§ Mr. Godber
I beg to move, in page 3, line 35, to leave out from "force" to "either" in line 40 and to insert:
- (a) a resolution having effect under section severity-five or section seventy-six of the principal Act; or
- (b) a provision of a local Ac: whereby, notwithstanding the grant of such a licence, the use as a slaughterhouse of the premises to which the application relates would he unlawful,the three next following subsections shall have effect notwithstanding anything in the resolution or provision in question, and, while any licence granted or renewed in pursuance of those subsections is in force and any terms, conditions or restrictions imposed by or under any local Act are complied with, nothing in any such provision of a local Act as aforesaid shall prevent, or subject any person to any penalty by reason of, the use of those premises as a slaughterhouse or the slaughter of animals on those premises.(2) Not later than two months after receiving such an application as aforesaid, the local authority shall.At this point we move to Clause 2, and to this Clause there are some very substantial Amendments—in appearance, at any rate. They are, I fear, very long and laborious and difficult to understand, but they are, in the main, drafting Amendments which seek to meet wishes which were expressed in Committee. We 1062 must remember that this Clause deals wholly with areas where there are restrictions due to resolutions under Sections 75 and 76 of the 1955 Act or under local Acts. The whole of the provisions of this Clause relate to this narrow class of cases.
As I mentioned on an earlier Amendment, we have written Section 75 (4) into this Clause. I merely mention that in passing, because we come to that at a later stage, but it has a bearing on this Amendment because there is a reference to subsection (4), which we are seeking to delete. The actual insertion in this Amendment, while it is related to some of the other Amendments and is difficult to define separately, relates mainly to local Act provisions. This Amendment and the two subsequent ones tie up the slight change that we are making in relation to local Act provisions.
The point was made in Committee that in certain cases, while we were bringing local Act provisions into line with Sections 75 and 76 resolutions, we were perhaps at the same time restricting and inhibiting local Act provisions in other respects. It was pointed out that it was unfair, and that while it might be argued that it was fair to bring local Act provisions into line with Section 75 resolutions in the main to bring about a measure of uniformity, at the same time 1063 it would be wrong to go further than that and to deny to local Acts certain extra safeguards which had been taken in relation to slaughterhouses in particular.
The Amendment is designed, as I say, together with the one which comes later, to deal, in particular, with that point and make it clear that, while we are bringing local Acts into line with Sections 75 and 76 resolutions, we are at the same time, making it clear that where a local Act contains any other particular matters relating to slaughterhouses, apart from the licence provision, those particular provisions should stand. That is really the gist of the Amendment. It is introduced in response to requests made to us in Committee. I apologise for its complication, but we are, by it, seeking to meet a point put by hon. Gentlemen opposite and, indeed, by one of my hon. Friends. I hope that, in spite of its complexity, the Amendment will commend itself to the House.
I am embarrassed again by the Parliamentary Secretary making his confession of meeting us on this side. I am afraid that my "diligent slaughter-man" has been certified. Having tried to understand the Bill as originally published, having tried to follow the Amendment's made in Standing Committee, he then sought to read the various versions of the Notice Paper as Amendments, and amended Amendments came out. Finally, he gave it all up.
It is really an under-statement to say that this and the following Amendments are difficult to understand. Clause 2 was one of the most difficult of all Clauses parliamentarians have been asked to comprehend. Incidentally, it ran to three pages. Now, on Report—this is what I protest about—practically the whole of the Clause is rewritten. In fact, it would have been better if the Parliamentary Secretary had rewritten the Clause, because we find long Amendments with bits of the Bill as amended in Committee interspersed between them. I should not be surprised if Members of Parliament, even though they tried to tackle the task with moderation, suffered the fate of the diligent slaughterman in attempting to follow what the Government are doing. It is really a preposterous way of legislating. I defy any hon. Gentleman opposite to tell us what we are doing. No one has the slightest idea. My fears are 1064 confirmed, for not a single hon. Gentleman has risen to express comprehension of this Clause as amended
I am in a further difficulty about this, because matters are worse than I have so far indicated. In Standing Committee we had a very difficult, but understandable, part of the Bill replaced by an Amendment moved by the Parliamentary Secretary. When the Parliamentary Secretary moved his Amendment, which is part of the Bill as amended in Standing Committee, I said:I am in the extraordinary difficulty that I could understand, believe it or not, the original words, and, with some of my hon. Friends, put down an Amendment to the words that at present form part of the Bill. The Parliamentary Secretary has now tabled an Amendment that I cannot understand, and we, therefore, have not been in a position to put down an Amendment to his Amendment"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 4th February, 1958; c. 478.]At any rate, I am obliged to the Parliamentary Secretary, at this late stage, for recognising that. I say at once that the new Amendment, which withdraws the Amendment he put down in Standing Committee and which robbed us of an opportunity of ourselves putting down an Amendment, is sufficiently intelligible for us to put down an Amendment to it.
I feel that the Parliamentary Secretary has gone some way towards preserving parliamentary decency, but I will not go into that because we shall reach our Amendment in due course. I am obliged to him for going so far. We shall now be able to discuss the Amendment that we could not discuss in Committee because of the inability to follow the words that the Parliamentary Secretary inserted in the Bill and which he is now taking out.
As I say, the hon. Gentleman cannot help making Amendments, but we have had this extraordinary performance of three days' Notice Papers coming out with Amendments being amended. Microscopic examination was needed to know the point of the Amendments. The Parliamentary Secretary suffers from a disease for making Amendments—indeed, making Amendments to Amendments.
I do not wish to press this point too far. I understood that the Parliamentary Secretary felt that his proposal improved the wording of the Bill, and we accept that. I understood that the proposal had some laudatory objectives and that at any rate the hon. Gentleman accepted 1065 part of our case, although not the whole of it, as we shall argue on the Amendment. I fully understood the hon. Gentleman's explanation, and, in so far as he has sought to meet us in part, we welcome the Amendment.
Question, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill, put and negatived.
Question proposed, That the proposed words be there inserted in the Bill.
§ Mr. Willey
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 2, to leave out from "Act" to the end of line 5.
Perhaps the following two Amendments might be taken at the same time, in line 7, leave out "or provision"; and in line 7, leave out from "question" to the end of line 12.
I had better explain what we are trying to do by these Amendments. I do not apologise for this, because, frankly I confess that we think that we understand the purport of the new wording. We thank the Joint Parliamentary Secretary for going as far as he has to meet us. However, we do not think that he has gone far enough, and that is why we have tabled these Amendments.
I hope that we can get some support from hon. Gentlemen opposite about this matter, which we argued forthrightly in Committee. It is a matter upon which we should exercise our judgment. The Parliamentary Secretary has acknowledged that we have a case. He has said—and we have to rely upon his word that this point is being dealt with under the Bill—"I do not wish to disturb local Acts of Parliament except where I must disturb them to provide uniformity for licensing provisions". Why uniformity? Without wishing in any way to be offensive, I know that administrators wish to he tidy and that they want uniformity. But what is the sole purpose of local Acts of Parliament? Why do we spend our time upstairs discussing private Bills? The answer is, to provide for breaches in uniformity. That is the whole purpose of local Acts.
Where a local authority has sought and obtained exceptional powers from this House, it is not good enough that, on the broad argument of uniformity, we should wipe that power away. That is the principle that we are arguing, or endeavouring to argue, by this Amendment. As 1066 I say, the Parliamentary Secretary said, "Provided these local Acts deal with other matters than licensing, we concede your case". Why not concede our case altogether? He has made no well-founded argument in support of what he is doing and he is taking away the dearly-won privileges of local authorities and particular localities. For particular, special and peculiar reasons these local authorities have obtained exceptional powers concerning the licensing of slaughterhouses. Why should this be upset?
In Standing Committee, we asked for cases to be quoted and why the hon. Gentleman was causing this interference. All that he can say is that he must have uniformity. That is a very bad attitude. If it could be shown that local Acts had provided this, that and the other, which would interfere with the principles of the Bill, the Government could say that they were proceeding in spite of the privileges and rights that different local authorities and localities had taken. The hon. Gentleman, however, has not said that. He has not given any particulars of the powers enjoyed by some local authorities.
In those circumstances, although the Parliamentary Secretary has come to a partial recognition of our case, we feel that he should go the whole way and say that when local authorities have obtained these special powers, we should leave them undisturbed. I hope that, having heard us redeploy the argument and having slipped so far as to come a little way to meet us, the hon. Gentleman will accept the Amendments.
§ Mr. Godber
As the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) rightly said, we discussed this matter in general in Committee. I tried then to explain that in cases like this there was little difference between a local authority which had taken specific powers under Section 75 or 76 and the provisions of a local Act in relation to licensing. The hon. Member has rested his case this evening, as he did before, largely on the rights of local authorities to promote local Bills dealing with their own specific local problems. That is fair enough, and I do not dissent from it. What I do say is that when almost the whole of those local Acts were considered and brought into force, no general provision of this kind existed. It 1067 was only in the 1938 Act that we introduced these provisions, which we are reinforcing in the present Bill.
Therefore, the fact that we are, in many cases, altering these local authority powers does not in the least inhibit local authorities, particularly now that we have taken the step, which we have done in the Amendment which we have just passed, to safeguard their other powers. We have felt it right that they should come under the same rule as those local authorities which have power by virtue of a Section 75 or 76 resolution relating to slaughterhouses. I do not see that for that reason they are being placed at any serious disadvantage. We provided for this procedure in the White Paper isued in May, 1956, when we explained how we proposed to deal with local authority cases of this sort. We are merely following the line which we established in that White Paper.
I said in Committee that if there were any particular difficulties or problems for local authorities which had local Acts and were afraid that these new provisions would cause difficulty, I would be glad to look into them. I said that we had heard of none, and I can still say the same. As far as I am aware, no representations have been made to us since then.
