§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth (Hendon, South)
This Bill originates from an Act of Parliament passed as long ago as 1657. Under that Act, the Arundel estates were settled in tail male, that is to say, they were given by the then Lord Arundel in such a way that they had to pass to the eldest son of each successive owner in succession or, in default of an eldest son, to whoever was the senior male member of the Howard family. The Act contained an unusual provision, that is to say, it made entail unbarrable. In ordinary language, that means that each successive owner was prohibited from disposing of the property. It is, of course, contrary to the policy of our law to tie up property indefinitely or for long periods. In the ordinary case, the maximum period is the life of someone living and twenty-one years after, what is known as the "Rule against perpetuities".
I think that there is a great deal of misapprehension, even in this House, about "entails". The "tenant in tail", that is, the person who succeeds to entailed property, can, in fact, sell or dispose of that property as if he were the absolute owner, and he can deal with the proceeds 1217 as if he were the absolute owner. That is so under an Act passed as long ago as 1833, but, unfortunately for present purposes, under that Act an exception was made and estates which were entailed by Statute were not included, and the statutory provision still prevails, with the result that the Arundel estates are still bound by the old Act of 1627.
The main purpose of this Bill is to repeal that restraint, that is to say, to put the Duke of Norfolk in the same position as any ordinary landowner. In fact, the object of the Bill is to bring this landowner into line with the general law. There are quite a number of precedents in similar cases. The Marquess of Abergavenny's Estate Act of 1946, the Shrewsbury Estate Act of 1954 and the Willoughby de Broke Estate Act of 1956 are the three most recent. If hon. Members refer to those Acts they will see that they are complicated and contain various ancillary provisions. Those provisions vary in each case, because, of course, the circumstances in each case vary considerably. But whenever such a change in devolution of property is made, the rights of third parties must be affected. We are not dealing here with something which simply belongs to the promoter of the Bill. We are dealing with something in which a considerable number of other people have an interest. In fact, there are twenty-seven living male descendants of "Thomas the ancestor"—as he is called in the Bill—the Lord Arundel who made the original settlement under the Act of 1627.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
The hon. Gentleman has referred to the descendants of "Thomas the ancestor" as being twenty-seven. It is reported in history that in the early nineteenth century the duke decided to entertain all the descendants of "Thomas the ancestor" and he found that there were 6,000.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I should not like to say how many there are. I said that there are twenty-seven living male descendants named in the Bill, and all those have some interest in this property under the law as it now stands. Of course, if the Bill is passed, that is to say, if the entail is made viable, those twenty-seven people will lose their rights.
If Parliament legislates so as to deprive individuals of property or rights, it always takes care to see that they are 1218 fairly treated. In the case of adults they can, of course, agree to whatever the Bill provides. But if they are under age, they cannot give their consent, and, in fact, they have to be represented by someone else, usually the Treasury Solicitor. There are Standing Orders in another place which provide elaborately for these matters.
In this Bill, the necessary provision is made by Clause 7—I refer to it because there is an Instruction in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) on the Notice Paper which deals with this point—for a fund to be set aside in order to make compensation for those who lose their rights under Clause 6 which is the Clause that takes away the unbarrable entail. This compensation fund, which is just short of £230,000, will come entirely out of the estate of the promoter and the whole of it is permanently lost to him and to his immediate family.
I think that the hon. and learned Member has some point here on Estate Duty. It is, of course, true that when we alter the devolution of property, we may alter the incidence of Estate Duty. I cannot say how Estate Duty will fall on that fund until I know how, in due course, it will devolve, but I can tell him that, whatever may happen, there will be no saving of Estate Duty to the Duke and his immediate family by reason of the setting aside of this fund. This compensation fund is a necessary condition imposed upon the promoter of the Bill by the settled practice of Parliament, and I think it will have the general approval of this House.
Very much of this Bill as it now comes before the House is concerned with Arundel Castle, and, in view of the intention which the Duke of Norfolk has made known to seek to leave out these provisions when the Bill comes before a Select Committee, I am not sure how far the House will wish to discuss these matters now. But it seems to me that, on the whole, it will be helpful to hon. Members if I say something about this part of the Bill because there are questions which will certainly arise with which hon. Members would like me to try to deal at this early stage.
There has been a castle at Arundel since before the Norman conquest. Part of the fortifications, which are still to 1219 be seen, are said to date back to before that, to the time of King Alfred. The keep, which is still largely in its original condition, is of very great antiquity. On the other hand, a large part of the castle has been rebuilt in much more modern times, the greater part of it in the nineteenth century and some in the eighteenth century; and even so, most of it in the early part of the nineteenth century, when, on the whole, taste was somewhat better than it became in the latter part of Queen Victoria's reign. Some part of it was completed in the later part of the nineteenth century but strictly following the lines of the earlier building.
I do not want to enter into controversy about the aesthetic merits of the castle; that would not serve any useful purpose. I think I will get agreement from those who know the castle when I say that some of the building is beautiful, nearly all of it is interesting, the park and grounds surrounding it are lovely, and the castle contains a large collection of pictures, books and furniture of great historic and artistic importance. This collection is not only of value and importance intransically—or rather, the pieces are—but is most valuable as a collection that has been made over the ages in this one place. In fact, in 1956, more than 160,000 visitors visited the castle, and paid more than £16,000 in entrance fees.
The Bill provides that the castle, together with the right to receive this entrance money, should be given to trustees as a gift to the nation and as a residence for the Earl Marshal. The Bill provides that, together with the castle, there should be a capital endowment of £250,000 which would yield a further £12,500 a year for the maintenance of the castle.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I am in some difficulty here. I am explaining the provisions of the Bill which have given rise to a very great deal of controversy. They are still in the Bill. It is right and fair that I should tell the House what they are, how they would work and their purpose, and why they are to be dealt with as I will in due course explain.
1220 This proposal of the gift of the castle and the endowment of trustees has been criticised in several quarters and on various grounds. In the first place, it has been suggested that it was wrong to link the gift with the office of Earl Marshal. I think the objection was on constitutional grounds and it was first put in this House by the right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison).
§ Mr. Julian Snow (Lichfield and Tamworth)
On a point of order. I apologise to the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) for interrupting him. Are we not to have the benefit of some representative of the Government on the Front Bench in connection with this Private Bill?
§ Mr. Speaker
It is not a point of order, I am afraid. It is not in my control in any way. This is a Private Bill, and the House is quite able to come to a decision upon it by itself.
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison (Lewisham, South)
There is not even a Whip on the Government Front Bench to carry a message to some Minister.
§ Sir Robert Boothby (Aberdeenshire, East)
Further to the point of order. It is a rather important Bill and the House may desire guidance from the Government. Is there no chance of action being taken to ask for a representative of the Government to be present?
§ Mr. Speaker
I hope that the hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire (Sir R. Boothby) will make some representations to his hon. Friends on the matter. It is not my place to make representations.
§ Mr. Speaker
Most Private Bills concern the activities of some Department of the State. A Bill may concern, for example, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, even if it is a Private Bill. I do not know whether any Minister has been detailed to look after this Bill and I do not know whether the Government have a view on the matter.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I was saying that objection had been taken on the ground that it would be wrong to link the gift of the castle with the office of Earl Marshal. The castle has, of course, been associated with the office of Earl Marshal for a considerably longer period than it has with the title of the Duke of Norfolk. It is not unreasonable to suggest that if those two offices at any time should diverge the castle would more properly be linked with the office of Earl Marshal than with the Duke; but that is obviously a matter of opinion.
§ Mr. Hale
Perhaps the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) would refer to page 7 of the Bill. I am not opposed to this, and am sympathetic with the Instruction Motion, but there has been very bad publicity. It is not true to say that the castle is limited to the Earl Marshal. If the office of Earl Marshal is abolished then, under the definition in Clause 2, line 22. the castle reverts to the family of the Duke of Norfolk. In other words, the Earl Marshal part of the Bill has not been clearly represented by the Duke's advisers and they are responsible for a good deal of the opposition, which would not have developed had that been made clear.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I would not disagree with the hon. Gentleman that there has been a great deal of misapprehension about the Bill. If the office were to be abolished something would have to he done about the castle, and it was for that reason that this final gift was put in and not merely with the object of preserving some special interest in an event which is not very likely to occur within the near future.
Another objection has been that no private gift of this sort ought to be made while retaining some private interest. Many hon. Members have felt that and have argued that it was wrong to seek to reserve some interest. Indeed, that was the point of the hon. Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale) when he rose to interrupt me. We all know that an Englishman's home is his castle. [HON. MEMBERS:" Oh."] We all certainly wish that that was So. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] There is much truth also in the converse, that an Englishman's castle should be a home. I think that most people, when they go to see one of 1222 these castles or houses, much prefer to find that someone is living in it, caring for it and loving it, rather than that it should be a mere empty museum left by those who lived there and become nothing but a record of antiquity. I believe that is a very generally held view. It is in no sense of the word a party issue.
The second criticism which has been made against this proposal is the suggestion that there is some intention, or at any rate that the result of it may be, that there will be avoidance of tax, or avoidance in some way of Estate Duty. I say straight away that, so far as I know and so far as I have been able to ascertain, there is no intention whatsoever to engage in any subterfuge or device in order to avoid payment, either of Income Tax or Estate Duty, or any other form of taxation as a result of the Bill, if there had been any such intention it would certainly have been the duty of the Treasury to raise the matter and to insist upon necessary amendments being made.
I think it fair that I should also point out to hon. Members that the trustees proposed to be appointed under the Bill were the Master of the Rolls and the Chairman of the National Trust, two gentlemen with whom many hon. Members on both sides of this House will be acquainted. It will be generally agreed in all parts of the House that neither of those people would be the sort of man to lend himself to any kind of ramp or subterfuge whatever.
§ Sir R. Boothby
Is my hon. Friend now advocating to the House that the Master of the Rolls, and so on, should be appointed for various purposes? To what is his argument addressed? I gathered from him that all this was out by arrangement with the Duke. If it is not out and he is addressing his argument to it, it creates an entirely different situation. In arguing the case he is prejudicing the Bill if it is the intention of the promoters not to put any of this into it. What is the point of his argument?
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
My hon. Friend will see that this is in the Bill now and that these criticisms have been made.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
Nothing can be withdrawn until the Bill has had a Second Reading in this House. I think it is my duty here to explain why the Bill is in its present form and what it is proposed to do to alter it. My hon. Friend may not be aware that hon. Members on both sides of the House are exercised about the merits of the Bill. I think it is fair to say what is there, what are the arguments for getting it through and what are the arguments for taking provisions out.
§ Sir Peter Agnew (Worcestershire, South)
I am only anxious to save the time of the House. I have before me the document headed:Further statement on behalf of …(the Promoter).dated 25th June, the third and final paragraph of which reads:If the Bill is passed, amended in this way, it will contain nothing but the provision for putting an end to the unbarrable entail and such ancillary provisions as may be required by Parliament.Does my hon. Friend wish to deploy to the House arguments for putting into the Bill all these provisions which it is the proposal of the promoter to strike out of the Bill?
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I am not proposing to do anything of the kind. I am proposing to say why the Bill comes forward in this way and why the criticisms which have been levelled are not just criticisms, but why, nevertheless, it is proper to leave this part out of the Bill.
