HC Deb 30 May 1956 vol 553 cc305-23
(1) Any person who uses on a road or causes or permits to be so used a motor vehicle to which this section applies and as respects which no test certificate has been issued within the last twelve months, or such shorter period as may be prescribed, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds, or in the case of a second or subsequent conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months.
(2) The motor vehicles to which this section applies at any time are those first registered under the Vehicles (Excise) Act, 1949, or the Roads Act, 1920, not less than ten years before that time: Provided that this section shall not apply to public service vehicles adapted to carry eight or more passengers, to tramcars, to trolley buses, or to vehicles of such classes or descriptions as may be prescribed, and the Minister may by order made by statutory instrument provide that this section shall apply only to vehicles for the time being registered as aforesaid with such councils as may be specified in the order.
(3) The Minister may by order made by statutory instrument direct that the last foregoing subsection shall have effect with the substitution for ten years of such shorter period as may be specified in the order. An order under this subsection shall not have effect unless approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.
(4) The Minister may by regulations exempt from subsection (1) of this section the use of vehicles for such purposes as may be prescribed.
(5) The Minister may by regulations provide that where application is made for a licence under the Vehicles (Excise) Act, 1949, for a vehicle to which this section applies, the licence shall not be granted except after production of a test certificate relating to the vehicle and issued within twelve months, or such shorter period as may be prescribed for the purposes of subsection (1) of this section, before the date from which the licence is to be in force.
(6) In this section the expression "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations of the Minister, and the power to make regulations conferred by this section shall be exercisable by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.—[Mr. Warkinson]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Watkinson

I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.

This new Clause deals with the second part of the Bill and concerns the compulsory testing of motor vehicles. The first new Clause we have dealt with deals with the establishment and running of testing stations. This Clause sets out what vehicles must be taken to those stations and at what intervals and the sanctions for non-observance. I will remind the Committee of the main points of the Clause. Subsection (1) makes it an offence to use on the roads a motor vehicle to which the Clause applies and in respect of which no test certificate has been issued within the last twelve months.

Subsection (2) specifies vehicles which must undergo the tests and they are defined as vehicles first registered not less than ten years ago. It is only intended to start with the provision for vehicles older than ten years and it is the policy progressively to expand the field in which a much large number of motor cars will eventually fall under the test requirements.

Subsection (2) exempts public service vehicles adapted to carry eight or more passengers and trams and trolley buses, because the road-worthiness of those vehicles is dealt with under existing legislation. It enables me to exempt by regulation vehicles of specified classes or descriptions and to restrict the testing to vehicles registered at the material time with specified local taxation authorities.

That enables the system of testing to be made compulsory by stages and by selection. For example, it would be possible to apply it first only to private cars or to goods vehicles up to a certain weight and to exempt all other classes. The purpose is to make the provisions flexible and to bring in the testing of vehicles at a reasonable speed so that the testing stations may be able to cope.

Mr. Ernest Davies

Will the right hon. Gentleman make clear whether goods vehicles are to be included in the inspection? I think that this is the first time it has been suggested that goods vehicles would be subject to the testing.

Mr. Watkinson

Because of the capacity of the testing stations, I think that at first the testing will have to be restricted to private cars. I wish to consider the question of including some light goods vehicles. It may be possible that they can be, or are, covered in other ways. The right answer to the hon. Gentleman is that at present the intention is to restrict the testing to private cars.

There are one or two other classes of vehicles which may have to be exempted. For example, there are vehicles temporarily imported into the country by tourists. There are also vehicles of special types, such as bulldozers. The subsection is one which makes the whole thing flexible.

