HC Deb 23 June 1960 vol 625 cc680-701

3.40 p.m.

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

I beg to move, in page 1, line 15, to leave out "Board" and to insert "Commission".

This Amendment fulfils an undertaking which I gave in Committee to try to find a different name. I hope that the choice of "Commission" rather than "Board" will satisfy hon. Members who were worried about what they felt was a name with a nineteenth-century tang about it.

Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)

We on this side are glad that the Amendment has been tabled. It meets a point which was very strongly made in Committee, particularly by my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton). It takes away any of the stigma which is perhaps attached to the word "Board". We welcome the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 1, line 16, leave out "Board" and insert "Commission".

In line 17, leave out "Board" and insert "Commission".

In page 2, line 1, leave out "Board" and insert "Commission".—[Mr. Galbraith.]

Mr. Galbraith

I beg to move, in page 2, line 2, to leave out from beginning to "of" and to insert: seven and not more than nine commissioners (including at least one woman)". The effect of the Amendment is, first, to increase the minimum number of commissioners of the Mental Welfare Commission from five to seven and the maximum from seven to nine, and, secondly, to require that one commissioner at least shall be a woman. Both changes are made to meet undertakings which I gave in Committee.

Dr. J. Dickson Mabon (Greenock)

We on this side congratulate the Joint Under-Secretary of State on this victory for common sense. There is the preservation of the hon. Gentleman's argument about flexibility here, and we have never disputed that. We are glad, however, that the hon. Gentleman has been willing to extend the minimum number from five to seven. We think that this meets the point, particularly when taken with some later Amendments. I hope, however, that the good strain of reasonableness which has persisted for so long will continue, particularly on one of the later Amendments which I hope that we shall be discussing soon.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 2, line 3, leave out "and".—[Mr. Galbraith.]

Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, West)

I beg to move, in page 2, line 4, after the first "commissioners", to insert: two of whom shall have full-time appointments". The Joint Under-Secretary of State will recall that in Committee I sought to make three of the appointments full-time, including the chairman. In the subsequent discussion the Joint Under-Secretary rejected the idea of a full-time chairman, and opinion on this side was inclined to accept his advice, although I had reservations about it. However, the Joint Under-Secretary agreed that there ought to be two full-time medical commissioners. That undertaking is not incorporated in the Bil, nor is it in any Amendment in the name of the Secretary of State. I should like to know why the undertaking given by the hon. Gentleman in Committee is not fulfilled in any Amendment on the Notice Paper.

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. John Maclay)

The major point raised by the Amendment is a matter to which I have given the most careful and anxious consideration, together with my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State and my advisers.

In the course of my hon. Friend's remarks in Committee, he said that it was our intention to appoint two full-time commissioners. That remains the case, but it is true that we are not writing it into the Bill. I will try to explain the full reasons for that. I recognise that a major point is involved, and I have given very anxious thought to it and taken very full advice. I still think that It would be a mistake for us to accept the Amendment as it is drafted or in any form into which it might be put to make it workable.

This is a difficult point. The clearest way is to go through the Amendment and the three distinct points which it raises, because if I do that I shall have a better chance of making my reasons absolutely clear. First, it is important that the Commission should have at its disposal, both in its own membership and among its officers, an adequate number of doctors with the necessary qualifications and experience to enable it to discharge its duties effectively. We all accept that. I intend to ensure that.

As my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary said in Committee, there will be three doctors on the Commission, all of whom must obviously have background and experience in psychiatry. In addition, under subsection (5) the Secretary of State of the day is charged with the responsibility of providing the Commission with such other medical staff as it requires. These doctors will be comparable to the present deputy commissioners of the Board of Control, who, over the years, have done very valuable work. It is obvious that the precise number to be appointed under subsection (5) will have to be the subject of discussion with the Commission from time to time. What I have in mind at present is that the Commission should start with at least three under subsection (5).

The second point that emerges is the independence of the doctors on the Commission. This is a point on which I know that hon. Members opposite feel very strongly. It was raised by the hon. Member for. Greenock (Dr. Dickson Mabon) in Committee. After all our examination, I feel that it is a point about which there need be no difference of opinion. I have it definitely in mind that the medical members of the Commission should in the Government service hold appointments for the Commission only and serve the Commission only. They will not be, as the present commissioners of the Board of Control are, both commissioners and medical officers of the Secretary of State's Department. The Dunlop Committee recommends that this arrangement should be discontinued, and I propose to follow its recommendation. Therefore, there should be no question of the medical commissioners being in any way susceptible to outside control from the Secretary of State because of the nature of their appointment.

