§ As amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.
§ 3.36 p.m.
§ The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. F. J. Erroll)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
In moving the Third Reading of this Bill I am sure that the House would not wish me to go over again all the ground which we covered in the Second Reading debate about five weeks ago. Since then we have had an agreeably short Committee stage and the Bill has emerged from the Committee amended in only one respect. That Amendment was a clarification of the circumstances in which the Minister of Supply would be permitted to undertake the production of civil goods.
Apart from that one Amendment, the discussions mainly centred on questions of principle which had already been raised during the Second Reading debate. These are matters of political belief which are the essential basis of the Bill. On our side of the House we hold that controls should not be exercised indefinitely under emergency wartime legislation and that powers not limited to any specific article or purpose should be done away with. For seven years we have been steadily getting rid of all the unwanted emergency powers, or turning those emergency powers which are still required into permanent legislation.
We have now reached the stage at which we can consolidate. We have taken stock of the whole of the powers now remaining and in the Bill we propose to get rid of what we do not need, and to continue those powers which are still required for a specified and limited period to the end of 1964. Within that period we should propose to take permanent powers to continue those controls which will be permanently needed. The powers still needed comprise a short and strictly limited list. On the basis of our experience, we considered that these are all that are required. Should the Government find, however, that they need powers to exercise economic controls not covered by the Bill, they must come to Parliament for them. That is the basis of the Bill.
952 Members of the Opposition, on the other hand—I hope that I am interpreting their speeches fairly and correctly—would have favoured the retention of much wider powers. They would like the Government, for example, to keep general powers to control the provision, distribution and consumption of any commodity wherever that might be regarded as necessary, and they would define necessity in this connection—
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member is discussing whether wider powers should be in the Bill. I do not think that they are in the Bill.
§ Mr. Erroll
No, Mr. Speaker, but I thought that I could make the nature of this complicated Bill rather clearer if I briefly recapitulated the arguments made in an earlier stage. If I am out of order in doing that, I shall omit that part of my speech.
§ Mr. Speaker
On Third Reading we should not have a rehash of the arguments which have already taken place on earlier stages. We have to confine ourselves to what is in the Bill now.
§ Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would not the hon. Gentleman be in order in saying why he thinks that the powers should be as narrow as, in fact, they are?
§ Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)
As the hon. Gentleman has exercised a right to say what he thinks the views of the Opposition are, I hope that it will be in order, Mr. Speaker, for us to say what they are.
§ Mr. Erroll
If I may, in this instance, refer more specifically to exactly what is in the Bill, I shall proceed to point out that it might at first sight seem to be inconsistent that in sweeping away a number of powers—which is what the Bill does—we should appear to be seeking to retain any specific controls. This was pointed out during earlier stages of the Bill. It was argued, and I think it a point worth repeating—that if it was 953 necessary to retain the specific powers mentioned in the Bill surely it might be necessary to exercise, perhaps at very short notice, some other specific powers, to safeguard the economy of the country.
I feel that I must make this point to demonstrate why it is only these particular powers we propose to retain in the Bill. As the House will recollect, some of the specific powers which we propose to retain relate to milk, welfare foods arid medical supplies and services. Those are essentially adjuncts of social and agricultural policy. They are not really economic controls at all. The strategic controls which we feel it necessary to retain, on the other hand, are adjuncts of foreign policy and not specifically economic controls. One other control which is in the Bill is the control of an essential commodity, the supply of which from overseas has been interrupted. Here, admittedly, we are in the field of economic policy, but the argument in favour of retaining this control is, naturally, somewhat complicated.
The Opposition have suggested that if this control is necessary for supplies from overseas, it should be equally available for domestic supplies. We take the view, however, that the policies of the Government should be such that there should be no need for sudden intervention in the domestic field. Indeed, there has been no such need for a number of years past. The Government, we believe, ought to be able to foresee any shortage sufficiently far in advance to ask for legislation if they wish to deal with it by rationing or price control. A sudden interruption of supplies from overseas, however, might create a situation in which the Government would have to take immediate action. We therefore feel that it is desirable to retain powers of control in these special circumstances although, like the rest of the Bill, these powers are to last only until the end of 1964.
The issue presented by the Bill can be put quite simply. The Opposition believe in having continuing emergency powers available to control the economy by Order. We, on the other hand, believe that if any Government need such powers to control the economy they should go to Parliament, ask for them and justify the need for them, case by case.
§ Mr. Erroll
That is what the Bill does. It is surprising that the Opposition should have so strongly opposed it, if that is what they desire.
The powers which we seek to continue in the Bill are limited. We have specified to Parliament what they are, and we have asked for their continuance. The Bill is a notable stage towards the restoration to Parliament of its rights and its powers and it marks another step in the long process of the removal of emergency controls and emergency powers. I therefore commend it to the House.
§ 3.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)
The Bill mainly repeals certain existing legislation and, apart from Clause 1, the rest of the Bill is concerned with exceptions from that repeal. In his first appearance on a major occasion in his present office the Economic Secretary to the Treasury introduced the Bill on Second Reading, and we have nothing to complain about in his courtesy or in the manner in which he handled the subsequent stages of the Bill. Most of us, however, would agree that he has learned a lot more about the Bill since he first appeared at the Box.
