§ Mr. Renton
I beg to move in page 2, line 1, after "chairman", to insert "appointed by the Minister".
I suggest that this Amendment and the Amendment in line 2 be taken together. They are two small, simple drafting Amendments, the purpose of which is to make it clear beyond doubt that the chairman and members of the Generating Board are to he appointed by the Minister.
§ Amendment agreed to
§ Further Amendment made: In line 2, after "members", insert "so appointed".—[Mr. Renton.]
§ Mr. Renton
I beg to move, in page 2, line 20, at the end to insert "and".
I suggest that this Amendment be taken with the next Amendment, in line 22.
These are drafting Amendments consequential upon our having added the first new Clause to the Bill. The effect of adding the Clause is to make unnecessary the words, in Clause 2 (5, c), under which the Generating Board had a duty to pro-wide supplies of electricity for railway undertakers in accordance with Section 49 of the principal Act. That Section has now been repealed and those words are, therefore, neither necessary nor appropriate.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Further Amendment made: In line 22, leave out from second "Boards" to end of line 25.—[Mr. Renton.]
§ Mr. Renton
I beg to move, in page 2, line 32, to leave out from "Britain" to the first "for" in line 35 and to insert:and may provide supplies of electricity (whether in bulk or otherwise)".The Amendment has two separate purposes. The first is that it leaves out in Clause 2 (6, b), words which would require that when the Generating Board provides a bulk supply of electricity to anybody outside Britain it should be for distribution or use. We had some discussion about this in Committee, as perhaps the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) will remember, when we added the words "or use." But, on further consideration, we have reached the conclusion that both the words "for distribution" and the words "or use" 458 are unnecessary and indeed would be ineffective, because the person who is buying the electricity outside Great Britain is beyond the control of the House of Commons. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for us to legislate as to what that person might do with the electricity when he has bought it.
I hope that the right hon. and learned Member will accept that as the truer view of the matter. As far as the Scottish boards are concerned, the matter has already been correctly provided for in another context.
Secondly, the Government Amendment gives the Generating Board the power, which the Central Electricity Authority has under Section 1 (1, d) of the 1947 Act, to provide a supply to consumers direct from the grid without selling it first through an area board, but, of the course, the Minister's approval is required.
§ Mr. Palmer
Has the Minister taken into account the risk to the finances of the area boards that if too many of the large consumers are taken away from them and given to the Generating Board they may be put into financial difficulties?
§ Mr. Renton
Yes indeed, I was coming to that point. The hon. Member has practically taken the words out of my mouth.
We feel confident that it is necessary to legislate in this way because very few consumers take the supply direct from the grid. They are industrial consumers, apart from the railways, and they happen to require large blocks of power at high voltage. Therefore, it is appropriate that they should take it direct from the grid and not through the area board, where the voltage is broken down.
The second part of the Amendment complies with an undertaking given by my right hon. Friend the Paymaster-General to consider what could be done to meet a somewhat similar point raised in Committee by my hon. Friend the Member for Clitheroe (Mr. Fort), but a separate Amendment to cover my hon. Friend's point was found not to be necessary. It was found to be possible to kill two birds with this one stone.
§ Sir F. Soskice
We certainly think that the Bill in the form now proposed is preferable to its two previous forms. The 459 Amendment really reminds us of what was one of the most mystifying debates we had on the Bill. Originally, when it came before the Committee, it contained the words,… for distribution by that person or body outside Great Britain…I think that it was the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) who asked what that meant.
The Parliamentary Secretary said that he had a note from the Central Electricity Authority, the contents of which were not conveyed to us, and he added that, drawing on his imagination, he thought that it might mean something. Then he was pressed by the hon. Member for Kidderminster, who has given the Government so much assistance in the preparation and forward march on this Bill until it has reached its present form, and in a moment of desperation he asked the permission of the Committee to put in the words "or use." We still did not know what that was meant to do.
The Minister now comes here and says that he has discovered that both words do nothing, and therefore he asks the permission of the House to scratch them out. I think the whole House will feel under a great debt of gratitude to the hon. Member for Kidderminster. Apparently the Bill was meaningless, and it remained for the hon. Gentleman to point out to the Government that they were using language which they could not understand and which meant nothing. Striking out language which means nothing is obviously a useful exercise, and we commend the Parliamentary Secretary for embarking upon it and should like to join him in it. We congratulate him on disposing of verbiage which clutters up the Bill and does not add anything to its meaning.
§ Mr. Renton
I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, but I must point out that we have never been in any state of desperation. We have generally been in one of exhilaration, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) has contributed a great deal.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Maudling
I beg to move, in page 2, line 39, to leave out "electrical plant" and to insert: 460anything required by the Generating Board or by any Area Board for purposes of research or development or for the repair or maintenance of their equipment ".I think I am right in saying, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that the next Amendment to page 3, line 5, is consequential upon this one, unless you would prefer us to take them separately?
§ Mr. Maudling
I will endeavour then, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to explain the two Amendments.
The effect that they will have is to confine the powers of the Generating Board in respect of manufacture to manufacturing anything required by it or by the area boards for research, development, repair or maintenance. This is, broadly, a limitation of the manufacturing powers of the Board, though to a small extent it is an extension, and I will try to explain why.
The Bill as drafted enables the Generating Board to manufacture for use in this country its own plant. The Board does not do so, of course, but if the Minister agreed to a capital programme of the type necessary it would enable the Board to manufacture its own plant. This Clause restricts its manufacture of plant to the purpose I have already described. However, it extends the power of the Board to some extent in that it says the Board shall be able to manufacture anything without limitation required by itself or by an area board for the purpose of research, development, repair and maintenance. I think it will be generally agreed that this is a sensible way to tackle the question. One should not restrict it to plant, but should let the Generating Board or the area boards make anything they need for repair and maintenance work.
There was a good deal of discussion on this matter during the Committee stage, and many varying opinions were expressed. I think that there was general agreement with the proposition that if the Board is to maintain its equipment, it must have the power of manufacture necessary to maintain it. I do not anticipate that there will be any disagreement in the House to this Amendment in so far as it deals with research, development, repair and maintenance. I think that the disagreement will be with the limitation 461 of the power at present contained in the Bill to manufacture electrical plant as part of its initial capital equipment.
Of course, the Bill as drafted does not give the Generating Board power to manufacture for export, but it does give power to manufacture for home consumption—in other words, for its own requirements—because the electricity authorities are, practically speaking, the predominant consumers of electrical plant.
I think that I can analyse the arguments for and against this matter on these lines. It has been argued that the nationalised authority should be restricted in the way set out in the Amendment for several reasons. First, it is argued that nationalised industries are set up by Act of Parliament to carry out certain limited purposes. It is a normal thing for private enterprise, embarking on one form of manufacture, to spread into something quite different.
During the Committee stage I gave an example which my noble Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinehingbrooke) found somewhat frivolous. I cannot imagine why. It was actually that of a firm which started by manufacturing polish and finished predominantly as a manufacturer of containers and metal goods of all kinds. That is a normal development in the realm of private enterprise. However it is argued, and rightly, that this is not what should happen in the case of the nationalised industries. They should not have powers which would enable them to spread themselves beyond the initial purposes for which Parliament created them.
Secondly, it is argued that there is no need for these powers of manufacture because the existing industry in this country is capable of meeting all the manufacturing requirements of the nationalised industry for electrical plant.
Thirdly, it is argued that competition, should it arise, between the nationalised industry and private industry, might well be on an unfair basis because the nationalised industry can obtain its capital on easier terms than private industry can obtain its capital. Therefore, it is argued that such competition might be on an unfair basis.
462 Fourthly, it is argued that we must remember not only the importance of the home market for heavy electrical plant but the tremendous importance of the export market. In current conditions—and this is a serious argument—exporting electrical plant means being satisfied with exiguous profit margins in many cases. Consequently, to maintain their export position in a competitive market, it is argued that the home industry must have a secure base of home demand from which to operate. It is further argued that this might be undermined if the industry which is working at home and abroad is facing competition from the nationalised industry which concentrates only on the relatively easier home market, and has no power in the Bill to go beyond that and to export.
§ Mr. Palmer
Has the Minister any knowledge of the electrical manufacturing industry having complained, either to the Central Electricity Authority or to his own Department, that these powers have been used or are likely to be used?
§ Mr. Maudling
I cannot recall whether the manufacturers have complained to my Department, but certainly not only one, but several of my hon. Friends have represented this case. What I am trying to set out is the case that is made for restricting these manufacturing powers in the way which we are proposing to do.
§ Mr. du Cann
May I interrupt my right hon. Friend? Is it not unlikely that manufacturers would complain to a Minister who, it is known, would use his powers, such as they are, with discretion? Surely any complaint at this moment would be most unlikely.
§ Mr. Maudling
I do not follow the point of my hon. Friend's intervention. I am trying to deal with the arguments laid before the Committee and the Government on these matters.