I shall not deal with that any longer, except to say that it has been suggested that, if the Bill is passed, these provisions are either unnecessary or arguing for a special privilege. I think that is a powerful argument. It is not necessarily conclusive. It may well be that it would have been better for special reasons to have included them, but no one would wish to persist in making a gift if it aroused controversy. I appreciate that and also what my hon. Friends have said in that connection. The promoter has given an undertaking, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir P. Agnew) has referred. I think it right that I should read that undertaking to the House because, although hon. Members have seen it, I 1224 think it should go on the record and it will not do so unless I read it. The statement is as follows:In promoting the Bill the Duke had two main aims, first that he should be freed from the unbarrable entail imposed by the Act of 1627 and so be enabled to deal with the estates in the same way as anyone else may deal with theirs; and second that Arundel Castle and grounds should be preserved for the nation and yet retain the link between the Castle and the office of Earl Marshal which has endured a very long time.Unhappily the second aim has given rise to controversy, and as there appeared to be a desire to delete from the Bill the provisions which relate to the Castle he has consulted those most directly concerned and now undertakes that, if the Bill receives a Second Reading, suitable amendments will be proposed to this effect.If the Bill is passed, amended in this way, it will contain nothing but the provision for putting an end to the unbarrable entail and such ancillary provisions as may be required by Parliament.I think it right that I should tell the House that it is the desire of the promoter to make arrangements so that the castle and its contents may continue to be available for public enjoyment. If the Bill is passed and the Amendments proposed are made, it will be open to him, not to carry out the precise provisions of this Bill, but to carry out similar provisions so as to do what he intends. I think it right and fair that I should tell the House that that is his desire and intention. If amended, as proposed, the Bill will be in substance a simple Measure, simply repealing the unbarrable entail imposed by the Act of 1627, and making compensation so as to accord with the Standing Orders of another place. It will put the owner of Arundel estate in the same position as any other landowner. I hope that the House will give the Bill a Second Reading.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
Could the hon. Member indicate in some more precise terms how it is proposed to amend the Bill and what Clauses are to be left out, so that the House will know what it is doing when my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) continues the debate, as I hope he will?
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I am in some difficulty on that because, from the Instructions to be moved, I do not know precisely what may be the course of events.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I am in this difficulty that I am not in charge of the Bill—[An HON. MEMBER: "Who is?"] —The Chairman of Ways and Means is in charge. I happen merely to he an hon. Member speaking in support of the Bill who, as an individual, has had some means of ascertaining the views of the promoters. I have no control over the business of the House or of the Committee, and, indeed, have no control over the vote of Parliament. Therefore, I cannot give the right hon. Member the sort of answer I should like to give him, but perhaps I may be allowed to say that if the Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Kirk) is called, I certainly would not oppose the acceptance of that Instruction in this House.
That is all I can say. I cannot say that I would accept it any more than the right hon. Member can say that he would accept it, but I can say that I would advise the House that the Instruction in my hon. Friend's name would, in fact, precisely give effect to the undertaking which I have read subject only to the necessary consequential Amendments which I am quite certain the right hon. Member would not wish me to deal with here and now.
§ 7.29 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)
I beg to move, to leave out "now" and at the end of the Question to add "upon this day six months"
The rôle of hon. Members is twofold: one is undoubtedly to protect the rights of individuals, but the other is to safeguard the rights of the community. It is precisely because my right hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) and other hon. Members with myself desire to conform to both principles that we decided when this Bill was introduced in another place to offer our strong objections to its passing. I am bound to say that, having listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth), I am more confused than ever about the intentions of the promoter.
Reference has been made to the history of this affair. There is a very 1226 recent history since the Bill was introduced in another place. First, there was a good deal of publicity in the newspapers and among the public and a great deal of apprehension about the provisions of the Bill. As a result of public opinion and the pressure of hon. Members on both sides of the House—let it not be forgotten, on both sides of the House—the promoter and his supporters decided to moderate their attitude and, in consequence, the latest memorandum provides, not for the acceptance of the original provisions of the Bill, but for the disentailment of the castle and estate, and that is all.
When those of us who were more intensely interested in the matter than some other hon. Members put our names to an Amendment, in which we indicated that the Bill might be considered this day six months, we were approached by some hon. Members opposite to ascertain our intentions, and among them was the hon. Member for Hendon, South. So far as I can understand it, their intention was to ask the House to agree to the disentailment provision, but to nothing more than that. It was on that assumption that some of us agreed to offer no objection, although some of my hon. Friends were not in support of our view. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear"] That interruption demonstrates the accuracy of my observation. We did so because there are, as the hon. Member for Hendon, South rightly said, many precedents. He mentioned three precedents, all of which have some similarity to the proposal that is now made.
Moreover, as it appeared to my right hon. Friend and myself and to others associated with us, we have no desire to prevent the Duke or anybody else doing as he pleases with what is regarded legally as his own property. We have no personal feelings against the Duke. Why should we have? Dukes may be an anachronism—there may be no need for dukes in this country; there are perhaps too many of them—but that is not the point. There is no vendetta of any sort. What we seek to do is to protect the rights of the community and prevent the resurrection of medieval privileges. It seems to me that some of the original provisions of the Bill lead us very far in that direction.
1227 There is, for example, the proposal that on the acceptance of the provisions of the Bill, the castle and its grounds—60 acres of ground, not the whole of the estate but 60 acres with the castle—should remain in perpetuity in possession of the Duke and his family. There is no gainsaying that provision. That is one of the provisions. The second is that the castle and the grounds should be transferred to a body of trustees, not to the National Trust. To make a digression, may I say that if the Duke had wanted to do the right and clean thing, and something understood by the general public and by hon. Members, he could have offered his property to the National Trust on a basis similar to other transfers and remained in possession of the house as long as he and his family live, although this may have affected some of his successors.
But it is to be transferred to a body of trustees. I do not say that the hon. Member for Hendon, South deliberately tried to deceive the House, but unwittingly he raised some suspicion because he spoke about two trustees. He spoke about the Master of the Rolls—naturally one uses the most eminent names when one seeks to obtain support for one's case—and he spoke about the Chairman of the National Trust; but he forgot to mention that provision was made—and this was demonstrated in the proceedings before the Lords Committee—that these two gentlemen could appoint substitute trustees because some of the Lords who heard the case remarked, and quite wisely, that the duties were onerous and that it was obvious that the Master of the Rolls and Chairman of the National Trust would not be able to undertake them.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I think that the right hon. Gentleman has mistaken my argument. The point I made was that these two gentlemen named in the Bill had presumably consented to serve as trustees. I said that they were not the sort of people who would lend themselves to any scheme which was of the kind which has been described in the Press and elsewhere, as the right hon. Gentleman has mentioned, as something in the nature of a substitute or ramp. I did not suggest for a moment that they were the only two trustees or that they could not appoint someone else.
§ Mr. Shinwell
I would not whisper a suspicion against the integrity of these gentlemen. Of course not. I would not make a suggestion of that sort. I said that these names were mentioned by the hon. Member for Hendon, South and that he forgot to mention that they need not act at all and that they could appoint substitutes. But who was the principal trustee? It was the Duke himself and the Duke, under the provisions of the Bill, retains remarkable powers in spite of being only one of a body of three trustees.
I think it is right to say that if the hon. Member for Hendon, South aims to proceed with the original provisions of the Bill, then we shall have to discuss the whole of the proceedings which were before the Lords Committee. I think that they would surprise hon. Members and I advise them to get a copy of the proceedings. For the purpose of greater accuracy I obtained one. [HON. MEMBERS: "Read it"] It is all here. If I read it I should not be wasting the time of the House, but I will not take up the time of the House in dealing with every argument adduced by learned counsel—very learned counsel, indeed, very astute, learned counsel before very easy-going Members of another place. I know that I must not criticise Members of another place, but I am reminded of the old song, "Pals, pals, jolly old pals". I am bound to say that they expressed doubts in spite of their anxiety to help the Duke, and I am not surprised.
We have made many discoveries as a result of the introduction of this Bill. The hon. Member for Hendon, South referred to the revenue from admission charges. That is very interesting indeed. I have them all here over a period of years. The average is about £15,000 a year. That is not at all bad. There are some people who imagine that as a result of this proposed transfer, if, indeed, it is a transfer at all, the public would be admitted free; but, of course, that is not the intention at all. There is much more than that in it. In point of fact, the trustees will require the £15,000 annually —and that is the estimate for the next few years and perhaps for many years to come—to enable them to maintain the castle and the grounds in addition to the revenue derived from the endowment of £250,000 which comes out of the Strand Estates. More surprising indeed, as it 1229 seems to me, is that it costs more than £25,000 annually to maintain the castle and the grounds. That seems a lot of money.
There is some doubt whether the revenue derived from admission charges is subject to tax. All income is subject to tax, so we are informed by the Inland Revenue. If we set against the revenue from admission charges the loss sustained on the maintenance of the Castle—what are known as maintenance charges and loss reliefs—it is very doubtful whether any tax is paid on the revenue derived from the admission charges. I do not blame the Duke at all, for I think he has been badly advised, but there seems to be a little jiggery-pokery about the whole business, and I do not like it.
Let us come to what is now proposed. I acquit the hon. Member for Hendon, South and the sponsors of the Bill of any desire to impose upon hon. Members and the House the original provisions of the Bill. What is left? The hon. Gentleman read out the last available statement from the promoters. I will reinforce what appears in that document with something that was handed to me this evening. I did not find it myself. It was handed to me; I beg the House to believe me. Nevertheless, I do not think it is improper to mention the matter. It is a Whip sent out by several hon. Members from the other side, including the hon. Member for Hendon, South. In spite of what it said, when he sought to explain the provisions of the Bill he was obviously seeking to influence Members in support of the original provisions of the Bill. That was his intention; there is no doubt about that. I find the Whip said this, which is very strange in view of his argument tonight:The Bill will come up for Second Reading at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, 17th July. The Duke of Norfolk has undertaken that in view of the controversy which was aroused, he will withdraw that part of the Bill which deals specially with Arundel Castle and the Earl Marshal, and he is now only asking Parliament to put him in the same position as any other landowner by ending the restrictions imposed on him by the Act of 1627.The hon. Member for Hendon, South sponsored that statement. What, then, was the use of arguing in support of the original provisions? It is, therefore, no use going into the history of this matter any further and explaining the original 1230 provisions. I hope hon. Members will agree with me about that.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
The right hon. Gentleman said earlier in his speech that I had made a private approach to him. I think it is always unfortunate to mention such matters. I would not have referred to him, but, in fact, he made a private approach to me, which was that I should speak first and he should speak second. The reason why I dealt with the castle was that I knew he would deal with it. If I had said nothing about it, his speech would have been delivered on the basis that it was surprising that I had not mentioned it. I do not want to be controversial, but I think it is right to refer to these matters. I tried to explain these provisions because I thought the House would wish to hear them, and I think that what the right hon. Gentleman is saying now is a little unfair.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Hon. Members should not applaud until they have heard the whole of the story. It is this. You, Mr. Speaker, were good enough to ask me to speak to you this afternoon about this matter and it was you, Sir, who suggested that, although it was thought that I should open the debate, in fact it would be wise if the hon. Member for Hendon, South opened the debate. That is all. There is nothing in it at all. I mentioned the matter to the hon. Member for Hendon, South.
§ Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)
On a point of order. Is it not contrary to the traditions of the House that private conversations either between yourself, Mr. Speaker, and an hon. Member or between hon. Members themselves should be brought into the debate?
§ Mr. Speaker
In most cases that is the general rule, but I have no objection whatever to the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) stating what passed between us. For my part, may I say why I said what I did? The Bill before us contains a number of provisions which the promoter now wishes to exclude. It is, as I understand the feeling of the House, these provisions which are to be excluded which have aroused the greatest amount of criticism of the Bill, and I thought that as the print of 1231 the Bill contains them it would be wise and would make the House more aware of the true position if the hon. Member for Hendon, South, (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) spoke to the Second Reading and explained what the promoter in fact wants to do, which is not what is in the Bill before the House. Simply for that reason, I asked the right hon. Member for Easington whether he agreed to a change in the normal procedure—namely, that he should move his Amendment to the Second Reading after the hon. Member for Hendon, South had explained the promoter's intentions. There is nothing more in it than that, and I think the right hon. Gentleman was perfectly justified in this case in saying what he said.
§ Mr. Shinwell
I should never have dreamed of mentioning what happened during a private conversation but for the fact that the hon. Member was not arguing what had been agreed with some hon. Members on this side and with some hon. Members on the other side; he was arguing the original provisions of the Bill. As for the conversation, you, Mr. Speaker, have very kindly and graciously clarified that matter. Normally, I would never dream of mentioning private conversations. I think hon. Members know me well enough to know that, however guilty I may be of indulging in a little mischief and fun and games from time to time and of knocking people about, I am not guilty of any dishonourable practice, if I may say so of myself. One must speak for oneself occasionally.
The hon. Member is left, on behalf of the promoters of the Bill, with the disentailment provisions, to which I raise no objection. I shall not argue it any further. But there is another provision which is objectionable, and that is the provision which relates to compensation. The hon. Member has argued that this is based on the Standing Orders of another place. I know of no Standing Orders which justify compensation provisions, and if there are such Standing Orders, then I think that somebody on the Government benches who is acquainted with these legal matters ought to explain them to us in order to justify the acceptance of such a provision.
I do not think that hon. Members opposite will disagree with this sugges- 1232 tion: when the estate is disentailed and when he is free to use the estate and the revenue from the estate as he pleases and according to his own will, it is possible for the Duke of Norfolk to provide out of the estate compensation to the beneficiaries in any fashion that he pleases. It does not require an Act of Parliament to enable the Duke to provide such compensation; there is no difficulty about this at all. I have a shrewd suspicion that in the present circumstances the Duke would prefer that the matter should be left in his own hands rather than that there should be statutory provisions which compel him to provide compensation for a large number of beneficiaries over a long period of time ahead.
That is all I want to say about it. I repeat that there is no vendetta against the Duke in this matter at all and no personal feeling. It is a matter which affects the public conscience, a matter which concerns privilege, to which, I think, hon. Members on all sides of the House will rightly object. If the House cared to accept the proposal for the disentailment of the estate, I should raise no objection. On the other hand, if this proposal for compensation is pressed, I am afraid, much as I deplore the fact, that we shall have to divide the House.
§ 7.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Kirk (Gravesend)
I find myself almost as baffled after having listened to the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) as he professed to be baffled after he had listened to my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth). As far as I can make it out, having indulged in a very long digression, almost as long as that in which my hon. Friend indulged, about parts of the Bill which, I understand, are no longer for discussion, the right hon. Gentleman came back to the issue by saying that he accepted the main principles and raised absolutely no objection to them but that, because of a small technical point, he intends to divide the House against the Second Reading.
If the right hon. Gentleman regards that as the responsible act of a Privy Councillor, and of an hon. Member with thirty-two years' experience in this House, I do not. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] This provision was contained in the Marquess of Abergavenny's Bill, in Lord Willoughby 1233 De Broke's Bill, and in the Earl of Shrewsbury's Bill. I do not recall, I was not in the House during the passage of any of those Bills—[Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman raised no objection at the time. All those Bills went through un-opposed—
§ Mr. Shinwell
The hon. Member has no justification at all for what he is saying. In the case of the Bills to which he refers, no objection was raised at the time because the provisions of those Bills were quite different from the provisions of this one. The hon. Gentleman will bear in mind that the original provisions in this Bill were objected to. It was only at a later stage that the promoters moderated their attitude. Now, having moderated their attitude, they try to reinsert in the Bill a provision which was regarded as objectionable.
§ Mr. Kirk
I cannot accept that. The provision in Clause 7 for a compensation fund is the same provision as that contained in the other Bills to which I have referred. As I understand, that is the provision to which the right hon. Gentleman is taking objection. The part to which I, personally, and many of my hon. Friends objected was that part concerning the disposal of Arundel Castle. I think that the right hon. Gentleman was quite right to object to that, and I quite agree with what he had to say on that subject.
As I understand—and I will gladly withdraw if I am wrong—the technical point on which the right hon. Gentleman proposes to divide the House on Second Reading is that dealing with compensation for those who might lose an interest on the barring of the entail, but that is a provision that is provided in all personal Bills.
I am sorry if the right how Gentleman objects, but I have checked the three Bills to which I have already referred, and in them all there is a similar provision for a compensation fund to be set up for those who have an interest in the entail. I am sorry if I have misunderstood the right hon. Gentleman, but, as I understand, this is a technical point that goes for all barring of an entail of this kind, and I understand that it is provided in the Standing Orders of another place. Like the right hon. Gentleman, I would like an explanation of it, but it still remains a technical point, and if 1234 the right hon. Gentleman objects to Clause 7 of the Bill he will be creating difficulties in another place with regard to the passage of that part of the Bill to which he has no objection—the barring of the entail.
If I am called, I intend to move the Instruction standing in the name of my hon. Friends and myself which would give effect to the intention of the promoters. The result of that Instruction would, I believe, be that the Bill would become non-controversial. The only point that now appears to divide the right hon. Gentleman—and I am not talking about those who have tabled another Amendment for rejection of the Bill—and those who support the Second Reading of the Bill is purely this question of Clause 7, the compensation fund. If that is not passed the Duke of Norfolk will be £.¼ million better off than he would be if the Bill were passed. That would be the net effect of deleting Clause 7.
I therefore suggest that, to say the least, it is a little disingenuous to argue that because of this one point the whole Bill should be thrown out and that, presumably, the great expense of promoting another Bill to bar the entail must be incurred all over again. I hope very much that there will not be a Division on Second Reading, though it may be possible to carry the Bill and then, if necessary, to carry one or other of the Instructions on the Notice Paper which might put the matter in the form in which both the Duke of Norfolk and most of those otherwise opposed to the Bill would wish it to be. In those circumstances, I propose later, if called, to move, purely formally, the Instruction to which I have referred, which will give effect to what now appears to be the general wish of the House.
§ 7.55 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
I only want to make two points, and I hope to make them extremely shortly. As a layman on this subject, I could have wished that the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth), who spoke on behalf of the promoter, could have told us a little more of the effect which the Bill will have after it has been amended—if it is amended in the sense in which the promoters ask that it should be amended. I quite see the 1235 hon. Gentleman's difficulty. He is not, of course, speaking in any official capacity, but I wish, for instance, that he could have told us exactly what the position will be assuming that the Bill is passed in its amended form—
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
So far as the substance of the Bill is concerned, it will mean leaving out certain parts of the Preamble, certain parts of the definition Clause—I do not think that the hon. Gentleman will be worried about that—the whole of Clauses 3, 4 and 5, certain minor Amendments in Clause 7 of a consequential nature, some consequential Amendments in Clause 8, the whole of Clause 10, consequential Amendments in Clause 14, and the whole of the Third Schedule. I am sorry to inflict this on the House, but I have been asked so many times that I thought that it might, perhaps, be helpful.
§ Mr. Grimond
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman—it is good to have this on the record, though I cannot pretend that all that is registered in my mind. But what I had really hoped was that he could have told us what the real substance would be. Presumably, the Duke of Norfolk is promoting the Bill because, as we know, it enables him to deal with his property as he wishes, and confers certain advantages. I have no objection to that at all. I think that he is perfectly entitled to promote the Bill, particularly in its amended form, but I think that the House before passing the Bill, should be told, for instance, how the Revenue will be affected.
I leave that wide point, however, and come to compensation. As I understand from what the hon. Member for Hendon, South has said, and from what has been said by the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Kirk), there is no what might be called unforeseen effect of Clause 7. Presumably, the Duke makes a gift of £250,000 to the people who might have benefited had the entail not been broken, but, as I think the hon. Gentleman indicated, there may, again, be certain effects on the incidence of taxation, particularly on the incidence of death duties and Surtax, and I wish we could have been told a little more. As to the main purpose of the Bill as I understand it is to be amended, I have no objection at present, but, as I say, if 1236 we are to pass this Measure even in its amended form, I wish that these various points could have been made clearer.
My second point relates to the curious paradox which now arises, because we are to leave in the Bill everything which will advantage the promotor and take out everything of advantage to the public. That may be quite proper, but I think that it should be put on record that, after all the public agitation, what is to happen is that, if the Bill is passed, the promoter will gain, and the public will lose an opportunity of having some control over Arundel Castle. Or they may. The Duke of Norfolk has very generously said that he will make the castle available to the public, but if the Bill is passed as amended there is nothing to prevent him from blowing it up tomorrow. It is a curious result that we are to strike out of the Bill, in the name of protection of the public, that provision from which the public would benefit.
It has been asked, particularly by the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell): Why did not the Duke simply make over his property to the National Trust? That is a very natural question. I have had some experience of the National Trust in Scotland, and I dare say that that would be possible. But I must say that if it is intended that this property should be handed over in perpetuity, with certain rights to the family, I do not know that the National Trust would accept it. It might or it might not. If I were advising the National Trust, it would not.
I want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that there is a genuine difficulty in dealing with this type of property. The public want to see it, and, as evidence of that fact, they pay £15,000 a year to visit the Castle. It may not be genuine. It may be a Victorian castle, but nevertheless the public like Victorian castles. It is true that it has a magnificent situation, although I myself have never been inside, and it has its battlements and a fine silhouette. What does it matter to the public whether the battlements were all built by William the Conqueror or whether some of them were put there in 1805? The public like them, and they are jolly good battlements.
1237 When the public go inside a house they like to see the fine objects it may contain. They also like to see personal belongings, the sponge which the owner uses or the tooth brush which his wife uses, and they like the house to look as if it was lived in. I assure the House that that is the case. I do not for a moment say that that is a reason for passing a Private Bill in the form in which it is brought before the House. I think that the promoter and supporters were extremely wise to limit it. But I do say that if the public—and we speak on behalf of the public—want this type of building and collection maintained, whether the building is lived in by the Earl Marshal or not—and I quite agree that that is a different question—at the moment there is no one body in this country which is capable of ensuring their maintenance. Special arrangements will have to be made for some of the great houses and their contents. We are not going to make special arrangements in this case but luckily the promoter himself is prepared to make provision at no cost to the country. The collections would be maintained by his generosity.