We have come to this decision after a good deal of heart searching, because the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) and other hon. Members opposite will remember that in the 1945–50 Parliament there was general agreement that the dual arrangement was a good one. We have thought about that, and have come to the conclusion that the Dunlop Committee's recommendations should be followed; and I know how strongly hon. Members opposite feel about the recommendations of that Committee.

The third point is whether, to give this independence, it is necessary also to provide in the Statute that they should serve the Commission and no one else for the whole of their time. That is the real difficulty in this Amendment. The Opposition have already accepted, in Standing Committee, that it would be a good thing for one medical member to be a psychiatrist, serving the Commission on a part-time basis and serving the rest of his time in the hospital service. It is clearly desirable, I agree, that the Commission should have a doctor who is facing the day-to-day problems of the practice of psychiatry and can give it the benefit of his advice from this angle.

As for the other two commissioners—and it is to those that this Amendment really refers—it is my intention that the initial appointment should be on a whole-time basis. There is unlikely to be any difficulty in obtaining doctors with the necessary qualifications and experience to serve on this basis, but it could happen—and this is really the reason for my resisting the Amendment—at some future date that a doctor whom the Secretary of State of the day, as the adviser on these Crown appointments, the Commission itself and the psychiatrists generally regarded as the best person to be appointed, was someone who, while willing to serve on the Commission, was not anxious to sever his connection altogether with his other work.

This need not necessarily be a question of terms of service or remuneration. The best man for the job at a given period might well wish to pursue his clinical work or research on a limited basis. He might, for example, be a university teacher who was reluctant to forgo altogether his connection with teaching and with academic work. Obviously, he could not be a medical commissioner and give the major part of his time to these other duties.

It seems undesirable to have something in the Statute that would forbid altogether an arrangement by which he gave, say, four-fifths of his time to the Commission and used the rest of his time in clinical work, research, or teaching. It would be most unfortunate to be unable to get the right people who could give the Commission the experience and the standing it needs on the medical side.

It is not merely a question of the amount of time, because it would always be possible to substitute two part-time medical commissioners for a whole-time commissioner, and by that means obtain more than the equivalent of a whole-time medical member. As has been pointed out in earlier Amendments, the flexibility in the membership of the Commission makes that possible. As I have said, this situation will not arise in the immediate future, but it may well arise at some point, and I suggest that we should not write into the Statute something that could deprive the Commission at a particular juncture of the services of the people who, at that time, might be best qualified to serve on it.

I hope that the House will accept my reasons for rejecting the Amendment. As I say, I have taken very extensive advice on this matter, and I can say that the medical opinion that I have been able to contact entirely agrees with my line of thought. I must, therefore, ask the House to reject the Amendment.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

I am sure that most of my hon. Friends will be as astonished as I am at that reply. During our proceedings in the Standing Committee the Joint Under-Secretary, or the Secretary of State—I am not sure which—charged my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Springburn (MT. Forman) with riding two horses at one and the same time, but that is exactly what has happened here.

First, I am rather pleased that the general principle behind our Amendment has been conceded, namely, that the independence of these men is to be sought to be secured, if not by statutory means at least administratively. That is really the nub of the argument, but this qualification that the right hon. Gentleman has brought in—while he put forward a fairly good case to justify it—seems to us to rob the principle of its validity. It completely undermines it. If we do not have the words written in, it is quite possible for the independence of these commissioners to be affected in practice.

The Government may subscribe to what the Secretary of State has said, but it does not follow that any other Secretary of State or any other Government would necessarily follow the practice he has initiated, and there is no statutory means by which we can ensure the independence of the commissioners unless we write into the Bill that they are to be full time. We stick to this argument, and I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. W. Hamilton) is with me here. Unless we write it in, we have no guarantee that the independence of these full-time commissioners will be preserved.