That, therefore, leads me to believe that the policy we are following is not doing any damage to the interests of these local authorities in relation to licensing. After all, there is no positive harm in uniformity, as I think the hon. Gentleman will agree. We are bringing in this new system of licensing which, as he well knows, provides a new arrangement for areas outside the Section 75 and 76 and local Act areas—which have the provisions of this Clause allied to them. We feel there is an advantage in uniformity, in enabling the "diligent slaughterman" to realise exactly what is expected of him, whatever the area.
I can see no harm coming to any local authority area having a local Act in relation to licensing. For that reason, I prefer to stand on the position set out here, where we are seeking to keep uniformity between the local authority area with a Section 75 resolution and one which has a local Act. For that reason, I do not feel I can accept the Amendment. I stress the point I made earlier, that the provisions we have brought forward and 1068 the 1938 Act are nearly all subsequent to any local Acts. Therefore, I would have thought that most local authorities would have been satisfied with these provisions. For this reason, I am afraid I cannot commend the Amendment to the House.
§ Mr. Darling
The trouble we are in is that again we do not know what we are talking about. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] That is because nobody knows how many local authorities will be affected by the Amendment to the proposed Amendment, namely, the Section 76 resolution local authorities under the previous Act, and so on. We are working completely in the dark. We would have been in a far better position in dealing with this Bill if, from the beginning we had known the relevant statistics for slaughterhouses, where they are, the kind in existence, and the proposals and hopes of local authorities on this matter.
Right from the beginning, however, we have been ignorant of the area of activity with which we are supposed to be concerned. We have also been faced with the incredible attitude on the part of the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, and now the Minister, whom we have with us for a change today—[Horn. MEMBERS: Where is he?"] He will be back in a few moments. We are in this incredible position that they cannot be consistent throughout the Bill.
When we pleaded for uniformity in the design of stunning pens to go into slaughterhouses, the Joint Parliamentary Secretary argued, both today and in Committee, that uniformity was something we should not accept. For instance, to quote him only once, the hon. Gentleman said:We have seen designs of one or two very good types of small stunning pens, but I do not think that there is a need at the moment for us to certify any particular type. This is a matter which we can and should leave to the discretion of local authorities."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 13th March, 1958; c. 1179.]So, throughout the Bill, the hon. Gentleman has been saying, "Let us leave this to the good sense and discretion of local authorities." Now he says, "We must not leave the organisation of slaughterhouses and abattoirs in a local government area to the local authority. We must have uniformity laid down for them."
I have tried to explain frequently in Committee the difficulty I am in. In 1069 England and Wales there is a good pattern of slaughterhouse organisation which we should try to follow in general; that is the pattern which has been established by a local Act in the City of Sheffield.
There is a municipal abattoir, and no private slaughterhouses are allowed to function within the city boundaries. As a result, we have a very good system. We are about the only city in the country which can guarantee 100 per cent. meat inspection both of cattle slaughtered in the city and meat imported into it. This is the pattern that we should like the whole country to follow, but I am very much afraid that, under the legislation which we shall be passing if the Amendments to the Government Amendment are not carried, we shall prevent local authorities from coming up to the standards set by Sheffield if they wish to do so.
§ Mr. Winterbottom
I should not like my hon. Friend's statement to go on record without correction. He said that Sheffield has only one abattoir. I agree with his general principle, but there are two other abattoirs of a private nature which were allowed to continue when the old abattoirs were bought out between 1930 and 1940. There are now three abattoirs in existence—one for the killing of horses, one for the killing of pigs, and the other, which is the general abattoir, with which my hon. Friend is dealing.
§ Mr. Darling
The two others cannot by any stretch of the imagination be called abattoirs; they are little local slaughterhouses, one licensed by the local authority because it does not want horses slaughtered in its municipal abattoir, and the other which deals with the seasonal requirements in the case of pigs. For all practical purposes, the municipal abattoir has a monopoly of the meat trade of the city.
If local authorities want to follow Sheffield's example, they should be permitted and encouraged to do so, but am afraid that unless we stop the Government in their present course we shall make it extremely difficult, even for Section 76 resolution authorities, to follow Sheffield's example. If we place obstacles in their way we shall be acting in a very retrogressive manner. I dislike the original Clause, the Government's Amendment to it, and the whole of the Bill as it 1070 relates to the licensing of abattoirs and slaughterhouses by local authorities. I hope that the small Amendment that we propose, which will improve matters, will be accepted.
§ Dr. Stross
The Joint Parliamentary Secretary has made it clear that in his view the Amendment relates essentially to local Acts, and I am sure that is correct. My difficulty, like that of other hon. Members, arises from the fact that I am not absolutely clear how this part of the Clause will be interpreted. I know that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary considered this point and pleaded uniformity when we discussed it at an earlier stage. In Committee, he said:I was seeking to explain that it was our view in introducing this legislation that we should try to tidy up the whole procedure. When we had provided, as we felt, adequate and proper cover for local authorities in relation to the provision of public slaughterhouses, we felt it right that restrictions which could be placed on private slaughterhouses should be treated in the same way as resolutions under Section 75 of the principal Act and we felt it proper to bring all local Acts within these bounds."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 6th February. 1958; c. 491.]That gave a very fair view of what the Minister had in mind, and I believe that it is still his view.
The right hon. Gentleman wants to bring them all together. He thinks that there is no harm in that. I am in some difficulty in this matter, for I do not know how anyone will interpret what all this means. Following the speech which I have just quoted, I tried hard to understand what it was about. I have never done this before, and I hope that the House will forgive me if I quote again a few lines of what I then said, which I think it is worth reading again. I said:I have tried to understand it by looking at the Explanatory and Financial Memorandum to the Bill. There very clearly and in simple language we are told what the Clause deals with. That has helped me to some extent, but when I looked at the references I was brought all the way back to knacker yards. If we look at the words we find a reference to Section 6.4 of the principal Act That Section refers to paragraph (a), which points out that the Minister has consented to a refusal and to paragraph (b), which says:'unless the authority are not, in relation to the premises in respect of which the application is made, satisfied as mentioned in subsection (1) or subsection (2) of Section sixty-five of the principal Act …'1071That Section deals by reference with Section 13 and two paragraphs (a) and (d) and also to byelaws. Then we get reference directly to that Section, which deals with knacker yards."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 6th February, 1958; c. 493–4.]If any hon. Member has understood what I have said, all I can say is that he is wiser than I am. I cannot now understand what I said then, nor can anyone else understand what it is all about now.
I support what my hon. Friends have said about the situation in which local authorities find themselves. The Parliamentary Secretary said he had not consulted individual local authorities but had been in touch with local authority associations. He also said that he was disturbed at the wording of this, and he made a magnificent speech about the meaning of a comma. I pointed out that the insertion of a comma could alter the meaning of a phrase and could give either one meaning or its exact opposite.
I plead once more for clarity. It may be too late to do much about this Bill, but we can hope that we do not get any more Bills with so much reference and cross-reference in them. It makes a farce of the whole thing for people like ourselves who are laymen, especially so when even hon. and learned Gentlemen say that they cannot understand a word of it.
§ Mr. Godber
I am comforted by the fact that the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) apparently read and understood the quotation front my speech during the Committee stage, but he could not understand what he himself said on that occasion. That is a satisfactory state of affairs from my point of view, and I am happy to think that my thoughts during the Committee stage discussions were clearer than his.
§ Dr. Stross
The Parliamentary Secretary will appreciate that in quoting him I was describing his intention and the
|Division No. 94.]||AYES||[9.22 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Baxter, Sir Beverley||Boyle, Sir Edward|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Beamish, Col. Tufton||Braine, B. R.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Braithwaite,Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Brooman-White, R. C.|
|Ashton, H.||Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)|
|Atkins, H. E.||Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Bryan, P.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Bishop, F. P.||Burden, F. F. A.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Black, C. W.||Butcher, Sir Herbert|
|Balniel, Lord||Body, R. F.||Carr, Robert|
|Barber, Anthony||Bonham-Carter, Capt. M. R.||Cary, Sir Robert|
|Barlow, Sir John||Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Channon, Sir Henry|
|Barter, John||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Chichester-Clark, R.|
§ malevolence of the steps he was taking. When I quoted what I said, I was trying to understand what would be the ultimate end of his malevolence.
§ Mr. Godber
I tried to make clear what would be the ultimate end of my benevolence—I am sure that that was the word the hon. Member intended to use.
Seriously, I have looked at this matter most carefully. I have been re-reading the words I used in the Committee, where I said that we sent a memorandum to the local authority associations——
§ Mr. Godber
No, the associations which we assumed would have discussed these matters. They all had had plenty of time to do so since February, 1956. If there had been real substance in the point we should have had strong representations.
The hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) referred once more to his own local authority, which has a local Act. The Amendment is to make sure that there is no divergence between authorities which have passed a Section 75 resolution and some which have a local Act. We have no intention of causing difficulty to the hon. Member's local authority, but for administrative purposes we felt that it was right and proper to safeguard the position of local authorities in any other matters relating to slaughterhouses. Hon. Members are rather overstressing the point. I understand their caution and anxiety, but there is no basis for it, and it would not be right to accept the Amendment.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 208. Noes 177.
