§ Considered in Committee [Progress, 7th December].
§ [Sir GORDON TOUCHE in the Chair]
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for War (Mr. John Profumo)
I beg to move,That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again.I move the Motion purely formally to give the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) an opportunity, which I know he is anxious to take, to raise certain issues in connection with our discussion the other evening on the Money Resolution. Since that time, I have had discussions with hon. Members on both sides of the House, and I realise that it has been felt that there were certain problems connected with that debate which still required elucidation.
It had been my intention to do this when we reached Clause 7, which seemed to me to be the most appropriate time. However, I have had a talk with the hon. Member for Dudley, and I think it would not only be a courtesy to him but would be a courtesy to the Committee also and be also for our better deliberations that we should take the matter now. This seemed to me the most appropriate way to deal with the matter. Therefore, I gladly give the hon. Member the opportunity for which he has asked. If the Committee so wished, I should be very happy to try to clear up some of the points which he may raise, which, in any case, I should have tried to elucidate a little further when we reached Clause 7.
Purely as a formality, therefore, and because I know of no better way of arranging matters, I have moved the Motion.
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
On a point of order, Sir Gordon. Would you kindly instruct me as to this procedure? I am greatly obliged to the Secretary of State for what he has said, but I find his remarks exceedingly cryptic. Am I to understand that there is some fault on our previous procedure on the Bill? If so, is not this the moment for the Government to explain 1161 what the present position is? So far, I am entirely in the dark as to what all the trouble is about.
§ Mr. Profumo
I was not indicating that there was any fault in the Bill at all. I said that I felt that some hon. Members had the impression—perhaps the right hon. Gentleman was not here, but he may have read it in HANSARD—that the discussions we had were inconclusive. I thought that it would be for the convenience of the Committee and our deliberations to clear up any misunderstanding there may have been on that occasion. If hon. Members do not wish it, I am perfectly happy to proceed, but it seemed to me that, in courtesy to the hon. Member for Dudley, who has taken the trouble to speak to me about it, as other hon. Members have, that the course I have suggested would be best. The Committee may, perhaps, wish to proceed in another way, but it seemed more appropriate for the hon. Member for Dudley to explain what he had in mind. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I think it might be better to do it in this way, and that is why I moved the Motion.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)
On a point of order, Sir Gordon. The right hon. Gentleman has moved a certain Motion. He has given no grounds to support it whatever. I know that my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg)—we are all very grateful for the work he has done on it—will make his views clear when the time comes. But to move a Motion without giving a single reason, except the disclosure of some private talk, is really extraordinary. There must be a defect somewhere or the Minister would not move his Motion at all. He cannot move it for no reason. We should be glad to hear where the Government have gone wrong again so that we may do our best to help them out of their troubles. We are getting used to it, and we should like to know where the present mistake is.
§ Mr. F. J. Bellenger (Bassetlaw)
On a point of order, Sir Gordon. Is this not a very unusual procedure to adopt?
I can well understand that my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) may wish to catch your eye. He 1162 is perfectly entitled to do that, of course, and he can do it in the way which is open to all hon. Members. But why should the Secretary of State in moving his Motion plead, as it were, for you to call my hon. Friend rather than any other hon. Member who wishes to speak? If it is a procedural matter, surely my hon. Friend should put it to the Chair.
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
On a point of order. May I make it clear that I am not engaged in this device purely for the purpose of being able to speak? I am the only member of the battalion who happens to be in sight.
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)
On a point of order. How far is this to be regarded as a precedent? Will it be possible for other hon. Members—and some of us also have ideas on the Bill—to go to the Minister? Can the Minister give an assurance that if any hon. Member has a confidential talk with him and perhaps proposes certain things, the right hon. Gentleman will oblige and move to report Progress?
§ Mr. E. G. Willis (Edinburgh, East)
Further to that point of order. Am I to understand from the procedure being adopted that if any hon. Member has any doubts or arguments concerning a Financial Resolution to a Bill he may raise them at any time after the passing of that Money Resolution? Is this not an entirely new departure, and should we not be told something about it before accepting the Minister's Motion? I have no wish to deny my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) an opportunity to speak, but this is a very important departure from the normal procedure whereby we discuss and pass a Money Resolution and are then unable to refer to it again.
§ The Chairman
What happens is that when an hon. Member in charge of a Bill moves a Motion it is customary for the Chair to accept it, and now we are waiting to hear the reasons for the Motion.
§ Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)
May I ask your guidance, Sir Gordon, because I am in somewhat of a difficulty? [Interruption.]
§ Mr. R. J. Mellish (Bermondsey)
On a point of order. May I ask your guidance, Sir Gordon? I understand that this Motion is being moved as the result of private conversations between my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) and the Secretary of State for War. We understand that the Motion has been merely moved and it is being left to to an hon. Member on this side of the Committee to give the reasons why it has been moved. [Laughter.] This is the oddest procedure I have ever heard of. Of course, I have been in this House for only 15 years and am still a new hon. Member.
When a Motion of this character is moved, there must be reasons for that course being taken. Surely those reasons should be advanced at the time of moving the Motion? I should like you views on this, Sir Gordon, because what is proposed does not seem logical. We have the odd procedure of a Motion being moved by the Government and an hon. Member of the Opposition being supposed to explain the reasons for it. Is it not making this House rather ridiculous and the Government's position fantastic? We should have been given the reasons by the Secretary of State and then we could have discussed them in the proper way. Perhaps the hon. Member for Dudley may be the only hon. Member in sight, but you know what happens to people in that position, Sir Gordon.
§ The Chairman
I am not concerned with the merits of the Motion. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I am following the usual procedure that when a Motion is moved by the Minister in charge of a Bill it is normal to accept it.
§ Mr. Stephen Swingler (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
This is an unusual situation. The Chair accepts a Motion from the Minister to report Progress and the Minister then says that he is not going to explain the reasons for reporting Progress but asks a private hon. Member to explain to the Committee something 1164 that is in the Bill. You will recall, Sir Gordon, that from time to time back benchers move to report Progress and it is not unusual for the Chair to refuse to accept the Motion, especially right at the beginning of business. May I ask you, Sir Gordon, if my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) had moved to report Progress whether you would have accepted such a Motion?
§ The Chairman
No. [Interruption.] It is usual only to accept it if it is moved by the hon. Member in charge of the Bill.
§ Mr. Profumo
I am only trying to help the Committee, but if my Motion will lead to delay I will gladly say what I had intended to say. I think I had better do what I think is right. As I said earlier, I moved that Motion because I thought it was the only way of allowing the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) to say what I know he wishes to say and what, I believe, may be in the minds of a number of hon. Members. It was only a procedural Motion to give the hon. Member for Dudley a chance of doing that. As you said, Sir Gordon, it is not the custom to accept this Motion from anyone other than the Minister in charge of the Bill. May I proceed, then, because I am perfectly happy to do so? I was only trying to help the Committee. We had a long and rambling discussion—
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
On a point of order. The right hon. Gentleman just said that we had a long, rambling discussion. Is that not a reflection on the Chair? Should not the right hon. Gentleman be asked to withdraw that remark?
§ Mr. Profumo
The rambling was perfectly in order. Therefore, as I told the Committee, I had intended under Clause 7, which deals with this, to try to pull the strings together because hon. Gentlemen opposite said that they did not understand the Money Resolution. As I said, I had intended to explain it when 1165 we reached that part of the Bill, but I will gladly do it now because I believe it will be in the interests of the Committee if that explanation were given at this stage.
On that occasion they expressed some surprise that a Money Resolution is needed to cover expenditure on reinstatement in civil employment and the protection of civil interests which will arise from Clause 5, while no such Resolution is required for the much larger expenditure which might arise from the retention of National Service men under Clause 1, the recall under Clause 2 or the creation of a new Reserve under Clause 3. Whereas Clause 5 involves an addition to the purposes on which the Ministry of Labour at present has statutory authority to spend money, the same is not true for any expenditure which might be incurred by the War Office.
Perhaps I should enlarge on that. The present statutory authority to incur expenditure on reinstatement in civil employment and the protection of civil interests is limited to men serving in the Armed Forces under the National Service Act, 1948, or to the ambit of the Reinstatement in Civil Employment Act, 1950, and the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces (Protection of Civil Interests) Act, 1951. Under the new Bill they are required to incur similar expenditure on men covered by the Bill. This is in addition to their previous liability. As the power to incur expenditure of this type depends on statutory authority, that authority must, therefore, be extended accordingly. Hence Clauses 5 and 7 of the Bill.
The War Office already has all the financial powers necessary to implement the Bill; powers to fix rates of pay, bounties, and so on, payable to members of the Forces as covered by prerogative instruments or existing statutory authority. As the War Office is not seeking any new power to incur expenditure, no Money Resolution in respect of Clauses 1 to 3 is necessary. Although we do not require the Money Resolution—because we already have the necessary powers to incur expenditure—the exercise of these powers is subject to the usual Parliamentary control.
By voting the annual Army Estimates, Parliament authorises the maintenance of Regular and Reserve Forces up to 1166 the maximum numbers set out in Vote A and Vote 2, respectively. The Bill does not seek authority for any excess of the numbers so authorised. In addition to authorising certain numbers, the House also, by voting the Army Estimates, authorises expenditure for pay, maintenance, recruitment and so on, for men in the Regular and Reserve Forces. The Bill does not seek authority for expenditure over and above the amounts already voted by Parliament. If such authority is required, that will be sought in the normal way by a Supplementary Estimate.
