HC Deb 24 June 1958 vol 590 cc273-309
Mr. Thomas Williams (Don Valley)

I beg to move, in page 2, line 2, at the end to insert: (3) This section shall come into operation on the appointed day. I make no apology for moving this Amendment, since it happens to be the only opportunity that we on these benches have of causing at least a postponement in the operation of Clause 1 and of re-emphasising our complete disagreement with the Government on this important issue. A case has not been made out for the operation of Clause 1 or for the drastic change to be made so quickly.

If this Amendment were carried, and the appointed day had to be provided, that would involve the production of an order which would do two things: first, it would enable the right hon. Gentleman to give more thought to the serious consequences that could accrue as a result of the passing of the Clause; and, secondly, give him an opportunity of doing what, apparently, has not been done even to today—discussing this question seriously with the National Farmers' Union.

Whatever virtues or weaknesses other Clauses of the Bill may have, we regard Clause 1 as being mischievous. We believe that it is not in the national interest and that it has caused fear and apprehension among farmers. It cannot do any good and we are convinced it can do definite harm. It therefore should be deferred to an appointed day to give the Minister a chance to recommence discussions and get the real truth of what the great mass of farmers throughout the country feel about the Clause.

As I said on Second Reading, Clause 1 has been opposed by every section of the agricultural industry. They have very good reasons for opposition. For the greater part of this century agriculture was the Cinderella of industries. As far as I can recall—and perhaps I have been here as long as any other hon. Member now in the House—there was never any recognisable policy for agriculture.

For the most part, the industry was grossly under-capitalised. It was hopelessly inefficient and, worse still, it was contributing very little to our national economy. Farmers' cash incomes were miserably small. Wages of workers were little less than a scandal. Yet, although our balance of payments started to deteriorate before the First World War, we made little use of our only raw material, the land. Thanks to a completely new approach after the last war, an approach approved by every section of the agricultural industry, all that has been changed.

Nearly £1,000 million has been invested in this industry, efficiency has increased beyond all praise, output has increased by 60 per cent. and the industry is undoubtedly making a major contribution to our balance of payments problem. Yet, at the first suitable opportunity the Government seek to destroy with unseemly haste an important part of the scheme which has produced those results, all in the sacred words of "setting the people free", doctrinaire ideology gone mad. I repeat what I said on Second Reading: it is sheer legislative stupidity.

The Minister has from time to time repeated that we do not need sanctions to ensure efficiency and that this is 1958, not 1947. He believes—I really think that he does believe—that exhortation, leadership and education are more effective that disciplinary powers. He knows, however, that that is first-class nonsense. He knows that without financial guarantees, combined with disciplinary powers exercised from within the industry, we could never have reached the present level of output or the present state of efficiency. More likely, instead of having had four Chancellors of the Exchequer in six years, we would have had a dozen, one for each spring Budget and one for each autumn Budget, because of the upset to our balance of payments problem.

Yet, while the nation is willing to sustain the industry and expects only in return reasonable standards of efficiency, the Government say, in effect, through Clause 1, which they want to operate speedily, "Away with disciplinary powers and the sooner the better. We must safeguard the position of our Lady Garbett farmers, whatever the cost to the nation. We cannot let our social friends down, even though the heavens fall." I must confess that I believe the Minister when he says, "We think that hon. Members opposite are sincere in their statements, but we are also sincere in ours." What I cannot understand is that in the light of our experience during the last ten or eleven years when compared with what happened during the previous twenty years the Government can believe that exhortation alone will maintain the momentum of all-round efficiency which is so important both to the industry as such and to the Treasury.

One is forced to the conclusion that despite their synthetic—I repeat "synthetic"—protest against any possible limitation in output when they voted against Clause 1 of the 1947 Bill, they are now more concerned to avoid increased output through efficiency or anything else. That is the reason they are trying to hurry the Bill through. It seems incredible to me that the Government should so lightly disregard the feelings and opinions of the National Farmers' Union on this important matter. Reassurances about Part I of the 1957 Act have proved singularly ineffective. Confidence, which is all-important, has not been restored.

This Amendment provides the right hon. Gentleman with an opportunity to re-examine the whole matter. It gives him a chance, which I hope he will accept, for if, as seems likely, the Government thought that the repeal of Part II of the 1947 Act would be welcomed with unbounded enthusiasm by the farming community, they certainly underestimated the intelligence of the present-day farmer.

I know that there are, of course, exceptions. Some sit on the benches opposite, but few of them depend on farming for their livelihood. Of course, there are many others who have always opposed Part II or controls of any kind, except the sort of control they themselves would propose, but there is a new generation of farmers. They have not been properly consulted on the questions either of Clause 1 of the Bill or of Part II of the 1947 Act and all their implications.

Many of the new generation of farmers have had experience both with and without controls. They no longer repeat the Tory parrot cry of, Hands off industry" They prefer to judge by results and, on that basis, the majority are in favour of preserving, both Parts I and II of the 1947 Act. I am sure that if they were in the Chamber they would support the Amendment to defer the operation of Clause 1 until the appointed date, because the so-called guarantees of the 1957 Act have failed to impress them. After two years' experience the original enthusiasm for that Act has completely evaporated. They feel that they have been sold a very dangerous pup.

Nor does the reminder of the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, repeated by the hon. and gallant Member for Dorset, North (Colonel R. H. Glyn) in a letter to the Farmer and Stock-Breeder, that the largest under-recoupment for increased costs occurred in 1951, impress the new generation of farmers, for they know that in 1951–52 the net income of farmers increased from £271 million to £326 million. That increase in net income was the largest for any year since the Price Review started. When the hon. and gallant Member for Dorset, North writes another letter I hope that he will tell the whole story.

Colonel R. H. Glyn (Dorset, North)

It is a small point, but the figures that I quoted in my letter were not repeated from anything said by the Joint Parliamentary Secretary. They were quoted from figures published by the National Farmers' Union.

Mr. Williams

Yes, but the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, doing his duty when winding up the Second Reading debate, quoted the same year and the same figures. I am sure that hon. Members will not object to my telling them that we were so wise in our day and generation that we knew what was happening in the farming industry and that, despite that apparent large under-recoupment, the net income of the industry increased by more than £50 million that same year. I am only suggesting that it is wise for all of us to tell all the facts and not only half of them, and thereby mislead the public.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)

We can tell all the facts, but not on this Amendment.

Mr. Williams

I quite agree that that is a side issue when we are asking for the postponement of the operation of Clause 1 of the Bill, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I suggest to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, nevertheless, that both he and his hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Dorset, North will have to find something more substantial to justify the passing of Clause 1 or the repeal of Part IT of the 1947 Act, or to boost the virtues of the 1957 Act, if any.

Mr. Godber

The right hon. Gentleman has referred to me several times. I ask him to look at these figures in the exact context of the very acute shortage of food which there was elsewhere in the world and in this country in 1951–52. If he does not take that into acount, then he, too, is not disclosing the whole of the facts.

Mr. Williams

Will the Joint Parliamentary Secretary also he good enough to go back to some figures in that year, remembering the increased costs of production of about £70 million due to the Korean War, to which he has made no reference? It was only because of that colossal increase, over which no Government, Tory or Labour, could have any control, that the increased costs reached such a high figure. Nevertheless, at the end of the year, the net incomes had increased by over £50 million, which was not unreasonable.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I think that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary is drawing the right hon. Gentleman into a little more trouble.

