§ 4.10 p.m.
§ Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)
I beg to move, in page 1, line 5, at the beginning to insert:On and after the first day of July, nineteen hundred and sixty".This Amendment seeks to postpone the operation of the Bill until 1960, and I believe that the Government should be willing to accept the Amendment. On Second Reading, a good many reasons were given for the inclusion of this Clause in the Bill. I wish to confine my argument to the reasons why it would be in the interests of our democratic system to postpone the operation of the Bill until after 1960. If we did that, and the Government were prepared for the Bill to operate after the next General Election, the suspicion that the Government had party political motives in passing the Bill would be largely removed.
I have read with care the speech which we heard from the Home Secretary in moving the Second Reading of the Bill. It is fair to say that he centred his views on four arguments—First, that the restrictions are quite out of accord with present social conditions; secondly, that they are unnecessary to secure fair play between the parties; thirdly, that they cause inconvenience to candidates of all parties and to the electorate "—This will come as some surprise to hon. Members on this side of the Committee—fourthly, and perhaps as important as any other, that they bring the law into contemptHe added:We had hoped that Her Majesty's Opposition might have come to a similar view in the light of their experience of the restrictions.Later, he said:I think that to most of us, at any rate, and to the general opinion of the public, the motor car nowadays is a common means of transport.1031 He concluded:In the light of these considerations I submit that the only possible justification"—I ask the Committee to note these words—for the restrictions in Section 88 would be that the ownership and facilities for the use of cars is confined so exclusively to one political party or one social class that the use of cars must be restricted, notwithstanding the hardship it may impose on many voters…" —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th November, 1958: Vol. 594, cc. 957–8.]I believe that this can be proved. We can prove quite conclusively that precisely this is the case. I would call attention, in the first place, to the results of the Gallup poll published by the News Chronicle as the result of a special poll taken at the beginning of October. That poll disclosed the voting record of the car owner as such. It was found that 60 per cent. of car owners state that they vote Tory, that 18 per cent. of car owners admit that they vote Labour, 11 per cent. Liberal and the rest are undetermined. I believe that those figures prove conclusively the case which we submit from these benches. Hon. Members opposite have been pleased with the Gallup poll. They have been gratified by the indications by the Gallup poll of support for the Prime Minister. One cannot accept these polls when they are convenient and reject them when they are not.
I should have thought that one of the things which we all admit is confirmed by a statistical poll is the fact that the overwhelming majority of car owners are inclined to support the Conservative Party. What we are asking in the Amendment is not for hon. Members opposite to agree that we are right, but to agree that we may be right, and that if we are and the electorate might even have a suspicion that the Bill was being pushed through for party political purposes, the Government would prefer to postpone the operation of the Bill until after the General Election. This is why we put these facts before the Committee.
There is one other group of facts which we put forward from the experience of our own party. We, as a party, recently made an investigation of our party organisation. We also studied, in particular, the operation of this Clause. 1032 We found that in almost every constituency of which we know, the Conservative candidate is able to use his full quota of cars throughout the day. We found that the number of Labour candidates who are able throughout the day to call on their full quota of cars is relatively negligible and that the number who can call upon their full quota in the last two hours before the poll is 54 per cent.
This is a figure which I would ask hon. Members opposite to consider very seriously. I would ask them to consider whether it is wise, in a Parliamentary democracy in these days, to come forward with a very queer Bill of this sort for revoking one specific Section in a previous Representation of the People Act and to do it despite the accusation that it is being done in the interests of the party. [Interruption.] I am reminded by an hon. Friend that this legislation was not mentioned in the Queen's Speech.
Let me repeat something that I said outside the House. We all know why it was not in the Queen's Speech. The reason is that it would have been odious to put into Her Majesty's mouth something as partisan as this; so it had to be left out of the Queen's Speech, as being too dirty to include. The Prime Minister later has to leak this out only after my right hon. Friend has asked him whether it is a fact that he intends to slip this Bill in during the present Session.
We know that the Bill will be passed by a majority. We are putting forward an Amendment which, if accepted, would enable the Conservative Party to right itself in the eyes of the electors. I accept that many hon. Members opposite sincerely believe that the motor car is now a general means of transport and that we should not restrict its use. However, if they are only concerned with that, and not with party advantage, they must support our Amendment. This Amendment is the acid test of their integrity. If they are concerned merely with improving the electoral law, then they must agree to suspend its operation until after the next election. If they have this Bill at the next election we all know why they want it. They want it for reasons which were objected to in another place, when it was pointed out that when this proposal was 1033 moved at the recent Conservative Party conference very proper reasons against doing this were advanced by a former Member of this House, now a Member of the other place. He pointed out that the Tory Party would be grossly misunderstood in the country if this concession were made to the Tory conference.
Here I want to refer to something, which was said by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) in reply to an intervention of mine on Second Reading. He said:We have had these resolutions year after year"—at Tory Party conferences—and, talking as a party man, if the Conservative Party's annual conference passes by a large majority a resolution to the effect that a particular provision in a Statute should be repealed, I see no reason whatsoever why the Conservative Parliamentary Party, which has a majority in the House, should not implement what is recommended by its political conference."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, 5th November, 1958; Vol. 594, c. 986.]Does the Home Secretary support that argument? Does he accept what the hon. Member for Kidderminster says, that if the Tory Party conference wants a change in the election law then it is his duty to obey the Tory Party conference and carry the change into effect, a change which the Tory Party conference wanted for its own party advantage? That has been said openly and honestly from the back benches opposite and it has not been repudiated.
The right hon. Gentleman has told us that he is not concerned with party advantage and that he is concerned with freeing Her Majesty's subjects from intolerable restrictions on the use of motor cars. I have already shown by two very powerful arguments that this arrangement works solely to the advantage of the Conservative Party.
§ Mr. Crossman
The hon. Member shakes his head. Does he deny that the great majority of car owners vote Conservative?
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
The relevant consideration is not the ownership but the availability and use of motor cars.
§ Mr. Crossman
I recommend the hon. Member not to use that argument. Let 1034 us be clear about what he means by availability. We know that the majority of car owners vote Tory. We also know that a far greater number of Tory car owners can drive their cars throughout election day than can Labour car owners —or, at any rate, they have chauffeurs who can do it for them. Therefore, whether we judge by availability or by ownership, the change in the law is overwhelmingly to the advantage of the Tory Party.
If we are supposed to be wrong, it is still a mistake for the Government to introduce a Bill which repeals a single Section of an Act and which, according to the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, will be interpreted as showing the Government acting for their own advantage. If the Government wish to remove the suspicion of playing hanky-panky with the electoral law, and helping their own candidates, they should accept the Amendment and agree not to bring these provisions into operation until after 1960.
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
The hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) put his case on two grounds. First, he said that the owners of motor cars were preponderantly Tory. The figure he gave was 60 per cent., and I do not dissent from his broad statistics. It is probably true that those who own motor cars have a true sense of values and understand for which party they should vote. His second ground was that during the earlier part of election day the Labour Party does not make full use of the motor cars available to it.
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
The hon. Member says that the Labour Party cannot make full use of those motor cars.
Both arguments are irrelevant to the point which he then sought to make, that we are making these provisions for party advantage. I see no party advantage to be gained. It is not the ownership of the motor cars which matters, whether the owner is the agent or some other responsible person.
Many hon. Members have fought marginal seats, as I have, and on one day in five years, polling day, a sufficient number of cars should be available. That can be arranged just as well by the power of the 1035 trade unions as by individual owners of motor cars. I have fought a marginal seat in the City of Nottingham and I know full well the wealth of the Labour Party in such a city, where it can call on as many cars as it likes at any time. I know that to be a fact.
Furthermore, in both the elections in that city which I fought—I was a candidate fighting a marginal seat—the wealth used by the Labour Party, the amount of money spent in the election, was considerably greater than that used by the Tories. Do not let us have any more of this argument that the ownership of a motor car has anything to do with the case. It is like Gilbert and Sullivan:It has nothing to do with the case, tra-la.It is the availability which matters and today in our cities and in the countryside motor cars, buses, lorries, horse-drawn carts and other methods are available for getting to the polls.
The hon. Member referred to the full use of motor cars during election day. In the big cities, Labour supporters vote between seven and nine at night. In the basic cities, it is traditional for them to arrive at polling stations on foot. The Tories generally vote early in the morning. The reason is simple and it is why I am opposed to the Amendment root and branch.
The electorate includes many old and retired people, especially in coastal resorts, whether they vote Labour or Conservative. Such people should have a proper opportunity to go to the polls, an opportunity which does not exist today. In rural constituencies, and in the towns, old people suffer genuine hardship if they cannot be collected in motor cars. That is a sufficiently good reason for putting these provisions into operation now and not waiting until 1960, because many old people will not be able to take advantage of the Bill after 1960.
I hope that I have shown that the hon. Member's two arguments were irrelevant. This is not a matter of party advantage one way or the other. It is to give everybody, whether young or old, an opportunity to go to the polls. There are many old people in my constituency —they do not all vote Tory—and I hope that they will have the benefits of the Bill as soon as possible.
§ Mr. F. Blackburn (Stalybridge and Hyde)
I do not know whether the hon. Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies) has convinced himself, but he has certainly not convinced anyone else. The difficulty about replying to the first part of his case is that he seems to be living in a world entirely different from that of the rest of us. My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) hit on the important point of the Amendment when he said that it was an acid test of the Government's integrity in this matter
It is very important that the electorate should be given an opportunity to consider the Bill, because it reverses the tendency of all previous legislation on electoral law. In the past, the tendency has been to try to make things more equal for the political parties so that we could get a true response from the electorate. Whatever hon. Members opposite may think of the Labour Government's inclusion, in the 1949 legislation, of the provision limiting the use of motor cars, at least the Labour Government tried to follow the general trend in making matters much more even.
The Bill has been introduced almost surreptitiously. There was no indication that anything of the kind was to be brought forward; there was no mention of it in the Queen's Speech. I do not blame hon. Gentlemen opposite for that, because I can understand that they feel somewhat ashamed about the Bill. It is rather strange that this should be the first Bill to be brought forward. The Government's priorities have gone astray. They said that they had a number of important legislative matters for this Session, yet this is the first. They obviously want to make certain of getting the Bill before the next General Election.
If the Government want to save their reputation it would be in their interests to agree to the Amendment and to decide to postpone these provisions until after the next election. This is a case of what Lord Hailsham called "rigging the rules". I think that they have been rather unfair to Lord Hailsham. It is a little too much to expect him to alternate his speeches appropriating the deity with speeches defending this aspect of Tory policy. I cannot believe that the Government are placing very much credence on the Gallup polls. If they believe that the 1037 Gallup polls are making it certain that there will he another Conservative Government after the next election, they would not find it necessary to rig the rules. If they do believe in the Gallup poll, there is no reason at all why they should not accept the Amendment and postpone the application of the Bill until after the next election.
I listened, I was about to say, with interest to the Lord Privy Seal, but I do not know whether that is the correct word. I strongly resent the opinion of some people who say that politics is a dirty game, but listening to the explanation given for the introduction of the Bill I thought that the general public had perhaps some excuse. I felt soiled as I listened to his explanations.
The Lord Privy Seal based part of his argument on the fact that the Speaker's Conference rejected the Measure by 15 votes to 14, and he gave the impression that the Carr Committee had more or less unanimously opposed it; but what exactly did the Committee say? These words appear in the quotation of the Lord Privy Seal, but he did not stress them:In any case, some of us are not convinced that any restriction on the gratuitous use of conveyances is either needed or desirable.It was only "some of us", not a unanimous decision.
There are bound to be, in a Committee of this kind, differences of opinion as to whether the Bill is a great advantage to the Conservative Party or not. Personally, I do not think that there is the slightest doubt about it. If we consider what has happened at Conservative conferences during the past few years, and of the people who have moved a resolution to the effect that Section 88 should be repealed, it is quite obvious that they have done it only because they believe that it gives the Conservative Party a great advantage. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) gave a quotation from the 1952 Conservative conference, when a resolution on this matter was moved by a man who had been selected as my opponent at the next election. My hon. Friend quoted these words:It is time we took off our gloves and put on the clogs.Is that what the Government think that they are doing by this Bill? If they 1038 have a genuine motive and it is in the interests of electors that they want to see the Bill passed, then I believe that they could very well, in their own interests, accept the Amendment, postpone the operation of the Bill until after the next General Election and let the people have a look at their proposals so that they can express an opinion upon them.
§ Mr. Rupert Speir (Hexham)
As the representative of one of the largest, if not the largest, constituencies in England, covering an area of more than 1,000 square miles, I have always opposed this unnecessary and idiotic restriction on the freedom of the subject. It is quite wrong to suggest that the timing of this Bill is in any way improper. There is nothing sudden or hasty about the introduction of the Bill. Indeed, when I first entered the House, about seven years ago, the very first Question which I tabled related to this subject, and the then Home Secretary gave a sympathetic reply. But we have had to wait until after two General Elections before the Conservative Party has sought to restore the rights of the individual which were unilaterally taken away by the 1945 Socialist Government.
It has taken a long time for this wrong to be righted. It is a wrong which imposes real hardship on those living in the remote rural areas. I agree with the Lord Privy Seal when he says that in a democracy it is quite wrong to put any obstacle in the way of the electors casting their vote. The present Socialist restriction, which limits the number of vehicles to one car per 1,500 electors, imposes a serious obstacle in the remote rural areas to electors getting to the poll, and in snowy or rainy weather it imposes severe hardship on the electors.
I would say to the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) that it is all very well in an urban area, where the electors may have to go only 10 yards to cast their vote, to impose this restriction, but in a rural area, where many of the electors may have to go as far as 10 miles, it is a different story.
§ Mr. Crossman
On the contrary, in urban areas it makes very much less difference than in rural areas. First, in urban areas we on the Labour side have far more cars relatively than in the rural areas. Secondly, the influence of the Conservative mass control of cars in 1039 rural areas is far more influential. I fully appreciate why the hon. Member, as the Conservative representative for the largest rural area, is overwhelmingly personally interested in having the law changed.
§ Mr. Speir
That does not answer the point that I have made. By and large, the Socialists represent urban areas; they get their votes from urban areas. They do not care two hoots about the rural areas. The people can walk, as far as they are concerned. That was demonstrated last Wednesday in the Adjournment debate, which they interrupted so much that I could not raise the subject of rural transport in remote areas, but with the disappearance of public transport facilities in the rural areas, private transport becomes more and more important.
The position today, in an area like mine, with over 1,000 square miles of hills, dales and valleys, means that only one-third of a car is allowed for each polling district. That is a ludicrous situation for a democracy. This restriction on the liberty of the subject is a typical Socialist interference with our daily lives, and as with all Socialist controls, it leads to a mass of sneaks and snoopers.
§ Mr. Albert Evans (Islington, South-West)
Can the hon. Member give the percentage figure for his constituency of the electorate that actually voted? Was it lower than the average?
§ Mr. Speir
Something just under 80.
My point is that in a democracy it is absolutely wrong for a Government to try to prevent, by law, even one person from casting his vote. That is exactly what the Socialist restriction on the use of motor cars does. This restriction was imposed by a Socialist Government with a steamroller majority. They did not consult the Opposition of the day as to whether they should impose this restriction. That was the time when their 1040 Attorney-General was going about the country saying, "We are the masters now" and when other Labour supporters were saying "The gentlemen in Whitehall know best". This restriction on cars was brought in without any agreement from the Opposition of the day and the Socialists ought not to be surprised that, after winning two General Elections, the Conservatives now seek to remove a patent injustice to those who live in rural areas.
For my part, I have always made it clear in my election campaigns that I would do my best to have this restriction removed at the earliest possible date. I well remember that when I first entered the House, in 1951, hon. Members opposite, particularly the hon. Member for West Ham, North (Mr. Lewis)—not the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg)—were always shouting, "Set the people free". They are not jeering in that way now and this is just one method by which a Conservative Government are, in fact, setting the people free—free to vote how they like without a mass of sneaks and snoopers. I hope that the Government will reject the Amendment.
§ Mr. J. A. Sparks (Acton)
I listened with interest to the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir). What he seemed to be trying to do was not to restore the freedom of the subject, but to give freedom to Conservative Party organisers to stimulate an effort which, they hope, will return the Conservative Party back to power at the next General Election.
It is significant that the Lord Privy Seal seeks to oppose the Amendment. If the Government approach this matter in an impartial manner, why do they object to postponing the application of the Bill until after the next General Election? To put the question differently, if the Government thought of making this change, why did they not do it in 1955, when they came back to power? Why do they leave this significant and fundamental change to be made within a few months of the coming election?
The answer is as plain as a pikestaff to the dullest member of the community. What has happened is quite obvious. The Conservative Party's organisers were asked to state, first, the prospects of the Conservative Party at the next General Election and they have been 1041 giving a doleful report of the party's prospects. They were then asked what can be done to ensure that the party polls its maximum strengthn. The answer to that has been this Bill, which amends the 1949 Act and restores to the Conservative Party complete and unlimited use of vehicles to convey electors to the polls.
If the Act does not permit a sufficient number of controlled cars to be available to candidates in the constituency of the hon. Member for Hexham—and, probably, other constituencies are similarly placed—why does he not ask for an increase in the number of cars? In the Bill, however, he wants the unlimited use of all vehicles, of every type that can be organised in an election campaign.
§ Mr. Sparks
It is not the people who are being set free; it is the Conservative Party organisers.
If hon. Members opposite were so anxious to maintain impartiality in this matter and if there are constituencies, like that of the hon. Member, where the existing quota of vehicles is not sufficient, they could come to the House and ask for an increased proportion of vehicles. I do not think that the House would for one moment object to a case of that nature where there was a real need.
The Government's proposals will open wide the floodgates to abuse. Quite a number of us who represent urban constituencies have fought county constituencies and we know what goes on with the squire and the landowner, with half a dozen cars and chauffeurs, at election time. The hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), I believe, has three cars—
§ Mr. Gerald Nabarro (Kidderminster)
These accusations should not be bandied around. I am neither a squire nor a landowner, just a plain Parliamentarian.
§ Mr. Sparks
Without wishing to reflect upon the hon. Member for Kidderminster, I was merely pointing out that he possesses a number of cars. There are many people like him who, to my own knowledge, at election time pool all their vehicles for the service of the Conservative Party.
§ 4.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Sparks
What I am seeking to show, Sir Charles, is that hon. Members opposite are not approaching this matter in a fair and impartial way. What they are trying to do is to create the means for giving to the Conservative Party a preponderance of vehicles at a General Election, to be used for bringing to the poll many people who could go quite well without the use of cars.