§ Mr. Grimond
Yes, he has £15,000 a year, and that is a great deal of money, and the houses in which the right hon. Gentleman and myself live could be kept up pretty comfortably on that. Indeed we could leave enough over to give each other very good dinners. But I expect that the acreage of the roof of Arundel Castle is something astronomical. There are houses in the South of England the area of the roofs of which must run into acres, and the cost of making them good with lead and of repairing chimneys and so on, must run away with a good deal of money. The lesson is to live in simple little houses, like the right hon. Gentleman and myself, but there are people who are born into such houses, and let it be said again that the public like them.
I say again that we are asked to strike out of the Bill one part which gives something to the public and to leave in something which gives a great deal to the promoters. I do not necessarily object to that, but I feel that it raises greater and wider problems in the way of maintaining some of these very fine houses 1238 and buildings and their contents, which we all want the general public to enjoy.
§ 8.3 p.m.
§ Sir Robert Boothby (Aberdeenshire, East)
I seldom remember a more chaotic or even a more idiotic debate than that which is taking place this evening, and I am not altogether surprised that the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) has brought it down to the level of the sponge and the toothbrush.
I think that the issue which now confronts the House is a perfectly simple one. I believe that the great majority of hon. Members on both sides of this House would be very willing to pass a Bill bringing the entail on this estate to an end. It was passed in 1627, and is a little bit out of date. I really do not see why the Duke of Norfolk should not be in the same position as any ordinary citizen of this country, and be able to do what he likes with his own estate. It is fantastic that the 1627 entail should be continued indefinitely.
I do not agree with anything that the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland said. It may be that this is the new rôle of the Liberal Party, now that it is becoming progressive; but we do not all want to spend the rest of our lives perambulating round and looking at large houses inhabited by dukes, and inspecting their sponges and toothbrushes. That may he his idea of a Liberal Utopia, but I think that there are better things to do on the whole. The hon. Member says that the public are passionately interested in dukes and their sponges and toothbrushes. I do not agree.
§ Mr. Grimond
May I draw the attention of the hon. Member to two things? First, if he will go to his own constituency he will find that there is a considerable number of people who often vote for him, mistaken though they may be, who like to go to these places, and, secondly, that he himself often writes for a paper which has a very great interest in the aristocracy.
§ Sir R. Boothby
There are no dukes in my constituency, and, as far as I know, there are none in the constituency of the hon Member, and very few sponges or toothbrushes, either.
I believe that the House wants, as quickly as possible, to disentail this 1239 estate, and that it does not want to go any further than that. It does not want to endow this estate for future Earls Marshal indefinitely, for reasons which may be good or bad, but I believe because the House does not like the idea. The promoter has been quite clear about this, but my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) deployed a long argument in favour of all the provisions which apparently he wants to cut out. That really has clouded the issue a bit. In fact, to use a favourite expression of my right hon. Friend Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), it "darkened counsel".
I do not honestly think that the issue has been helped at all by the speeches of any of my hon. Friends from this side of the House. Indeed, if my hon. Friends had wanted to ditch this Bill they could hardly have done better. They have left us in total confusion. In the words of the Duke of Norfolk himself, if the Bill is passed, amended in the way which he intends, it will contain nothing more than a provision for putting an end to the unbarrable entail, and such ancillary provisions as may be required by Parliament. That is what he said in the statement dated 25th June, and I believe that there is no more than that in the issue before the House; and, if this is made clear, that we should pass the Bill tonight. Otherwise, there is great danger of losing the Bill altogether, which, I think, would be a great tragedy.
§ 8.7 p.m.
§ Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, West)
The hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire, (Sir R. Boothby) has said that we do not want to ditch the Bill. I think we do, and I shall try to give my reasons.
It is now over 200 years since the House of Commons reversed a decision of the House of Lords Personal Bills Committee. We are told that, traditionally, this House accepts guidance from this Committee, and that our power to reject a Bill is not exercised. I believe that tradition is defensible only when it is a good tradition. We are debating this Bill as it stands, irrespective of what the promoters may say. It is what is now in the Bill that is under discussion, and that is why I propose to deal at 1240 some length with what is in the Bill at the present.
As it was originally drafted, I believe that the Bid contained a vital matter of principle which we cannot leave unchallenged. The original purpose of the Bill was two-fold. The first was to break the entail, and the second was to put the castle in trustfor the benefit of the nation and as a residence for the Earl Marshal of England.I accept the desirability of breaking the entail and letting the Duke do with his property exactly what other people can do with theirs. One of the newspaper headlines of the time was, "Why Pick on Me?"
That has been the Duke's argument, and, of course, I say, and so do many of my hon. Friends, that the Duke should be treated as other individuals, but that, if he wants that, it must be carried to its logical conclusion and he must be treated in all other respects as other individuals are treated. That is a point which, it seems to me, has been overlooked. If an individual wants means within his power to escape duties, as other people have, then, of course, if that is the law, there is no reason why he should be outside it.
A notable exception was the will of Mr. James Armand Edmond de Rothschild. His will was published on 12th June, the same date as that on which the heart cry was heard from the Duke that he should be allowed to do with his property as other people did. Mr. de Rothschild left an estate of over £11 million, and he made no effort whatever to avoid death duties, because he said that he owed an obligation to this country and that it was his patriotic duty to pay the full death duties. He paid £7½ million out of a £11 million estate.
Far be it from me to suggest that any duke is made of baser stuff. Perish the thought. Let us deplore and dismiss that man Rothschild as a cad who let the side down.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Major Sir William Anstruther-Gray)
I hope that the hon. Member will direct his speech to the Bill as closely as possible.
§ Mr. Hamilton
That is precisely what I am doing, Mr. Deputy-Speaker.
The second purpose of the Bill is that it offers the castle in trustfor the benefit of the nation and as a residence for the Earl Marshal of England.1241 This was what aroused the opposition of my hon. Friends and myself. The castle, with a £250,000 endowment from the Duke, was to be transferred to three trustees, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) said, and not two, the Duke of Norfolk being one of them, and the endowment was to be invested at 5 per cent., which would yield £12,500 yearly.
I am an ordinary, humble layman. I am not concerned with legal jargon or the legal aspect of the matter, but as far as I can determine, if that were regarded as a charity—and I wish that we had a representative of the Treasury on the Government Front Bench to give us guidance on the matter—it would be tax free. In other words, free of £11,500 Income Tax and Surtax. Even if it were not a charity, it would still be free of Surtax, and, therefore, somebody would be in pocket to the tune of £5,000 a year. It may be chicken-feed out of a £5 million estate, but it is not chicken-feed to us and to the people of the country.
Not only that, but death duties would normally have sliced £200,000 of the £250,000 that is to go into the trust fund, but trusts, of course, are free from death duties altogether. It is true that the Duke would have had to surrender the ownership of the castle, but, in exchange, he would be getting security of tenure in perpetuity. One of my basic arguments against the Bill is the timing of the introduction. It was introduced to secure tenancy in perpetuity for one individual and his family, at the very time when, through this House a Bill, was being passed threatening the security of millions of working people.
No wonder that there was violent reaction against it. There was evidence of a storm to come on Second Reading in another place on 1st May. That was May Day, but I do not think that there is any significance in that. The debate lasted seven minutes and there was no commendation of the Bill from the Front Bench in another place. The noble Lord Viscount Alexander of Hillsborough forecast stormy weather ahead, but I think that he underestimated the nature of the storm.
Forewarning had been given in the Press from a wide variety of sources, from 1242 Forward to the Sunday Express. I was shocked and pained by the violence and the immoderate language used by the Sunday Express. It imputed to the Duke the most unworthy and materialistic motives. The article in that newspaper said:At the moment, even with his £5,000,000 fortune, the duke has to go carefully. He has to worry about upkeep. He has to put money aside to enable his successors to pay death duties. From now on we will lift some of these worries from his shoulders. He will know that, whatever happens to anyone else, he and his family and his heirs and successors will have complete security of tenure. The Dukes of Norfolk will go on living at Arundel until the end of time. And, at the same time, various clauses in the Bill are likely to mean that his Grace will find himself in pocket to the extent of several extra thousands every year.… The duke has given his castle to the nation. But in this particular case he can be quite certain that it will be infinitely more blessed to give than to receive.Forward, of course, was much more temperate. It said:It is simply that in order to continue to enjoy the fruits of privilege"—It was talking about the lesson that the Duke had learned—it is sometimes necessary to discard its trappings.These are the comments of the Press, which I have quoted from as wide extremes as I can.
I diligently searched in the Bill and outside it for more worthy motives, more becoming of the promoter. Was it inspired by the desire to preserve for the nation something of historic and æsthetic value? I am not in a position to judge. I quote the Sunday Express again. It said:For æsthetic merit you can rate St. Pancras Station considerably higher.I read elsewhere that for historical value Madame Tussauds has something on Arundel.
I thought that the Bill might be a Tory Party move for the surreptitious introduction of the first instalment of a property-owning democracy. We would own the property and the aristocracy would live in it. I thought that that might be the explanation, but I rejected that because I do not think that the Tory Party would stoop to that kind of trick. Therefore, I was forced reluctantly to wonder whether the Bill was introduced in the interests of self-preservation—a rearguard action, to give up some of the 1243 trappings in order to maintain some of the substance.
Despite opposition from all political views the Duke fought on with commendable courage, inspired no doubt by belief in the ultimate success of the family motto, "Virtue alone is unconquerable." The Duke proceeded on, hoping that we who opposed would see the light. The first counter-attack was made in an attempt to refute the critics' arguments. There was no retreat at that time. Two hon. Members were invited to lunch, to have explained to them the advantages of the Bill to the nation, and perhaps to the Duke, but on 25th June the white flag was run up at Arundel and the retreat was sounded, though not unconditional surrender, and that is what we are talking about tonight.
The Sunday Express forecast that the Bill, "some day before Whitsun" would be passed by "a large majority." At least, the Sunday Express has ensured the consistency of its political forecasting by that one.
I have no ill-feelings towards the Duke in particular or towards dukes in general. I wrote to Mr. Speaker asking whether the Bill would allow us an opportunity of debating the hereditary principle. He wrote back in unmistakable terms that it would not be proper, on this Bill, to discuss the hereditary principle—a great pity. I would, therefore—
§ Mr. Hamilton
On the contrary, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I was having scrupulous regard for Mr. Speaker's Ruling. I have no intention of debating the hereditary principle.
§ Mr. Hale
Further to that, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, am I to understand that your Ruling to this House is that I am to accept a written Ruling, which I have not seen, given by Mr. Speaker to a hon. Member, 1244 in response to a letter which I have not read, and that I am not entitled to put to the Chair the point of view that there is an argument against that Ruling which may not have been put by the hon. Member?
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I directed my remarks to the hon. Member who had seen the letter from Mr. Speaker.
§ Mr. Hamilton
Of course, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, if my hon. Friend catches your eye he can deploy his argument, until he is called to order. I have no doubt that he will see to it that he says what he wants to say. I am informed, however, that when the proposals for the reform of the other place come forward, we shall have ample opportunity to develop the point which I would have liked to develop tonight.
I conclude by saying that in this century of the common man, in a century when democracy is fighting for its life in a highly competitive world, we cannot afford the luxury, and, I believe, the stupidity, embodied in the continued existence of aristocratic drones in our midst. For that reason, and because the Bill, from the beginning, has been badly handled, I hope that my hon. Friends will carry this matter to a Division. In view of the confusion that has been evident up to now, the cleanest and the clearest way to deal with this matter would be to reject the Bill outright. If the Duke wants to bring in another Bill, let him by all means do so, but it is time that we taught him a sound democratic lesson.