Subsection (3) enables me to make the testing compulsory for vehicles of such an age less than ten years as I may specify in the future. By this subsection, I am enabled to widen the scope. The other points contained in this Clause are technical points. Subsection (4) enables me to exempt vehicles which have been laid up and must go for a test before they can again be licensed. Subsection (5) makes the issue of the vehicle Excise licence dependent on the production of a current test certificate. This link with the Excise licence is desirable to ensure that a vehicle is submitted regularly for testing. Subsection (6) provides that the regulations made under this Clause, as in the case of those made under the first Clause, will be subject to the negative Resolution procedure and will have to be brought before the House.

The Clause as a whole is widely drawn to enable the maximum flexibility to be exercised in its operation. It is intended to bring in the private motor car over ten years old, but the Clause is so drawn that, as we make progress with the scheme, we can make cars of a lesser age subject to the test, if we so desire. I am given full powers to examine classes of vehicles or vehicles not subject to the test and to deal with special cases such as vehicles which have been laid up and must come for a test before they can be licensed, and other special matters of that kind. The Clause does not meet one or two of the points brought forward by the hon. Gentleman opposite, but no doubt they will be raised in the form of Amendments.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I gather that if one wishes to make any general comment about the Clause, now is the opportunity to do so. I was interested to hear the Minister say that he had not made up his mind whether goods vehicles are to be included in the test. The reason for omitting goods vehicles is, I think, because there already exists spot checking of goods vehicles to some extent. But it is not a great extent, and I hope that the Minister will consider carefully the question of the large number of trade vans over ten years old which are on the roads and the danger they may present. They would seem to be as great a danger as the private motor cars.

Before he comes to a decision, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will review that aspect to see whether it may be desirable to include goods vehicles.

Mr. Watkinson

The Clause includes goods vehicles. They are not barred, but I will consider carefully the point which the right hon. Gentleman has raised.

Clause read a Second time.

Mr. David Jones (The Hartlepools)

I beg to move, in line 9, at the end to insert: and those which are sold after the coming into operation of this section and were first registered as aforesaid not less than three years before that sale". With your consent, Sir Charles, it might be convenient if, with this Amendment. we discussed the other two Amendments in the names of myself and my hon. Friends, namely, in the same line, at the end to insert: and (on the occasion of a sale and for twelve months thereafter) those which are sold after the coming into operation of this section and were first registered as aforesaid not less than three years before that sale". and in line 16, after "years", to insert: or for three years, as the case may be The Minister has drawn the Clause fairly widely and seems to be making an effort to deal with most of the difficulties which arise by reason of faulty vehicles being on the roads. In my opinion, the first thing the Minister should have tackled is the trafficking which goes on in second-hand cars. That is the reason why a great number of defective second-hand vehicles find their way on to the roads.

We consider that the 10-year age limit is too high. A vehicle which has been driven hard for ten years is usually in a parlous condition. Judging from the vehicles which one sees on the roads today, many are in a bad condition long before they are ten years old. I listened to the argument advanced earlier by the hon. and gallant Member for South Angus (Captain Duncan). The hon. and gallant Member said that he had a car which was 18 years old and which was better than many modern cars.

Captain Duncan

It is safer.

Mr. Jones

The Minister has not included in this Clause a proviso that vehicles, when they are sold, must be examined, and that if the vehicle changes hands again a year or so later there should be a further examination before it is allowed on the road.

We need only look at the daily Press to realise that there are a number of unscrupulous dealers who are prepared to take advantage of people with little experience of cars and to sell to them vehicles which are in a very bad condition.

A large number of the defects which have been discovered at Hendon were probably unsuspected by the owners. I do not charge the owners with having wilfully driven a car with headlights which were out of focus, nor do I suggest that the majority of drivers drive a car which has not effective brakes. After all, their own lives are in peril. That being so, how much more difficult is it for the man procuring a second-hand car for the first time to be quite sure that that vehicle which he purchases from the dealer has efficient brakes, properly focused headlights and all those other things which, unless effective, are a danger to the unsuspecting pedestrian.

6.30 p.m.