To quote the contrary argument, it is argued that these powers of manufacture should be retained primarily to protect the industry against exploitation, and to enable it to protect itself if it feels that it cannot get the plant on proper and on fair terms. It has been said by hon. Gentlemen opposite that they regard this as a reserve power which, in practice. 463 would be unlikely to be used. The hon. Member for Cleveland (Mr. Palmer), in the course of the Committee stage, said that if he and his right hon. Friends intended to nationalise the industry they would not go about it in this way, which is an interesting statement of intention.
The argument against the Amendment is that of reserve powers—that it is necessary for the Generating Board to have these powers in reserve in case it finds that it cannot get the plant it needs for its purposes on reasonable terms. The counter argument to that is twofold: firs, that the situation is changed by the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Act which fundamentally alters the situation in which it could perhaps have been argued that the manufacturers could gang up against the Authority. It is argued that the position is fundamentally changed by that Act. Secondly, it is pointed out that in fact there is nothing to prevent the Authority buying plant from suppliers abroad if it is not satisfied with the quality or price offered by the home manufacturer.
Those are the arguments, as I understand them, in the opposing directions: the first four arguments I put in favour of restricting the activities in the manufacturing field of the Generating Board to what is set out in the Amendment, and the contrary argument—protection against exploitation—which is countered both by the possibility of imports and, more important, by the existence of the Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Act.
These arguments have been considered by the Government with care, and my noble Friend came to the conclusion that, on balance, the right thing was to include this Amendment which restricts the Generating Board to manufacturing for its own purposes or for the purpose of any area board anything it requires for research and development or for repairs or maintenance.
I have set out as fairly and fully as I can the arguments on both sides. I believe that they are arguments which balance one against the other and are serious arguments in either direction. After considerable thought, consideration and study by the Government of the relative issues, we have come to the conclusion that the right thing to do in this case is to submit this Amendment.
§ Sir F. Soskice
The Paymaster-General has made an extremely gallant effort to dissemble his profound sense of humiliation. He knows that my hon. Friends on this side of the House are extremely kind-hearted, or he would not even have tried it out. I think, however, that his effort failed, and this is about as humiliating a spectacle as the House has been treated to for some time.
The right hon. Gentleman repeated in a rather embarrassed fashion the trite and well-worn argument to which we listened in Committee from those hon. Members who have subscribed their names to the Amendment in order to add insult to injury. One has only to look at the names on the Order Paper. Headed by the name of the right hon. Gentleman, there follow the names of all the hon. Members who formed a kind of pressure group—I do not say this disparagingly; they are quite entitled to do so—which worried the life out of the Minister.
He repeated their arguments—arguments not in any sense new and not in any sense arguments which we were not completely used to and entirely conversant with; arguments which he himself knew and must have listened to, and I dare say used, in the past. He repeated them in the hope of persuading us that he had really changed his mind. I do not say that offensively to him. I know that Ministers do get into scrapes, especially when a Government is obviously creaking, groaning and tottering to its fall as this Government is.
It is really rather extraordinary, and may I add rather shocking, to listen to what the Minister said today and to contrast it with what he said in emphatic terms—terms of great emphasis and the utmost confidence—when he resisted this same Amendment during the Committee stage. It is, I think, within the rules of order to quote the actual words he used. In resisting precisely the same proposals to which he has capitulated today, he said:It seems to me to be one of the inherent powers of any commercial undertaking that it should have the power, if it so wishes, and a case can be made for it, to be in a position to manufacture the tools of its own trade. Constantly, in private industry, we see big companies making their own capital equipment and setting up their own workshops for the purpose.465 Then he said:I think it will be very difficult, in principle and on a proper approach to the nationalised industries, to take away from them in all circumstances all power to manufacture their own plant.Then, in order that there should be no doubt—[HON. MEMBERS: "Read on."] If hon. Members will wait one moment, if they can contain themselves—they should remember that we are not in Committee now—I will proceed. In order to remove all doubt about what he meant by that phrase, the right hon. Gentleman re-emphasised it a little later in his speech when he said:Our attitude to this matter reflects our attitude to the nationalised industries generally.I suppose that "our attitude" means the attitude of the Government who are supposed to be in control of the party opposite—We must give them the maximum degree of commercial freedom in order that they may work as efficiently as possible, and it is very difficult to see how we are to give the proper commercial freedom if we do not leave the Board free to manufacture its own equipment." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 7th February, 1957; c. 76–7.]Those were his words. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Read on."] I do not want to read the whole speech. It is a most admirable speech, as the Minister's speeches always are. May I make my point and then, no doubt, other hon. Members who seek to defend the Minister, who seek to rush to his rescue, however hard they badgered him before, may speak? I agree that he needs support now. The hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) may be able to help him as a kind of counterpoise to the harm he did before.
I wish to make the point that there is the Minister in charge of the Bill, presumably having thought out with his advisers what he considered to be in the public interest, presumably thinking that he was, I have no doubt, honestly and sincerely interpreting the view of himself and his colleagues with regard to what he describes as the proper approach to the nationalised industries. He, having taken a formal stand on that matter and —in two passages of his speech which are quite unequivocal and emphatic as to his view—having resisted the proposals, now accepts them.
In resisting the Amendment he says he understood that certain arguments were propounded and that the case was 466 well balanced, and now, as an act of graciousness, without compulsion and on his own momentum, he comes down in favour of the proposal he so contumaciously rejected before. This is not the sort of conduct we expect from a Minister.
§ Mr. Maudling
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman saying that it is not right for the leaders of a party or a Government to have second thoughts? May I suggest that this is rather a bad day for him to suggest that particular line?
§ Sir F. Soskice
I think it is a particularly good day for me to suggest that, because I have got the most perfect example of a vacillating, weak Minister giving way to pressure from behind that I have ever come across. I say that advisedly. If the Minister really thinks that he can come to the House and ask hon. Members on this side to accept it from him that having nicely balanced contrary arguments he, as a result of mature and profound consideration, on the whole thinks now that he would prefer to adopt the view of his hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster and his hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke), he is really asking us to believe far more than we are prepared to swallow.
The fact is that he has been bludgeoned by his own supporters since the Committee stage, and he has given in to them. He has got not a shadow of pretence to try to defend himself from that charge. That was the argument he advanced before; these are the arguments which he now says, having been deployed before in Committee when he rejected them, have now ultimately convinced him.
What is new in them? Did he not know them before? Did he discover, when listening entranced to the passages in the speech of the hon. Member for Kidderminster, that there was some hidden truth which the hon. Member had then revealed to him? Of course he did not. He knew perfectly well what the hon. Member was going to say. We could all have written his speech for him. We could not have delivered it with quite the same verve, which we all enjoy, but we could certainly have written it down on paper for the hon. Member, and so could 467 the Minister. The pressure group to which he has capitulated added nothing to his knowledge on this subject.
The fact is that the Minister, in duty bound to the public interest which he serves, took a stand on the matter. He considered it—I hope he considered it—with his advisers, and he decided what he thought was the proper form that the Bill should take and what powers should be vested in the Generating Board. The fact is, and the Minister cannot disguise it, that some of his own supporters—the most noisy of them, those who run round fastest, those who go farthest in worrying the life out of him—have got at him. I do not mean that in any unpleasant sense. Because they have brought pressure upon him, as they are perfectly entitled to do, the Minister has retreated from his stance. If ever there was a case of a weak Minister giving in to importunate followers, this is that case.
I should like to put this question to the Minister. With all the high reputation that he bears in the House—and, may I add in perfect sincerity, on both sides—does he really think that he can properly occupy the Government Front Bench in view of what he has done? Who are the Government today? Are they the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) and his friends, or are they the Paymaster-General and his colleagues? [An HON. MEMBER: "Who is the Leader of the Opposition?"] There is no doubt about who is the Leader of the Opposition. What is doubtful is who controls the party opposite. Evidence is beginning to appear that the people who control the party opposite are little pressure gangs which are slowly battering the Government to bits, and the sooner they recognise that fact and retire from office the better.
Vice-Admiral John Hughes Hallett (Croydon, North-East)
I do not propose to follow the remarks of the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice), because my intention was to confine myself to the probable effect of the Amendment. I do not entirely welcome it, although for reasons quite different from those of the Opposition. I have never made a secret of the fact that I do not believe that it is necessary 468 for this nationalised undertaking to have any power to manufacture plant, with, perhaps, the one exception of small parts that may be necessary for urgent running repairs.
I have never been in the least impressed by the arguments either that the various undertakings possessed those powers before they were nationalised or that the private industry would insist on similar powers in similar circumstances. It seems to me to be a complete non, sequitur to argue from that that similar powers must be transmitted to a great State-owned monopoly such as the one we are discussing. It is not accurate to describe it as a normal commercial enterprise, and nothing is gained by pretending that it is.