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Page, R. G.|
|Cooke, Robert||Howard, John (Test)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Partridge, E.|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Peel, W. J.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh.S.)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Iremonger, T. L.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)||Pitman, I. J.|
|Cunningham, Knox||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Kaberry, D.||Ramsden, J. E.|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Keegan, D.||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Deedes, W. F.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.||Redmayne, M.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Kershaw, J. A.||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T.(Richmond)||Kimball, M.||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Duncan, Sir James||Kirk, P. M.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Lambton, Viscount||Russell, R. S.|
|Elliott,R.W.(Ne'castleupon Tyne,N.)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R,|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Leavey, J. A.||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Leburn, W. G.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Fisher, Nigel||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Fort, R.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Storey, S.|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Longden, Gilbert||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Glover, D.||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Godber, J. B.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Goodhart, Philip||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Teeling, W.|
|Gower, H. R.||McKibbin, Alan||Temple, John M.|
|Graham, Sir Fergus||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Grant, W. (Woodside)||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Green, A.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Grimond, J.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maddan, Martin||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Gurden, Harold||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Marshall, Douglas||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Hare, Rt. Hen. J. H.||Mathew, R.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Mawby, R. L.||Wall, Patrick|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Hay, John||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Nairn, D. L. S.||Wills, G. (Bridgwater)|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Nicholts, Harmar||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Woollam, John Victor|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Oakshott, H. D.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Holt, A. F.||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Colonel J. H. Harrison and|
|Hornby, R. P.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.||Mr. Finlay.|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Champion, A. J.||Foot, D. M.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Chetwynd, G. R.||Forman, J. C.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Clunie, J.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Coldrick, W.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.|
|Balfour, A.||Cove, W. G.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Grey, C. F.|
|Benson, Sir George||Cronin, J. D.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Hale, Leslie|
|Blackburn, F.||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)|
|Boardman, H.||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Hamilton, W. W.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Hastings, S.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Deer, G.||Hayman, F. H.|
|Boyd, T. C.||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Diamond, John||Holmes, Horace|
|Brockway, A. F.||Dodds, N. N.||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Dye, S.||Howell, Denis (All Saints)|
|Burke, W. A.||Edelman, M.||Hoy, J. H.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Carmichael, J.||Fernyhough, E.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Finch, H. J.||Hunter, A. E.|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Mitchison, G. R.||Ross, William|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Moody, A. S.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Mort, D. L.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Moss, R.||Steele, T.|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Moyle, A.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Jeger,Mrs.Lena(Holbn & St. Pncs.S.)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Stonehouse, John|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Oliver, G. H.||Stross, Dr.Barnett(stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Oram, A. E.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Orbach, M.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Oswald, T.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Jones, T. D. (Merioneth)||Owen, W. J.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Kenyon, C.||Padley, W. E.||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|King, Dr. H. M.||Paget, R. T.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Lawson, G. M.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Thornton, E.|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Palmer, A. M. F.||Timmons, J.|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Logan, D. G.||Parkin, B. T.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Paton, John||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Pentland, N.||Willey, Frederick|
|MacColl, J. E.||Popplewell, E.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|McGhee, H. G.||Prentice, R. E.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|McGovern, J.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don valley)|
|McInnes, J.||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Probert, A. R.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|McLeavy, Frank||Proctor, W. T.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Rankin, John||Winterbottom, Richard|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Redhead, E. C.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Mahon, Simon||Reeves, J.||Woof, R. E.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Rhodes, H.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mason, Roy||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Simmons|
§ Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Godber
I beg to move, in page 4, line I to leave out from "Minister" to "the" in line 14, and to insert:(a) if he is not satisfied that the grant of the licence is necessary for the purpose of securing adequate slaughterhouse facilities or expedient for special reasons, shall direct the authority to refuse the application forthwith; or(b) if he is satisfied as aforesaid, shall direct that, save as required by section five or section (Isolation of slaughterhalls from dwellings) of this Act.I hope that hon. Members will accept that this is not so involved an Amendment as some of the others. It is relatively simple, but none the less important. It seeks to make good the undertaking I gave in Committee that we would look again at the provisions in this subsection in relation to the Minister's discretion on consent to the issue of licences. This deals with a point brought forward largely at the instigation of the Association of Municipal Corporations. On representations from both sides of the Committee, we agreed to find some words to meet to some extent the case put forward.
The words in the Amendment go a very considerable way to meet this point. We are saying that instead of there being merely the negative provision as at 1076 present in the Bill, the discretion of the Minister shall be bound both ways. If he is not satisfied that the grant of the licence is necessary, he should direct that it should be refused and, if he is satisfied that it is necessary, he should direct that it should not be refused. It was put to us that it was unfair and unreasonable for the matter to be left in the form in which it appears in the Bill. We have tried to tidy it up and to meet the representations made to us, and to make quite specific in what circumstances the Minister shall direct refusal and in what circumstances he shall direct that there shall be no refusal.
I hope that this Amendment will meet the representations put forward by my hon. Friends and right hon. and hon. Members opposite.
§ Mr. Willey
We are obliged to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary for his explanation of the Amendment and his endeavour to go some way to meet us. We have a point to raise on the matter, but I think that it will be better dealt with by way of our Amendment to the proposed Amendment.
§ Question, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill, put and negatived.
§ Question proposed, That the proposed words be there inserted in the Bill.1077
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave Out from "necessary" to "for", in line 4.
We appreciate that the Parliamentary Secretary has gone some way to meet points which were raised from both sides of the Committee, but he has not entirely satisfied us. I want to make it clear to hon. Members who may not have followed the proceedings in Committee that we are trying to safeguard the rights of local authorities from bureaucratic interference. We have to bear in mind that the Department is dismantling its own administration for slaughterhouses. To a very large measure this is bureaucratic interference with local authorities, and I am sure that the whole House agrees that we should limit it as much as possible.
It is no good the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey (Sir L. Heald) laughing. He pretends to be very sanctimonious and virtuous on such matters and claims to be a good constitutional lawyer. He should pay some heed to the rights of local authorities, particularly when hon. Members on both sides of the Committee raised the matter and when we are discussing a concession made upon it by the Government. We are considering whether the Government have gone far enough.
The Government have not gone as far as they indicated they would go when they laid the White Paper. The Parliamentary Secretary will remember that when we discussed this matter in Committee we dealt with paragraph 17 of the White Paper where the reference is to special cases. The criticism which we have of the present provision is twofold. We recognise that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary has divided the provision, but we are not very satisfied with the wordsthat the grant of the licence is necessary for the purpose of securing adequate slaughterhouse facilities or expedient …We are not very satisfied with those words or with the Minister's approach.
I do not think that it is wise to express this negatively. It is a little confusing when, in the next provision, we read:If he is satisfied as aforesaid".There is no reference aforesaid to his being satisfied, only to his not being satisfied. I make that point only by way of illustration. I do not like this form of drafting, because I do not think that it puts the matter very clearly.
1078 We are dealing with when the Minister should refuse the application, and we should positively state the grounds on which he should refuse it. Here, we provide that the Minister may direct the authority to refuse the application on wider terms, and we should therefore have preferred this to have been for a special reason, to have confined it to special reasons and to have made the burden on the Minister that of satisfying himself that there were special reasons for the licence being granted. In other words, we should have expressed it positively.
The reason I did not welcome the amusement of the right hon. and learned Member for Chertsey was that if we place the burden upon the local authorities for deciding whether there are adequate slaughterhouse facilities, then we must leave the burden there. If the Minister is to interfere, that is the ground on which he ought not to interfere, because as things will be when the Bill comes into operation, the local authorities will be the only bodies able to ascertain this. The Ministry will no longer be in a position to give an effective decision upon it. The Minister can determine what special reasons there may be. We should safeguard the rights and responsibilities of local authorities and confine this to special reasons as, in fact, the Minister's predecessor himself indicated in the first instance.
§ Mr. Godber
The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) has made, with some force, the point that local authorities have to be safeguarded against bureaucratic intervention or interference, but it is only fair to remind him that local authorities are not the only people who have to be so safeguarded. The slaughterhouse owner and operator is entitled to the same safeguard. It all depends on how one interprets that term. It could be bureaucratic intervention on the part of the local authority just as well as on that of the Government themselves.
After all, the Minister, both as Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Food, has certain very real responsibilities in this connection, and it will surely be 1079 wrong were he not to be able to assure himself that there were adequate slaughterhouse facilities in the area. If the facilities are not adequate, then the consumers, the butchers, and, possibly, the local farmers in that area are being denied something that should be provided——
§ Mr. Willey
We have to recognise who has the responsibility of administration. If there had been a plan for moderate concentration I would have accepted the hon. Gentleman's argument, but there is no such plan and the responsibility is put on the local authorities. I use the term "bureaucratic interference" in the sense of first placing a responsibility on a local authority and then subjecting it to outside interference on grounds such as this. It is a matter which should be left to local authorities, and we should confine the Minister's interference to interference for special reasons.
§ Mr. Godber
I quite accept the hon. Gentleman's point. I was merely pointing out that there are other forms of bureaucratic intervention. The subsection provides for this appeal to the Minister, and, that being so, the Minister surely ought to have the right to assure himself, if necessary, that there are adequate slaughterhouse facilities in the area. If we did not make that provision we should be failing in our duty.
Hon. Members might argue that "special reasons" covered adequate slaughterhouse facilities, but I am advised that, legally, the term would not necessarily cover the securing of those facilities, and I must accept that advice. I think that it is essential to keep the words in the Bill so as to ensure that the Minister is in a position, in case of need, to give a decision on the grounds that adequate slaughterhouse facilities are necessary. I cannot, therefore, advise the House to accept this Amendment.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
My anxiety is whether the Clause is intelligible, and seeing the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Chertsey (Sir L. Heald) here I was wondering whether he intended to help us on this. We have a curious sort of negative. Paragraph (a) starts:if he is not satisfied that the grant of the licence is necessary …1080 Why have that curious negative description? It goes on:for the purpose of securing adequate slaughterhouse facilities or expedient for special reasons …What is not necessary or expedient for special reasons?