For those reasons, special steps ought to be taken by this Clause to ensure that when a car changes hands it must at least have had a test and have been given a test certificate within three years, and that if that vehicle is sold a second time it should have a further test before the second sale takes place. If those precautions were taken, I believe that the number of accidents on the road would be minimised and that the number of people taking out cars which are defective in essential things would be reduced. If I may borrow a phrase used by the Minister in connection with another subject which we discussed not many weeks ago, he would, by accepting this Amendment, "put teeth" into the Clause.

The Minister has not been too forth-coming about the Amendments which have so far appeared on the Notice Paper. Nor was his predecessor, when we spent a considerable time in Committee trying to achieve the best we could get. There are no politics in this at all. We are all subjected to the dangers arising from the ever-increasing traffic on the highway. Those who, like myself, have more often than not to be pedestrians because we cannot be otherwise are probably subjected to a greater danger than are those sitting behind a lethal weapon which is travelling on the roads. If the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to accept the principle here involved he will put teeth into this proviso which will at least be a substantial effort towards reducing the number of unsatisfactory vehicles on the roads.

Mr. Watkinson

I am very anxious to put teeth into the whole of this Measure because, as the hon. Member for The Hartlepools (Mr. D. Jones) very rightly and fairly said, there are no politics in this matter. The whole House desires to make a contribution to road safety by the passing of this Bill. I therefore looked very carefully into these related Amendments, which, I think it fair to say, all really try to do the same sort of thing in general—to impose a certificate on the sale, and. in some cases, on the resale, of a vehicle. Perhaps I might deal with them in very general terms.

First, I should say that at the moment we do not entirely lack powers to deal with this problem. If the purpose of the Amendments, as I am sure it is, is to see that unfit cars are not sold or resold, that purpose is already substantially met by the provisions of Section 8 of the 1934 Act which are proposed to be extended by Clause 6 of this Bill. That Section penalises the sale or supply of vehicles which do not comply with certain statutory requirements. We are not, therefore, without some powers in this matter against those who are deliberately trying to sell an unsafe or unsatisfactory article and those putting it on the road when it is a danger to other people.

One big difficulty, as I think everyone will agree, is that the addition of this class of vehicle to the numbers to be tested would add enormously to the task. It is difficult at this stage to form any firm opinion as to how rapidly we shall be able to deal with the vehicles which are over ten years old. If we add to that number the quite large numbers of cars which change hands after they are three years old it will probably mean deferring for a considerable period the coming into operation of the Clause and the whole operation of the scheme itself. I am very anxious to make a start as soon as we can. If we had to cater for all cars over ten years old plus an unknown number of cars which would have to be tested because they were changing hands after they were three years old it would inevitably delay the coming into operation of the whole scheme.

There is another difficulty, and I think it is a fair one. If these Amendments—or some modification of them—were accepted it would enforce on the seller a duty to have and to produce a test certificate. That might well be misunderstood by the public. As has already been said, the test certificate would only say that the car was satisfactory as regards certain specified things such as steering, lights, brakes, tyres, and so on. It is certainly not a general guarantee that the car is in all degrees roadworthy and satisfactory—or, indeed, a good bargain. For example, it will have no relevance to the condition of the engine, to much of the condition of the bodywork and the like. The certificates might well be misunderstood and might, I think, do something to bring them into disrepute—a thing which I am sure we are anxious should not happen. We are anxious to have them regarded as being very fair and accurate for the limited purpose for which they are intended.

I am advised that a difficulty also arises as to enforcement with reference to the actual day of sale in the case of vehicles bought under hire-purchase agreements. I am advised that there are also serious difficulties of enforcement arising from the need to identify a particular vehicle on the road as one which had been sold in circumstances which brought it within the requirements of the test. I quite accept the general principle that we ought to do all we can to make this Clause bite as hard as possible. I say again that there are certain powers—which will be improved by this Bill—available under the 1934 Act which meet the extreme case of the man who deliberately sells a defective vehicle.

