a local authority to refuse an application for registration? If that is so, it is once more rendering this question of registration absolutely innocuous. Either the local authority has the right to allow or to reject an application for registration—of course, on good grounds and no doubt on investigation and inquiry—or it has not. In my submission, the local authority is the proper body to determine this matter. Otherwise, I do not see how, with any safeguard or any protection, this is to be done.

If the Amendment is to be accepted, it is a whittling down process, a facade to get rid of the power of the local authority altogether, and is merely a further example of the Government's readiness and willingness to run away from one of the major purposes of this legislation, namely, registration for the protection of the interests of the public.

Mr. Willey

We are entitled to hear something more from the Parliamentary Secretary. We are really giving way all down the line. I repeat what I said earlier. This Bill was a considerable time in another place. There was adequate opportunity to raise these points, and, though the associations affected had every chance to do so, this is not a point which they raised.

This is a very important Amendment. We are not dealing here with the catering trade at all, but generally, and in regard to the food trades this is saying that there may be a perfectly good case for registration, but the Minister shall be obliged to make provision—and his successors shall be obliged. That is what we are worrying about. We have not much confidence in what the present Administration will do, but at some time we shall have an Administration which will enthusiastically pursue the cause of clean food. This is a hamstringing Amendment.

As the Parliamentary Secretary knows quite well, the Bill as drafted leaves the provision to the discretion of the Minister. I am willing to leave this in the discretionary form, because I have some confidence that the present Administration will not remain much longer and that we shall have one with a more enlightened view about hygiene. I can understand the embarrassment of the Minister of Health. We might not express ourselves so emphatically were he in charge of the Bill, but when we have this unholy amalgam of Food and Agriculture coming to the House—and now to the Committee—at the very end of the Session, and attempting to tie the hands of future Administrations, it really is rather preposterous.

The Bill at present only says that it will be discretionary, and one can conceive of trades where there is a very good, straightforward case for registration, and no ground for exclusion or restriction regarding those at present in business. They would not seek it. This Amendment, however, by inserting the word "shall" puts the onus on the Minister. When we wanted earlier to put in the word "shall" the Parliamentary Secretary opposed us, but when it affects the trade interest he is the first to say, "Of course, we accept this. We shall have 'shall' and not 'may'"—because this is one of those subsections which might operate against a sectional interest.

We ask the Parliamentary Secretary to be fair. If it is to be discretionary one way let it also be discretionary the other way. If the burden on the Minister to do anything under this Bill is to be discretionary, then so should be his escape from doing something.

Dr. Hill

As the Committee will appreciate, this provision relates to new premises brought within the scope of registration by a new order. If registration has a purpose in relation to those premises, it is to make possible the raising of standards in those new premises. I think that so far we can be agreed. But at the moment of its introduction in relation to the new premises, if it be true that its purpose is to raise the standards in those kinds of premises, then there will always be premises that fall below the standard.

Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hillsborough)


Dr. Hill

If all premises conform to the standard of the regulations, then the introduction of registration is likely to be unnecessary. But if its purpose is to raise the standard or to make easier the raising of the standard in those new premises, then at the moment of inception of registration there will be premises that fall below the standard. If that be true, in all cases it will be appropriate for the order either to exclude or to restrict the power of the local authority to refuse applications for registration.

If, as we believe, that will be the position, I think it is right and proper that we should make it plain, as my hon. and gallant Friend seeks to do in this Amendment.

Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)

I am profoundly uneasy about this matter. The hon. and gallant Member for South Angus (Captain Duncan) seemed to think that all registrations of previously used premises ought to be allowed in the first place. If that is what he means, I cannot agree with him in the slightest. It seems to me that what the Minister is doing here is tying his own hands and those of the local authorities, and he implies a wholesale distrust of their powers, the way they exercise them and the standards they set up. He is going to oblige himself either to eliminate or to restrict their power to refuse registration.

