HC Deb 14 June 1956 vol 554 cc786-803
Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)

I beg to move, in page 18, line 6, after "out", to insert: or to seek directly or indirectly to give effect to or by any method whatsoever to enforce or secure the performance of

Mr. Speaker

It occurs to me that this Amendment might be discussed with the next Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher), in page 18, line 6, at the end to insert: (whether any such agreement or arrangement has been made by such persons or others)".

Mr. Fletcher

I agree, Sir, that it would be convenient if the two Amendments were discussed together, just as they were during the Committee stage. In effect, they deal with precisely the same point because, as Clause 19 is constructed, the first part deals with supplies and the second part deals with dealers.

We had a substantial debate on this matter during the Committee stage. The House will recollect that we on these benches regard this Clause, and indeed all of Part II, as being in many respects the crux of the Bill. That is because it is in Part II that the Government are seeking to give effect to the majority recommendation of the Monopolies Commission for the total prohibition of collective resale price maintenance.

We welcome that decision, but our criticisms of the text of the Bill are directed to improving it because, as we pointed out in Committee, we do not think it goes far enough. The Government have professed their intention of prohibiting totally collective resale price maintenance, and these Amendments have been put down again on the Report stage because, at the end of the Committee stage, the President of the Board of Trade, who appeared to have been impressed with the suggestions we made to him, gave an undertaking in response to suggestions made by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) and myself that he would examine before the Report stage the suggestions we had made.

In fact, the President said that the Amendment which I am now moving would be the test of many things. I agree entirely with that observation. Indeed, we think that these Amendments are the acid test of the sincerity of the Government in taking the necessary steps effectively to prohibit collective resale price maintenance in this country.

You will observe, Sir, that, as the Royal Commission pointed out, there have been hitherto four major methods by which resale price maintenance is enforced in this country. There is the collective boycott, there is the stop list, there are the private courts, and there is the prohibition of entry into trade associations. There may be various minor methods—indeed, there may be some methods which have not yet been discovered—by which collective resale price maintenance is enforced. The only specific condemnation in Clause 19 as it stands is of the collective boycott. There is no express condemnation either of the stop list or of the private court, still less of the very potent sanction of joining a trade association or withholding the right to join such an association.

In our previous discussions, and particularly during the Second Reading debate, the Parliamentary Secretary excused the absence of what we regard as necessary provisions by saying that, by implication, the stop list and the private court were banned. Indeed, he said that if we had any doubt about it we need only regard the observations of the traders to see what they thought about it. However, we were not satisfied. We think that, if the Government are serious in this matter, they should by express provision prohibit every possible method by which, after this Measure has been passed, directly or indirectly, collective resale price maintenance may emerge within the sanction of the law.

Therefore, the object of the Amendment is to provide specifically that it should be an offence under the Act if traders seek directly or indirectly to give effect to, or by any method whatsoever seek to enforce or secure the enforcement of, the activity which it is our intention to prohibit.

4.30 p.m.

It would be churlish not to say that in a moment we shall be considering a series of Amendments which have been put down by the President of the Board of Trade as a result of suggestions which we made to him in Committee. For example, I observe that he has Amendments in page 18, to lines 8, 15, 19, 21, 27, 32, 34, 35, 36, and 39 which are no doubt designed by him to give effect to the suggestions which we made. He has introduced specific words which, for example, prohibit the stop list and the private court and many of the other obnoxious methods by which in the past collective resale price maintenance has been carried on and which have been so universally condemned by public opinion.

It would be churlish not to express our gratitude for his conversion to our point of view and it would not be understandable if we were not to claim the credit for having succeeded in our efforts considerably to improve the draftsmanship of this all-important Clause. Without in any way wishing to be patronising, I am sure that I am speaking for all my hon. Friends in saying that the President of the Board of Trade has gone a long way in his efforts to meet us. For example, in page 18, line 27, he has substituted—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)

We are discussing only two Amendments at the moment. The others will come later.