With regard to Army expenditure, the Bill does not involve the spending of money on services not covered by the approved Estimates. We already have authority to spend money on pay, maintenance, recruitment and so on, and it is only on such services as these that expenditure which flows from the Bill will be incurred. That explanation should put in proper perspective the scope of the Money Resolution.
Several hon. Members expressed concern about this and had the Money Resolution not been talked out I should have wished to pull the strings closer at the ends. I hope that my having now made that statement will be in the interests of the Committee. I thought that that was what the hon. Member for Dudley might say, but I have gladly said it before him. I hope that hon. Members now understand this rather abstruse point.
§ Mr. Wigg
First, let us get out of our minds the part played by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour. What he had to say on the Money Resolution was right on the target. We can remove from our discussion that part of the speech of the Secretary of State for War affecting Clause 5. The statement of the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon was absolutely right and no one could take exception to what he said.
However, what he said this afternoon was not what he said in the debate on 28th November on the Money Resolution. When one reads that debate, one gets a tremendously muddled impression as to the purpose of the Money Resolution. I must confess that before that debate my view, from a reading of the Army Reserve Act, 1950, was that that 1167 was a Statute which could be amended. I subsequently discovered that the Auxiliary Forces Act, 1953, could also be amended. The Money Resolution which was debated ends with these words:…in the sums payable out of moneys so provided under any other Act.If there were no Acts to be amended, no Amendments could be tabled, because the Secretary of State, in his remarks on the Money Resolution, argued, not on one occasion but on many occasions, that the pay of the Army was controlled by the Prerogative. It is in my view clear that the right hon. Gentleman, as advised by the War Office, was unaware of the implications of the Army Reserve Act, 1950, and of the Auxiliary Forces Act, 1953, and that he was trapped into this view by what happened in the discussion on the Army Emergency Reserve bounties which followed his statement in February.
A National Service man doing his colour service is a Regular soldier. When he completes his two years he goes to the Army Emergency Reserve in a minority of cases, but the overwhelming majority become part-time soldiers on the books of the Territorial Army, as it were. Therefore, for the purpose of this part-time service, pay, discipline and bounties are subject to Amendment by the ordinary process.
I was aware of the difference between Vote 1, which is subject to the Prerogative, and Vote 2, which is subject to Statute, but when I argued the matter with some of my hon. Friends this was dismissed as expertise on my part. The only expertise that I have is that I can count up to ten, can read, and do not run away from unfortunate things if they do not suit me. My hon. Friends wanted to deal with the Bill as a moral question. At that point, I fade out because I do not possess the wisdom or loquacity to discuss a Bill of this kind as a moral question.
I listened to the debate on the Money Resolution. I must confess that at the end of it I was completely bewildered. Never was there a time when such a galaxy of talent was present. There were Old Etonians in droves, interspersed with a few Wykhamists and one or two people with first-class honours 1168 degrees. Yet it was abundantly clear that both Front Benches at the end of that debate did not know that the pay of the troops was subject to the Prerogative and that this affected reservists.
If there is one major grievance in the Bill which causes the maximum bitterness and hatred of the Army and all that it stands for it is the fact that the men who have to do another six months feel that they cannot be protected by back bench Members. There is not one hon. Member, including my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), who has not some constituents whose lives are in danger of being ruined by this Bill. Hon. Members on both sides tabled Amendments to it. I did myself. What drove me off beam was that the Secretary of State argued that the question of pay was subject to the Prerogative and, therefore, that I could not table an Amendment. I must confess that I doubted my wisdom and knowledge in this matter. It seemed to me that it was one for expert legal advice. I knew that I was not competent in legal matters and, therefore, came to the conclusion that I was wrong.
On Friday I was en route for happier places, but it was foggy and therefore I could not go anywhere. In those circumstances, I did a little homework and began to prepare for this debate. I had been working for only a few minutes when I came to the conclusion that I was right and that everyone else was wrong. At that point, I thought that I was mad. I consulted the Public Bill Office and the War Office and discovered that I had been right all the time and that the War Office was engaged in correcting matters.
I must here plead for hon. Members' charity. I was up against a formidable problem. We had passed "standing orders" on the previous Thursday night. We were forbidden to table Amendments. I was forbidden even to consult my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman), with whom I had had discussions before he went abroad, or my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) who, unfortunately, is ill today. What could I do? I tried to consult the officers of my party, but there was no-one available. They had all deserted. I therefore took the very grave risk of 1169 putting three Amendments on the Notice Paper. I put my duty to the Army before my duty to my party. It will, therefore, be possible later for hon. Members on both sides to express their views on the merits of those Amendments which they could not have done if the War Office had not been converted to my point of view.
May I point out the situation in which we find ourselves? I make no imputations of dishonourable conduct against the Secretary of State for War or charge him with deliberately misleading hon. Members. I merely say that he and his Department were wrong. I do not propose to weary hon. Members with them, but I have half-a-dozen or more examples in which the right hon. Gentleman was completely wrong in the information which he gave hon. Members. However, the Committee, in its wisdom, accepted what he said. I must say, in fairness, that the view of my own Front Bench was better than that of the Government Front Bench. The Committee, having accepted what the right hon. Gentleman had said, adopted the Money Resolution. It was reported to the House on 7th December and was accepted. Having accepted the Money Resolution, there was nothing hon. Members could do about it. However, it means that hon. Members on Report can table Amendments on pay, discipline, conditions of service and bounties if they so wish. My dilemma on Friday afternoon was that, if they were not tabled then, they would be starred on Monday. There was, therefore, no alternative.
§ Mr. G. W. Reynolds (Islington, North)
I noticed that my hon. Friend said that on Report we shall be able to table Amendments on certain matters. Does he mean that it is permissible to do that only on Report or that it would have been possible, if we had had the necessary knowledge, to table them during the Committee stage?
§ Mr. Wigg
I wished to table Amendments a fortnight ago. One Amendment which was tabled by the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) was out of order, but I discussed the Amendment with him because my mind was moving in the direction indicated by that Amendment. I stopped short in my 1170 tracks simply because of what was said by the Secretary of State for War.
I am sure that the Secretary of State will acquit me of any wish to be discourteous. It was not because of what he said. It was because I have a profound respect for his financial advisers in the War Office. I did not believe that they would let him say this unless this doctrine was correct. It was only because the Secretary of State for War said this in Committee that I stopped short.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
Does my hon. Friend have the column reference of what the Secretary of State for War said?
§ Mr. Wigg
Yes. At col. 184, the right hon. Gentleman said that the cost wouldeither be paid for under existing Army Estimates already passed or will come under the Army Estimates for next year.Later, he said:Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are seeking to muddle the situation. It is perfectly clear.Then, he argued that the points that were being made had nothing to do with the Money Resolution, as, he said, one of my hon. Friends knew. Then, the right hon. Gentleman went on to say:If any 'Ever-readies' are recruited before the next Army Estimates, or there is any expenditure, that is covered in Vote A.Vote A concerns numbers. That statement is quite wrong.
The right hon. Gentleman went on to say:It is clear that this is an Army Estimates matter and not a matter for the Money Resolution.In the Army Estimates, all that the Committee does is to vote the money. It is governed either by Statute or the existence of the Prerogative. Then, at col. 191, the right hon. Gentleman said:The position is that the Money Resolution covers everything which is new expenditure.That is absolutely untrue, because it was covered by Section 11 of the 1950 Act or the Auxiliary Forces Act, 1953. The right hon. Gentleman continued:As the Committee knows, the legal basis for all Army pay is the Royal Warrant, which entitles us to make payment.1171 That is absolutely untrue of the Vote 2 charges. The right hon. Gentleman then said—and this is the classic example:Perhaps I may give an example. Some months ago we started a different sort of bounty for a different sort of reserve—the Army Emergency Reserve, Category I. This was done after the Army Estimates last year, but we did not need a Money Resolution for it.Again, that is a complete misconception, because these men were soldiers of the Regular Forces.
The Secretary of State went on to say:This part of the Bill which we are now discussing, the part which might attract a bounty for a different sort of reserve, will also not come under the Money Resolution but will come under the Royal Warrant which takes regard of pay, and any funds which are needed for the next Army Estimates will be carried on existing Army Estimates.Here again is a fundamental misconception of the purpose of the Estimates in relation to the Armed Forces. It is true concerning the pay of the Regular Forces that that is done through the exercise of the Prerogative. It is also true as regards the pay of the Army Reserve that it is done under Section 11 of the 1950 Act, and, in the case of the Territorial Army, under Section 11 of the 1953 Act.
My final quotation from the right hon. Gentleman is in col. 192, where he said:The Royal Warrant is the basis of all Army pay."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th November, 1961: Vol. 650, cc. 184, 186–7, 191–2.]That is untrue. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman is shaking his head. At least, it is true concerning Vote 1, but it is not true of Vote 2, which bears the charge for Reserve pay and for the Territorial Army.
I do not want to keep the Committee too long. We have lots of work in front of us. When I discovered this, my purpose was to try to get it put right, because I have a vested interest concerning the Army to try to get these points plain. If one can get the situation about the Army clear and distinct, there is, perhaps, a chance that some day the country may get an appreciation of the truth of our military situation.
Before I sit down, may I indulge in a little homily, again for only a couple of minutes. Will hon. Members stop 1172 for a moment—we are just about to break up for the Christmas Recess—and see where we have got to? In the last ten years, we have spent £16,000 million from an economy which, we all know, is strained. It has gone on providing for the Armed Forces of the Crown. We have argued about moral questions, about bombs, about tactical weapons, about the number of divisions, the size of divisions—
§ Mr. Wigg
I do not want to abuse your kindness, Sir Gordon. I am just ending, but I am drawing the picture and asking hon. Members to reflect on the picture which faces the country after this vast expenditure. Here we face the consequences of the Arm, Reserve Bill, which will bring ruin and unhappiness to thousands of young men and will create unsettling conditions for thousands more, and yet the House of Commons in Committee, with the best brains of two Front Benches, is incapable of even beginning to understand how to administer the simplest rates of pay in the Army.