The Bill is generally agreed to have originated in a speech by the Lord Privy Seal to the Central Council of the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations. It was an extraordinary appeal, I should have thought, to ignorance and emotion when he said that the Bill was being introduced to preventa Socialist State being brought in, as it were, by a flick of the switch.The phrase "as it were" is a typical phrase of the Lord Privy Seal's.
The Economic Secretary, stung by the attacks on the Bill in the Press, and particularly by the magisterial rebuke which it received from The Times, thought that, on the whole, attack was the best part of defence, and he tried to claim that the Bill wasan exercise in constitutional propriety."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1958; Vol. 595, c. 415]955 It is nothing of the sort. It is another attempt to rig the constitution so that the Tory Party, whether in office or not, remains in power. It is rather like the Tory Party's colonial policy and, I think, equally ineffective.
On Second Reading, an attempt was made by the Economic Secretary—and he made it again today—to give the Bill a rather more respectable background He claimed that the purpose was to bring the emergency powers which still exist within the scope of permanent legislation. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) has just said, we entirely agree with that. What we do not understand is why the Tory Government have not done something about it before. After all, it is now thirteen years after the end of the war, and we have had seven years of Tory rule.
If this is an attempt to legitimise legislative powers born out of wedlock, I would say that it is applied to a very strange collection of mongrels and that it has all the appearance of being very hastily contrived and, in fact, of having been forced on the Departments against their will. In Committee, we had the spectacle of a whole bench of senior and junior Ministers forced to sit through the proceedings of the Committee to defend proposals which they did not originate, which they hardly understood, and with which, in many cases, they probably did not agree.
The result is not a dash for freedom, but the retention of a formidable armoury of controls, with just enough loopholes to make the whole thing completely ineffective. In fact, the game was given away by the Solicitor-General, on Second Reading, when, by an extraordinary slip of the tongue, reported in column 512 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, he referred to the Bill as theEmergency Laws (Continuation) Bill."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1958; Vol. 595, c. 512.]My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) attempted to move an Amendment in Committee to correct the Title.
Let me make our position perfectly clear. We give way to no one in our defence of the freedom of the individual, but we believe that the limits on the freedom of the individual must
956 be those which are compatible with the maintenance of full employment. Freedom becomes an illusion where unemployment and economic insecurity are endemic. For that reason we oppose the Bill.
We recognise, of course, that we are not living in an economic Utopia of Professor Robbins, or Professor Hayek, but in twentieth century Britain, and we recognise the extraordinary difficulties with which we in this country are faced in our economic policy, partly because of our history, partly because of two great wars and partly because of our shortage of raw materials and the growth of other industrial countries throughout the world. We therefore believe that Britain cannot have an expanding economy without some control of its direction.
We are also prepared to admit that the techniques for controlling the economy in this way are by no means fully developed, but it is for that reason that we think that it is extraordinarily dangerous to throw away the possibility of reacquiring some of the powers which the Government are now abolishing—and reacquiring them quickly, because the Bill is not so much a Measure to abolish existing controls which are not now in operation as a Bill to abolish the power to readopt them if a Government thought that necessary.
It seems to me that to abolish the power even to re-adopt these controls, and to do so on some criterion of doctrinaire political appeal, is thoroughly irresponsible. It is because the Government have done this and have taken what we consider to be this thoroughly irresponsible action that we oppose the Bill.
Let me again emphasise that I am not suggesting that the Government should exercise all these powers all the time. Indeed, it is highly unlikely that if we came into office tomorrow we should want to issue under existing powers a lot of regulations which are not at present in operation. We do believe, however, that the Government should retain a simple procedure for reintroducing them if necessary. The procedure itself could be altered. Most of the regulations are now introduced under the negative Resolution procedure, and as far as I know there is no reason why the 957 procedure of the affirmative Resolution should not be employed, but to make a Government go through the whole legislative process to re-introduce them seems to us irresponsible.
The need for such action under certain circumstances is recognised by the Government in paragraph (1) of the First Schedule, which retains the power to exercise, if necessary, every kind of control where a shortage of commodities is caused by actions outside this country. This is the famous Suez provision. We accept the necessity for such a provision, although we think it far too narrow and we also hope that the country will never again be involved in a war about which the Government have not consulted their overseas and Foreign Office advisers, or even their financial and economic advisers. Nevertheless, we realise that such powers are necessary.
As my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North said in an intervention, not only do we believe that the circumstances in which the powers could be exercised are too narrow but we also believe that the meaning of the powers themselves is unclear. For instance, it is not at all clear how the Government would interpret the word "shortage". According to economic theory there can be no shortage, because, presumably, supply and demand will always be brought into equilibrium at some price. How high would the Government expect prices to go before they were prepared to act? Both the Solicitor-General on Second Reading and the Economic Secretary in Committee completely dodged this issue.
Another important power which is being surrendered is that of introducing price controls, except in respect of milk, welfare foods and medical supplies. Why is this being done? Certainly, it was clear in Committee that no point of principle was involved, because the Government are keeping these powers in some cases. Again, we have no wish to use these powers extensively. We realise that there are very great difficulties and dangers about using price controls, but it is not true, despite what was said on Second Reading and in Committee, that price control always leads to rationing. This argument is merely Tory propaganda. The price of milk is controlled, and milk is not rationed. The price of 958 bread was controlled, and bread was rationed for only a very short time. The Government still exercise considerable control over the price of coal, although they have abolished coal rationing.