I must also repeat that there are great difficulties of enforcement which might tend to some extent to bring the whole idea into disrepute. The suggestion put forward would undoubtedly increase the delay in bringing the scheme into operation by including for test a very large and unknown number of vehicles. Whilst I accept and, indeed, welcome the motives which have caused the hon. Gentleman to bring forward these Amendments, I think that for the reasons I have given I should advise the Committee not to accept them.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I very much regret that the Minister has not been able to accept this Amendment. When the principle of compulsory testing was accepted in Standing Committee, and now at this present stage, we had to decide to which cars that principle should apply. It would obviously be desirable, if it were practicable, to test all cars at the same time. Everyone agreed that that was not possible and that only certain types or categories of cars could in the first place be subjected to compulsory testing.

The proposal relating to cars over ten years old came from ourselves. We were trying to put forward a practical proposal. To keep the numbers down we said that this provision should apply to cars which are ten years old or more and cars which change hands after they are three years old. It seemed to us that there was particular force in applying the provision in the first place to those two categories only. The case for including cars ten years old and over is obvious. But there is a similarly strong case with regard to cars which change hands after they are three years old. If it were easier and the Minister would accept the suggestion, I would suggest four years.

Human nature being what it is, we know that a person wants to sell his car when he is dissatisfied with it. He says, "It is about time I got a new car." That does not mean that the vehicle is seriously defective in any way. It means merely that its performance is not so good as it was, that perhaps the steering is loose, that the brakes are not as good as they were and that the traffic indicators are not working well. It is often an indication that the performance of the car is not what it ought to be. It often means that the car has reached a stage when the expense of keeping it in good repair is becoming burdensome, and, therefore, the owner decides to sell it.

We suggest that, when that happens, it would be a strong case for having the car tested for road safety. This is almost as important a category of car, from the point of view of road safety, as the category of car which is ten years old. The two things ought to be taken together.

One objection of the Minister to this proposal is that it would add to the total number of cars which have got to be tested in the first place. We do not know how many cars there are. I do not think that the Minister knows how many ten-year-old cars there are on the roads. We do not know how many cars change hands after they are three years old. It is guess-work on anybody's part, and, therefore, it is impossible for the Minister to say that there will be too many cars for the first operation. He does not know how many there will be.

Clearly, the fewer cars there are, the easier the operation will be. If we were to apply the scheme to cars twelve years old instead of ten years old, there would be fewer cars still. The number of cars which are ten years old and which change hands after they are three years old will be as many as any comprehensive system of testing stations throughout the country will be able to deal with reasonably well. Until the Minister can give us some figures to disprove that contention, he has not made out his case.

What are the other arguments that the right hon. Gentleman puts forward? He says that there are already powers included in Clause 6 which make it illegal for anyone to sell a car the standard of fitness of which is below a certain level. But that is no protection at all. I wonder how many prosecutions took place last year under the 1934 Act? I am sure there were very few. We know from the Hendon tests that most of the cars tested are fairly good cars but that 75 per cent. of them have defective headlights and 50 per cent. have defective steering. The protection afforded by Clause 6, which makes it illegal to sell cars in a dangerous condition, does not bite on this proposition. We say that when a car is sold, it should undergo this general test of roadworthiness.

The right hon. Gentleman's last argument was that people will think that if a car has passed the road safety test at a testing station, the car will be in good condition in all respects, and that that would be misleading the public and the purchaser would think that the standard of the engine and everything else was high. That is assuming an extraordinary lack of intelligence on the part of the public.

Such a certificate would mean nothing of the sort. Everybody will know that when a car changes hands a certificate will have to be issued from the road testing station saying—and it would say only this—that the car has been tested from the point of view of steering, brakes and lighting, and that in those respects only has it passed the test. That would not mean anything else. I do not think that anybody would assume that it meant the engine was in a perfect condition. The purpose and the effect of such a certificate would be quickly understood by the public. There is nothing in that argument.

6.45 p.m.