We were told earlier of the old people who find difficulty in going to the poll when the polling station is some distance away. Surely, however, we now have facilities that we did not have years ago. We have the absent voters' list and the postal vote. Any doctor would give a certificate for an old person whom he did not regard as capable of walking any distance to a polling station, so that the postal vote could be used. For old people, the procedure is comparatively easy. There must, of course, be physical reasons to justify the use of the postal vote, but what greater convenience is there for older people than to be able to vote by post? This destroys the argument of hon. Members opposite that they want unlimited numbers of cars to take the old people to the polling station.
In the setting in which we are discussing the Bill and from the opposition to the Amendment, it is clear to even the dullest member of the community that the Conservative Party is seeking an advantage on the eve of the coming General Election. I suggest, therefore, to hon. Members opposite that if they maintain that they are quite unconcerned and impartial in this matter, there is no reason why they could not accept the Amendment and defer their change until after the next election.
After all, members of the party opposite failed to take this advantage in 1955. Had they been satisfied in 1955 that this change should be made, that would have been at the beginning of a new Parliament, not that we would necessarily have agreed to it had it been done then; but 1043 to have done it then would at least have shown some semblance of impartiality. To do it now, however, on the eve of the coming General Election, is to try to secure power for the party opposite. If it were of no advantage to the Conservative Party, we would not be having the Bill.
Members opposite are not philanthropists. They do not do things for the benefit of the Opposition. Obviously, the Bill is a partisan Measure which is being done entirely in the interests of the party opposite to try to amend the electoral law to give the balance of advantage to the Conservative Party as against the Opposition. That is a deplorable step at this time and I hope that hon. Members opposite will see fit to vote for the Amendment. If they want this proposed change of theirs, let us have it after the next General Election for any future elections that come.
§ Mr. H. R. Spence (Aberdeenshire, West)
I remember very well the passing of the Representation of the People Act in 1947. When hon. Members opposite talk about rigging the rules, we have to recall what was done in 1947. We are now being accused of seeking to repeal the restriction on the use of motor cars because it is of party advantage to do so.
Why was the rule brought in in 1947? It was brought in for party advantage. I can be free of talking partially in this matter, because I am not standing again at the next election, but I speak as a Member from one of the largest constituencies in Scotland, West Aberdeenshire. It runs about 80 miles one way and 35 miles the other, and cars are an essential part of the machinery of elections there. I remember the words that I used in a debate in the very early hours of the morning when the 1947 Act was being crammed through by the vast majority which the Socialist Party had behind it then. I said that we should drive everyone to the poll, the aim and object being to see that everyone voted.
We in Scotland want this Bill, and I am grateful to the Government for bringing it in.
§ Mr. H. Hynd (Accrington)
I cannot understand hon. Members opposite being able to sit there and trying to keep their 1044 faces as straight as possible while saying that they do not want the Bill for party advantage. It just does not make sense. Those of us who remember what happened before the arrangements were changed in 1947 know very well that the Conservative Party at that time used to flood the constituencies with cars.
§ Mr. Hynd
—all day long. The cars were covered with election posters. The Conservatives were simply using the cars as a weapon on polling day. If hon. Members opposite do not believe that, or cannot remember it, I just cannot understand it at all, because it was a general feeling and understanding, and it was generally believed that this was one of the greatest weapons which that party had on polling day—its great preponderance of motor cars.
The hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir) made a point a few minutes ago which would have been relevant if he had been able to prove to us that there were any people in his own constituency who were not able to get to the poll at the last election under the present arrangements. He mentioned that the percentage of the poll was just under 80 in his division, but that is a very high percentage. I believe that it is even higher than the average percentage, and it seems to show that, if we take into account the people whose names were on the register, but who had died, those who had left the area, or who were otherwise not available to vote, there must have been very few, if any, of the electors in his division who were not able to go to the poll on that occasion.
§ Mr. Speir
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. They may have got to the poll on the last two occasions, when the weather was decent, but if there had been snow or fog, as there often is in the hills and valleys, it would have been a very different story. That is an artificial argument.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Has my hon. Friend thought that possibly there is a way of reconciling the hon. Gentleman's point with his argument? What the hon. Gentleman is saying is that, unless they have more motor cars than they can have legally, they will not get people to the poll, and yet 80 per cent. of those people went to vote. Is it possible that they used more motor cars than they were entitled to do?
§ Mr. Hynd
I would not suggest that for one moment, certainly not in this debate.
An hon. Member opposite made an interjection a few moments ago when I mentioned 1947, saying that that was twenty years ago. It is about ten years ago, or eleven years ago to be precise. Anyhow, it was years ago, and, of course, the situation has changed since then.
§ Mr. Glover
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. He was making a point about cars driving up to hospitals. That must obviously have been before the war, and that at least takes us back twenty years, and not to 1947.
§ Mr. Hynd
I was obviously not speaking of before the war, but of 1947.
What I was going to say was that the situation has changed since then in this respect. Far more firms now supply cars to their employees, very often by way of tax-free salary increases to salesmen, representatives and others, and these cars are now available to many Tory candidates, as they were not before. We can well imagine that at the next General Election many of these people will get leave of absence if they "volunteer"—and I quote that word—to assist Conservative candidates at the election. These people will be free and will be given time off without loss of pay to run their cars, which are really their firms' cars, all day on polling day, and that is just another handicap to the Labour candidates.
Some of my colleagues tell me, much to my surprise, that at the last General Election they were able to get their quota of cars. I have never been able to get my quota of cars under the present arrangements. If the Conservatives would 1046 only be reasonable about this matter, and would say that, as a maximum, they would have twice as many cars as the Labour candidates in any division, there might be some sense in it, but to claim now, on the eve of a General Election, that they should have unlimited cars is not fair to the public.
This matter ought to have been put to the public at an election, and that is why this Amendment is being moved today. so that the Tory Party will have an opportunity at the next election of telling the public that it intends, in the next Parliament, to ask for this special advantage for future elections. To rush it through, as it is doing now, on the eve of the coming General Election, is most unfair, and is really an unscrupulous partisan move of which the party opposite ought to be thoroughly ashamed.
§ Mr. John Mackie (Galloway)
I am very glad to have the opportunity of following the hon. Member for Accrington (Mr. H. Hynd), because, like myself, he is a Scot, and I should at least expect him to realise the very difficult conditions that prevail north of the Border in rural constituencies.
My hon. Friend the Member for Hex-ham (Mr. Speir) spoke as representing the biggest constituency in England. I do not speak as representing the biggest constituency in Scotland, but my constituency does cover about 1,600 square miles, and is, I think, considerably larger than the area of the division represented by my hon. Friend.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Will my hon. Friend allow me to translate that to give it its proper impact? Does he realise that 1,600 square miles covering the counties of Wigtownshire and Kirkcudbright, called Galloway, which my hon. Friend represents, is no fewer than 1,024,000 acres?
§ Mr. Mackie
I must thank my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Narbarro) for his mental skill in working that out.
The point was made by my hon. Friend the member for Hexham, who was heckled as he spoke, about the number of persons who visited the polling stations at the last election. During the heckling 1047 my hon. Friend admitted that the number was about 80 per cent. I feel sure that the hon. Member for Accrington and others who have spoken in the debate will realise that in my own case it was only 63 per cent. of a very small electorate, so that there is reason to suppose that motor cars, or the lack of them, played a very important part in the number of people going to vote. Perhaps I should add that on that occasion there was no Liberal candidate, which perhaps accounted for a number of abstentions.
I hope very much that my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal will resist this Amendment. A lot was said by the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) in a very plausible manner—and I do not use the word offensively. He suggested, and hon. Members on his side of the Committee supported him, that we are just out to rig things to win the next election. I do not think that at all, and I am emboldened in that view by this fact. Had we been really guilty of such tactics, I should have expected to see one or two Liberal signatories to the Amendment, but there is not one. For once in a way all sections of the Liberal Party, including those members on the Treasury Bench, are solidly in favour of the lifting of what we think was a wrong imposed by the Socialist Government when they revelled in the fact of being masters of the situation. Oh, yes, that was said on more than one occasion very truculently when right hon. and hon. Members opposite were responsible for government.
As I was saying, I should have expected, if we were doing anything wrong, that a Liberal signature would have been appended to the Amendment—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"]—but there is not one. Why? I will tell hon. Members why. In 1883 or 1884 Mr. Gladstone, a man of the highest moral principles and integrity, and a distinguished statesman, brought in a Bill to extend the franchise. That was, I suppose, in the hope of benefiting the Liberal Party. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Oh, yes.
§ Mr. Mackie
The hon. Member for Coventry, East will remember that Mr. Gladstone's majority was halved at the 1048 next election, so it did not go quite the way that, perhaps, he expected.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. S. Storey)
Order. I think that we shall make greater progress if we do not go back to Gladstone and Disraeli.
§ Mr. Mackie
Yes, Mr. Storey, I am sticking to the Amendment. I am not saying anything to which I have not been led by hon. Gentlemen opposite.
I was just going to say this. Had we been guilty of rigging things to suit our own purpose I am sure that there would have been protests from the Liberal bench, as I think you will appreciate, Mr. Storey, because you, like myself, have Whig blood in your veins.
You will recall that when, in 1883, Mr. Gladstone extended the franchise he put in his Bill a Clause restricting the use of horse-drawn carriages, and today his political descendants of that once great party opposite obviously see the unwisdom of his action in that respect, and. accordingly, there is not one protest from them either on the Notice Paper by way of a signature to the Amendment, or by presence in this Committee. They are all absent. No doubt they are in East Aberdeenshire.
Should there be a Division on the Amendment—I very much hope there will not be one—I shall certainly go into the Lobby to help to resist this ridiculous Amendment.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
The hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. Mackie) is so very attractive a speaker when he does come here and addresses the House or Committee that for my part I think it is a great pity that there are not a wide number of other subjects which interest him as much as this one.
He is also an extremely courageous speaker, because he did prompt me in his speech, by a reference he made, to 1049 wonder where he and his colleagues get the—may I use the word?—impertinence to talk about a willingness on their part and a reluctance on our part to enable people to vote. For, on the great occasion to which he referred when the great Mr. Gladstone was trying to extend the franchise, does he remember what his party was doing about it? It fought the extension of the franchise at every stage. At every stage it opposed the 1832 Act, it opposed the later Acts, it opposed women's suffrage—
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
Does the hon. Member not recall that not only was the franchise extended further by a Conservative Government under Disraeli in the second half of the last century, but also that a Conservative majority under the late Earl Baldwin extended the vote to all women for the first time?
§ Mr. Silverman
We are having a rather narrow debate on one Amendment proposed to this Bill and not a debate on education, and therefore it is impossible for me to deal with the hon. Gentleman's point, but if he does not realise that the whole history of the extension of the franchise in this country for 100 years or 150 years is the history of the Tory Party trying to prevent people from voting and everybody else trying to extend the franchise, he is perfectly hopeless and he had better go and try to explain it to his constituents.
The point raised by my hon. Friend's Amendment is a simple one, not of the merits of the Bill, but of whether it is of such urgency as to justify the Government in introducing it now and making it immediately operative. If the general attitude of the two sides of the Committee is relevant at all, it is relevant in order to test just that.
The two views are quite simply expressed. The Government's case is simple enough. They say first of all that this is a long overdue reform. I am not going to delay the Committee unnecessarily by asking what a number of my hon. Friends have already asked: if, in fact, it is a long overdue reform, why did they not male it long ago? They have been there long enough.
Let us assume, therefore, that they regard it, in spite of that neglect on their part to put the thing right, as a long overdue reform. Then they say it is only a 1050 minor reform. Repeatedly during the Second Reading debate and so far today, and in the debate on the Motion for the Address, every time the subject has been mentioned they have asked, what is the Labour Party and the Opposition worrying about? They have said the days when the Tories and their supporters had a monopoly of motor cars have all gone. That was twenty years ago, somebody said just now. Very many people have motor cars now, perhaps one in two of the population, or they have access to a motor car if they do not own one themselves. So what is the Opposition worrying about? Everybody is going to get a very great advantage.
§ Mr. Silverman
I am assuming at the moment that they believe it. We are going to test whether they do in a moment.
Obviously, they cannot regard it as a very important matter, because if motor cars are available to almost all and they can therefore ride in their own motor cars, why do we need to amend the law urgently to enable them to ride in somebody else's motor car?
§ Mr. Silverman
I am not saying it may not be a good thing to do. All I am saying is that it cannot be regarded as a major reform, something which goes to the root of the representative system and representative democracy, but just a small, minor reform in order to pat right something which was almost inadvertently put wrong by the Labour Government in 1947; no more than that; a small Measure, a tidying up of the law in order to put right a small matter.
§ Mr. Silverman
That is one view. That is the Government's view. They do not all give the game away like the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Spence). His view was even simpler than the Government's. He said that when the Labour Government were in power they altered the rules to suit their party; therefore, the Tories were entitled to alter the rules now to suit their own. That is putting the matter simply. He made no bones about it at all. But that is not the Government's case.
1051 They say that it is nothing of the kind. It is just a minor amendment of convenience. It cannot have much to do, for instance, with the size of the poll or with wind and weather, snow and ice and fog and all the rest, because we can deal with all those questions by extending the postal vote.
I cannot see any reason in principle why everybody should not have a postal vote if they want one. Why not? I would give everyone the option of either going to the polling booth and depositing his own ballot paper or of posting it. I know that there are many people who will not be prepared to go as far as that, but any difficulties about old people, sick people or people living a long way from the polling booth can easily be disposed of by extending the postal vote.
Those are the Government's reasons and that is their case. The case put by my hon. and right hon. Friends is quite different. We say nothing of this kind. We say that this has been done because the Tory Party believe, and we agree with them, that it gives them a great advantage in the General Election, that they would not be doing it if they did not believe that and, quite certainly, they would not be doing it if they felt that the balance of advantage lay with the Labour Party. The would certainly not be introducing the Bill if they thought that.
Those being the two views, the one that it is a simple, minor amendment for convenience, without any great importance at all, and the other that it is a piece of electoral trickery designed to rig the next election so far as hon. and right hon. Members opposite are capable of rigging it by giving the wealthier section of the community an electoral advantage—[Laughter.] I do not know why the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) of all people should object to that remark. The Bill will enable him to use all his motor cars, and any others he can "nab" in the next election, without restriction of any kind. I am not saying that it may not be a good thing, though personally I do not think that it is, but it is an unnecessary piece of humbug to deny that that is the effect of it.
§ Mr. Nabarro
What I deny is not that but that the wealthy section of the com- 1052 munity own the majority of motor cars. That is what the hon. Member is saying, but did he not listen to the Second Reading debate, when speaker after speaker brought out the fact that in factories all over the country today a major preoccupation of the management is to find enough space for the parked cars of their industrial workers?
§ Mr. Silverman
The hon. Member asks me whether I did not hear speeches on some other occasion, but he has been sitting here and obviously has not heard mine. I admitted long ago that there are more cars than there used to be and that they are more evenly distributed, but that does not mean that the preponderance of advantage does not lie with those who have larger and more powerful cars, and more cars, and have the time to use them. The hon. Member does not do himself any credit by pretending to deny something which he knows to be true.
§ Mr. Sparks
Is not the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) aware that when candidates for the party opposite have a preponderance of cars they refuse to pool them with other candidates and equitably share them? They want them all for themselves.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Silverman
That is perfectly true.
Suppose we assume for the sake of argument that there is no balance of advantage to the Tory Party at all. That is what hon. Members opposite would have us believe. They would have us believe that they are making this change as a matter of elementary justice to suit the people, that they are encouraging them to vote by removing any restrictions on carrying people to the poll and that there is no advantage to the party opposite at all. We on this side of the Committee believe the opposite, but if that is the case, where in the world is the urgency? If there is to be no balance of advantage to be derived, and if the percentage of poll in a difficult and far-flung district like the constituency of the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir) is still 80 per cent., where is the urgency?
It seems to me that on this question alone one can decide on the merits of the controversy. If the Government really believed that there was no advantage to them, they would accept the argument for postponement which has been put before 1053 them throughout the debate. They would have no reason whatever for rejecting the argument. They would say, "If you would prefer to wait until after the General Election, let us by all means wait". On that argument they would have nothing to lose. It is only if they have something to lose at the next election that it becomes urgent, and that is why they are resisting the Amendment.
§ Sir Henry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid (Walsall, South)
There is an old adage about taking the horse to the water and the difficulty of making it drink. I would commend that to hon. and right hon. Members opposite. It seems to go to the roots of the matter. I have the advantage of representing an industrial constituency, and I do not think that the Bill will make a difference of one-tenth of I per cent. to the number of votes which I may or may not achieve at the next election, simply because I have such an efficient organisation that the number of cars allotted up to now has been amply satisfactory.
At the same time, the last election proved to me conclusively that when difficulties arise it is a matter of organisation. My polling day was embittered by complaints by my supporters of the unauthorised Socialist cars used to carry voters to the poll. I refused to take an interest in the complaints because I thought that an excess of political enthusiasm was not a thing which one ought to check. But the position has now got out of hand and the numbers of people who wish to use cars on both sides at elections have become far greater than the numbers allowed.
When in 1947 hon. Members opposite brought in a regulation governing the use of cars at a General Election they still had four years of power. If that regulation aimed at curtailing the number of cars available to political parties at a General Election was so essential, why did not hon. and right hon. Members opposite do anything to curtail the number of cars to be used in local government elections? But there has never been any restriction on the number of cars to be used in local elections. This is conclusive proof that the view expressed today by the party opposite is simply a piece of manufactured class indignation which has no relation whatsoever to the reality of things that go 1054 on in the country today. I am perfectly certain that when the Bill becomes law and the restriction is removed it will not affect voting by one-tenth of 1 per cent.
§ Mr. Arthur Skeffington (Hayes and Harlington)
I should like to touch on two points made by the hon. Member for Walsall, South (Sir H. d'AvigdorGoldsmid). The argument that has been advanced by political and electoral experts on not limiting cars at municipal elections—and this is a view put forward by those speaking for both political parties—is that the poll is so often low that one possibly ought to make an exception. When there are polls of only 30 per cent. and 40 per cent., as is so often the case, there may be, but only "may be," something in the argument that an unlimited supply of party cars might help to get to the poll people who otherwise would not go.
That argument does not commend itself very much to me. I should have thought that anything tending to restore the equality between the parties at municipal or Parliamentary contests is something which ought to commend itself to the Committee.
The hon. Gentleman's other point was that though there were plenty of cars as far as his organisation was concerned, they were not really able properly to allocate their resources. If that was the case, then the Government—
§ Sir H. d'Avigdor-Goldsmid
With respect, I said that there were plenty of cars for my own side and that I thought the inability properly to allocate the resources was that of the Socialist Party.
§ Mr. Skeffington
I am sorry that I incorrectly interpreted the hon. Gentleman's point, but the argument which I was going to put forward would apply whichever organisation was defective.