Our view is that this power might well be needed again. For instance, it might be necessary to apply it to certain selected commodities when world prices were rising in a period during which our economy was expanding. It might be useful—I say this quite tentatively, because it is not something on which one can be dogmatic—when our own economy was expanding and we had full employment to try to hold the cost of living stable for a short period by selected subsidies combined with price control, to be able to allow the economy to expand and to cover wage demands. I have in mind a period when we were expanding, as we hope that we shall expand in the very near future, after a period of severe economic stagnation. The Economic Secretary admitted in Committee that where an element of subsidy was involved price control was legitimate.
The problem of all Chancellors of the Exchequer is to obtain information in time about the future trends of the economy. We all remember the Prime Minister's famous remark about trying to run the economy on last year's Bradshaw. Why, therefore, are the Government abolishing the power to obtain all the information they need from industry? It is true that under the Statistics of Trade Act, introduced by the Labour Government, most of the information required can be obtained, but the Economic Secretary admitted in Committee that there is at present no power to obtain information on investment. This is perhaps the most important type of information required, because it is investment which is looking to the future and which enables one to judge the extent to which the economy is likely to be fully employed. Why is this power being given up?
It is true, as the Economic Secretary said, that this information is now obtained voluntarily, and I have no doubt that most of the companies which act responsibly will provide Governments, of whatever complexion, with this information; but when we obtain information voluntarily it is useful to have 959 behind us, at any rate, the power to introduce regulations to obtain it by compulsion. After all, this is not an infringement of the liberty of the subject. It is an essential part of the information needed to keep the economy fully employed and expanding, and I find it incredible that the Government should give up this power, even though they are not at present using it.
The truth is that the less information that we have about the economy, and about the way it will develop over the next few months and years, the more panic actions are the Government likely to have to take when we have those crises which occur from time to time and which have been recurring with regularity since the end of the war. A very good example of such actions is the arbitrary variation in hire-purchase controls, which has played such havoc with many of our mass-producing industries. In the last two years we have had so many variations that it has very seriously upset industries like the electrical manufacturing industries and—an industry about which I have particular knowledge—the furniture manufacturing industry. Such variations make the planning of mass production impossible and are one of the causes of prices rising. Figures published by the Furniture Manufacturers' Association show clearly the effects on prices of continual variations in hire-purchase controls, which have affected the level of capacity at which the industry has been operating.
The Government have now carried their opposition to public trading to an absurd degree. They have abolished the power to make any bulk purchase agreements with any countries, including Commonwealth countries, but not, apparently, as a matter of principle, because they still except one commodity—jute. This is extraordinary. Indeed, it was extraordinary to us that, apart from one hon. Member who was stung into action by the Opposition, no Conservative hon. Member took any interest in this important power to assist our Commonwealth associates.
Nobody will argue that bulk purchase agreements are the answer to every problem of commodity prices, but to make the House go through the whole procedure of a Bill every time the Government make, 960 as they might make from time to time, agreements over a particular commodity or with a particular Commonwealth country, seems to us to be utterly ridiculous. In fact, I do not believe that the Government know what they are doing.
The Economic Secretary, in our view, displayed a complete ignorance of the problems involved, because he argued in Committee that the reason why the Government did not want to use bulk purchase agreements was that sometimes one has to buy above world prices and sometimes below world prices. This is exactly the reason for using bulk purchase arrangements or any other commodity agreement. It is to even out the prices which the commodity producers receive so that they can plan the expansion of their own economy steadily and—what is very important to us—remain steady customers for capital goods from this country. To some extent, also, it enables us to continue to get raw materials at relatively steady prices.
The last change in the Bill to which I want to refer tonight concerns the powers of the Ministry of Supply. Although the Minister is not here now, we were very pleased that we had the Minister in Committee. He was, in fact, the only senior Minister who attended to make a defence of these changes. This change seems to us to demonstrate the Government's completely doctrinaire opposition to State trading. This opposition appears to be now so great that they are even unwilling to use the substantial facilities which they themselves possess. We do not hold doctrinaire views about economy or about production and trading. We agree that a very large part of industry may very well remain in private hands, but we equally hold no doctrinaire views against using such facilities as are in public hands, when it is necessary to do so.
Clause 3 of the Bill will very much restrict the powers of the Minister of Supply to use the Royal Ordnance factories and other establishments for civilian production. The Minister of Supply claims that it enlarges his powers to undertake research and experimental work for civil purposes, and that we certainly welcome. We are also very glad, as the Economic Secretary mentioned that, in response to an argument put forward during the Committee stage, there was one Amendment in Committee 961 to the conditions under which the Minister could undertake civil production. It is no longer possible for a monopoly producer to prevent the production of things which might be required by customers in industry or elsewhere, as it was in the Clause as it was originally drafted, but the Clause still remains extremely unclear.