Mr. Fletcher

That is perfectly right. We are discussing only two Amendments, but it is impossible effectively to criticise those two Amendments, without making some oblique comments on the subsequent Amendments which the President will agree are designed to carry out the intention we had in mind in putting down these Amendments. If the President of the Board of Trade thinks that his Amendments have any other object, he will no doubt say so, but it is necessary to refer to them to sustain the argument which I wished to address to the House to show why, satisfactory as they are to the extent to which they go, they do not go far enough.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

If we can have a list of the Amendments to be discussed now, when we come to them we need not discuss them again.

Mr. Fletcher

I do not know whether the President of the Board of Trade will agree, but no doubt he will be moving the Amendments in page 18, lines 6, 8, 15, 19, 21, 27, 29, 32, 34, 35, 36 and 39. I think that the right hon. Gentleman will agree that those Amendments are put down because of the criticism which we made in Committee. They are his attempts to meet the points we then made. It is necessary to refer to them only in order to point out that, satisfactory as they are to the extent to which they go, they do not go far enough to meet our criticism. I do not know whether it would be convenient to mention them now.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Is that the wish of the House? I am in the hands of the House. Am I to understand that when we get to those Amendments, they will not be discussed then?

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I do not think that the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) is making more than a passing reference to these matters. It is entirely a matter for the convenience of the House, but I think that what he would wish to do is to take merely the two Amendments we are now discussing. If he wishes to deal with the others at the same time, we could quickly pass on and deal with them en bloc. Perhaps it would make for a tidier debate if we handled it in that way.

Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Leicester, North-East)

We are concerned only to save time. I do not want to take up time by making a speech on not taking up time. It would be convenient if we could deal with the Amendments altogether and you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, could put them formally without further debate.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Certainly, as long as I understand what is happening.

Mr. Fletcher

I am sure that you will not misunderstand me, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if I say that no one will guarantee that anyone will understand what is happening in this House. One can only do one's best. As an illustration, we put down an Amendment in page 18, line 6, to introduce the words: (whether any such agreement or arrangement has been made by such persons or others) as the Bill in its original form did not meet the case that there might be third parties to an agreement who would seek to enforce it.

There might be trade associations which had nothing to do with the agreement, but which, nevertheless, had very real power in securing the observance of an agreement which was bad in itself. Unless there were some such words to impose sanction on persons not parties to an agreement, the agreement could nevertheless be enforced. The President of the Board of Trade has thought it more desirable to introduce precisely these words in line 21 where he wants to insert: (whether party to the agreement or arrangement or not) I have very carefully examined the right hon. Gentleman's drafting, and on that point his Amendment is as good as mine. It meets the point and I am very glad to find that as a result of the suggestions we have made the right hon. Gentleman has gone a very long way to improve the Clause and to close the many gaps and loopholes in it which we exposed in Committee.

Having said that, it is necessary to add that we still do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has gone far enough. If he is really serious, as we hope that he will be, in meeting our claim that every gap and loophole should be closed in this attempt to prohibit collective resale price maintenance and its enforcement in any way whatsoever, whether the method has been used in the past or not, it is necessary that in line 6 there should be really effective words prohibiting any attempt directly or indirectly to give effect to the agreement which is being prohibited.

I cannot understand why that simple Amendment has not been accepted. The President, it is true, is prepared to put in the Bill words which, as I understand them, are designed to make it impossible for there to appear again those secret trade courts which have been such a serious menace to traders and caused so much victimisation, not only to persons who have made agreements, but also to persons who have not made agreements, but who have, by these clandestine methods, been prevented from carrying on an honest trade and earning an honest living.

There are still other ways by which attempts may be made to enforce collective resale price maintenance, unless we are careful. There is, for example, the very potent weapon of withholding membership from a trade association. Everybody knows how valuable in a great many industries it is that there should be that membership and one knows of the hardships and penalties which are imposed on persons who are excluded from that membership. We think, therefore, that it is essential to have written into the Bill not only the additional safeguards which the right hon. Gentleman, at our suggestion, is accepting, but also the omnibus provision— or seek directly or indirectly to give effect to these vicious practices which are now being condemned. It is for those reasons that I beg to move the Amendment.