If there is a case for the pooling of cars to carry people who otherwise cannot or will not go to the poll, then, surely, that is something which ought to be done by an independent authority and not by the political parties. That would be a reasonable alternative. I concede that there are still some cases of older people who have not been registered for a postal vote or who become ill after the last day for registering for such a vote and who may be in difficulties regarding transport. It 1055 seems to me that the proper way of dealing with those cases is for the returning officer to have a pool of cars at his disposal.
That would have been a constructive suggestion, and had it come from the Government no one could have accused them of putting forward a proposal like this which many think has a distinct political advantage for the Conservative Party. The hon. Gentleman might have done something about that.
I hope that the Government will consider the acceptance of this Amendment. Quite obviously, many back benchers opposite, judging from their interjections and from what we have heard this afternoon, are wholly in favour of this provision because it will give them a political advantage. Indeed, we should be very grateful to the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Spence) who said that this was something put in by the Socialists and that now that the Tories had the chance to turn it out they were going to do so. One would have hoped that any change in the electoral law would not have been made on that basis. That way is bad for representative government.
I would point out that the 1948 Act carried out to a very considerable extent the recommendations of the Speaker's Conference, and on the point about limiting the number of cars the Conference was almost equally divided. The Conference was composed, of course, not of party representatives sitting purely as political representatives. It included agents of the parties and other experts, and by only one vote was the recommendation that there should be a restriction on cars lost in the Conference.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)
Will my hon. Friend make it quite clear that even if this Amendment is accepted it will not make the Bill correct?
§ Mr. Skeffington
I accept that, but my argument is that it will certainly remove from the minds of people outside that the Bill has been introduced entirely for the advantage of the Conservative Party. I think that is a proper consideration, not only for the Conservative Party, but for representative Government in this country.
1056 There is no doubt, from the views which have been expressed by the Daily Telegraph, The Times, and other newspapers, and by those who have no close party affiliations, that there is very considerable suspicion and doubt as to the reason for this Measure. I hope, therefore, that the Government will feel that it might be worth while, even at this late stage, not to depart from the principle which they have enunciated, but to let the people pronounce upon it after the General Election.
What possible disadvantage could that be to the Conservative Party if what hon. Members opposite have said in support of the Bill is true? They say that it will make no difference to the Opposition or to other political parties and that there is no political reason for it. They say that they are merely making this change in the interest of more effective electoral arrangements. Why not let that be decided at a future General Election? For all these reasons, I hope that the Amendment will be accepted by the Government.
A number of contradictory arguments have been used both by the Government and by those who support them in justification of the Bill. We were told by the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) about the large number of cars and their wide distribution. We were grateful to him for the information, as indeed, we were grateful to him for his belief that if something is recommended by successive Conservative conferences there is no reason why the Conservative majority in the House should not put it into effect—even in respect of changes in electoral law.
If there is a greater number of cars available, what is the need to allow more party cars in an election? The greater number of cars available means that more people have got their own car and therefore do not need a party car. That being so, the argument that cars must be available in order to get more people to the poll is not borne out by the hon. Gentleman's argument that there are more cars available in the country. That being so, the suggestion that it is necessary to have more party cars has, I think, to be abandoned.
We were also told about the large constituencies in which there may be 1057 difficulty in people getting to the polling station to record their votes. There are two answers to that. The first is that even in such areas there are more cars than there used to be, though it is precisely in those rural areas that I think the political advantage of the Tories will be more obvious. The constructive way of dealing with that matter is not by allowing more party cars to be available.
There are two ways of resolving the difficulty. The first way is by having more polling stations. No hamlet or village should be without a polling station. This can be done by means either of caravans or tents, or even by making rooms available in private houses. In fact, this is already done in some places. That is a very much better and more effective way of meeting the difficulty than by having more Conservative cars in rural districts.
I hope the fact that any thirty electors can petition their local authority to hold an inquiry to see whether they can have a polling station will be widely known, because that is a better way of keeping votes in rural areas.
The other thing which makes the Bill unnecessary is the fact that so many of the difficult cases, which before the 1948 Act would have had to rely upon transport of some kind, can now be met by the postal vote. Again I must emphasise, as I did on Second Reading, that the postal vote was introduced by the Labour Government very much against their own political advantage, although I think it was a right and democratic thing to do. I am very glad that they introduced it.
The organisation of the postal vote, as any of us who know anything about organisation realise, is a very difficult task indeed. It requires a great deal of skill and patience, and the fact that it needs the services of people with a lot of spare time or of paid helpers—as there are in many Conservative constituency parties—may mean that the Labour Party does not get nearly as large a number of voters registering for postal votes as the Conservative Party. As I say, the system was introduced by the Labour Government which certainly derived no political advantage from it, although I think that the system is of great advantage to the electors. The need for conveying old, disabled and sick 1058 people to the polls has very considerably disappeared, and that fact, I think, makes the case for the Bill of far less substance.
§ Sir Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)
Before the hon. Gentleman sits down, will he answer this point? He is quite right in saying that the postal vote was introduced by the Labour Government, but it is much easier to mobilise motor cars at the last moment than it is to organise the postal vote, so from that point of view the Bill is likely to help the constituency party with a less efficient political organisation.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. G. R. Mitchison (Kettering)
The question we are discussing on this Amendment is whether the unlimited use of motor vehicles should begin to he permitted before or after the next General Election. It seems to me that we are in danger of making this matter a little too complicated. I do not think that the ordinary voter is quite so foolish as some hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to think he is. He knows perfectly well that on an average over the country there are far more cars available to and used by the Tory Party than there are similarly available to and used by the Labour Party.
When he gets a Measure to reform the use of motor cars introduced just before a pending election, and he knows what is the actual position about motor cars, is anybody really so foolish as to believe that he will not say to himself, "Here we are. Here's the Tory Party at it again. If there is any trick they can be up to to enable wealth and privilege to secure more than their fair share in a General Election they will certainly do it", and that is exactly what this Bill does. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite have really quite remarkable powers of belief—I certainly would not under-rate them—but I wonder how many right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite really believe that there is the same number of motor cars, or the same facilities for using them, available to the Labour Party as there are for the Tories? I would just like to know.
I have heard speeches made today about this and that particular case, but everybody knows, including the man in 1059 the Clapham bus, the ordinary voter, what the position is. If anyone is in any doubt about it he need only look at what happens in contested municipal elections, when there is a fairly close contest. I have seen it time and time again, so have right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. There is no restriction on the number of cars there, and if the Tory Party thinks it convenient, they can, and do, do something which we cannot do—they flood that ward or that area with unlimited motor cars, and that is what they are trying to get here, the right to do that in Parliamentary elections.
It is not merely a question of those motor cars which hitherto have been lawfully used in Parliamentary elections; it is a question of how many more are going to come in if unlimited use is allowed. Hon. Members can judge for themselves. Let them go down to my own constituency. We have not an overwhelming Labour majority there, but, after all, we have got one. Yet if one walks round Kettering and looks at the labels on the backs of motor cars one would think there was not a single Socialist owner of a motor car in the place. It is not true, there are some, but the majority of cars there, as in practically every other constituency, belong to Tories, or in some cases Liberals.
I am not saying that there are not Labour-owned motor cars; Corby contains many people who use motor cars, but they will not be the only ones that will appear at the next General Election if this repeal is made. Stewarts and Lloyds are taking an active part in politics. They are flooding my constituency with advertisements and free hand-outs to their workmen on what is a purely political issue as I see it: whether or not steel shall be nationalised again. They will turn out their motor cars. If motor cars are to be unrestricted, they will turn them out in mass numbers. Not only that, but every other large Tory industrialist, having no doubt previously made his contribution to the funds of the Tory Party, will supplement that by producing free motor cars to carry voters to the poll, hoping that thus induced they will vote Tory.
This is one step back towards Eatanswill. It is an absolutely Tory step and it is typical of the Tories, that 1060 although this has gone on now since they came into power in 1951, now that for the first time they feel really shaky about the result of the next General Election, they choose this moment to bring in this Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Is there any other reason? If so, we shall be interested to hear it. I can see the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary taking a note. I am sure he will give us another reason, and knowing him well I feel certain that it will be ingenious. I remember one occasion on a Friday when there were not many hon. Members here the right hon. Gentleman impressing me, even more than he usually does, by a truly magnificent speech on the somewhat unpromising subject of procedure in the House. He said quite rightly that what really goes on in this place is a struggle for power. Of course it is, and this is a point, a feature, in the struggle for power.
The question we have to consider on this Amendment seems to me to be: are we going to prefer not only party advantage but some discrediting of our entire Parliamentary system to what I believe to be the public interest? We do not stand too surely in this place nowadays; democracies topple over rapidly in the world nowadays. Of course, this is not the Sudan, but one never knows what happens once one starts to sap the right of people to hold their own views and express their own views in Parliamentary elections without undue weight being given to wealth and privilege. Once we start doing that, we move away from effective democracy and towards an alternative which some sections of the Tory Party have certainly—
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. S. Storey)
I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) is getting far from the point. If he will confine himself entirely to the date when the Bill will come into operation, we shall get on faster.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Of course I bow to your Ruling, Mr. Storey, but I would point out to you and to the Committee at large that the impression which will be given to the world and to the average voter by the refusal of the Government, 1061 as they certainly will refuse, to accept this Amendment will be that they do not want a free and effective Parliamentary representation and Parliamentary vote on the basis of the rights of the individual; that they want to give, and to give with a General Election pending, a special privilege to their own party, which has the preponderance in the availability and the use of cars.
I will conclude with this remark. I have often noticed that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are very interested in cricket. There are Test Matches in cricket, there are rules in cricket, and I have always understood that the ball was required to be round and of a certain size. Would not right hon. and hon. Gentlemen be somewhat shocked if, just before a Test Match, the cricket authority on one side introduced, and introduced effectively, a provision for the batsman being attacked with one or, if you like, two oval balls?
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)
The only proposition of the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison) with which I can presume to agree is that we are not in the Sudan. Otherwise, I find myself in total disagreement with all his remarks. I am unable to follow his last simile, and I think that we had better leave things as he left them.
On the subject of his highly-coloured picture of how we are going into the next General Election, the whole object of the Bill is to have conditions under a law which is respected and not restricted, instead of conditions under a law which has been brought into contempt more by the other side than by our side of the House. That is the problem.
The Amendment deals only with the question of the date. The Amendment was lucidly moved by the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman), whose share in our debates we so much welcome. He put before us the point that the Bill should be passed, but should not come into operation until after any possible date of a General Election; that is, after a date after five years after the last General Election, so that under the Constitution it must come into operation after the next General Election.
1062 I shall use a few arguments to show that I cannot accept the Amendment. In passing, I would say that there will be a few more debates on Amendments on the Notice Paper, so that hon. Members who have not been able to take part in this debate should not feel in any way inhibited, for there will be opportunities later. Judging by the range of issues raised so far, I do not think that anyone is likely to go away from the Committee today not having expressed his opinion in one way or another on this matter. Therefore, I hope that we can come to a decision on this Amendment and then proceed to the other Amendments.
The hon. Member for Coventry, East based all his case upon something that I said in the House on 5th November:In the light of these considerations I submit that the only possible justification for the restrictions in Section 88 would be that the ownership and facilities for the use of cars is confined so exclusively to one political party or one social class that the use of cars must be restricted, notwithstanding the hardship it may impose on many voters…."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th November, 1958; Vol. 594, c. 957–8.]I will read as long as the hon. Gentleman wants me to, but that was his point. I had better take up and debate solely the points which have been made in our debate.
My answer to those points is that the hon. Member brought before us the result of a poll in, I understand, the News Chronicle on the number of cars and the manner in which car owners are alleged to vote. I should have thought that a very difficult calculation to make, but he appeared to say—I am ready to accept his figures, if he so desires—that 60 per cent. of car owners vote Conservative. That in itself is a justification in the sense of those persons having had the good fortune to gain a car by their own merit. That is in itself an argument of some importance.
But the hon. Member went on to say that 18 per cent. of car owners vote Labour. If there are 18 per cent. of car owners voting Labour—
§ Mr. Butler
Let us take it that it is 19 per cent of car owners voting Labour, and examine what that means. At the 1063 time when the 1948 Bill was introduced there were just under 2 millions cars, in 1957 there were just over 4 million, and there were about 4,336,000 cars by May of this year; and the number is increasing rapidly. If we take 19 per cent. of the car owners, that gives us over 800,000 cars, and if we divide that by the constituencies, 630, we find that there are 1,300 cars in every constituency whose owners are alleged to vote Labour.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)
I do not doubt that the right hon. Gentleman, out of fairness, worked out the equivalent figure for the Conservatives, and can give it to us. The percentage was 60. How many cars is that per constituency?
§ Mr. Butler
There would be—I do not deny it—approximately three times as many. There is no doubt about it. I have not worked out the arithmetic because I was making notes while hon. Members were addressing the House, and the arithmetic that I did taxed me so much that I have not been able to do the other sum.
§ Sir G. Nicholson
My right hon. Friend seems to be a very skilled mathematician. Has he a clue to the number of Labour voters who travel in Conservative cars?
§ Mr. Butler
I certainly could not give the figure, and I do not know of any News Chronicle Gallup poll which has dared to assess it. However I think that we should throw out a challenge to the News Chronicle to discover that. We believe that people should vote according to their conscience. We do not mind how they are carried to the polls. We are convinced that we shall have a majority, in any case.
To return to the figure which I have given, it may be supposed that the owners of the cars about which we have had very reliable evidence adduced by the hon. Member for Coventry, East are not absolutely evenly distributed between the various constituencies throughout the United Kingdom. That would still leave a number of cars, perhaps 650, supposing there were only half, per constituency. That would still leave more than enough cars to convey all the Labour voters in a poll of 80 per cent. or more.
1064 5.45 p.m.
In my constituency, Saffron Walden—it is, next to that of my hon. Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir), one of the largest in England—we have, say. about 120 polling districts. If there are 120 polling districts and we could find 650 cars to man them, we should find that more than sufficient to take the Conservative electors to the polls. Therefore, having only half the figure as put forward by the hon. Member for Coventry, East, we should find that there were quite sufficient Labour cars, on the hon. Member's own evidence, to carry the whole Labour electorate to the polls in any constituency, whether rural or otherwise.
§ Mr. Crossman
I would remind the right hon. Gentleman of the argument which he himself used. I was replying to his argument. On 5th November he said:… I submit that the only possible justification for the restrictions in Section 88 would be that the ownership and facilities for the use of cars is confined so exclusively to one political party or one social class that the use of cars must be restricted…in the…interests of fair play…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th November, 1958; Vol. 594. c. 597–8.]That is what the right hon. Gentleman said, and I should like to ask him a question on it. He says that a three-in-one advantage for one party or social class is not sufficient to demand fair play. What would have been the discrimination in favour of the Tories which he would have thought sufficient to require some restriction on the use of cars?
§ Mr. Butler
I purposely took up the most challenging of the hon. Gentleman's remarks. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] If I am allowed to answer the argument in the general hubbub I will do so.
I maintain that hardship must be calculated on the basis of whether there are sufficient cars to take the electors on the Labour side to the poll. I do not think that a super abundance of cars is necessarily at all an advantage to any organisation. I think that all that matters is a sufficiency of cars, and, judging by my own area, I am convinced, having watched the county council elections, where there are no restrictions on cars, that there are adequate Labour cars in my own area or any other to carry the Labour electorate to the poll if they wish to go by car. 1065 Moreover, I do not believe that transport is the only thing that causes a person to vote this way or that. Another fallacy of the hon. Gentleman's argument is that he supposes that because there is a three-to-one superiority of Conservative cars it means that people vote by a three-to-one proportion Conservative to Labour. That is absolute nonsense. I should have thought that people in Britain voted, by now, according to their conscience.
We have the extraordinary situation of the number of cars—one to every eight electors in the country—and we have the exaggerations of the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks), which I want to answer. He referred to Tory landowners with six cars and six chauffeurs. Really, this conception of the English countryside, in which I have lived for many years, where there are fortunate landowners with six cars and six chauffeurs, simply does not exist in modern England.
Furthermore, the exaggeration made by the hon. and learned Member for Kettering that Stewarts and Lloyds are to flood his constituency or any other with cars is a matter which can be dealt with in the third Amendment on the Notice Paper, and so I will leave that to be dealt with by my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General. That, also, is a gross exaggeration.
These pictures which have been painted of the countryside today make the following impression on the electorate, namely, that the Labour Party is totally out of touch with conditions, is painting an exaggerated picture, and does not know what life in the rural districts of England is today. There are very few families left in my constituency with even one chauffeur, and if they had six chauffeurs, I would go so far as to say that I am not sure that they would know how they voted.
It is very flattering that the hon. Member should accredit to our side that we have supporters employing six chauffeurs and should immediately imagine that they all vote Tory. If that is the spirit in which this Amendment is being moved, I am more than ever certain that we shall win the next election.
§ Mr. Sparks
I certainly mentioned six chauffeurs, but I also mentioned that the hon. Member for Kidderminster had four.
§ Mr. Butler
There was one serious argument used by the hon. Member for Coventry, East, in addition to his faulty arithmetic, and that was that he accused my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) of saying that we were doing this simply to obey the Tory Party Conference.
§ Mr. Butler
That may be what the hon. Gentleman said, or it may not be what he said, but I want to make it clear that we should have preferred to make this change by agreement. We made representations to the Leader of the Opposition in the summer and he made it quite clear that there was no chance of agreement, and, therefore, we dropped the introduction of the Bill last Session and took the first oportunity of introducing it this Session.
I should like to make clear that although the Opposition, when they were in power, introduced a change without agreement, and although we are now putting it right because we feel that the law is falling into contempt without agreement, normal advance in matters of this sort of Bill, of constitutional electoral reforms, should be done by agreement. I say that in anuswer to the hon. Gentleman because I think that that should be the normal rule.
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
I think that the right hon. Gentleman will agree that in the original Bill this Clause was not put in by the Government. It was moved by an hon. Member of the House of Commons and carried by the House of Commons and not by the Government.
§ Mr. Butler
I think that what happened was that it was not in the original Bill as introduced, but it was moved by an hon. Member on the Labour side of the House supporting the Government of the day. The right hon. Gentleman the then Home Secretary, the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), went away stating that he would think about it, and he came back with that solution. He was perfectly entitled to do so, but it was not done by agreement. We are entitled to do so likewise, and I acknowledge that we are not doing it by agreement. I regret 1067 that we are not doing it by agreement, because in my opinion all matters of electoral reform should be done by agreement.
My concluding argument is this. I am asked to postpone the operation of the Bill until after the General Election, that is, a date in 1960. I am quite convinced that the main reason for putting the Bill through is that we all know that the law is gradually falling into contempt and that much too much time at elections is spent not in persuading voters to vote this way or that, but in watching people to see whether they are contravening the law in this respect. That is not only a waste of time, but bad for the law. If we were to put this off until after the election, and the electorate knew that the Bill had been passed, I am convinced that there would be more contravention of the law and that the law would be brought into contempt.
