HC Deb 19 November 1954 vol 533 cc732-48

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—[Mr. Redmayne.]

12.12 p.m.

Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)

It the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power is not in a desperate hurry to leave the Chamber for two or three minutes, I might be able to say something of interest to him. I did not ask him to come specially today because I thought that it would be unjust, on one Adjournment Motion, to suggest that two Ministers should be present.

On 28th October, I put a Question to the President of the Board of Trade in which I raised preliminary inquiries about the closing of Granville Mill, Oldham. The mill even now is not closed, but there appears to be no doubt among the representatives of the textile workers that it is to be closed in a week or two. There is some considerable doubt and apprehension about the cause.

In opening I wish to make reference to the general position in Oldham. I say at once that I am not here to try to make things look blacker than they are. The position of employment in Oldham is, in general, satisfactory. We have very little real unemployment in the sense of people losing work through trade conditions. We have about 120 disabled persons unemployed who have been out of work for a long time. I do not like to use the term of human beings, but they represent a hard core; they are almost basically unemployable except under special conditions. They are people for whom I hope at some time or other to persuade the Minister of Labour to try to arrange home work and specialised employment.

There are some signs and portents that are not happy for the future of the great textile industry. Ministers must get out of the habit of suggesting that because a man leaves a job in the textile mill and gets a job as a bus conductor, the unemployment situation is good. Apart from the question of serious hardship in leaving skilled employment and being forced to work in some other industry for which a man has no aptitude, there is the whole question of production and the maintenance of a basic export industry on which our prosperity greatly depends. We must not think in those terms.

In terms of cotton generally, employment is definitely down in the last two-and-a-half years, both in spinning and weaving. Although there has been some increase in things like nylon, and so on, there has been a diminution of employment, and that is serious.

I would say to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power that I had a deputation from the National Union of Mineworkers in Oldham, who are concerned about the closing of the Wood Park pit, Oldham. They are told that it is Coal Board policy to close it in 1955. That that is so is made quite evident by the policy of running-down in the pit. I appreciate that if it is part of planning policy that a pit shall be closed, then it is not likely that new machinery will be installed. This pit, however, is a very old and successful one. I believe that it has never had any trouble.

A few months ago it employed 412 men. It was turning out about 1,760 tons of coal a week. The explored reserves which have not been touched amount to about one million tons, and I am told that the No. 4 bore provides access to the coal 900 yards from the pit bottom. I am told by the experts that there is there a production available of 2,000 tons of coal a week which would last for years. This is no small matter and it is exceedingly important that the position should be considered in the light of that.

The closing down of the pit is part of a policy of moving the men somewhere else, and in this case the "somewhere else" is seven miles away, at Bradford pit, Manchester. That is a big pit, with excessive gradients which make it unsuitable for miners who have been used to a different type of working at Oldham. If the men are transferred, a very big journey will be involved. The men will have to travel two or three miles from their own homes to get to a central place, and then a further seven miles on the bus on a most crowded route through Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester to get to the pit, and back again. Then they would have to travel underground to the face. This is a serious matter which I hope will be considered, and about which I shall be making other representations. I introduce reference to it only as an indication of the fact that one must take same of these problems rather more seriously.

The Question which I put to the President of the Board of Trade was about Granville Mill, Oldham. I asked the right hon. Gentleman: … whether he is aware that the Granville Mill, Oldham, which has been operating as a weft and big cop spinning mill since 1884, has closed down on the grounds of foreign competition; and, in view of the resulting loss of employment and production, if he will make a statement of Her Majesty's Government's policy as to the cotton industry. The mill was ostensibly closed on the ground of lack of production and the fact that ostensibly a 6 per cent. increase in the wages of cotton workers had turned the balance between profit and loss, and, therefore, it was reluctantly found necessary to close. The President of the Board of Trade expressed some dubiety about the accuracy of that statement in his reply. I should try to make it clear that I was not for one moment dissenting from the point of view of the President of the Board of Trade when I suggested that the reason was probably nothing to do with wages and production but was possibly for tax evasion. I said: … does not the right hon. Gentleman think that if a mill which ought to make money is closed down for tax reasons, he owes a duty to the House and to the public to say how this comes about? At that moment I appear to have shocked the tender nerves of the hon. Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore) who said: That is a shocking charge to make."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th October, 1954; Vol. 531, c. 2122–3.] I was not quite clear whether that remark was meant for the President of the Board of Trade or for me, but as we were more or less in agreement the point would appear to be academic in any event. I ventured to notify the hon. Member for Ayr that I might refer to that observation today and, to my surprice, I found that he is engaged in Scotland and is not able to be here at this normal Parliamentary hour.