As was pointed out in Committee, in private business one has the sanction of failure and bankruptcy against imprudent activities. In industries which are subsisting on public funds, that sanction is absent and there is a risk of considerable waste of money if expensive new activities are indulged in. If, however, we must give the Generating Board some form of permissive manufacturing powers, I would have greatly preferred to see them hedged round with the sort of safeguard which my right hon. Friend proposed in Committee.
I, too, would like to quote from the Committee stage. Speaking during the third Sitting, my right hon. Friend said that he was hopingon Report to put down a Government Amendment limiting the power of manufacture of generating plant in this way, that the Board shall not exercise the power unless it is satisfied that the available facilities for obtaining plant required at a reasonable price are or may become inadequate."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, Standing Committee D, 12th February. 1957 c. 110.]I would have thought—I say this with great respect to my right hon. Friend and to my hon. Friends who have added their names to the Amendment—that that would have been an extremely effective safeguard against any rash enterprise by the publicly-owned industry. It has been hinted by the right hon. and learned Member for Newport that the new form of safeguard proposed in the Amendment owes its inspiration to my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), who certainly played a leading part in the discussion of this matter.
469 I rise to place on record my firm belief that the Amendment in its present form would pave the way to the very thing which my hon. Friend wishes to avoid. I believe that if there is any justice or gratitude, his descendants may live to see a statue erected to him as the progenitor of the State-owned heavy electrical manufacturing industry.
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
I should like to develop my reasons for making that remark. I am sure that my hon. Friend understands a great deal about the workings of private industry, but I am not so sure that he understands the things that activate the minds of people who are employed in big public concerns and paid from the public payroll. It is a mistake to suppose that people in public departments or publicly-owned industries are in any way influenced in their activities by political considerations. On the whole, I think, they are intensely bored by them. Therefore, if there is to be an urge by this publicly-owned industry to go into the manufacturing business—and I believe there will be an urge—it will not come from political considerations but from what is commonly called empire-building.
Perhaps I may enlarge on that a little. In every public concern, as in private concerns, one finds a certain number of men of exceptional ability and energy. Those men will always he seeking new outlets for their imagination, their energy and their ability. Hitherto, in the particular case of the electrical industry, that outlet has been found in the fact that the industry has been rapidly expanding. I firmly believe that the reason no advantage has so far been taken of the permission to manufacture electrical plant was due not to any restraint on the part of hon. Members opposite when they were in power, but simply to the fact that the people engaged in the industry were too busy to bother about it.
There may, however, come a time when this expansion slows down and stops. Nobody can say that that will not happen, however unlikely it may seem at the moment. It is when that times comes that I see this provision, in its present form, being used as the thin end of a very large wedge indeed.
470 I can imagine at some future time, when one of the younger of my hon. Friends, perhaps, is Minister of Power, he will be approached and be told that there is a prospect of a new and much more advanced form of generating plant. He will probably be told that it is based partly on work, say, from Czechoslovakia or somewhere, and also on a certain amount of work done by the Ministry of Supply, and it will be suggested to him that the time has come for the Generating Board to manufacture the plant.
He will doubtless be told that there are a hundred and one reasons why it would be unwise to entrust the task to private industry. He will be reminded that a certain power station which has been authorised and begun is no longer needed so urgently and, therefore, why not complete it in a new experimental form, even though that may involve spending, say, £1 million in constructing the necessary manufacturing plant round it.
We are all familiar with what is apt to happen on those occasions. Five years will pass, £10 million will have been spent. A wonderful new station will then be ready to go on the grid and there will be a great ceremony with masses of mutual congratulations and everyone will say what a marvellous job has been done. But let no one imagine that the manufacturing plant will then be closed clown. Nothing of the kind will happen. A lot of capital will have been sunk in it and many people will be working there. The Minister will be told that it is intended to build five more stations of a slightly different—
§ Mr. Nabarro rose—
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
I prefer to develop my argument. I dare say my hon. Friend will catch your eye later. Sir.
I was saying that the Minister will be told that a number of other stations, each slightly more advanced than the one before, are to be built. One of the curious things when Government Departments go into manufacturing industry is that everything made is always a prototype. That is one of the reasons they are so very expensive. This will be the way that a publicly-owned manufacturing industry will come into being, through the operation of this very Clause.
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
What greatly disturbs me is that this is something which can happen just as easily under a Conservative Government as under a Socialist or any other kind of Government, because the process by which it will come about has nothing whatever to do with politics or political philosophy.
Those, briefly, are the reasons I mistrust the Amendment in its present form. I hope that when the Bill goes to another place the Government will consider a slight change in the wording of the Amendment, with the object, on the one hand, of reducing the emphasis at present laid on research and development, and, on the other, imposing in some form a requirement on the Board that nothing whatsoever is to be made which can be done more cheaply by private industry.
§ Mr. Joseph Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I have much sympathy with what has been said by the hon. and gallant Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett). From time to time, I detected signs of his previous naval training showing through. On the point of substance, which was argued at some length in Committee, of whether the Generating Board should be allowed to manufacture plant or not, my own view would be influenced very considerably by how the Board raised its capital. I agree that at present it cannot be considered a purely commercial undertaking. If it raised its capital in the free market, there would be a much stronger case for saying that it should be allowed to manufacture its own electrical plant.
My principal reason for intervening is to ask some questions about what the Amendment means. We all know that in fact the Generating Board and the Minister will behave according to the canons of common sense and will impose some restraint on the sort of process outlined by the hon. and gallant Member for Croydon, North-East. Nevertheless, Parliament has a duty when it writes something into a Bill to see that it says what it means and does not rely on the interpretation of a board or a Minister.
At present, the Generating Board is limited to the power to manufacture electrical plant and electrical plant only. If 472 the Amendment is accepted, it will be able to manufacture anything it or any area board requires for the purposes of research, development, repair or maintenance of its equipment. Under that, it could certainly manufacture a large nuclear research station. It could manufacture screw-drivers. It could manufacture steel. All those, strictly speaking, can be said to be matters into which it was entitled to go under the heading of "for the purposes of research".
§ Mr. Grimond
It is then said that it could manufacture anything required for the repair and maintenance of its equipment. That seems to be exceptionally wide. Goodness knows what is required in the maintenance and repair of an electric power station. I should have thought that practically everything one could think of would be justified. If that was not enough, under subsection (7, b) the Board is empowered—I may be wrong about this and, if so, no doubt the Minister will correct me—to hire out electrical plant and electrical fittings which, strictly speaking, remain the Board's equipment and property.
We therefore have a further type of equipment for which the Board is empowered to manufacture anything which is needed for repair or maintenance.
§ Mr. Maudling indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Grimond
The Minister shakes his head, but why not? If the Board hires out a refrigerator, it still belongs to the Board. It is still electrical equipment, and surely the Board is entitled to manufacture anything which is required for its development, repair or maintenance. I do not set myself up as an expert on interpretation, but if I am wrong, I should be glad if the Minister would say so. It seems to me that the Amendment will give the Board wider powers than before.
§ Mr. Maudling
If the hon. Member looks at the second of the two Amendments, he will see that the power of manufacture is restricted to subsection (7, a).
§ Mr. Grimond
I am talking about paragraph (a). That will give the Board the right to manufacture anything for 473 research or development, or repair of its equipment. I may be totally mistaken, but I think that the only safeguard we have is the good sense of the Board—which I agree will be a safeguard—and, ultimately, the Minister, but I cannot believe that it is right for Parliament to leave the matter in this state.
§ Mr. Nabarro
The hon. Member was not a member of the Standing Committee in which long discussions took place on the contradistinction within the terms of the 1947 Statute between fittings, on the one hand, which include anything from a refrigerator to a ceiling rose, and plant on the other hand. The hon. Member's introduction of the suggestion that refrigerators might be made by the nationalised authority is quite wrong.
§ Mr. Grimond
If the hon. Member will forgive me, I did not say that. I said that refrigerators might be the property of the Board and might therefore be its equipment within the meaning of this Clause. If they were its equipment, the Board would be entitled to manufacture any, thing for their repair or maintenance.
I was not on the Standing Committee and it may be that this was cleared up. As I understand it, the duty of the House is to produce a Bill which can be read without reference to what went on in Standing Committee. I am only too willing to be told by the Minister that my points are entirely wrong and that when I say, if the Amendment is passed, the Board will have the power to manufacture the most elaborate instruments for research, I am talking nonsense. I may be, hut, on the face of it, that is the power we shall give the Board. I should be very glad—and there may be other hon. Members in difficulty about this—if the Minister would tell us exactly what the Amendment means if it does not mean that the Board is given very wide powers indeed.
§ Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes)
As I spoke in support of my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) in Standing Committee, I certainly want to register my thanks to the Minister for moving as far as this.