Even the Minister himself was quite unable to explain to the Committee what it really meant. In fact, he confessed, at the end of the debate, that he was unable to interpret his own Clause without obtaining legal advice. I have no doubt that he has now done so and that we may have an answer on what the Clause means from the Solicitor-General tonight. So far, we have not had an answer to the questions put by my right hon. Friend the Member for Battersea, North and by other members of the Committee.
If, for instance, a public service which does not itself undertake the manufacture of goods of any kind, for instance, the National Health Service, were to request the Minister to make something for its use, is the Minister empowered to do so? Or, if a local authority that does not itself undertake manufacture, were to ask the Minister to undertake the manufacture of goods for it, as in the case of a large authority like the London County Council, would the Minister be empowered to do so? Or, if a body of farmers request the Minister to undertake, in some idle explosive factories, to manufacture fertilisers, which was done after the war, would the Minister be entitled to do so and to sell them to these farmers? In any case, why should not the Minister be able to take the initiative himself, perhaps after some research and development into particular types of machinery, which, by foresight, may have been seen would be needed in the future, and, after research and development, undertake manufacture in factories under his own control?
The future of this country lies in the production of capital goods of an advanced nature, and we on this side of the House simply cannot understand why Government factories should not be allowed to play their part not only in the field of research and development of new products, but also in production when this is necessary. Why should their facilities, their technical and skilled
962 staffs not be used, particularly at a time when, due to changes in the defence programme, these factories are becoming idle and there are severe cuts in their production programmes, with consequent redundancies occurring in many of them?
On Second Reading. I said that the Bill was the result of schizophrenia on the Government Front Bench, and that the Government could not make up their mind between the doctrinaire followers of laissez faire on the benches behind them and those who still believe in some planning. Perhaps a better analogy would be that the two groups have now been forced into an unwilling relationship, which has resulted in a most extraordinary and ill-conditioned offspring. What is clear, however, is that the Government are prepared to force their doctrinaire economic ideas on the country, even if they make it impossible to maintain full employment and an expanding economy.
We must, therefore, conclude that these things—full employment and an expanding economy—are not the first priorities of policy for the Government, as they are for us, and for that reason I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will vote against the Bill, even at this late stage.
§ 4.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)
I should like to support the plea of my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) and, speaking for myself, and, I hope, for all my hon. Friends, to say that I desire to oppose the Third Reading of the Bill. I had not intended to intervene in this debate, and I am provoked to do so by the very tendentious and very provocative speech of the Economic Secretary to the Treasury.
The hon. Gentleman was treating this House with something less than we might have expected from him when he made such a very short and perfunctory speech in commending the Bill to the House. He knows perfectly well, from the Second Reading debate, and from discussions in the Press and in Committee, that the Bill raises issues not only of great economic importance, but of great constitutional importance, with which, apparently, he did not think fit to deal.
To make it plain to the House and to the country why we are opposed to the 963 Bill, it is necessary for us, at the cost of a certain amount of repetition of what we said on Second Reading, to restate our fundamental opposition to it. It is particularly necessary to do so, in view of the scant attention which the Economic Secretary gave to our arguments, and, in some respects, the misleading interpretation which he put upon our reasons for opposing the Bill.
I made a careful note of what the Economic Secretary said, and to clear away any misconceptions let us, first, be clear about the various things upon which we are agreed. I think that we are agreed on both sides of the House that emergency powers given to the Government in time of war, or immediately after, should not be continued indefinitely into peace. We are all agreed that it is the right and duty of Parliament to put on a permanent statutory footing, for permanent purposes, the powers with which Parliament intends to entrust Ministers as permanent matters. We all applaud, as does the White Paper, the process which has been continued, by both Governments, of gradually reducing into a systematic legislative form the mass of Defence Regulations which were introduced on the outbreak of war, and were continued, with the assent of both parties, immediately after the war.
There are two issues which confront us today. The first is whether the Government have selected properly in deciding which of the existing powers shall be retained and which revoked. The second concerns the motives for which the Government have thought fit to introduce the Bill at this particular time. I yield to no one in the sentiments which have been expressed on the benches opposite from time to time about the constitutional doctrine that it is the prerogative of Parliament at all times to say what emergency powers to promulgate decrees should be entrusted to the Executive and what should be withheld.
In that context, we must bear in mind that, in conditions today, as distinct from conditions in the Victorian era, in which our country is economically and commercially situated, emergencies of various and predictable kinds arise from time to time—they have arisen repeatedly since the war—in which it is quite obviously necessary for the Government of the day, 964 of whatever political complexion, to make Statutory Instruments for the benefit of the country in order to deal with certain problems which arise.
My first criticism of the Government, therefore, is that they pretend to make a great virtue of abolishing controls. Stated like that, it is manifestly a virtue for which they are not entitled to claim the credit. My right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) abolished a great many controls when he was President of the Board of Trade. We carried on that process. In fact, we abolished many more controls than the present Government have done. During their seven years of office, this Government have had resort, whenever they wished, to the Defence Regulations which were continued by the Supplies and Services Acts of 1945 and 1947.