I will not elaborate on that point, except to say that it seems to me that the question whether or not the observation was disgraceful depends to some extent on whether or not it was true. If one makes a true statement suggesting something that implies in the delicate mind of the lion. Member for Ayr something dishonourable, it may be that the dishonourable facts are in the operations which are being criticised rather than in the criticism. I do not want to pursue the matter, but it seems to me that there was rather more of "hot air" than "Ayr" in the observation which was made.

I spent a few minutes at the Companies' Registration Office yesterday. I was shocked with horror at one point. The Board of Trade itself becomes a participant—it may be unwillingly, and it may be almost a compelled participant under the orders—in some of the curious operations which have taken place with regard to Granville Mill.

The basic facts about Granville Mill are that it has a capital of £80,000 and it has made quite handsome profits. It was paying a 15 per cent. dividend last year. About April this year a Mr. Alfred Edward Hatton, on behalf of himself and other persons interested, made an offer to purchase the whole of the stock at £2 for each £1 share held. The actual issued capital was then £74,184 out of the authorised capital of £80,000. So the purchase price was £148,368. That offer was accepted, and as recently as 26th June, 1954, the shareholders received payments on their shareholdings to the amount of £2 for every £1 share held.

At that stage there did not appear to be any fear or alarm. The application for an increase in wages had been made. It was bound to be accepted. If Mr. Hatton had referred to Old Moore's Almanac—I am not now referring to the hon. Member for Ayr—he would have been told that the application was likely to be granted. It was what one would take into consideration in assessing the prospects of the firm.

As I have said, on 26th June payment was made. Also, £9,000 was paid to the directors for loss of office. It was a very valuable office to lose Mr. Hatton became the chairman of the directors. Mr. Hatton is, in fact, a director of the Oldham Storage Company Limited, Allied Warehousing Company Limited, B. & H. Oldham Limited, the Brunton Trading Company Limited, the Star Iron Works (Oldham) Limited, the Bricham Marine Service and the Glen Vale Art Fabrics Limited, in addition to his directorship of the Marlborough Mill. So he appears to be a man of some considerable experience and hardly likely to be taken by surprise by an increase in wages given to the cotton workers.

However, in October the announcement came quite bluntly that the Granville Mill was to be closed down. The net profit for the previous year had been £24,611, the contingencies and tax reserves amounted to £59,000, on the balance sheet there were fixed assets at £120,000, the stock in trade was £93,000, and there were other perfectly favourable items.

It will not surprise any hon. Member on either side of the House to know that the unions of the cardworkers and the other operatives were deeply concerned about this, not knowing whether it manifested a trend or was only a curious individual transaction. They held a protest meeting. I was in Oldham last weekend, and I was told that, notwithstanding the protest, the decision to close the mill is to be carried through.

There is another unhappy issue in respect of the closing of the mill about which I suggest the Parliamentary Secretary might well consult the Cotton Board. I am told that the moment the notification of closing was made, welfare officers from other mills went to Granville Mill to see the best of the employees, for there is a demand for the highly technically-trained employees of this old-established mill, which has been going since 1884. The welfare officers were not even allowed on the premises. Therefore, it appears that there really has been a definite attempt to frustrate the workers from obtaining other work after the notification was made.

The Companies' Register appears to show a rather curious series of operations in connection with Granville Mill. There was formed and incorporated in March, 1953, a new company which is known as G.M. (Derker) Limited. Presumably, the initials, G.M., are those of Granville Mill; Derker is a part of Oldham. The company had a total capital of £100.

G.M. (Derker) Limited, out of its £100, agreed to buy the whole of the assets of Granville Mill Limited. Having done that, G.M. (Derker) Limited applied to the Board of Trade to change its name to Granville Mill Limited. Therefore, Granville Mill Limited has now become Granville Mill (Holdings) Limited, G.M. (Derker) Limited has become Granville Mill Limited, and Granville Mill has the same directors—Mr. Hatton and his friends—as the other company. Once permission was given by the Board of Trade for the change of name on 13th March we got an increase of capital in Granville Mill Limited which restored it to the capital position in the original company.