The right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) said that my right hon. Friend had apparently changed his mind. That is surely something which all hon. Members like. All hon. Members 474 appreciate it when a Minister makes a statement in Committee at the beginning of the discussion and then, at the end of it, says that after listening to the debate he is convinced that there are certain points of which he was not aware at the beginning and that he is, therefore, prepared to look at the matter and to put down an Amendment on Report, provided that we are prepared to withdraw our Amendment. That is what happened in this case.
I feel that this is carrying out what we all understand as proper democracy, namely, the reaching of a conclusion by discussion, and the feeling that whenever we elect a Government we do not necessarily expect them to carry on regardless of what matters may be discussed in the House or in Committee. It is almost a case of the pot calling the kettle black to talk about pressure groups forcing the Minister to take action with which he does not particularly agree.
§ Mr. Palmer
Is the process that the hon. Gentleman is describing what the Manchester Guardian refers to as "Ministers given a real pasting"?
§ Mr. Mawby
I do not always accept every word that the Manchester Guardian says. I do not regard all its arguments as facts. There have been many times when I have violently disagreed with points that it has put forward, and on this matter I claim the right to disagree with it.
In my speech in Committee I made it quite obvious, although I am not a member of one of the so-called pressure groups, that I feel that this is a matter of basic Conservative philosophy, and I believe that if we accept the Amendment we shall be doing a first-class job of work in making certain that the Bill embraces a proper Conservative philosophy.
§ Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)
The hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) has now given us the real reason for the Minister's retreat. It is a piece of dogma which the more extreme dogmatic Members of the party opposite have forced the Minister to accept and for which there are no arguments whatsoever from the point of view of public policy.
To say that during the Committee stage the Minister heard so many new arguments that he was persuaded, after much consideration, to change his mind 475 is absolute nonsense—and we all know it. No arguments were adduced in Committee of which the Minister was not already aware. All that happened was that the Government became rockier and rockier for other reasons, and felt that they had to make some concessions. They accordingly made those which they thought would do the least political harm and would be least harmful to the immediate interests of the country. In doing so, they have shown their own incapacity, the Minister's weakness, and the extremely weak position of the Government at the present time.
Leaving aside the question of Conservative dogma, it is difficult to see why a board should not have these powers. I would not object to some conditions being imposed along the lines suggested by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond). I do not accept the views of the hon. Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) that a board should be forced to raise upon the market all its finance for generating and distributing purposes. I should not object if a board were to go into the manufacture of plant on a large scale, if its relevant accounts were upon a separate basis and the finance were raised in the way suggested by the Leader of the Liberal Party.
As far as I can see, we are discussing the matter without reference to a number of factors. The hon. and gallant Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett) drew attention to an interesting development which he thought might arise from the Clause as it will appear if the Amendment is agreed to. As I listened to him, I could not see what was wrong with the possibility to which he referred. If the largest consumer of electrical plant, in the course of operating and generating electricity, develops ideas for its generation or transmission, I see no reason why it should not be allowed to go further and manufacture it.
What is it to do? I presume that the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) would like it to hand over these ideas for profitable exploitation by private enterprise. If it does develop such ideas—I do not think that is very likely, but the technology of electrical generation is moving so fast that it might—I 476 see no reason why it should not be allowed to manufacture the plant, at any rate initially. The very process referred to by the hon. and gallant Member seems to me to be an admirable one, because there are frequent occasions upon which the ideas for the development of plant originate with the users.
This applies to the machine tool industry, where the present situation is that all the decent tools which are not imported are manufactured by the users, because the industry is unable to supply them. I do not suggest that that is the case in the electrical generating industry, because the plant manufacturing side is technically efficient. Nevertheless, a board might have an idea for a new development, especially in nuclear power plant.
We must remember that, however efficient the manufacturing industry may be, it has recently come under the most severe condemnation from the Monopolies Commission, and it seems fair to draw the inference that this condemnation is based upon the fact that expansion in the industry is not going forward as quickly as the requirements of the home and export markets warrant.
Secondly, when considering the question of unfair competition, and especially the question of the position of the electricity boards and the way they raise their funds, we have also to remember the price arrangements which exist in the electricity plant manufacturing industry, which have to some extent the same sort of effect of protecting the manufacturers from competition, at any rate among themselves.
§ Mr. Arthur Holt (Bolton, West)
The hon. Member will remember that Lord Citrine did not disapprove of these restrictive practices.
§ Mr. Albu
I am reminded that although Lord Citrine did not disapprove of these restrictive practices, he had power to manufacture plant himself if he wished to do so. Having had the report of the Monopolies Commission, we are now proposing to remove from Lord Citrine or his successor the power to manufacture plant.
No great issue is involved here. There is not really any likelihood that the boards will go in for large-scale manufacture of plant, but it is monstrous that, with a Bill and an industry of this importance, and upon a matter of such 477 public importance—when we are dealing, on the one hand, with a public generating and distributing monopoly and, on the other, with a number of vast firms not subject to normal competitive conditions and having among themselves extensive price-fixing arrangements—and when the practical possibilities are so extremely limited, a small and ignorant pressure group should have forced a responsible Minister to make a change of this sort.
There are no real arguments for it, except, as the hon. Member said, on the grounds of Conservative dogma. If the country is to go on being ruled upon the basis of Conservative dogma we shall all go down to perdition. It is quite impossible. We have had government by Conservative dogma for the last four or five years, and it has led us into so many disastrous mistakes at home and abroad that it is time, as my right hon. and learned Friend said, for Ministers who are prepared to give way to this sort of pressure to get out.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Nabarro
I do not think that the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) has taken the trouble to read the OFFICIAL REPORT upon the extensive debates which we had on this topic during the Committee stage of the Bill. I do not propose today to attempt to repeat all the arguments which were deployed by my hon. Friends and myself. I do not think that it would be appropriate to do so. But I resent the hon. Gentleman and a number of his hon. Friends, including the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice), suggesting that the Amendment is a result of the malignant thoughts and actions of a minority of hon. Members on this side of the House. That is not so.
A great majority—I have no means of ascertaining what is the majority, but an overwhelming majority—of the Conservative Members in the House support the fact that plant manufacturing rights should not be given to a nationalised undertaking in the special circumstances of the electricity supply industry. I shall not repeat all the reasons which I gave during the Committee stage discussion, but I do not believe that they were other than powerful reasons which are supported by electrical manufacturers outside this House.
478 I do not think that the Central Electricity Authority feels at all strongly about this matter. The fact is, to put it in its historical perspective, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, the hon. Member for Edmonton and the Leader of the Liberal Party did not allude to the terms of the main Act of 1947 wherein the nationalised industry had power to manufacture fittings and it had the power to manufacture plant. What were fittings and what were plant I do not think that the Leader of the Liberal Party has troubled to turn up.
§ Mr. Grimond
It may be that I mentioned other speeches, but I was not addressing myself to this point. I fail to understand why we should all follow the hon. Member—whose speeches during the Committee stage I have read—merely because he wishes to open this matter again.
§ Mr. Nabarro
The hon. Gentleman is gravely mistaken. I do not want to open the matter again. This is a Government Amendment, to which I added my name.
The question here—I am sure that this is of great importance—is that in 1947 the party opposite gave the nationalised industry the power to manufacture fittings and plant. As I said earlier, fittings, comprised anything from a ceiling rose to a refrigerator. Plant, for the most part, means equipment necessary for the generation of electricity. That is a broad definition of what was included in "plant". When this Bill appeared, the power to manufacture fittings had been taken away.
I explained during the Committee stage, and was supported by every Conservative Member who spoke—with the exception of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett)—that I could not see any difference whatever, in principle, between withdrawing the power to manufacture fittings and withdrawing the power to manufacture plant. So far as we are concerned—and no one has challenged me on the point—the two things are exactly the same in principle. If we withdraw one, we should withdraw both.
During the earlier stages of the Bill we noted carefully the influence that powers of this kind could have on the exporting potential of the electrical plant manufacturing firms in this country, were the 479 powers to manufacture plant exercised by the nationalised authority. I do not believe that the Central Electricity Authority, even if it wanted to, could exercise these powers. It has neither the technical "know-how", nor the plant, nor facilities to do so. It is not versed in plant manufacture and it would take years and years to build that up.
Moreover, the Authority could get the "know-how" and facilities only by drawing away the relatively small pool of highly skilled labour from the plant manufacturing firms concerned with the production of such items as turbo-alternators, large boilers, heavy cable, condensers and power generating equipment of that kind. If it is manifestly impracticable for the nationalised Authority to engage in a form of manufacture of this kind, why write terms into the Bill at all? That is the principal reason which has been given by my hon. Friends and myself for wishing to see the power to manufacture plant taken out of the Bill.
I turn now to the argument of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East. It seemed to me that his case was illogical and inconsequential. There are, as I see the position, three groups which one might establish under the general title of electrical plant used by the generating industry. There is the group—by far the largest—of plant which is employed for generating electricity, that is production equipment. Then there is a tiny amount of plant used for research and development purposes, and, from time to time, pieces of equipment may have to be built for repair and maintenance facilities.