This is not a minor point. The Secretary of State himself, on Second Reading, in a very long speech—and, very rightly a long speech—explaining the Bill, talked, first, not about the nine parts or about all the Schedules to the Bill, but about the three main threads running through it. He took as one of the three main threads the independence of the Mental Welfare Commission—what, in fact, the Dunlop Committee recommended—and spent the earlier part of his speech saying that he was pleased to support the idea of the liberty of the subject being preserved. He said: Wherever there has been legitimate doubt, we have tried to come down on the side of the patient's liberty by including the most ample safeguards we could devise. It is for this reason, as I shall explain later, that we have retained the Sheriff's part in the procedure for compulsory detention and we have retained an independent central body, the Mental Welfare Board."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th February, 1960; Vol. 617, c. 254.] The right hon. Gentleman said later, in a reference that was supported by the Joint Under-Secretary of State in Standing Committee, that the dichotomy of function of the General Board of Control would not be repeated in the Mental Welfare Commission.

Now, once again, the right hon. Gentleman says that he agrees with that, but says that we must not write it into the Statute. I have listened to the substance of his argument as closely as I could, but I cannot quite follow his objection here. There seems to be a basic assumption on the Government side that I do not understand, and perhaps the Minister will explain it further. The assumption is, as the right hon. Gentleman said, that perhaps the man can spend four-fifths of his time only on this work.

In case I become obscure, I am now talking about the two commissioners. I am not talking about the third one—the part-time senior consultant. We are not talking about him—we are taking him out of it, altogether. He is entitled to carry on with his private practice, or consultant practice, or whatever he likes—that is his business.

4.0 p.m.

We are talking about the two commissioners. The assumption on the Government side seems to be that those two commissioners will not be working at full pressure. I cannot understand that. I know that someone may say that in thirty years' time we shall have taken such strides in mental treatment that we shall not have half the number of patients in mental hospitals that we have today. Nobody can really prophesy in terms sufficient to convince us that that will be so, but it is an argument for saying that we should amend the Bill in thirty years' time, or whenever it may be. Nevertheless, we cannot prophesy that, or anticipate anything like it.

We can go only on the facts of today, and the facts are these. We have 20,000 patients presently in mental institutions—a large number of them compulsorily detained. We have about 6,000 mental defectives, and they are in the queue—not accommodated as yet. We shall have a tremendous administrative inflow and outflow. There will be art enormous volume of work in the next five years, and I cannot see how the two commissioners wild not be fully occupied.

What about the future? Can the Secretary of State convince himself that these two men will not require to work full time, and that one can give four-fifths of his time to this work and one-fifth of his time to other matters? I cannot see the case here. There is, of course, the argument, "Let us have a man who does not spend all his time at this work, because we want him to keep abreast of developments." That is another argument, but, unless I misunderstood him. the Secretary of State has not used it.

If that is the case, I say that those are arguments for having three full-time commissioners on the basis he suggested and not two, because there is no substance in the point made by the Government that, in fact, the volume of work will decrease appreciably in the next decade—and I do not see how we can legislate beyond ten years in a matter that has so many imponderables. I therefore do not think that the case has been made out.

We feel very strongly about this, because if we surrender, if we do not write in the words "full time" we open the door to the vitiation of the independence of the Mental Welfare Commission. We can foresee it being frustrated by administrative decision, no doubt always with the best of intentions but actually robbing the Commission of its true validity.

If the Bill means anything at all, it means that the Commission is to be entirely and completely independent of political influence. It has to be independent. Therefore, as a matter of principle, I doubt whether we can retreat on this Amendment. I hope that my hon. Friends will continue to argue the case, and that later, perhaps, the Minister will be good enough to answer some of these points

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

I was very surprised to hear the argument adduced by the Secretary of State in connection with the appointment of full-time commissioners. Whether we like it or not, we are introducing a new approach to the great problem of mental health, and that calls for a great deal of effort from all concerned. The nature of the task is very evident. We shall have the Commission, the hospital services and the local autho rities—a great triangle of public services concentrated to tackle this very great problem of mental health in Scotland.

Bearing in mind the thousands of mental defectives in hospital, the countless thousands of out-patients travelling to hospitals, and the countless thousands in need of treatment at an early stage, I think that there is an unanswerable case for at least some full-time members of the Board. It is difficult to understand how the right hon. Gentleman expects the Commission to tackle this extremely difficult task with a wholly part-time membership. He has only to look at other similar typos of body in different parts of the country to realise that they could not survive without representative full-time sections in their administrations.