I do not now understand all these matters. I understood that certain budgetary provision had been made which would minimise the effect of some of these ingenious operations. It was two years ago that my hon. Friend the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Rhodes), in an able speech, called attention to it. It was the custom, if one had a big profit, to decide not to pay tax upon it, and to do that one terminated the operations of the company and gave notice that one was no longer continuing the business. One then popped up as a new company and bought oneself from oneself and started operations again, and then paid tax on the first year of operation of the new company instead of on the last year of operation of the old company. If one saw that one's profits were declining, one could in that way save a substantial sum in tax, sometimes amounting to many thousands of pounds.

These are the main matters to which I wish to call attention. Had the hon. Member for Ayr been here I am sure that he would have said that he was a little ungenerous to suggest out of the blue that my comment about tax evasion was made without foundation or without thought or care.

I mentioned that Mr. Hatton is also a director of Marlborough Mill Limited, which is in Failsworth, adjoining Oldham. There again there was a company with a nominal capital of £80,000 which was formed in November, 1905. The story of the cotton industry as read in the Companies' Registration Office is a very moving one. It can be seen as clearly marked in the figures, in the blueprints and in the rather dull forms as it can be written by those who have told the story of Lancashire between the wars. One gets the inflation, the big capital with only a small allotment, the gradual call-up of more and more money.

One goes to the register and finds artisans, and postmen and so on having their shares cancelled and forfeited because of their financial situation. Then there comes the end of the slump and the era of profit, and in the era of profit Marlborough Mill was doing exceedingly well. It had done very badly and had shown very great losses in the past, but in recent years Marlborough Mill has done exceedingly well indeed.

On 30th October, 1953—it seems to me that these dates are not without significance—Marlborough Mill Limited, which had then been making substantial profits for some time—in one year £55,000, which is getting near the total issued capital, and with £60,000 carried forward—by special resolution changed its name to Marlborough Mill (Holdings) Limited. Then, on 14th March, 1954, by special resolution its capital was reduced and the 10s. shares were reduced to 6d. shares, so that the total capital became £11,114.

Very shortly after that the capital was again increased by the creation of 211,166 shares of £1 each, and a new company was formed which had the old title of Marlborough Mill Limited. The old company was now, of course, Marlborough Mill (Holdings) Limited. Marlborough Mill Limited had a capital of £100. Mr. Alfred Edward Hatton was one of its directors.

On 9th November, 1953, an agreement for sale was made between Marlborough Mill (Holdings) Limited and Marlborough Mill Limited; and a substantial consideration by way of purchase price for the purchase of the whole of the long leasehold of the mill—it was a 999-year leasehold—and the assets and goodwill was the issue of the shares which had just been created. The purchase money was said to be £210,000, which was to be satisfied largely by the allotment of 124,480 shares and by some other smaller payments.

Marlborough Mill continues, but the time has come when the Minister might consider looking into these transactions. I am not trying to attack anyone, and I never use the privileges of this House for personal attack or personal criticism. Nevertheless, the maintenance of employment in my constituency is a matter of concern. We have the authority of Lord Chief Justice Hewart for saying that the laws should not be used in order to evade taxes. The Chancellor of the Exchequer should be able to prevent evasions. These transactions are a gambling with the lives and the employment of the people, and they are a serious matter when they mean a decision to close a mill and to throw a lot of people out of work.

The evidence is overwhelming that the reason for this action has nothing to do with profit or loss, or with employment. It is impossible to believe that from July, when these transactions started, to October, 1954, all this money should have been paid, and yet that the people concerned are reluctantly compelled to close down, because of the 6 per cent. or 7 per cent. increase in wages. It cannot be true, and it is time to look at this matter. The conclusion is irresistible that the employment and security, and also the good confidence of the people, are vitally concerned.