Mr. A. J. Irvine (Liverpool, Edge Hill)

I beg to second the Amendment.

The President of the Board of Trade, when this matter was discussed in Committee, expressed himself as being attracted by the proposal to deal with … the case where one group of people is seeking to enforce someone else's arrangement."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th May, 1956; Vol. 552. c. 1023.] The Amendment so comprehensively moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) would deal unmistakably with that case. I cannot see in any of the Amendments which the President has put down that that case is dealt with. It is surely perfectly plain that the Amendment in line 8, after "dealers" to insert: (whether party to the agreement or arrangement or not) goes no distance at all towards the object which we have in mind.

What is prohibited under the Bill is an agreement between suppliers for certain purposes. The question whether or not the dealers who are affected by the agreement are parties to it is quite secondary to the loophole which we, in the Committee stage, were endeavouring to stop up. Therefore, I would ask the Minister to be good enough to say what is the correct position. Is it that, having investigated the proposals to which he said he was attracted, he has come to the conclusion that they are not well-founded, or is there somewhere else, in the Amendments put down by the Government, an Amendment which meets this point?

If there is one thing which is perfectly clear about the Bill it is that the moment it becomes law there will at once be any number of attempts made by all kinds of people in all sorts of quarters to discover ways round, under and through its provisions. I should have thought that it was a very likely event that one trade association would come to the aid of another trade association to enforce the first association's agreements. It seems to me that there is a loophole in that part of the Bill.

I would add only one sentence to what my hon. Friend has said on the other point. It appears that there is an Amendment to deal with the case of the stop list as one of the methods available to enforce collective price maintenance, so that takes its place with the collective boycott in the matters specifically dealt with by the Bill. As my hon. Friend has pointed out, exclusion from a trade association does not come into that category and is nowhere subsequently dealt with, and so long as that is so, it would seem that there is an obvious defect in the Bill in that respect.

4.45 p.m.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

It may be convenient if I mention the Amendments additional to the two which we are discussing with which I wish to deal. They are in page 18, lines 6, 8, 15, 19, 21, 27, 29, 34, 35. 36, and 39. I think that it would be convenient if I dealt with these as a block.

As the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) said, the object is to tauten and strengthen Clause 19, and the inspiration is derived from speeches from both sides of the House, and not least the hon. Gentleman's own eloquence during the Committee stage. I make no apology for that. It is part of the job of the House of Commons that we should get ideas and criticism from all sides and try to interpret them as best we can.

It would be tempting to get out of one's difficulty by putting in words like "directly or indirectly," but I have been told, having studied this matter very carefully with my advisers, that those words would add absolutely nothing to the Bill. They would neither strengthen it nor alter it. They would not alter the words "carry out" in any way whatsoever. So we cannot get rid of our difficulties or answer the criticism which the hon. Gentleman himself made quite as simply as that, and we have to get down to the rather harder task of trying to spell out in the Bill just precisely what is intended in order to stop any loophole that may exist by explicit provisions laid down by statute. So we have tabled these Amendments.

Our object is to prohibit the collective enforcement of retail price maintenance. Of course, any manufacturer can withhold his own goods but he cannot agree with other people to withhold his goods or their goods. The addition of the words "by which they undertake"— which is the first Government Amendment—make it plain that two or more persons must be doing the enforcement if they are to be within the mischief of this Clause.

That brings me to the rather difficult problem of the wholesaler. An agreement by a wholesaler not to sell the manufacturer's goods to price cutters is outside the scope of the Bill. It is outside the scope of the Bill because it is a mere extension of the manufacturers' own right not to sell his goods to price cutters. Subsection (3, b) is, therefore, unnecessary, and we propose to delete it. It reads: a contract for the sale of any goods which relates exclusively, to those goods. It is plain that this subsection is not necessary because such an agreement was not covered by the earlier subsection.