I think that, fundamentally, if we looked at this Amendment with all sincerity, we could say that there was a reason for it yet if we were to accept it the law would be brought into greater contempt. Therefore, as our main motive is to ensure that the law is respected, I am not prepared to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Crossman
The right hon. Gentleman did not answer one of my points. The argument against passing a Bill such as this was used by Lord Tenby, when speaking at the Conservative conference in 1955. He was also concerned with the law. He said:It is—I cannot emphasise it too strongly—of the greatest consequence to us as a country to ensure the continuance of general confidence and a respect for election law as something above party.This was said by Lord Tenby in asking that conference not to press that this law should be carried out. The Home Secretary tells us that he cares about law and order. He was listening and sat there on the Conservative Party platform. He heard Lord Tenby plead with Conservatives like the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) not to press this on the Government, and when over-ridden by the party conference his desire for law and order changes and he now pleads with us to have this Bill for the sake of law and order.
1068 I should like to know which of these arguments for law and order is really valid. Lord Tenby said, "If you Conservatives force this on the Conservative Government you will undermine confidence in the country", and that is the view held by the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, who both warned the Government that by forcing the Bill through now, whatever the merits of it, they would undermine confidence. That has been put to the Conservatives not only by us, but by Conservative newspapers and Conservatives on their own platform, and now we have the unctious spectacle of the Home Secretary invoking law and order by promoting a dirty little Bill for party political reasons. He ought to hr' ashamed of himself.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I preferred the argument of open party advantage which came from hon. Members opposite during the debate to the smooth argument of the Minister. I can understand the words he ended with based on the plea to have these things done by agreement. I would much prefer these things to be done by agreement, because it is appalling when they are not done by agreement. He is now doing this very thing which he abhors. It really is appalling that he should try to get away with this moral argument when he is doing something which, by his own standards and his own argument, he condemns as being immoral.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Very likely, and it is very likely that the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster does, too.
This dirty little Bill is typical of the Conservatives' attempt to use the advantage of money in every way that they can.
The hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Spence) said that the Labour Party had created a party advantage by passing the original Act. To remove a party advantage that exists is not the same thing as creating a party advantage. The whole purpose of our electoral law is to equalise things between the two parties as well as possible. The whole law on our expenses could be said to be to the advantage of the Labour Party. It tries to stop, and the intention is to stop, the Conservatives spending a lot of money which they otherwise would 1069 spend if that law were not there; but that is not to create party advantage, but to try to get equality. When we took away the Conservative Party advantage over cars, we were not creating a Labour Party advantage. We were trying to get equality in this matter.
§ Mr. Spence
Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that people should not vote? 'That is what I suggested in my speech and that is what he said just now.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
The hon. Member said what I quoted him as saying, that we were taking an advantage to ourselves in the original Act; we were not. We were creating equality by taking away advantage from the Conservatives.
The hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Spier) talked about the liberty of the subject and snoopers and sneakers. All this applies to the law about expenses. There, too, there are snoopers and sneakers and inteference with the liberty of the subject. Is it not the liberty of the subject to spend his money as he likes? The law stops him from doing it in elections. It interferes deliberately with the liberty of the subject in order to get equality in these matters. The argument that applies to cars applies equally to expenses. The right hon. Gentleman will not apply it to expenses, because he knows the people will not tolerate it, but that is the logical extension of the argument and either he should not use it at all or he should carry it all the way and apply it to expenses. I ask him whether he will do that. He will not.
Everyone knows that the Conservatives will get an advantage out of cars. They are giving themselves an advantage on the eve of elections; there is no doubt about that. The right hon. Gentleman juggled with statistics given by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Cross-man), but the fact is that the Gallup poll showed that 60 per cent. of car owners are Conservatives. Of course, car owners will, in the main, take people of their own party to the polls. That is why they go to the committee rooms and get themselves organised. That is the whole purpose of it.
The right hon. Gentleman quite forgot that this, is not only a question of the number of cars. Conservatives, on the whole, have the larger cars which can carry more people to the polls. [Laughter.] Of course that is true. All 1070 the cars outside factories which the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) spoke about are, on the whole, little cars. It is the Conservatives who have the large cars, and it is the Conservatives who can drive their cars all day. There is also the matter of chauffeurs. When firms make cars available to the Conservative Party, they often provide chauffeurs.
The right hon. Gentleman, I suppose wilfully, misunderstood our point about that. We are not saying that all the drivers or chauffeurs will vote Conservative or Labour. What we say is that, regardless of their own views, they will be compelled to drive Conservatives to the polls. That is the point. A company like Stewarts and Lloyds, or anyone who has a driver whom he can make available to drive a car, will do that.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Nabarro
The right hon. Gentleman listened to many speeches during the Second Reading debate, continually nodding his agreement when it was pointed out that the practice of Labour supporters riding in Tory cars is ubiquitous.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
It is very curious that we hear a lot about Labour supporters riding in Tory cars, but we never hear about Tory supporters riding in Labour cars. It gives away the whole case. The cars are Conservative cars. The very argument which the hon. Member for Kidderminster uses admits that the cars are, in the main, Conservative cars.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Isle of Thanet (Mr. Rees-Davies) made a great point about this being nothing to do with party politics, that the owner of the car would be prepared to carry people to the poll regardless of their politics. But how is it done? The owners of cars go to the committee rooms in order to get themselves organised. What the hon. Gentleman asks us to believe is that the organisers at Conservative committee rooms will send out their own supporters, driving their own cars, specially to carry Labour Party supporters to the polls.
The Lord Privy Seal cannot get away from the fact that the Blackpool conference voted strongly and angrily in favour of this Measure. The Times described it as something which has been rankling for a long time in the minds of Conservative Party workers. Nobody can 1071 believe that Conservative Party workers are worried about the fact that some Labour people will not get to the polls unless the Conservatives have more cars. It really is going a bit too far to ask us to believe that.
The hon. Member for Kidderminster has been mumbling all the time about trade union cars and co-operative society cars.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
All right; I was using the word "mumbling" in, perhaps, a technical sense. The hon. Gentleman has been speaking while sitting down, instead of rising.
Let us put his argument to the test. He keeps saying, "What about the trade union and co-operative cars?" Very well then; we are prepared to forgo them. Is he prepared to forgo the equivalent advantage—if he says it is an equivalent advantage—on his side? Of course he is not; it is not equivalent at all, and he knows that. It is merely a specious argument which he trots out.
My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East quoted Viscount Tenby. Viscount Tenby is a much wiser man than his successor, the present Home Secretary. He gave very wise advice to the Conservative Party conference and the Conservative Party, and he would have given it in Parliament had the matter been raised. He said that to do this dirty little thing would call the whole of public trust and confidence in our electoral law in question.
What is proposed is plainly open to misunderstanding. I will put it in as mild a way as I can. Such a Measure as this is bound to be open to public misunderstanding. It is bound to create the impression that the Conservatives are, by their majority, doing this before an election so as to create a party advantage for themselves. It is a form of gerrymandering, typical of the Conservative attitude in the whole matter of elections. It does not show that they have very great confidence in winning the next General Election by fair means.
§ Mr. Glover
On a point of order. I have sat here during the whole of the 1072 debate, rising to my feet at every opportunity to catch your eye, Mr. Storey. I do not see why we should have two speeches, one after the other, from the Opposition side.
§ Mr. Wigg
I should not have intervened in the debate but for the unctuous, nauseating, hypocritical self-righteousness of the Home Secretary. For the right hon. Gentleman to get up at the Dispatch Box and say that he has taken this action because the law has fallen into disrepute, when it is he who has, by calculation, prevented the House of Commons from legislating on the gambling laws or even debating the Wolfenden Report, is quite incredible.
I find myself in some disagreement with some of my hon. Friends, because I do not put too much emphasis upon the Blackpool Conservative conference. It is fantastic to assume that the Tory Party conference is a democratic assembly, that this was a democratic decision arrived at on the basis of finding the will of the majority. Not at all, What the Tory Party conference does is to rubber-stamp a decision taken behind the scenes.
Whom does this proposal help? Not the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro), because, whatever the law is, he is quite capable of evading it. He does not need it. This proposal helps the self-righteous right hon. Gentleman the Member for Saffron Walden (Mr. R. A. Butler). He, of course, has taken a decision in the light of the Gallup poll. On current form, at least, he would be out of the House of Commons, and the best way that he and the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Northants, South (Sir R. ManninghamBuller) can make sure of their re-election is to re-emphasise a bias which already exists in our electoral law.
At one time, the proposition was put forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) that there should be "One vote, one value", and I am in wholehearted agreement with that. I regret that the Labour Party, in its anxiety to be fair, shifted the bias so that the rural vote is worth more than the vote cast in an 1073 industrial area. That gives a permanent bias in favour of the Conservative Party.
§ Sir G. Nicholson
Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that there is a much smaller electorate in constituencies in Wales, and that, for instance, the Rhondda constituency has 35,000 electors, returning Labour Members to the House?
§ Mr. Wigg
I entirely agree that a vote in rural Wales, in the constituency of the hon. Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson), and in other such places, is worth more than a vote in Dudley. I regard this as outrageous because the industrial workers are the backbone of the country, and their wishes should be dominant or, at any rate, fully taken into account.
We have already moved a long way from the principle of "One vote, one value". What this Bill set out to do is to undermine the principle of "One vote, one value" and re-emphasise and put in capital letters the principle of a bias in favour of the Tories which the Tory Party must adopt and put into effect if it is to secure victory at the next election. It wrecks the principle enunciated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford that the value of a vote shall be equal irrespective of whether it is cast in rural Wales, industrial Coventry, or anywhere else. If our electoral law were based on that principle, the Conservative Party would be out. I would go so far as to say that the Conservative Party would never have been in power again in this country except for the loving-kindness of the Labour Party.
§ Mr. Wigg
I am quite ready to lend the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Speir) a copy of Erskine May, the current issue, or the last. He should understand that, before he rises to make a point of order, at least it has some connection with the rules of order.
1074 I know quite well what the Amendment is about, and I have said nine-tenths of what I want to say. I would like to reject the Bill, but all I can do, in Committee, is to try to postpone the date when it comes into operation. I want to postpone the date not because of a "phoney" decision, taken at a Tory Party conference, but until after the electorate has had an opportunity of weighing things in the balance and making its voice heard. That is a clear and straightforward proposition. The fact that the right hon. Gentleman will not accept it is proof positive that the Bill is put forward not only for the meanest party advantage, but for a quite disreputable personal advantage.
§ Mr. Victor Yates (Birmingham, Ladywood)
I have listened to the whole of the date, and I speak now for no other purpose than to express my sense of disappointment with the Home Secretary's answer. He is trying to make the House believe that in every constituency an adequate number of motor cars is available to take voters of all parties to the polls. I have been associated with General Elections in Birmingham for the last twenty-five years, and I have never known an occasion when the Labour Party was able to obtain even what is regarded as the legal maximum number of cars. At the last General Election, we in the Ladywood division of Birmingham could not get the number we required.
On Saturday last I attended a meeting of my party in the division. It was an unusually large party; nearly 90 members were present. I asked those who possessed motor cars to raise their hands, and only one out of 90 did so. The Government had better not tell Birmingham that the Labour Party has an access to motor cars equal to that of the Tory Party. It just is not true, and the Home Secretary ought not to make statements like that unless he knows the facts.
In my association with elections in the Ladywood division my party has been faced with the situation that the Edgbaston division, in which one will find a garage to every house, and an overwhelming number of Conservatives with motor cars, has constantly flooded the Ladywood division with Tory cars in order to have an advantage over the Labour Party. I 1075 stand here tonight as the representative of the industrial City of Birmingham and say that there is not one central area in Birmingham in which the Labour Party could employ the maximum number of cars under the Bill, to work during the whole day. It is hypocrisy to suggest that there is equality in this matter.
As a representative of one of those divisions, therefore, I say that if the Bill is passed and comes into operation before the next General Election an unfair advantage will certainly be given to the Conservatives in my division. It is true that the Tory candidate at the last General
§ Election polled the lowest vote of any candidate in the whole of the Midlands, and there is no doubt that an unlimited number of extra motor cars would very much help him, but it could not help us because we could not get the required number of cars.
§ I do not ask the Government to postpone a Measure which I regard as wrong; I am opposed to the Bill being put into operation at any time.
§ Question put, That those words be there inserted:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 206. Noes 263.1079
|Division No. 7.]||AYES||[6.15 p.m|
|Abse, L.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mann, Mrs. Jean|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Gooch, E. G.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.|
|Albu, A. H.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mason, Roy|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Greenwood, Anthony||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Monslow, W.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Grey, C. F.||Moody, A. S.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)|
|Balfour, A.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Hale, Leslie||Mort, D. L.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Moss, R.|
|Bens, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Hamilton, W. W.||Moyle, A.|
|Benson, Sir George||Hannan, W.||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)|
|Beswick, Frank||Hastings, S.||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Blackburn, F.||Hayman, F. H.||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Healey, Denis||O'Brien, Sir Thomas|
|Blyton, W. R.||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Owen, W. J.|
|Boardman, H.||Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Paget, R. T.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Holman, P.||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Holmes, Horace||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Palmer, A. M. F.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Hoy, J. H.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Parker, J.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hunter, A. E.||Parkin, B. T.|
|Burke, W. A.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Paton, John|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Peart, T. F.|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Pentland, N.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Janner B.||Popplewell, E.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Prentice, R. E.|
|Carmichael, J.||Jeger, George (Goole)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A.||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)|
|Champion, A. J.||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Probert, A. R.|
|Chapman, W. D.||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Clunie, J.||Pursey, Cmdr. H.|
|Coldrick, W.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Randall, H. E.|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Cove, W. G.||Kenyon, C.||Rankin, John|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Redhead, E. C.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Ledger, R. J.||Reeves, J.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Reid, William|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lindgren, G. S.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Deer, G.||Lipton, Marcus||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Logan, D. G.||Rogers. George (Kensington, N.)|
|Diamond, John||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Ross, William|
|Dodds, N. N.||McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Royle, C.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||McCann, J.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||MacColl, J. E.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Dye, S.||McGhee, H. G.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||McInnes, J.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Edelman, M.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke. N.)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McLeavy, Frank||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Mahon, Simon||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Finch, H. J.||Mallalleu, E. L. (Brigg)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Fitch, Alan||MaHalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Stonehouse, John|
|Stones, W. (Consett)||Viant, S. P.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Warbey, W. N.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Watkins, T. E.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)||Weitzman, D.||Williams, Richard (Openshaw)|
|Sylvester, G. O.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Wheeldon, W. E.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)||Wigg, George||Wool, R. E.|
|Timmons, J.||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Tomney, F.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Usborne, H. C.||Willey, Frederick||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Short and Mr. Pearson.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Kirk, P. M.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Elliot,R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne,N.)||Lagden, G. W.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Lambton, Viscount|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Errington, Sir Eric||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat(Tiverton)||Erroll, F. J.||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Leavey, J. A.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Fell, A.||Leburn, W. G.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Finlay, Graeme||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Fisher, Nigel||Legh, Hon. Peter (Peterafield)|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Forrest, G.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)|
|Barber, Anthony||Freeth, Denzil||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Gammons, Lady||Linstead, Sir H. N.|
|Barter, John||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. G.(Sutton Coldfield)|
|Batsford, Brian||Gibson-Watt, D.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Glover, D.||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Godlier, J. B.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Goodhart, Philip||Lucas, P. B.(Brentford & Chiswick)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Gough, C. F. H.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Gower, H. R.||McAdden, S. J.|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry|
|Bingham, R. M.||Gresham Cooke, R.||McKibbin, Alan|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Black, C. W.||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)|
|Body, R. F.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||MacLeod John (Ross & Cromarty)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Macmillan, Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley)|
|Braine, B. R.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maddan, Martin|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W.(Horncastle)|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Hay, John||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)|
|Bryan, P.||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Marshall, Douglas|
|Butler,Rt.Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden)||Hesketh, R. F.||Mathew, R.|
|Campbell, Sir David||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Carr, Robert||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Mawby, R. L.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Maydon, Lt. Comdr. S. L. C.|
|Clarke, Brig, Terenoe (Portsmth, w.)|
|Cole, Norman||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Cooke, Robert||Hirst, Geoffrey||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hornby, R. P.||Neave, Alrey|
|Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Horobin, Sir Ian||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Nicolaon, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Noble, Michael (Argyll)|
|Crowder, Petre(Ruisllp—Northwood)||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|Cunningham, Knox||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Oakshott, H. D.|
|Curie, G. B. H.||Hutchison Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim(Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Hyde, Montgomery||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Iremonger, T. L.||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|D'Avigdor-Goldamid, Sir Henry||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Osborne, C.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Page, R. G.|
|Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)|
|de Ferranti, Basil||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Partridge, E.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)||Peel, W. J.|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Joseph, Sir Keith||Pitman, I. J.|
|du Cann, E. D. L.||Kaberry, D.||Pitt, Miss E. M.|
|Duncan, Sir James||Keegan, D.||Pott, H. P.|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Kimball, M.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Speir, R. M.||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|Ramaden, J. E.||Stevens, Geoffrey||Wade, D. W.|
|Rawlinson, Peter||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Redmayne, M.||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Wall, Patrick|
|Renton, D. L. M.||Summers, Sir Spencer||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Ridsdale, J. E.||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynamouth)|
|Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Taylor, William (Bradford. N.)||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Robertson, Sir David||Teeling, W.||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Temple, John M.||Webster, David|
|Robson Brown, Sir William||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Roper, Sir Harold||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Russell, R. S.||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Sharples, R. C.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)||Woollam, John Victor|
|Shepherd, William||Tilney, John (Wavertree)||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Tweedemuir, Lady||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Spearman, Sir Alexander||Vane, W. M. F.||Mr. E. Wakefield and|
§ Mr. F. H. Hayman (Falmouth and Camborne)
I beg to move, In page 1, line 8, after "candidate)", to insert:shall cease to have effect, save that subsections (1) and (2) and paragraph (a) of subsection (6) of that section shall continue to apply to any person owning more than one motor vehicle and in relation to any but one of his motor vehicles let, lent or employed by him with a view to supporting or opposing the candidature of any individual as against any other or others".The effect of this Amendment would be to retain subsections (1) and (2) of Section 88 of the 1948 Act and paragraph (a) of subsection (6). It would limit the number of cars to one per car owner. As drafted, the Bill gives unlimited advantage to well-to-do people, particularly in country constituencies. The Lord Privy Seal made a lot about the arithmetic of dividing the number of cars supposed to be owned by people who vote for the Labour Party with the number of constituencies. Anyone who lives in a country constituency knows perfectly well that Labour supporters who live in the country and own cars are a limited class. A great many people who vote Labour hide the fact that they do so for fear of being victimised. That is true and, were it possible for me to do so, I could give instances of such victimisation.