It is no use asking the Minister to think again in this matter. I am sure he has made up his mind. He is making a great mistake in not including among those cars which have to be tested in the first place the type of car which appears to us ought to be tested from the point of view of road safety, just as much as the car which is ten years old. We feel strongly about this matter. The Minister is missing a great opportunity to help to keep down road accidents, and when it comes to the right time we shall vote in favour of the Amendment.

Mr. Watkinson

I do not think that I shall cause the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. G. R. Strauss) to change his mind, but he asked me whether I had any estimate of the number of cars older than ten years which will be affected by this proposal. This figure can only be very approximate, but, as far as I am advised, private cars over ten years old which will fall to be tested will amount to more than 1½ million. If we include motor cycles and goods vehicles to be tested, the number will be about 2 million.

The task is already fairly formidable. If we were to add some unspecified million transactions, it would be a very formidable task indeed. I think it would be wise at present to adhere to the procedures that are laid down and try to make a good job of the cars over ten years old.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Is the right hon. Gentleman not assuming that the number of cars that change hands is much higher than it probably is? I do not know what the figures are. I think the right hon. Gentleman suggested that more than a million cars over three years old change hands every year.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Perhaps I may add some informaton. We talk rather glibly here about cars, but there are also commercial vehicles and motor cycles, so the total number of vehicles is much greater than merely the number of cars. I have always understood from trade circles that the number of sales of second-hand vehicles is about 1,800,000 per annum. Knowing, as we do, that there are 6 million vehicles on the roads, and assuming that they change hands about once every three years, that figure of 1,800,000 is not out of the way. One would expect there to be about 2 million sales a year.

Taking out of account those which are less than three years old—

Mr. Strauss

And over ten.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

—and over ten, one comes at once to a figure which would be somewhere well over I million. Therefore, this proposal is adding a very substantial figure to the 1½ million or 2 million which are to be tested every year. In that case, it would be impracticable to demand that another million vehicles should be added for testing purposes.

Mr. Oliver

Most of us, I am sure, are in sympathy with the point of view expressed by the Minister, that this large number of cars coming to be tested would probably make the scheme unworkable. But if the Minister is in favour of the principle, is there anything to prevent him specifying an appointed day for the operation of this scheme when opportunity presents itself? That would show that the Minister is really concerned about the second-hand car market.

There is no question that if one wants to find a defective vehicle, the Warren Street kerbside market would be a very good place to find one. In the main, they are sold because they are defective. I am not suggesting that the defect is always in the brakes or the tyres. I know full well that there are other parts of a car which are defective and that cars are sold for that reason, but I cannot believe that the Minister can accept the penalty Clause as having any retarding influence on the sale of defective vehicles.

It would, I am sure, be very interesting if the Committee could have some idea of how many prosecutions have taken place under this particular Section which he quotes. I venture to suggest there have been very few indeed. We want something positive. We want the Minister to do something to ensure that cars, when they do change hands, change hands in a safe condition.

We all recognise that we cannot deal with the 1½ million or 2 million vehicles which change hands every year until the scheme is launched, but I would beg of him to show quite clearly that he is in sympathy with the intention of this Amendment by accepting it and passing it, perhaps with some deferring words, which would mean that on some appointed day this provision could come into operation.

Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)

I hope that my right hon. Friend will not be persuaded, either now or at any future time, to accept the proposal contained in this Amendment. I myself think that the age of ten years is quite high as a limit to set. A good many cars get into quite bad mechanical condition before they are ten years old, and I should hope that, as soon as the initial rush has been absorbed, it would be possible gradually to lower the age from ten to a smaller number of years.