But, so far as I am aware—I cannot believe that I shall be challenged about this—the nationalised Authority would never set out by itself to build a turbo-alternator or a large power house boiler, or a nuclear reactor, or an atomic power station. It does not want to do that kind of thing. There are private enterprise firms to do so for the nationalised Authority.
The Authority is very unlikely to want to build any large piece of research or development equipment. Neither is it likely to wish to develop atomic power stations. It regards that kind of thing as the prerogative of the Atomic Energy Authority, working in conjunction with 480 private enterprise firms. Surely, therefore, when my hon. and gallant Friend argues that what is now written into this Amendment means that, in effect, there is to be—I think I have this term correctly—" empire building "; that it will start off building pieces of research and experimental equipment and spend £1 million on it, and add to it further and further until it has spent £10 million, that is nonsense.
In fact, the Authority may, from time to time, desire to build a small piece of equipment for research or development or repair and maintenance purposes. That is the only reason why those words are written into this Amendment. I confess that in the Amendments which I moved during the Committee stage I did not put in the words, "repair or maintenance." It was the hon. Member for Keighley (Mr. C. R. Hobson) who raised that point with me. I agreed that it was an omission on my part, and that if the Central Electricity Authority, and the old supply companies before nationalisation, had always made plant and equipment for repair and maintenance of their existing generating facilities, it might be wise, to make the Amendment perfectly clear, to include those words.
Therefore, the Government Amendment on the Notice Paper simply means—I cannot believe that my hon. and gallant Friend seriously challenges its meaning—that the nationalised Authority cannot manufacture plant for production and generation of electricity. It cannot do that. But it can, if it wishes, make those sundry and relatively small items of plant for research and development and for repair or maintenance. So far as those words have any meaning, I should have thought they would be accurately interpreted, and I cannot believe that there will be any quarrel in the future about what is the precise position of the nationalised industry.
§ Mr. Nabarro
No, there is nothing about size, but I cannot believe that my hon. and gallant Friend has an extensive knowledge of the industry if he believes that the Authority is even qualified or able to build large pieces of equipment like turbo-alternators.
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
What is to prevent it from buying a factory and developing plant for experimental reasons?
§ Mr. Nabarro
Because the great repository of manufacturing skill and knowledge is in the possession of the firms who, traditionally, have been associated with the manufacture of these classes of heavy equipment ever since electricity was invented in this country. It is very unlikely those manufacturing facilities would be usurped by a nationalised authority, especially when it has no skilled labour to handle such processes.
It has been suggested by the right hon, and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice), and by other hon. Members opposite, that my right hon. Friend gave way to a pressure group on this side of the House. I wrote down a number of the highly-coloured expressions used by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He suggested that my right hon. Friend had "vacillated." He suggested that my right hon. Friend had capitulated to the pressure group led by myself. Nothing of the kind. The overwhelming majority of Conservative Members supports my views.
As I said at the outset of my speech in Committee, this is a matter of fundamental political philosophy. It is not a minor issue. I would expect every Socialist Member to believe that the nationalised authority ought to manufacture plant. I would expect every Conservative Member, except my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East—I make an exception of him —to oppose powers of that kind. It is for this—
§ Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett
I do not know why my hon. Friend should except me. My point is that I do not think that the Amendment is as effective as it should be.
§ Mr. Nabarro
I am not going to argue that point all over again. I believe that my hon. and gallant Friend is suffering from some sort of aberration in this matter, and that overwhelmingly the Conservative side of the House believes that this is a well-framed and desirable Amendment.
My right hon. Friend has behaved in a perfectly constitutional manner and with the greatest propriety. He has listened to 482 reasoned and objective arguments from my hon. Friends and myself. I gave them in the Committee and I say truthfully that I accepted my right hon. Friend's compromise—as he put—it during the Committee stage. I said that I would transfer the row to the Floor of the House on Report. Fortunately, we have not had a row because a Government Amendment, in proper form, has appeared on the Notice Paper. I congratulate my right hon. Friend on his prescience and the manner in which he has moved towards the majority opinion expressed by the members of the Conservative Party. We hope that the Amendment will be accepted by the Socialist Party with the appreciation and approbation that it deserves.
§ Mr. Palmer
The hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) is in a very benevolent mood, which contrasts very strongly with the arrogant mood which he adopted in the Standing Committee when the matter was being discussed. He can afford to be, because he has achieved his triumph and naturally, in the circumstances, he is extremely kind to his right hon. Friend. Of the Minister, I merely say that he is very familiar with the arguments, as he should be, because he has used them both ways.
This right—if I may use the expression which the right hon. Gentleman himself used in Committee —of the electricity supply industry to manufacture the tools of the trade, seemed to us, and I think to wide circles in the trade, to have several sensible justifications. Most of those have been argued and I do not want to go over them in great detail.
First is the common human justification that if an individual or an association of persons, a public corporation in this case, wants to make something for itself it should not be forced to buy it. The second justification, that has been used frequently, is that it is a protection against high prices and monopoly practices—the Monopolies Commission has not yet dealt with this matter—in the electricity supply industry. The third justification is that if a public corporation has been given a job to do it is foolish and wrong to confine it in respect of the way in which it shall carry out its duties. That was the argument which the right hon. Gentleman used in Committee and which has been used since in the columns of the 483 Economist under the heading "Fetters on Nationalisation".
Of course, the fourth justification is that this is a traditional power in the electricity supply industry. In the course of our proceedings in Committee I quoted words which were used in 1947 by the then Sir Arnold Gridley, a very respected Conservative Member of the House. He said:We do not seek to deprive the Minister of the right to seek to embark upon the manufacture of plant. We recognise that we are probably not in a very strong position to do so in view of the powers existing in some of the Acts on the Statute Book at present."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 6th March, 1947; c. 580.]That came from an eminent, responsible, and experienced Member of the House of Commons at that time.
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke
Sir Arnold Gridley, now Lord Gridley, made an individual speech in the debate at that time which was not followed by the Conservative Party. There was a division against a Conservative Party Amendment.
§ Mr. Palmer
We need not bandy words with the noble Lord on this matter. If he will look at the record of the Standing Committee at that time he will find that the Conservative Party, led then by Mr. Hudson, as he was at that time, did not oppose this power. The noble Lord must look up the record for himself.
Since then, we have had ten years' experience, and there has not been any trouble between the supply side and the manufacturing side. There has not even been a ripple on the waters. If the British electrical manufacturers had any complaint they have not expressed it to the Minister or to the Central Electricity Authority. They have had no reason to, because they have had some very extensive orders from the Central Electricity Board during those years, representing altogether—I have the figure here—about 10,000 megawatts of installed plant, which must be, in cash terms, a fantastic sum of money.
484 7.15 p.m.
It is interesting to note that the Herbert Committee chided the Central Electricity Authority for its loyalty to the British manufacturers saying it was too patriotic and that it should on occasion desert the British electrical manufacturers and go overseas. In page 114, paragraph 427, the Herbert Committee's report states that B.E.A.M.A. had said:… with regard to the purchasing arrangements of the Central Authority for capital plant, the electrical manufacturing industry considers that it enjoys a satisfactory degree of co-operation and assistance from the Authority through the existing system '.If the manufacturers had any complaints they would have expressed them. I can understand that, because the manufacturers had, throughout that period, a common price system to assist them. That common price system has been condemned by the Monopolies Commission.
§ Mr. Palmer
The hon. Member has no doubt read the Report of the Monopolies Commission on the matter, and he will know what the Central Electricity Authority had to say about the common price system. There has been no evidence whatsoever that this residual power of manufacture has been or would be used to undermine the manufacturing side of the industry.
Then why this attack? We had two Sittings of the Standing Committee during which the matter was discussed, and we have had some bullying—that is the word to describe it—of the Minister which has been reported in rather colourful language in one of the newspapers. I will take that no further, except to recall that the noble Lord the Minister of Power had his arm twisted in a commitee and he was not allowed to escape by pleading that he was not a politician but only a businessman.
We have had, in addition, the humiliation of the Paymaster-General; he has been made to eat his own words in public and he does not seem to have enjoyed the meal. That has been my impression. The reason for the attack is, as the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby)—who is not here—and the hon. Member for Kidderminster said in Committee, simply the narrowest considerations of Tory Party doctrine.
485 The Paymaster-General, speaking for his noble Friend in another place, has run away completely. He has to make a public justification here. What is left is really nothing. I cannot accept what the Leader of the Liberal Party said about the exact meaning of the proposed Amendment. In my view, what has been left is nothing. Research and development? Well, one would suppose that the Authority had the right to carry on processes for research and development. In respect of repair and maintenance, let us hope that the electricity industry is entitled to make things to repair and maintain the plant and keep it going. One would expect it. It really amounts to nothing at all.
This Amendment is, as has been said, a triumph for the hon. Member for Kidderminster and his pressure group.