Mr. Godber

I will have a word with the right hon. Gentleman afterwards.

Mr. Williams

Clause 1 is definitely unwanted by the industry. We are only seeking to postpone its operation by the passing of this Amendment. We know that it has created a large element of fear and doubt in the minds of farmers in almost every county. They are afraid, not unnaturally, of the traditional antipathy of the Tory Party towards agriculture, and I think that they are right. That is why I ask that this part of the Bill should be postponed to the appointed day.

I have no desire to repeat all the arguments which I used on Second Reading, but I want to re-emphasise one or two things. An old parliamentary colleague, who sat on the benches opposite and "knew his onions," said that repetition was the law of propaganda. I think that he was right. Therefore, to repeat one or two things is fairly useful. Since 1947, we have definitely seen a minor revolution in agriculture. We know, because of the confidence created, that it has been a combined operation in which scientists, research workers, advisory officers, machinery manufacturers and many others have played a part.

The value of the output has increased from £290 million in 1938 to £1,400 million today. Farmers' net incomes have gone up from £59 million to £320 million or more, and the volume of output has increased by no less than 60 per cent. The contribution which this new situation has made to our balance of payments problem exceeds £400 million a year, and efficiency, I do not think anyone would deny, is greater than ever before.

If, therefore, we want this industry to serve the best interests of the nation, is it not both stupid and dangerous to destroy the theory and practice which has produced those results? I think that it is. That is why I move this Amendment. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, perhaps for the first time during the course of our debates on this Bill, will give serious consideration to making a worthwhile effort to consult the National Farmers' Union, which has consulted its 200,000 members, and thus ascertain feeling in the countryside. If he will do that, he will please those of us who sit on these benches, do himself justice, and make a contribution both to the industry and the nation.

Mr. G. Darling

The purpose of the Amendment, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) has said, is to make sure that Clause 1, as it now stands, will not automatically come into operation with the passing of the Bill and that the terms and provisions of the Clause will have to be operated, so to speak, by order, which will give the Minister an opportunity for reconsidering and, perhaps, adjusting the provisions of the Clause to the real circumstances of the industry. It will also, perhaps, enable the Minister to take into consideration the views of people engaged in the industry, other than the landlords for whom the Bill, of course, has been designed.

A moment ago the Parliamentary Secretary said that the need for food production now is less urgent than it was some time ago.

Mr. Godber


Mr. Darling

That was the implication of the hon. Gentleman's interjection. Whether he meant to say that or not, at least that has been the argument repeated ad nauseam throughout the Committee stage of the Bill—that although, obviously, there was a tremendous need for increased food production during the war and in the immediate post-war years, the need for a further increase in food production in the country is now less urgent. I do not think that is a mistaken summary of the views expressed by the Government.

If Clause I comes into operation as at present drafted, without any chance being given to the Minister to revise his ideas, I am afraid that the chances are that food production in the country will go down. In any case, I do not agree that we on this side of the House believe that the need for maintaining a high level of food production is less urgent than it was. It is quite wrong to think of food production in relation to imports and the demand for food in the country in isolation. It is all part of our overseas trade problem and part of the problem of raising living standards in this country.

Every attempt that we make to improve industrial production and to raise our living standards means that we have to import more and more raw materials. We have to import timber, cotton, wool, iron ore and all the other metals that we use. We have also to import oil. All these improvements in industry and in our standards of living—if we can get an improvement again under this Government, which is very doubtful—will increase our total volume of imports, and if we add to that further increasing imports of foodstuffs our balance of payments problem will get increasingly difficult. If we are going to attempt, as I hope will be the case, to improve industrial production and standards of living, we have to raise the output of food production in this country.

Under Clause 1, as it now stands, by throwing over the disciplinary powers which have stimulated and kept up a high level of food production, we run into serious economic danger. That is the situation which, we believe, the Government must keep under control. The agricultural industry must be kept under control by making sure that it makes its proper contribution to the whole of our economic effort. To put into operation Clause 1 as it now stands without any further consideration on the part of the Government would, in our view, be disastrous. Therefore, we are asking that the Minister shall be given the opportunity on the Amendment which we are proposing to have second thoughts and, possibly, in those second thoughts to adapt the provisions of Clause 1 to the actual circumstances of the industry.

There is another very important point that we must not leave out of consideration. This industry is protected and receives, quite properly, heavy subsidies from the State. We need not go into the question of why there should be subsidies, and in any case I am sure that you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, would call me to order if I tried to do so. But the subsidies are there and are going to be paid for a long period of time. There must be one essential guarantee which the industry must give in return for those subsidies, which is that every acre of land in the country that can be efficiently and effectively farmed will be so farmed. That guarantee cannot be fully implemented unless the industry is under the control of the community to make sure that farming is carried on fully and efficiently.

In the course of the previous discussions on the Bill, the Minister said that other industries are protected which are not subject to control. Of course other industries are protected, and they are subject to Government control. For instance, the iron and steel industry has been under Government control since 1932; the road transport industry and the passenger transport industry are under Government control, and must be. The idea that industries that are protected should be under control is not new. What is new is the idea that protection should carry no control, which is the idea that the Minister has put forward in the Bill.

In these circumstances, we on this side of the House say that it is in the interests of the community that, in return for the subsidies that the community pays to that industry, Clause 1 should be looked at again, and that an opportunity should be given to the Minister to adapt the Clause to the circumstances of the industry. I am absolutely certain that the people of this country are not going to agree to pay subsidies to an industry which is turning its farms into playgrounds. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes, we know very well how farms, particularly in the Home Counties, are being bought by people for the purpose of turning them into amenity areas instead of carrying out the full job of farming the land efficiently and getting the fullest value out of it. I am sure that when the people of this country realise what is happening they will not agree to pay out public money to an industry which is not going to be controlled in the interests of the community.

Therefore, we ask the Minister to accept the Amendment which will help him and which will give him an opportunity to look again at Clause 1 and adapt it to the circumstances.

Sir Thomas Moore (Ayr)

What amount of subsidy, if any, is paid on a playing field? That has just occurred to me.

Mr. Darling

We are not talking about playing fields but about farms that are used for horse riding and that kind of thing. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has returned from the Highland Games to give us the benefit of his agricultural experience.

Mr. Paget

A subsidy is paid on a playing field. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, certainly it is. [HON. MEMBERS: "A farming subsidy?"] If a farmer chooses to use the land as a playing field and cuts the grass for that purpose, it will put up the expense of production on his farm and a subsidy will be based on the expense. That is happening all the time.

Mr. Darling

Perhaps on another occasion we could go into the whole question of subsidies.

In any case, subsidies have to be very carefully looked at especially if all control, as now proposed, is going to be taken off agriculture and if all these disciplinary measures which the farmers want in the interest of the community are to disappear. In any case, we want to give the Minister an opportunity, as I have said, to adapt the Clause to the circumstances. I hope, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman will accept the Amendment.

5.15 p.m.

Mr. John Hare

Once again, I am afraid that I cannot accept the helpful advice which has been offered to me by hon. Members opposite. The right hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) was honest when he began his speech. He said that this was the only opportunity he had of really restating his whole case against the removal of the disciplinary powers. You, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, with your customary kindness, allowed the right hon. Gentleman, perhaps, to go even further than he expected that he would be able to go. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I said that Mr. Deputy-Speaker's customary kindness had allowed the right hon. Gentleman to go a bit further than perhaps he thought he would be able to go.