The proposal which is put forward in the Amendment has the disadvantage that it will greatly slow down that process by diverting the testing facilities in a haphazard manner. Some cars may change hands many times, and quite frequently, and they would have to be tested each time they changed hands. Other cars, on the other hand, would remain in the same ownership for ten years, not being tested at all. I should think it was a pity, testing capacity being the limiting factor, that it should be dissipated in a haphazard fashion rather than being concentrated upon the flat rate, universal testing of ageing vehicles which will gradually take all vehicles into its care. I therefore hope that my right hon. Friend will resist this Amendment and use his testing resources to the best effect.

Mr. Frank McLeavy (Bradford, East)

I ask the Minister to reconsider this matter. What we are asking is that the Minister should at least take power, so that if and when the time arrives when it is possible to deal with this type of second-hand vehicle, he will be able to exercise that power, first of all in the interests of public safety, and, secondly, in order to prevent many decent people being swindled by those who sell cars under false pretences.

After I had spoken on this matter in Committee, I had a letter from as far away as Glasgow, from a person who had been badly bitten in buying a motor car. The hon. Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. R. Bell) may laugh, but it is not an isolated case; there are thousands of people who have purchased cars, honestly believing those cars to be in proper running order, and have found themselves in a very difficult position, having to meet a lot of expense, when they have tried to put them on the road. I know of one instance near where I reside; a chap bought a car over 12 months ago, in that same belief that he was buying a roadworthy vehicle, and he has not yet got it fit for the road.

It is reasonable, both in the interests of public safety and for the protection of decent people from being rooked by those who are speculating in this type of broken-down car, that there should be

this provision in the Bill. While I appreciate that, in the initial stages of the inspection and testing scheme, it would not be possible to meet this situation, surely, in three, four, five or six years' time, when the scheme is well under way and the Minister is advised by his Department that the testing stations could deal with the sort of second-hand vehicles to which he has referred, then if he had the power in the Bill he would be able to extend this further protection to the community.

I ask him very sincerely to reconsider this matter. There are many people who are dealing in second-hand cars in the way I have described. I would ask the Minister at least to give some hope that the public will, in the future, be given some protection from that undesirable type of trader through the exercise by the Minister of the power which we now ask him to put into the Bill.

Mr. Watkinson

I merely want to say, in answer to the hon. Member for Bradford, East (Mr. F. McLeavy) that I have carefully thought of that. As we make progress, I really think it will be fairer to continue the universal testing of cars, taking them at lesser ages as time goes on, thereby keeping the testing stations going on that basis, rather than bringing in this quite new consideration of testing cars on sale and resale. I think that, by that process, based on the figures I have given and those which my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Gresham Cooke) from his expert knowledge of the industry has given, we really shall have as big a job as we can hope to tackle in the future.

Question put, That those words be there inserted:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 176. Noes 218.