This is a sobering thought. It is one which I have tried to bring to the Committee during the fifteen years I have been here. We have had arguments about bombs and about atomic strategy, but not even the remotest understanding of the simplest problem. At present, the country is incapable of raising a company of Pioneers or a section of A.T.S. to send either to Goa or Katanga.
§ Mr. Frank Allaun (Salford, East)
On a point of order. If I understood my hon. Friend correctly, Amendments that he wished to put down were incorrectly ruled out of order and he was not able to debate them.
§ The Chairman
There is no suggestion by the hon. Member that his Amendments have been incorrectly ruled out of order.
§ Mr. Paget
Further to the point of order. Surely, Sir Gordon, that is precisely the case. Not only Amendments from this side, but an Amendment by the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart), have been ruled out precisely because the Minister categorically—I do not say deliberately, but in fact—misled the House and, indeed, misled the Chair.
§ The Chairman
In deciding these Amendments, the Chair is concerned with the Money Resolution. I have ruled them out on the ground of whether they are inside or outside the Money Resolution. I have not been concerned with what the Minister said but am bound purely by the Money Resolution.
§ Sir Lynn Ungoed-Thomas (Leicester, North-East)
Further to that point of order, Sir Gordon. Is not the point, not so much a question of Amendments that have been put down and which might be thought to be out of order, as that certain Amendments have not been put down because of the statement made by the Secretary of State for War on the last occasion? What my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) made clear was that, in view of the statements by the Secretary of State for war in the last debate, he himself has stopped short of putting Amendments down. In my hon. Friend's case, the matter was corrected because he investigated further and came to the conclusion that the Secretary of State for War was incorrect; and because he came to that conclusion, my hon. Friend put down the Amendments which are on the Notice Paper today. There may well be other hon. Members who remain in the position in which my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley found himself before he made his investigation on Friday.
§ The Chairman
That is not a matter for me. I cannot possibly deal with Amendments which might have been put down.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
May I continue with the point of order, Sir Gordon? It concerns the procedure that we are to follow in this Committee in view of what has happened. We now have the Motion of the Secretary of State for War proposing that we should report Progress. That may well be the best course to take in these circum 1174 stances. I am speaking to that Motion—
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
The point of order concerns the procedure which the Committee should now follow and whether that procedure should be to accede to the right hon. Gentleman's Motion or to deal with the matter in some other way That is the point of order which I am raising.
§ Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas
With great respect, Sir Gordon, this is a point of order. I am raising the question whether the Committee is now in order, or should be considered in order, in proceeding in circumstances in which members of the Committee have been led to act on the statement made by the Secretary of State for War as a result of which Amendments may not have been put down which otherwise would have been put down. It makes the whole procedure utterly farcical if we are to continue to act on the footing that everything is now in order in this Committee when in fact, as my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley said, hon. Members have been influenced into not putting down Amendments because they relied on the accuracy of the statement of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Philip Goodhart (Beckenham)
On a point of order, Sir Gordon. I sought to put down an Amendment because my mind was working in the same way as that of the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), who has done such excellent work. Having put down the Amendment asking for a bounty for men retained under Clause 1, I was assured by the Clerks that it was in fact out of order. I merely asked that it should go on the Notice Paper as a demonstration, although I was assured that it was out of order. If I had believed that in fact it was in order to raise this matter, I should have gone a great deal further.
§ Mr. Allaun
On a point of order. I put a Question to the Table precisely on this point about the bounty and it was accepted by the Clerks. I put down a Question to the Secretary of State asking that a bounty should be paid to the conscripts who had to serve an additional six months. The Clerks accepted it, as it would not be raised under the Bill because of the Money Resolution. I suggest to you, Sir Gordon, that we have been so misled on this matter that the Government should now withdraw the Bill. This is not a light matter. This is not a matter of another 5 per cent. on some import duty. This Bill affects vitally the liberty of thousands of individuals, and whether they must serve at the will of the Government for six months more in peace time. This is an important matter, closely affecting the liberty of the individual. Since we have been so misled—there is evidence of it from at least three hon. Members—I maintain that the Government have a duty to withdraw the Bill forthwith.
§ Mr. Brian Harrison (Maldon)
On a point of order, Sir Gordon. You called me to speak following the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) before we were interrupted by these points of order.
§ Mr. Harrison
Thank you very much, Sir Gordon. I am most grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving us the opportunity to discuss this point. The more one studies the OFFICIAL REPORT of the debate on 27th November, the more it becomes apparent to the back benchers, who look up with respect to the Front Benchers—
§ Mr. Harrison
—that we were disgracefully misled by both Front Benches. The right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey) gave us a long dissertation on virement and its application to this Money Resolution. So far as I can see, it has no application whatever. The whole position in regard to the Bill, the Money Resolution and the financing of it, has become increasingly complicated. I must confess that, despite briefing from 1176 the best source I could find—the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg)—I have not been able to clear my mind on exactly how the finance will work.
There is still a possibility—I ask my right hon. Friend not to deny this without very careful consideration—that the Money Resolution is so tightly drawn that it might not apply to one of the types of reservists he has to call up. We may find that he has to come back to the House with different legislation in order to pay the "Ever-Readies." My right hon. Friend should look extremely carefully at this to make certain that he will not exceed his power. One hopes that the "Ever-Readies" will be a success. One would hate to see my right hon. Friend and his chief financial officer having to face a bill for the whole of the "Ever-Readies," because they would be the persons financially responsible.
For a very different reason from that of the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun), I find myself agreeing that this Bill ought to be taken back and reconsidered. It is a hotch-potch. It looks as if it is a hotch-potch which cannot be correctly financed. Probably it is essential that more consideration should go into the financing of the Bill and its legal aspects. I know that my right hon. Friend has adequate money in hand in his Votes because of the low numbers in the actual reserves and special categories he has at the moment. He has not used up all the money which Parliament has voted to pay those reserves. He ought to go very carefully into the Bill to consider all the aspects and to consider whether in the light of the changing world situation something completely different ought not to be done. He ought to consider the advice given on 2nd March, 1937:National Defence is the basic pre-condition, the foundation itself of collective security. A country which is too weak to protect its own people is hardly likely to be in a position to go to the help of others."—OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd March, 1937; Vol. 321, c. 250.]
§ Mr. Harrison
I bow to your Ruling, Sir Gordon. I was trying to back up my arguments with a quotation from a speech made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth 1177 Relations, who had rather different views on defence in the thirties from those he has today. I hope that I have said sufficient for my right hon. Friend to consider very carefully whether this Bill ought not to be taken back, looked at carefully and thoroughly and then represented to the House.
§ Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, Small Heath)
On a point of order, Sir Gordon. Before we proceed, as we have got only half way through Clause 1 and there have been certain infringements of the rights of hon. Members and some of us wish to urge a course of action on the Government, would it not be proper for the Leader of the House to be present so that we may have his advice on the matter?
§ Mr. A. Fenner Brockway (Eton and Slough)
This is almost like "Alice in Wonderland". My point of order arises from bewilderment. As I understand, not only have Members of Parliament been misled by the right hon. Gentleman, but the Clerks at the Table have been misled. When we go to the Clerks at the Table and wish to put down an Amendment or a Question they give us the greatest help. They always look at statements which Ministers have been made to see that the Amendment or Question is in order according to those statements. As I understand it, the Clerks at the Table have been misled by the right hon. Gentleman's statement, and, because they hav been misled, hon. Members have not had the right to put down Amendments which they would otherwise have put down.
§ Mr. Brockway
They have not been refused, but they have been advised and wrongly advised as a result of what the Minister has said. That is an impossible situation and there is no course which the Minister can take, consistent with his own dignity and that of the House, other than to withdraw the Bill and begin all over again.
§ Mr. Wigg
On a point of order. I want to be most careful not to mislead any hon. Member and perhaps, as a point of order, I can explain what happened.
The hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) put down an Amendment which, broadly, tried to do what I wanted to do. He and I discussed it and he told me that his Amendment was out of order. I then proceeded to think along the lines of amending the Bill, but involving money considerations. It was at that point that I desisted, purely of my own volition. I had nobody to blame but myself, because I believed what I read in HANSARD. I bitterly regret that, but, subsequently, ten minutes' homework convinced me that I was right in the first instance. At any time during that fortnight, had I been diligent enough, I could have put down the Amendment. I went to the hon. Member for Beckenham, who has done me the courtesy of signing his name to my Amendment, for the simple reason that his Amendment was out of order in any case, for it cut across the exercise of the Prerogative. The simple point is that all parties, including the Secretary of State, believed that there was no Act covered by the words "under any other Act" which could be amended. Originally, I knew that there was—the 1950 Act—and subsequently I learned about the 1953 Act.
§ Mr. Paget
On a point of order. Is not the debate becoming a little confused? Is not this a Motion of order so that the arguments which are directed to whether the Bill should be taken back and reconsidered are precisely what we are considering? There is obviously an extremely important matter to be debated and one on which many hon. Members wish to express their opinions. But surely it is on the substance of the Motion rather than on points of order at this stage.
§ The Chairman
I wish that hon. Members would conduct the debate as a debate rather than as a series of points of order.