The right hon. Gentleman restated the case which he made on Second Reading and restated the case he made throughout the Committee stage, a case about which I know he feels extremely strongly. I know that the speech which the right hon. Gentleman has just made was made in order once again to put on record his general dislike of the fact that the present Government are choosing to do away with the powers of supervision and dispossession. The right hon. Gentleman thinks that we have taken the wrong action whereas we are equally convinced that what we are doing is absolutely right. We have repeatedly had this argument.

We admit that during the war and in the years of shortage immediately after the war there was a case for compulsion and dictation, but now that we have moved into the age of plenty we feel that the rights of liberty, and so on, should be given far greater reign than they were in those earlier days.

Mr. T. Williams

I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me for interrupting him, and I am grateful to him for his courtesy in giving way. What the right hon. Gentleman cannot appreciate, because he did not happen to be in the House during the period, were the situation and conditions which obtained in the 'twenties and 'thirties. I was in the House during both periods. I know what the situation was then, and that is why I compared the twenty pre-war years and the last ten or eleven years and why I think the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues are wrong.

Mr. Hare

We all know that the right hon. Gentleman thinks that we are wrong, but we think that we are right, and we are never going to get any further just by repeating to one another exactly the same things which have been said on innumerable occasions before.

Mr. Willey

Of course, the right hon. Gentleman is entitled to go on thinking that he is right, but surely he recognises that every other responsible body in the industry thinks that he is wrong. For that reason, he ought to have the opportunity to think again.

Mr. Hare

I do not propose to be drawn by the hon. Gentleman's intervention, tempting as it is.

I have only one complaint to make about the right hon. Gentleman's speech. He had every right to express his views and his dislike about the removal of the powers of supervision and dispossession, but what I do not think he had the right to do was to do so for purely party political purposes. During his speech, the right hon. Gentleman tried to give the impression that Government policy wishes to avoid—he used the words—"increased output or efficiency or anything else." He knows perfectly well that that is not the policy of the Government, and yet he tries to give the impression by everything he says that we are trying to pull out of agriculture. We are not, and we have made our views on that perfectly clear.

The majority of farmers have confidence in the future of farming. Therefore, I think it wrong, on this very limited Amendment, for the right hon. Gentleman to have made his very comprehensive speech which I know was for outside rather than for internal consumption. I will not repeat all the arguments, but I will say something on the matter on Third Reading which will probably be a more suitable occasion than now. I repeat, however, that I do not believe that now that prosperity has returned the State has the right to throw people out of their homes and land. I do not believe that in a normal state, such as that in which we are living today, compulsion is better than the principles of persuasion and help. Rather than harry and bully the bottom 1 per cent. of farmers, we want to release the energies of the top 99 per cent.

Because of that, I feel that I have been right to express what I strongly feel, in rather fewer words than the right hon. Gentleman used. I have no intention of accepting his advice, but in my Third Reading speech I will deploy more fully my arguments to show why I believe that the action which we have taken in Clause 1 is right and proper.

Mr. T. Williams

Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to tell the House whether he feels the same sentiment towards agricultural workers who are evicted from tied cottages as he does towards those farmers to whom he has just referred?

Mr. Hare

The right hon. Gentleman is excelling himself and is sprawling red herrings about the House. I feel, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that having been so very kind, you might now cease to be as kind. This is not the proper occasion on which to have a detailed discussion of the principles governing our decision to insert Clause 1. I propose to deal with that matter at greater length on Third Reading.

Mr. Paget

I had not proposed to speak on this Amendment and would not have done so until the attitude of hon. Members opposite made it plain that they were in need of further instruction. It is very odd how little they seem to know about the Bill. In ringing terms, which were a preliminary canter to his Third Reading speech, the Minister said how infamous it was to threaten the security of 1 per cent. of farmers. My right hon. Friend asked him whether those principles applied to tied cottages. I ask him whether they apply to that much larger percentage of farmers whose security he is weakening.

He proceeded to say, "Now that prosperity has returned to agriculture." Has it returned"? During the period of his tenure of office, agriculture has lost nearly one-third of its share of the national income. When the Labour Party assumed office, agriculture's share of the national income was about 2.8 per cent., and it remained at that figure, almost without change, throughout the period of the Labour Government. It is now less than 2 per cent., so that agriculture has lost more than one-quarter and nearly one-third of its share of the national income during the last seven years of Tory Government. Would the Minister have said in any market place in England that prosperity had returned to the industry?

Those were observations which arose from the Minister's speech. What stirred me much more was the ironic laughter—as The Times would call it—which came at intervals during the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Darling). My hon. Friend was making statements of simple fact. He said that the Government would not continue the payment of prices over whose cost factor they had abandoned all control. That statement was received with laughter and jokes and with cries of "What an absurd statement."

I remind the Government that that is precisely the argument which their predecessors advanced on the occasion of the repeal of the Corn Production Acts. First, they removed the controls and the farmers were very pleased, but then they said that the consequences were that they could not be responsible for prices. That is why farmers and all agricultural opinion are against the Bill—let us have no doubt about that. That is why farmers are so bitterly opposed to the Bill. [Laughter.]

Hon. Members laugh, but I will tell them why that is. The public guarantees prices, and those prices are based on costings at the national review. So long as the Government have some control over those costings, it is reasonable for them to guarantee the prices which emerge from those costings. With the Bill they are now abandoning all control over the costings. The most important item, and one which will be very expensive, is rent. With a time lag, the Bill is none the less a fairly quick rolling over to take the lid off agricultural rents. Agricultural rents—and this is the purpose of the Bill—will steeply rise and every one of those rents will go into the costings which we pay.

How long will any Government of any party continue to provide the money for the payment of ever-rising rents over which they can exercise no control?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The question of the appointed day will not have any control over them.

Mr. Paget

The argument which I was advancing was that the operation of this Clause, dealing with the Government's power to control one element of the costings which we will eventually have to pay, should be postponed. I was indicating in passing that this was only one of the elements of the costings over which the Government were abandoning control. They are abandoning control over rent itself and over the manner in which the farm is farmed, which means that a farm can be turned from an economic farm into an amenity farm, however inefficient, but with a high rent paid for the amenity value with that rent affecting prices at the February Price Review.

5.30 p.m.

That is the effect of the Clause, because when we remove control over how the farm is farmed and over whether or not it is farmed for efficient production, it means that any farm from now on can be let to anybody, however ignorant a farmer, who thinks a farm would be a nice place to live in. In reply to the point made by the hon. Member for Ayr (Sir T. Moore), it could be somewhere where the farmer could provide a playing field for somebody. It could be a polo ground or perhaps a jumping ground or a place to keep horses. The farm itself would be a mere sideline in the economics of which the occupier would be uninterested.

Yet, very largely, his losses would be paid by the Exchequer and he would have other income against which he could set them off. Yet the costs would be costs which would never have been intended to be economic and the rent would be one which was never intended to be a farm rent. The Government have abandoned or are abandoning their control, but nevertheless those costs go into the Price Review. They would be part of the costings of farming and would be paid by the Exchequer.

Sir Archer Baldwin (Leominster)

The hon. and learned Member says that we have lost control over the costings, but in each of the last two or three Price Reviews the increased costs of production on the farm has not been absorbed and paid for by the Government. Farmers have had to pay them themselves.