Suppose the Minister comes to the conelusion that he is not satisfied—that is negative—… that the grant of the licence is necessary for the purpose of securing adequate slaughterhouse facilities …If it is not wanted, then I understand that it is disallowed. Then come the words—and I am not certain whether this phrase is governed by the previous negative or not—or expedient for special reasons …Is it a positive, or is it a negative? Just what does the Minister contemplate?
I do not know whether this is the sort of thing which can be conveniently unintelligible, because as it cannot go before a judge nobody can criticise it, but what has the Minister got in mind by the wordsor expedient for special reasons"?What are the reasons? Is it subject to the previous negative or not?
§ Mr. Godber
I rather think, though I have not refreshed my memory, that the point relating to "special reasons" was brought up by hon. Members opposite. It was they who wished us to insert those words.
As to the double negative, while it may not be wholly usual, I think it is clear what is intended there when it is read in conjunction with the Bill itself. The Clause, as amended, would read:… the MinisterThe words "not satisfied" relate both to the
- (a) if he is not sartisfied that the grant of the licence is necessary for the purpose of securing adequate slaughterhouse facilities or expedient for special reasons …"grant … for the purpose of securing adequate slaughterhouse facilitiesand to the wordsor expedient for special reasons.The two seem to tie up quite clearly.
§ Mr. Godber
The point is that the Minister is not satisfied that the grant is necessary for the purpose of securing adequate slaughterhouses, and he is not satisfied that the grant is expedient for special reasons. That is how I read it, and I think it is quite clear. If he is not satisfied that it is expedient for special reasons, provided that he is satisfied on the question of adequate slaughterhouse facilities, he directs the authority to refuse.
§ Dr. Stross
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) said that he thought these words would never be seen by a judge. I do not know whether that is right. Would the Joint Parliamentary Secretary let us know whether that is the case, that there would never conceivably be a legal interpretation of these words—or are these simple words only for the guidance of the diligent slaughterman?
§ Mr. Godber
It would be dangerous if I were to say that they would never come before a judge in any circumstances. I certainly do not intend to commit myself in that respect, much as the hon. Gentleman might wish to tempt me. These are two quite separate items. I have tried to explain why the point relating to "adequate slaughterhouse facilities" is necessary, and it is important to remember that the Minister might well consider that matter on national grounds as well as local grounds. The local authority can look at it on local grounds whereas the Minister can do so on national as well as local grounds. The point relating to "special reasons" was included at the request of hon. Members opposite and we think that it was reasonable to insert those words. I hope that the House will now be willing to leave the matter.
§ Mr. Speaker
I do not know what sort of form we are proceeding on here. The hon. Gentleman the Parliamentary Secretary has made two or three interventions 1082 in this debate already, and the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) has made two or three. It would be far better, I think, and more in conformity with the practice of the House, since we are not in Committee now, if every hon. Member who had something to say about the proposed Amendment were to say it, and then the Parliamentary Secretary could reply to it all at the end. We cannot have a succession of speeches by the same hon. Members.
§ Mr. Robens
I appreciate full well the guidance that you have given to the House, Mr. Speaker, but I am sure that you, more than anyone else, having had to look at the Bill and the Amendments, will understand the tremendous difficulty we are in on this side, through no fault of our own, as a result of the large number of Amendments put down and subsequently amended. We have had two or three Notice Papers, all with Amendments which have been subsequently amended. We can hardly keep pace with the paper chase. Therefore, in trying to deal with these Amendments, we have before us a Clause which, substantially, is being completely rewritten.
It would have been much more helpful if the whole Clause had been withdrawn and a fresh Clause put in. We should then have seen the thing in toto. We will do our best to follow your guidance, Mr. Speaker, but, from time to time, these interchanges do take place, with no desire on our part to take up too much time.
I wish merely to say that I am not happy about what the Parliamentary Secretary has said. It seems clear from the interchanges he has had with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), that he himself is not so sure now about the meaning of this wording as he was when he first rose. I should have thought that it was enough to take into the Minister's authority or power the granting or not granting of a licence for special reasons, and he might have left it to a local authority to ensure adequate slaughterhouse facilities in its area, or, jointly with other authorities in their respective areas where they share slaughterhouse accommodation. It is really going a little too far to suggest that a local authority which has the responsibility placed upon it by Statute and in other ways to ensure the provision of all that is necessary for the 1083 citizens who elect it should turn down a licence for a slaughterhouse when, in fact, there are not sufficient or adequate facilities in the area.
I should have thought it strange that the Minister should want to take these powers. It is a reflection upon the local authority. Quite frankly, now that it appears in its full form, and if the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) is not accepted, one wonders why the local authority is even to consider the question of granting licences. The matter might go direct to the Minister himself, because he takes the whole of the authority out of the hands of local authorities. I should not regard that as very reasonable. I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary or the Minister will think again about the Amendment which
|Division No. 95.]||AYES||[9.55 p.m.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Dance, J. C. G.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Davidson, Viscountess||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence|
|Alport, C. J. M.||D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Deedes, W. F.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||du Cann, E. D. L.||Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)|
|Ashton, H.||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Duncan, Sir James||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Elliott,R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne,N.)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Balniel, Lord||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot|
|Barber, Anthony||Errington, Sir Eric||Kaberry, D.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Keegan, D.|
|Barter, John||Finlay, Graeme||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Fisher, Nigel||Kershaw, J. A.|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Kimball, M.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Fort, R.||Kirk, P. M.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Lambton, Viscount|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Gibson-Watt, D.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Glover, D.||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Leavey, J. A.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Godber, J. B.||Leburn, W. G.|
|Black, C. W.||Goodhart, Philip||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.|
|Body, R. F.||Gower, H. R.||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.|
|Bonham-Carter, Capt. M. R.||Graham, Sir Fergus||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Grant, W. (Woodside)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Longden, Gilbert|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Green, A.||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby|
|Braine, B. R.||Grimond, J.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||McKibbin, Alan|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Gurden, Harold||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Bryan, P.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Carr, Robert||Harris, Reader (Heston)||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Channon, Sir Henry||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Maddan, Martin|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.|
|Cooke, Robert||Hay, John||Marshall, Douglas|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mathew, R.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Mawby, R. L.|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Cunningham, Knox||Holt, A. F.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Hornby, R. P.||Nairn, D. L. S.|
§ my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North has moved.
§ Mr. Godber
If I may have leave to speak again, while I understand the point of view put by the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens), I think it is important to remember that subsection (2) is, after all, a provision which comes in only where cases are coming forward on appeal to the Minister. That is the whole purpose. We feel, therefore, if that be so, that the Minister must be entitled to consider this aspect as well as the other.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment:—
§ The House divided Ayes 210, Noes 173.
|Nicholls, Harmar||Ridsdale, J. E.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Rippon, A. G. F.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Nugent, G. R. H.||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Oakshott, H. D.||Russell, R. S.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, H.)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.||Sharples, R. C.||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Page, R. G.||Spearman, Sir Alexander||Wall, Patrick|
|Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Partridge, E.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Peel, W. J.||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Pike, Miss Mervyn||Storey, S.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Pitman, I. J.||Studholme, Sir Henry||Wills, G. (Bridgwater)|
|Pitt, Miss E. M.||Summers, Sir Spencer||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Powell, J. Enoch||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Teeling, W.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Ramsden, J. E.||Temple, John M.|
|Rawlinson, Peter||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Redmayne, M.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Mr. Legh and|
|Mr. Edward Wakefield.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Paling, Will T. (Dewshury)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Hoy, J. H.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Paton, John|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pentland, N.|
|Benson, Sir George||Hunter, A. E.||Popplewell, E.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Blackburn, F.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Boardman, H.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Probert, A. R.|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Bowles, F. G,||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Rankin, John|
|Boyd, T. C.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Jeger,Mrs.Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs.S.)||Reeves, J.|
|Brookway, A. F.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Rhodes, H.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Burke, W. A.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Carmichael, J.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Ross, William|
|Champion, A. J.||Kenyon, C.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||King, Dr. H. M.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Clunie, J.||Lawson, G. M.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Coldrick, W.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Snow, J. W.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Lindgren, G. S.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Cove, W. G.||Logan, D. G.||Steele, T.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Cronin, J. D.||McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Stonehouse, John|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||MacColl, J. E.||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||McGhee, H. G.||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||McGovern, J.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||McInnes, J.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Deer, G.||McLeavy, Frank||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Diamond, John||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Dodds, N. N.||Mahon, Simon||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Dye, S.||Mainwaring, W. H.||Thornton, E.|
|Edelman, M.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Timmons, J.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mason, Roy||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Finch, H. J.||Mitchison, G. R.||Willey, Frederick|
|Foot, D. M.||Moody, A. S.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Forman, J. C.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Moss, R.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Moyle, A.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Grey, C. F.||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Oliver, G. H.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Hale, Leslie||Oram, A. E.||Woof, R. E.|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Orbach, M.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Oswald, T.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||Owen, W. J.|
|Hastings, S.||Padley, W. E.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hayman, F. H.||Paget, R. T.||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Simmons|
|Holmes, Horace||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.|
§ Mr. Godber
I beg to move, in page 4, line 21, to leave out from "and" to "shall" in line 28, and to insert:the authority shall comply with any direction given under this subsection.(3) Where in the case of any premises—
- (i) a new slaughterhouse licence in respect thereof has been granted in pursuance of a direction under the last foregoing subsection; or
- (ii) those premises have under subsection (3) of the said section seventy-five been exempted from the operation of a resolution having effect under that section; or
- (iii) since the passing of such a resolution as aforesaid a slaughterhouse licence in respect of those premises has been granted in the exercise of a power reserved for the local authority under the said subsection (3) as originally enacted,the local authority".This is another of these related Amendments to Clause 2. Hon. Members opposite have protested about their length and the amount of detail in them. I have already explained why they are in such involved form. We are, after all, trying to meet some of the criticisms made in Committee. In doing so, we are involving ourselves in further trouble with hon. Members opposite. Although we do our best, it is difficult to satisfy them completely.