§ Mr. Fletcher
May I preface what I am about to say by observing that I entirely agree with he point which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) has just made? 1179 I rise to support the Motion to report Progress. The Minister was right and sensible to move it. I agree with what the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison) has said and his reasons for supporting the Motion. It is the only possible course open to the Committee at this stage. I support the Motion for reasons slightly different from those given by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg). I do not claim to have his expert knowledge of all the Statutes relating to the Army. Nor have I attempted, since the Second Reading debate and our discussion of the Money Resolution, to put down Amendments, as he has done.
However, I took part in that debate because I was not statisfied with the Money Resolution and I did not understand it. Unfortunately, that debate was curtailed by our rules of order, because, nowadays, a time of only three-quarters of an hour is allowed for debating a Money Resolution. However, during that time we had answers from the Secretary of State for War to some questions put by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Mr. Reynolds), my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew), myself and others. Speaking for myself, in my ignorance and perhaps in my stupidity, I accepted the explanations then given by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Fletcher
Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley, I have not attempted since 27th November to put down Amendments, and my reason is that I accepted certain assurances, given by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and by the Secretary of State for War. If I had not had those assurances and if I had had the assiduity of my bon. Friend the Member for Dudley, no doubt I should have attempted to put down Amendments, but, in my ignorance, I was prepared to accept the assurances given on behalf of the Government.
As I understand it, the whole reason why the Government are now moving to report Progress is that they are admitting that those assurances were wrong, that they misled the House, and that, if they had not misled the House, the Committee stage of this Bill might have assumed 1180 a very different form. In common with others, I would have felt free to put down Amendments, but we were inhibited and frustrated from doing so because of the assurances.
That is my grievance, or it would have been if the Secretary of State for War had not taken what I regard as the right and proper course and moved to report Progress in order that the Government could reconsider the matter and consider whether there should be a new Money Resolution, or what should be done. I am supporting the Government. I believe that the only proper course which they could take was to report Progress. The only proper and sensible course for the Committee to take is to support the Government in their desire to do so.
I emphasise that argument by pointing out that when I took part in the debate on 27th November, I was rash enough to say that I thought that the Government's Money Resolution was so complicated and so unsatisfactory and so ambiguous that nobody could understand it and it could not possibly be right. I was told that its only objective was to deal with Clause 5. Questions were then raised about the pay of the Army, the Territorial Reserve, the "Ever-Readies" and so on, and we were told by the Secretary of State that none of those questions could possibly arise on the Money Resolution because they were all governed by the Prerogative, and at 11 p.m., the Secretary of State confirmed that and confirmed what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour had said and stated:As the Committee knows, the legal basis for all Army pay is the Royal Warrant…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th November, 1961; Vol. 650, c. 191.]I do not know whether the Committee knew it then, or ought to have known it or knows it now, but it is now apparent from what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour has said, supported by the researches of my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley, that that was quite wrong and that there are Acts of Parliament which govern this matter and Acts of Parliament involved in the Bill. There is a Section of the Reserve and Auxiliary Forces (Training) Act, 1950, and a Section of the Auxiliary Forces Act, 1953. Those are the Acts which, by implication, are mentioned in 1181 the concluding words of the Money Resolution, which reads:it is expedient to authorise payment out of moneys provided by Parliament of any increase attributable to the provisions of that Act in the sums payable out of moneys or provided under any other Act5.30 p.m.
If we had had more than three-quarters of an hour on 27th November, I have no doubt that my hon. Friends would have pursued the matter and would have wanted to know what were the "other Acts" referred to in the Money Resolution. If we had been told what the other Acts were—whether the 1950 or the 1953 Act or any other Act—we should have put down Amendments to deal with those Acts, but we were misled. I am not saying that we were deliberately misled. I, personally, acquit the Secretary of State for War of deliberately misleading the Committee. I do not think he understood the position. I think that he was in complete ignorance—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh".]—about the way in which the Army is in fact financed, and that is obvious both from the previous observations he made on that date and from his admissions and confessions of failure which he has made today. I think that it is right and honourable of him in these circumstances to have proposed that we should report Progress, because it seems to me that the implication of passing that Motion is that we should have plenty of time over Christmas in order to consider the effect of this muddle and confusion and to decide what should be done.
§ Mr. Wigg
It is important to get this quite clear. The only point I make is that I have a vested interest in trying to get it quite clear. If, on the night of 27th November, my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) had gone on for eleven hours, not only until eleven o'clock at night but for another day, the answer which he would have got from the Minister would have been that there were no other Acts, and that the earlier statements of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour, in reply to the hon. Gentleman, were absolutely on target. That disposes of the issue of Clause 5. Where the hon. Gentleman went wrong was that he went too far. 1182 He brought in the issue of the Prerogative, and it was because he believed that it was the exercise of the Prerogative that he would have answered my hon. Friends, if they had pressed him about what the other Acts were, that there was none. It was only later, when we discovered that there were other Acts—those of 1950 and 1953; Section 11 in each case—that the interpretation placed on the Money Resolution in that debate was seen to be incorrect.
§ Mr. Fletcher
I am much obliged to my hon. Friend. I am sure that he knows far more about this subject than I do, and far more than the Secretary of State for War. I think it is pure guesswork to say what the Secretary of State for War would have said if he had been asked further questions on 27th November. What is quite obvious is that he did not know how to answer the questions being asked, and, if he did, he gave the wrong answers. Therefore, I am not interested in what would have been the answers to a lot of other questions which we did not have the time to ask him.
It is quite clear that all of us were completely misled on 27th November by the statements of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and the Secretary of State for War. This is now common ground among all of us. I feel embarrassed because if I had had a truthful, honest and correct answer on 27th November, I should have taken a totally different course, and should have examined those Acts of 1950 and 1953 far more carefully, and would have put down, as no doubt many of my hon. Friends would have done, another series of Amendments.
It is for these reasons that I support the Motion, and I very much hope that the Committee will consider it. After we have finished the debate, I hope we shall have an opportunity, after the Christmas Recess, in the light of any further explanations which we may receive from the Minister, of putting down any further Amendments that may be required, unless, as some of my hon. Friends have suggested, another course is taken, which I support, and the Bill is withdrawn altogether.
§ Mr. Allaun
On a point of order. Would you agree, Sir Gordon, that the 1183 guts of this Bill are contained in Clause 1, and, therefore, we have been discussing the most contentious and the most important points in the Bill, with our hands tied behind our backs, because we were forbidden or unable to move what we wanted—
§ Mr. Allaun
On a point of order. Supposing it had been an important matter that was dealt with in one of the later Clauses, say Clauses 5 or 6. Then, of course, no exception could have been taken to this procedure. In view of the fact that a vital principle is at stake in Clause 1, but we have not been able to deal with it in the way which we should like, I suggest to you very seriously, Sir Gordon, that there is a case for the withdrawal of the Bill itself.
§ Mr. Profumo
May I answer the hon. Gentleman, because I think we are in danger of getting confused, and I want to hear more hon. Members on this point. I can answer to this extent, and I know that the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) will agree with me. The pay of the men referred to in Clause 1 of the Bill is entirely covered by the Royal Warrant. Whatever hon. Members may say, and I wish to hear them all speak, there can be no question of any misleading or of any misconception regarding the men paid under Clause 1, except in so far as the hon. Gentleman has put down an Amendment which seeks to deal with this as something different. This is important, because the hon. Gentleman has sought to mislead other hon. Members who are wishing to understand this very complicated matter. I say most emphatically that, whatever views there may be, there can be no question of anything misleading in anything we have discussed on Clause 1.
§ Mr. Wigg
Further to that point of order. It is important to point out that these men who fall under Clause 1, but for the operation of the right hon. Gentleman's Bill would, on the completion of their two years, become part-time members of the Territorial Army, 1184 and, to that extent, would become subject to the provisions of Section 11 of the 1953 Act. It is perfectly true, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, that they are Regular soldiers and that their pay and conditions are subject to the Prerogative, and, but for the Bill, would become subject—or at least the majority of them—as members of the Territorial Army—
§ The Chairman
Order. The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that that is not a point of order for me.
§ Mr. E. Fernyhough (Jarrow)
On a point of order. May I draw your attention to the fact that, although we have before us a Motion moved by the right hon. Gentleman to report Progress, we have made no more progress. How can we move to report Progress, when we have not made any progress since he last moved to report Progress? I should like to have a Ruling on this, because some of us like to understand—
§ The Chairman
Order. It is a technical term. We often report Progress when no progress has been made.
§ Mr. Marcus Lipton (Brixton)
Further to that point of order. May I respectfully direct your attention, Sir Gordon, to the OFFICIAL REPORT for 7th December, col. 1704, when we were last engaged in Committee on the Army Reserve Bill? You will see, at the top of col. 1704 these words in italics:Committee report Progress to sit again Tomorrow.My submission is that, before the Committee had an opportunity of sitting at all today, the Secretary of State for War moved a Motion to report Progress and ask leave to sit again, without any period intervening between the passing of the last Motion to report Progress and the present proposal that we should again report Progress and ask leave to sit again. I should like to ask whether it is possible to keep on moving Motions of this kind, without any interval between the moving of these Motions to report Progress. We know that it is a technical formula to enable the Government to get out of a difficulty, to enable Members to go home, to have a tea break or whatever it may be.
1185 Surely it is not technically possible to have two Motions to report Progress and ask leave to sit again without any sitting of the Committee having taken place in between the moving of the two Motions? I hope, Sir Gordon, that you will be in a position to explain to me what at the moment is a rather insoluble mystery.
§ The Chairman
I shall be glad to try to help the hon. Member. There has been much business done in the interval between 7th December and the moving of the Motion which is now before the Committee.