Mr. Paget

That is the fault of the hon. Member's Government. I agree with his grievance there, but what about his grievance now when far higher cuts are made, as they will be made? The hon. Member cannot complain when the Government have abandoned their control of the costings. I am deeply grateful to the hon. Member. In a phrase, he has put the case for the farmers' grievance throughout the country. He has indicated in a phrase why the Bill, and in particular this Clause, mean the end of the guaranteed price system. The farmers know that, and that is why they are opposing the Bill fundamentally. We on this side of the House know it. It is what will happen and it is what happened before with corn production.

These are facts which are known to the N.F.U. and which the N.F.U. has made very plain throughout the country, but apparently they have not sunk in to hon. Members opposite, who oddly enough consider that they represent farming interests. Indeed, I feel that one of the most remarkable aspects of the Bill has been how it has demonstrated the ineffectiveness of the N.F.U. on a Parliamentary issue and the utter inadequacy of farmer representation within the Government party in the House. These are evils which we, by the Amendment, seek to postpone. If hon. Members opposite have not wakened up to that yet, it is all the more reason why this proposal should be postponed to give them time to have another look at it and to enable them to get a little more in touch with their farming constituents.

Mr. Willey

This is one of the major Amendments that we on this side of the House have put on the Notice Paper, and I want to speak at some length to it. The Minister is so charming and speaks with such an endearing manner, but he does not realise how unhandsome his offer is. He says that he will reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) on Third Reading, but we suspect that on Third Reading these words will not be part of the Bill and the right hon. Gentleman will not be able to reply.

This is an important Amendment, in the first place, because of the treatment which everyone has received from the hands of the Government, ourselves included. It is typical of the Government's attitude throughout discussions on the Bill. Everyone will concede that there have been representations of the strongest character from the most representative bodies in agriculture, but nothing at all have been done by the Government. I do not want to anticipate further discussions, but we all know that there has been speculation from responsible quarters about this and the following Clause. It was felt that the Government were going to make proposals. That has been widely accepted throughout the industry, but—and I make no apologies for it—we have had a prolonged Committee stage which was completed only last week and here we are now on Report. This is really outrageous.

It is worse than that, because the Government gave some undertakings and we had a handful of Government Amendments on the Notice Paper on Thursday. I ask the right hon. Gentleman what consideration he has given to the Committee discussions. A contemptuous list of Amendments appeared on the Notice Paper. No one can deny that, and here we have Opposition Amendments. I recognise at once that the Government have had necessarily short notice of these Amendments, but they have brought that upon themselves. We had a very flippant reply from the right hon. Gentleman to a very moderate and reasonable new Clause which we proposed, and we are having an equally flippant reply to this Amendment.

The right hon. Gentleman has endearing charm, but it really will not do to escape from the implication of the Amendment by saying, "I shall make a few remarks in passing on Third Reading tomorrow", when the Amendment will not be part of the Bill under discussion. We are pleading for a proper recognition of the responsible bodies in industry, and I call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to this matter again. As the House knows, I could make many quotations, but I will make just one by way of illustration. I call the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the allegations made by the Farmer and Stock-Breeder. The right hon. Gentleman, I am sure, pays particular regard to that journal because, as we are delighted to know, its editor has been honoured recently.

The following paragraph, headed "Cess-pool of Politics", appeared in that journal: I cannot claim to have read all the reports of the discussion on the Agriculture True they are sent to me a day or two afterwards, but they are not always read. From those I have seen it is obvious to me that the Opposition is smarting; and I must say that I should feel much the same. There must be compromise in dealings with employees; there is, or should be, a measure of give and take between the Government and the Opposition. But after reading the Debate it seems to me that it is the Government and not Labour which is again dragging farming into the cesspool of politics. What a pity it all is. Maybe Mr. John Hare even at this stage can be less partisan thin the author of the Bill—Mr. Heathcoat Amory. Those are not the partisan remarks of any politician. They are the comments of one of the responsible journals, widely read throughout the agricultural industry.

Sir James Duncan (South Angus)

They must have been reading only the speeches of the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Willey

I do not know. I am flattered, but I think that those responsible for the Farmer and Stock-Breeder probably read much wider than that.

That is really outrageous. All we are doing here is to make a very modest suggestion. We recognise that we are now on the Report stage, and we say to the Government, "Give yourselves time to think again and to go through the decencies of consulting the representative bodies of the industry". Hon. Members who have not read the proceedings in Committee as diligently as have those who are responsible for the Farmer and Stock-Breeder might not know that the National Farmers' Union has never been consulted about this matter. Is it not time they were consulted, even at this late stage. I remind hon. Members of what the National Farmers' Union have said about this. It is: The Government's decision to repeal the disciplinary provisions contained in Part II of the Agriculture Act, 1947, has been taken against the advice of all responsible sections of the agricultural industry. As a Union we have at no time been invited to consider modifications in Part II, only the total repeal of all disciplinary provisions including those Sections (14 and 15) which are designed to interpose the independent inspection and judgment of Agricultural Executives Committees to protect the tenant against an unsatisfactory landlord, and vice versa."

Mr. Hare

What is the date of that statement?

Mr. Willey

It is dated 17th March this year. This has always been the attitude of the National Farmers' Union. It is true, and I will refer to it again, that in Standing Committee the right hon. Gentleman referred to some consultations which had taken place. When I pressed him, he said that those consultations were confidential and he could reveal no more. I revealed the fact that those consultations had nothing whatsoever to do with the Bill. It was clear from the confidential minute upon which both the right hon. Gentleman and the Parliamentary Secretary relied that these were discussions about the Arton Wilson Report, because the minutes themselves used the very words of the Report.

I challenged the right hon. Gentleman, and I challenge him now, with having deceived the Committee. He cannot deny it. The matter was referred to on two occasions in c. 51 of the OFFICIAL REPORT of the Committee proceedings, where the minute is set out. The date of the minute was 10th July, 1956, just about two years ago. How ridiculous to call that in aid, when those discussions were about the Arton Wilson Report. I told the Parliamentary Secretary that he should take more care about reading out documents that were pushed in front of him. I would not like to reflect upon either the right hon. Gentleman or the Parliamentary Secretary when I said "misleading the Committee" I would say that they unintentionally misled the Committee.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Hare

I know that the hon. Gentleman did not mean to say that I was deliberately misleading the Committee. I did apologise for quoting from the document, which was in part confidential. The hon. Gentleman very graciously did not press me on it. I was not misleading the Committee in saying that my predecessors were having negotiations about the Arton Wilson Report when they were having negotiations about the principles of Part II of the Act.

Mr. Willey

I do not wish to pursue this matter further. [Interruption.] If Government supporters want me to, I will pursue the matter further. They cannot have it both ways. This is a matter which we can pursue if they wish me to by calling for the document. I recognise that the minute was quoted in error. I recognise that we could go further with this document, but I have no wish to press for my Parliamentary rights. I recognise that the Minister was revealing to the Committee as much as he could, and I recognise his position. I do not wish to press him further, but I also do not wish to have jeers from Government supporters or I will call for the document.

The National Farmers' Union has said from beginning to end that this step has been taken against all the advice of the union and that there has never been any proper consultation about it. That was the first point on which I rested this Amendment. If there has not been consultation and if there ought to have been consultation, it is not too late, notwithstanding the fact that the Government have taken a decision in this matter, as they are entitled to do if they wish. Every hon. Member would concede that there can be consultation with the industry as to when it will be appropriate to end the operation of Part II, if the Government are determined to do so.