In the present case, the enormous task does not merely requests, but demands some full-time officers on the Commission. We felt that there should be three of them, but we are quite willing to accept two, provided that provision for those two is written into this Bill. If the Secretary of State is convinced that this is very necessary, extremely desirable and a step in the right direction, but can only offer platitudes, he should be thoroughly honest and put it in writing, so that we can all appreciate the implications of this Clause.

The right hon. Gentleman's logic seems to be based on the fact that if one tries to attract a professional person of this calibre he is unlikely to give up his connection with medicine to become an administrator. That, in essence, is the right hon. Gentleman's argument. If that is his logic, will he tell me how he has managed to staff his existing Department of Health in Scotland, many of whose officers have had to give up their direct connection with medicine to administer Scottish health in general? The same can be said for many other services.

There are more than 200 local authorities in Scotland, all of them with medical officers who have medical assistants. It seems perfectly reasonable to argue that if more than 200 local authorities can attract hundreds of medical men to administer local authority functions the Secretary of State should be able to attract only two full-time commissioners for the Commission. I cannot see that there will be any difficulty about attracting the right type of person. If the right hon. Gentleman makes the post sufficiently attractive, he will have no trouble about finding the two full-time commissioners for this very important task.

It is unfair to ask the House to accept promises. The Secretary of State should realise that we are legislating not merely for this or next year, but for many years, and future Secretaries of State are unlikely to be committed to the assurances which he has given the House this afternoon.

According to Scottish Press reports during the last few weeks, we might be losing the right hon. Gentleman in the near future.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

Do not raise our hopes.

Mr. Dempsey

They are tipping him as a suitable gentleman for another place.

Mr. Ross

Where are they tipping him?

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

Which other place?

Mr. Dempsey

The right hon. Gentleman should realise that we are making a proposition which is practicable provided that he has the will to achieve it. I hope chat he will realise that if these appointments are as important as he set out to convince the House they are, then the least he can do is to put that in writing and make it part of the Bill.

Mr. Willis

I am rather concerned about the right hon. Gentleman's rejection of the principle embodied in our proposals. I accept what has been said about the necessity for the Commission to be independent. The right hon. Gentleman said that he had consulted medical opinion and found it all in favour of his view, but that was not the case this afternoon and it was obvious that he had not consulted the medical opinion which matters.

The right hon. Gentleman said that the Government intend to make two full-time appointments, but that, later, it might be necessary to have appointments which were not full-time. He said that the most suitable person for the appointment might have some other employment which he might not want to give up. He said that such an appointment might be quite small, such as lecturing at a university. However, it might take up a considerable part of that person's time. Who is to decide which is the case?

Anyone who knows what goes on when these appointments are made knows that if someone has sufficient backing, he can bring pressure of all kinds, subtle and otherwise, to obtain an appointment. I can visualise a situation in which one of these appointments would go to someone who was spending almost half his time doing another job. Where the Secretary of State draws the line is entirely a matter for the Secretary of State in office at the time. The right hon. Gentleman virtually said that he proposed to leave it to the Secretary of State of the day, but the Secretary of State of the day might have ideas quite different from those put forward by the right hon. Gentleman.

Is there sufficient work to justify two full-time medical commissioners? Throughout the whole of the Bill we impose all sorts of duties on the medical commissioners and one has only to consider the number of people who are mentally ill and the duties imposed on the commissioners in respect of each to appreciate the enormous amount of work involved. In view of that and the necessity for the commissioners to be independent, it is essential that these matters should be written into the Bill. What the Secretary of State says is intended does not mean a thing unless the Bill provides for it. The Secretary of State cannot make promises which are binding on anyone else and, in effect, he is not implementing the intentions of the Dunlop Committee if he does not write these provisions into the Bill.

I ask the right hon. Gentleman to reconsider his attitude. There do not appear to be very good reasons why we should not have two full-time members. Are we to be so short of medical men that it will be difficult to get someone to do the work, not just someone who will give only half his time to it and the rest of his time to something else? I am not so familiar with the medical profession as to be able to answer that, but I think it unlikely. If the conditions are made sufficiently attractive, there should be no difficulty about getting the right men, and it should be provided in the Bill that their appointments should be full-time.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Maclay

By leave of the House, may I say that there are two distinct points at issue here. One is the independence of the Commission and the other is the volume of work. I tried to make it clear that if there was any problem about the volume of work in the distant future, it would be possible to substitute two part-time commissioners for a whole-time commissioner and by that means obtain more than the equivalent of a whole-time medical member. That is quite possible as the Bill stands. We should not be too worried about the volume of work, because it is intended that at present the two medical commissioners should be full time. lf, later, it seems desirable that one or more should not be full time, there is no reason to be concerned about dealing with the volume of work, because sufficient part-time members could be appointed more than to make up for the full-time appointments.