The Bill will permit anyone owning any number of cars to allow all those vehicles to be used for the advantage of the Conservative Party, including even tractors, because in subsection (6, a) of Clause 88 there is a wide interpretation of the term "motor vehicle".
§ Mr. Cyril Osborne (Louth)
Is the hon. Gentleman saying that people in his constituency are unaware that the poll is 1080 secret and that other people have no idea about how they vote?
§ Mr. Hayman
I say that some voters dare not allow other people, or their neighbours, to know how they vote.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General knows the Bodmin division of Cornwall. He also knows that in such country constituencies a number of professional people, well-to-do farmers and so on, own more than one vehicle. It is no wonder that the Liberal Party is not present to protest against this provision, because it hopes to benefit from it in the same way as the Conservative Party.
Reference has been made to country squires. I accept what the Lord Privy Seal said about chauffeurs, but many country squires still retain a Rolls Royce. Many have formed their estates into companies and run their gardens on commercial lines as horticultural units. They have estate cars and vans which they use in connection with their estate business, and all these vehicles could be available for use at a General Election under the provisions at present contained in the Bill.
Hon. Members opposite protest that they have a high sense of integrity. Let them prove it by voting for this Amendment, so that a great advantage will not accrue to their party if individual supporters possess more than one car. This advantage does not apply only in the countryside. If I am wrong, I shall be corrected, but, as I understand it, every trader who uses a van or a commercial vehicle, or even a tractor, can use that vehicle to take people to the poll. It is even possible that a trailer might be added to a power-driven vehicle.
1081 6.30 p.m.
I will now refer to something which happened in my constituency in the time when cars were free. That was a fairly long time ago. One or two Government supporters have reason to know about my constituency. The polling station which I have in mind is a school in the hamlet of Carnkie—which is about 600 ft. high—in the middle of a mine wastes.
In the election to which I am referring, and which I well remember, we had one Labour car running uphill and downhill for about a mile in a torrent of rain all the evening. Tory cars had been going all the day. I was amazed when I went there and found that this normally deserted hamlet was lit up by the headlights of car after car of the Tory candidate. It was like what we in Redruth call the Whitsun Fair. That kind of thing can happen again if the Bill becomes law. Fortunately, many of our people used the Tory cars and voted Labour. [Laughter.] Yes. Were they not entitled to do as they chose? The Government are introducing the Bill because they want—
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Sir Gordon Touche)
The hon. Member is getting away from the subject of his Amendment.
§ Mr. Hayman
I am trying to show that the Bill will give an advantage to Government supporters, and I am illustrating that argument. I am glad to see the hon. and learned Member the Joint Linder-Secretary of State for the Home Department on the Government Front Bench. The Government should concentrate upon local authorities which refuse to grant requests for additional polling stations, when those additional stations could be made available under the existing Act.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
This subject also does not come within the terms of the hon. Gentleman's Amendment.
§ Mr. Hayman
I turn to another point. A large number of cars is switched by Government supporters from one division to another. The Lord Privy Seal came to my constituency in 1951 and spoke very well for the Conservative candidate, but the Conservative lost the election. The right hon. Gentleman spoke from a mansion, but the walls of that mansion 1082 have now been entirely removed. Whether that was the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's presence or not I do not know. The Bill will give an advantage to wealthy people over the ordinary people. The hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) knows quite well that although many workers own cars they cannot afford to pay for the petrol necessary to run them on election days, or to give up the money which they would otherwise earn by driving the cars in the day time.
§ Mr. Hayman
They cannot run an unlimited number of vehicles. The Lord Privy Seal said he wanted the Bill because the law was being brought into contempt. What does he, or the Attorney-General, say about the 30 m.p.h. speed limit? They know that that law is being brought into contempt every minute of every day.
§ Mr. Sidney Dye (Norfolk, South-West)
I support the Amendment on the ground that if we are in favour of democracy there must be equality of opportunity at election time.
The Home Secretary denied that many people owned several cars, but there are large corporations and companies with many cars. The Amendment seeks to prevent companies or corporations organising their fleets of vehicles in support of or against a candidate in any constituency.
§ Mr. Dye
The purpose behind the Amendment which has been moved is clear. No doubt the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) will read the Amendment eventually, and may make his speech thereon.
We want to prevent the use of many cars by individuals or companies; and not merely cars, but vehicles like station wagons which can seat not two or four, but eight or ten people. [HON. MEMBERS: The Co-ops."] The Attorney-General and other Government supporters seem to have the Co-ops in mind as though it were written into the Bill, but it is not there. If the Co-ops have lent cars to the Labour Party, is there anything wrong in that?
§ Mr. Dye
We are all for it, but we would limit the Co-ops to the supply of one car as we would limit any other company or person. Is not that a justifiable argument? I would much rather the Attorney-General gave a straight answer than a slick one to the arguments in favour of the Amendment. It is of importance to the country, as was plainly stated in the columns of The Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail. There is an argument in both political parties on this matter, and if we can argue it out it will be to our mutual advantage.
There is one argument which should appeal to the Attorney-General. If we can restrict each owner of vehicles to using only one of them, I would go further and say that it must be used by the owner himself rather than by an employee. A person owning cars will have employees who may be required to use their employer's cars at election time on behalf of candidates whom the employees do not believe in or support. That is not a democratic thing to do in these days. I should hope the Attorney-General would agree that owning a car and having freedom to use it on election day is one thing, but owning cars and directing employees to use them in a cause in which the employees do not conscientiously believe, is another. It would break the secrecy of the ballot and interfere with the conscientious support which the Government claim many people give to party politics.
I should have thought that the Government would have accepted an Amendment on these lines. Their argument is that they want freedom at elections for people who use their cars for the benefit of the cause in which they believe. Surely they could not also argue that if a person employs another person who has not the same political opinions that employee should be forced to use his employer's car against his own party. This Amendment contains a simple proposition which, I should have thought, the Attorney-General would accept.
§ Mr. Crossman
I wish to support the principle of one man, one car. There is an object in our Amendments, which is to make the Tory Party discreet. If they turn down this Amendment, I want to hear speeches by hon. Members oppo- 1084 site in favour of turning down the limitation of the use of cars to one per person. I think I am right in saying that it would still leave a person free to drive with his family to the poll. We are not concerned here with the person driving on his own, but with lending or employing his car in a party organisation.
We have made clear, and the Labour Government's Act makes clear, that a person has the right to drive to the poll, but here we are touching on the question of the amount of contribution which each Tory or other employer should be entitled to make to his organisation in an election. We have heard a great deal about the Co-ops and the power of the trade unions. We are saying that each side has great organisations related to it. We think it highly undesirable that great organisations should use their power improperly in elections. Whether they are supporting us or the Tory Party, we do not want to see great organisations coming in and influencing the vote by mobilising fleets of cars or by spending thousands of pounds. We have been concerned with how far we can restrict the undue use of influence, in this case transport being one of the influences.
I am glad that the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro) is present because we can look forward to his reasoned defence of his opposition to this Amendment. He made some stirring remarks about how he believes in strict equality and no undue influence for anyone; now we are putting him to the test. Let us have a limitation which says that no person can supply more than one car to his party organisation. As the Committee knows, I represent a constituency which makes motor cars. I think I am right in saying that of all the motor cars above 10 h.p. at least two-thirds are owned, not by individuals, but by firms. We can inspect the Income Tax laws and know why that is. Those great cars in which executives drive about are owned by firms.
§ Mr. Nabarro
This is a sweeping statement which has been made in the House before. Will the hon. Member give statistics to support it?
§ Mr. Crossman
If due notice is given, I will seek to find the source. I agree with the hon. Member for Kidderminster that it has often been said in this House 1085 and never denied, and I am willing to check it. Let us say that a large number of cars are owned, not by individuals, but by firms which lend them to their executives.
§ Mr. Crossman
I want to finish this piece of my argument. The hon. Member claims to be fair-minded. I ask him whether he would not think it perfectly reasonable to limit the supply to one car per person so as to prevent the supplying of twenty or thirty cars by a single organisation. That seems to be a not unreasonable limitation.
Every one of us knows of the power which can be released by having paid drivers all day. This is a matter which arises particularly in rural areas. We want to hear from the hon. Member and his Friends what answer they have to this proposed limitation. They have given their answer on why they should not prove themselves fair-minded by postponing the operation of the Act until after the next General Election. That has already created a deep suspicion of their purpose. They have a chance of saving themselves on this Amendment. Let them at least pass the Amendment. When he replies, as I am sure he will in his usual courteous way, I would ask the hon. Member to remember one thing.
§ Mr. Nabarro
Will the hon. Member permit one more intervention, as we are in Committee? I do not wish to trip him in any way, but the two-thirds reference which he made is surely to motor vehicles which are owned by corporations and by persons professionally engaged for business purposes. Many of those cars, I want him to understand, are owned individually by doctors and professional people and are not in the ownership of corporations. That is what makes up the two-thirds. It is grossly unfair and untrue to say that two-thirds are owned by corporations.
§ Mr. Crossman
The last thing I want is to be unfair. A very large number 1086 of cars are owned, not by individuals but by firms, whether large or small. Those firms' cars, subsidised by the Government through Income Tax regulations, can be used in election campaigns, and are used in election campaigns, with paid drivers, in the interests of the Tory Party. We have put down an Amendment to call attention to this evil and to show the way in which it can be curbed.
We cannot prevent great power and wealth exerting great influence on public opinion. No one can prevent people launching tremendous advertising campaigns which are straight political propaganda between elections. We have watched it in life insurance, among the steel magnates and with "Mr. Cube". Literally millions of pounds are spent on political advertising every year by the great combines ranged against us. We know of all this power which the other side has. If hon. Members opposite call themselves the gentlemen's party and the party which understands the idea of fair play, it is not for them—already enjoying tremendous power and undue advantage —to give themselves a mean little extra advantage in the matter of organised transport at election time.
I have been slightly disgusted by hon. Members opposite who say, "We always manage, because we have good organisation, to use the full quota of cars throughout the day." What they mean by "good organisation" is a great deal of money by which they can pay for the organisation required. They should not be quite so boastful about the amount of money they can throw about in influencing the voters, for that is what they are doing. The Bill will allow them to spend more money on massed transport of the sort which will give them an extra edge, as they believe.
In my view, the longer this debate goes on—I hope it will go on a long time—and the more that is printed about it, the more will a dirty smell come out of the Chamber. The electors will not grasp the details of these Amendments, but they will understand that something on a small scale, though dirty, is being committed by the Tory Party on the instructions and through the pressures of hon. Members like the hon. Member for Kidderminster who are leading members of the Tory Party Conference.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, but he is getting far from the Amendment.
§ Mr. Crossman
With great respect, I am very close to the Amendment, which is concerned with an evil—the organized use of hired transport, such as the Tory Party, at their conference, have insisted year after year that they should be entitled to enjoy. Must I read to you, Sir Gordon, the speech of Lord Tenby at the Tory Party Conference? It has been mentioned time after time. Shall I read it to you, Sir Gordon, in order to show you that Lord Tenby himself rebuked the hon. Member at the Tory conference for insisting on a Measure which we are trying to annul by the Amendment—tor insisting on being given the facilities to organise and pay for large-scale transport during elections, as the Tories can offord to pay for it? I am amazed to hear that it is out of order to call attention—
§ The Deputy-Chairman
The hon. Member is suggesting that this is a wrecking Amendment, and, therefore, should not have been selected.
§ Mr. Crossman
I hope that I did not say that. If I did, I immediately withdraw it. I said that the object of the Amendment was to defeat the Tories who, at their conference, have insisted, against the advice of their leaders, in trying to obtain an unfair advantage through the use of transport at elections. The right has been given for relatively free motor car facilities, and we are here seeking to limit that right in a way which will remove the evil to which I have been calling attention—the evil of a number of company cars being available at an election.
If it is out of order to refer to that, all I can say is that I hope that after this series of Amendments the electorate will grasp the nature of the Bill. It is a Bill introduced by a party which already has behind it far more power and wealth than is good for it and which is asking 1088 for a little extra mean advantage. I do not pretend that it is a tremendous advantage; it is a mean advantage. It is a waste of the time of the Committee to try to put the Bill through. I repeat, to be so ashamed of it as not to dare to put it in the Queen's Speech is a matter—
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller)
This is a very narrow Amendment, and the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman) explained it very clearly without going into matters which have already been discussed in great detail on Second Reading. I want to deal with the case which he presented. The object of the Amendment, as he explained, is to secure that at an election an owner may use only one car, whether the owner is a private individual or a corporation, no matter how many cars may be owned. That is a perfectly simple proposition.
When the hon. Member put forward his arguments in support of it, however, I had to part company from him. He referred to some knowledge which I have of the Bodmin division, and to county constituencies. I have always sat for a county constituency and I certainly do not agree with him that the number of cars owned by those who vote Socialist is very limited.
§ The Attorney-General
It may be unique, but my experience is that I have found no shortage of cars carrying Socialist supporters, certainly in the evenings. It is a "phoney" case to try to suggest that in these days the Socialist Party would be so short of cars that an election would be unfair.
§ Mr. Hayman
The Attorney-General said that my argument was "phoney". I claim to know Cornwall very well indeed and I can assure him that what I said was true.
§ The Attorney-General
I did not say that what the hon. Member said was, in his belief. "phoney," or anything of that 1089 sort. I should not make any such imputation. I say that it is a "phoney" case to present in these days, that with all the cars on the road—and more every day—there are not ample cars to convey Socialist voters to the polls. The hon. Member referred to country squires owning their Rolls-Royces and having six chauffeurs.
§ The Attorney-General
it was referred to later. The only things that were not referred to were the hearses owned by the co-operative society.
I will give the objections to the acceptance of the Amendment, and I will leave on one side any question of party politics. If the hon. Members of the Committee will apply their minds not to questions of party propaganda on one side or the other, but to the effectiveness of this proposal, they will, I hope, realise that it is completely impracticable and, if accepted, could not be enforced or implemented in any way. If the Amendment were accepted we should have the unlimited use of cars throughout the country—not necessarily being organised by any party organisation—with one exception; those who owned more than one car would he limited to the use of one of them. How are the police to enforce that?
I ask the hon. Member to apply his mind to it. The police would have to keep a record of all cars being driven to the poll so as to secure adequate enforcement and they would have to see whether any two of the cars belonged to one owner. It would not be sufficient to do this with relation to one polling station. They would have to do it at many polling stations, because the cars might be used in more than one polling area. Indeed, it would not be sufficient to do it in relation to one constituency, because the cars might be used in more than one constituency. The practical task of enforcement is such that the Amendment is wholly impracticable.
One of the main reasons for the Bill, which I dealt with on Second Reading in the time at my disposal, is that the provision put into the 1948 Act tends to brings the law into contempt. It is incapable of enforcement. I gave an instance of that in relation to North Lewisham. The Amendment would make 1090 it even more difficult of enforcement. As things are, if cars are not registered and not properly labelled and are going to the same polling station, there is at least ground for suspecting a breach of the Act, although it may be extremely difficult to prove that an offence has been committed.
But if the Amendment were accepted we should have a mass of cars going to polling stations, 90 per cent. or more probably doing so quite lawfully and a small number which might not be doing so lawfully. It would bring the law into complete contempt. It is on the ground of practicability that I tell the Committee that we cannot accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Hayman
The Attorney-General will agree, I am sure, knowing county constituencies, that in the countryside most people know most other people and that this kind of practice would be fairly easily detected. It might not be detected 100 per cent. but presumably people could lay evidence for a summons even though the police were not issuing one.
§ The Attorney-General
The experience since 1948 does not show that to be the ease. There have been many suspicions and accusations, have there not, of misuse by political opponents? There may be valid grounds for suspicion; I do not know. When it comes to acquiring evidence, however, it is extremely difficult, and I think it is true to say that in practice, under the law as it stands, we could not get a conviction in the absence of an admission of guilt by the person accused. It would be even more difficult here.
On that ground, I must advise the Committee that while I fully appreciate the motives behind this Amendment, I do not agree with them, and I do not accept that, on merit, hon. Members opposite have made out anything like a case. The one thing that the hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne did not suggest was that in his division he had been in any way affected in days gone by—in what is a county division—by fleets of cars owned by one person. Certainly, in my constituency, in 1948, that would have been such a novelty that it would not have escaped notice.
§ Mr. Hayman
Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman accept it from me that in a small trade procession in a small 1091 town in my constituency the chamber of commerce boasted that it had over 100 cars?
§ The Attorney-General
I am sorry to hear that the hon. Member is against the chamber of commerce, or that the chamber of commerce is against him, but I am dealing seriously with the practical results of this Amendment, if it were accepted. I say in all seriousness that although hon. Members may think that it sounds very good in principle, it is really wholly impracticable. Personally, I do not think that it is good in principle. I believe that the case advanced in support of it is very unreal indeed.
I cannot accept that the party opposite would be prejudiced if this Amendment were rejected. In the debate in 1948, I gave instances of what had happened in my own constituency in the 1945 General Election. I remember having a conversation that was very gratifying to me then with the Socialist driver of a Socialist car—which was not labelled, or anything like that. He told me, in the evening, that in the course of the day he thought that he had taken to the poll more supporters for me than for his own candidate. As I say, that was very encouraging then, and I welcomed it, but in my division that practice was by no means uncommon, because, in a very scattered constituency, people are good friends, even though opposed politically, and do help their friends. It is the intention of this Bill to allow them to do so.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman, who has attempted to reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman), should not seek to claim that what was said to him in the 1945 election was a big compliment. Many of his hon. Friends know what happened then, and whether the Attorney-General could accept the word of the driver of that car is another matter.
In principle, my hon. Friend put a very good case for the acceptance of this Amendment. We have accepted—we have been forced to accept—the position that cars are no longer to be restricted, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) has said, 1092 we have never been against an individual using his own car to go to the poll. Where cars me needed in the public interest they are, of course, provided by both sides. That gives a "fair do" all round.
My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East, in developing his argument, said that this Committee could apply certain tests of the sincerity with which hon. Members opposite argued their case. The first test was the first Amendment. Here we have the second test; an Amendment which asks that only one car per individual should be provided in the interests of a candidate. But I believe that there is a third test. If the public outside could see the cynical expression of hypocrisy on the faces of hon. Members opposite, either when making their case or when listening to their hon. Friends making it, the public could certainly judge their sincerity.
Moreover, this proposed provision of private cars does not substantiate the claim of hon. Members opposite that they want to help the public interest. Even with limited provision of cars, the public interest has already shown itself in the results of past elections. In 1955, the percentage poll for the whole country was 76.8 per cent., in 1951, it was 82.6 per cent., and in 1950, it was 83–9 per cent.—the highest at any General Election since 1929. Therefore, if, as hon. Members opposite argue, the general restriction has affected public interest it is certainly not borne out by those figures.