§ 8.23 p.m.
§ Sir Peter Agnew (Worcestershire, South)
It is always advisable, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, to take advantage of catching your eye in the Second Reading debate of a Bill, particularly in this instance, because I have no certainty that I shall have an opportunity of speaking on the Motion to which a number of my hon. Friends and myself have set down our names, namely,That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to leave out all Clauses other than those which free the property from the present statutory restrictions upon its disposal.The House must surely consider the speeches of my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) and of the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. Hamilton) are irrelevant to our purposes this evining, because the promoter 1245 of the Bill has already committed himself in a properly furnished Parliamentary statement to saying that none of the subjects to which the greater part of those two speeches were addressed has any purpose or is to be before this House.
It is true that at the moment the subjects are before the House formally, but only formally, because the Bill which has been through another place was drawn in a certain way. Notice has been given of intention to delete many of the Clauses, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby) pointed out, the difficulty in which the House now finds itself is how to carry out the purpose which the majority of hon. Members think should he achieved, namely, not to throw out the Bill, but to allow it to proceed in a form registered here on the Floor of the House which will make it certain that none of those provisions to which reference has been made, and notice of deletion has been given, are discussed further, but are regarded for all time as removed from the Bill.
My hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Kirk), has his name down to another Motion. I do not know whether he will move it if the Bill receives a Second Reading.
§ Sir P. Agnew
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that information. That Motion suffers from what I feel to be a serious defect, in that although it apparently has the merit of precision, since it denotes the Clauses to be deleted from the Bill, it would correspondingly fetter the proper discretion which always resides with Private Bill Committees to make such changes and alterations in the Bill as they deem to be necessary in order to carry out the will of the House as it may have been expressed in an intention.
If the Bill receives a Second Reading tonight there is no doubt that the House will have expressed its wish that the amended desire of the promoter, as revealed in his last statement, to remove the rigidity of the entail as laid down in the Act of 1627, should be carried out. 1246 There would be some difficulty for the Private Bill Committee were it to be faced with the Motion which my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend has expressed his intention of moving.
I find myself in a difficulty since I am not able to move at this stage the Motion standing in my name and in the names of a number of my hon. Friends. Yet, although I cannot debate it, I can draw the attention of the House to the fact that it is couched in simple and non-technical terms, readily understood by any Committee of this House which might be called upon to handle it upstairs. It directs that everything shall be taken out of the Bill except the purpose of removing the entail upon the estate. In that connection—
§ Mr. Hale
I agree with the hon. Member. At the moment I am in complete agreement with him and the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby) that the Duke has a perfect right to say, "Will you remove this legislative provision which hampers my estate but does not hamper anybody elses?" But look at the difficulty we are now in. The hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir Lucas-Tooth), who, as I understand it, moved the Second Reading, and then said he was not moving it, still insists, according to his intervention, on Clause 7. I and many of my hon. Friends will be in the difficulty that when the Question is put for us to say "Aye" or "No" to the Second Reading of the Bill, we shall not know whether the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Kirk) will carry his Instruction. So long as we have presented to the House a completely divided course, there being three different views, we may well say that we have, reluctantly, to vote against the Second Reading because we may otherwise be carrying a Bill which we do not want and not getting a provision which we do want.
§ Sir P. Agnew
I confess that I and my hon. Friends who have put our names to an Instruction find ourselves in a similar difficulty. For my part, I have taken notice of the addendum tabled by the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) in the form of an Amendment to my Motion in which he does not change the purpose of my Instruction 1247 but underlines a certain feature of it, to which I have no objection at all and would readily assent if that would make the purpose of the Standing Committee clearer.
I cannot offer any suggestion to the House as to what it should do at this stage in the absence of a much more definite assurance from my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South, who speaks for the promoter, as to what the Duke's real intentions and desires are now as my hon. Friend understands them. I confess, therefore, that having pointed out the attitude of my hon. Friends and myself towards the Bill we shall have to leave it to the course of events and see how the debate develops and what further counsel and advice can be offered to us on behalf of the promoter.
§ 8.31 p.m.
§ Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Leicester, North-East)
There are three distinct parts of the Bill, the part which deals with Arundel Castle, the part which deals with the disentailing, and what is most in dispute at this stage, the part which deals with compensation. I shall not say anything at all about the Arundel Castle part, for I understand that that is out of the Bill for all practical purposes.
I should like just to make this observation about the disentailing part. One would have gathered from the speech of the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) that all that was sought was to put the Duke of Norfolk in exactly the same position as any other landowner. There is, however, one strong consideration which is relevant against passing the disentailing provision. This unbarrable entail was incorporated in an Act of 1627 and it was passed at a time when the general law already enabled disentailing to take place. Therefore, the whole object of the 1627 Act and the whole object of the settlor, Thomas the ancestor, in getting a private Act was to take the estate out of the general law and make it unbarrable although under that general law it would be barrable. Therefore, what we have here is a settlement made by Act of Parliament with a special provision taking it out of the general law.
The hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well, and other hon. Gentlemen opposite also know, that the courts have recently 1248 refused to exercise such powers as they have in order to sanction the alteration of a settlement where the object is merely to defeat the Revenue. What the House is being asked to do now is to pass by special Act of Parliament what is an alteration to a settlement voluntarily made by the settler, and to make that alteration when the whole purpose and advantage of it is to avoid the payment of Estate Duty. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Of course it is. I do not think that is in dispute. It has been stated in the memorandum which has been circulated that on the death of the present Duke of Norfolk, some 80 per cent. death duties would be paid.
§ Mr. Charles Fletcher-Cooke (Darwen)
If the entail is barred, death duties will still be paid on the proceeds of the castle just as much as before.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
The hon. Member must not come here with statements of that kind. Of course, death duties will be paid by whoever owns the estate at the time, but the hon. Member knows perfectly well—he is familiar with this practice and has doubtless had cases in which he has advised to this effect—that one exercises disentailing in the ordinary way in order to make resettlement attract an incomparably lower rate of death duty than if the property remains entailed.
If that is not the object, I shall be extremely interested to hear what the hon. Member will say about what is the real purpose behind the disentailing provision. I mention that merely because this matter has so far been passed over in the debate by the hon. Member for Hendon, South as though all that was required was some perfectly innocent provision putting the Duke in the same position as anybody else whereas in fact, what is being asked is a special Act of Parliament to alter the terms of a settlement.
I come to the main issue of contention, which is, of course, the compensation provisions. I say at once that here I am in complete agreement with the hon. Baronet the Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir P. Agnew). These compensation provisions are peculiar provisions and I shall deal with them in more detail later. It was suggested that these compensation provisions had to be inserted 1249 because of Standing Orders in another place.
There are obviously no objections to compensation provisions which can be made by the Duke of Norfolk outside this House without the assistance of this House. The property is his property and he is entitled to deal with it in exactly the same way as anybody else would, provided that the compensation provisions are in accordance with the general law. The charge I make against the compensation provisions in this case is that there are special provisions in the compensation Clauses which are contrary to the general law. In other words, the Duke of Norfolk's representatives are saying that he is merely asking Parliament to put him in the same position as any other landlord when he asks for the disentailing provisions, yet in the same breath they are asking Parliament to treat him differently from any other landlord by special provisions in these compensation Clauses.
§ Mr. Anthony Marlowe (Hove)
This is a very important matter. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) made the point that his only objection was on compensation grounds. In fact, the Abergavenny Act, 1946, also contained compensation proposals—and that was where the right hon. Gentleman and my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Kirk) got at cross-purposes. In fact, in Section 5 and in the Fourth Schedule of the 1946 Act, provision is made for compensation for those who lost rights by reason of the passing of the Measure.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
While appreciating the object which the hon. and learned Member has in mind, I must say that that is an irrelevant interruption. My objection is that these compensation provisions are contrary to the general law. I am not dealing with the Abergavenny provisions. I do not even know whether they are contrary to the general law, nor, indeed, do I care. Why should I? We are dealing with the Duke of Norfolk's Bill and not with the Abergavenny proposals. We do not know how far the Abergavenny provisions were discussed in this House. Some of these Bills have gone through without detailed discussion on these points. Here, owing to the 1250 history of the Bill, we now have before us these provisions, which come before us for our deliberate consideration. The House must decide whether or not to come down in their favour.
§ Mr. Marlowe
The hon. and learned Member is really not doing justice to the point. The point is that this Bill merely follows the precedent set by the Measure of 1946, which went through the House at the time of a Labour Government. The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) made no objection then to a provision in this form in that Measure.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
What the hon. and learned Member has done is merely to repeat what he said before. I shall not take up the time of the House by repeating the reply which I have already given on that point.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Toothrose—
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I do not know if the hon. and learned Member is going on to say how this provision differs from the provisions of the general law. If he is going on to deal with that point I shall not interrupt.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
I have just said that I was. I am coming now to the particular provisions referring to the compensation fund.
Let us first realise what is the object of the fund. It is to compensate the reversioners—the Duke of Norfolk's successors—who will be deprived of their interest in these estates by reason of the disentailing provision. The estates amount to about £2 million. The Duke proposes to put aside £250,000 in order to provide the nucleus of this compensation Fund, but in order to provide full value for this estate at the final value which it would have after paying death duties on the Duke's death if there were no Act of Parliament at all, £500,000 would be required. Therefore, the Bill provides for a process by which the £250,000 is to grow into £500,000 in order to provide compensation. It is for that purpose that we have these peculiar provisions in the Bill, and it is those provisions which I now propose to examine.
1251 I want to make just four points in this connection. First, the income of this £250,000 is to be accumulated for twenty-one years. If the Duke of Norfolk made the settlement himself the accumulation could take place for his lifetime, and not for twenty-one years—it could take place for the life of the settlor. But if the Duke of Norfolk died within twenty-one years the accumulation would end and therefore this method of providing the £500,000 compensation fund would be defeated. Parliament is therefore asked to make a special provision, outside and contrary to the general law, to provide a special accumulation period in order to enable this process to go through.
In other words, Parliament is being asked not to treat the Duke of Norfolk in the same way as any other landowner, as his Whip says, but to treat him as being in a specially privileged position and under a specially privileged law of his own, entirely different from the position of any other landowner.