If he is to do that, he has to do it by an order in general terms, and he may well be making an order which will have the effect of lowering the standard that some local authorities, at any rate, would like to enforce. I should have expected the Minister, if he was going to accept the Amendment, at least to tell us upon what lines he was intending to restrict, as he will have to restrict, the powers of local authorities. I should have expected him to tell us that this matter had been the subject of discussion with local authorities, or at least with their associations, that they were agreed in having their powers restricted in this way and that the matter had been fully and carefully considered.

I should have expected the hon. Gentleman to give the Committee an indication of what he intends to do. He has completely failed to answer the questions put to him, the substance of which was: why did he want to make this matter obligatory? The obvious answer must be, "I propose to do so and so," and we should at least have been given a broad outline of what he wants. Nothing of the sort was said.

Listening to the hon. Gentleman, I was anxious lest he was going to accept what seems to me the appalling suggestion of the hon. and gallant Member for South Angus, that the local authorities were not to be allowed to refuse registration. If that is what he means, it seems an entrenchment of their powers and an insult to their intelligence, which they do not deserve, and which they certainly would not accept. Failing a better explanation than we have had from the Parliamentary Secretary, the least we can do is to do our best to refuse this Amendment unless and until we are told, first, that the local authorities have been fully consulted, and secondly, what are the lines of the Government's policy.

Failing that, I can only regard it as another case in which the party opposite, after saying that they have a venerable respect for the traditions of local government, that they believe in decentralisation and that they think local authorities are of some importance to the country, show by what they do in Parliament by accepting this sort of Amendment that they mean nothing of the sort and that they are, in fact, Whitehall bureaucrats in the worst sense of the word.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Turner-Samuels

I am not at all satisfied. I think that the Parliamentary Secretary, with all respect to him, is deliberately not being candid in this matter and that he is covering up something which is very deleterious to the interests of the public.

I have been studying the terminology of the Clause since I spoke last, and I should like to ask the hon. Gentleman this question. If what he now says is so urgent as he indicated—I think, with his tongue in his cheek—how is it that the word "may," which has been in this Clause so long, has suddenly become objectionable, and the word "shall" has to be substituted for it? There is a great deal of difference, in a particular context, between "shall" and "may," and the Parliamentary Secretary is asking the Committee to do something which is almost diametrically opposite to what the Clause already does with the word "may."

In face of that contradiction, that volte face, that retreat, we are entitled to know why this is being done, what pressure has been placed upon the Government since the text was first put into the Bill a year ago to influence the Government to make this alteration. I should have thought that, apart from any other objections, of which there are many, this would introduce confusion into the machinery of the Bill. Surely it is essential that the functions and powers of the local authorities should be clear. The acceptance of this Amendment would throw chaos into the mechanism of the Bill.

The Bill starts by pretending that the local authorities are to have certain powers. Then the Parliamentary Secretary comes to the Committee and says, "We made a mistake. We regret that the local authorities were given that power. We intend to take it from them. We intend to introduce the eliminating word, the destroying word, 'shall' for 'may'." That would turn the whole of this provision completely upside down and render it innocuous.

Surely we are entitled to an explanation from the Parliamentary Secretary. It is all very well for the hon. Gentleman to come along with a chubby face and a hopeful aspect, thinking that he can suddenly throw this change on to this side of the Committee and get away with it. He can do nothing of the sort. We rumbled him long before he stood up to speak. I can tell him that he is merely being true to type when he does what he has done. There is this confusion with regard to the local authorities. It is downright interference with the local authorities. It is not merely making confusion of the powers they are supposed to have. It is not merely emasculating their powers, but it is downright, deliberate interference with the local authorities, and—what is worse—it is political interference.

The Parliamentary Secretary, having risen to speak when he did, unprepared and, no doubt, completely dismayed at what he is doing, has now had an oppor- tunity, through my second intervention, of thinking of something better than he told the Committee before. We ask him to give us at least an intelligent explanation of what he seeks to do, and if he does not, I ask my Front Bench to take him into the Division Lobby on this dubious Amendment.