The arguments in favour of this Amendment could not have been better stated than they were by the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth)—whom I am sorry not to see in his place—who, when Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, replied to a debate at the Conservative Party conference in 1952. He was not then supporting the Government's Bill, or the arguments now before the Committee, but was speaking against the very principle involved in this Amendment.
He said:I think that it is probably true to say that in practically every constituency nowadays both sides have enough cars at their disposal to serve all the purposes that are necessary and that there is no advantage to either side.If that were true in 1952, is it not just as true today? Why, therefore, should the Government now be seeking to allow 1093 individuals to supply an unlimited number of cars? The hon. Gentleman went on to say:the various provisions of our electoral law necessarily affect the different parties in different ways, and it would be quite unfair for any party to pick out those provisions which they thought affected them adversely and to reject them.The true test is I believe this. What is the public interest and convenience? That is the test…The hon. Gentleman, who then, as I say, held Government office, was arguing that there was a sufficiency of cars. This Amendment seeks, not merely to continue the provisions in the Act but to allow even the further right of the individual to provide one car for his party organisation.
I conclude by quoting my experience in a Glasgow municipal election—in which cars are not limited at all. I fought in it against Mr. Hugh Fraser, the now millionaire owner of several drapery stores—and many right hon. and hon. Members opposite will, no doubt, have met him in circumstances outside the House. In that municipal election, Mr. Hugh Fraser was able to provide an unlimited number of motor cars. This Amendment is certainly worthy of consideration because it would mean that, in a General Election, the same Mr. Hugh Fraser would be allowed to provide only one car in addition to that which he uses for his personal purposes.
§ Mr. Mitchison
The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General attacked this Amendment on two grounds. First, he said that he did not agree with the principle of it. He said that rather cautiously and carefully, for that was obviously a matter on which he might do damage to his own party if he pressed it too far—and we have had a certain silence opposite that we have not failed to note.
Secondly, he objected to it on the ground that it was impracticable. My hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman) made it perfectly clear what the real object and the real objection were. My hon. Friend the Member for Norfolk, South-West (Mr. Dye), following him, mentioned a case, which has remained unanswered, of the employee who has in the course of his job to drive motors to the poll in a 1094 second car of his employer's, the employer presumably driving the first, and to do so whatever cause he is serving and whatever his own personal convictions may be. I cannot believe that any of us really approves of that if it can be avoided.
My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) pointed out, quite rightly, as did the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General, that this Amendment is intended to cover and does cover cars owned by individuals and cars owned by corporations. I think it was the right hon. and learned Gentleman who said "What about the Co-ops?" Well, what about the Co-ops? We on this side of the Committee take the view that this is a matter of principle. It will mean an alteration in practice by various bodies, including the co-operative societies. We are not just counting heads about it. If we were, we should be quite certain that the number of cars that are going to be provided by the steel companies and very likely by some wealthy individuals, too, will far exceed any contribution that the co-operative societies have ever been able to make in any election.
However, that is not the substantial point. The substantial point is this: do the party opposite really wish to insist on firms or people who have more than one car being allowed to use more than one car in the interests of a political party? That is the real point. I am bound to say that I cannot see the argument against the Amendment. Surely we recognise, as my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East said, that one person can have only one vote and that the days of the privileged vote, whether it came from businesses or universities, have gone. So have the days of the rotten boroughs, of the pocket boroughs and all the rest of it. We hope that the party opposite have that equally in mind. If, indeed, that is the case and if we have now got to the stage of one person one vote, what is the justification for giving people some exceptional advantage because they happen to have exceptional wealth?
I am not referring merely to people. I am referring to companies, too. We are not discussing the electoral propaganda conducted by the steel companies, though it seems to me from the point of view 1095 of democracy to be wholly reprehensible. Be that as it may, what we are discussing is whether these companies and some individuals are entitled to provide exceptional facilities—because that is what it is—to the party they support simply because they are exceptionally rich. I am not concerned with the number of them. I am not concerned with denouncing people who have got more than one motor car as being exceptionally wicked. I have got more than one car myself, if the Committee wants to know.
What I am considering is, what is the right thing to do in elections? Surely it cannot be right that persons who happen to own a number of cars should be entitled to flood the place with them. It is not merely a question of whether one can get all the voters to the poll in a limited number of motor cars. It definitely gives—and this is surely the most obvious horse sense—a party which has the control of a larger number of cars an advantage not only in handling the cars and working the arrangements of an election but also from the point of view of advertisement. It is useful to a party—hon. Members know this perfectly well—to be able to turn up at the polling booth, one car after another, with "Vote for Snooks" stuck on the back of the cars and large blue ribbons, or, for that matter, red and yellow ribbons, flapping about round the cars.
Are we going to extend the advantage which the possession of one motor car gives to a person and his party to cases where there is an exceptional number of motor cars involved? Surely on principle, even if we have to accept the proposition against which we have been protesting, it cannot be right that these privileges should be given in an unrestricted way. What is wrong with drawing the line at this point? Personally, I regard the case of the corporation as much more serious than the case of the individual.
I know what is going to happen at the next election. We have not merely got to face Tate and Lyle. We have got to face all the large steel companies, and they will do it everywhere. They will do it not necessarily in their own constituencies. They will provide motor cars to carry Tory voters to the poll. Is it right that that sort of thing should go on?
1096 Do hon. Members opposite really think that is proper? Do they think it is Parliamentary democracy? Do they think it follows the principle of one man one vote? Do they not agree that that is a case of privilege and wealth having an undue influence in the conduct of our elections? I cannot see the answer to it.
My hon. Friend the Member for Mary-hill (Mr. Hannan) pointed out, quite rightly, that a high percentage of voters had got to the poll in past General Elections. I entirely agree. I think that the effect of this dirty little Bill will be not to bring an additional number of voters to the poll but to give a certain bit of help to the Tory Party, unless, as I believe to be the case, the ordinary man in the street sees what they are doing and despises them for doing it. I hope hon. Members opposite will accept this Amendment in principle, despite what the right hon. and learned Gentleman says.
Now I come to the suggestion that this Amendment is impracticable. It is not up to an Opposition to put down in detail how this, that or the other measure can be carried out. With that I am sure the right hon. and learned Gentleman would agree. Of course, there are many statutes on the Statute Book which are not fully enforced. One very obvious case—I give it only as an instance—is the legislation about betting, lotteries, gaming and the rest of it. We could all think of other examples. Some people might think of the witchcraft Acts in connection with this Bill.
§ Mr. Mitchison
I could give plenty of examples. I am sure that the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Osborne) will be able to give other examples in due course when he catches your eye, Dr. King. We are all agreed that there are plenty of them.
Of course, we do not want to introduce this measure if it is quite impossible. But I do not believe it is. We have records of the owners of cars. We know who they are. They can be made available to the police. There is no question of considering the vast mass of cars which are the owners' sole cars. What we have to consider are merely the cases of people who have more than one car.
1097 I should have thought that in any given constituency, including the right hon. and learned Gentleman's, the number of people who own a large number of cars is not so great. I should have thought that the first people to whom the police would turn their attention would not be the individual owners but the large owners who, at the moment, are engaged in giving a great deal of visible support, and possibly a great deal of invisible support, to the Tory Party. They will be the first people to be looked at.
Why should those who have no vote as companies be entitled to flood the place with 50 or 100 cars, whatever it may be? Indeed, it is not only companies. I am not sure that it is the landowner whom I should look at particularly in considering what happens in the country. What about the farmer? After all, in this Act, a motor vehicle is any vehicle constructed or adapted to travel on the roads.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Tractors would be in it; I was just coming to that. The farmer is at liberty to turn out practically all the equipment of his modernised farm, so far as it consists of vehicles, and take voters to the poll. I quite agree that a tractor is rather an extreme case, but there are trailers and estate cars and these things which are, I think, called "minibuses" or some such name as that. They can all be used. When there is but one, that is another matter. There can be whole fleets of them; transport companies could do the same sort of thing, lending their vehicles in the same way. We are not concerned with the hiring of vehicles under Section 89 of the Act. We are concerned with this particular provision.
I cannot believe that the police would not catch a great many offenders under this provision if it were introduced, and I find it difficult to accept, even from the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that there would be many that they would not be able to catch. There would, no doubt, be some, but not many—certainly not enough to make us accept a wrong principle because it is said that we cannot enforce the right one.
There is a great deal of ingenuity in Government circles, in the police force, and in all those who have to deal with the ingenuities of modern criminals. If 1098 we add this electoral criminal to the list, I think that they would be able to deal with 'him just as well.
§ Mr. Osborne
The hon. and learned Gentleman has been referring to constituents of mine, farmers who have vehicles. Now he calls them electoral criminals. May we have this plainly on the record?
§ Notice taken that 40 Members were not present;
§ House counted, and, 40 Members being present—
§ Mr. Mitchison
I was just engaged in trying to explain matters to the hon. Member for Louth who, for once, rose to make his observation. He accused me of calling his constituent farmers electoral criminals. I really did not. What I said was that we have to deal with criminals. If we add an electoral criminal to the list, whether he be a steel company, a farmer or anybody else, that is to say, if we add to the list someone who is guilty of an illegal practice in an election—that is really the right way to put it—the police and the authorities concerned in the matter can catch him.
I do not accept the proposition that one cannot detect this kind of case. I accept that one cannot detect every one, but one will detect the majority. Certainly, one would deter all those people—and there are some—who respect the law. After all, the individual who, until now, has been carrying voters to within 100 yards of the polling station, or whatever it is, is not nearly such an easy person to catch as the multiple owner, if I may coin that name—talking principally about companies—who, in practice. sends out a fleet of cars at an election.
As for the farmer, it is true that no one can very well travel in a combine harvester, but it is none the less true that, in county constituencies, there are people who, by reason of their occupation, control an unusually large number of cars. However sacrosanct a farmer's vehicles may be, I see no particular reason why farmers should have that advantage over other citizens when what we are considering is the principle of one man, one vote, and, as I see it, one man, one influence—and no more. I do not accept that this is unworkable, and I certainly do not accept the 1099 proposition that it ought to be rejected on any of the moral or political grounds advanced by the right hon. and learned Gentleman with such caution and diffidence because he did not want to say too much about them. I hope that the Amendment will be accepted.
§ Sir G. Nicholson
I wish to call attention to the most illuminating remark which fell from the hon. and learned Member for Kettering (Mr. Mitchison). He said that he did not think that the effect of the Bill would be to increase the percentage of people going to the polls, but that, nevertheless, it would give a great advantage to the Tory Party. I think that I am quoting him correctly.
That simple remark seems to give away the whole case. If the Bill will not increase the number of voters going to the polls, how can it act against the interests of the Labour Party? If it will not increase the number of people going to the polls, what is all the fuss about? Quite clearly, the fuss made by the Opposition arises from their objection to Tory voters having the pleasure of going to the poll in a motor car. If that is really his argument, the opposition to the Bill falls.
§ Mr. Mitchison
Since we are in Committee, may I ask the hon. Member for Farnham (Sir G. Nicholson) a question? Does he really think that the Bill gives no advantage to the Tory Party?
§ Sir G. Nicholson
I can answer the hon. and learned Gentleman out of his mouth. He himself has said that it will not increase the number of people going to the poll. He is on record as having said that.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Dr. Horace King)
Order. If the hon. Gentleman answered the question he would not be in order.
§ Mr. Barnett Janner (Leicester, North-West)
The Government are extremely anxious, for some reason or other, not to make any concession at all in respect of their drastic reform, as they call it, or this backward step, as we rightly call it, which is being taken through this Bill.
1100 The Attorney-General, of all people, asks us to believe that the majority of British people are lawless. He makes the remarkable statement that, if this concession is made, there will be extensive lawlessness inasmuch as responsible companies and other persons owning more than one car—this is the implication—will, because they realise that it is difficult for them to be discovered, necessarily evade the restriction.
With the greatest respect to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, I say to him that that is incorrect. In this country, the vast majority of people observe the law and are prepared to stand by it. If the Amendment were carried, it would be absurd to suggest that a significant number of people would break the law just because they wanted to take advantage of a situation which would help them in respect of some party political interest.
I differ to some extent from some of my hon. Friends. The proof of this pudding lies in the eating. When the restrictions were on we were told by the Home Secretary that only 24 summonses were issued in a period of ten years, of which only 20, I think, resulted in convictions. I say to the Attorney-General that it is a slur upon the character of the people of this country to suggest that if he took this very small but important step of preventing the abuse of the vote—because that is what it amounts to if this Measure is passed without any restrictions at all—people would be lawless and, consequently, a new set of criminals would be created. I do not think that a new set of criminals would be created. I therefore think that the Committee should accept the Amendment, believing that if it is put into effect people will abide by it, with the exception of a very few criminals who will not.
The next point is this. I did not understand the argument which the Government have put forward when they contended that the more cars we have the better it will be for everybody. I propose to make a suggestion. Perhaps in the course of these proceedings the Government will put forward an Amendment to the effect that all the cars should be put into a pool and that all parties—I appreciate that it is a little near the line—should have the advantage of using the 1101 cars in the pool. Then the companies and everybody else concerned could provide as many cars as they liked and the Amendment would not be necessary.
The parties would be able to say, "All right; there are so many cars available. Here is a poor fellow who is unable to get to the poll by himself. He is crippled, he is aged, he is sick. There is a car in the pool that will take him". I defy the Government to put that Amendment forward, because they know very well that, if they suggested it, it would wreck the whole intent of their Bill and would prevent them from accepting this Amendment.
If the Government carry their argument to its logical conclusion, I would ask them to say that this is a perfectly reasonable Amendment. Why not? We have heard from some of my hon. Friends—and I am sure that it cannot be denied—that cars are supplied by people who have vested interests. Why should not these suppliers of cars declare their interests? We have to do it in the House of Commons. Some companies have vested interests because the policy of a Conservative Government is such that it would be to their benefit if a Conservative Member were returned. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Not everybody has a fleet of motor cars. If that were so we would have no objection to everybody using them. It is perfectly well known—and no one can deny it—that the people with fleets of motor cars are usually people with vested interests, who know that if the Conservatives were returned they would adopt a policy which would suit those particular vested interests.
It is not fair or proper that such an advantage should be obtained. Candidates have to declare how much expenses have been paid in the course of an election, but they do not have to declare how much is spent on the cars. We should consider this matter in its proper perspective. The cars that are used are not declared as an expense but, on the other hand, if a man holds a meeting to support a candidate the candidate has to return the expenses incurred in respect of that meeting. Is it not sheer nonsense that we should have this position? Some of the companies who have vested interests may be politically inclined. But, in the main, this Amendment is directed against abuse by those who want to 1102 return candidate Mr. X, because when he comes to the House of Commons he will vote for something which they want done.
§ Sir G. Nicholson
Every single voter has a vested interest; every single person has a stake in the country. The hon. Member is using the words "vested interest" as a sort of magical incantation.
§ Mr. Janner
If that were the case every hon. Member would have to say, each time he speaks in Parliament. "I have a vested interest".
§ Sir G. Nicholson
If I may correct the hon. Gentleman, we do not use the words "vested interest" except when we have a personal private interest which does not affect the generality of the people.
§ Mr. Janner
Let us be honest with each other. The steel owners and landlords, for example, are not interested in this sense. It cannot be said that all the people are interested in the same direction. I am talking about people who are interested in a certain direction for their own private vested purpose. I think that I am speaking very fairly when I say that a lot of cars will be provided by people who want Members to be returned, and who will vote in a certain direction when the particular vested interest of the parties concerned is at issue.
It is no good playing with words. That is the truth, otherwise millions of pounds would not be spent on advertising before elections. I hope that no hon. Member opposite will say that it is just a matter of chance. The fact is that a lot of money is spent, and, indirectly, the provision of cars for purposes comes into the category of advertising. That being so, I ask, even at this eleventh hour, that hon. Members opposite should admit that it is not fair and is not proper that such an advantage should exist.
It is a very big advantage to have cars available. If it is raining heavily when a man has to go to the poll and if he has a car in which to go, he will go. If he has not a car in which he can go he may very well stay at home because of the inclement weather. If a person with a small child has a car and is in a position to employ a baby sitter, he has a very big advantage over a person who cannot get a car, and who would have to leave his child at home and who, consequently, cannot go out to vote at all.
1103 These are a few practical instances. I think that the Tory Party, through the Government, is exposing itself to a serious allegation of partiality and of an attempt to abuse the votes of the people if they do not agree with the Amendment. I know that many hon. Members opposite agree with what I have said. I appeal to the Government not to expose themselves to that kind of attack. In effect, it would be a justifiable accusation and it would be clearly shown that they are endeavouring, through their present majority in the House, to gain an electoral advantage at the next and subsequent elections which they have no reason to request.
§ Mr. Ede (South Shields)
It seems to me that right hon. and hon. Members opposite cannot have taken any interest in the processes by which they have managed to get to the House of Commons. What I have heard from them tonight is a completely different picture from what I have observed as one who has been interested in every General Election since 1892.
Vehicles with drivers do not wander promiscuously about a constituency. If a driver sees a wayfarer, a man or woman he does not stop and say, "Do you want to vote in the election today?" and if that person says, "Yes", the wayfarer jumps in, the driver remarking, "I am just collecting people to go down."
I gather from what we have heard from the other side of the Committee that that is the idea of hon. Members opposite of the way that their supporters behave on election day. Let me assure them that in my experience, all parties devote a great deal of time to finding out who is likely to vote for their particular candidate. They then make some inquiries, if the person appears to be one who may have difficulty in getting to the poll, to ascertain at what hour of the day it will be convenient for him or her to be picked up and brought. They will then arrange, if they have a sufficient number of vehicles, for a call to be made at that person's house and then that person is brought to the poll.
It is true, that on occasion there are some people, ordinary electors, who are artful enough to know which side has more cars and there are astute people who manage to ride down in the car of the party to which they do not belong.
1104 Later in the evening at the local hostelry they recount the great advantage that they claim to have made, not merely for themselves but by immobilising for a few minutes one of the cars of their opponents. Both sides do it, and may that kind of thing long remain.
There is a delusion in this country that we are a democracy. We have been governed by an aristocracy. We were governed for centuries by two oligarchies, and there are some people who think that the two oligarchies now are the Conservative Central Office and Transport House. Between them, they just monopolise the way in which people can exercise their franchise. A greater danger which I see—it is relevant to the Amendment—is that we may become a plutocracy. Wealth—mere wealth in its crudest and most unimaginative forms—may be able, through the modern contrivances and machines that become available, to exercise an undue influence.
May I remind the Committee of the South Battersea by-election in the 1924–29 Parliament, which is a good illustration of that. The Chancellor of the Exchequer of those days, the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), had introduced a betting tax and he afterwards said that he encountered the hostility of the bishops and the bookmakers. Those are two classes of the community for neither of whom have I any affection.