The second point concerns Estate Duty. I speak here with some deference because these are very complicated and difficult matters. I was a little surprised to hear the hon. Gentleman say that no Estate Duty question is involved in these compensation provisions. I speak with deference and subject to correction, but, as I understand it, if the Duke was the settlor and he made the settlement outside Parliament altogether, without there being any compensation provision as there is in the Bill, and he died within five years of his making the settlement, Estate Duty would be payable on the settlement at the rate of 80 per cent., as we know from the memorandum; there is no provision in the Bill that the Duke of Norfolk is to be treated as settlor and, if the Duke dies within a period of five years, so far from his having to pay Estate Duty at a rate of 80 per cent. no Estate Duty will be payable at all. The result, therefore, of this provision in the Bill, as I understand it, is to defeat the effect which the general law would have on a settlement made by the Duke outside an Act of Parliament if he died within the five-year period.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
What the hon. and learned Gentleman is now saying would be true, if the Duke made a settlement in a certain way. On the other hand, 1252 if he made a settlement in some other way, under the general law there need be no duty payable. In other words, what the hon. and learned Gentleman is saying is that if in fact the Duke were badly advised, there would be duty payable. But I think the hon. and learned Gentleman would agree that if the Duke did, say, what the hon. and learned Gentleman advised, then there would be no duty payable.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
I very much doubt that. I should like to see the settlement which the Duke of Norfolk would make. It may be it would be a settlement which he would not want to make at all, and perhaps that is the object of the provision in this Bill. At any rate, we are agreed that this Clause with the compensation provision as included in the Bill avoids the ordinary liability for payment of Estate Duty in the event of the settlor dying within five years.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I did not say that at all. Of course we could not make this provision without a Statute. We could not do it for the very good reason that we are here settling a position which we should not have unless we had the special Act of 1627 on the Statute Book. We have to start from a new position altogether. If we were to suppose a position in which the Duke had to make an arrangement of this kind, he could quite easily make an arrangement which would in fact avoid Estate Duty—if that be the right term—fully as much as the proposal included in the Bill.
§ Mr. Shinwell
Would my hon. and learned Friend be good enough to ask the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth)—who now appears to be the real sponsor of the Bill—whether he has had any intimation from the Duke, after the presentation of the last memorandum, that the Duke wishes this provision to be inserted in the Bill?
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I will, of course, I thought I answered it in my opening speech. This is a provision under which the Duke has to pay £250,000 out of his own pocket, and although this is not a 1253 matter which is in his favour, he thinks this is an essential provision in order that the Bill should lift the unbarrable entail. Therefore it is no good asking, would the Duke agree to this; it is the price which he has to pay in order to get the other provisions through.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
I am not going to continue this argument further. I have made my point about the Estate Duty. It is that this provision in the Bill avoids the payment of Estate Duty within a five-year period. It is conceivable that the Duke might avoid that by some form of settlement outside Parliament altogether, but it also may be that that would not be acceptable to him. What is quite clear is that this Bill avoids the ordinary provision of the law for payment within a five-year period.
My next point relates to the Income Tax and Surtax position. This Bill provides for the accumulation of income for a 21-year period and at the end of that period a contingent payment to the person who may become entitled as the Duke's successor under the 1627 Act. The effect of that is that during the 21-year period no Surtax is pay able upon the income accumulating. The result of that is that during the 21-year period, when as much as £500,000 is being accumulated—the £250,000 being raised to £500,000—half of that accumulation is due to the avoidance of Surtax payment, the payment that would have to be paid if the Duke himself were the recipient of the income. So that we have, for a 21-year period, no Surtax payable. Mark you, the 21-year period is a special provision made in the Bill which the Duke could not achieve under the general law. That is the third reason for the objection to these compensation provisions.
The fourth point is this: The reversioners, those gentlemen who will be entitled to payment after the death of the Duke, and would normally be entitled to the income of the estate then, are not excluded altogether from benefit during the 21-year period. There is power to advance to them during that period, to any individual one of them sums up to £25,000, and a total sum between them of £75,000 altogether.
Those would be capital payments out of the accumulation, and would there- 1254 fore be free of Surtax, although the payment may consist of some of the income accumulated during the 21-year period. We have, in effect, income converted into capital and paid as capital to somebody who, apart from the accumulation provisions of the Bill, would receive it as income and have to pay Surtax on it.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
Quite right. Income Tax would be payable at the standard rate of tax in the first place. He escapes Surtax on it.
These four provisions in the Bill can operate only as a result of making arrangements in the Bill which are not in accordance with the general law. When the Duke, through his representative asks for the disentailing to be done upon the ground that he wants to be put in the same position as any other landowner, and then asks for compensation provisions which can take effect only by reason of provisions which put him in a different position from any other landowner and give him a privileged position in the law, it is a very remarkable position.
This is quite impossible. If the hon. Member for Hendon, South wants to consider the compensation provisions and does not want them to be taken out of the Bill, let him withdraw the Bill altogether. The position is a complete muddle. Far and away the best thing would be to withdraw the Bill at this stage, to reconsider the position and to bring in something which does not contain the offensive provisions which are in the Bill. If the hon. Gentleman does not do that, I very much hope that the House will vote an Instruction which will make it impossible to put the Duke of Norfolk into the privileged position which enables him to have these compensation Clauses.
§ 8.54 p.m.
§ Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay)
After being rescued from my earlier bewilderment by the few remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby), I now find myself again more confused than ever. I think that I am not alone in that respect. The hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) was not quite fair in dismissing 1255 all consideration for precedent in the rather offhand way he did. Those who are not skilled lawyers in a very technical field cannot, in their consideration of a technical Measure like this, but be guided to some extent by what this House has considered on previous occasions. I did not think it was quite fair to brush that on one side when hon. Members on this side of the House and others have studied with some care similar Bills which went through with the party opposite in office. I am making no party point, but the Shrewsbury and Abergavenny Bills had exactly similar Clauses.
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
Is it not the case that a Private Bill is passed by the House and not sponsored by any Government, either Conservative or Labour? Is the hon. Member suggesting that the present Bill was sponsored by this Government because it has been presented during the time of a Conservative Government?
§ Mr. Bennett
If I used the word "sponsored" it was wrong. But I do not think I did. I said that hon. Members opposite were in office and the majority of such hon. Members did not vote against those Bills. I do not think that he should dismiss as utterly irrelevant something which a Parliament with a large majority of Members of the party opposite passed with no objection at all.
That is one of only two short points I wish to make. As I understood, arising from the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East, the great majority of us here, largely laymen, are determined on one thing alone. It is that the Duke should be put in the position of dealing with his property exactly in the same way as anyone else and of breaking an otherwise unbarrable entail. I thought that there was a wide measure of agreement on that.
I frankly confess that I was one of those hon. Members who would have been quite content with the Bill in its original form. I think someone at least should dare to say that from one side of the House or the other. The reasons I took that attitude were twofold. First, I did not believe that the Duke would be gaining one scrap of advantage by the Clauses now to be removed other than he could have obtained by another 1256 method afterwards. It may be that he was ill advised to do it in this form, but by so acting he was doing something openly and publicly which we all know others do in another more private way.
I cannot but express surprise at the attitude of hon. Members opposite when I recall that at the time of the passing of the Wellington Estates Bill, a Bill passed by a majority in this House, with a very glowing speech made in support by a right hon. Member on the Opposition Front Bench when there was a similar provision in that Bill. The Duke of Wellington handed over Apsley House and was enabled to keep a fiat in it in perpetuity for himself and his family. That Measure was endorsed at that time by many hon. Members who are now objecting to this Bill as it stands and I cannot find any consistency or logic in this opposition, they having enthusiastically passed a Bill of that kind in 1947.
However, for the sake of general peace and in the hope that progress might be made, like many other hon. Members on both sides of the House, I decided in all the circumstances that as the controversy has been aroused it would be better to allow the Bill to go through, limited only to the provision putting the Duke in the same position as anyone else. That is now my position and I earnestly hope that we may now be able to reach what I believe is the principal point of agreement among the great majority of hon. Members of this House.
§ 8.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Herbert Morrison (Lewisham, South)
What we are discussing tonight is a question of public principle. As my hon. Friends have said, it is not a question of us wishing to pick a personal quarrel with the Duke or to engage in personal attacks on him. I know him quite well. He has functioned, I think very ably, as the Earl Marshal with whom I had some association when I also was what is known as one of the great officers of State, as it is claimed the Earl Marshal is, and I was Lord President of the Council. I thought that the Duke discharged his duties with ability and efficiency. Therefore, there is no personal question involved in this.
This is a question of principle and policy and I must briefly refer to the provisions of the Bill as it 1257 is before us, partly because it is right to recall why one associated oneself with others in putting down a Motion to reject the Bill, and partly because, owing to the way in which the Bill has been handled by the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth)— who I understood was the spokesman on behalf of the promoter and spoke with some authority—we are in a muddle as to what is intended.
The first objection in principle that I have is this. I think that it is quite wrong for a noble Lord or, for that matter, an hon. Member of this House—although I am not sure that an hon. Member of this House can do it—to bring into Parliament a personal Bill, in a Parliament of which he is a Member, whether of the upper House or not, which is of pecuniary importance to him. I do not think it is right that he should do it. I think that it is objectionable in principle. I know that the Duke is entitled to do it, but I think that it is time Parliament stopped this rather mediæval practice of personal Bills which can be brought in. at any rate by a Member of another place, in which he may be a material personal beneficiary.
§ Sir Robert Grimston (Westbury)
I am interested in what the right hon. Gentleman is saying and I thank him for giving way. If my recollection serves me right, the Wellington Estates Bill, which has been referred to, was brought in by a Government of which the right hon. Gentleman was a Member. It certainly benefited the Duke of Wellington. I presume that the right hon. Gentleman is now arguing that the Government should have brought in this Bill for the Duke of Norfolk.
§ Mr. Morrison
We are debating this Bill. If it was the case that the Wellington Estates Bill was brought in as a Government Bill, which is what I understand the hon. Gentleman has said, and he thinks that is the right thing to do whatever the merits of the Bill may be, it is right that this Bill should be dealt with by Government legislation and not as a Private Bill.
§ Mr. G. R. Howard (St. Ives)
Am I right in thinking that it was during a Labour Government that the Mountbatten Bill was brought in?
§ Mr. Morrison
There is some feeling on this side of the House because the hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. G. R. Howard) has only just come into the Chamber. He missed the point which I was making, so I am afraid that I shall have to let it go.
This House and another place are rather particular as to what members of local authorities can do. They have laid down principles and even statute law, I think rightly, whereby members of local authorities must declare an interest, which I have no doubt the Duke did, and indeed that is plain on the face of it, but they must not vote on a matter in which they are peculiarly or materially interested. We have taken great care about it and I think rightly so in principle. But, having taken care in relation to the local authorities, this House now and again goes on the loose as regards the conduct of its own Members and those of another place in matters of this kind. Therefore, I think that if the Bill had to be brought in at all, it should have been a Government Bill and not a Private Bill promoted by the noble Lord who has a personal interest in the matter.
Secondly, I object to the principle that a person can bring in a Bill whereby property of which he is the owner can be transferred to a trust, appointed by himself under the terms of the Bill and of which he is a trustee, and then make provision whereby he can live in the property so transferred. I do not think that is right. Therefore, on those grounds and on other grounds, too, I thought that the Bill was bad and ought to go. Since then, however, we have had an undertaking by the Duke of Norfolk. It has been read before, but I will read it again because I want to lead up to some questions to the hon. Member for Hendon, South.
I thought he said that these compensation provisions must be in the Bill under the Standing Orders of their Lordships' House. I do not know whether that is so or not. If it is so, it might govern their Lordships' House, but I hope that the point will not be reached when the House of Commons, in dealing with a Bill, has to be governed by the Standing Orders of another place. It is, therefore, 1259 irrelevant to the proceedings. If a Bill comes before us we must be free to do what we like with it, unencumbered by the Standing Orders of another place.
In his further statement, dated 25th June, the Duke of Norfolk says:If the Bill is passed, amended in this way, it will contain nothing but the provision for putting an end to the unbarrable entail and such ancillary provisions as may be required by Parliament.That seems to be a reasonably clear and explicit undertaking and the Instruction which was put down by the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir P. Agnew) and others was in accordance with that undertaking. If we have a clear undertaking that that is in fact what will be done and that the irrelevant Clauses, including the compensation Clause, Clause 7, will be deleted, then I think the situation is simplified, because then the battle has been won.