I would not rest my case only on the fact that the National Farmers' Union has to be consulted. There are other bodies, representing other sections of agriculture, which have not been consulted. The National Union of Agricultural Workers, the trade union, has not been consulted. It has stigmatised the Bill as "unwanted". If the Government are endeavouring, as I hope they are, to get all the co-operation they can from the trade unions, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to rectify the statement that he made. The Government ought to have consulted the union. Let them at any rate consult it now on the narrow point of when it will be proper and opportune to implement the Bill.

The Landowners' Association has not been consulted. I understand that it is not as opposed to the Clause as it was, but still I claim that it has an equal right to be consulted.

I would emphasise that the Amendment is of considerable importance and that all we are asking the Government to do is to rectify what we consider was improper, not in the sense that it was unconstitutional, but in the light of the relations between the Government and the representational bodies in the industry. So far as I know, this has not happened before, and I hope it will not happen again. Hitherto there has been the closest consultation in the industry between the two sides and the Government. I still say that even now, after we have dealt with the principle of the Clause, the Government should consult those bodies, recognise them properly and decide whether or when it is necessary, in the light of those consultations, to implement Clause 1. Surely that is a very modest proposal.

We think we can anticipate what the right hon. Gentleman will say. However moderate or modest our request, it will be turned down. Who can deny, whether he is with the Government or not, that that is a provocative thing to do? Who could deny that this is unnecessarily provocative.

The right hon. Gentleman twitted us during the Committee stage proceedings because we had not put down Amendments regarding Part II. Well, we were modest. We were content to allow the argument to go on principle. We did not wish to embarrass the Government or to delay consideration of the Bill. But having allowed that to go—we are not now returning to it—and having been voted down on the principle of whether Part II should be repealed or not, surely the Government could have gone a little way towards meeting us and have said—having defeated us on this matter which has upset the industry more than anything else for a long Ome—"While we are not willing to alter the decision we arrived at, nevertheless we are willing to discuss with the National Farmers' Union and the other bodies representing agricultural interest when this Clause should be implemented."

Surely, as all hon. Members would recognise, the Government are seeking very drastic powers. Merely to say within the provisions of a single Clause that Part II of the English Measure, and of the Scottish Measure, shall cease to have effect forthwith is very drastic. Part II has been a way of life for agriculture. It may have been—the Parliamentary Secretary looks surprised, but I will repeat what I said.

This has been a way of life for the agricultural industry. Members of the industry have relied on Part II and have acted in accordance with it. They have relied on action being taken under the provisions of Part II. Their interest and support for Part II has been shown by the reaction of the county committees to the views of the headquarters of the National Farmers' Union. So whether it be right or not, this is a radical and a drastic change for the industry. It is not being phased. It has not been taken in stages. Surely that re-emphasises the modest demand we are making that the Government should, at any rate, delay their action and provide within the terms of that delay for consultation with the representative bodies in the industry.

This is not asking for something which would result in a loss of face for the Government. We should like the Government to go back on what they have done, but for the purpose of this Amendment we are not asking that. We are merely saying two things to the Government—"Rectify the wrong you have caused by not having proper consultations with the industry, and secondly, recognise that this is a very drastic change which you are imposing on the industry and that it has disheartened most people in the industry."

I wish to deal with some of the arguments which may be deployed by the Government in favour of their adamant opposition to anything proposed by hon. Members on this side of the House. It is said that the Government were placed in a dilemma by the Franks Committee Report; that that Report put the Government in a position that they had to do something; that they had no alternative but to repeal Part II. That is not the case at all. The Franks Committee did not call for the repeal of Part II. Its Report was issued on the assumption that Part II would continue. The Franks Committee recommended another way of implementing Part II.

In fact, the Government have no case to raise on the Franks Committee Report. This is why I should re-emphasise what I have said about consultation. If the Government made proposals outside the Franks Committee Report, then there is the more obligation upon them to discuss with those affected the result of the proposals they made with regard to the Amendment or repeal of Part II. They cannot plead in aid that it was the Franks Committee Report which placed them in any difficulty, which prevented them from properly consulting, and I should have thought that they should amend their view in the light of the opinions expressed within the industry.

The other point I wish to emphasise is that sufficient tribute was not paid to the National Farmers' Union. In fact, the Union, surprisingly enough, was very reasonable in the views it expressed about the Franks Committee Report. It said … we are not prepared to oppose the suggestion that there should be an appeal against a supervision order". The union also said: In general the National Farmers' Union warmly welcomes the great majority of the recommendations made in the Report of the Oliver Franks Committee on Administrative Tribunals and Inquiries. What greater gesture could the National Farmers' Union have made? We know the views of the union, because they were presented to the Franks Committee. Here, after the Report of the Committee, we have the union being as amenable and reasonable as possible. In the face of that, the Government refuse to consult with the union, and today the right hon. Gentleman is not willing even to take steps to delay the immediate implementation of the repeal of Part II.

This is a matter of major importance in the light of what I have said: in the first place, because this affects the good relations between the industry and the Government. Surely the Government recognise that such good relations are absolutely essential. They are disturbed, and it is not surprising when, without arguing the merits of this case, we have no consultation and we have the National Farmers' Union, in particular, being as amenable and as approachable as possible. But this is a matter of major importance because, as has been said, we are here concerned with the feeling—I will not put the matter any higher—that if public accountability goes then public support goes too.

I do not wish to go wide on that matter, I merely mention it. I do not wish, on the pretext of this Amendment, to argue the broad point of principle about which there is a great deal of controversy. All I say, and emphasise again, is that a large section of the industry shares this feeling, rightly or wrongly. That feeling will be aggravated by the fact that the Government have been so unreasonable in their consideration of this Bill.

I make no apology for speaking at some length on this Amendment. It is a matter of great importance. I can appreciate the feelings of the right hon. Gentleman about the liberty of the subject. I would concede at once that there would be no harm in having a review of the operations of the powers of Part II, but repeal is a different matter and when he talks of the liberty of the subject, I would say that in the society in which we live one of the safeguards of the liberty of the subject is self-discipline.

That is why I make no apology for speaking of a way of life. Over the past few years we have evolved a reasonable compromise way of self-discipline within the industry. The right hon. Gentleman is peremptorily destroying that and, worse still, is showing himself quite unreasonable in the face of very modest and moderate requests made to him. I hope that he will be able to give us an undertaking that he will at any rate look at this matter again and will rectify the mistakes which have been made in the past.

6.0 p.m.

Sir A. Baldwin

I have been endeavouring to curb my impatience at listening to such an unreal debate. Perhaps I could give my experience in two minutes of what happened recently to myself and my colleagues who joined me in the little town of Tenbury as recently as last Friday night. We had an open meeting with representatives from all three trade unions, including the chairman of the county executive committee and a representative of N.F.U. headquarters in London. We spent three hours, and not one single objection was made or one single notice taken of this Clause. That is the real position, and the opposition today is completely unreal. A few weeks before that, together with another colleague, I met the county executive committee, and in the whole time that we were with them they did not raise the question of this Clause.

I hope that right hon. and hon. Members opposite will not try to make the House believe that the bulk of the farmers have a feeling of great grievance over the abolition of Part II. They have not. The ordinary rank and file of farmers are perfectly happy about it, and it is unreal to try to make the House think otherwise.

Mr. T. Williams

The hon. Member will agree that he and his colleagues may have consulted a few farmers, most of whom, apparently, were silent on this question. Others of us have seen thousands at different meetings, usually farmers' events, where we have seen a totally different picture. The hon. Member's picture may be right for a very small part of Hereford, but my picture is right over a large part of the country.