What we must prevent, however, is the case of a ring maintaining its prices by electing to sell through a single wholesaler. The first three lines of the proposed new paragraph (c), which catches that particular case, read: to supply goods only to persons who undertake or have undertaken to withhold supplies of goods, or to refuse to supply goods, as aforesaid … There are a few additional Amendments. The addition of the words in brackets, to which the hon. Member referred, (whether party to the agreement or arrangement or not) makes it plain that the collective boycott of retailers cannot be used, even if they are members of the agreement.

The remaining portion of the new paragraph (c) spells out in terms which are perfectly plain that the fine and the private court are not permitted. It is, I think, true to say that they would probably fall under the provisions of the Bill, because there would be no basis upon which they could be sustained; but I do not propose to argue that point again now. The fact is that we have preferred to spell out the fact that in this connection, the collective enforcement of resale price maintenance, the fine and the private court are not permitted. I think it is better to put that absolutely plainly in the Clause.

Lastly, there is the redraft of subsection (4), to which I draw the attention of the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. A. J. Irvine). I am not relying on the earlier wording (whether party to the agreement or arrangement or not) but the redraft of subsection (4), which goes a little further than the original wording, makes it clear that it is unlawful for either a trader by himself or an association to recommend the withholding of supplies, no matter to whom the recommendation is made. That is to say, if an association elects—or is used—to come forward and by its recommendations to seek collectively to enforce resale price maintenance over another area—such examples can be found or thought of—that is caught as well.

In sum, that is the effect of the Amendments. I am not saying that one can ever be completely satisfied that one has stopped up every loophole or dealt with every possible form of evasion, but I consider these Amendments to be a substantial advance on the Clause as originally drafted. I am very much indebted to Members on all sides of the House for the suggestions which they have made, which have helped us in preparing Amendments of this kind. If the Amendments are adopted it will be a much better Clause, and I hope that the House will accept them.

Mr. A. J. Irvine

I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that the proposed subsection (4) is designed to deal with the case of one trade association enforcing a restrictive agreement which is entered into by another. Would he not agree that the fact that the sanction there is confined to recommendations by that other enforcing trade association very much limits its effect when the enforcing trade association has the power, not merely to recommend in such a matter, but to compel action under its own rules?

Mr. Thorneycroft

There are only two ways in which it could effect the enforcement. One would be by withholding supplies, in which case it would be caught anyway; there would be no trouble about that. The difficulty that the hon. Member pointed out before, which is a very real point, is that there could be cases where, although those concerned have no real connection with the business, recommendations might be made to seek to persuade others not to cut their prices. There could be cases of that kind. If people are withholding goods, surely they must clearly be caught by the Clause as at present drafted.

Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)

We shall certainly not resist the Amendments which the President of the Board of Trade is proposing. They are an admission of the validity of our criticism, not merely in Committee but also on Second Reading, that the alleged ban on collective resale price maintenance was not complete. At that stage, the Parliamentary Secretary ridiculed that criticism, but the President has really admitted it.

We said that it was not sufficient to prohibit enforcement by a collective boycott. What the President is now saying is that he is attempting, by his Amendments, to prohibit collective enforcement of any kind, whether by boycott or in some other way. He has chosen to do it because he thinks the only possible way of doing it is by spelling out all the possible forms of collective enforcement that there might be and prohibiting them eo nomine, as the late Sir Stafford Cripps used to say, in the wording of the amended Bill; and we accept the right hon. Gentleman's Amendments.

We still make the criticism of the Bill, however, that we should have preferred to make it perfectly plain, as we have attempted to do, perhaps not ideally, in our Amendment, that collective resale price maintenance enforced collectively by any method should, beyond question, be prohibited by the Bill.

The trouble about the President's method of spelling out each of these devices is that in perhaps a year, or two or three years, after the passing of the Bill, a trade association or possibly a lawyer will think of a method which has not yet occurred to the President. Therefore, we are not entirely satisfied. Although we think that the President's method is an improvement, and while supporting his Amendments, we shall, in order to establish the principle of the complete ban, nevertheless continue to press our own Amendment.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill: —

The Committee divided: Ayes 181, Noes 240.