This Amendment should certainly be welcomed by hon. Members opposite. It deletes certain parts which are consequential on earlier Amendments. Its main point is that it writes into the Bill the effect of Section 75 (4) of the 1955 Act, which in Committee we were frequently asked to do. I hope that this will be helpful to
|(c) the authority are required to refuse the application by section five or (Isolation of slaughterhalls from dwellings) of this Act.|
|5||(4) Where any such subsequent application in respect of any premises as is referred to in the last foregoing subsection is refused otherwise than on the grounds specified in paragraph (b) or (c) of that subsection, any person having an interest in the premises or in any land held therewith, being an interest of which the value is reduced in consequence of the refusal, shall be entitled to be paid by the authority by way of compensation an amount equal to the reduction; and subsections (3), (4) and (6) of section seventy-eight of the principal Act shall apply for the purposes of compensation under this subsection as if any reference in those subsections to the said section seventy-eight were a reference to this subsection:|
|Provided that no such amount shall be payable if either—|
|15||(a) a previous application for the grant or renewal of a slaughterhouse licence in respect of those premises has been refused otherwise than on the grounds specified in the said paragraph (b) or (c) at a time when the last foregoing subsection or subsection (4) of section seventy-five of the principal Act applied thereto; or|
|20||(b) the use of those premises as a slaughterhouse has previously been terminated by virtue of a resolution under the said section seventy-five or of such a provision of a local Act as is mentioned in the next following subsection.|
|25||(4A) Where by virtue of any provision of a local Act a local authority have power to terminate the use of any premises as a slaughterhouse without the agreement of the occupier and otherwise than on the grounds of injury or danger to the public health, of nuisance, of the unsuitability of the premises, or of failure to make use of those premises as a slaughterhouse, the authority shall not exercise that power in relation to any premises except with the consent of the Minister given in accordance with subsection (5) of this section; and where that consent is so given, then, notwithstanding anything in that local Act, no other appeal shall lie against the exercise of that power.|
§ hon. Members opposite. This will take the place of subsection (4) of Section 75. It is for this reason that we have these related Amendments, bcause the whole of Clause 2 goes into considerable detail about problems arising from resolutions under Section 75 and there is frequent reference to subsection (4).
§ The main purpose of this Amendment is to write the effect of Section 75 (4) into this Bill. I hope, therefore, that it will commend itself to the House, because it has been framed largely to meet criticisms raised in Committee.
§ Mr. Willey
I might be thought uncharitable if I did not say that this Amendment commends itself to us and that we are obliged to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary for his lucid explanation.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Godber
I beg to move, in page 4, line 32, to leave out "consented to the refusal" and to insert:given his consent in accordance with subsection (5) of this section".I hope that it will not be necessary for me to elaborate this Amendment at any length. Again it is a drafting Amendment, seeking to clarify the position so as to leave no doubt as regards references to subsection (5).
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Godber
I beg to move, in page 4, line 36, to leave out from the beginning to the end of line 20 on page 5 and to insert "or 1089 This, again, is a substantial Amendment. To forestall the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), who will no doubt remind us of this fact, may I say that this Amendment rewrites subsection (4) which, he will no doubt tell us, we have already altered once in Committee. We have to do that, however, if we accept the writing of subsection (4) of Section 75 of the 1955 Act into this Bill. We have had to make substantial alterations. Previously we rewrote subsection (2) to take account of the fact that Section 75 (4) of the 1955 Act is now incorporated in this Bill. Now we have to bring in consequential Amendments. That is the purpose of subsection (4) as it appears in this Amendment.
We have also subsection (4A), which is a new provision but is a continuation of the point we discussed a short time ago in relation to local Acts. I said previously that we were incorporating one part there, another part here. So this Amendment is to some extent consequential on the debate we had a short time ago, and therefore I think the House will not wish me to detain them at any great length.
Those are the details of this long and cumbersome Amendment. Although it is largely drafting, when it is incorporated into the Bill, I hope it will make the Section easier to apprehend, though I sympathise with any difficulty which hon. Members may have in grasping it at the moment.
§ Mr. Willey
I am still sufficiently charitably disposed to say that I merely note that what appeared in the Bill was rewritten in Committee; it has now been rewritten on Report, and I assume that it will be rewriten in the various stages in another place and will eventually appear in a form lucrative to lawyers. I do not want to pursue the matter further on this Amendment. I understand that the first Amendment to the Amendment is being called, and it will be better to raise the point we have to raise when that Amendment is reached.
§ Question, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill, put and negatived.
§ Question proposed, That the proposed words be there inserted in the Bill.1090
§ Mr. Willey
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 8, after "entitled", to insert:unless the Minister shall by order otherwise determine".This Amendment deals with the provisions for compensation. This matter has been discussed in previous slaughterhouse legislation. I do not want to go too wide in my argument, but I should have thought that it was accepted by everyone who is well versed in slaughterhouse matters that one of the important elements in improving slaughterhouse conditions is that of compensation. I do not see many Scotsmen present on the opposite benches, but one of the major reasons why a much more radical and effective reform was carried out in Scotland, as compared with England, was that Scotland had compensation provisions.
If local authorities are to bear the burden of providing for more orderly slaughterhouse provisions, and they also have to bear the burden of compensation, it will act as a deterrent. I do no more than call attention to what has happened in Scotland. It is for that reason that we put forward this very modest Amendment, and it is for that reason that we think there should be Ministerial discretion.
Although we do not alter our approach to the problem, we are not putting forward the straightforward argument that we put forward before. But we are saying that the Government should at any rate pay sufficient regard to Scottish experience and to the experience of other countries to recognise that it is right and proper to have more Ministerial discretion. I should have thought that the Government would not be reluctant to accept the Amendment. I shall be corrected if our draftsmanship is faulty, but I assume that our Amendment will allow the Minister power to allow either for a particular case or generally. We concede that there are possibilities of providing expressly and specifically for a particular case, but we are here dealing with a problem which is not so difficult as hon. Members would have us believe. We are dealing with slaughterhouses which were reopened in 1954.
People who, in 1954, reopened slaughterhouses which were completely inadequate by present standards, did 1091 so with their eyes open. I concede at once that the people who opened the slaughterhouses were faced with the difficulties of decontrol. That was why we gave an easy passage to the Slaughterhouse Bill in 1954. But we should also assume that as the declared policy of the Government at that time was a policy of moderate concentration, those occupiers of slaughterhouses who reopened them in 1954 to meet the emergency did so with a short-term view as to the length of time in which they would be operated. I do not wish to provoke any wide argument about the merits of compensation. In general, we are committed to a policy of compensation where the public good overrides private interest. But I should have thought that we were entitled to measure the loss of private interest and what are the circumstances in which this loss is incurred. I hope, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman will accept this modest Amendment in which we seek to afford him a measure of discretion which he can exercise if he thinks the circumstances justify it.
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Dr. Stross
I beg to second the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.
The Parliamentary Secretary will be aware that we discussed the question of paying compensation twice. The hon. Gentleman thought that would be wrong and he said so during the Committee stage discussion. He said:I have made it clear that there should not be double compensation …He went on to say:… but, on the other hand, I feel that a private slaughterhouse owner has some rights in this matter and it should be considered in this way."—[OFFICAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 6th February, 1958; c. 516.]If a slaughterhouse has been in use for a long time, of course the owner should be paid compensation. But if, as my hon. Friend points out, a slaughterhouse was opened up again, after being closed as a result of the policy of concentration pursued during the war, and the owner did that knowing the risk, by and large, to pay compensation in the majority of such cases would, in my opinion, be paying twice. The Parliamentary Secretary and his right hon. Friend should explain to the House that it is not the intention to pay twice.
1092 If this Amendment be accepted, the avoidance of double payment is left to the discretion of the Minister. We are not being categorical in our demand. In earlier discussions in Committee, we debated whether no compensation of any kind should be paid in all such cases and, of course, Scotland was quoted as an example. I am sure my hon. Friends agreed with me when I pointed out that the party on this side of the House is not interested in expropriation and is always prepared to pay fair compensation if a business is taken over because the overwhelming need of the State makes that desirable.
If the Minister accepts this Amendment, the discretion is his. We are being—the word "generous" is not an apt one—we are being fair in putting it in this way. We are saying to the Minister, "We want you to look at this. Surely there are some cases where you would feel it was a case of a double payment." The Parliamentary Secretary has gone on record as being against double payments. That is all we need to say about the matter. Perhaps the Minister will tell us what he feels about it and whether he will accept that the discretion should be his.
§ Mr. Paget
Mr. Speaker has pointed out that this is not a Committee stage and, therefore, I apologise for putting a question which sounds like a Committee stage question, but the Notice Paper looks rather like a Committee stage Notice Paper. No doubt it is due to my own stupidity, but I find that in this amended or substituted subsection which we are in turn seeking to amend, it statesWhere any such subsequent application in respect of any premises as is referred to in the last foregoing subsection is refused otherwise than on the grounds specified in paragraph (d) or (c) of that subsection …What worries me is that there is a paragraph (b) in the foregoing subsection, but when I look back at the Amendment I find reference to (a) (b) and (c). Perhaps this is due to my denseness, but where does (c) come in?
§ Mr. Godber
I can quite understand the difficulty of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) and I rather sympathise with him. In fact, (c) is a part of this Amendment and is in its first two lines. It brings in a reference to the proposed new Clause which my right hon. Friend moved earlier today. That is how it is incorporated.
