HC Deb 27 July 1960 vol 627 cc1691-2

Lords Amendment: In page 2, line 15, at end insert: (4A) No person who for the time being is employed in the civil service of the Crown whether in an established capacity or not, and whether for the whole or part of his time, shall be appointed to the Mental Welfare Commission; and for the purposes of this subsection 'civil service of the Crown' includes the civil service of Northern Ireland, Her Majesty's Foreign Service and Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service.

5.33 p.m.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith)

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

The Amendment makes it impossible for a civil servant to be appointed as a Commissioner on the Mental Welfare Commission and so puts beyond any doubt the independence of the Commission. The Amendment meets an undertaking given by my right hon. Friend on Report.

Dr. J. Dickson Mabon (Greenock)

I am very disappointed that the Joint Under-Secretary has not been more charitable in his remarks. If he will re-read the report of the Report stage and of our proceedings in Committee he will see that we tried to convince him and his right hon. Friend of the wisdom of putting in words of this kind. Admittedly our efforts were hardly satisfactory; we never pretended that they were. But we needed something of this kind. The hon. Gentleman might have complimented hon. Members on this side of the House on their persistence in ultimately driving the Government to make a distinction of this kind.

The Amendment is very welcome to my hon. Friends. It gets over many of the difficulties we foresaw. In fact, it is much wider in its implications than many of us expected, and I have no doubt that it will receive an all-round welcome. I am sure that a welcome will be given to it even by some of our critics in the medical Press, who said that this matter might have been pressed less vehemently by the Opposition. I think that we have done a good job, and I am sorry that the Joint Under-Secretary has not paid us the gracious tribute that we so thoroughly deserve.

Question put and agreed to.