What happened at that by-election? The place was flooded out by bookmakers' cars, which came from every part of the country. It was claimed by all the people who were watching the election that its result would be determined very largely by the bookmakers' influence, and it was. [Interruption.] No, the bishops do not count for very much, certainly not electorally. I should be very frightened if any bishop expresed his approval of me. It would probably ruin such chances as I might have in any constituency, whereas I am not at all so sure that if the bookmakers suddenly said that I was a safe man to vote for that might not do me a bit of good.
The Amendment deals with the problem that is presented by the modern fact that there are some corporations, and even individuals, who in this matter could exert great influence—not so much. perhaps, at a General Election, although 1105 the danger is grave there. Anyone who has to fight a candidate supported by the proprietors of the pools will know the way in which an influence is brought to bear. In a by-election particularly, unless the Amendment is accepted, there would he nothing to prevent wealthy corporations who are at loggerheads with the Government of the day from flooding out the constituencies and placing their cars at the disposal, not of the wayfaring man but of the persons who are declared by one or other of the party organisations to be likely to vote as the corporation in question would like them to vote.
I hope that we shall eventually get a democracy in which the great weight will not rest with those people who have enormous masses of crude wealth at their disposal, but that we will have a system of Government under which every man will have an equal opportunity of securing that his vote shall be effective in the community in which he lives. [Interruption.] I shall not be drawn, even by the sudden prompt attention of my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) in what I was saying, into the question of one vote one value.
The Amendment is the real test between the two sides of the House as to whether we stand for democracy or plutocracy. I regard the growing power of many of the wealthy corporations to influence public opinion as the greatest menace to a free democracy that the country has had to encounter since 1885.
This is the second time I have had to oppose a Bill brought in by a Conservative Government that was not mentioned in the speech of the monarch of the day. The first was just after the 1951 election when, not having mentioned the matter in the Gracious Speech, the first Measure that the Government brought in was one to benefit the brewers. Now, we have a second Measure which has been brought in. The Amendment tests in the House of Commons the issue of whether this is a Parliament which is to be governed by the plutocratic friends of right hon. and hon. Members opposite or whether it is to be a place where the bounds of democracy shall be made wider than they have ever been before.
§ Mr. Wigg
I am gratified that the Home Secretary has seen fit to return to the House for a few brief minutes, and I can assure him that, in his absence, the 1106 Attorney-General has stuck very closely to the Home Office brief and to the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman. He, too, has advanced the theory that the Amendment is impracticable because it cannot be enforced. This is really quite absurd. On the spur of the moment, I suggest that that difficulty could be removed by the simple device that, when the licence is issued on 1st January, it should simply provide that the first car shall be one colour, and that all subsequent cars shall be different colours. That would do the trick, because people coming to the poll in a car other than the initial colour would obviously be offending and breaking the law.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)
Would not the Conservative Party be under a great disability? What about the red, white and blue cars?
§ Mr. Wigg
I am not discussing the disabilities of the Conservative Party, or the disabilities of the Labour Party. What we must strive for in a free Parliament is to make sure that it works and that it commands the allegiance of all law-abiding citizens. Of course, there will always be a minority seeking to break the law, but because that minority tends to grow, one does not say "scrap the law". Under the present law, the job of a bank manager has become a most dangerous occupation, and the persons who assail them seem never to be caught, but that is no excuse for saying that we should scrap the law, which says, "You will go to penal servitude if you shoot up a bank manager". What the police hope to get is sufficient support from the population so that these miscreants will be caught.
In a measure which is concerned with the manner in which we conduct our elections, we ought to start with the hypothesis that the overwhelming majority—99.9 per cent.—will, in fact, obey the law, and that we all have a common interest in free elections. We must remember that our democracy is not exactly a flourishing concern in various parts of the world. There are countries which have grown up to independence under our tutelage which look to us for an example. One by one they are turning their backs on a freely-elected assembly which the overwhelming majority of the people support. We are very sorry to see what has happened in the Sudan, whatever the outcome may 1107 be. What a poor example it is for the Mother of Parliaments to turn round and say that the majority party, led by its distinguished Home Secretary, is a bit fearful of the outcome of the next election, so they will rig it a little. That is the message which is going out to the world from this Committee.
Of course, there have always been breaches of the law. I have known them, but the truth will out. I drew attention to them way back in 1952, or even before, and we debated the subject in my own constituency with great amusement. I watched Conservative car after Conservative car draw up in the darkness about a hundred yards from the polling station. I am quite sure that the police authorities knew about it. They did what they could, but it did not make much difference.
Like my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), I can draw on my memory. I can remember the by-election in Battersea, and I also remember that, when serving as an N.C.O. in York, there was a by-election concerning, I think, my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich (Mr. J. Dugdale). I remember being in quarters and watching the car of the G.O.C. with an Army driver in civilian clothes being used in support of the Conservative candidate. It did not do him much good because it was the talk of every sergeants' mess in the garrison, and they did not like the G.O.C. It did not get them anywhere.
Of course, Tories have always been using the power of the Press and these institutions, but we on this side of the Committee have to remember that we have come a long way by fighting and exposing these things, and if we expose them and show them up for the shameful things they are—never mind how distinguished the Home Secretary may be—sooner or later, the truth will prevail. Those who believe in democracy. Those who believe in Socialism and in all the things that the Labour Party stands for, know that eventually, despite the power of wealth, the British people will come to see the truth, and the party on the other side of the Committee will get its just deserts.
I am sorry indeed that a distinguished servant of the public like the Home Secretary should sink so low, because he does 1108 not really believe a word of it. I would not say that he is a Liberal. How could he be? Nevertheless, there are Liberal tinges about him, and that is why he is not Prime Minister.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Dr. Horace King)
I hope the hon. Gentleman will relate his remarks to the Amendment on the Notice Paper.
§ Mr. Wigg
With great respect, Dr. King, I am foremost in this Chamber in obeying the Chair. No one is keener than I am on obeying the rules of order. We are concerned, in this Amendment now under discussion, with whom the next Prime Minister will be. This is concerned with the occupants of the Treasury Bench, and with the composition of the next Government. I am saying that it shows how far the Home Secretary has gone and how far he has sunk from the paths of righteousness that he is now, as it were, carrying out the dictates of a quite irresponsible Conservative Party, which is only concerned with party advantage. This is the great difference between our two parties. On this side of the Committee there is no monopoly of good men. There are here good men and bad men. We are human and this is a human institution. In the terms of the age in which we now live in the second half of the twentieth century, the truth is that we are forward-looking men, in tune with the needs of the times.
§ The Temporary Chairman
With all respect to the hon. Gentleman's respect for the Chair, I must ask him to relate his speech to the Amendment on the Notice Paper and not to the Bill itself.
§ Mr. Wigg
I am only too anxious to do so, but at this moment, in this digression, I was led away by my anxiety to make my point clear. We are concerned with the conditions in which the next General Election will take place. When the electorate comes to decide What happens, it will not only affect this House and the standing of this country throughout the world. The methods whereby that election is held are absolutely vital because if it is thought that any Government—Conservative or Labour; it does not matter which—are deliberately setting out to "cook" the election results, then democracy will perish from the face of the earth.
1109 I am not so silly as to believe that this Measure is so vital. If it were, I would oppose it with all the vigour at my command. I am merely making it plain what it is all about.
§ The Temporary Chairman
I am sorry to have to call the hon. Gentleman to order again, but we are not discussing the Bill or the Clause, but the Amendment on the Notice Paper. The hon. Gentleman must relate his remarks to that Amendment.
§ Mr. Wigg
I am most anxious to do so, Dr. King. We are here discussing an Amendment which endeavours to limit those persons and corporations which have many motor cars to the use of one. The argument put forward by the Attorney-General, which was the same argument as that advanced by the Home Secretary, was not that the matter was objectionable in principle but that it was impracticable. He said that it could not be done, but, in my opening sentences, I destroyed that case.
Another thought has occurred to me even while I have been standing here. The colours of car number plates at present are universally uniform irrespective of the motor cars. We could require motor cars which are owned by persons in excess of one each to have different coloured number plates. Or we could do what was done with potatoes. When it was wanted, they could be stained with dye. Or we could do what we did to German prisoners, put a patch on their knees. If we want to identify motor cars we could put a coloured patch on them or on the drivers.
I have sunk the Attorney-General's main argument, sunk it without trace. We now come back to the question of principle, and this is the most important factor of all. It relates not only to the good standing of the Government but to the good standing of Parliament. That seems to me to be fair and in order, because what we are doing here is rigging the method to be employed at the next election. My case is that this reflects not only on the Conservative Party, but on every single Member of Parliament, because it lowers the standing of Parliament in the eyes of our fellow countrymen and inevitably lowers the standing of Parliament in the eyes of the world 1110 We shall lower the standing of Parliament by refusing to accept a simple Amendment which, were it accepted. would at least give evidence of the Government's good faith. They refuse to accept it for reasons which, as I have already said, have no validity at all.
We then come back to this really serious issue, the question of principle. What do we really ask for? I sympathise with the Home Secretary. I sympathise with the Attorney-General, men for whom I have respect. I have been a Member of Parliament for fourteen years, and I have seen miracles. Of course, they are honourable men, but they are being asked to undertake this dishonourable task. I see the Patronage Secretary sitting there hoping, I presume, to move the Closure. He is an honourable man, but he, too, has become tainted by this sordid, dirty, lousy little Bill, which is born—
§ The Chairman
I do not know whether all that is true or not, but it has nothing to do with the Amendment, has it?
§ Mr. Wigg
I quite agree, Sir Charles, that whether it is dirty or not would hardly be in order, and I am sorry to have gone out of order. What I was saying was that this Amendment deals with methods of election, and, therefore, anything to do with that subject must be in order. It is as simple as that.
§ The Chairman
The hon. Member is wrong. We are concerned with the Amendment, not with anything to do with an election.
§ Mr. Wigg
I have managed to say 99 per cent. of what I wanted to say, and that leaves me with only two things to say. I hope even at this late hour that the Home Secretary will have second thoughts. He may lose his position in the Conservative Party, but he will have saved his own soul. After all, he has not much to lose. I say that in no sneering way, because if the Conservative Party has gone so far that it seeks to win the election by means such as this and wins it, the first victim will be the right hon. Gentleman. A party which feels itself strong enough to throw away every vestige of its Liberalism, which it had to use in order to deceive the public, and which it has used in its title, National-Liberal and Liberal-National and so on, 1111 a party which is prepared, which is forced by circumstances, forced by its back benchers, to throw on one side all that, will have no difficulty whatever in throwing the right hon. Gentleman overboard. Therefore, in asking him to accompany me into the Lobby tonight on this subject I am asking him not only to save his soul but also his political position.
§ Mr. B. T. Parkin (Paddington, North)
The only phrase I disagree with in the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) is the phrase "lateness of the hour". I do not think it is very late, and I think there is still plenty of time to impress upon the Home Secretary, whom we are glad to see now taking charge of his side in the debate on this important Amendment, the importance of the Amendment for not only his own political future but the future of democracy.
I listened patiently, indeed sympathetically, to the mental turmoil of the Attorney-General as he tried to persuade us that, as he saw it, it would be very difficult to enforce the law and that, therefore, the law ought to he abolished. He spoke of the difficulty of enforcing this Amendment. We can all sympathise with the Attorney-General's desire to get a high proportion of convictions in the cases brought before the courts, but he must not overlook the fact that there is another tribunal which judges this matter, and that breaches of this law have another kind of conviction, the conviction in the public mind. Surely that is the most important aspect of all.
It is really not worth while pretending that there is not a difference of interest between the two parties and that the Labour Party would not lose by the indiscriminate letting loose of large groups of vehicles coming from some other constituency, or a large organisation. Of course the Labour Party would lose in rural constituencies.
Every Conservative and Labour Party agent, as we know, knows that his job is to get the votes polled as early in the day as possible, and we know that most of the people available early in the day are Conservatives, and from the Conservative point of view the more cars to get them there the better.
1112 What is worrying the Attorney-General, I think, is not the difficulty of getting convictions in the courts, but the difficulty of controlling his own party, the difficulty of controlling his own supporters, because he knows that when a party dominates the scene by means which public opinion considers to be unfair there grows up a resentment against that party. This would apply just as much to the Labour Party if it were in a position to execute such a manoeuvre in an area.
Our plea, however, is that more damage is done to the institution of democracy as a whole than is done to any one party in particular, by a change in this system. We have struggled for so long to convince the people that democracy could work and that elections could be fair, and they are quick to resent what they consider to be an unfair advantage. This Amendment shows a very simple way of eliminating one of the unfair advantages which could be introduced at the election.
There is time for the Home Secretary to think again, and to accept the Amendment, or even to undertake to produce some sort of compromise on Report, if he can understand the feelings which have been so eloquently put by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley and which are so widely held on this side of the Committee.
§ Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, All Saints)
There are two things I want to say because I think that in one respect, in particular, the Committee has not got to the matter at all. First, I want to draw attention to the premise of the Home Secretary and the Attorney-General, that if a law is always held in disrepute we must do something about it. If we were to look round the country for laws held in disrepute we should find licensing and gambling and Sunday observance laws which are held far more in disrepute in this country than this one.
Although it would be out of order, I suspect, to develop the theme at great length, I intend to put a Question to the Home Secretary, at short notice, asking what action the Government intend to take in these matters, which are of far more importance to the general public, perhaps, than this one.
The main point I want to make is this. We have heard a lot of talk by both sides and by the Home Secretary about the effect that the Bill will have on Conservative and Labour voters.
1113 I certainly share the views of my hon. and right hon. Friends that this will have a worse effect on our fortunes than on the fortunes of hon. Members opposite. We do not stand as Labour candidates or Conservative candidates. We stand at election as "Mr. Jones," or "Mr. Brawn." That is the law. It seems to me that the question of an independent candidate is one which should not go by default in these discussions. Just as it is quite right that we should not allow the Tories to rig the electoral law to their advantage, we should make clear to the Home Secretary that this provision will rule out of court the possibility of any independent candidate, who has a right under our Constitution to stand, to have a fair deal at an election. We should give attention to this point.
The Bill is loaded against an individual who wishes to exercise his democratic right and stand as an independent candidate. Under the existing system, which provides for a restriction on the number of cars, the independent candidate has a much fairer opportunity of standing and I am very sorry that the position of independent candidates is now to be reversed. I hope that the Home Secretary will pay attention to the point I make that independent candidates, especially if the Amendment is defeated, will be in a much worse position.
Although we have our own party loyalties to the Labour Party or the Conservative Party we should not ignore in these matters the right of any individual to stand as a candidate, and I am sorry that the Government should be depriving the individual of his rights in these matters.
§ Mr. Charles Pannell (Leeds, West)
I do not believe that the Home Secretary has begun to think yet how wide the law will be after the Bill is carried. I have heard no one refer to the large number of cars which are now owned by people who allow others to hire and drive them. There is nothing in the Bill to prevent a wealthy person who owns a number of cars and who lets them out on a "hire and drive yourself" arrangement from hiring them out to all sorts of party workers to drive people to the poll, especially if the election should be held during the off-season when he is not hiring his cars out to tourists and foreign visitors.
1114 Something should be said in the Bill about the ownership of individual vehicles. I will not go into tedious repetition about cars owned by big corporations. My hon. Friends have had something to say about the large number of cars owned by private firms and, of course, to a degree subject to some form of Income Tax rebate. There are examples of big corporations which have probably dozens and in some cases hundreds of cars, and very often these are the firms which pay for and indulge in publicity on behalf of the party opposite. What would be more natural for a commercial traveller driving a car for "Mr. Cube" than to be expected by "Mr. Cube" to drive that car on election day to carry people to the poll?
I do not think that anybody here would quarrel with the principle that a man's political liberty should not be conditioned by the political wishes of his employer. One can remember the political victimisation that took place in the past. One can recall the days of the McKenna Duties, about 1923–24 and can remember a meeting held at Morris Motors, Cowley, and a couple of truculent questions being asked of a Conservative candidate and the men concerned being fired forthwith. Nobody suggests, in this time of full employment, that any man can be conditioned in his political allegiance by the feelings of his employer. If the employees of "Mr. Cube" believed that the public interest would be better served if the company were nationalised, I do not suggest that they should be allowed to use "Mr. Cube's" motor cars to drive his opponents to the poll, but neither should they be put in a position of being told that they must drive "Mr. Cube's" supporters to the poll.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
Surely this matter is the subject of the next Amendment. That is why I was anxious that we should be able to consider it. It is related to cars which are the subject of an initial allowance, and therefore it deals with business cars. I think that we have ventilated the subject on this Amendment, and I should have thought that the point now being made by the hon. Member would have been raised on the next Amendment, subject, of course, to the Chair.
§ Mr. Pannell
If the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to listen to a speech from me on the next Amendment, I will do my best to discuss this matter. though probably at a later hour.
What about those who drive cars owned by operators who lend out cars to people to hire and drive themselves? It appears to me that the Bill lends itself wide open to corruption in that respect. I always understood the Home Secretary's view and the Conservative Party's view, though I do not share it, that a man should be reasonably free to drive a motor car not only on behalf of his family but for his friends. But I think that the Home Secretary should hedge this provision round to make that the limit and not bring in cars from driving schools, "drive yourself" operators, private fleets and all that kind of thing. After all, a wealthy man could quite easily pass over a sum of money to the owner of a great fleet of these cars and it would be very difficult to trace such a transaction, of which I do not think the Home Secretary would approve.
I represent one of the Leeds divisions which in the course of boundary extensions to the west side of Leeds has taken in many small towns that were previously independent. Although most of the district is urban it is rather scattered, and anybody who saw my constituency would know full well that one could use at least the full quota of cars now allowed under the law and probably more. Yet, apart from a by-election in 1945, which everybody appreciates was a special case, I have never once had a full complement of cars. I advance that as an argument to show that, despite the spread of car ownership, there is not all that number of cars available, at least to a Labour candidate. I have seen at a municipal by-election a Conservative candidate, who was defeated at a Parliamentary election, bring more cars into one ward than I had for the Parliamentary election.
I believe that hon. and right hon. Members opposite aimed by means of this Bill, and thought it fair from their point of view, to allow a man who owns a car complete freedom to do what he likes with it on polling day on behalf of the Conservative Party. I appreciate that point of view, but that provision should be subject to amendment in Committee, or the Government themselves should 1116 draw the Bill so tightly as to make that limited objective the end of the Bill and not leave it open to the wide abuse which is now possible under this Measure.
§ Mr. Wigg
I am sure that the Home Secretary would wish to be fair, but he seems to be heading off my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, West (Mr. C. Pannell) from elaborating his point. One must anticipate that, in view of the Government's majority, the Home Secretary would not respond to an invitation from me to come into the Lobby in support of this Amendment and that the Amendment will be rejected by the Government. We shall then go on to the next Amendment which deals with what happens to those cars purchased through an initial allowance. If that Amendment be rejected, the Committee will be in the position of having rejected an Amendment dealing with cars bought through an initial allowance. Perhaps even the Home Secretary might wish to limit the number of such cars which can be used.