§ Mr. Herbert Butler (Hackney, Central)
How long are we to sit here and listen to this duet between the Secretary of State for War and my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg)? The Motion before us is to report Progress and ask leave to sit again. We do not want to listen to duets and hear the same arguments repeated as to why we should do this. I hope that we shall not continue with this cross-chat of Flanagan and Allen.
§ Sir Fitzroy Maclean (Bute and North Ayrshire)
Like other hon. Members, I listened with interest to the debate on 27th November on the Money Resolution, and, like other hon. Members I heard the explanation—
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)
On a point of order, Sir Gordon. When my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) raised his paint of order, you said that between 7th December and now we had made progress.
§ Mr. A. Lewis
My hon. and learned Friend has asked us to stop raising points of order. I asked whether the Chair could say whether we had made 1186 progress. That was a legitimate request. Sir Gordon advised that we had made progress in the intervening period, and that satisfied me.
§ The Chairman
"Progress" is a technical term. If my opinion is asked, I shall say that we are not at the moment making very much progress.
§ Sir F. Maclean
If I might ask the Committee to progress backwards for a moment, I should like to return to the debate on the Money Resolution to which I listened, as I did to the explanation given by my right hon. Friend.
Not being an expert in these matters, I naturally assumed, as I think most hon. Members did, that my right hon. Friend's explanations were valid. We now find that apparently that is not the case, and I am extremely disappointed. We all know that in these times the Secretary of State for War does not, unfortunately, have very much say in matters of policy, but one expects him to be right at least an matters of detail.
Nobody likes this Bill. Those who are in favour of National Service, as I am, do not like it because we consider it to be half-hearted and lopsided. Those who are against it—and I think this includes the majority of hon. Members on both sides of the Committee judging by their utterances in the past—do not like it because it contains a measure of selective service, and a very unfair one at that, and I do not imagine that the Government will like it much after these proceedings.
I therefore suggest to my right hon. Friend that he should take this Bill away and lose it, and come back with a better Measure which will give us what we need, enough men to fulfil our commitments and our responsibilities for as long as we need to.
§ Mr. Bellenger
I think that the Committee is right in showing a good deal of resentment at the conduct of this Bill so far, due, perhaps, as one of my hon. Friends said, to the ignorance of the right hon. Gentleman, or, perhaps, to some misapprehension. Whatever it was, we started our proceedings in an unusual way. The Secretary of State for War rose and moved the Motion, "That the Chairman do report Progress and 1187 ask leave to sit again." When the Minister in charge of a Bill does that, we believe that he means what he says. We were, therefore, very interested to hear what he had to say.
At first—and, Mr MacPherson, I raised this as a point of order with your predecessor in the Chair—I thought that he was doing it merely to give my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) an opportunity to make a statement. I hope that my hon. Friend will not think that I am trying to deny him any opportunity of addressing the Committee. I know that he can look after himself very well in this respect. We were interested to hear that, apparently—although subsequently the right hon. Gentleman gave us a different impression—because of some discussion that he had had with my hon. Friend, he thought that he ought to take this unusual step. But when we heard the right hon. Gentleman, he tried to put, in a different proportion, what he had said on a former occasion.
What did the right hon. Gentleman say this afternoon? He said something with which my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley agreed, namely, that he has the money and that he has the power, without the Money Resolution, to keep certain National Service men in the Army and to call up certain reservists. I can understand that, but the right hon. Gentleman went on in a lighthearted manner to say that if he did exceed his Estimates he would lay before the House a Supplementary Estimate.
It is intolerable for a member of the Government to say, "I want so many men and it is going to cost so much money", and then later to lay before the House a Bill like this and say, "Ah, but if by any chance I have not got enough money for the purpose of this Bill, without asking for the House to approve the Money Resolution, I shall lay before the House a Supplementary Estimate and ask the House to approve it".
§ Mr. Bellenger
The right hon. Gentleman can speak for himself. He has caused enough confusion by some of his statements, and perhaps he will do his 1188 best to clear the air. If he does not agree with what I am saying, let him say so, but what I protest about is the way in which, on an important Bill like this, hon. Members on both sides of the Committee have been misled.
I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley on these matters. There is no doubt that he has a vast practical knowledge, and that he does a good deal of research to find out whether he can table Amendments which will be in order, but is no other hon. Member without the vast knowledge of my hon. Friend to be in a position to table Amendments? We have heard today that most hon. Members—except my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley—have been misled. Therefore, the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) is quite right in suggesting that the Secretary of State should take the Bill away and think again. We hope that he will have an opportunity to consider these important matters in the Christmas Recess.
I have been in the position now occupied by the right hon. Gentleman, and I know that it is not an easy matter to understand Army legislation—the Royal Warrant, the Prerogative and other matters. I am not accusing the right hon. Gentleman of wilfully misleading the House. All I am saying is that he may have slipped up. We understand that. But why should we be put in this position? We are expected to vote on the Bill and do things which the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire has already said that many of us dislike. Why should we be put in the position of doing that merely because the right hon. Gentleman is trying to rush through this legislation in a slipshod fashion?
I accuse the Government, not only in this instance but in other instances, of trying to browbeat the Committee by using their majority to steamroller through these matters.
§ Captain L. P. S. Orr (Down, South)
Since we all appear to be agreed, on both sides, that we should report Progress and ask leave to sit again, and since it is nearly Christmas, I beg to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)
Judging by the speeches that have been made by hon. Members on both sides of the Committee, if the Government wish to carry the Motion they can do so unanimously. The Minister only has to say that he wants the Motion to be carried. We do not want to continue the discussion further. Since the Minister's original intervention not one speech has been made which has not supported the Government's proposition. Therefore, the Government can have their way at any time. All they have to do is to say that they want the Motion carried. That will finish business for the day and the Government will be able to follow the advice given by Members on both sides of the Committee that they should take the Bill away and reconsider it. [Interruption.] The hon. and gallant Member for Down, South (Captain Orr) should not be complaining. He was urging the Government to bring the debate to a conclusion.
§ Mr. Foot
The hon. and gallant Member is being even more simple than he looks. That is not the case. At one moment we thought that he was rebelling against the Government, but from what he now says it is evident that he is trying to assist them to get out of the difficulty into which they have got the whole Committee. The Government can carry the Motion whenever they want to.
Unlike many hon. Members, I have not been briefed by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg). Some hon. Members on this side have been briefed by him, and every hon. Member who has spoken from the benches opposite, with the exception of the hon. and gallant Member for Down, South, has clearly been briefed by him. I bring an absolutely fresh mind to bear upon the subject.
I cannot go so far as my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher). I was very moved when he said that if it had not been for what the Minister had said on 27th November he would have been diligently putting down Amendments to the Bill, and that it was only because he followed so closely what the Minister had said that 1190 he was deterred from doing so. I feel sure that he is telling the truth, and that he would do nothing else, but I cannot say that for myself. I was not present at our proceedings on 27th November, but I have read a report of them. Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East, I have no personal interest in the matter. In what I am saying I am activated entirely by an altruistic desire to protect the rights of other hon. Members.
We do not have to go into all the technicalities raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley. If we did we should be here all night. As I understand it, it is at least agreed that, for one reason or another, some things which the Minister said on 27th November must have deterred some hon. Members from putting down Amendments. I do not think that there is any dispute between the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart), who attempted to put down an Amendment, and my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley, although my hon. Friend has had disputes with other of my hon. Friends on the matter.
If that is the case, the argument for moving to report Progress is overwhelming, but having misled the Committee in relation to the Amendments that could be put down the Minister cannot get out of his difficulty by moving to report Progress today. We now begin to understand why the Minister commenced our proceedings today in this very novel manner. At first is was a mystery. My hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, Central (Mr. H. Butler), on a point of order—which turned out not to be a point of order—made what I thought was a rather rude comment. He referred to the Minister and to my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley as Flanagan and Allen. If he was not being rude to the Minister and my hon. Friend, I feel that Flanagan and Allen might well feel that he was being rude to them.
My hon. Friend talked about the Minister and my hon. Friend as performing a duet—but what the Minister originally wanted was a solo. He wanted my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley to explain the matter. Perhaps he thought that some hon. Members would leave, thinking that we were merely discussing another part of the Bill, and that he would get what he 1191 wanted in that way, after which he would be able to thank my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley for being so diligent.
But it has not turned out like that. The Minister resorted to procedures which some hon. Members, with longer experience than I have, have never seen resorted to before. When the debate began the Secretary of State for War moved to report Progress. Presumably he had discussed the point with the Government, or with the Leader of the House and with the Whips. I am sure that he would have done that. He probably said, "In order to get out of this muddle we must adopt a rather different procedure." He hoped to get it through fairly quickly.
§ Mr. Foot
The Minister shakes his head. At any rate, he has not been disappointed in that. He hoped that he would get it through eventually. He knew that the procedure was novel, especially when he asked my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley to explain the matter in a manner which he, the Minister, hoped would be agreeable to the Committee.
§ Mr. Wigg
The initiation in the first instance came from me. I went to the Chairman of Ways and Means on Friday afternoon and told him what I had discovered. I also went to the Leader of the House, to the Government Whips and to some members of my own party, including some senior members. It was only because I understood it to be without precedent for a back bench Member to move to report Progress that the Government took the action they did. I hope that hon. Members will acquit me of any desire to be discourteous. I informed my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) of the position. I thought it of paramount importance—and I still do—that hon. Members on both sides of the Committee should understand the issues. That was why I went to the Chairman of Ways and Means.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Foot
I am not criticising my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley for what he did on Friday, but I can only say, "Little man, you've had 1192 a busy day." As a result of these researches the Government discovered that they would have to rectify the situation in some way. They found that they had unwittingly misled the Committee about Amendments which hon. Members could put down. If that is the case, then the situation could not possibly be rectified by having a short debate at the beginning of these proceedings, because that would have meant that hon. Members would still be denied the right to put down Amendments, although my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley said that he eventually went along to put down Amendments because he had discovered how to do it.