§ Mr. Godber
I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman must have found it difficult to follow. The hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) referred to double compensation. Perhaps he will recall that we sought to deal with this point in Committee and brought in an Amendment to cover it. I gave the hon. Gentleman an assurance that both in the Amendment and in the rewritten subsection (4) we had made it impossible for double compensation to take place. That is provided in the proviso in lines 13 to 20 of the Amendment. We realise that this was a valid point made in Committee.
The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) argued that the Minister should have power to see that no compensation should be paid in certain cases. We have not felt it right to do that. Where there is loss, compensation should be paid. I am not aware that hon. Gentlemen opposite all feel that there should not be compensation of some kind. Indeed, I seem to remember the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central saying in Committee that he was against confiscation without compensation.
It is right that we should make provision for compensation wherever there is compulsory closure, which takes place only in areas where there is a Section 75 Resolution, or a local Act. Those are the cases in which closures take place, and they are taking place on the basis that the local authority is providing its own slaughterhouse and wishes to concentrate the slaughtering in it. It is only right that losses of value should be compensated; we must accept that principle and provide for it.
§ Mr. J. T. Price (Westhoughton)
I have no very strong feeling about this matter because we thrashed it out very hard in Committee during recent months. I am wondering whether the Parliamentary Secretary would amplify a little his reference to double compensation. I am advised that many establishments that were reopened at the ending of control, and came back into production, were not compensated by a Government payment at all.
1094 Many of these establishments, according to my information, received a revenue or income that was apportioned periodically for the loss of business sustained by the closing of these establishments during the wartime emergency. When we are dealing with compensation, I do not think that many hon. Members would like to envisage a position in which some continuing payment may be made in respect of these premises during the years of concentration, and which should now be in the position under the new legislation of claiming compensation a second time. It is in respect of that point that we should like a little further enlightenment.
§ Mr. Godber
That is rather a separate point. Of course, a number of these slaughterhouses which were closed during the war years, as I understand it, received certain compensation for loss of income during the war years. That compensation took place during a wartime emergency, and it was felt to be fair at that time that compensation for loss of revenue should take place. That is quite distinct from the compensation in this case, which is compensation for loss of capital value, in which the provision is that there would not be double compensation for loss of capital value by reason of the provision which we have written into this subsection. That is what we are now concerned with.
Hon. Members opposite, in Committee, stressed this point quite rightly, and said that if slaughterhouses had been closed and payment made under existing legislation, and, under this Bill, people were able to re-open their slaughterhouses, it was wholly wrong for a local authority to have the burden of paying compensation for a second time. That was the point which hon. Members made, and I entirely accepted it, and we have provided for it.
In this Amendment, hon. Members opposite are asking us not to pay compensation at all or to give the Minister discretion to refuse to pay compensation at all. We say that where there is loss of value, compensation should be paid if these premises are closed compulsorily. I made the point in Committee, and I think it is fair to make it again now, that in many cases the amount of compensation would not be large, by reason of the fact that so many of these premises are in 1095 highly concentrated and built-up areas, sometimes rather disreputable places, where the site value would equal that of the slaughterhouse or not be far below. I quoted figures in Committee from one local authority area to bear that out. I am not saying there are not some areas where substantial and good slaughterhouses are closed, perhaps on the outskirts of a local authority area, where a substantial amount may have to be paid, but it is only fair and right that it should be paid in cases where there has been loss of capital value.
I think it would be wrong to accept the Amendment. It should be quite clear that, where slaughterhouses are closed in these circumstances, the owners should be entitled to compensation in some form, and for that reason I hope that the House will not accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Robens
I do not think we have been convinced by what the Joint Parliamentary Secretary has said, and I do not understand why he is not prepared to accept the words of our Amendment to the Amendment of his right hon. Friend, because this is a permissive payment which the Minister shall by order determine. There must be some circumstances, and because of the lateness of the hour I will not describe any of them in detail, in which the Minister would determine that no compensation should be paid, and I should like to refer the hon. Gentleman to an extract from the De La Warr Report dealing with the matter in relation to Scotland, which was used by my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) to illustrate a point in the Stand-
|Division No. 96]||AYES||[10.31 p.m.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hayman, F. H.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Deer, G.||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Howell, Denis (All Saints)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Diamond, John||Hoy, J. H.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Dodds, N. N.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Benson, Sir George||Dye, S.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Blackburn, F.||Fernyhough, E.||Hunter, A. E.|
|Boardman, H.||Finch, H. J.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Foot, D. M.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Forman, J. C.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Boyd, T. C.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Brockway, A. F.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Jeger,Mrs.Lena(Holbn & St.Pncs.S.)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Burke, W. A.||Grey, C. F.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)|
|Champion, A. J.||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Clunie, J.||Hamilton, W. W.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Coldrick, W.||Hannan, W.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Cove, W. G.||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||King, Dr. H. M.|
ing Committee. The De La Warr Report stated:
Scottish local authorities enjoy a great advantage over local authorities in England and Wales by reason of the provisions of the Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892. Under that Act where any town council has established a slaughterhouse no other premises may be used for that purpose within the burgh, nor need any compensation be paid for the consequent closing of private slaughterhouses. This relieves local authorities from any financial anxiety when they wish to establish a public slaughterhouse.
§ We are not suggesting that no compensation should be paid in any case where the local authority opens a slaughterhouse, but if one goes into the evidence presented to the De la Warr Committee one sees the reasons why it came to that conclusion.
§ As I have said, as the hour is late I will not go into the circumstances, but it is clear that there are cases in which the Minister should determine that no compensation should be paid. I do not understand why the Minister is not prepared to take this power. It would be entirely up to him, on the cases submitted to him, whether or not he used that power. I have no doubt that it would be used with the utmost discretion, fairness and justice to all concerned.
§ It is important that the Minister should have the power, and I am sorry that the Parliamentary Secretary is not prepared to accept the Amendment. I think, therefore, that we had better divide on the Amendment.
§ Question put, That those words be there inserted in the proposed Amendment:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 131, Noes 178.
|Lawson, G. M.||Oram, A. E.||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Oswald, T.||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Lindgren, G. S.||Owen, W. J.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Logan, D. G.||Padley, W. E.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Paget, R. T.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|MacColl, J. E.||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|McGhee, H. G.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|McInnes, J.||Pargiter, G. A.||Thornton, E.|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Parkin, B. T.||Timmons, J.|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Pearson, A.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Pentland, N.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Mahon, Simon||Popplewell, E.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Mainwaring, W. H.||Probert, A. R.||Willey, Frederick|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Mason, Roy||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Ross, William||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Moody, A. S.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Moss, R.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Moyle, A.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Mr. Holmes and Mr. J. T. Price|
|Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Stonehouse, John|
|Aitken, W. T.||Goodhart, Philip||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Gower, H. R.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Graham, Sir Fergus||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Green, A.||Maddan, Martin|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Grimond, J.||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Ashton, H.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Mathew, R.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Mawby, R. L.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Gurden, Harold||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Balniel, Lord||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Barber, Anthony||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Barter, John||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Black, C. W.||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Page, R. G.|
|Body, R. F.||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|Bonham-Carter, Capt. M. R.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Partridge, E.|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Peel, W. J.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Holt, A. F.||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hornby, R. P.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Braine, B. R.||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Bryan, P.||Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hyde, Montgomery||Redmayne, M.|
|Carr, Robert||Iremonger, T. L.||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Channon, Sir Henry||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Cooke, Robert||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Kaberry, D.||Sharples, R. C.|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Keegan, D.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Kershaw, J. A.||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Cunningham, Knox||Kimball, M.||Storey, S.|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Kirk, P. M.||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Lambton, Viscount||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Langford-Holt, J. A.||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Leburn, W. G.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Deedes, W. F.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Teeling, W.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Temple, John M.|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Duncan, Sir James||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Elliott,R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne.N.)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Longden, Gilbert||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||McKibbin, Alan||Wall, Patrick|
|Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Godber, J. B.||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Whitelaw, W. S. I.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)||Mr. Wills and|
|Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)||Woollam, John Victor||Mr. Chichester-Clark|
|Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.|
§ Mr. Godber
I beg to move, in page 5, line 23, to leave out from the beginning to "that" in line 26 and to insert:by virtue of paragraph (a) of subsection (3) of this section or to the exercise in relation to any premises of such a power as is mentioned in subsection (4A) of this section, the local authority shall serve on the applicant, or, as the case may be, on the person who holds a slaughterhouse licence in respect of those premises, notice in writing".This Amendment is purely consequential and drafting. It takes up two
|"if, after considering any representation so made to him, he is both—|
|(a) satisfied that the grant or renewal of that licence, or, as the case may be, the continued use of those premises as a slaughterhouse, is unnecessary for the purpose of securing adequate slaughterhouse facilities; and|
|5||(b) not satisfied that that grant, renewal or continued use is expedient for special reasons,|
|shall give, and in any other case shall refuse, his consent.|
|10||(6) Where a local authority such as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section receive an application for the grant or renewal of a slaughterhouse licence in respect of any premises which is neither an application for the grant of a new slaughterhouse licence nor an application to which subsection (3) of this section applies, the authority shall refuse the application forthwith if—|
|(a) the grant of renewal is precluded by a resolution for the time being having effect under section seventy-five or section seventy-six of the principal Act; or|
|15||(b) by virtue of such a provision of a local Act as is mentioned in the said subsection (1), the use of the premises as a slaughterhouse would be unlawful notwithstanding the grant or renewal of the licence.|
|(7) As from the date of the passing of this Act—|
|20||(a) the following provisions of the principal Act shall cease to have effect, that is to say—|
|(i) in subsection (3) of section seventy-five, except in relation to a resolution under that section passed before the date aforesaid, the words from 'and may' to 'licence' and the words 'or reservation';|
|(ii) subsection (4) of section seventy-five;|
|25||(iii) subsection (2) of section seventy-eight;|
|30||(b) where the operation of any such provision of a local Act as is mentioned in subsection (1) or subsection (4A) of this section is dependent upon the provision of a slaughterhouse and at the date aforesaid that slaughterhouse has not been provided or has ceased to be used as such, that provision of that local Act shall cease to have effect."|
§ I come now to the last of the really long Amendments to Clause 2. I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the House will be glad to hear that. This Amendment deals with three separate points. The first takes up a point we discussed earlier, which is really the A.M.C. Amendment in relation to the Minister's discretion and we have almost repeated the same wording here. We are seeking to clarify the position in relation to the Minister's discretion and to tie it in both ways, as we sought to do earlier.1100
§ points. One is the alteration from the reference to Section 75, which now becomes reference to subsection (3) of this Clause, and the other brings in the reference to subsection (4A) to which we have recently agreed.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Godber
I beg to move, in page 5, line 30, to leave out from "Minister" to the end of line 15 in page 6, and to insert:
The second point is quite a narrow one. It is intended to correct an anomaly in the Bill. This relates to a very small section of cases which could have been left outside the net of Section 75 resolutions. It tries to draw in cases where there is an application in respect of premises where the previous licence expired within twelve months of the new application, to make quite sure that these cases are brought within the scope of a Section 75 resolution. If there is this outstanding application, I am advised that at present, under the reading of a 1101 Section 75 resolution, they would be able automatically to obtain a further licence. It was not intended that that should be so. This Amendment is to make quite clear that all cases are covered whether an application for a new licence is in or not.