As the Economic Secretary is, I think, now aware, the Government have not only benefited from the retention of those Defence Regulations; they benefited particularly from the provision in Section 4 of the 1945 Act which enabled them to vary Defence Regulations from time to time. It was only by reason of that power in the Act of 1945, which they are now seeking to abolish, to vary Defence Regulations, that they were able, first, to amend the overriding Defence Regulation 55 and to introduce the Orders dealing with hire purchase. Subsequently, they were able to vary Defence Regulation 55 and introduced petrol rationing when that became necessary in the muddle and confusion to which they had brought the country as a result of the unfortunate Suez crisis, itself directly brought about by the miscalculations and misdeeds of the Tory Government.
I do not complain that, on those occasions, the Government thought it right to exercise those powers. I do, of course, complain about their misjudgment, their errors and their misdeeds which made that exercise of the power necessary. But it was inevitable that they should, having first committed those acts, have recourse to some machinery to keep the country going and, temporarily, to introduce petrol rationing and the other measures necessary.
Our criticism of the Bill is twofold. First, we object to the selection which the Government have made as between 965 powers which they will retain and powers which they will revoke. We do not dispute the desirability of putting certain definite powers in permanent statutory legislation which can be debated carefully and fully and at leisure in the House. I am quite sure that all of us, as Parliamentarians, will approve of that. What we dispute is the wisdom and, if I may say so, the honesty of the Government in the selection of powers they have made.
The Economic Secretary said that he was sweeping away a whole mass of powers. He went on to say that he was retaining in permanent form the power to deal with milk supplies, with various agricultural products, with certain articles required for the National Health Service and certain strategic controls. We all agree with that; there is no doubt about it. He went on to say that he was anxious to abolish what he called economic controls.
The expression "economic controls" is, of course, slightly ambiguous. The hon. Gentleman himself knows perfectly well that the Government are retaining the main physical controls on which the well-being of the community depends. I refer, for instance, to the exchange controls. They are essential, and they are retained. There is no dispute between the parties about that. Where we differ is this. As my hon. Friend the Member for Edmonton said, we believe that the rising menace of unemployment is producing most serious economic and industrial problems with which the country is vitally concerned and with which any Government will have to deal. We believe that, to deal with this rising menace, it is essential that some of the controls and powers now open to Her Majesty's Government should be retained, but they are being deliberately and frivolously thrown away. We believe that it is being done for unworthy motives.
I listened very carefully to a speech made recently by the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Privy Seal on the Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, when we were dealing with the use of motor cars at elections. He made a profound remark. He was attempting to defend that Bill by saying that people must be judged by their motives. I 966 agree; I think they should. I am content that this Government should be judged by their motives and, particularly, should be judged by their motives in introducing this Bill. On this issue, the Lord Privy Seal stands convicted out of his own mouth, because he has himself admitted, no doubt inadvisedly, the motive which impelled the Government to introduce the Bill at this time. When addressing the Central Council of the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations, he stated, in a moment of transcendental frankness, that the Government intended to bring in a Bill of this kind to preventa Socialist state being brought in, as it were. by the flick of a switch.
§ Mr. Fletcher
That is the motive, but it was not the motive which the Economic Secretary acknowledged when defending this Bill to the House. He is not so candid. He tried to cover this disingenuous Bill by an entirely fictitious and fallacious argument. He said—I want to pin him to the words, because of their demonstrable falsity and dishonesty—that the one reason for the Bill was the restoration to Parliament of control over the Executive.
Of course, the hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well that it is nothing of the kind. One of the reasons for the Bill, the dishonest reason which promotes it, is the desire of the Government not to add to Parliament's control over the Executive but to take away from the sovereign electorate of the country the right to have its wishes carried out at the next election.
It is all very well to talk about the rights of Parliament and the Executive. On that issue, I agree with the hon. Gentleman the Economic Secretary and with the hon. Member for Carlton (Mr. Pickthorn), who takes such a profound professional interest in the subject and who made such an interesting and amusing speech on the Second Reading. But you will be aware, Mr. Speaker, that there is an issue even more profound in our 967 constitutional history than the relationship between Parliament and the Executive, and that is the relationship between the sovereign electorate and Parliament.
Parliament is here only to represent the will of the people. [An HON. MEMBER: "No"] An hon. Member opposite even disputes that. But it is desirable that Members of Parliament should occasionally, in all humility and modesty, remember that we are here as the representatives of the electorate. The essence of Parliamentary democracy, as I understand it, is that, in exercising the rights of Parliamentary sovereignty over the Executive, we are here because we are the elected representatives of the people; and it is the sovereign right of the people at a General Election to decide which body of representatives they want to represent them.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. This is an interesting constitutional discussion, but it cannot be founded upon the Bill as it is before us for Third Reading.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I would be the last person to transgress the rules of order, Mr. Speaker. I was tempted to say this only because of the observation made opposite about Parliamentary control over the Executive. I was venturing to say that that doctrine must be limited and must be subject to the overriding doctrine of the rights of the electorate over the Executive.