It will still be the case that the only way in which hon. Members can put down what Amendments they wish is if this Motion is carried and we return after the Recess to discuss this Bill again.
§ Mr. Foot
No, not this Bill. The Motion raises wider issues. At the moment I am dealing with the narrower question. On that, the Government cannot possibly rectify the position, which they have admitted and which was responsible for the Secretary of State starting our proceedings is such a novel fashion. In other words, his remedy does not cure the disease. If the disease is that some hon. Members have been deprived of their rights, then the remedy of proposing to report Progress at the beginning of these proceedings and to proceed with the Bill later does not cure the disease the Secretary of State has himself described.
The other aspect of the matter has been raised not only by hon. Members on this side of the House but even more strongly by Members opposite. The hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) and the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison) pleaded that the Government should withdraw the Bill. They have objected to the Bill all along. They say that here is further evidence of the muddle we have reached in considering the Bill. That is an additional argument for withdrawing the Bill, and it is a powerful one.
I do not expect the Secretary of State to withdraw the Bill, for he must consider the consequences. But, ever since 1193 the Bill was introduced, it has been bitterly attacked from all sides, both by people for or against conscription or for or against the Government's defence policy. Some of the most powerful speeches this Session have come from right hon. and hon Members opposite. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) made a most powerful speech against the Bill. It has been ill-starred from the beginning, and now the Committee is in a hopeless tangle. The Government should proceed to carry their Motion in a Division, which is the best way to solve the problem and may be the simplest part of the whole affair.
It is an extraordinary way of dealing with the affairs of this Committee, particularly since the Secretary of State a moment or two ago admitted to me that he was expecting a long debate on the Motion. I said that he may have expected a short debate, but he shook his head. Presumably he expected a long one.
§ Mr. Profumo
The hon. Member is confusing his own issue. When he said that I had expected a short debate, I shook my head to indicate that I was expecting nothing. I want to clarify this situation. I was not expecting either a long or a short debate. When I shook my head I was giving an answer to the point made by the hon. Gentleman. I was not indicating whether I expected a long or a short debate.
§ Mr. Foot
I accept at once that the right hon. Gentleman did not know whether the debate would be long or short. But I did not think that it was a terrible accusation that he had expectations that the debate would be dealt with either slowly or quickly. It is undoubtedly the case that he has introduced an extremely novel manner of dealing with this situation. He has denied that, but I do not recall any circumstances in which a Government, at the beginning of Committee proceedings had asked an hon. Member in another part of the Committee to explain the general situation. I am not saying that there is anything wrong in that. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman did it for the best of motives, probably thinking that it was the best way to cover 1194 up what had gone wrong, but that has turned out not to be so.
However novel this procedure, one would have thought that the Government would have taken some precaution to see that they were well-advised on the matter. I would have thought that the Leader of the House and the Chief Whip would have been present for this discussion. I know that the Chief Whip has a rough time in having to listen to all the debates, but we should have their views—particularly those of the Leader of the House. Recalling the questions put to the Leader of the House during Questions on Business today, one would have thought he would have been present now.
At that time, the Opposition suggested—and I gather that it was also discussed through the usual channels last night—that it would be much better to take the debate on the Swiss loan today rather than tomorrow when it will interfere with a very important debate on Berlin. If the House gets into a muddle about procedure, then that is the sort of occasion when the Leader of the House should be present, and I am sorry that he is not here. It is deplorable that he is absent and cannot give such advice as he can. Nevertheless, the Government could have been rescued from this situation if they had accepted the advice given to them this afternoon or, we may deduct, through the usual channels last night.
One may deduce that it was proposed by the Opposition last night that the debate about the Swiss Loan should be taken today instead. Of course, I know that we are only borrowing £200 million or £300 million, which apparently does not matter much here or there to the Government, but we must discuss it some time. Thus, on two occasions the Government have had advice which would have got them out of this difficulty but have not taken it. If they had postponed consideration of this Bill until later, the Minister himself could have made a statement about what had gone wrong and about the unwittingly misleading character of what he had said. It could then have been put right.
§ Mr. Foot
That does not alter the main argument. Perhaps it reinforces it, because it shows that the muddle was even greater than supposed. But if the Government had postponed discussion of this Measure until after Christmas, it would at least have facilitated the rest of our business. It would have enabled my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley to have enlightened many more hon. Members on both sides of the House. He would probably have been more successful in enlightening them outside the Chamber than he usually is inside. The situation is that the Committee is in an appalling muddle. The Government have moved a Motion but are apparently trying to prevent us from carrying it. If they want to carry the Motion they can do so whenever they wish.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
I apologise for intervening and must admit frankly that I have not heard the whole of the discussion. I am therefore reluctant to intervene. But I may be called on to vote in a short time. I wish to know how the Government can withdraw their own Motion in circumstances in which they have not yet tabled an Amendment, which could be tabled only on Report, in order to permit the discussion to continue? This discussion cannot continue beyond the Motion to report Progress and the vote on it, whatever may be the result of that Vote.
§ Mr. Foot
This discussion cannot continue. But some discussion can. It depends on what happens to the Government's proposal and the Motion to report Progress. That is what we are discussing. Nothing else can happen until we have disposed of the Government Motion. I am proposing the simplest way to dispose of it and assist with the rest of the Government business. It is to carry the Motion, and here I speak for all hon. Members on this side of the Committee. It is not often that I have the opportunity to speak for all hon. Members on this side of the Committee, but once I do have that opportunity I want to do so. Therefore it is unanimous.
What is worrying the Government? Why is the Secretary of State for War 1196 looking so woried? The right hon Gentleman will carry this Motion with greater acclamation than anything which he has ever proposed in this Chamber before, and I congratulate him. He has moved the Motion in a Christmas spirit and we will accede to his wish. We are happy to comply with what he proposes. Standing Orders are not to prevent us. The Minister has it all his own way, and I congratulate him on the fact that this is the first occasion during the whole of the discussion on this Bill when he has commanded universal assent.
§ Mr. Denis Howell
I have sat through the whole of the discussion this afternoon, and I think that all hon. Members should feel obliged to my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) for raising this matter, even though an extraordinary procedure has been adopted in order that this may be done. Despite the fact that in this Committee, and in the House of Commons, we are able to proceed in such matters with a degree of humour which is to be commended, this is an extremely serious Parliamentary matter and nothing less than the honour of the Government is involved.
I do not wish to speak for long—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"]—because I do not think this is an appropriate opportunity to filibuster. It is an extremely serious matter with which the Government should deal. The Secretary of State for War told us that earlier, when we discussed the extent of the Money Resolution, had he had the opportunity he would at the end of that debate, had time not run out on him, drawn the strings together in the way in which he has done this afternoon.
It must be within the recollection of hon. Members who were present on that previous occasion that then the right hon. Gentleman was quite incapable of making the sort of statement that he made this afternoon, and I consider that an interesting factor. In fact, the Government have completely misled us. If we desire to know the extent to which we were misled, we have only to think of what the Secretary of State for War said this afternoon and cast our minds back to the sort of impasse in the Committee on the previous occasion.
Another matter which I consider of great gravity has not yet been raised 1197 today. The Secretary of State when making his statement—I hope that this will be within the recollection of all hon. Members—said he had not intended to make this statement now, although my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley had drawn his attention to the situation. The Government were already aware of the fact before their attention was drawn to it, and it was the intention of the Government to proceed with this Bill and to put matters right when we reached Clause 7. That was what we were told by the Secretary of State. In other words, the Government were misleading the House, and not only that; they were prepared to go on misleading hon. Members until we reached Clause 7. When can there have been a more disgraceful state of affairs? We can all accept that the right hon. Gentleman may have originally misled the Committee in an innocent way. But having found that he was doing so, he was prepared to continue to mislead hon. Members until we reached Clause 7 of the Bill. I consider that the most disgraceful thing which I have ever come across since I have been a Member of Parliament. For that, if for no other reason, the Secretary of State has an obligation to take this Bill away and to do the honourable thing.
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot). I attempted to raise a point of order earlier which turned out not to be a point of order but something which I could raise as a point in the debate. It is disgraceful that the Committee has been misled and that the Government are ready to continue to mislead hon. Members even further, and that we should not have the advantage of the presence of the Leader of the House who has specific powers and responsibilities. He should be present in order to put these matters right. This is a most shocking state of affairs.
It is also true that there is a Motion on the Order Paper to suspend the Rule at ten o'clock. Not only have we spent one day discussing this matter when the discussion was completely out of order, but we do not know for how long the Government intend to keep us tonight. It may be that we shall have a second day and carry on through the night dis 1198 cussing matters which originated from the fact that the Committee has been misled.
There are only two courses open to the Committee. First, there is the honourable course, which has been urged upon the Government from both sides of the Committee, that the Bill should be taken away. I support the adoption of that course, because I believe that the Committee is entitled to time to consider the effect of the statement which the Minister has made. The right hon. Gentleman is not entitled to make a far-reaching statement which completely alters the whole of our perception of this Bill and proceed from that to a day, and possibly a night, of considering further Amendments before hon. Members have had an opportunity to discuss the far-reaching effects of the statement which he has made.