There are good employers in the industry. I do not find the same bitterness between employer and employee as I used to find. That is going. I have not the slightest desire to attack the reputation of the people who are running mills in Oldham, in many of which there is a very good feeling indeed because of the generous measures that have been initiated, showing a more progressive spirit. Nevertheless, the matter I have raised is one for the Parliamentary Secretary to discuss with the Cotton Board and with the textile industry.

I know that the Parliamentary Secretary has by now found out the weakness of his own position, because of unplanned buying of cotton while trying to plan sales, of a colonial policy which is not creating purchasing power but is diminishing it, and of having planned imports in the Colonies, under the Japanese Treaty, G.A.T.T. and so on, and unplanned exports. These things constantly bring the Parliamentary Secretary into difficulties.

Textile workers' unions can claim above all that they have concerned themselves with the planning of employment and the maintenance and planning of production. Some of the work they did during the war was of very great help. I hope in a few months' time to be able to show the President of the Board of Trade and the Parliamentary Secretary some of the results of the work which has been done, and I hope that we shall then be able to formulate a better arrangement. I know that the Parliamentary Secretary is concerned and does not want unemployment in the textile industry. I hope that he will take all the steps he can to maintain full employment and will try to cooperate with the industry in these matters.

12.36 p.m.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Henry Strauss)

The hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) has often showed his concern with matters that have excited interest in his constituency. The matter he has raised today arises directly from the Question that he put to my right hon. Friend on 28th October, 1954. I know that the hon. Member will join me in regretting the inevitable absence of my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Horobin) who would have been here on this occasion but for the fact that he is a member of a Parliamentary delegation which has gone abroad.

I do not wish to go into the various company changes that took place before the last Finance Act. I know that the hon. Member will appreciate the reasons. As he rightly said, certain practices relating to holding companies were the subject of legislation in that Act. As far as I have been able to ascertain, the transaction in June this year by which the present proprietors acquired this mill has nothing to do with tax evasion which was the implication of the supplementary question which the hon. Member put to my right hon. Friend and which he repeated this morning. I do not think that that suspicion is well-founded, but no doubt the Treasury will consider what the hon. Gentleman has said.

The hon. Member cast doubts on whether the mill was closed for the reasons publicly given by the present owners. I share those doubts. on the basis of the last available balance sheet and of the cotton that has been bought and on the grounds alluded to by my right hon. Friend in his answers to the hon. Member's questions. The hon. Member is right in saying that the trade unions have shown anxiety on this matter, but I do not think they have communicated with the Board of Trade about it. I have, however, observed from the Press the anxiety of the trade unions and their fear of the effects upon employment. That is naturally their concern, and, I need hardly add, ours too. According to statements in the Press, the trade unions recognised that the owners were legally entitled to do what they did. It could not, of course, have been prevented without legislation, and we cannot discuss legislation today.

What the hon. Member will wish me to do is to consider how far the fears of the trade unions and the workers are likely to be realised, and particularly the effect on employment. I am glad that the hon. Member started his speech by not being alarmist on that score. He was quite right. The Granville Mill employed 306 workers—171 men and 135 women and girls—but in September, 1954, vacancies in the North-West Region in cotton spinning and doubling were 5,330 compared with 1,490 unemployed. If we take spinning, weaving and doubling together the figures were 7,875 vacancies and 2,321 unemployed. Put more vividly, there were some 3½ vacancies for every person unemployed.

Mr. Hale

I think the Parliamentary Secretary knows that, while his figures are perfectly correct, and I do not challenge them, they are misleading in this respect. When we drive 25,000 people out of the industry and they get employment in some other industries, they are still in employment and therefore not unemployed, but they never return to the cotton industry. If people are driven by insecurity to some other employment—and they can still find employment with firms like Ferranti and A. V. Roe Limited—they are lost to the industry and their technical skill is lost, as well as their interest and security, and it is our lamentable experience in the cotton industry that we never get them back. In fact, we have gone from 750,000 in 1918 to 230,000 today.

Mr. Strauss

I was only giving the statistical facts, but I should be distressed indeed if I did not think that these men and women had not only good prospects of employment but also good prospects of work in their own industry. That is the point with which I wish to deal. Although I have the actual figures of total unemployment in Oldham, in view of what the hon. Gentleman said at the beginning of his speech, I will not trouble the House with them.