Division No. 197.] AYES [6.57 p.m.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Burke, W. A. Darling, George (Hillsborough)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Burton, Miss F. E. Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)
Anderson, Frank Butler, Herbert (Haokrey, C.) Deer, G.
Awbery, S. S. Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Delargy, H. J.
Bacon, Miss Alice Callaghan, L. J. Dodds, N. N.
Balfour, A. Champion, A. J. Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmweh)
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Clunie, J. Dye, S.
Benson, G. Coldriek, W. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.
Beswiok, F. Colliok, P. H. (Birkenhead) Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Corbet, Mrs. Freda Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Blackburn, F. Cove, W G. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)
Boardman, H. Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Cronin, J. D. Fernyhough, E.
Brockway, A. F. Crossman, R. H. S. Finch, H. J.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Cullen, Mrs. A. Forman, J. C.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Dalton, Rt. Hon, H. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)
Gibson, C. W. McKay, John (Wallsend) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Gooch, E. G. McLeavy, Frank Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Greenwood, Anthony Mahon, Simon Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Malialieu, E. L. (Brigg) Skeffington, A. M.
Grey, C. F. Mann, Mrs. Jean Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Hamilton, W. W. Mason, Roy Snow, J. W.
Hannan, W. Mellish, R. J. Sorensen, R. W.
Hastings, S. Messer, Sir F. Sparks, J. A.
Hayman, F. H. Mitchison, G. R. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Moody, A. S. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Herbison, Miss M. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Holmes, Horace Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.) Sylvester, G. O.
Houghton, Douglas Mort, D. L. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Hoy, J. H. Moyle, A. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Hubbard, T. F. Mulley, F. W. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Thornton, E.
Hunter, A. E. Oliver, G. H. Timmons, J.
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Oram, A. E. Tomney, F.
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Orbach, M. Viant, S. P.
Irving, S. (Dartford) Oswald, T. Warbey, W. N.
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Paget, R. T. Weitzman, D.
Janner, B. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Jeger, George (Goole) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) West, D. G.
Johnson, James (Rugby) Palmer, A. M. F. Wheeldon, W. E.
Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Pargiter, G. A. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Parker, J. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Parkin, B. T. Wigg, George
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Paton, John Wilkins, W. A.
Kenyon, C. Pearson, A. Willey, Frederick
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Williams, David (Neath)
King, Dr. H. M. Probert, A. R. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Lawson, G. M. Proctor, W. T. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Ledger, R. J. Pryde, D. J. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Rankin, John Winterbottom, Richard
Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Redhead, E. C. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Reeves, J. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Logan, D. G. Reid, William Zilliacus, K.
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
MacColl, J. E. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
McGhee, H. G. Ross, William Mr. Short and Mr. J. T. Price.
Mcinnes, J. Royle, C.
Agnew, Cmdr P. G. Chichester-Clark, R. Gresham Cooke, R.
Aitken, W. T. Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Grimond, J.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Conant, Mal. Sir Roger Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)
Alport, C. J. M. Corfield, Capt. F. V. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Craddock, Berestord (Spelthorne) Hall, John (Wycombe)
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Crouch, R. F. Harris, Reader (Heston)
Arbuthnot, John Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)
Armstrong, C. W. Cunningham, Knox Harvey, Air Cdr. A. V. (Macclesfd)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Currie, G. B. H. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Baldwin, A. E. Dance, J. C. G. Hay, John
Banks, Col. C. Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Barber, Anthony Deedes, W. F. Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.
Barlow, Sir John Dodds-Parker, A. D. Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Barter, John Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Baxter, Sir Beverley Doughty, C. J. A. Hill, John (S. Norfolk)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Drayson, G. B. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) du Cann, E. D. L. Hirst, Geoffrey
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Holland-Martin, C. J.
Bidgood, J. C. Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Horobin, Sir Ian
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Duthie, W. S. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Howard, John (Test)
Bishop, F. P. Errington, Sir Eric Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Body, R. F. Erroll, F. J. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.
Boothby, Sir Robert Farey-Jones, F. W. Hughes-Young, M. H. C.
Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Fell, A. Hurd, A. R.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Foster, John Hyde, Montgomery
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale) Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Freeth, D. K. Iremonger, T. L.
Bryan, P. Garner-Evans, E. H. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T. George, J. C. (Pollok) Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Butcher, Sir Herbert Gibson-Watt, D. Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Glover, D. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Campbell, Sir David Gower, H. R. Johnson, Eric (Blaokley)
Cary, Sir Robert Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Joseph, Sir Keith
Channon, H. Green, A. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot
Kaberry, D. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Keegan, D. Nield, Basil (Chester) Stevens, Geoffrey
Kerby, Capt. H. B. Noble, Comdr. A. H. P. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Kershaw, J. A. Nugent, G. R. H. Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Kimball, M. Oakshott, H. D. Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Kirk, P. M. O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Studholme, H. G.
Lagden, G. W. Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D. Summers, G. S. (Aylesbury)
Lambton, Viscount Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.) Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Leavey, J. A. Page, R. G. Teeling, W.
Leburn, W. G. Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Partridge, E. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Peyton, J. W. W. Thompson, Lt.-Cdr.R.(Croydon, S.)
Linstead, Sir H. N. Pickthorn, K. W. M. Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.
Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) PlIkington, Capt. R. A. Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Pitt, Miss E. M. Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Pott, H. P. Touche, Sir Gordon
Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Powell, J. Enoch Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
McK ibbin, A. J. Prior-Palmer, Brlg. O. L. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Raikes, Sir Victor Vane, W. M. F.
Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster) Redmayne, M. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Remnant, Hon. P. Vosper, D. F.
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Renton, D. L. M. Wade, D. W.
Maddan, Martin Ridsdale, J. E. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Walker-Smith, D. C.
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Robertson, Sir David Wall, Major Patrick
Markham, Major Sir Frank Roper, Sir Harold Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Marlowe, A. A. H. Russell, R. S. Whitelaw, W.S.I.(Penrith & Border)
Marshall, Douglas Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Maude, Angus Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Maudling, Rt. Hon. R. Shepherd, William Wood, Hon. R.
Medlicott, Sir Frank Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Woollam, John Victor
Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R. Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Molson, A. H. E. Soames, Capt. C.
Moore, Sir Thomas Spearman, A. C. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Nairn, D. L. S. Speir, R. M. Mr. Godber and
Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.) Colonel J. H. Harrison.