Hon. Members have their rights. We are entitled on such occasions to consider such matters, just as according to a time-honoured formula the Government from time to time, when presented with a situation which they have not previously had time to think about, indicate that they would like notice of it. We as ordinary back benchers, having had the matter presented to us for the first time by the Secretary of State—
§ Mr. Howell
I am very happy to observe a "two minute silence" on the occasion of the Leader of the House taking his seat in the Chamber. It is an extremely important matter—
§ Mr. Howell
No, I do not want to start again. But I hope very much that the Leader of the House is in no doubt at all that we consider this a matter which involves the honour of the Government; that we have been misled and that the Government proposed to continue misleading us had they not been caught out by the vigilance of my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley. The whole think is a pretty shocking exercise in Parliamentary democracy. I will now continue on the point I was making.
In my view, this Measure should be taken back because of the effect of the statement made by the Minister which 1199 hon. Members have had no time to consider. Now there is an entirely new interpretation of the Finance Clause, and we are entitled to consider the effect of that interpretation on any Amendment which we might like to put down. We are entitled to consider its effect not only on Clause 1 (1), which we have already disposed of, but on the rest of that part of the Bill which we are likely to dispose of tonight, bearing in mind that there is a Motion on the Order Paper to suspend the Rule. That seems to me the only honourable course for the Government to take.
I wish to be fair and to say that there is one alternative to a Motion to report Progress. It is that we might be able to put down on Report those Amendments which we have been prevented from putting down so far. That seems to me a possibility that might be in the Government's mind.
If some of my hon. Friends are right and we cannot do that, my argument is even stronger, but even if we can do it this is a most disgraceful course of action to urge upon the Committee—that on Report we should discuss far-reaching Amendments of principle and of a character which we have been precluded from putting on the Order Paper so far. I am delighted to see the Leader of the House now here. No doubt he has been given information by now. It is a serious situation when every speaker unanimously from every part of the Committee is urging that the Bill should now be taken away. I urge the Government to take the only honourable course open to them in the circumstances.
§ Mr. Grimond
I do not want to take up the further time of the Committee in paying compliments to the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), but we owe him a great debt, and if it were in order to do so a Motion might well be moved to put him in charge of the Bill. It would save a great deal of time all round. What we must have from the Secretary of State is a clear explanation of what the day's proceedings have all been about. If what happened on the evening of the 27th November was not all that important and if, although the Secretary of State was quite wrong in what he said, this could have been cured 1200 in the course of the Committee stage, why was the Motion now before us ever moved? Why have we been asked to spend hours debating it? No one wants to be unkind to the hon. Member for Dudley, but if this is a Christmas present for him or a bonne bouche for his behaviour in Committee that may be all right, but it is something quite new in Parliamentary procedure.
I imagine, however, that the Motion was moved because the Secretary of State admits that he was wrong on the 27th and that it did make a difference and that it mattered. If it mattered, why did it matter? We have been told by certain hon. Members one reason why it mattered. I cannot say that I have been itching for weeks to put Amendments on the Order Paper and have been misled by the statement which the Secretary of State made, but other hon. Members have said that they were misled. If, therefore, the Secretary of State admits that what he said was wrong and that this is an important matter and that one of the reasons why it is important is that the Committee was prevented from doing its job, because certain hon. Members were misled and Amendments were not put down, I hope that he will follow his Motion through and that we shall indeed report Progress.
When this matter was first introduced into Parliament, it was said to be one of some urgency. On Second Reading the Secretary of State linked it with the situation in Berlin. If the situation in Berlin will be seriously affected by progress on this Bill it is extremely alarming. If the Bill is a contribution to the solution of the Berlin crisis, none of us can go away for Christmas feeling very happy. If weeks go by and we make no progress today—which is by no means certain—and the Bill is in such a muddle, it is not likely to reach the Statute Book until a solution of the Berlin crisis, as I hope, will have made considerable progress. Is it to go out of this Committee that in a serious international crisis one of the great contributions of the British Government is to introduce this Bill, with the object of saving the situation in Berlin?
§ Mr. Grimond
Is this to be the Government's contribution and then it turns out that they have hopelessly misunderstood the Money Resolution?
§ Mr. Paget
In view of the many brickbats which have been flying towards the Minister, we should thank him at least for having moved this Motion. It was at any rate an attempt to put right where he had gone wrong. It was a gesture of repentance, though in fairness one ought to say there are two sorts of repentance. There is the repentance when one finds that one has done wrong, and there is the repentance when one finds that one has been caught. In the Minister's case I think it is the second sort, because he has since told us that had he riot been caught we should not have heard about this until we came to Clause 7—which would have been too late.
§ Mr. Elwyn Jones (West Ham, South)
Is there not a third form of repentance which is very relevant, namely, deathbed repentance?
§ Mr. Paget
I would not go so far in controversy as to wish the right hon. Gentleman that.
My hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) made a very remarkable discovery, although it was a discovery which resembled another famous discovery of this century, that of Professor Einstein, which even after it was made, save to a few initiates, did not cause the matter to become any more comprehensible. It is therefore with a certain diffidence, and subject always to my hon. Friend's further instruction, that I seek to indicate what I think is the real issue and one which does not divide the Committee, because we have had so much support on both sides.
The issue seems to me to be this. It is common ground on both sides that the Bill inflicts grave injustice. Everybody is agreed on that. When we drafted our Amendments we sought to provide that financially as much compensation as possible in bonuses and in other forms should be given to those who had suffered the injustice. That seemed to be a principle for which the Bill had not provided and on which it could not be radically improved. 1202 Whether these Amendments, which sought to bring in a variety of forms of financial compensation for the injustice suffered, were in order depended upon whether money spent under the Bill was spent under the Prerogative or under Statute. If it were spent under Statute, our Amendments would have been in order, and if under the Prerogative they would not have been in order.
The Minister, when he said that it was a question of tidying up some ends, was a good deal less than candid with the Committee. It was not a question of tidying up ends. This is a highly complicated subject and I am not seeking to blame the right hon. Gentleman, but in the course of the debate on the Financial Resolution he did not just leave things vague he quite categorically misinformed us.
If the Minister wants to know, I can go to the various passages, as my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley has done. There is a whole series of them. For instance, the right hon. Gentleman said:The point my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Labour was trying to explain was that the cost, in so far as any cost arises out of this Bill, will either be paid for under existing Army Estimates already passed or will come under the Army Estimates for next year.The point is that my hon. Friend is dealing with the Resolution as set down here and which he has explained, and that the money which is defence costs is borne on the Army Estimates.The right hon. Gentleman also stated:The position is that the Money Resolution covers everything which is new expenditure.A little further down he said:As the Committee knows, the legal basis for all Army pay is the Royal Warrant, which entitles us to make payment.Again, a little further on:Perhaps I may give an example. Some months ago we started a different sort of bounty for a different sort of reserve—the Army Emergency Reserve, Category I. This was done after the Army Estimates last year, but we did not need a Money Resolution for it.The Minister went on:This part of the Bill which we are now discussing, the part which might attract the bounty for a different sort of reserve, will also not come under the Money Resolution but will come under the Royal Warrant which takes regard of pay, and any funds which are needed for the next Army Estimates will be carried 1203 on existing Army Estimates."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th November, 1961; Vol. 650, c. 184–92.]It is common ground that these statements were wrong. The Minister having misled the House, and that having been found, apparently, even before my hon. Friend's discoveries, I feel that the position would have been very serious indeed had it been left until we reached Clause 7.
Again I would join, as I have done very often before, in congratulating my hon. Friend. When the unfortunate weather conditions made it impossible for him to perform one public duty and he returned to make this discovery we can, perhaps, feel that proud Cortez on a peak in Darien was not more delighted by what he saw than was my hon. Friend.
This, indeed, was the occasion when, beyond an argument, beyond any juggling with figures or beyond any prevarication my hon. Friend was the one man in step and everyone else was out of step. Indeed, the only point in my hon. Friend's speech which I a little doubted was when he said that he was surprised to find that he was the only person who was right. That is not something that has ever surprised him. It may have delighted him, but not surprised him; at any rate, it was no small achievement.
That having been said, let us look where we get from here. The position of the Minister seems to me to be just a little like that of a man I once defended for stealing ducks. We had a success. The man was acquitted. The jury came to the conclusion that there was not any criminal intent. I remember that when the verdict came, the man said to me, "Now do I get the ducks?"
We acquit the right hon. Gentleman of criminal intent, but we do not feel that he should get the ducks and, in this context, the ducks are represented by the right hon. Gentleman being able to go on with the Bill without the very proper and important Amendments being put down, which his misinformation prevented, and which the Table really have to follow up because, of course, when we get a Financial Resolution in this form, it is not conclusive as to the relevance of the Amendments. That only emerges when we find whether 1204 it comes from Statute, which can be amended, or from the Prerogative, which cannot. When the Minister has said that it is Prerogative, we are prevented from doing that.
What should we do about it now? I believe that the right thing would be to allow this Motion to go through; to adjourn, and to allow the Government an opportunity to put in order what, after all, is not a very happy Bill or one with which they can be very satisfied. But, at least, even if the Government are not willing to do that, I suggest that we should do go very far tonight. That is to say, we certainly ought not to go beyond the point at which we should be prevented from putting down any Amendments of this sort. Therefore Clause 1, at any rate, should remain open so that further Amendments can be put to it by the time we conclude our proceedings tonight, and as there are a very large number of Amendments I do not feel that that is a very great deal to ask.
§ Mr. Profumo
It may be for the convenience of the Committee if I say something further. This has obviously been a very valuable discussion because we are, at any rate, clearer about the Money Resolution. The reason I went through this rather strange procedure was purely because I was aware, not that I had said anything wrong on the Money Resolution, but that what I said had been inconclusive. I had not said enough.