The third part of the Amendment deals with certain consequential deletions following Amendments that we have already agreed to. This is a rather long and rather complicated Amendment but, in the main, it is consequential, and, in fact, brings out no new question of principle at all.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Willey
The Parliamentary Secretary has been rather modest in referring to this massive Amendment. It is, as he knows, an Amendment of an Amendment. In Committee, we considered an Amendment of over 20 lines and were assured that it made the Bill more intelligible. We now have one running to 30 lines to replace it. This is making a farce of Parliament, and something must be done about it.
As Members of Parliament we all recognise that we are handicapped if we have to discuss Bills which are remarkably obscure to lawyers, but our work becomes aboslutely impossible if we are presented in Committee with an Amendment running to over 20 lines and then, when we come to the House on Report, have an Amendment running to 30 lines. It is no good the Patronage Secretary looking worried. This is a matter in which we should speak up for the rights of Members.
I call the Patronage Secretary's attention to the fact—I have already called the attention of the House to it—that we received 5½ pages of Amendments on one day; 3½ pages of Amendments the next day, amending those, and, a day after, sundry Amendments amending the Amendments. It makes it extraordinarily difficult for us to carry out our work. Though they have had the advantage of hearing the Parliamentary Secretary explaining it, I challenge any hon. Member opposite to tell us what this Amendment does.
The hon. Gentleman told us that, in part, it is consequential on some matters that have been dealt with in the Rill pursuant to discussion in Committee, but he also says that it deals with a very 1102 complex matter of some anomalies arising under Section 75 of the principal Act. I listened to the Parliamentary Secretary when he explained those to us, and I say again what I remember saying on a very complicated Amendment that we once considered on the Finance Bill; that if we are to receive Amendments like this we shall also have to receive Explanatory Memoranda.
I object to the House of Commons being asked to legislate blindly, without understanding the legislation that it is enacting. What assurance have we—I put it quite simply, and I defy anyone, including the Minister to give it—that this will not be further amended in another place? None at all. It has been amended each time it has been considered, whether by the House or by Standing Committee or on Report, and I think that we can anticipate that this massive Amendment will be further amended when it is considered in another place; that is, if the Government anticipate that there will be lively interest shown there.
The simple fact is that we have shown a lively interest in this Bill, and we make no apology for it. But, in consequence of our showing a lively interest in the Bill, we find that Clause 2, running into 2½ pages is almost entirely rewritten. So far as it is not rewritten, it is more misleading than if it had been rewritten. We have pages of Government Amendments, and we are told that they are not drafting Amendments; they are more than that. They are to meet some anomaly. Having heard the Parliamentary Secretary, I still do not know what the anomaly is.
I vigorously object to this confusing way of dealing with these matters in the House and affecting other legislation at the same time. It should be remembered that we are here legislating by reference. On an earlier Amendment the Parliamentary Secretary said that he was endeavouring to go some way to meet us, but we found that he had not only amended the provisions in the principal Act to meet us but he had made another Amendment, for his own frivolous entertainment, possibly, which affected matters further. As I said then, I do not know what is being done; one has to study the principal Act to find out the consequences which these things have on other provisions in the Act.
1103 We have here this massive Amendment referring to Sections of the principal Act. What effect it really has, we do not know. We are asked to accept it on trust. That is what it comes to. We have had Amendments to Amendments, but we have had no explanation of what their effect is. We were left to guess. We are told incidentally—just as, in connection with previous Amendments, there have been other hidden points—that this deals with an anomaly we discovered arising under Section 75. I do not know whether the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Philip Bell) wants to remove that anomaly, or whether he wants it to remain.
§ Mr. Philip Bell (Bolton, East)
I have got the point. I understand what the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) is talking about.
I am much obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman for following me. Apparently, it is much easier to follow what I am saying than to follow what the Parliamentary Secretary says, or what is provided for in the Amendment.
This is bringing two things about, both of which are quite serious. First, it is bringing our discussions into contempt. Secondly, it causes a lot of needless worry and anxiety amongst slaughtermen and occupiers of slaughterhouses, which could be avoided if the Government were prepared to deal with their legislation properly. I make no great point of it, for we have on both sides of the House complained about legislation by reference, but this is really legislation by reference reduced to an absurdity. It is so uncertain. The Parliamentary Secretary could not assure us that this would be the last of the Amendments. This succession of Amendments has shown that this is a very unsatisfactory way of dealing with the matter.
An impossible burden is put upon the House. Some of us can read these things with great care and then find that we have deceived ourselves into believing that we understood Amendments we agreed to in Standing Committee. We have to be modest enough to know that, if we think we comprehend the present 1104 Amendment, we may similarly be mistaken, as the Parliamentary Secretary was mistaken and as the draftsmen were mistaken. This is the terrifying thing about it.
Why is the Bill being presented in this way? Were the Government so short of legislation at the beginning of the Session that, to everyone's surprise, they put the Slaughterhouses Bill into the Queen's Speech and then found that it had not been prepared, but, having no other legislation ready, they put an impossible task on the Department? We should have an explanation. It is really quite intolerable that we should be asked to do things in this way.
As Mr. Speaker pointed out to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) on an earlier Amendment, we are not in Committee now. But, as my hon. and learned Friend pointed out to the House, if one looked at the Notice Paper, one would assume that we were at the Committee stage. I conceded on an earlier Amendment that I would not pursue the point, because we were not in Committee, but the questions that arose by way of the Minister's Amendment raised Committee points. It is thoroughly unsatisfactory that the House, on Report, should be faced with Amendments like these, which are difficult enough in themselves to understand, and amending Amendments which, in turn, were as difficult to understand and which amended provisions in a Bill which were equally unintelligible.
§ Mr. Paget
I really feel that the House has a grievance with regard to the Bill. The first thing that strikes me is how much we are indebted to my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) for the industry with which he has conducted our affairs. This is the sort of Bill which might almost have gone through "on the nod". I have an uncomfortable feeling that probably we have absentmindedly let through "on the nod" quite a few Bills as bad as this, but when one comes to examine the Bill, as the Government acknowledge—that is what all these Amendment were about—it was in a state in which it would have been quite scandalous to put it on the Statute Book.
Some years ago, my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Hale), 1105 Mr. Geoffrey Bing and myself busied ourselves by looking at Government legislation in some detail. We found what a muddle it often was.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)
It may have been an awful muddle, but this Amendment was not there.
§ Mr. Paget
I was seeking to indicate that Amendments of this complexity demonstrate how badly these Government Measures appear to be drafted and how much they give cause for anxiety. As for this Amendment which has got on to the Notice Paper, I suggest that it is perhaps time for us to say that it has gone far enough. When a Government find, in Committee, that they have made this sort of mess of a Bill, surely they ought to begin again. To try to patch and patch and use, not a Committee, but the House, for this patching purpose is an abuse of the procedure of this House which is not adopted for this eminently Committee task.
Let us look at the Amendment, the meaning and need for which, as my hon. Friend has pointed out, have never been explained to us, and ask a few questions about it. To begin with, the words of subsection (5) which we are asked to omit are these:shall, before determining whether or not to consent to the refusal, consider any representations so made to him and shall not consent to the refusal unless in the opinion of the Minister the grant or renewal is unnecessary for the purpose of securing adequate slaughterhouse facilities.That is what we are asked to take out, and we are asked to insert:if, after considering any representation so made to him, he is both—
- (a) satisfied that the grant or renewal of that licence, or, as the case may be, the continued use of those premises as a slaughterhouse, is unnecessary for the purpose of securing adequate slaughterhouse facilities: and
- (b) not satisfied that the grant, renewal or continued use is expedient for special reasons,shall give, and in any other case shall refuse his consent.11.0 p.m.
What is the difference between those two? In what case, if we left the words as they are, would a Minister refuse, and, if we changed the words, make a grant? And in what case, if we left the words as they are, would he make a grant, 1106 and, if we changed the words, would he refuse? Can the Minister tell us why he is asking us to change them and to substitute rather more words? If there are not cases in which a grant is converted into a refusal or a refusal is converted into a grant by these words, what are we changing? He has given us no indication so far.