To my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. Hamilton), who had another Instruction down and to whose speech we all listened with interest—he had obviously taken a lot of trouble over it—I would only say that if we go into a Parliamentary battle and win, there is not much harm in registering the victory by not having a Division.
The hon. Member for Hendon, South has apparently started a Parliamentary battle, although as far as we knew there had at the beginning been a surrender on the part of the Duke. If he were properly to surrender, it would be very difficult to continue the battle. If the hon. Member for Hendon, South, who is supposed to have surrendered, on the one hand, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), who is on the side of the victors, on the other hand, want to continue a non-existent battle, it can be done, but there is not much point in it. If we get the undertakings about the Bill right and clear—and we have not been given them yet—I think we can allow the Second Reading and tie it up with an appropriate Instruction, as recommended by my hon. Friends.
But unless we get clear undertakings on behalf of the promoters of the Bill, then I think it will not only be our right but it will be our duty to vote against the Second Reading. I suggest that if we get the clear undertaking, then the victory is won, and there 1260 is not much point in dividing on the Second Reading; but if we do not get that undertaking, I think we ought to have a Division.
We have had an interesting debate and a typically amusing speech from the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby). I was interested in his arguments about sponges and toothbrushes, but I think I ought to warn him that at the next election in Orkney and Shetland he will be open to the accusation by the opponents of the Tory Party that he has accused Orkney and Shetland of not using sponges or toothbrushes, and I think that that will not do the Tory candidate any good. I am now waiting for the return of the hon. Member for Hendon, South.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I beg the right hon. Gentlemban's pardon. If he had to legislate without a Department behind him, he would find out how difficult it is.
§ Mr. Morrison
The effect is that owing to the hon. Gentleman's absence, I have had to continue my speech rather longer than I might have done.
My advice to the House would be that if we can get a straight and complete implementation of the undertaking of the Duke of Norfolk in regard to Clause 7, and in regard to other provisions which are irrelevant or antagonistic to that undertaking, I think we should let the Bill have a Second Reading and then carry such Instruction as seems appropriate to the circumstances. But before we come to that point—and we do not come to it before the Second Reading is settled one way or the other—we are entitled to ask the hon. Member for Hendon, South if he accepts that position or not. If he really accepts it, I would advise a Second Reading and then, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) has suggested, the appropriate Instruction.
If the hon. Gentleman cannot give that undertaking, I think that it is our right and our duty to vote against a Second Reading of the Bill.
§ 9.12 p.m.
§ Sir Herbert Butcher (Holland with Boston)
When I came here this afternoon I felt that this Bill would be quite 1261 easily disposed of in the light of the assurances that had been given by its promoter that it was desired to place the Duke of Norfolk in precisely and exactly the same position as every other landowner. It seemed to me to be entirely right and proper that the Duke should have the same opportunity of dealing with his large house, with its many rooms, as other people have of dealing with their smaller houses, with their fewer rooms. But I must say that the more I have listened to the debate the more confused I find myself.
If what the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) has told us is right—and I believe that it would be impossible to deny his accuracy, except after the most detailed consideration and examination of the precedents—this Bill, that brings the Duke of Norfolk into step with every other landlord, is likely to put him out of step with a large number of other taxpayers. If that is the case, I feel that this Bill should not be permitted to proceed until this House has had far more opportunity of considering it.
Nobody would feel that in this matter, the Duke has been fortunate in his advisers but, on examining the Order Paper, I think that the House would find itself in some difficulty. My own feeling is that probably the right, the proper. and the more dignified thing to do would be for the Duke to withdraw the Bill. That would give the House an opportunity of re-examining a new Bill in the light of this debate. Unless I received, and heard from the Floor of this House, on behalf of the promoter of the Bill, the most categorical assurances, I certainly would not be able to support the Second Reading.
In fairness to the Duke and to his advisers, I must, however, say that I do not believe that in the short time available to them, they should commit themselves to making such sweeping concessions and pledges as the occasion would demand. Therefore, as I say, I think that probably the right thing would be for the Bill to be withdrawn.
One consideration that may be urged is that withdrawal would be an expensive matter; that the money spent in promoting this Measure would be wasted. Well, in engineering it very often happens 1262 that the first pattern does not work and that one has to try another, but we are not here dealing with a case in which the cost of a Private Bill will be one of material considerations. We are dealing with a fund of £¼ million, to be accumulated until it becomes £½ million; with hundreds of acres of valuable property being passed under settlements; with freehold land in some of the most valuable part of England. I believe that the cost of preparing a new Bill might be very well be money well spent.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
On a point of order. I wonder whether I could make a statement which might facilitate the course of the debate.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
I have listened very carefully to the course of the debate. Clearly, we are likely to have a Division on Second Reading, as some hon. Members are opposed to the whole of the Bill. The right hon. Member for Lewisham, South (Mr. H. Morrison) has put some very pertinent questions to me, and the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) made some points which, obviously, will need very careful examination indeed.
The Duke does not wish in any way to ask Parliament for a special privilege. He wants to be placed literally in the position of any other landowner, and the purpose of Clause 7 is to give effect to the need for compensation, which, as I understand, the hon. and learned Member for Leicester North-East did not deny. All that the hon. and learned Member said was that he thought it was not well done by this Clause and the related Schedule in the Bill.
The difficulty that we are in is that we first of all have a Second Reading debate, and then we have a Motion for an Instruction which does not refer to Clause 7, and then we take Clause 7, which is really the reverse order of doing things. Hon. Members will, therefore, not know where they are until the last moment. 1263 What I am trying to do is to arrive at a suitable way of dealing with this matter, and the suggestion that I make to the House is this. If the House thought fit, it might perhaps accept the Motion on Clause 7 and the related Schedule without prejudice to the insertion in the Bill in Committee of provisions which would give effect—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—to the principle of compensation on the lines suggested by the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
I cannot have this suggestion foisted on me in this way. It is quite unwarrantable. What I said was that I could understand compensation provisions being made, but that they could be made outside the Bill altogether, and that no compensation provision should be inserted in the Bill which could not properly be made outside the Bill.
§ Mr. Frank Bowles (Nuneaton)
On a point of order. May I put this point to the hon. Gentleman? I think I am accurate in this. From a Private Bill a Clause can be deleted, but a new Clause cannot be inserted in Committee.
§ Sir H. Lucas-Tooth
That illustrates the kind of difficulty that I feel we are in.
The hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East made some points which, as I understand them, could quite easily be attended to in Committee. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] They could. The Clause could be amended in Committee. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] The right hon. Member for Lewisham, South has been pressing me, but, as he pointed out and as I am bound to point out, I have no power. I am not the Government; I am merely a private Member. I think that the suggestion I have made is a possible way of dealing with the matter, and that if the House is not willing to deal with it in that way there is no alternative but to divide the House.
§ Mr. H. Morrison
I am much obliged to the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) for the statement that he has made, but I must say that it seems to us quite unsuitable. It looks as if Clause 7 would be taken out and put back again. In the circumstances, I do not think there is any good in con- 1264 tinuing the argument on these lines any more. There are two alternatives before us. One is that the Bill should be withdrawn and that the promoters should think again, but if the promoters of the Bill ask for a Second Reading, I must inform hon. Members who have taken a certain line that, as far as I am personally concerned, I shall vote against it.
§ 9.20 p.m.
§ Mr. F. H. Hayman (Falmouth and Camborne)
On a point of order. May I respectfully point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that I was called to speak by Mr. Deputy-Speaker when the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) rose and asked leave to make a second speech. Might I then have the privilege of speaking now, because I sat down then without protest?
§ Mr. Hayman
I thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. My speech will be very short.
I think that we have all been muddled beyond measure by the debate tonight. When the Bill first appeared, many of us felt that it was a Bill that ought to be rejected, but the Duke of Norfolk himself then came forward with modifications which seemed reasonable and I was prepared to take my name away from a Motion on the Order Paper, opposing the Bill, which I had signed. Afterwards, I found there was some doubt and I allowed my name to remain.
I doubt whether we have ever listened to a debate in which the legal considerations appear to have been so muddled as they have been tonight. The speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) was clear and cogent. He put before the House the detailed legal objections very clearly and forcefully. We are asked now by the hon. Member for Hendon, South, speaking on behalf of the Duke of Norfolk, the leader of the aristocracy in the country, to give special privileges to the Duke, his family and his heirs at a time when millions of ordinary people are to have the tenancies of their houses threatened by the Rent 1265 Act. In all the circumstances, the Duke's advisers ought to come forward and say that they ask leave to withdraw the Bill, so that they can come forward next year with a simple Bill to give effect to what they have already promised. We must point out that hon. Members received assurances that the offensive Clauses in the Bill, as we see them, would be withdrawn, but they are in the Bill. Therefore, I hope that the House will reject it.
§ 9.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)
I am sorry to detain the House, but I have to say that in a fairly long Parliamentary experience I have seldom seen such a muddle as we have experienced tonight. It is the almost unanimous opinion of the House that the Bill should he passed, in the sense of the Instruction on the Order Paper in the name of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South0 (Sir P. Agnew), which would leave out all Clausesother than those which free the property from the present statutory restrictions upon its disposal.We have got into a rather unfortunate muddle because the Instruction in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Gravesend (Mr. Kirk)That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to leave out Clauses 3 to 5 and 10, and Schedule 3was called first. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am sorry. I mean may be called first.
It would be in keeping with the dignity of the House if we found a method of expressing what is the general view of the House, as contained in the Instruction in the name of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Worcestershire, South, and I ask your help, Mr. Speaker, in arriving at that result. I deeply regret that the House finds itself in such confusion. I shall regret it even more if what is clearly the will of the House does not have a chance of expression.
§ Mr. Woodburn
On a point of order. A great deal has been said about withdrawing the Bill. Is there any possibility of withdrawing the Bill, Mr. Speaker, or is it in possession of the House? Has anybody here the power to withdraw it?
§ Mr. Speaker
The Bill can be withdrawn, but at the moment the Bill is in possession of the House and the House must come to a decision about it.
§ 9.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
I do not intend to speak for more than a few minutes, but if anyone starts yapping "divide" while I am speaking, I shall speak a good deal longer.
§ Mr. Hale
I make no apology for detaining the House. I think that hon. Members should be prepared to listen to the debate and then make up their minds. Up to now there have been many speeches, but they have not assisted us to make up our minds. It has been said that rarely in the House of Commons has a speech affected a vote but, without wishing to be discourteous to the hon. Baronet, I say that he made a speech which looks like influencing a great many of us, because I stayed here tonight to vote for the Bill, but now I do not think I shall do so and I will tell the House why I have changed my mind.
I do not care whether the promoter of the Bill is the leader of the aristocracy or the secretary of the dustmen's union, if the secretary of the dustmen's union comes here and says, "I have found out that my house, 4, Prospect Road, Oswaldtwistle, is subject to a limitation by an Act of Parliament passed in 1627 which does not apply to any other house in Oswaldtwistle, and I ask you to remove it" then I think he has a perfectly good case.