Division No. 218.] AYES [4.57 p.m
Ainsley, J. W. Grimond, J. Parker, J.
Albu, A. H. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Paton, John
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hamilton, W. W. Pearson, A.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Hastings, S. Peart, T. F.
Awbery, S. S. Hayman, F. H. Plummer, Sir Leslie
Bacon, Miss Alice Healey, Denis Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Baird, J. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Probert, A. R.
Balfour, A. Hobson, C. R. Proctor, W. T.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Holman, P. Pryde, D. J.
Benson, G. Holmes, Horace Randall, H. E.
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Holt, A. F. Rankin, John
Blackburn, F. Hubbard, T. F. Redhead, E. C.
Blyton, W. R. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Reeves, J.
Boardman, H. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hunter, A. E. Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Irving, S. (Dartford) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Bowles, F. G. Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Ross, William
Boyd, T. C. Janner, B. Royle, C.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Brockway, A. F. Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs,S.) Short, E. W.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Jones, R. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield) Shurmer, P. L. E.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Burton, Miss F. E. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Skeffington, A. M.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Kenyon, C. Snow, J. W.
Callaghan, L. J. Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Sorensen, R. W.
Castle, Mrs. B. A. King, Dr. H. M. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Chetwynd, G. R. Lawson, G. M. Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. (Ipswich)
Clunie, J. Lee, Frederick (Newton) Stones, W. (Consett)
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Straohey, Rt. Hon. J.
Collins, V.J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Cove, W. G. Lewis, Arthur Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Swingler, S. T.
Cronin, J. D. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Crossman, R. H. S. MacColl, J. E. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Cullen, Mrs. A. McGhee, H. G. Thornton, E.
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. McKay, John (Wallsend) Timmons, J.
Darling, George (Hillsborough) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Turner-Samuels, M.
Davies, Rt. Hon. Clement (Montgomery) Mahon, Simon Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Davies, Harold (Leek) Mallalleu, E. L. (Brigg) Usborne, H. C.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Mann, Mrs. Jean Viant, S. P.
Delargy, H. J. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Warbey, W. N.
Donnelly, D. L. Mason, Roy Weitzman, D.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwoh) Messer, Sir F. West, D. G.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Mikardo, Ian Wheeldon, W. E.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mitchison, G. R. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Monslow, W. Wigg, George
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Moody, A. S. Wilkins, W. A.
Fernyhough, E. Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.) Willey, Frederick
Fienburgh, W. Moss, R. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Finch, H. J. Moyle, A. Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Fletcher, Eric Mulley, F. W. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Forman, J. C. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Oliver, G. H. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Oram, A. E. Woof, R. E.
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Orbach, M. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Grey, C. F. Oswald, T. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Owen, W. J. Zilliacus, K.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly) Padley, W. E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Palmer, A. M. F. Mr. G. H. R. Rogers and Mr. Deer.
Agnew, Cmdr. P. G. Barlow, Sir John Bossom, Sir Alfred
Aitken, W. T. Barter, John Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.
Alport, C. J. M. Beamish, Maj. Tufton Boyle, Sir Edward
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Braine, B. R.
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathooat (Tiverton) Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.
Arbuthnot, John Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry
Armstrong, C. W. Bidgood, J. C. Brooman-White, R. C.
Ashton, H. Biggs-Davison, J. A. Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.
Atkins, H. E. Biroh, Rt. Hon. Nigel Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Bishop, F. P. Burden, F. F. A.
Baldwin, A. E. Black, C. W. Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A. (Saffron Walden)