I feel that I cannot give way on that issue for the reason I have already stated, which is that future Secretaries of State must be left with a degree of flexibility. We cannot tell today what stage of advance may be reached at any given moment in the future in the treatment of mental illness. It might be very valuable to have a medical commissioner who was also doing much valuable clinical work, or lecturing in a university, or other work, who was also able to make an important contribution to the work of the Commission.

I remind the House that there is a provision to provide assistants to the commissioners to help with the work, a sequel to the present deputy commissioners, so that we have provided for covering an increased volume of work while, at the same time, avoiding tying my successors to a situation which, in future, might not be in the best interests of what we are trying to achieve.

I appreciate the difficulties about the independence of the Commission. It is always one of my problems in a matter like this to try to get flexibility without binding my successors, and yet achieve desirable results at a given moment. I am prepared carefully to examine that matter before the Bill receives a Royal Assent to see whether we can find any form of words to make it clear that someone could not double a job between being a member of my Department and being a member of the Commission. I have looked into that, but I have not yet found a form of words.

Political influence in these things has been mentioned and I know that that is a genuine worry with this question of independence. I have not found an answer and it may not be possible to do so, so that I cannot give an absolute promise. If we can find a way of making it clear that a part-time medical commissioner should not double that job with a job in the Scottish Office, or another Government Department, we will do so, but the drafting of such a provision is not easy. However, I promise to study it and to see whether there is a way. Having said that, I cannot recommend the House to accept the Amendment as it stands.

Mr. Ross

I am sorry that the Secretary of State has taken that line. He was not in the Committee when this subject was discussed. I then had more than a feeling that the point which we made at that time had been accepted and that we were to get two full-time commissioners of the three medical commissioners. I thought that there was no argument about it and I was surprised when I did not see a Government Amendment to put that into the Bill.

The Secretary of State need not be surprised that we tend to discard anything he says today about that, because we have recollections of what was said in Committee. No one has made more speeches—not always the wisest speeches in recollection—on the subject of what future Secretaries of State might do than the present Secretary of State. I will not make him blush again by quoting them.

Mr. Maclay

Very good speeches.

Mr. Ross

The right hon. Gentleman may think that they were very good speeches, but he does not like them to be quoted, and he certainly did not enjoy the first time I quoted such a speech.

If these words are written into the Bill, we shall not tie future Secretaries of State. The right hon. Gentleman knows quite well that he cannot tie a successor, It is the simplest thing to amend an Act of Parliament, provided we have efficient Secretaries of State and Under-Secretaries of State. They would have no trouble either in the House or in Committee.

We are here dealing with what is recognised as the most important safeguard for the treatment of the mentally ill who are in hospital or boarded out. The success of this legislation depends on the success of the Mental Welfare Commission. Now the Secretary of State tells us that it is proposed to appoint two full-time members. That means that he has been able to get the right people to serve full time. His whole argument is that some time in the future, near or distant, when he has gone to another place and when we are landed with a Secretary of State who has not the persuasive powers of the right hon. Gentleman, it may not be possible to get the right people to take on a full-time job.

Does the right hon. Gentleman's argument really bear examination? What is the good of getting the right people if they are not prepared to devote a proper and adequate amount of time to the job? That is the right hon. Gentleman's argument. We have no guarantee, apart from his word, that, even on the inception of the Mental Welfare Commission, we will get two full-time members appointed. We will be tied by the Statute, as the right hon. Gentleman tried to tell us a future Secretary of State will be tied. He will be tied by the Statute more than anyone else. If we accept the right hon. Gentleman's argument, he can come along in two or three months and say that he could not get right men full time.

Mr. Thomas Fraser (Hamilton)

The person appointed full time could take another job and would then become part time.