Question put and agreed to.

Mr. Oliver

I beg to move, in line 11. after "passengers", to insert: to hackney carriages licensed by the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolitan Police District under the provisions of the Metropolitan Public Carriage Act, 1869". Perhaps the Minister will be good enough to explain the position in respect of the vehicles referred to in the Amendment.

Mr. Watkinson

I shall be glad to do so. The position is, I think, quite properly met. Under the proviso to subsection (2) of the new Clause, I shall have power to exempt by regulation any classes or descriptions of vehicles prescribed in the regulations, including the description of vehicles mentioned in the Amendment. I have, therefore, the power to exempt them.

I shall, of course, be favourably inclined to exempt any vehicles which I consider are adequately covered in other ways. Taxis and some other classes of vehicles which are already subject to an annual examination of such a nature and carried out by such an authority that it can be accepted as at least as sufficient as the test which I am proposing will certainly come within the exemption category.

Under these provisions, taxis in many other places besides London may well be exempted. Indeed, it would be unfair to exempt London taxis alone. In short, I have the power to exempt these vehicles provided I am satisfied, as I should be in the case of taxicabs, that the annual examination which they undergo is at least as stringent as the one that I am proposing.

Mr. K. Thompson

Will this arrangement apply to great provincial cities which have a similar process of examination as the Metropolitan area?

Mr. Watkinson

Yes, certainly, it will. It will certainly apply to the great city of which my hon. Friend is a representative, provided that the examinations are of a similar nature.

Mr. Oliver

I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause be added to the Bill.

Mr. Ede

In my youth I was often a witness of horse-coping deals, which were often marvels of ingenuity entailing reprehensible statements being made, the veracity of which was demonstrated to be non-existent the moment that the transaction had been completed. Judging by what I have heard in the discussion on the new Clause, it would seem that although horse coping has almost disappeared, the sale of secondhand cars appears to have taken its place as an example of reprehensible ingenuity on the part of some members of the community.

I wish to express my satisfaction that the penalty to be imposed is limited. My fear with regard to the whole Bill has been that the penalties now proposed are often likely to be so heavy as to scare the people who will have the duty of reaching the decision after which a penalty may be imposed. In this new Clause, in spite of any temptation which there may have been to impose high penalties, it seems to me that the penalty is so reasonable that there should be no difficulty about the persons who may have to reach the decisions being scared off making the right decisions because of the fear of the penalty that might afterwards have to be imposed.

I can only hope that some of the other penalties in the Bill will be scaled down so as to bring them within the same feeling of certainty, because the great thing in these cases is to make the possible offender feel that conviction is certain If prosecution is undertaken. At the moment, a good many people escape their just deserts because those who have to reach decisions fear that the punishment afterwards imposed may be too heavy.

Clause added to the Bill.