My chief criticism of the Bill is that it is inspired by unworthy motives. It is an attempt, in the last few months of an expiring Parliament, to impose limitations on the Government that will be elected at the next General Election. In my submission, that is something which this Parliament ought not to do. I am supported in that view by a great many responsible organs of the Press. The Times commented on the introduction of the Bill on 29th October. Although that newspaper took a view which, in some ways, was not unfavourable to the contents of the Bill, it felt constrained to say that for constitutional reasons this was not a Bill which ought to be introduced at this time. The Times reads:But to declare that they are doing this"—that is, introducing the Bill—to prevent a Socialist Government, should they have been voted in, from carrying out 968 their purpose is to give a bad reason. If a Socialist Government were returned to office, it would have been by the will of the people. And however wholeheartedly the British voter fights the party battle at Election time, he is experienced enough to know that the country has to be governed. He is not inclined to like Government moves designed purely for the purpose of making things more difficult for a possible successor. We have heard far too much about the 'flick of the switch' which the Conservatives are going to make possible.That is why we object to the Bill. It is designed to prevent the successor to this Government being able to carry out, by Statutory Instruments, powers which have been available to this Government for the last seven years and which may well be necessary for a succeeding Government to deal with the economic problems which loom ahead. I refer, in particular, to the unemployment situation. The country is profoundly disturbed by the growing figures of unemployment. We on this side of the House do not share the complacency of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, in the debate on the Address on 3rd November, referred to the level of unemployment as being "excessively low", meaning, presumably, that he thought it was not low enough.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and National Service (Mr. Richard Wood)
The hon. Member will remember that that was a slip of the tongue, which my right hon. Friend corrected immediately.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I do not know whether it was a slip of the tongue or not. I believe that the Chancellor was reading from a prepared brief, in which the words "excessively low" appeared, and it was only as a result of the volume of protest from this side of the House at that discreditable statement that he then hurriedly changed what he had written in his brief to "extremely low".
§ Sir T. Moore
Did not the hon. Member's right hon. Friend, the Leader of the Opposition, agree that 3 per cent. unemployment was actually full employment?
§ Mr. Fletcher
I apologise, Mr. Speaker. Perhaps I have already gone further than I ought on the somewhat 969 narrow limits within which one is entitled to debate the Third Reading of a Bill.
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I will bring my remarks to a conclusion by saying that we oppose the Bill because we think that it has been introduced for unworthy motives. While we are all agreed that when necessary emergency legislation should be put in a permanent statutory form, we object to the selection of powers which the Government have decided either to retain or revoke. We believe that their motives are unworthy and have been calculated primarily to try to prevent a Labour Government, which will be elected at the next General Election, from exercising the powers which they ought to be able to take to deal with the important economic problems that confront the country.
§ 4.27 p.m.
§ The Solicitor-General (Sir Harry Hylton-Foster)
What a problem you have set us, with respect, Mr. Speaker. In my desire to adhere to your admonition, I am mindful that Third Reading is not the occasion to rehash the arguments put forward on Second Reading or in Committee.
I have, therefore, taken the most meticulous notes of the speeches made by hon. Members opposite, and, with one exception, I have not been able to find any argument that we have not heard before either both on Second Reading and in Committee or during one or other stage. I hope that the House will be indulgent if I endeavour not to rehash but perhaps remind the House of answers which have been already given to the arguments which today have been raised yet again. [An HON. MEMBER: "They were inadequate."] They are unconvincing perhaps to those who cannot approach the matter with a dispassionate mind.
Let me say at once that I was guilty of a slip of the tongue during Second Reading. It was not in my prepared script because I did not have a prepared script, and it was rapidly and agreeably taken up by the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker). But I was presenting the Bill to the House then and I will present it on Third Reading as one that is, in part, a holding operation.
970 The Bill preserves powers of an emergency character which, after careful consideration, we think it necessary to retain. It is rightly called the Emergency Laws (Repeal) Bill because it repeals those powers which we do not consider it either necessary or advisable to retain. If any hon. Member feels in doubt about that, I ask him to look at page 25 of the Bill, where a long repeal Schedule is set out, listing Statute after Statute, some of them repealed in whole.
Although my slip of the tongue was disagreeable to me and entertaining to right hon. and hon. Members opposite, it none 'the less represented what the Bill does, but the major effect of it is to repeal.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite are intolerably difficult to please. It was very agreeable to see the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) at the Box on, I think, his most important occasion in this context, very agreeable indeed. When he gets there, one of the matters of his complaint is that, in Committee, we had a whole bench of Ministers there, from one Department or another. Parliamentary Secretaries they may have been, but the antithesis is not, in the context, of importance. [Laughter.] It is not, in the very least. When those admirable Parliamentary Secretaries were there, they had to deal with their own Departmental aspects of the Bill. Complaint is now made that they were there.
On the other hand, on the Second Reading of the Bill, the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) complained that Ministers of certain Departments were not here to look after the matter, and we had words about whether the right hon. Gentleman was statistically right about their presence or not. There were courtesies on both sides. It is too bad that complaints should have been made in both cases.
§ The Solicitor-General
I do not desire to continue with this point. If the hon. Gentleman is not displeased with the 971 presence of the Ministers, I am not displeased about it either. I will detain the House not very much longer from discussing matters which are even more obscene than economics.
To put the matter in a nutshell, it is all nonsense to pretend that there is any difference between the two sides of the House about objectives in this matter. Everybody wants to maintain full employment, price stability and a strong£. The difference is one of method. We do not believe that any single one of the powers which we are getting rid of in their emergency form by the Bill will do anything to help any conceivable Government to attain any of those objectives. If we did not take that view we should not get rid of them, but we do take that view. It is silly to call this process "doctrinaire" just because hon. Members opposite take the opposite view. It is the right and the duty of the Government of the day to do what they think is right.