Mr. Ross

That was a point to which I was coming. The Secretary of State could not do very much in the matter unless it is written into the terms of appointment that it will be full time. But we have no guarantee that he will do that. More and more specialist appointments within the Health Service are becoming part-time with private practice. It has become an absolute racket. It is something about which patients and many people within the Health Service itself are very much concerned.

I do not think that we can accept the right hon. Gentleman's argument. Either we recognise the importance of the Mental Welfare Commission and insist upon having in the Statute provision ensuring that the Secretary of State will immediately appoint two full-time commissioners and that in future there will be two full-time commissioners, or we underwrite the importance of what we have hitherto proclaimed to be one of the great advances in the treatment and welfare of the mentally ill in Scotland. The whole attitude of the Government on mental health is being tested by this Amendment. I sincerely hope that the Secretary of State, having listened to the argument, will change his mind and tell us what the Joint Under-Secretary of State told us in Committee, namely, that it is their intention to accept the Amendment and to have two full-time commissioners.

Miss Herbison

I waited a moment in the hope that the Secretary of State would rise and say that he was ready to accept the Amendment. When the Government Amendments were tabled to meet many of the points that we raised in Committee, I, like my hon. Friends, was very surprised that this Amendment did not appear under the name of the Secretary of State.

We examined this matter very carefully in Committee. We had an argument on whether five members should be the minimum and seven the maximum. After our arguments, the Government accepted seven as the minimum and nine as the maximum. In Committee, the Joint Under-Secretary of State said: Then we are agreed upon the three medical commissioners, one part-time and the other two full-time. That is very specific.

Later, in the same column—he was dealing with a number of Amendments—he said: If the chairman is to be the kind of man we are looking for he will almost certainly have to be a part-time chairman, as the existing one is. We accepted the Government's argument, but the Joint Under-Secretary of State went on: Therefore, the only people who will be full-time will be the two medical commissioners."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Scottish Standing Committee: 25th February, 1960; c 37.] I hope that, on reflection, hon. Members opposite feel that it is better to have two full-time members with a chairman as a part-time member. Hon. Members opposite were reasonable, and, when it was suggested that if we wanted a chairman of the calibre we would like him to be he should not be part-time, we accepted that and took it in good faith that the Government had accepted without any hesitation that the two medical commissioners should be full-time.

The Secretary of State has put forward a number of arguments, and I am worried about the case that he has made out. We had a Royal Commission and then the Dunlop Committee. This Committee said, in effect, that the General Board of Control, and particularly the medical members of it, acted as referee for the patient and centre-forward for the Secretary of State. The Committee did not like that, and neither do we. The fact that we have abolished the General Board of Control and put in its place the Mental Welfare Commission seems to us a very great improvement. That does not cast any reflection on the Board. We want to ensure that there will be two full-time commissioners on the Mental Welfare Commission and that they shall not be attached to the Department of Health—in other words, that they will not have the dual job that those on the Board had.

We have no guarantee except the words of the Secretary of State. Having accepted the words of the Joint Under-Secretary of State in Committee, and being greatly disappointed on Report, I am sorry to have to say that we cannot accept the promise of the Secretary of State. I do not mean that the Secretary of State, as long as he is Secretary of State, will not honour what he has said. I do not cast any doubts on his integrity in this matter. But Secretaries of State change. It may be that very soon under this Tory Government we shall have another one. That is the first reason why we insist on the Amendment.

I now come to one or two points made by the right hon. Gentleman. He said that initially the appointments would be full-time. I take it that the Secretary of State believes that for this work he will be able to obtain two men with the necessary qualifications who are willing to give up all their other work in order to carry out this work. It means that it is felt that they will have work of sufficient interest which will give them a chance to carry out the research on which they are so keen. They have an admirable chance of doing that in this sort of job.

The only reason why I feel that in future, perhaps the not too distant future, we will not need two full-time commissioners is that the work will become very much less. I cannot envisage that for a very long time, and if it is to be a very long time there is no harm in bringing in an amending Bill to deal with the matter. Then, the Secretary of State of that day would be able to give us advice, backed by evidence, which the present Secretary of State is unable to give us today.

4.30 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman gave us another reason which worries me. He told us that instead of one full-time, we may get two part-time members of the Commission, and, in his own words, he said that two part-time members might do more work than one full-time. But what about the size of this Commission? The maximum is nine and the minimum seven. We have to look at the minimum, which is seven. At present, we have three medical commissioners, and we may also have one who is an advocate, which gives us four, another a woman, which makes five. Supposing we were to have four medical commissioners part time, apart from the very high consultants, that would give us four full time and two part time, making six, and one other to make it seven, which means that not another lay person interested in mental health and welfare will have a place on that Commission.