§ Mr. Angus Maude (Ealing, South)
The hon. Member is perfectly correct about what he says is left, but what I cannot quite understand is what he wants put in as well. We have not heard from any hon. Member opposite today what else they want. The hon. Member has just told us that this right has always been there before, but has never been used and he cannot believe that it will be used. What does he want it for?
§ Mr. Palmer
The answer is that we wanted the Bill to be framed in the way in which the 1947 Act was framed in this matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] We are arguing that this change is not in any sense fair to those in the industry—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"]—and it can be abused. I can assure hon. Members opposite that numbers of practical engineers in the industry regard this as an act of spite at the instigation of hon. Members opposite. The right hon. Gentleman and his noble Friend have shown extreme weakness, weakness which in our view is not worthy of them, in giving way to this kind of pressure.
§ Mr. Maudling
I do not think that there is much I can add to the summary of the arguments I gave when I moved this Amendment. So far, the speeches which have been made have been rather inclined, I thought, to minimise the effect of this proposal. In fact, I think that the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) has said that it did not seem to him to matter very much. I have given the 486 reasons which prompted the Government to put forward the Amendment and hope that the House will be prepared to accept it, or, if the Opposition will not accept it, to divide on it.
There were one or two points raised to which I should reply. In answer to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett), I do not think that, having studied these words again, the powers of manufacture go anything like so wide as they think. I do not think that, in practice, the fears that they expressed would be realised. It is true that this Amendment gives complete power to manufacture anything for research purposes, and I think that that is right, but when we come to the question of drafting a thing of this kind we cannot distinguish between small things and big things. Similarly, I think that the power to manufacture what the boards need to repair and maintain in their equipment cannot allow the manufacture of refrigerators, as I think was suggested.
§ Mr. Grimond
All I said was that refrigerators might be part of the equipment of the boards and, if so, they could manufacture anything for their repair and maintenance.
§ Mr. Maudling
Refrigerators are fittings and they are prohibited from making fittings. If refrigerators were part of their stock in trade they could have a repair lorry to carry them around, but that does not arise as they are not allowed to manufacture refrigerators.
I thought that the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) enunciated a most peculiar constitutional doctrine. He appeared to say that it was wrong for a Government—and, I suppose, equally wrong for an Opposition party—to change its mind, He went on to say that it is even more wrong to change its mind when the matter is important or if asked to do so by its own supporters. That seemed a strange constitutional doctrine, which, hope, he does not intend to carry into practice at a meeting which, I understand, is to take place later this week. The difference between the two sides of the House on this matter is that we manage to reach agreement, but I understand that the right hon. and learned 487 Member and his hon. Friends were saved, at this morning's meeting, by the bell. I must repudiate the argument. I believe that the Government are entitled to change their minds and to yield to argument when eloquently expressed, as it has been on this occasion.
§ Mr. du Cann
I shall make a very short speech, but, as I have put my name to this Amendment and did not speak on the matter in Committee, I should like briefly to state my reasons for supporting the Amendment. I can put those reasons shortly by saying that I believe that the arguments in its favour are good, while I believe that the arguments which I have heard expressed against it are wholly bad. The most astonishing thing was to hear from the hon. Member for Cleveland (Mr. Palmer) that he did not know why this power was wanted.
§ Mr. Palmer
Surely the hon. Member was a member of the Standing Committee and should know that we argued throughout that these were reserve powers, residual powers, to be used in certain emergencies if the industry was not getting the kind of service it wanted from the manufacturers. That has been made perfectly clear to him on many occasions.
§ Mr. du Cann
That was certainly clear in the Committee, but it was not made clear this afternoon. There was a vacuum when my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, South (Mr. Maude) posed the question. I will come to the question of emergencies in a moment.
On the question of the power to manufacture for processes of research, I absolutely understand the fears which have been expressed, but I believe they have been greatly over-emphasised. On the other hand, we should look generously on the activities of the area boards and the Generating Board and encourage them to go into research to the maximum possible extent because that would be to the ultimate good of the industry as a whole.
I would not wish the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) to accuse me of putting dogma first, or of saying that it was most important if I put it first in my speech, but one of the reasons—perhaps not the main reason—I opposed the power to manufacture plant is that I 488 believe that the potential manufacture of plant would be an extension of nationalisation and, therefore, wholly bad. Nationalisation is unpopular in the country. I take it that the party opposite does not want to say, "We want to bring in a special Act of Parliament to manufacture plant", but would prefer to achieve nationalisation by back door methods. We note that and I think that the country will note that, too.
Rather than dealing in invective I wish to examine the arguments for and against the manufacture of plant. One of the arguments of the hon. Member for Cleveland has been that it has always been like that and that these powers are traditional. I see the hon. Member is nodding. This is not the first time I have had to twit him or pull the leg of the Labour Party, because it seems astonishing that they should put themselves forward as champions of tradition and privilege. Surely tradition is a strange bedfellow for a Socialist.
§ Mr. Palmer
We on this side of the House are very much in favour of tradition; there are some traditions which are in the public interest.
§ Mr. du Cann
I know that and I can quite understand that the Labour Party and the hon. Member feel that it is important to take this traditional power.
The argument is put forward, as it was argued when the principal Act was debated in this House and in another place, that a monopoly nationalised industry needs protection against the possibility of being held to ransom by competitive private enterprise. It seems a little odd, but that was the argument. None the less it is a serious argument and should be examined seriously. That was before the Restrictive Trade Practices Act. It is, therefore, absolutely obsolete, out-of-date and irrelevant to the discussion.
I wish to quote what the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) said during the Committee stage proceedings on the principal Act in March, 1947. Referring to the necessity for the central Authority, in certain circumstances, to manufacture its own plant, the right hon. Gentleman said thatit would only do so if it were essential as a safeguard against price rings and the like…" —[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 6th March, 1947; c. 576.]489 Lord Jowitt, then Lord Chancellor, said it in another place at greater length:I do say quite frankly that we do not anticipate we shall have to go in for large-scale manufacturing so far as one can perceive, at any rate for the next few years,those are important words—except as a weapon of defence. We must have this power in case we find ourselves, as we think, hardly dealt with by rings …Nevertheless I am enabled to give your Lordships this assurance … it is not intended that this power will be used except where danger of such practices as I have referred to arise. If there are no objectionable practices these powers will remain in abeyance."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 22nd July, 1947; c. 59.]7.30 p.m.
If there cannot be these objectionable practices on the part of competitive private industry, why, therefore, do we need these powers? We should note, I feel, the arguments which are not used. The argument is not used that United Kingdom manufacturers cannot do the job. It is not said that United Kingdom firms do not need the work. Indeed, everyone admits that a flourishing home market is urgently needed by United Kingdom manufacturers.
It is fair comment to make, I think, that without a flourishing home market private manufacturers cannot do their jobs in export fields. It was said in Committee that the discussion was only a storm in a teacup because these powers were permissive, but they were, none the less, unrestricted and no hon. Member of the House, I believe, can swear that they would never be used, particularly when it was said in Committee—and I quote, again, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington, thatWe… decline to accept the proposition that it should be inhibited "—that is, the electricity industry—in any circumstances from manufacturing plant for internal Use."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 6th March, 1947; c. 576.]Our view, my view certainly, is that if this power were left in the Bill it might still be abused. I believe that the arguments for removing it are overwhelming and I therefore support the Amendment.
§ Mr. Holt
I should like to say that if we knew that at a later stage in the Bill the Government would support measures for making the electricity area boards go 490 to the market and really, in effect, enable them to work in a commercial way, we would oppose the Amendment now. If they were getting their money from the market like any other commercial organisation, there really would be no reason at all why the House should pass the Amendment.
I was not on the Committee, but I have read the speech of the Paymaster-General on 7th February—a very good speech. I have heard the speech of the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) this afternoon, and I thought that it was a very poor one. It contained the most extraordinary argument that the Amendment which my hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) suggested really could be interpreted very widely and the hon. Member for Kidderminster said, "You need not worry about that because they cannot go in for any big research or big development because the electricity Generating Board or the area boards have not got the 'know-how' and have not the specialised knowledge to indulge in that kind of thing." They can do some minor research for development but they have not the ability or practical "know-how" to do the kind of things that my hon. Friend suggested were technically possible under this Amendment.
That is an argument in the case of this Amendment, but he then said, "Of course, we must not allow them to manufacture any electrical plant. I suggest that they have not got the 'know-how' for that either."
§ Mr. Holt
I cannot give way and I shall detain the House for only a minute or so. The hon. Member cannot argue at one stage, as he has done, that there is no danger of this Amendment being used in a wide sense merely for minor research, and, at the same time, put forth any argument for the Amendment, because if the electricity authorities have not the "know-how" to do major research, they certainly have not the "know-how" to produce major plant and that is what they are now to be prevented from doing.