Perhaps I might say in passing that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Fuel and Power has given me a note on the Wood Park Pit. He could not himself give me the answer to the question raised by the hon. Member on this subject, but my hon. Friend noted the views expressed by the hon. Gentleman and will write to him.

Mr. Hale

I am much obliged.

Mr. Strauss

On the question of those previously employed in Granville Mill, I have been in communication with the department of the Ministry of Labour concerned, and I am informed that no employee of this mill is signing the unemployment register. Passing for the moment from the question of employment to other possible effects—and this was quite rightly mentioned by the hon. Member—we must also consider the effect on production. The average weekly yarn output of the Granville Mill was 60,000 lbs., which is about 0.3 of 1 per cent. of the output of Lancashire. The total production of the industry in the week ended 30th October, 1954, was 20.95 million lbs., which is the highest output since the 1952 recession, though it is below the peak 1951 figure.

One limiting factor in this field has been the shortage of labour, which has in fact prevented the increase being as large as it might have been. In these circumstances, the closure of a mill, particularly one that is equipped with old machinery, does not necessarily have a bad effect either on the stability of employment—though I admit the immediate disturbance—or on production in the industry, because the labour is made available for employment in other mills in the district at which labour is short and which may be equipped with more modern machinery.

The view that neither employment nor production need necessarily be adversely affected by this decision, whatever its cause, and I am not arguing about the cause, is shared by expert opinion in Lancashire. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman saw what appeared in the Trade Notes of the "Manchester Guardian" on 22nd October, but perhaps the hon. Gentleman will not mind my reading to the House a paragraph or so, in order to put the House in possession of the facts. This is what it said: It was perhaps to be expected that the trade unions in cotton spinning would have something to say about the decision to close down the Granville Mill at Oldham, but the statement which they made yesterday should not be taken as indicating that it is necessarily a cause for regret to all the parties concerned when a mill changes hands and its new owners decide to cease production. What frequently happens in such circumstances is that the workers released enable other mills in the district to bring their labour forces up to the levels which allow them to produce with greater economy and efficiency. The shortage of workers is still such that many mill managers cannot staff all the machinery which they would like to operate, and when one mill is stopped the workers have little difficulty in finding employment elsewhere. The next paragraph deals with production, and perhaps I may read the concluding sentence: Fifteen or twenty spinning mills have been closed down since the beginning of 1952, but this has not prevented total output from reaching the level which was recorded then. I would say to the hon. Member that I share his doubts about the validity of the reason given publicly for the closing of this mill, but, in examining the effect, I see no reason to think that it will have a bad influence either on employment or on production.

On the various financial transactions which the hon. Member mentioned, I would say that these preceded the introduction of the 1954 Finance Act. My recollection coincides with that of the hon. Member as to what was said on this subject last year and in previous years by his colleague who preceded me at the Board of Trade, the hon. Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Rhodes). As regards the transaction in June of this year, as far as I am able to see, that has nothing whatever to do with tax evasion, but I shall see that everything that the hon. Gentleman said on that matter is considered by my hon. Friend at the Treasury. I think I have covered the points with which the hon. Member has dealt, and I hope I have been able to satisfy him.

12.50 p.m.

Mr. James Hudson (Ealing, North)

I do not wish to detain the House or the Minister on this matter. I could not expect the hon. and learned Gentleman to give a further reply after the statement he has made so effectively on the matter raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale), about which I wish to say a word or two.

I am interested in Lancashire, having been brought up there. I was a teacher in the area where these mills and mines to which reference has been made are situated. I know something about the unemployment in that area in the earlier period when cotton mills were closed on such a large scale. I am not a bit moved by listening to the learned economics put forward with the authority of the trade columns of the "Manchester Guardian" about the general consequences of the sort of thing my hon. Friend has raised.

I think the Minister has admitted that, even if it is true, in some long run—often it is a very long run—the production comes round to a level to make up for the closing of individual mills. But in that area the population becomes fairly static after a period of years in which the people have grown accustomed to work in those mills and expected to be there for the rest of their lives. The uprooting of these people is possibly not mentioned in labour exchange figures, as they may have got jobs in a favourable labour market, but that work may be far away from their homes and the difficulties raised for them may be very great indeed. All that should be taken fully into account by us when we discuss these problems, even if the "Manchester Guardian" does not take al that fully into account. The hon. and learned Gentleman has said that he is going to make careful inquiries into what has been done about this mill.