That seems to me to be a very serious objection to the case put forward by the Secretary of State. We on this side of the House feel very strongly on this matter. All through the discussions on the Bill we have tried to ensure that what both the Royal Commission and we ourselves hoped the Bill would do was to bring a completely new attitude towards the treatment of mental illness in order to give far greater safeguards to the mentally ill than we have so far had. Surely the Secretary of State wants that, too, and I ask him, even at this stage, to accept this Amendment. If he does not, we will have to carry it to a vote.

Mr. Maclay

With the permission of the House, may I deal finally with one or two points which have just been made? I have already said that I will try to find a form of words to avoid the duality of responsibility. I realise that the hon. Lady's argument is very strong, but I am only going part of the way with her in order to see that there is no possibility of dual responsibility to the Commission and to St. Andrew's House, which is the easiest way of putting what she has in mind. I have said that it is difficult, and that I have looked at it already and have not got the right words, but if I can find them, I will do so.

I very much regret it if there was any misleading of the Committee. There is no disagreement between my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary and myself. This matter was very fully drawn to my attention by my hon. Friend, and it is correct to say that it was not the intention, through the words used at that time, to suggest that we would write it fully into the Bill. My hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary, I know, regrets that there was any misunderstanding about that. A variety of issues was at stake when the matter was discussed, and I think it is possible that there could have been a genuine misunderstanding arising out of the words used at that time. Apart from that, the decision was taken in a desire to do the best we can, and I think we are all determined to achieve in this Bill what we all desire. I am afraid that I must stick to my original purpose.

Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)

It seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman is in agreement in regard to the immediate situation that there should be two full-time Commissioners. I recognise that he will have to bring in another Bill to remedy this difficulty. If he thinks that some situation like this might arise in future, is there any reason why he should not take power to bring in a Statutory Instrument altering the Commission if such an arrangement becomes necessary? That would get rid of the problem which he seems to think is something that will arise in future, and will enable us to get on with the Bill by putting in what he proposes to do now.

Mr. Maclay

May I say that if I accepted that suggestion, the hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) will accuse me in future of being "Huey Long-ish" and taking too much power for myself. It is very difficult to accept that.

Dr. Dickson Mabon

May I put a point of substance to the Secretary of State? He said that he would try to find some form of words, and I presume that he means that it will be done when the Bill goes to another place. I do not know that that will satisfy many of my hon. Friends, and it certainly would not satisfy myself and those who believe in the principle of the matter.

Is it not important, to preserve the independence of the members of the Commission, that their remuneration should be entirely in respect of the Commission, and that if they are to do other work, such as visiting lecturers at universities or in research, it should not involve any public money? The Secretary of State used the phrase "direct Government employment" and he even mentioned St. Andrew's House. It may not be directly concerned with St. Andrew's House, but it is not the fact that it is concerned with St. Andrew's House that is the difficulty, but its influence on other public authorities and other public appointments other than those to the Mental Welfare Commission.

If the Secretary of State thinks, "I have disappointed the Opposition, and the Joint Under-Secretary, though with the best intentions, has given an impression which has misled them, and I feel that I must do something to make amends", I hope that he will take up this point about the full-time members in the sense that their remuneration is very important to the question whether or not they are genuinely independent of political influence. "Huey Long" is very important in this connection, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will realise that, although he may not be the "Huey Long", nevertheless "Huey Long" may emerge one day.

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

The House divided: Ayes 96, Noes 151.