When a Government has been elected for a five year term as it is—provisionally at all events—in this country, it is nonsense to complain just because they choose to do what they think is right in the third year of that term, that therefore they are doing something to hamper their successors if these happen to be of another political complexion? It is nothing of the kind. I can only express my sympathy with the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher), who seems to live in a world surrounded by persons of such evil motives that I do not think he can be quite happy in soul.
I was asked questions about an amendment made to Clause 3 in Committee, relating to page 5 of the Bill. Three conditions are imposed upon the Minister of Supply by the Bill in its present form, in undertaking production for civil ends and it was the first of them that was altered. The question asked of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply in Committee—I desired to be prompted by the hon. Member for Edmonton if I get them wrong—was whether a local authority would be, for the purpose of this enactment, a person carrying on an undertaking which includesthe production of articles of that or any other description,972 who might request the Minister for production, for the purpose of his, the requester's, undertaking.
The answer is that we cannot answer that question in the abstract, because local authorities do such a different variety of things. Hon. Members opposite will remember what fun we had with the Glasgow Corporation and its stationery, in quite another context, or a curious vehicle to which it might be applying a taxable process. These are very intriguing regions. in which local authorities do some remarkable things. Assuming a local authority carrying on an undertaking involving the production of articles, the Minister could, under the terms of this permissive condition, do the production that it requested of him. It would depend upon the type of activity of the local authority.
Hon. Members asked me about a service, such as the National Health Service. The answer is, a service, no, unless the activity of the service is the production of some article of some description by virtue of its undertaking within the words of this provision. Take a group of farmers or a single farmer. In this, I am not speaking in accordance with the snap shot that my right hon. Friend gave. The true position in law on this wording is that the farmer is a person who carries onan undertaking which includes the production of articlesof some description,for the purposes of his undertaking".If a single farmer or a group of farmers were to ask the Minister to produce fertilisers for them their request would be, under the first of these permissive terms, a request capable of inspiring the Minister's production of articles in this context.
What would govern the matter, no doubt, in relation to the absurd hypothetical case of the individual farmer, would be one of the further limitations. The circumstances would have to be(iii) that in the opinion of the Minister the supply of that article or the carrying out of that work by him will serve the interests of the community.We might get into the absurd region of the fertiliser being in too small quantities or the like, which would mean that that qualification in the enactment would be the governing factor, whether the Minister complied with the request or not.
973 I do not know how, without rehashing the arguments, I can again say—because they have all been answered in the course of our discussions—why we do not think it necessary to maintain price controls. I was accused by hon. Members opposite of saying that they intended to use them often, but we do not desire to continue them. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen are living in the past if they imagine that, in circumstances of peacetime, it is possible to make effective, fair and practicable use of selective price controls to obtain the objectives which are common to both sides of the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] They do not agree with that view, but that does not make it wrong for us to retain it and to act according to the view that we have. That is what we have done.
I was asked about information. The position is exactly as the hon. Member for Edmonton stated it, namely, that we now have all the information that we want. We see no reason to believe that we would want powers that we are now letting go—in so far as we are letting them go—to continue to get all the information that we want. Nor do we feel that we have stripped ourselves of any power of public trading in this field that we want. If we had, we should not have stripped ourselves of them.
I do not wish to detain the House further by simply restating arguments that have been stated over and over again ad nauseam. The gist of the matter is this. Hon. Gentlemen opposite talk about frustrating the will of the people. We are not surprised to find that they are objecting to our selection, exactly because their proposal is to make no selection at all. It is not making a selection of these powers to suggest that we should retain powers to control the production, distribution and consumption of any commodity to control prices of all goods and services or to manufacture, trade or deal in any commodity, whenever we desired. That is not selection at all. That is keeping the whole gamut. That represents what hon. Gentlemen opposite have proposed in their speeches and Amendments as what we should retain. Here is the essence of it, in a sentence which I wrote down from the speech of the hon. Member for Edmonton, and which crystallises the issues excellently. It was, "To have to go through the whole legislative process seems to us irresponsible". It seems 974 to us on this side of the House the opposite of irresponsibility. If we wish to control the economy by a process of delegated legislation, then it is plainly right, in peacetime, that we should have to ask the House for a Statute to confer that power upon us. Accordingly, I hope that the House will now give the Bill a Third Reading.
§ 4.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)
Since the Solicitor-General has made a long speech without, I think, a single slip of the tongue, I will make two very brief comments. I believe that there is considerable disagreement between us. The Government have made a selection of the controls which they seek to maintain. We agree that there should be a selection, but we think that the Government's selection is wrong.
We believe that the limited number of controls retained will not be sufficient to maintain full-employment, or price stability, or the strength of sterling. We have advanced arguments throughout all the stages of the Bill to show why we think that they are insufficient. To those arguments we have not had an adequate reply from the Solicitor-General, the Economic Secretary, the splendid array of Parliamentary Secretaries, or even from the hon. Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore), who told us this afternoon that he represents nobody.