The point I wish to raise is a matter to which no Minister can reply. The only person I can think of who can give a reply would be yourself, Mr. Speaker. I want to comment on the way in which the Order Paper is drafted and the inconvenience to which hon. Members are put by the arrangements made for Friday's business. I am saying this now to allow the Minister to get away if he wishes; I do not want to detain him any longer. Here we are on the last Friday of this Session with a list of Bills on the Order Paper.

You may be able to tell me, Mr. Speaker, that I have been long enough in the House to know the rules and to understand this Order Paper in such a way as to save myself inconvenience. But I am a suspicious sort of child, despite the fact that I have tried to learn the rules of the House and to consult the Whips about what is to happen on a Friday——

Mr. Hale

That is where my hon. Friend makes a mistake.

Mr. Hudson

I do the best I can to understand these things. All through the year on every Friday I am warned that there is a Bill called the Licensing (Airports) Bill which is to be discussed in the House of Commons. This Bill first appeared in February of this year. It was moved and seconded on the nod. No one made a speech about it and I began my speech in opposition. That seems now to be in the dim and misty days of antiquity. Everyone must have forgotten what my speech was. I began it in February and repeated it Friday after Friday. You yourself on one occasion forgot that I was in possession of the Floor of the House and expected the matter to be finished with, but there I was. I have been there ever since.

Although I do not want to imperil the rights of Private Members who, under this arrangement, have the opportunity to have their Bills put down on succeeding Fridays throughout the Session, it is, however, rather inconvenient for one hon. Member, like myself, who began a speech and has continued it by instalments Friday after Friday to be hanging about here and still at the bitter end of a long Session on a Friday when all have fled—not even can I expect the Minister to remain—I have to be here on the assumption that possibly something might happen with regard to the Order Paper.

I know that on behalf of the parties the Whips discuss what the business is to be but they are not altogether sure about what is to happen. They know, as I know, that on five succeeding Fridays for some reason or other this matter came up again. It has meant that an hon. Member who is concerned about a Bill, even if for no other purpose than to oppose it—as he has the right to do—has to be here Friday after Friday keeping a watchful eye to see whether this Bill of a very objectionable character introduced by only two or three hon. Members——

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member should know that once the Adjournment of the House has been moved his vigil is at an end. There is no further need for his attendance because, on the Adjournment, it is not possible to discuss legislation. I think the hon. Member has so far obeyed that rule in regard to this Bill, but this is not a good occasion on which the hon. Member should continue the speech, in which he has been so often interrupted.

Mr. Hudson

It is on that point that I wish for your further guidance, Mr. Speaker. I was aware that until the Adjournment came I was not safe. I was listening to the business of the day, although not taking part, ready for what might have happened. When the Adjournment came, as you have pointed out, I was safe. The matter cannot go further, but I put it to you that there is some understanding that on the Adjournment an hon. Member can raise almost anything. I was hoping that on the Adjournment I might raise this matter very briefly. I am certainly not going to hold you up. I sympathise with you, as I was suggesting by implication that you should sympathise with me in the long wait I have had on this issue.

There ought to be a clearer arrangement, either by means of the Order Paper or some other means, by which Private Members responsible for a Bill could indicate the particular days to which it is postponed in order that they might be here to be challenged and those opposing might be here to oppose. For lack of that, I suggest to you that even this morning—at least up to the Adjournment debate—hon. Members concerned about the matter have had to wait.

I only make that protest. There is no one to reply to it except, perhaps, the Whips department. At times I rather suspected that the Whips were playing a game with these three Private Members. When they were not here to say when their Bill would be taken next someone or other on the benches opposite—I suggest at times the Whips department—indicated a day later in the Session when the matter could be discussed. At any rate it has been kept alive without the presence of any of the hon. Members who brought the Bill in and it is still with us at the bitter end of the Session.

It has kept me here constantly watching and ready to continue the long speech I started last February. I am sure you will sympathise with me when I suggest that another look should be taken at the process by which the Orders of the House are arranged. Hon. Members should know more clearly what is to take place in regard to Bills appearing on the Order Paper.

Question put, and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at One o'Clock.