Captain Duncan

May I appeal to the reasonable Members of the Opposition, particularly the Co-operative Members? Let us take, for instance, the meat trade. When this Bill becomes law, the Minister will announce that all meat traders must be registered. This subsection says, in relation to premises used for this purpose, before the day there will be certain restrictions on the local authorities' discretion to register. Let me remind hon. Members of what Section 14 of the 1938 Act says: … no premises shall be used …"— let us insert the meat trade— unless they are registered under this Section for that purpose by the local authority. … If they cannot be registered, or are refused their original application, they have to close down. The co-operative societies' butchers' shops and private butchers' shops would be all closed down, without any chance of improving their premises. All I want is to give them that chance to improve their premises, by restriction of the original application but not in renewals of the application.

Subsection (2, b) deals only with the original application and not with subsequent renewals. It seems to me to be only reasonable, in this case, in the interests of the traders, whether they are meat traders, or other traders, that they

should have, first, the chance of automatic registration, and then of having to put their house in order, unless they are to be refused a renewal in further years.

Mr. Norman Dodds (Dartford)

Is the hon. and gallant Member aware that if the Co-operative movement subscribed to what he said, I would resign from it today?

Mr. G. Darling

I should like to put, very briefly, the point of view of the Co-operative movement. We wholeheartedly support the idea of registration of all premises, including catering premises, and I am very much surprised that the hon. and gallant Gentleman, whose views about agricultural marketing are based entirely on the principle of registration, should have supported the sell-out to the catering interests in the way he has done. I am really ashamed of him.

We believe that all premises should be registered and that the Bill as drafted gives sufficient discretionary power to the Minister in these marginal cases. Through the medium of the local government officials, he can say "We cannot register your premises until some improvements have been made." The discretion is there now. The kind of premises one thinks of in this regard can easily be put right. It is the sub-standard premises we are concerned about. They ought not to be allowed to continue trading.

Question put, "That 'may' stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided: Ayes, 208; Noes, 246.