Mr. Anthony Hurd (Newbury)

Do not believe it.

Mr. Godber

We have had a full debate on this fairly narrow Amendment and perhaps it would be convenient if I tried to reply to one or two of the points made. The Amendment seeks to bring within the Government's powers the right to determine the date on which the Clause should come into effect. I take it that the intention of hon. Members opposite was that we should delay the operation, although they did not make that particularly clear. They have, however, given us the benefit of their advice on a fairly wide variety of points arising from this particularly important Clause.

I agree very much with my hon. Friend the Member for Leominster (Sir A. Baldwin) who said that this was an unreal debate. It is unreal. I support him absolutely in that. I admit that there was opposition to the Clause in the country, but it has completely died down, except in the minds of right hon. and hon. Members opposite. I say that with emphasis and in the light of what the right hon. Member for Don Valley (Mr. T. Williams) has just said in his intervention.

The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) referred again to the N.F.U. memorandum of 17th March. That came out the day before the Second Reading of the Bill. During Second Reading my right hon. Friend made a very powerful speech in which he put forward the reasons for which we were seeking to make the alterations. In winding up the debate. I, in my humble way, added a few more points. I am sure that there is significance in the fact that our remarks were made after the issue of the memorandum and that, subsequently, the agitation has completely died down. The Second Reading debate was very helpful. It helped farmers to crystallise their views and to realise how bogus were the fears which the right hon. and hon. Members opposite were trying to stir in their breasts.

I am fortified by that and by the fact that the opposition to the Clause has completely died down. Hon. Members opposite speak about farmers being bitterly opposed to the Clause, but it is quite ridiculous to use that sort of phrase in relation to the Clause. The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) used it. I am sorry that he is not now in his place. There is no doubt whatever that the farming community as a whole realise and accept what we are doing as being realistic and as being in the light of present-day experience of the operation of these powers.

I must recall to the House the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond, Yorks (Sir T. Dugdale) on Second Reading. He made a very powerful speech on this point, stating that he had tried more than anybody else, more than the right hon. Member for Don Valley, to operate these powers and had found that, in practice, they were no longer as applicable as they had been in the past, when the right hon. Member for Don Valley was Minister. On Second Reading I gave the House, as reported in column 1396 of HANSARD, the figures of the numbers of new cases coming under supervision. May I repeat them? They are revealing. In 1951 there were 771, in 1952 there were 998—when my right hon. Friend was trying to increase the effectiveness of the use of these powers—in 1953 there were 543 and in 1954 there were 236. The number died away, although my right hon. Friend was genuinely trying to utilise the rowers to the full.

It is true that under the changed postwar conditions in agriculture, and the greater freedom which existed, it had become more and more difficult to operate these powers and, as my right hon. Friend has made abundantly clear, we have turned more and more to the use of encouragement and of the advisory services to try to encourage rather than to drive. That is the simple issue between us. Hon. Members opposite believe that we should retain compulsion. We believe that that is not necessary in present-day conditions.

Hon. Members opposite have again done their best to stir up these fears in the minds of farmers. I am sorry to disappoint them; I do not think they will be very effective.

Mr. Paget

Take the Whips off.

Mr. Godber

I do not think we need fear that. These fears which hon. Members have tried to arouse relate again and again to the guaranteed prices. I am glad that the hon. and learned Member for Northampton is back in the Chamber, because I was dealing with points which he had mentioned. Hon. Members opposite say that only in conditions of State control would people in this country tolerate guaranteed prices. I do not accept that for a moment, nor do the Government. We have put them on the Statute Book in the 1957 Act. The guaranteed prices are there, quite divorced from the disciplinary powers. This is not unreasonable. We are not the only country in the world doing it. Many other countries are supporting their agriculture most substantially and without these disciplinary powers. Is the British farmer the only farmer in the world who has to be dragooned? It is complete nonsense to suggest that he is, and the farming community accepts that it is nonsense.

I appreciate the sincerity of the feelings of right hon. and hon. Members opposite on this issue, but, if I may use rather crude words, they are flogging a dead horse. The farming community is not nearly as vitally concerned as they seek to make out. While these powers were right under certain conditions—they were certainly right in the war and when there was an acute shortage—they are no longer right today.

Mr. Paget

When the hon. Gentleman refers to other countries, has he realised that it is only in this country that the farming community is a small minority, with trifling political influence, and, therefore, immensely vulnerable to every economy drive, and has always, historically, been the victim of every economy drive?

Mr. Godber

As to their political significance, I agree that, as regards hon. Members opposite, it is absolutely true. I certainly do not wish to follow up on political significance, but I would say to the hon. and learned Gentleman that it is not true of other countries where the farming community is, at any rate, relatively small, though not, I agree, as small as it is here. In the United States of America they are by no means in a preponderance, but there they have very substantial guarantees, as he knows very well.

Mr. Paget

And very effective political power.

Mr. Godber

They have a useful lobby, I agree, but that does not affect my argument.

The hon. Member for Sunderland, North referred to consultation. I do not want to repeat the arguments that we had at some length in the Standing Committee. However, I see that in Standing Committee on 22nd April I said, quoting the N.F.U. statement of 18th December, 1957: Ever since the Government first consulted the Union on this matter"— and here, I interjected: that is, the repeal of Part II eighteen months ago, the Union has made perfectly clear what its attitude towards Part II has been. So it is not true to say that there was not some consultation, and I do not think that there is any need—

Mr. Willey

What does the hon. Gentleman mean by "at some length," because he is referring to 1956, long before the Franks Committee Report?

Mr. Godber

I said that we went at some length in Committee, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman will not deny, so I hope that he is not making a point of that.

At the beginning of the following sitting of the Standing Committee it will be seen that I apologised for quoting directly from that document. It was quite right to say what had taken place, but I was wrong in quoting directly from it. However, the words are there on record, and I cannot withdraw them. In my opening remarks at that sitting, I referred to meetings with the N.U.A.W. and the T. and G.W.U. and also to other meetings in 1957. It is not therefore true to say that consultation did not take place, But I have never denied that the N.F.U. repeatedly said at that time that it was opposed to the repeal of Part II. Subsequently to the Second Reading debate, when cogent arguments were put by this side, we have heard very little, except from hon. Members opposite who, frankly, seem to me to be a little out of touch with farming thought in this matter.

I apologise for speaking for so long on the Amendment, but in view of the questions asked and the points raised I felt it right to put the matter in reasonable perspective.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Thomas Fraser (Hamilton)

I have not yet learned why the Government will not accept this Amendment, which I would have thought they would have been most anxious to have. The Parliamentary Secretary has repeated the Minister in saying that opposition to this Clause has died down in the country, but he has had to admit that, as far as he knows, the opposition of the farmers through their organisation, the National Farmers' Union, still exists. Large parts of the 1947 Act, dealing with England and Wales, and of the 1948 Scottish Act are here being repealed, but both those Acts were enacted after very lengthy and careful discussion with the interests concerned.