Division No. 118.] AYES [4.37 p.m.
Baiter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Hayman, F. H. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Benson, Sir George Healey, Denis Pavitt, Laurence
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Herbison, Miss Margaret Peart, Frederick
Brockway, A. Fenner Hill, J. (Midlothian) Prentice, R. E.
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Howell, Charles A. Rankin, John
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hoy, James H. Redhead, E. C.
Callaghan, James Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Ross, William
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Hunter, A. E. Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Chetwynd, George Hynd, H. (Accrington) Skeffington, Arthur
Cliffe, Michael Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Small, William
Crossman, R. H. S. Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Snow, Julian
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Jeger, George Steele, Thomas
Davies, Harold (Leek) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Dempsey, James Kenyon, Clifford Stonehouse, John
Dodds, Norman Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
Driberg, Tom King, Dr. Horace Summerskill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Edith
Ede, Rt. Hon. Chuter Lee, Frederick (Newton) Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Edwards Robert (Bilston) Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Thornson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Evans, Albert Lipton, Marcus Tomney, Frank
Fitch, Alan Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Warbey, William
Foot, Dingle McCann, John Wells, Percy, Faversham)
Forman, J. C. MacColl, James Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) McInnes, James White, Mrs. Eirene
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh McKay, John (Wallsend) Whitlock, William
Gaipern, Sir Myer Mackie, John Willey, Frederick
George, Lady Megan Lloyd Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Marsh, Richard Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Gourlay, Harry Mellish, R. J. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Millan, Bruce Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mitchison, G. R. Zilliacus, K.
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Hannan, William Oram, A. E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hart, Mrs. Judith Owen. Will Mr. Lawson and
Mr. G. H. R. Rogers
Agnew, Sir Peter Green, Alan McMaster, Stanley R.
Aitken, W. T. Gresham Cooke, R. Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)
Allason, James Grimond, J. Maddan, Martin
Arbuthnot, John Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Maginnis, John E.
Atkins, Humphrey Harris, Reader (Heston) Marlowe, Anthony
Barlow, Sir John Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)
Batsford, Brian Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Mawby, Ray
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Henderson, John (Cathcart) Maydon, Lt-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Bell, Ronald (S. Bucks) Hendry, Forbes Moore, Sir Thomas
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Biggs-Davison, John Hiley, Joseph Nugent, Sir Richard
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Page, A. J. (Harrow, West)
Bourne-Arton, A. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Page, Graham
Box, Donald Holland, Philip Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Boyle, Sir Edward Holt, Arthur Partridge, E.
Braine, Bernard Hopkins, Alan Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Brewis, John Hornby, R. P. Peel, John
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia Percival, Ian
Bryan, Paul Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Prior, J. M. L.
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho
Campbell, Cordon (Moray & Nairn) Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Hughes-Young, Michael Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Hutchison, Michael Clark Ridsdale, Julian
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Iremonger, T. L. Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Collard, Richard Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Roots, William
Cooper, A. E. Jennings, J. C. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Scott-Hopkins, James
Cordle, John Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Sharples, Richard
Corfield, F. V. Kerr, Sir Hamilton Shaw, M.
Costain, A. P Lagden, Godfrey Smith, Dudley(Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)
Cunningham, Knox Lancaster, Col. C. G. Spearman, Sir Alexander
Dalkeith, Earl of Leavey, J. A. Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Lilley, F. J. P. Stodart, J. A.
Drayson, G. B. Lindsay, Martin Tapsell, Peter
Duncan, Sir James Linstead, Sir Hugh Teeling, William
Errington, Sir Eric Litchfield Capt. John Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Farr, John Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut nC'dfield) Thorneycroft. Rt. Hon. Peter
Finlay, Graeme
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Longbottom, Charles Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Freeth, Denzil Longden, Gilbert Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Loveys, Walter H. Turner, Colin
Gammons, Lady Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Gardner, Edward McAdden, Stephen van Straubenzee, W. R.
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) MacArthur, Ian Vane, W. M. F.
Grant, Rt. Hon. William (Woodside) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute&N. Ayrs.) Wade, Donald
Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.) Whitelaw, William Woodnutt, Mark
Wall, Patrick Williams, Dudley (Exeter) Woollam, John
Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro) Worsley, Marcus
Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold Wise, A. R.
Webster, David Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Wells, John (Maidstone) Woodhouse, CM. Mr. Brooman-White and Mr. Noble.

Amendments made: In page 2, line 4, after "and", insert: one shall be a person who has been for a period of at least five years either a member of the Faculty of Advocates or a solicitor. (3)".

In line 6, at end insert "of the Mental Welfare Commission".

In line 20, leave out "Board" and insert "Commission".

In line 24, leave out "Board" and insert "Commission".

In line 25, leave out "Board" and insert "Commission".

In line 26, leave out "Board" and insert "Commission".

In line 27, leave out "Board" and insert "Commission".

In line 29, leave out "Board" and insert "Commission".

In line 30, leave out "Board" and insert "Commission".—[Mr. Maclay.]