Division No. 223.] AYES [4.25 p.m.
Acland, Sir Richard Brockway, A. F. Darling, George (Hillsborough)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Davies, Harold (Leek)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Brown, Thomas (Ince) de Freitas, Geoffrey
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R. Burke, W. A. Deer, G.
Awbery, S, S. Burton, Miss F. E. Delargy, H. J.
Bacon, Miss Alice Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Dodds, N. N.
Balfour, A. Callaghan, L. J. Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John(W. Bromwich)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J. Carmichael, J. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Bellenger, Rt, Hon. F. J. Chapman, W. D. Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)
Bence, C. R. Chetwynd, G. R. Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)
Benn, Hon. Wedgwood Clunie, J. Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)
Benson, G. Coldrick, W. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)
Beswick, F. Collick, P. H. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Collins, V. J. Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)
Blackburn, F. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Fernyhough, E.
Blenkinsop, A. Crossman, R. H. S. Fienburgh, W.
Boardman, H. Cullen, Mrs. A. Finch, H. J.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Daines, P. Fletcher, Erie (Islington, E.)
Bowles, F. G. Dalton, Rt. Hon. H Follick, M.
Foot, M. M. Logan, D. G. Ross, William
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) McGhee, H. G. Shackleton, E. A. A.
Freeman, Peter (Newport) Mclnnes, J. Shurmer, P. L. E.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N McKay, John (Wallsend) Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Gibson, C. W. McLeavy, F. Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Gooch, E. G. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Skeffington, A. M.
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Mainwaring, W. H. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Grey, C F. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Snow, J. W.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mann, Mrs. Jean Sorensen, R. W.
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Manuel, A. C. Sparks, J. A.
Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Steele, T.
Hamilton, W. W. Mason, Roy Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Hannan, W. Mayhew, C. P. Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Hardy, E. A. Mellish, R. J. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Hargreaves, A. Mitchison, G. R. Stross, Dr. Barnett
Hastings, S. Monslow, W. Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E
Hayman, F. H. Moody, A. S. Swingler, S. T.
Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.) Morley, R. Sylvester, G. O.
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Herbison, Miss M. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Hobson, C. R. Mort. D. L. Thomson, George (Dundee, E)
Holman, P. Moyle, A. Timmons, J.
Holmes, Horace Mulley, F. W. Turner-Samuels, M.
Houghton, Douglas Murray, J. D. Usborne, H. C.
Hoy, J. H. Nally, W. Warbey, W. N.
Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Oldfield, W. H. Watkins, T. E.
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oliver, G. H. Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, G.)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Oswald, T. Weitzman, D.
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Wells, William (Walsall)
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) West, D. G.
Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Palmer, A. M. F. Wheeldon, W. E.
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Pannell, Charles White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Paton, J. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Jeger, George (Goole) Pearson, A. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Jeger, Mrs. Lena Peart, T. F. Wigg, George
Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Plummer, Sir Leslie Willey, F. T.
Johnson, James (Rugby) Popplewell, E. Williams, David (Neath)
Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Porter, G. Williams, Rev. Llyweryn (Abertillery)
Jones, Rt. Hon. A, Creech Price J. T. (Westhoughton) Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Jones, David (Hartlepool) Prootor, W. T. Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Pryde, D. J. Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Reeves, J. Williams, W. T. (Hammersmith, S.)
Keenan, W. Reid, Thomas (Swindon) Willis, E. G.
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Reid, William (Camlachie) Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
King, Dr. H. M. Rhodes, H. Woodburn, Rt. Hon, A
Kinley, J. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Wyatt, W. L.
Lawson, G. M. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Yates, V. F.
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Rogers George (Kensington, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Wilkins and Mr. John Taylor.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Carr, Robert Finlay, Graeme
Alport, C. J. M. Cary, Sir Robert Fisher, Nigel
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Channon, H. Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.
Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Fletcher-Cooke, C.
Arbuthnot, John Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Foster, John
Astor, Hon. J. J. Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L. Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Cole, Norman Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)
Baldwin, A. E. Colegate, W. A. Garner-Evans, E. H.
Banks, Col. C. Conant, Maj. Sir Roger George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. Lloyd
Barber, Anthony Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Glover, D.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Cooper-Key, E. M. Godber, J. B.
Beach, Maj. Hicks Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C Gough, C. F. H
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Gower, H. R.
Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.) Crouch, R. F. Graham, Sir Fergus
Bennett, William (Woodside) Crowder, Sir John (Finehley) Gridley, Sir Arnold
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Grimond, J.
Birch, Nigel Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)
Bishop, F. P. Davidson, Viscountess Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)
Black, C. W. Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Hall. John (Wycombe)
Bowen, E. R. Deedes, W. F. Harden, J. R. E.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A Digby, S. Wingfield Harris, Reader (Heslon)
Brarthwaite, Sir Gurney Dodds-Parker, A. D. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield)
Brooman-White, R. C. Donner, Sir P. W. Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)
Browne, Jack (Govan) Doughty, C. J. A. Hay, John
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Bullard, D. G. Duthie, W. S. Heath, Edward
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Higgs, J. M. C.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)
Campbell, Sir David Fell, A. Hirst, Geoffrey
Holland-Martin, C. J Maitland, Cmdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle) Russell, R. S.
Hollis, M. C. Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Holt, A. F. Markham, Major Sir Frank Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.
Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry Marlowe, A. A. H. Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas
Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Marples, A. E. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Horobin, I. M. Maudling, R. Scott, R. Donald
Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Florence Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.
Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Medlicott, Brig. F. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Mellor, Sir John Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Molson, A. H. E. Snadden, W. McN.
Hulbert, Wing Cmdr. N. J. Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Soames, Capt. C.
Hurd, A. R. Moore, Sir Thomas Spearman, A. C. M.
Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.) Morrison, John (Salisbury) Speir, R. M.
Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Mott-Radclyffe C. E. Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H. Nabarro, G. D. N. Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
Hughes-Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Neave, Airey Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Iremonger, T. L. Nicholls, Harmar Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Nicolson, Nigel (Bournemouth, E.) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Nield, Basil (Chester) Storey, S.
Jones, A. (Hall Green) Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Kaberry, D. Nugent, G. R. H. Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Keeling, Sir Edward Oakshott, H. D. Studholme, H. G.
Kerby, Capt. H. B. O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co Antrim, N.) Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
Kerr, H. W. Orr, Capt. L. P. S Taylor, William (Bradford N.)
Lambert, Hon. G. Osborne, C. Teeling, W.
Lambton, Viscount Page, R. G. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Lancaster, Col. C. G Partridge, E. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Langford-Holt, J. A Peake, Rt. Hon. O. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Leather, E. H. C. Perkins, Sir Robert Touche, Sir Gordon
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Pete, Brig. C. H. M. Turner, H. F. L.
Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Peyton, J. W. W. Turton, R. H.
Lindsay, Martin Pickthorn, K. W. M. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Linstead, Sir H. N. Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Vane, W. M. F.
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G. (King's Norton) Pitman, I. J. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Powell, J. Enoch Vosper, D. F.
Longden, Gilbert Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Wade, D. W.
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Prefumo, J. D. Wall, Major Patrick
McAdden, S. J. Raikes, Sir Victor Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
McCallum, Major D. Ramsden, J. E. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C
McCorquodale, Rt. Hen. M. S. Rayner, Brig. R. Watkinson, H. A.
Macdonald, Sir Peter Rees-Davies, W. R. Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Remnant, Hon. P. Wellwood, W.
McKibbin, A J. Renton, D. L. M. Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Ridsdale, J. E. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Roberts, Peter (Heeley) Wills, G.
Maclean, Fitzroy Robertson, Sir David Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield, W.) Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.) Wood, Hon. R.
MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Robson-Brown, W.
Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Roper, Sir Harold TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Sir Cedric Drewe and
Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith.