The Government have now decided to give effect to their prejudices by repealing those provisions, and since the Government are convinced that the countryside will accept their point of view, I would have thought that they would have been most willing to accept this Amendment to delay the operation of those repeal provisions until they got the official organisations of the farmers to agree to their proposals. If the Ministers were themselves convinced of the arguments they have used this afternoon they would accept the Amendment, and propose later an appointed day for this Clause to come into operation, and could then say that they were doing so with the consent of the N.F.U.—

Mr. Godber

I did, in fact, deal at some length with this point on Second Reading, when I pointed out that the opposition of the N.F.U. was clearly due to the fact that its members were scared of what the party opposite would do if it got back to power. Since then, the farming community has become more and more confident that there is very little danger of that, which is partly why the farmers have not opposed it.

Mr. Fraser

If they are more confident, would it not be better to accept the Amendment so that, in due course, Ministers could come forward with an Order naming the appointed date, and be able to say that they had by then convinced the National Farmers' Union that it was good and proper to discontinue the provisions of Part II of the 1947 Act, and Part II of the 1948 Scottish Act? If the Parliamentary Secretary had any confidence at all in the arguments he has just adduced, he would accept the Amendment, confident that he would be able to say to us in due course that in making this substantial change in the law he was taking the farmers with him.

The hon. Gentleman has repeated what was said by the Minister a little while ago, and was said on Second Reading and in Standing Committee; that the powers are no longer so applicable as they were in the days of acute shortage. This is a most unfair attack on the patriotism of the farmers. The Minister has said that by repealing those provisions forthwith he will release the energies of the farmers and so get increased production, but he says that those same farmers had to be disciplined by the committees to give this increased production when it was even more needed than it is today.

I submit that the provisions written into the 1947 and 1948 Acts, which are here being repealed, were never put in at all on the ground that it was necessary to have these disciplinary powers to require the farmers to give of their best in days of exceeding scarcity. The case was never argued on the basis of food shortage at all. What was argued was that if we were to have prosperity in the countryside, it would be necessary for the Government to use the taxpayers' money to give certain guarantees to agriculture, and that, in return, agriculture would have to give some guarantees that it would use the taxpayers' money to the best advantage in improving the efficiency of the industry.

Of course, when one thinks of the hundreds of thousands of units of activity in agriculture, one sees at once the advantage of having the powers that were so carefully worked out about ten years ago. This kind of control—what the National Farmers' Union of Scotland called the kindly control of the committees—is surely the best possible kind of control.

The good farmers of whom the Minister spoke a little while ago—the energetic, good farmers—are able to help their weaker brethren, but he will now deny those weaker brethren the assistance of those good farmers. If the Ministers are unwilling to accept that those provisions have been helpful, perhaps I may again quote the Report of the Department of Agriculture, published in April of this year. Chapter 6, on page 31, reads: Committees continued to take steps to secure that agricultural land was farmed and managed in accordance with the rules of good husbandry and good estate management. Since the inception of the Agriculture (Scotland) Act, 1948, they had, by the end of the year, been responsible for improving farming and management standards to a reasonably satisfactory level in 1,558 husbandry and 744 estate management cases. What does that mean? Does that not mean what it says—that the committees were responsible for good husbandry and estate management in well over 2,000 cases in Scotland? I agree there were not so many last year, because the committees were told that they had not got to do it last year. The Government issued instructions to the committees that they were to discontinue this activity.

I have quoted directly from the Report of the Department of Agriculture. The Minister will not deny that the case which he has made up to now is at variance with what is said in that Report, and I suggest that if we had a Report from the Ministry of Agriculture similar to the Report from the Department of Agriculture the Ministry would be saying exactly the same thing.

All we are saying in the Amendment is that we should not throw all of this overboard until there has been a measure of agreement within the industry, and that the Minister should accept the Amendment and should only bring this into operation at a later date after there has been adequate discussion and agreement within the industry that the hon. Member for Leominster (Sir A. Baldwin) is right. He was wrong ten years ago. He may well be wrong today. In any case, if he speaks for the farmers of this country, the National Farmers' Union does not. I am a sufficiently good democrat to accept that at present it is the National Farmers' Union, and not the hon. Member for Leominster, that speaks for the farmers.

We did not have a similar Amendment in Committee, but I spoke to an Amendment which sought to leave out subsection (2) of Clause 1, the purpose of which is to scrap some eight sections of the Agriculture (Scotland) Act, 1948. The only reply that I got from the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland was the brief one to which we have become accustomed—I quote the whole of it from HANSARD— LORD JOHN HOPE rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 6th May, 1958; c. 280.] I hope that I shall have a better reply than that today.

I do not wish to delay the House unduly, but I think hon. Members will bear with me when I say that I was at the Scottish Office when this legislation went through. For some years I spent a lot of time discussing these matters, working out these legislative provisions and having consultations with the National Farmers' Union and the Scottish Landowners' Federation. I explained all these provisions painstakingly to the Scottish Members in the House and in Committee. It is monstrous that all that work should be undone in this way in half a Clause in a United Kingdom Bill.

I think that Scottish Members might have had an opportunity to discuss this matter fully and that we might have had a fuller reply from the Under-Secretary than his merely claiming, "That the Question be now put." Will he now tell us what discussion he has had with the National Farmers' Union of Scotland and the Scottish Farm Servants' Union? Would he tell us what these two organisations say about this? He might also tell us what the Scottish Landowners' Federation says about it.

In my discussions I have learned that the Scottish Landowners' Federation is unconcerned. It is not asking for the repeal of Part II, but it is not opposed to it being repealed as is proposed in Clause 1 (2). I understand from the National Farmers' Union of Scotland and from the Scottish Farm Servants' Union that they are opposed to the repeal of Part II of the 1948 Scottish Act. Will the Under-Secretary tell us what consultations he has had with those two organisations?

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us what is all the hurry in getting Part II repealed? Does he accept the advice which is given to all of us in the Report of the Department of Agriculture of the beneficial effects of these provisions which he is now discontinuing, and will he give us any reason at all why he should not accept this Amendment and postpone the repeal of Part II of the 1948 Act until the appointed day, until a date when he can come and say that he repeals those provisions with the consent of the interests concerned? I hope that I may have a more adequate reply from the Under-Secretary on this occasion.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Gordon Touche)

The Question is—

Mr. Willey

I rise, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, only because I thought I saw the Under-Secretary, not exactly springing to his feet, but getting to his feet.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Lord John Hope)

The only reason that I rise to my feet—at, I thought, a reasonable pace—is that whenever I have done so more quickly the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. T. Fraser) has complained at the alacrity with which I wished to address him and controvert his arguments.

I have little to add—

Mr. E. G. Willis (Edinburgh, East)

There is very little to add it to.

Lord John Hope

—because in Committee I explained exactly what the position was as regards consultation.

I would be repeating myself if I went into it now, but to sum it up, as the hon. Gentleman knows, I told the Committee that the National Farmers' Union of Scotland was opposed to this Bill, but on this part of it it is true to say they did not evince any particularly strong feelings. But having said that, I do not want in the least to suggest that they were not against it, because they were.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes. 205, Noes 255.