In other words, in deciding the matter in principle, we leave open the question of how many cars can be used. I should have thought the Home Secretary would wish to give the Committee his advice on this detailed point before we part from this Amendment. If the right hon. Gentleman makes no effort to rise and address the Committee, should I be in order, Sir Charles, in moving a Motion, "That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again", so that the Home Secretary may have time to consider this important point? I await your Ruling. If you will accept such a Motion, I will move it and give my reason, Sir Charles.
§ The Chairman
The Question is, "That Strangers do withdraw".
As many as are in favour say "Aye" Those against say "No".
I think the Ayes have it.
§ Mr. Skeffington
May I draw your attention, Sir Charles, to the fact that the Motion, "That Strangers do withdraw," has been carried?
§ The Chairman
No, I am in charge of the Committee. Will the Serjeant at Arms please order that the Galleries be cleared?
§ Mr. Butler
On a point of order, Sir Charles. When you put the Question as raised by the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), one of my hon. Friends said, "No."—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—This is a fact. My hon. Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Redmayne) said "No", and was heard to say "No". Therefore, I ask you, in those circumstances, whether you will put the Question again—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—so that the matter may be decided and the Noes may have a chance of exercising their vote?
§ The following record of the subsequent business is taken from the Votes and Proceedings:—
§ Original Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 187, Noes 245.
|Division No. 8]||AYES||[8.35 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Blenkinsop, A.||Butler, Mrs. Joyoe (Wood Green)|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Blyton, W. R.||Callaghan, L. J.|
|Albu, A. H.||Boardman, H.||Carmichael, J.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Castle, Mrs. B. A.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Champion, A. J.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Bowles, F. G.||Chapman, W. D.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Clunie, J.|
|Balfour, A.||Brookway, A. F.||Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Crossman, R. H. S.|
|Benson, Sir George||Burke, W. A.||Cullen, Mrs. A.|
|Beswick, Frank||Burton, Miss F. E.||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.|
|Blackburn, F.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Darling, George (Hillsborough)|
|Deer, G.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Reid, William|
|Delargy, H. J.||King, Dr. H. M.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Diamond, John||Ledger, R. J.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Dye, S.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Lindgren, G. S.||Ross, William|
|Edelman, M.||Logan, D. G.||Royle, C.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Short, E. W.|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||McCann, J.||Skeffington, A. M.|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||MacColl, J. E.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|McGhee, H. G.||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Finch, H. J.||McInnes, J.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Fitch, Alan||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Fletcher, Eric||McLeavy, Frank||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Stonehouse, John|
|Gooch, E. G.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mahon, Simon||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Grey, C. F.||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)||Mitchison, G. R.||Timmons, J.|
|Hale, Leslie||Moody, A. S.||Tomney, F.|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (come Valley)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Usborne, H. C.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewis'm,S.)||Viant, S. P.|
|Hannan, W.||Mort, D. L.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Hastings. S.||Moss, R.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Moyle, A.||Weitzman, D.|
|Healey, Denis||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Owen, W. J.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Holman, P.||Paget, R. T.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Howell, Denis (All Saints||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Hoy, J. H.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Wigg, George|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Pargiter, G. A.||Wilkins, W.A.|
|Hunter, A. E.||Parker, J.||Willey Frederick|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Parkin, B. T.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Paton, John||Williams, Rev. Llwelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Peart, T. F.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. Hon.(Don Valley)|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Pentland, N.||Williams, W. T. (Openshaw)|
|Janner, B.||Popplewell, E.||Williams, T. (Barons Court)|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Prentice, R. E.||Willis. Eustace(Edinburgh, E.)|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Johnson, James (Rugby)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Probert, A. R.||Woof, R. E.|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creeeh(Wakefield)||Proctor, W. T.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Jones, David (The Hartlepool)||Randall, H. E.|
|Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Rankin, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Redhead, E. C.||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Holmes.|
|Kenyon, C.||Reeves, J.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Burden, F. F. A.||Farey-Jones, F. W.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Fell, A.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Butier,Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)||Finlay, Graeme|
|Arbuthnot, John||Campbell, Sir David||Fisher, Nigel|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Carr, Robert||Freeth, Denzil|
|Atkins, H. E.||Cary, Sir Robert||Gammons, Lady|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||George, J. C. (Pollok)|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Cole, Norman||Glover, D.|
|Barber, Anthony||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Glyn, Col. Richard H.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Cooke, Robert||Godber, J. B.|
|Barter, John||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Goodhart, Philip|
|Batsford, Brian||Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Gower, H. R.|
|Beemish,Col. Tufton||Crosthwalte-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Bennett, Ronald (Bucks.S.)||Cunningham, Knox||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Bennett J. Dr. Reginald||Dance, J. C. G.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Davidson, Viscountess||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Deedes, W. F.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Bingham, R. M.||de Ferranti, Basil||Hare, Rt. Hon. J.H.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)|
|Black, C. W.||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Body, R. F.||Doughty, C. J. A.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Drayson, G. B.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||du Cann, E. D. L.||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Braine, B. R.||Duncan, Sir James||Hay, John|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Elliott,R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne,N.)||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Errington, Sir Eric||Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.|
|Bryan, P.||Erroll, F. J.||Hesketh, R.|
|Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Harold(Bromley)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Hill. John (S. Norfolk)||Maddan, Martin||Russell, R. S.|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Sharples, R. C.|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Shepherd, William|
|Hornby, R. P.||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Horobin, Sir Ian||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Marshall, Douglas||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Mathew, R.||Speir, R. M.|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Mawby, R. L.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Hyde, Montgomery||Nairn, D. L. S.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Iremonger, T. L..||Neave, Airey||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Nicholls, Harmar||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne).|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Nicolson, N.(B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Teeling, W.|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Noble, Michael (Argyll)||Temple, John M.|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Joseph, Sir Keith||Oakshott, H. D.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Kaberry, D.||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Keegan, D.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Kimball, M.||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Kirk, P. M.||Osborne, C.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Lagden, G. W.||Page, R. G.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Partridge, E.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Leavey, J. A.||Peel, W. J.||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Leburn, W. G.||Peyton, J. W. W.||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Wade, D. W.|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire,W.)|
|Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Pitman, I. J.||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Pott, H. P.||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Powell, J. Enoch||Webster, David|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford&Chiswick)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Ramsden, J. E.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|McAdden, S. J.||Rawlinson, Peter||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Redmayne, M.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Renton, D. L. M.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Mr. Gibson-Watt and|
|MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Robson Brown, Sir William||Mr. Chichester-Clarke.|
§ The Chairman
When I put the Question, "That Strangers do withdraw" there were shouts of "Aye". I did not hear a single "No", and, therefore, I thought that the Ayes had it, so I declared that the Ayes had it.
§ Mr. Martin Redmayne (Lord Commissioner of the Treasury)
I said "No"—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—and I was heard to say "No" by an hon. Friend behind me. It is also my impression that I said "No" again when the Question was put a second time.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Surely, Sir Charles, when once you have declared the Question carried that is an end of the thing and it is merely challenging your Ruling if the Lord Privy Seal and the hon. Member for Rushcliffe (Mr. Redmayne) raise points of order. Have you not already given a Ruling?
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
May I ask whether it is correct, Sir Charles, that a point of order should be raised during a period when your instructions are being carried out?
§ The Chairman
Yes, it is quite in order. So far as the Galleries are concerned, we do not know that they are there.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
On a point of order. I am ready to accept your Ruling, Sir Charles, but it is right for me to raise the point—
§ 8.27 p.m.
§ Strangers withdrew.1118
§ Mr. James Griffiths
moved, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again, but the Chairman, pursuant to Standing Order No. 26 (Dilatory motion in abuse of rules of House), declined to propose the Question thereupon to the Committee.
Another Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 8, after the word "candidate)", to insert the words "shall no longer have effect save in relation to any motor vehicle for which an initial allowance has been made under section two hundred
§ (2) Paragraph (b) of subsection (3) subsections (4) and (5) and paragraph (c) of subsection (6) of the said section"—[Mr. Mitchison]:—
§ Question put, That those words be there inserted:—The Committee deveded: Ayes 184, Noes 237.1118
|Division No. 9.]||AYES]||[9.25 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Blenkinsop, A.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Blyton, W. R.||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)|
|Albu, A. H.||Boardman, H.||Callaghan, L. J.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Carmichael, J.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Castle, Mrs. B. A.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Bowles, F. G.||Champion, A. J.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Chapman, W. D.|
|Balfour, A.||Brockway, A. F.||Clunie, J.|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.|
|Benson, Sir George||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)|
|Beswick, Frank||Burke, W. A.||Corbet, Mrs. Freda|
|Blackburn, F.||Burton, Miss F. E.||Craddock. George (Bradford, S.)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Randall, H. E.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Rankin, John|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Kenyon, C.||Redhead, E. C.|
|Deer, G.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Reeves, J.|
|Delargy, H. J.||Ledger, R. J.||Reid, William|
|Diamond, John||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Dye, S.||Lindgren, G. S.||Ross, William|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Logan, D. G.||Royle, C.|
|Edelman, M.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Short, E. W.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Carephiffy)||McAlister, Mrs. Mary||Skeffington, A. M.|
|McCann, J.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||MacColl, J. E.||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||McGhee, H. G.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||McInnes, J.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Fernyhough, E.||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Finch, H. J.||McLeavy, Frank||Stonehouse, John|
|Fitch, Alan||MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Fletcher, Eric||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Stross,Dr.Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent,C.)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mahon, Simon||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Grey, C. F.||Mitchlson, G. R.||Timmons, J.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Monslow, W.||Tomney, F.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)||Moody, A. S.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvll (Colne Valley)||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Viant, S. P.|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Morrison,Rt.Hn.Herbert(Lewls'm,S.)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Hannan, W.||Mort, D. L.||Watkins, T. E.|
|Hastings, S.||Moss, R.||Weitzman, D.|
|Hayman, F. H.||Moyle, A.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Healey, Denis||Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Orbach, M.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Holman, P.||Owen, W. J.||Wigg, George|
|Holman, Horace||Paget, R. T.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Howell, Denis (All Saints)||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearn Valley)||Willey, Frederick|
|Hoy, J. H.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Pargiter, G. A.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Hunter, A. E.||Parker, J.||Williams, Richard (Openshaw)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Parkin, B. T.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Paton, John||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Peart, T. F.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Pentland, N.||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Janner, B.||Popplewell, E.||Woof, R. E.|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Prentice, R. E.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Probed, A. R.||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Rogers.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Elliott,R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne,N.)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bryan, P.||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Burden, F. F. A.||Errington, Sir Eric|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Erroll, F. J.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A.(Saffron Walden)||Farey-Jones, F. W.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Campbell, Sir David||Fell, A.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Carr, Robert||Finlay, Graeme|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Cole, Norman||Fisher, Nigel|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Freeth, Denzil|
|Barber, Anthony||Cooke, Robert||Gammans, Lady|
|Barlow, Sir John||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||George, J. C. (Pollok)|
|Barter, John||Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Glbson-Watt, D.|
|Batsford, Brian||Craddock, Beresford (Speithorne)||Glover, D.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Glyn, Col. Richard H.|
|Beamish, Col. Tufton||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Godber, J. B.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Goodhart, Philip|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks. S.)||Cunningham, Knox||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Currie, G. B. H.||Gower, H. R.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Dance, J. C. C.||Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Davidson, Viscountess||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)|
|Bingham, R. M.||D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Deedes, W. F.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Black, C. W.||de Ferranti, Basil|
|Body, R. F.||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.|
|Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Hon. J. A.||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Doughty, C. J. A.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Braine, B. R.||Drays.n, G. B.||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maiden)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||du Cann, E. D. L.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Duncan, Sir James||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vera (Macclesf'd)|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Hay, John||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Heald, At. Hon. Sir Lionel||Maddan, Martin||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Hesketh, R. F.||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Russell, R. S.|
|Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Sharples, R. C.|
|Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Shepherd, William|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Marshall, Douglas||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Mathew, R.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Hornby, R. P.||Mawby, R. L.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Horobin, Sir Ian||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Speir, R. M.|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Nairn, D. L. S.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Neave, Airey||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Nicholls, Harmar||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.)||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Nicolson, N.(B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Noble, Michael (Argyll)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Nugent, G. R. H.||Teeling, W.|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Oakshott, H. D.||Temple, John M.|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Johnson, Erie (Blackley)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Joseph, Sir Keith||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Kaberry, D.||Osborne, C.||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Keegan, D.||Page, R. G.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Kimball, M.||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Kirk, P. M.||Partridge, E.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Lagden, G. W.||Peel, W. J.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Peyton, J. W. W.||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|Leavey, J. A.||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Wade, D. W.|
|Leburn, W. G,||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Pitman, I. J.||Walker-Smith, At. Hon. Derek|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Ward, At. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Pott, H. P.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Powell, J. Enoch||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Webster, David|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Ramsden, J. E.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|McAdden, S. J.||Rawlinson, Peter||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Redmayne, M.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Maclay, At. Hon. John||Renton, D. L. M.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Rippon, A. G. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Mr. Legh and Mr. Chichester-Clarke.|
|MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
§ Another Amendment proposed, in page 1, line 8, to leave out from the word "candidate)" to the end of line 11 and add the words "shall no longer have effect save in relation to twice the number of motor vehicles referred to in subsection (4) of that section"—[Mr. Dye]:—1118
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 216, Noes 162.1118
|Division No. 10.]||AYES||[10.12 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Body, R. F.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Crowder, Petra (Ruislip—Northwood)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Cunningham, Knox|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Boyle, Sir Edward||Currie, C. B. H.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Brain., B. R.||Dance, J. C. G.|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Davidson, Viscountess|
|Atkins, H. E.||Brooman-White, R. C.||D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry|
|Baldwin, Sir Archer||Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Deedes, W. F.|
|Barber, Anthony||Bryan, P.||de Ferranti, Basil|
|Barlow, Sir John||Burden, F. F. A.||Digby, Simon Wingfield|
|Barter, John||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Dodds-Parker, A. D.|
|Batstord, Brian||Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. Saffron Walden)||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Carr, Robert||Doughty, C. J. A.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Chichester-Clark, R.||Drayson, G. B.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Cole, Norman||du Cann, E. D. L.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Duncan, Sir James|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Cooke, Robert||Elliott,R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne,N.)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Cooper, A. E.||Errington, Sir Eric|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Erroll, F. J.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Farey-Jones, F. W.|
|Black, C. W,||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Fell, A.|
|Finlay, Graeme||Leavey, J. A.||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Fisher, Nigel||Leburn, W. G.||Ramsden, J. E.|
|Forrest, G.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Freeth, Denzil||Linstead, Sir H. N.||Redmayne, M.|
|Gibson-Watt, D.||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Glover, D.||Loveys, Walter H.||Renton, D. L. M.|
|Glyn, Col. Richard H.||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Ridsdaie, J. E.|
|Godber, J. B.||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Rippon, A. G. F.|
|Goodhart, Phllip||Macdonald, Sir Peter||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Gower, H. R.||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)|
|Grant, Rt. Hon. W. (Woodside)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.(Nantwich)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Sharples, R. C.|
|Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Shepherd, William|
|Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough. W.)|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.||Maddan, Martin||Speir, R. M.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich,W.)|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (MacClesf'd)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Stoddart-Scott, Cot. Sir Malcolm|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Head, R Hon. A. H.||Marshall, Douglas||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Mathew, R.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G.||Mawby, R. L.||Temple, John M.|
|Hesketh, R. F.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Thompson, R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Nairn, D. L. S.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Neave, Airey||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Nicholls, Harmar||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Hornby, R. P.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Noble, Michael (Argyll)||Vosper, Rt. Hon. D. F.|
|Hughes, Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Nugent, G. R. H.||Wade, D. W.|
|Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim. N.)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S)||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian (Hendon, N.)||Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)|
|Hyde, Montgomery||Osborne, C.||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Page, R. G.||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Webster, David|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Partridge, E.||Whitelaw, W, E. I.|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Peel, W. J.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Peyton, J. W. W.||Willis, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Joseph, Sir Keith||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Kaberry, D.||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Woollam, John Victor|
|Keegan, D.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Kimball, M.||Pitman, I. J.|
|Kirk, P. M.||Pitt, Miss E. M.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Pott, H. P.||Mr. Oakshott and Mr. Legh.|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Powell, J. Enoch|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Hayman, F. H.|
|Albu, A. H.||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Healey, Denis|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Holman, P.|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Deer, G.||Holmes, Horace|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Delargy, H. J.||Howell, Denis (All Saints)|
|Awbery, S. S.||Diamond, John||Hoy, J. H.|
|Balfour, A.||Dodds, N. N.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Dye, S.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Benson, Sir George||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hunter, A. E.|
|Beswick, Frank||Edelman, M.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Blackburn, F.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Janner, B.|
|Boardman, H.||Fernyhough, E.||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.|
|Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.)||Finch, H. J.||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Bowles, F. G.||Fitch, Alan||Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech(Wakefield)|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Fletcher, Eric||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Gooch, E. G.||Kenyon, C.|
|Burke, W. A.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Greenwood, Anthony||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Genfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Carmichael, J.||Grey, C. F.||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Champion, A. J.||Griffiths, David (Rother valley)||Logan, D. G.|
|Coldrick, W.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||McAlister, Mrs. Mary|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hamilton, W. W.||McCann, J.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hannan, W.||MacColl. J. E.|
|McGhee, H. G.||Pentland, N.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|McInnes, J.||Popplewell, E.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Prentice, R. E.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|MacMillan, M. K. (Western Isles)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Timmons, J.|
|Mahon, Simon||Probert, A. R.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Randall, H. E.||Warbey, W. N.|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Rankin, John||Watkins, T. E.|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Redhead, E. C.||Weitzman, D.|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Monslow, W.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Moody, A. S.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Ross, William||Wigg, George|
|Moss, R.||Royle, C.||Willey, Frederick|
|Moyle, A.||Short, E. W.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Neal, Harold (Bolsover)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Skeffington, A. M.||Williams, Richard (Openshaw)|
|Orbach, M.||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Owen, W. J.||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Sorensen, R. W.||Woof, R. E.|
|Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Spriggs, Leslie||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Stonehouse, John|
|Parker, J.||Stones, W. (Consett)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Parkin, B. T.||Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,c.)||Mr. Pearson and Mr. Wilkins.|
|Peart, T. F.||Sylvester, G. O.|
§ The CHAIRMAN, being of the opinion that the principle of the Clause and any matters arising thereon had been adequately discussed in the course of debate on the Amendments proposed thereto, forthwith put the Question, pursuant to Standing Order No. 45 (Debate on clause standing part), That the Clause stand part of the Bill:—Question agreed to.
§ Clause 2 agreed to.
§ Bill to be reported.
§ Bill reported, without Amendment; to he read the Third time Tomorrow.