Anyhow, I agree with the Leader of the Liberal Party that the British people have a soft spot for dukes, as I have myself. It is fair to say of the Dukes of Norfolk that their historical record is one of belonging to the "keep left" group of the day. Most of the earls were excommunicated by the Pope. Several of the dukes were attainted and one was beheaded, and one cannot have a better radical record than that. The Duke of the day was one of the barons of Magna Carta and another Duke of the day voted for the great Reform Bill. Indeed, the Duke of the previous day had got the sack from the Prince Regent for giving the toast of "The health of the sovereign of our people."
§ Mr. Hale
I am not certain, but one of the Earls of Norfolk had the distinction of being excommunicated one year by the 1267 Pope, restored the next year, excommunicated by Thomas a. Becket the following year, and restored again by the Bishop of Norwich.
Let me say another thing quite frankly. If the object of this Bill is to remove the restraint of alienation so as to permit some disposition of the property which would avoid taxation, the Duke is perfectly entitled to do it. What every landowner is doing there is no reason why the Duke should not do. It is the job of this House to stop him, and the moment we get a Labour Government, I hope we shall deal strongly with the evasion of taxation, but so long as this House does not deal collectively with evasion of taxation, we have no right to say to one, "You are going to be in a worse position than the rest."
That is the base I started from, and I could not understand why the hon. Baronet, who spoke for twenty-seven minutes, spent twenty-five of them in describing the Clauses which he did not want and two minutes saying he did not know why he was there, and was not moving the Bill, and was not clear about how to move the Bill or who was responsible for it. That did not help us.
I listened to the hon. Baronet the Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby) with almost complete agreement. It seemed to me that he was putting a point of view. I understood from the memorandum that the Duke's advisers had withdrawn all the Clauses except those which removed the restraint on alienation imposed by the Act of 1627, If that were the position I would vote for the Bill and for the Motion, but it is not the position. The hon. Baronet the Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) has said clearly that it is not the position. No, we have the £250,000 Clause. To what the hon. Baronet says it seems to me there is a perfectly simple answer. If the Duke wishes only to remove the restraint on alienation, he can simply, at a cost of no more than £100, introduce a one-Clause Bill removing the restraint on alienation and withdraw this one. If he wants to offer Arundel Castle to the nation, he can offer Arundel Castle to the nation and leave it to the nation to decide whether it wants it or not. If he wants to settle, as my hon. and learned Friend the Mem- 1268 ber for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) has said, £250,000 on maintenance, he can do it by a simple trust deed, as anybody else can do it, the moment the restraint on alienation is removed.
I disagree with my hon. and learned Friend in one thing. I always listen carefully to my hon. and learned Friend speaking on matters of this kind, realising that no one in the House speaks with more authority or with more profound knowledge on matters of this kind. I think that would be conceded on both sides of the House. My hon. and learned Friends very great experience of Chancery law is of great advantage to the House in deciding a matter of this sort.
The points made by my hon. and learned Friend were indeed substantial ones. There is no question at all that there are very considerable financial advantages that come from the settlement of the £250,000 in Clause 7. Without wishing to use an offensive term, I must say that it is dishonest to say, "We are prepared to withdraw everything" and to issue the statement which was issued by the promoter and supporters if they really are instructing the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) to take the line which he has been taking in the last few minutes. It is dishonest and an attempt to deceive the House. I do not associate the Duke with it. It is obvious that he has been conspicuously badly advised. No case has ever been worse presented to the House. That is the Duke's misfortune more than his fault.
However, I think my hon. and learned Friend was guilty of a slight injustice when he said that the Act of 1627 was passed at a time when entails could be dealt with and that the entail was the voluntary act of the Duke of the day. As we have dismissed any criticism of what the Labour Party did in 1946 or 1947 about some Bill of which I have never heard and which I am sure I have not read, I do not see why I should blame the Duke for what his ancestor did in 1627 or hold it against him.
Also, the Bill was amended in the House of Commons in 1627. It came from the Lords. It was sent to the Commons, and Amendments were made in the Commons. No one now seems to know what the Amendments were, but 1269 they may have been Amendments with a significant effect.
The Bill ends in old Norman French:Soit baille aux Comuns.A ceste Bille aveque les amendements annexe les Comuns ont assentu.I apologise to the House. The first Earl, Ralph the Staller, who used to sign himself "Ralph the Stealer," went to live in Normandy and would no doubt have pronounced this very much better than I can.A ceux amendements les Seigneurs ont assentu.Then there is the King's note of endorsement:Soit fait come il est desiré.The Bill started in the Lords, went to the Commons, was amended in the Commons, went back to the Lords, and the Lords accepted the Amendment of the Commons. It is no good saying it was a prearranged thing which was submitted to the Commons and went through in that way. It was subject to discussion and amendment.
Let us be fair. Everyone knows why estate entails were created in those days. It was done with the perfectly laudable object of keeping the land in the family, of preserving the big estates. I am not passionately in favour of big estates, but if I owned one I should want to keep it. From the point of view of the individual it is an eminently laudable object to say, "I want my sons to have the advantages that I have." Therefore, I do not criticise it.
There was one thing that the hon. Member for Hendon, South did not explain, among many other things which he did not explain, and that was why this entail became omitted from the Settled Land Act, 1881. When that Act empowered almost every other entailed estate to be broken, why was the Arundel estate omitted? Was it a deliberate act or was it an oversight on the part of the Parliamentary draftsmen of the day, as I suspect?
However that may be, I very much regret that unless we have some other assurance, and a clear assurance, to convince us that the Instruction, to which the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East and the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir P. Agnew) referred, will be carried, I shall not be able to support the Bill. Unless some- 1270 one can devise a means of assuring the House that if we vote for Second Reading we will not vote for Clause 7 to be tampered with, for Amendments to it to be suggested and for undertakings to be repudiated, I do not see how it will be possible to vote for the Second Reading.
In view of the very clear statements made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas), who put the position perfectly fairly and, in the circumstances, generously, I would be perfectly prepared to accept the proposal of the Promoters, if they mean that the Bill is limited to a limitation of entail. My right hon. Friend's offer was generous. Unless it is accepted, and clearly accepted in unequivocal terms, the Bill will be rejected, as it ought to be rejected.
§ 9.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Fletcher-Cooke (Darwen)
I shall not make a long speech, although I have much material with which to do so and although I should have enjoyed it. I should like to cross swords with the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) on some part of the death duties issue. Instead of that, I have a suggestion to make. It is that we should vote on the Second Reading. Assuming that that is passed, there will be a chance for those who object to Clause 7 and to the compensation provisions to vote on that issue and to exclude consideration of Clause 7 altogether. That, I understand, will be the procedure if the Second Reading is carried.
I speak for no one but myself and, personally, I should not be sorry to see Clause 7 go. Whatever may have been said, I assure the House that Clause 7 and the compensation have been a matter of very hard bargaining between the Duke and those representing the infants and unborn infants, that is to say, the Public Trustee and the Official Solicitor, before the matter was passed in another place. If this House says unequivocally that although it is prepared to allow the entail to be broken, it will not give Parliamentary sanction to any compensation, that will strengthen the possibility of the Bill being passed when it goes back to another place, because it will have been not by 1271 the will of the Duke that the compensation provisions have been excluded, but by the will of this House. It will not be the Duke's fault and, therefore the Duke will not be breaking his bargain with the Public Trustee and Official Solicitor. That will satisfy all parties, except, perhaps, the Official Solicitor and Public Trustee, and they must deal with themselves.
§ I appeal to the House to give the Bill a Second Reading and then, if it wishes, to instruct the Committee to omit Clause 7 in toto, all question of compensation being omitted. I believe that, as amended, the Bill would have some chance of being passed when it returned to another place.
§ Question put, That "now" stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 177, Noes 147.1273
|Division No. 172.]||AYES||[9.40 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Gurden, Harold||Nabarro, C. D. N.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Harrison, col. J. H. (Eye)||Neave, Airey|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Atkins, H. E.||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. C.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Hesketh, R. F.||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Page, R. G.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Partridge, E.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Peyton, J. W. W.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Holt, A. F.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hope, Lord John||Pott, H. P.|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Hornby, R. P.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Horobin, Sir Ian||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Houghton, Douglas||Profumo, J. D.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Bryan, P.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Redmayne, M.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander, E. E.||Hurd, A. R.||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Gary, Sir Robert||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Channon, Sir Henry||Jennings, J, C. (Burton)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Kimball, M.||Russell, R. S.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Kirk, P. M.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Lambert, Hon. G.||Simon, J. E.S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Speir, R. M.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Leather, E. H. C.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Deedes, W. F.||Leavey, J. A.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Steward, Sir William(Woolwich, W.)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Duncan, Sir James||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Teeling, W.|
|Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. (Kelvingrove)||Longden, Gilbert||Temple, John M.|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'castle upon Tyne, N)||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Fort, R.||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Wade, D. W.|
|Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Freeth, Denzil||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Gammans, Lady||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Gamer-Evans, E. H.||Maddan, Martin||Ward, Rt. Hon. G, R. (Worcester)|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Glyn, Col. R.||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Cower, H. R.||Mathew, R.||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Graham, sir Fergus||Maude, Angus||Wills, G. (Bridgwater)|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Mawby, R. L.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Green, A.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Gresham Cooke, R,||Medlicott, Sir Frank||Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth and|
|Grimond, J.||Moore, Sir Thomas||Mr. Fletcher-Cooke.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Pearson, A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hannan, W.||Peart, T. F.|
|Baird, J.||Hastings, S.||Pentland, N.|
|Benoe, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Hayman, F. H.||Prentice, R. E.|
|Beswick, Frank||Holman, P.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Blackburn, F.||Holmes, Horace||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hey, J. H.||Probert, A. R.|
|Boardman, H.||Hubbard, T. F.||Rankin, John|
|Boothby, Sir Robert||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Reeves, J.|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S. W.)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Rhodes, H.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Boyd, T. C.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Ross, William|
|Brockway, A. F.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jeger, George (Goole)||Short, E. W.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs, S.)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Clunie, J.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Collins, V.J.(Shoreditch & Finsbury)||Kenyon, C.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Snow, J. W.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||King, Dr. H. M.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lagden, G. W.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lawson, G. M.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Ledger, R. J.||Steele, T.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Lewis, Arthur||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. (Ipswich)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lipton, Marcus||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Deer, G.||Logan, D. G.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mabon, Dr. J, Dickson||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Errington, Sir Eric||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Viant, S. P.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Mahon, Simon||Watkins, T. E.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Markham, Major Sir Frank||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Finch, H. J.||Mellish, R. J.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mitchlson, G. R.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Forman, J. C.||Moody, A. S.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then)||Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.)||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Moss, R.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Glover, D.||Mulley, F. W.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Woof, R. E.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Orbach, M.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Grey, C. F.||Osborne, C.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Oswald, T.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Owen, W. J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hale, Leslie||Paget, R. T.||Mr. G. Thomson and Mr. Hamilton.|
§ Bill read a Second time and committed.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Instruction, to leave out from "5" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:7, 8, 10 and 11, and Schedules 3 and 4The point of this Amendment is to raise the compensation Clause question. If the House decides in favour of my Amendment, Clause 7, with its consequential compensation provisions, will be omitted.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Question, as amended, put and agreed to.
That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to leave out Clauses 3 to 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11, and Schedules 3 and 4.