I entirely agree that the whole burden of the speech which the Minister made 491 in Committee was dependent on the electricity undertakings being commercial undertakings in every sense of the word. As we have no assurance as yet that he is going to accept the financial suggestions put to him, although we have some reservations about this particular Amendment, we would certainly be prepared to curtail the activities of the electricity authorities until they have been sent to the market for the whole of their finance.
§ Mr. Eric Johnson (Manchester, Blackley)
I should like to say a few words very briefly in support of the Amendment and to congratulate my right hon. Friend on having moved it. I think that what was said by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) is grossly unfair. I think that it is a courageous act to change one's mind when one has been convinced that one is wrong. That is what my right hon. Friend has done, and I am very glad that he has done so.
What I think those who disapprove of the Amendment have failed to show—and I heard all the discussions in Committee about it—is any reason for keeping it in the Bill at all. I have not heard any argument for it. There is an argument against it in the Report of the Herbert Committee, which the hon. Member for Cleveland (Mr. Palmer) quoted. Paragraph 428 reads:… we think it is certainly not a very practical or economical proposition at the present time for the Central Authority to undertake the manufacture of this very complicated engineering equipment, which would require investment in plant and buildings on a huge scale and the recruitment of skilled labour now fully engaged.One of the great points is that skilled labour is fully engaged in private industry and that it can be obtained for the manufacture of this plant only by taking it away from private industry to the detriment of our export trade.
§ Mr. C. R. Hobson
In view of the Government's defence statement and the proposed White Paper on Defence which, I understand, is to be published tomorrow, and in view of the fact that this will affect heavy armaments, does the hon. Gentleman not think that there would be very readily available that type of labour which could well be transferred to the manufacture of electrical plant of 492 the type required by the British Electricity Authority for the purpose of running power stations? I should have thought that followed. Indeed, the hon. Member might care to direct his attention to that point. It might help to avoid possible unemployment in that field.
§ Mr. Johnson
I do not quite follow the hon. Gentleman. It seems to me that defence and the manufacture of electrical plant are quite different matters. My argument was that it would be taking away from the manufacturers who are doing the job quite well already in order that the Board could set up on its own account. To take away the skilled men surely would be harmful to the export trade, in which the manufacturers are very successful.
Another matter which makes it undesirable is the suggestion that the electricity boards should go in for manufacturing this plant because they should be treated as ordinary commercial undertakings. Whatever we like to say about it, and however we like to treat it, the boards are not and cannot be normal commercial undertakings. The nationalised industries have not the safeguard which would apply to a private concern, and that safeguard is that it would probably go bankrupt if it went in for uneconomic manufacture.
I have heard no argument in favour of retaining this power. If it is suggested, as it has been suggested, that it is necessary in case the existing manufacturers could not provide the plant, that seems to me most unlikely to happen. Nor could I see how it would help, because the board could not turn round and suddenly provide the equipment. The board and private enterprise are at present working quite well in combination. The Authority, being virtually the only customer for this equipment, buys it from the existing manufacturers. This acts as a shop window in which people from abroad can see the plant working. They then return to their country and order it.
It seems to me very unwise to disturb that perfectly happy relationship. We should leave it alone. If there is any reason for the board to manufacture this plant, all I can say is that so far it has not been given. I object to this power to some extent on the ground of political theory, for when it is generally admitted 493 that the power will not be needed I do not see why we should put it in the Bill for the Party opposite to use if they feel inclined at some time in the future. I see no use whatever in retaining in the Bill something which is unnecessary, undesirable and unwanted, and for those reasons I strongly support what my right hon. Friend has done.
§ Mr. Warbey
I imagine that by now, especially after the speeches made by hon. Members on his side of the House, including his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett), and after the cogent points advanced by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), the Minister realises that appeasement does not pay. It seems probable that he has got himself saddled with an Amendment to the Bill which may in the course of time prove to be a considerable source of embarrassment to a Conservative Government. I must say that I thought the Minister gave no effective answer to the points made by his hon. and gallant Friend and by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland.
The Amendment leaves out the words "electrical plant" and substitutes the word "anything." This leaves the door very wide open. Although I agree that there are restrictive words later, before we reach them we open the door in certain circumstances to the possibility of the Board manufacturing anything whatsoever—not just electrical plant or fittings but anything. It is only later in the Amendment that we begin to get some restrictions on that word "anything," but even so they are of such a character and are so vaguely worded that it would be possible for the Generating Board with the approval of future Ministers to drive a pretty wide coach and horses through the terms of the Amendment.
Although it has not been admitted to us so far in the House, I am fairly certain that, as a result of the debate, the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary will have another look at the Amendment, even if it is carried today, and that the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) and his hon. Friends will have another look at it, too. There will be another meeting of the Conservative fuel and power group upstairs and further pressure upon the Minister, which will have the 494 effect that, in another place, he will introduce other words in order further to tighten the restrictions he has sought to impose upon the new electricity boards.
When we were discussing this matter in Committee we were frequently told by hon. Members opposite that we were seeking to introduce further nationalisation by a back door. The Minister expressed great concern that there should not be further nationalisation through a back door. What he is doing now, however, as a result of his surrender to his hon. Friends, is to introduce denationalisation through a back door.
The power to manufacture plant in the broader sense, which was provided in the 1947 Act, has now been withdrawn, and it has been indicated that this has been done in response to Conservative philosophy; in other words, it has been done out of a dogmatic conception of what the Conservative Party regard as policy for the country today. When I think back upon words used by the Minister in Committee, I am extremely alarmed. Speaking about a similar Amendment, he said:Our attitude to this matter reflects our attitude to the nationalised industries generally."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 7th February, 1957; c. 77.]At that time he used those words to defend giving the maximum degree of commercial freedom in order that the Authority might work as efficiently as possible, but now he no longer wants to give it the maximum degree of commercial freedom so that it may work efficiently.
He has surrendered to the dogmatic philosophy of his hon. Friends, and we may therefore now expect a new attitude towards the nationalised industries generally. This surrender is far more sinister than the implications of this Clause in the Bill, because we can now expect that a similar approach will be followed in respect of other nationalised industries and that before very long we shall find, for example, that the ancillary activities of the National Coal Board will be attacked on the same ground of Conservative philosophy and the National Coal Board will no longer be allowed to make bricks because that interferes with private enterprise. It will be argued that nationalised industries should not be 495 allowed to do anything out of which private industry can make satisfactory profit.
That is the philosophy of hon. Members opposite. It is the philosophy which lies behind the Minister's Amendment. In our view, therefore, it is an Amendment which should be most decisively rejected by the House. I hope we shall be supported by the Liberal Party. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is it?"] The representative of the Liberal Party has left after making a speech.
§ Mr. Warbey
The representatives of the Liberal Party have expressed concern about this Amendment, and I hope that they will not feel that they have any duty to go into the Division Lobby to support the Government.
§ Mr. C. R. Hobson
It is as well to recapitulate the rake's progress made by the Minister in putting down this Amendment. We immediately ran into difficulties in Committee because there had been a deletion from the 1947 Act of the words, "to manufacture plant and fittings". The proposal broke down as a result of an intervention by my hon. Friend the Member for Cleveland (Mr. Palmer), for it was impossible to define what was plant and what were fittings. As a result of that quandary in which the Minister found himself, I think he has seen the virtue of our arguments, because in his Amendment he is allowing the manufacture of the plant required for the maintenance of electrical generating stations. But the words used are very nebulous.
What is the definition of "anything"? Does the right hon. Gentleman say that in any circumstances it is to be impossible for, say, the resident engineer in a power station to give the order to make certain boiler fittings? Is that to be deemed to be impossible? It is "anything". Or is it to be argued that that is not essential for the maintenance of the plant. These fittings can be purchased from very well-known firms of boiler makers.
Let us take the coal-handling plant. There is very often a breaking of the shaft in the coal-handling plant. Is it to be said that it is wrong for the resident 496 engineer to give orders for a shaft to be turned up or a key way to be cut? Has that to be purchased from the makers? These are all questions that we feel compelled to ask. Reference has been made to B.E.A.M.A., and some of us know, from our experience in the industry as workers, members of local authorities and members of committees, precisely the strength of the various power groups at work within the industry. There are certain trades which, during ten years' experience as chairman of a local electricity authority, I have found very repugnant indeed, and my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) has had even greater experience when he was Chairman of the London and Home Counties Joint Electricity Authority.
The makers of turbines and boiler plants very often visit the various power stations because they want to sell their fittings, and they get the information that this sort of repair work, the making of essential parts, is taking place. Indeed, walking through the fitters' shop they may see the axle and the key-way being cut. Is the B.E.A. to be denied the right to make that? What about boiler pumps? I remember that we used to have trouble with the governors, particularly with one make which I shall not mention. It was very often my job to turn a spindle and to fit it, but this is something, again, that can be purchased from the makers. Is the Authority to be denied the right to do that work?