Again, we come to Clause 2 (6), which reads:Where in the case of any resolution for the time being having effect under section seventy-five or section seventy-six of the principal Act or in the case of, or of any instrument made under, any local Act providing for the prohibition or restriction of private slaughterhouses—Then it goes on to these various groups:then, without prejudice to the validity of any licence granted or renewed before the passing of this Act or to the validity of the remainder of that resolution, local Act or instrument, that nower shall not be exercisable, notwithstanding …and we are given an even longer version:Where a local authority such as is mentioned in subsection (1) of this section receive an application for the grant or renewal of a slaughterhouse licence …Did they not have to receive an application before? Do they now? What is the difference that is made? The fundamental question here is the granting or refusal of licences. Where does this make a licence available where it was not available before, and where does it stop a licence being available which was available before? If the Minister does not understand what this is about and cannot tell us, is it not time that they had further thoughts and produced another Bill next Session?
§ Mr. Robens
Listening to the Minister, I found myself in much the same position as other hon. Members—that while he indicated the vast mass of Amendments, he did not explain what this Amendment meant. When we are really dealing with references to the main Act it makes it extremely difficult for us to see precisely what we are doing by this Amendment.
It must be remembered that this subsection was amended in the Standing Committee and, naturally, we examined the Bill in the light of that Amendment. As that was a Government Amendment we did not expect that it would he required to be changed again. But now we have an Amendment amending the Standing Committee Amendment to the 1107 original words. On a matter that demands a good deal of legal knowledge, because of these references to the principal Act, it seems wrong that a Law Officer of the Crown is not present to advise us and explain in detail how this Amendment effects the principal Act.
I cannot go back on what happened in the Standing Committee, but the House should know that the Government left the Parliamentary Secretary entirely on his own to deal with the Bill. At no time did he have any assistance from the Law Officers of the Crown, or from other Government Departments whose interests were at stake, like the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labour. The Parliamentary Secretary did a magnificent job, but he was faced with tremendous difficulties. He was asked to explain legal matters without any assistance from the Law Officers of the Crown.
§ Mr. Hayman
Is my right hon. Friend aware that during the Committee stage discussions of the Land Powers (Defence) Bill no fewer than five Ministers of the Crown were present, including the Solicitor-General?
§ Mr. Robens
That may be true. Thank goodness, I was not on that Committee. I am saying that we are entitled to have the Law Officers of the Crown present to deal with this matter. The Standing Committee was denied the assistance of the Law Officers, and we are being denied that assistance now. May I ask the Minister whether he is prepared to explain to us precisely what this Amendment does, and how it differs from the Amendment which was accepted in the Standing Committee? Is it necessary that we should have this fairly long Amendment, which would require careful examination and upon which we should want some legal advice? This matter of licensing and compensation is complicated enough. The principal Act has a whole Section devoted to it, laying out in detail the method by which compensation should be paid. It seems wrong that the Government should bring forward an Amendment now without any explanation. We do not want an explanation of the first Amendment and the original words in the Bill. We had that during our Committee discussions, when we spend several hours amending the Bill at the request of the Government. We are 1108 entitled to know what is the difference in detail between this Amendment and the one we accepted in Committee.
§ Mr. Godber
I will endeavour to deal with the points which have been raised. I am sorry hon. Members feel that I did not make the position abundantly clear. It is a complicated matter, and it is difficult to explain in a short time. I apologise if I spoke too briefly on the previous occasion, but I did not want to detain the House longer than I considered necessary to explain these provisions.
They largely repeat what we have already done in an earlier Amendment, and I thought that the House did not wish me to go over the ground again; but I will try to answer the points which have been raised. The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) asked a number of questions in relation to the new subsection (5) as it appears on the Paper. As hon. Members who served on the Standing Committee will know well, this was a point discussed at some length in relation to amendments put forward by the Association of Municipal Corporations which wished to limit the discretion of the Minister. The existing words in subsection (5) are that… the Minister shall, before determining whether or not to consent to the refusal, consider any representations so made to him and shall not consent to the refusal unless in the opinion of the Minister the grant or renewal is unnecessary …I would draw attention to the words "shall not consent to the refusal". So, the Minister was limited in one respect; but in the re-wording we have tried to take the point that the Minister's discretion should be limited in both ways. We have stated the two reasons. If hon. Members look at the proposed Amendment, they will see it stated that,if, after considering any representation so made to him, he is both—
- (a) satisfied that the grant or renewal of that licence, or, as the case may be, the continued use of those premises as a slaughterhouse, is unnecessary for the purpose of securing adequate slaughterhouse facilities; and
- (b) not satisfied that that grant, renewal or continued use is expedient for special reasons.shall give, and in any other case shall refuse, his consent".We have, in fact, turned the discretion so that the Minister shall give his consent in certain circumstances, but in all other cases shall refuse his consent.
1109 That is what we undertook to do in the Standing Committee. I had not gone into the matter in detail, because I wanted to be brief; it was not because of any desire to be discourteous.
Now we come to subsection (6). Here again, we have completely rewritten the wording, and the purpose, as I tried to indicate when I spoke earlier this evening, is that we are trying to tighten up this Clause. On consideration of the wording, despite the Amendment we had made in the Standing Committee, it appeared that there would be certain cases which were outside the scope of this Clause as amended in Committee.
We are dealing at this time solely with problems in relation to cases where the Minister's consent has been required for the operation of Section 75 or 76, or of Local Act provisions. There are a relatively small number of cases coming forward, but the wording as it is in the Bill at present would not cover an application for a licence in respect of premises where the previous licence had ceased within twelve months.
That is the anomaly to which I referred. A subsequent provision of this Bill reserves the position of a licence holder whose licence has expired in twelve months and who is entitled to get a licence automatically on application. But we realise that in these cases, unintentionally, there could be some where, simply because a licence had lapsed, the applicant could not, because of Clause 1 (2), be prevented from getting a fresh licence. That is what we have sought to cover in the fresh wording of the subsection. Subsection (7) states the provisions which are to cease to have effect and is straightforward.
The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) criticised the Government very much because of the massive Amendments we have brought forward, but most of them are to meet the criticisms made by hon. Members opposite in Committee. They disliked some of the legislation by reference. The operation has been complicated, but I believe that the final effect on the Bill will be better. While I never weary of welldoing, I am disappointed that our efforts have not had the approval of hon. Members Opposite.
§ Mr. Willey
I thank the Parliamentary Secretary for his further explanation. My criticisms were directed to the massive Amendments which are interspersed with pieces of the original Bill. If, in future, the Government are presented with such a situation and with such complicated Amendments, we ought to have an explanation when the Amendments raise new points. The responsible Department ought to have an opportunity to satisfy us on points like these.
When I criticised the Amendments I took them as a whole. There are 30 lines in this massive Amendment. We should be able to get discussion whenever a complicated Measure such as that is one is before us.
§ Question, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill, put and negatived.
§ Question proposed, That the proposed words be there inserted in the Bill.
§ Mr. Willey
I beg to move, in line I, to leave out "so made to him" and to insert:whether made to him in writing or made before a person appointed by the Minister".This is a self-evident Amendment. The Government may think that it is unnecessary, but if it is unnecessary and is not objectionable it would be far better to accept it.
§ Mr. Godber
This matter was discussed in Committee. The hon. Member will agree that it relates only to a small point and I do not think he will press it very strongly. I have given very careful thought to it, and I have been advised that, particularly on legal grounds, it is preferable to retain the original wording. It is not usual to specify the manner in which representations or objections are to be made. There is a danger that in writing one one might unintentionally restrict the method of representation to the Minister. These words appear to be perfectly harmless. They say:whether made to him in writing or made before a person appointed by the Minister.But there are possibilities that there could be some other way of making representations to the Minister which might be overlooked. There might, perhaps, be an urgent telephone message which might not be covered. It is purely for that reason that we do not accept the Amendment. I give the administrative assurance that we would accept representations 1111 made in writing, and the last thing we want to do is to restrict anyone making representations. As I say, that is the only reason for not accepting the Amendment.
§ Mr. Dye
The Parliamentary Secretary said that he had received legal advice on these words. From whom? Are we not entitled to know, if the Parliamentary Secretary received legal advice, where it came from, whether it came from the Law Officers or from some of his own back bench Q.Cs.? After all, some of us spent twenty-four sittings in Committee and never had a Law Officer present.
The Parliamentary Secretary admits that he has had legal advice on an Amendment to an Amendment which had previously come from the same source. If the source was tainted, how do we know that it is really better now than it was at the beginning? What source of legal advice has the Parliamentary Secretary at last received and why cannot the legal luminary involved come to the House and give the advice himself from the Government Front Bench?
§ Mr. Godber
I would merely say that the legal advice I have received is that of my own legal advisers in the Department, which I am fully entitled to take at any time. I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman should resent my taking that advice. I should have thought that he would be glad that I had done so.
§ Mr. Hayman
I support my hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Dye) in what he has said. It may be very well for the Parliamentary Secretary to get legal advice from his own Department, but we are lay Members of the House of Commons. If the Government could put up five Ministers, including the Solicitor-General, for the Land Powers Defence Bill, I think that we might have had at least one Law Officer present at one sitting during the whole of the proceedings on the Bill.
In Standing Committee, the Parliamentary Secretary said that if the Committee wished he would try to seek words. I only wish that he had sought advice about that, for then we might have got something. I did not very much like his reaction to this proposal. I should have thought that any Minister would like some defence against representations being made in some 1112 peculiar or exceptional way. He might, for instance, be stopped in the street and have representations made to him in that way. I am only trying to help the Minister, but if he will not be helped then, rather than embarrass him, I will beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.
§ Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Proposed words there inserted in the sill.