Balniel, Lord Body, R. F. Campbell, Sir David
Barber, Anthony Boothby, Sir Robert Carr, Robert
Cary, Sir Robert Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Howard, John (Test) Partridge, E.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Pickthorn, K. W, M.
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Cooper-Key, E. M. Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Pitman, I. J.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark(E'b'gh, W.) Pitt, Miss E. M.
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Pott, H. P.
Crouch, R. F. Hyde, Montgomery Powell, J. Enoch
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H. Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Iremonger, T. L. Profumo, J. D.
Cunningham, Knox Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Raikes, Sir Victor
Currie, G. B. H. Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Ramsden, J. E.
Dance, J. C. G. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Rawlinson, Peter
Davidson, Viscountess Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Redmayne, M.
Deedes, W. F. Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green) Renton, D. L. M.
Dodds-Parker, A, D. Joseph, Sir Keith Ridsdale, J. E.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Rippon, A. G. F.
Doughty, C. J. A. Keegan, D. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Drayson, G. B. Kerr, H. W. Robertson, Sir David
du Cann, E. D. L. Kershaw, J. A. Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Kimball, M. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Duthie, W. S. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Roper, Sir Harold
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Leather, E. H. C. Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
Eden,Rt.Hn.SirA.(Warwick&L'm'tn) Leburn, W. G. Sharpies, R. C.
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Shepherd, William
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
Errington, Slr Eric Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Erroll, F. J. Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Spearman, Sir Alexander
Farey-Jones, F. W. Linstead, Sir H. N. Speir, R. M.
Fell, A. Lloyd, MaJ, Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)
Finlay, Graeme Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Fisher, Nigel Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G. Stevens, Geoffrey
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Longden, Gilbert Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Fort, R. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Foster, John Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Studholme, Sir Henry
Freeth, D. K. Macdonald, Sir Peter Summers, Sir Spencer
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. McKibbin, A. J. Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Garner-Evans, E. H. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
George, J. C. (Pollok) McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Gibson-Watt, D. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Godber, J. B. McLean, Neil (Inverness) Thompson,Lt.-Cdr.R.(Croydon, S.)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.
Gower, H. R. Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Graham, Sir Fergus Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Green, A. Maddan, Martin Touche, Sir Gordon
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W.(Horricastle) Turner, H. F. L.
Hall, John (Wycombe) Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Tweedsmuir, Lady
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Markham, Major Sir Frank Vane, W. M. F.
Harris, Reader (Heston) Marlowe, A. A. H. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Harrison, Col, J. H. (Eye) Marshall, Douglas Vickers, Miss J. H.
Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Mathew, R. Vosper, D. F.
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Maude, Angus Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Mawby, R. L. Walker-Smith, D. C.
Hay, John Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Head, Rt. Hon. A, H. Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Moison, Rt. Hon. Hugh Waterhouse, Capt, Rt. Hon. C.
Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Morrison, John (Salisbury) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Mott-Radclyffe, C. E. Webbe, Sir H.
Hicks-Beech, Maj. W. W. Nairn, D. L. S. Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)
Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Neave, Airey Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Nield, Basil (Chester) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Oakshott, H. D. Wood, Hon. R.
Holland-Martin, C. J. O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Hope, Lord John Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
Hornby, R. P. Osborne, C. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Horobin, Sir Ian Page, R. G. Mr. Wills and Mr.Bryan.