Division No. 170.] AYES [6.27 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Corbet, Mrs. Freda Greenwood, Anthony
Albu, A. H. Cove, W. G. Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Grey, C. F.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Crossman, R. H. S. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)
Awbery, S. S. Cullen, Mrs. A. Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)
Bacon, Mist Alice Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Griffiths, William (Exchange)
Baird, J. Darling, George (Hillsborough) Hale, Leslie
Balfour, A. Davies, Rt. Hon. Clement (Montgomery) Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Coine Valley)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Hamilton, W. W.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Hannan, W.
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S. E.)
Benson, Sir George Delargy, H. J. Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)
Beswick, Frank Diamond, John Hastings, S.
Blackburn, F. Dodds, N. N. Hayman, F. H.
Blenkinsop, A. Donnelly, D. L. Healey, Denis
Blyton, W. R. Dugdal, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)
Boardman, H. Dye, S. Herblson, Miss M.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Hewitson, capt. M.
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S. W.) Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)
Bowles, F. G. Edwards, Rt. Hon. New (Caerphilly) Holman, P.
Boyd, T. C. Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Houghton, Douglas
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)
Brockway, A. F. Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Howell, Denis (All Saints)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Fernyhough, E. Hoy, J. H.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Finch, H. J. Hubbard, T. F.
Burke, W. A. Fitoh, E. A. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Burton, Miss F. E. Fletcher, Eric Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Callaghan, L. J. Forman, J. C. Hunter, A. E.
Carmichael, J. Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Hynd, H. (Accroington)
Chetwynd, G. R. George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then) Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)
Clunie, J. Gibson, C. W. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Coldrick, W. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Irving, Sydney (Dartford)
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Moyle, A. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Jeger, George (Goole) Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Snow, J. W.
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield) Oliver, G. H. Sparks, J. A.
Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Oswald, T. Spriggs, Leslie
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Owen, W. J. Steele, T.
Jones J. Idwal (Wrexham) Paget, R. T. Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Storehouse, John
Kay, Rt. Hon. C. W. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Stones, W. (Consett)
King, Dr. H. M. Palmer, A. M. F. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Lawson, G. M. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Lee, Frederick (Newton) Parker, J. Sylvester, G. O.
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Paton, John Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Pearson, A. Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Lewis, Arthur Pentland, N. Tomney, F.
Lindgren, G. S. Popplewell, E. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Lipton, Marcus Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Viant, S. P.
Logan, D. G. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Watkins, T. E.
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Probert, A. R. Weitzman, D.
McCann, J. Proctor, W. T. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
MacColl, J. E. Randall, H. E. Wheeldon, W. E.
MacDermot, Niall Rankin, John White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
McGhee, H. G. Redhead, E. C. Wigg, George
McGovern, J. Reid, William Wllkins, W. A.
McInnes, J. Reynolds, G. W. Willey, Frederick
McLeavy, Frank Rhodes, H. Williams, David (Neith)
MacMillan, M. K. (western Isles) Roberts, Albert (Nortmanton) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Mahon, Simon Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Wills, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Mainwaring, W. H. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Mann, Mrs. Jean Royle, C. Winterbottom, Richard
Mason, Roy Shinwell, Rt. Hon. C. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Mikardo, Ian Shurmer, P. L. E. Woof, R. E.
Mitchison, G. R. Silverman, Julius (Aston) Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Monslow, W. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Zilliacus, K.
Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.) Skeffington, A. M.
Mort, D. L. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Moss, R. Slater, J. (Sedgefield) Mr. J. Taylor and Mr. Deer.
Agnew, Sir Peter Cole, Norman Grant, W. (Woodside)
Aitken, W. T. Conant, Maj. Sir Roger Green, A.
Alport, C. J. M. Cooke, Robert Gresham Cooke, R.
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Cooper-Key, E. M. Grimond, J.
Anstrutlfer-Cray, Major Sir William Corfield, Capt. F. V. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)
Arbuthnot, John Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.
Armstrong, C. W. Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Gurden, Harold
Astor, Hon. J. J. Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.
Atkins, H. E. Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)
Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M. Cunningham, Knox Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)
Baldwin, A. E. Currie, C. B. H. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
Balniel, Lord Davidson, Viscountess Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Barber, Anthony D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hay, John
Barlow, Sir John Deedes, W. F. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Barter, John Digby, Simon Wlngfield Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.
Batsfom, Brian Dodds-Parker, A. D. Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Beamish, Col. Tufton Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Henderson-Stewart, Sir James
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Drayson, G. B. Hesketh, R. F.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) du Cann, E. D. L. Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.
Bennett, Dr. Reginald Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythanshawe)
Bevins J. R. (Toxteth) Dunoan, Sir James Hobson, john (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Duthie, W. S. Holland-Martin, C. J.
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Holt, A. F.
Bishop, F. P. Elliott, R. W. (Ne'castle upon Tyne, N.) Hope, Lord John
Black, C. W.
Body, R. F. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hornby, R. P.
Bonham Carter, Mark Erroll, F. J. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
Bossom, Sir Alfred Farey-Jones, F. W. Horobin, Sir Ian
Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Finlay, Graeme Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Fisher, Nigel Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.
Boyle, Sir Edward Fletcher-Cooke, C. Hughes-Young, M. H. C.
Braine, B. R. Fort, R. Hulbert, Sir Norman
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Hurd, A. R.
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lomdale) Hutchison, Michael Clark (E'b'gh, S.)
Brooman-White, R. C. Gammans, Lady Hyde, Montgomery
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Garner-Evans, E. H. Iremonger, T. L.
Burden, F. F. A. Glover, D. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Glyn, Col. Richard H. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Campbell, Sir David Godber, J. B. Jennings, J. C. (Burton)
Carr, Robert Goodhart, Philip Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)
Cary, Sir Robert Gough, C. F. H. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)
Chichester-Clark, R. Gower, H. R. Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Graham, Sir Fergus Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)
Kaberry, D. Neave, Airey Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)
Keegan, D. Nioholls, Harmar Stoddart-Soott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Kerby, Capt. H. B. Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham) Storey, S.
Kershaw, J. A. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch) Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Kirk, P. M. Noble, Michael (Argyll) Studholme, Sir Henry
Lambton, Viscount Nugent, G. R. H. Summers, Sir Spencer
Langford-Holt, J. A. Oakshott, H. D. Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)
Leather, E. H. C. O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Leavey, J. A. Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Leburn, W. G. Osborne, C. Teeling, W.
Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Page, R. G. Temple, John M.
Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.) Partridge, E. Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)
Lindsay, Martin (Solihull) Peel, W. J. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Linstead, Sir H. N. Peyton, J. W. W. Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)
Llewellyn, D. T. Pickthorn, K. W. M. Thorneyoroft, Rt. Hon. P.
Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Pike, Miss Mervyn Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Pilkington, Capt. R. A. Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Pitman, I. J. Turner, H. F. L.
Macdonald, Sir Peter Pott, H. P. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry Powell, J. Enoch Tweedsmuir, Lady
McKibbin, Alan Price, David (Eastleigh) Vane, W. M. F.
Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Vickers, Miss Joan
McLaughlin, Mrs. P. Rawlinson, Peter Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.
McLean, Neil (Inverness) Redmayne, M. Wade, D. W.
Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Rees-Davies, W. R. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Renton, D. L. M. Wall, Patrick
Maddan, Martin Ridsdale, J. E. Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Homoastle) Rippon, A. G. F. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark) Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R. Robertson, Sir David Webbe, Sir H.
Markham, Major Sir Frank Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.) Webster, David
Marlowe, A. A. H. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Marshall, Douglas Roper, Sir Harold Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Mathew, R. Ropner, Col, Sir Leonard Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Maudling, Rt. Hon. R. Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Mawby, R. L. Sharples, R. C. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C. Shepherd, William Wood, Hon. R.
Medlicolt, Sir Frank Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Woollam, John Victor
Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Moore, Sir Thomas Spearman, Sir Alexander
Morrison, John (Salisbury) Speir, R. M. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Nabarro, G. D. N. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Mr. Bryan and Mr. Gibson-Watt.
Nairn, D. L. S. Steward, Harold (Stookport, S.)