Why has the terminology been left so wide by the use of the word "anything"? I think that the Minister has just bent over backwards to appease these pressure groups within his own party who were so eloquent in Committee, though no case was made out by them. Rather was the reverse the case, because the right hon. Gentleman himself in Committee conceded that we had actually made out our case, and that it was impossible to define what fittings were required for maintenance. Now we have these wide, vague generalities which mean nothing. I cannot understand why the Minister has fallen for this.
Let us take things as they are. The 1947 Act empowered the British Electricity Authority to make the plant, but not the fittings. In actual fact, I can say that many fittings were made. The trouble is that I do not think there is a single hon. Gentleman opposite—now 497 that Sir Arnold Gridley is Lord Gridley —who has had experience of the industry. When fittings are mentioned, they think in terms of electric light fittings and not of those required for the turbines, the boilers and the various other plant in power stations. It is not those that the British Electricity Authority wanted to make, or indeed would have made.
Our concern is that certain conditions might arise when it would be necessary for the Authority to make plant. We nearly arrived at that stage in 1948 and 1949—
§ Mr. Hobson
The Minister of Power, yes. We know him only too well and have met him across the table, with varying degrees of success.
By the 1947 Act, the B.E.A. had the power to make plant, but it did not exercise that power. It nearly had to use it in 1948 and 1949, because we were faced with the situation where turbines were in partial construction in many of the new power stations then being built by the Labour Government, but there was a shortage of the auxiliary plant. I presume that the extraction pumps and condenser pumps are now not regarded as fittings but as plant, and presumably this Amendment would make it impossible for the British Electricity Authority to manufacture the auxiliary plant.
Suppose that as a result of pressure from the various exports markets for the provision of electrical plant the manufacturers were unable to cope, and suppose there was a shortage of work in the naval dockyards. The naval dockyards are admirably suited for the manufacture of auxiliary plant—extracting pumps, circulating pumps and condensers. No patent rights are involved or, if they are, arrangements can be made to manufacture on licence. It may well be in the interests of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to keep full employment operating in the Admiralty dockyards. Are those yards to be denied the right to manufacture this plant? As I say, we very nearly had that situation to face in 1948 and 1949. But the British Electricity Authority never made the turbine generators or the boilers—never.
498 The effect of the Amendment is to take from the Authority the powers given to it by the 1947 Act and to say that in no circumstances can it manufacture plant. That means, I presume—taking the broader definition—boilers and turbine generators. Let us examine the situation. The industry itself is already working to capacity and it is very difficult to see how it can extend. I should have thought that the export of turbines and boiler plant was the type of export that the party opposite would like to see extend. I think that there we have common ground between us. One thing that the British people can do is to build and sail ships, but another thing they can do is to make turbines and boilers.
We can develop that side, and we have been very successful indeed. If the companies concerned are already working to capacity and are breaking out into certain more profitable sidelines, as some of them are—like English Electric which is branching out into guided missiles—what is wrong in the Authority itself manufacturing the plant? The only reason why hon. Gentlemen opposite are against it is because of their doctrinaire approach, their party politics. It is a question of party politics and of limiting the sphere of public enterprise. That is what is involved.
I should have thought that, in view of the tightly-knit network which exists in the manufacture of electrical plant, it would have been in the interests of hon. Members opposite and their supporters, believing as they do in competition, to encourage competition between the private and public sectors. I should have thought they would have welcomed that.
I am amazed that the right hon. Gentleman has seen fit to move this Amendment. He is a reasonable person. He knows the difficulties involved. Why on earth has he succumbed to the pressure from behind him, particularly from the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) who, I regret, is not now in his place, and who had such a lot to say in Committee and seemed to be speaking from a B.E.A.M.A. brief on this issue? The right hon. Gentleman has given way to this pressure against the public interest, and I think that, on reflection, he will feel sorry that he has done so.
499 There is plenty of time between now and the passage of the Bill through another place for the right hon. Gentleman to have second thoughts. Both sides accept the nationalisation of electricity. Why move what is in the last analysis a minor wrecking Amendment?
§ Mr. Hayman
I feel, too, that hon. Members on this side of the House have a right to express their political philosophy as much as Government speakers. It is extraordinary that hon. Members opposite should come to the House and plead for restriction in manufacture.
One of the arguments adduced here today by the hon. Member for Blackley (Mr. E. Johnson), and also in Committee was that this is an industry which has full employment and that it would be
§ wrong for there to be any fresh manufacture because it would draw away skilled labour from existing plants. But, surely, one of the principles of Conservative philosophy is economic freedom. The Conservatives have told the country for years that they stand for economic freedom. Apparently this economic freedom does not, in their opinion, extend to the skilled worker.
§ There is no doubt that anybody who reads the first speech on this topic by the Paymaster-General in Committee will find that he has made a very great concession to those who then opposed and humiliated him.
§ Question put, That the words "electrical plant" stand part of the Bill: —
§ The House divided: Ayes 172, Noes 204.501
|Division No. 96.]||AYES||18.4 p.m.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Grey, C. F.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Albu, A. H.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert(Lewis'm,S.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Mort, D. L.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Moss, R.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne valley)||Moyle, A.|
|Balfour, A.||Hamilton, W. W.||Mulley, F. W.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Hannan, W.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Benson, G.||Hastings, S.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)|
|Blackburn, F,||Hayman, F. H.||Oram, A. E.|
|Blyton, W. R.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Owen, W. J.|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Padley, W. E.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Boyd, T. C.||Holman, P.||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hoy, J. H.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hubbard, T. F.||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Parker, J.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Paton, John|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pearson, A.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Hunter, A. E.||Pentland, N.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Popplewell, E.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Pryde, D. J.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Randall, H. E.|
|Clunie, J.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Rankin, John|
|Coldrick, W.||Janner, B.||Redhead, E. C.|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Rhodes, H.|
|Collins, V.J.(Shoreditch & Finsbury)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs.S.)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, Rt. Hon, A. Creech (Wakefield)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Cronin, J. D.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Ross, William|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Royle, C|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||King, Dr. H. M.||Short, E. W.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Lawson, G. M.||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Deer, G.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lewis, Arthur||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Lipton, Marcus||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||MacColl, J. E.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||McGhee, H. G.||Snow, J. W.|
|Fienburgh, W.||McInnes, J.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Finch, H. J.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Sparks, J. A.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Steele, T.|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mason, Roy||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mellish, R. J.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Mitchison, G. R.||Swingler, S. T.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Moody, A. S.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Wheeldon, W. E.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Thomas, George (Cardiff)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Viant, S. P.||Wilkins, W. A.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Warbey, W. N.||Willey, Frederick||Woof, R. E.|
|Watkins, T. E.||Williams, David (Neath)||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Weitzman, D.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Wells, Percy (Faversham)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Holmes and Mr. J. T. Price.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Mawby, R. L.|
|Amery, Julian (Preson, N.)||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Harvey, Air Cdre, A. V. (Macclesfd)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Barter, John||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Osborne, C.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Page, R. G.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Hobson, J.G.S.(Warwick&Leamington)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Holt, A. F.||Partridge, E.|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Hornby, R. P.||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Horobin, Sir Ian||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Pott, H. P.|
|Black, C. W.||Howard, John (Test)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Hughes, Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hurd, A. R.||Raikes, Sir Victor|
|Braine, B. R.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun)||Redmayne, M.|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Iremonger, T. L.||Remnant, Hon. P.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Butler, Rt.Hn. R.A.(Saffron Walden)||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Carr, Robert||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Robertson, Sir David|
|Cary, sir Robert||Joseph, Sir Keith||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Channon, Sir Henry||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Russell, R. S.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Keegan, D.||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Cooke, Robert||Kerr, H. W.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Kirk, P. M.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Lagden, G. W.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Lambton, Viscount||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Leavey, J. A.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Crouch, R. F.||Leburn, W. G.||Storey, S.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Cunningham, Knox||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Summers, Sir spencer|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Llewellyn, D. T.||Teeling, W.|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Temple, John M.|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Longden, Gilbert||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.||Thompton, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr.R.(Croydon, S.)|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||McAdden, S. J.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Elliott, R. W.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||McKibbin, A. J.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Fell, A.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Wade, D. W.|
|Finlay, Graeme||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Fort, R.||Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Garner-Evans, E. H.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Waterhouse, Capt. R. Hon. C.|
|Godber, J. B.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Goodhart, P. C.||Maddan, Martin||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Gough, C. F. H.||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Wills G. (Bridgwater)|
|Gower, R. H.||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Grant, W. (Woodside)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Green, A.||Marshall, Douglas|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Mathew, R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Grimond, J.||Maude, Angus||Colonel J. H. Harrison and|
|Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.|
Further Amendment made: In page 3, line 5, leave out from "that" to "sell" in line 7 and insert:
nothing in paragraph (c) of this subsection, or in the principal Act, shall be construed as authorising the Generating Board to manufacture anything except as mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection, or to "—[Mr.Maudling]