The Solicitor-General accused my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) of seeing all sorts of evil motives in hon. Members of the House or in other people. But the fact is that we have the incriminating remark made by the Lord Privy Seal about the real purpose of the Bill. We have asked all the Ministers who have attempted to defend the Bill what was the meaning or the point of this remark of the Lord Privy Seal unless it was a disreputable one-which seems to us the only one possible—and to that, also, we have not had an adequate reply from anybody on either side of the House. For these two reasons, I hope that my hon. Friends will continue their opposition to the Bill.
Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 218, Noes 171.977
|Division No. 17.1||AYES||[4.44 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Goodhart, Philip||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Aitken, W. T.||Gough, C. F. H.||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Gower, H. R.||Neave, Airey|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major Sir William||Graham, Sir Fergus||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Green, A.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Ashton, H.||Gresham Cooke, R.||Noble, Michael (Argyll)|
|Atkins, H. E.||Grimond, J.||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Balniel, Lord||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim. N.)|
|Banks, Col. C.||Gurden, Harold||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Barber, Anthony||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Osborne, C.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Page, R. G.|
|Barter, John||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Pitkthorn, K. W. M.|
|Batsford, Brian||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Harvey, John (Waltharnstow, E.)||Powell, J. Enooh|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Head, Rt. Rom A. H.||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Prior-Palmer, Brig. 0. L.|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Profumo, J. D.|
|Bingham, R. M.||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wylhenshawe)||Redmayne, M.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Body, R. F.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Bonham Carter, Mark||Hobson, John(Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Holt, A. F.||Robertson, Sir David|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Hope, Lord John||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Homby, R. P.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Braine, B. R.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Russell, R. S.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hurd, A. R.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh,S.)||Sharpies, R. C.|
|Bryan, P.||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||lremonger, T. L.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Butler,Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Speir, R. M.|
|Carr, Robert||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwioh)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Johnson, Eric (Blaokley)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Kaberry, D.||Storey, S.|
|Cole, Norman||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Conant, Major Sir Roger||Kershaw, J. A.||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Cooke, Robert||Kimball, M.||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Cooper, A. E.||Lagden, G. W.||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Lambton, Viscount||Teeling, W.|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Lancaster, Cot. C. G.||Temple, John M.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Speithorne)||Leather, E. H. C.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. 0. E.||Leavey, J. A.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Leburn, W. G.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. MoA.||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Wade, D. W.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Wakefield Sir Wave!! (St. M'lebone)|
|Duncan, Sir James||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Duthie, W. S.||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Wall, Patrick|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Elliott,R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne,N.)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Errington, Sir Erio||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Webster, David|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Fell, A.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Maddan, Martin||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Woirige-Gordon, P.|
|Foster, John||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Freeth, Denzil||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Marshall, Douglas||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Gammans, Lady||Mathew, R.|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Mawby, R. L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Glover, D.||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Mr. Edwards and|
|Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Moore, Sir Thomas||Mr. Hughes-Young.|
|Godlier, J. B.||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Bacon, Miss Alice|
|Albu, A. H.||Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Balfour, A.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Awbery, S. S.||Bellenger. Hon. F. J.|
|Benson, Sir George||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Pentland, N.|
|Beswick, Frank||Hoy, J. H.||Popplewell, E.|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Blaokburn, F.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hunter, A. E.||Probert, A. R.|
|Boardman, H.||Hynd, H. (Acorington)||Rankin, John|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Redhead, E. C.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Reid, William|
|Boyd, T. C.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Rhodes, H.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn&St.Pncs,S.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Ross, William|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Butler, Herbert (Haokney, C.)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Short, E. W.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Champion, A. J.||Lawson, G. M.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Cove, W. G.||Ledger, R. J.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Lee, Fredrick (Newton)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lipton, Marcus||Snow, J. W.|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Logan, D. G.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Mahon, Dr. J. Dickson||Sparks, J. A.|
|De Freitas, Geoffrey||McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Delargy, H. J.||MoCann, J.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Diamond, John||McGhee, H. G.||Stonehouse, John|
|Dodds, N. N.||McInnes, J.||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Dogdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Strachey, nt. Hon. J.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||McLeavy, Frank||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Edelman, M.||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Sylvester, G. 0.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Mahon, Simon||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Finch, H. J.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Thornton, E.|
|Fitch, Alan||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Timmons J.|
|Fletcher, Erio||Mason, Roy||Usborne H. C.|
|Forman, J. C.||Mayhew, C. P.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mellish, R. J.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mitchison, G. R.||Weitzman, D.|
|Gibson, C. W.||Monslow, W.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Gooch, E. G.||Moody, A. S.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm.S.)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Grey, C. F.||Mort, D. L.||Willey, Frederick|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Moss, R.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Moyle, A.||Williams, Richard (Openshaw)|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil(Colne Valley)||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Oliver, G. H.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Hannan, W.||Oram, A. E.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Hastings, S.||Orbach, M.||Woof, R. E.|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Oswald, T.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Herhison, Miss M.||Owen, W. J.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Paget, R. T.|
|Holman, P.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Holmes, Horace||Pearson, A.||Mr. Simmonds and Mr. Deer.|
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.