Question put, and agreed to.

Word "shall" there inserted.

4.30 p.m.

Dr. Hill

I beg to move in page 9, line 17, to leave out from "fourteen," to the third "and," in line 19.

I think that, together with this Amendment, Sir Charles, it would be convenient to take the Amendments in page 9, lines 21 and 24.

The Chairman


Dr. Hill

Although these Amendments touch upon the subject of registration, the issue is not controversial. One form of registration—that of butter and margarine factories under Section 34 of the 1938 Act—has been a non-revocable registration, and from all angles it has been of no value. There will be power under the Bill to extend registration to other premises, including these. That would be a revocable registration, and in the circumstances it is suggested that this useless provision should disappear.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 9, line 21, leave out from "fourteen," to "and," in line 22.

In page 9, line 24, at end insert: Where an order made under this section repeals the whole or any part of the said paragraphs, section thirty-eight of the Interpretation Act, 1889 (which relates to the effect of repeals), shall apply as if the order were an Act.—[Dr. Hill.]

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

Mr. Willey

I rise only to say that the statement made by the Minister in response to the request which I made was very disappointing. I hope that he will have a more open mind when we meet him. I have raised a very serious question in relation to this matter. We ought to be told more about the Woolton millions; who contributes to that fund, and how much the "dirty food lobby" has contributed.

These are very grave matters. Lord Woolton's interests in the catering industry are well known, and I pay tribute to the part he has played in it, but it is a matter of some constitutional importance when an exception is made, as it is here, at this very late stage in the Session, in connection with a matter affecting only one of the food trades. I shall say no more about it than that I hope that when we meet the Minister he will have a more open mind.

The other matter is less controversial. I merely ask the Parliamentary Secretary whether the present registration provided for in Section 14 of the principal Act is in any way impaired by the Bill. As I understand, it is not so impaired, but as representations have been made I should like to have his assurance in the matter.

Dr. Hill

I can give the assurance that nothing we are doing impairs registration under Section 14 of the original Act. As regards the hon. Member's first point, I hope that when he reads his words tomorrow he will appreciate that he made an unfounded statement.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.