Amendments made: In page 18, line 6, at end insert "by which they undertake".

In line 8, after "dealers", insert: (whether party to the agreement or arrangement or not)".

In line 15, at end insert: (c) to supply goods only to persons who undertake or have undertaken to withhold supplies of goods, or to refuse to supply goods, as aforesaid, or any agreement or arrangement authorising the recovery of penalties (however described) by or on behalf of the parties to the agreement from dealers who resell or have resold goods in breach of any such condition as is described in paragraph (a) of this subsection, or the conduct of any domestic proceedings in connection therewith.

In line 19, at end insert "by which they undertake".

In line 21, after "suppliers", insert: (whether party to the agreement or arrangement or not)".

In line 27, at end insert: or any agreement or arrangement authorising the recovery of penalties (however described) by or on behalf of the parties to the agreement or arrangement from such suppliers, or the conduct of any domestic proceedings in connection therewith".

In line 29, leave out from first "to" to end of line.—[Mr. P. Thorneycroft.]

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade (Mr. Derek Walker-Smith)

I beg to move, in page 18, line 32, to leave out "persons" and insert "individuals".

This Amendment is really consequential, in the sense that it raises precisely the same point as that to which the House agreed yesterday, in an Amendment in page 6, line 9.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 18, line 34, leave out paragraph (b).

In line 35, at end insert: (4) Subject to the provisions of this section, it shall be unlawful for any person carrying on business in the United Kingdom as a supplier of or dealer in any goods to make to any other person carrying on business as aforesaid any recommendation to act in such a manner that, if there were an agreement between those persons so to act, the agreement would be unlawful by virtue of the foregoing provisions of this section. In line 36, leave out from "association" to "as" in line 38 and insert: the members of which consist of or include persons carrying on business in the United Kingdom as suppliers of or dealers in any goods or representatives of such persons". In line 39, leave out from "business" to end of line 45.—[Mr. P. Thorneycroft]

Mr. Reader Harris (Heston and Isleworth)

I beg to move, in page 19, line 13, at the end to insert: (8) This section shall come into force on the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven. The reason for the Amendment is that Clause 32 states that the Bill will come into force as an Act one month after the Royal Assent. I assume that the Royal Assent will be given about the end of July, and that would mean that the Bill will come into force towards the end of August. I can well imagine the desire of the President of the Board of Trade to get things moving under Part I. I can imagine that he will want to get ahead with the appointment of the Registrar and the setting up of the Restrictive Practices Court. It may well be that under Part III, also, he wants to get ahead with the reorganisation of the Monopolies Commission.

I think that it would be very unfair to traders, trade associations and industrialists, however, if the Clause were to come into force within one month of the Royal Assent. The effect of Part II is to do away with the enforcement of collective resale price maintenance and to substitute therefor individual price maintenance. This will mean that a great deal of discussion will have to go on between manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, through their respective trade associations, and it will obviously be very difficult for all that to be done in the space of a month, especially having regard to the fact that that month is August, when many people are away on holiday.

It may be, as a result of those discussions, that manufacturers will desire to alter their conditions of sale. Many such conditions may apply to contracts which run over a 12-month period and many may expire on 31st December. I think it only fair that, before the guillotine falls on the collective enforcement of price maintenance, there should be an adequate period for the victims to prepare themselves.

Mr. Arthur Holt (Bolton, West)

They have had all this year.

Mr. Harris

It is not true to say that they have had all this year. Until the Bill has gone through its final stages, no one knows what the final form will be Although discussions may have started in many places, they cannot get going in earnest until after this Measure has been to another place. It would be unfair to expect collective enforcement agreements to be brought to an end within one month after the passing of the Bill and, therefore, this Amendment has been put down suggesting that this Section come into force from 1st January, 1957. I do not stick rigidly to that date, but I think it fair that there should be three or four months grace. I hope that the President will come some way towards meeting that request.

Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hillsborough)


Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Does the hon. Gentleman wish to second the Amendment?

Mr. G. Darling

No, Mr. Deputy-Speaker.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Then I call Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas, to move the Amendment in Clause 22, in page 20, line 32, to leave out from first "Commission" to the end of the Clause.

Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas

May I draw your attention, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to the Amendment to Clause 20, in page 19, line 35 and ask whether it has been overlooked? It is an extremely important Amendment dealing with the co-operative societies. It deals with a vitally important principle whether the Court should be made to enforce price maintenance arrangements which discriminate against persons who use the dividend system of payment, including, in particular, the co-operative societies. It is a matter of enormous public importance affecting 11 million people in the cooperative societies alone, and there are also the agricultural co-operatives which are involved.

We have had only one debate on this issue during the proceedings on the Bill, whereas other matters have been canvassed during Second Reading and so on. We concentrated the whole matter in one comparatively short debate. We attach the greatest importance to this matter and desire an opportunity to discuss that Amendment.

Mr. Walker-Smith

Before you address yourself to what has fallen from the lips of the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas), Mr. Deputy-Speaker, do I understand that we are now dealing with the Amendment in page 19, line 24? It has not actually been moved.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Yes. Before anything further is said, that Amendment must be disposed of. I am afraid that I missed it.