I was not in any way aware of the fact that any hon. Member on either side had felt inhibited about putting down any Amendment as the result of being misled by what I had said during the discussion on the Money Resolution. I wanted to be quite certain that when we discussed the matter again, which would have been on Clause 7, I would be able, as I said earlier today, to draw the threads together. There is nothing shocking about that.
It was only when I became aware from a conversation I had with the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg)—and if any other hon. Member had told me this I should have taken just the same action—that he considered, but only considered, that he had been inhibited from putting down Amendments because of a misconception of what had been said, 1205 that I agreed that I would take this very first opportunity to try to put what I would have done later in perspective to the Committee—
§ Mr. Profumo
The hon. Gentleman cannot say that it is too late now. I understood that if the hon. Member for Dudley or any other hon. Member apart from myself had at this moment sought to move such a Motion you, Sir Gordon, would automatically have had to reject it. We could have done it on points of order, but I think that that would have been even more confusing. But since our joint intention—as I know the hon. Member for Dudley felt—was to try to put the matter in perspective, I think we can both be acquitted of discourtesy in raising the matter like this.
There is nothing wrong with the Money Resolution—that must be clear—and the more we discuss this the more in danger we are of getting to where we were the other night, with people being confused. The Money Resolution is drawn perfectly well. It finishes up, as has already been mentioned, by saying…so provided under any other ActIt is, therefore, drawn perfectly correctly.
Perhaps I was not clear enough at the time, but I do not believe—and I have read the debate through again and again—that I was, in fact, incorrect when I spoke during the discussion on the Money Resolution. When reading such a debate as that, one has to realise that every intervention I made was in reply to an hon. Member's point or comment. Here I may have made a mistake. Perhaps it would have been better for me to have allowed everyone to speak who wished to, and then to have intervened, but because the time was short it seemed to me right to intervene as each Member made his point. One therefore has to read what I said against exactly what had been said by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen before.
Some hon. Members, though not the hon. Member for Dudley, seem to think that as a result of what I said about the Royal Prerogative and other things, and what others had said, the Amendment put down by my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) 1206 —to which, incidentally, hon. Members opposite had put down an Amendment—was out of order because the Clerks did not understand it. That is not the case.
That Amendment sought to incur further expenditure under this Measure—it would have been an added expenditure—and since the Money Resolution relates only to expenditure under other Acts the case is wholly different—[Interruption] I think that what I am saying is, generally speaking the point—is wholly different from what the hon. Member for Dudley has sought now to do. The hon. Gentleman is perfectly right, of course, in suggesting means, as he has done, of trying to provide some sort of bounty for those retained under Clause 1.
These National Service men can be regarded only as Regular soldiers and, therefore, under the Royal Prerogative. The point that I want the Committee to understand is that, whatever they may feel about the inhibitions on putting down Amendments, I was absolutely and entirely correct in what I said about the Royal Prerogative governing Regular soldiers. There is no question at all about it.
I want to say to the Committee that so far nothing has gone wrong because, so far, we have been entirely discussing Regular soldiers, National Service soldiers who are whole-time soldiers under Clause 1, and therefore any Amendment would have been out of order unless in the way that the hon. Gentleman has sought to put this down. The hon. Gentleman said that the moment that they reach their two years' service they cease to be Regular soldiers, and what we are really doing is to recall a number of reservists, although there is only a momentary gap.
§ Mr. Wigg
I say that these men whom the right hon. Gentleman will recall under Clause 1 would, for the most part, if he had not recalled them, have become, one day after completion of their two years, part-time members of the Territorial Army. What I have in mind is perfectly plain. As the right hon. Gentleman will see if he reads Clause 3 (1), they are part-time members of the Territorial Army and therefore I deem them, in order to give them a 1207 bounty, which I think that they ought to get, members of the Territorial Army for that purpose.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Profumo
I understand that that is what the hon. Gentleman is deeming them to be, because he suggests that after two years, if it were not for this Bill, they would be in one of the reserves, the A.E.R. or the Territorial Army. But, in point of fact, that is not the case for if he and other hon. Members will look at the wording of the Bill they will see that Clause 1 (1) states:…where…any person…is in army service…the Secretary of State may…retain that person in army service for such term not exceeding…That is what we are doing by this Bill. It covers various different subjects, and that is why we did not take the National Service Act because that concerns the other Services too. This Bill, if it becomes law, gives power to retain National Service men in the Army, and, therefore, in my submission, they continue to be Regular soldiers and are covered by the Prerogative.
Several hon. Members—including the right hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) who after all has held my post—suggested that I ought to know more about this. I am sure that he must recall the problem of how to get Supplementary Estimates, because he must have had to deal with it in his time. It has been suggested that hon. Members might have been busily putting down Amendments if they had not been misled by me. The right hon. Member for Bassetlaw said that I had misled the Committee. Other hon. Members said that they would have put down several Amendments. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) was perfectly honest and said that he had not really thought of it. [Interruption.] I fail to notice that the right hon. Member for Bassetlaw has put his name to this Amendment, and yet he has had time to do it.
It does not seem to me that hon. Members have, so far, been really affected.
§ Mr. Profumo
It is for the Committee to decide. I was only saying that, up 1208 to the present, everything we have done has been perfectly in order, however the Committee may have misunderstood me or the hon. Member for Dudley, and will be so until we reach the end of Clause 1. I suggest, therefore—
§ Mr. Profumo
That is for the Committee to decide. I merely make this suggestion. As hon. Members seem to be in some doubt as to what the truth is in regard to the conditions of the Money Resolution, I think that they might first read what I said in HANSARD, when they will become immediately aware of the situation: since I have tried to make not a correction but an amplification of what I said the other day.
§ Mr. Profumo
Then the right hon. Gentleman can read it. Perhaps he can read better than he can listen.
This is the suggestion I make. I will give an undertaking to the Committee, if we can make some progress, that there will be an opportunity during the Report stage for hon. and right hon. Members to put down any such Amendments as they would have been putting down had they known about this. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I will give the undertaking—
§ Mr. Denis Howell
On a point of order. This is a House of Commons matter, Sir Gordon. What right has the Minister to presume the prerogative of the Chair and give us undertakings as to what Amendments will be accepted on Report?
§ Mr. Howell
Further to that point of order, Sir Gordon. In the hearing of everyone, the Minister said that he would give an undertaking that we could have our Amendments put down. Apart from the basic premise on which that is based, which concedes the whole of our case, clearly the right hon. Gentleman is taking to himself your duty, Sir Gordon.
§ Mr. S. Silverman
Further to that point of order, Sir Gordon. The right hon. Gentleman has made an offer to the Committee that on Report he will permit certain Amendments to be put down. Quite apart from the propriety of that way of putting it—though I understand what the right hon. Gentleman meant to say—there is the point that so far there have been no Amendments to the Bill, and, in view of the possibility that there may not be any Amendments to the Bill by the time we reach the end of the Committee stage, there may be no Report stage. If there are no Amendments, there will be no Report stage and the Minister's offer will, therefore, be completely ineffective.
§ Mr. Profumo
I am sorry. Hon. Members must not jump to conclusions before I have had time to explain. What I said to the Committee—HANSARD will bear me out—was that I would give this undertaking. I said that I would give opportunity for hon. Members to put down Amendments on Report. [HON MEMBERS: "That is not for the Minister."] Please may I make this point? It must be for me to give such an undertaking. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If there is no Report stage, no hon. Member would have a chance of putting down an Amendment on Report. I give an undertaking that, even if there are no other Amendments, I will see that there is a Report stage even if I put down a Government Amendment for the purpose. Then there will be one and, if there is then a Report stage—
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
On a point of order, Sir Gordon. Is it not the fact that any Amendment at the Report stage involving expenditure would necessitate the Bill being recommitted to Committee? I ask you, Sir Gordon, whether such a Motion would (a) be necessary, and (b), if it were put 1210 down by an hon. Member on this side, would it be called? Would it not be far better if such an Amendment were to be put down at all, that it should be put down by the Government?
§ Mr. Profumo
No, Sir. I am giving an undertaking to the Committee that I will arrange—[HON MEMBERS: "The right hon. Gentleman cannot."] Yes, I will arrange either to accept some Amendment in the course of our discussions, or, if I am not able to do that, to put down some simple Government Amendment which will enable us to have a Report stage, when hon. Members can put down any Amendments they want. This seems perfectly fair and, in view of that undertaking, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.
§ Mr. Paget
On a point of order, Sir Gordon. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman does not wish us to be confused on this. The type of Amendments which we have in mind, as I think I explained, are Amendments which would involve spending money under the Acts. On Report, that would involve a Motion to recommit. Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to recommit the Bill to Committee? If so, since we are in Committee, why not deal with it here when we reassemble?
§ Mr. Profumo
If the hon. and learned Gentleman puts down an Amendment, we can decide. I am only trying to give the Committee an opportunity for doing these things during the Report stage. It 1211 seems to me that, meanwhile, we could continue our discussion.
§ Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)
On a point of order, Sir Gordon. I take it that the Minister is now offering undertakings to the Committee with a view to having our permission to withdraw his Motion.
§ Mr. Loughlin
Further to that point of order. The right hon. Gentleman has given undertakings which he cannot possibly carry out without making a farce of the whole of our proceedings.
|Division No. 38.]||AYES||[6.54 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Gower, Raymond|
|Aitken, W. T.||Cooke, Robert||Grant, Rt. Hon. William|
|Allason, James||Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R.|
|Arbuthnot, John||Cordeaux, Lt.- Col. J. K.||Green, Alan|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Cordle, John||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Balniel, Lord||Corfield, F. V.||Grimston, Sir Robert|
|Barber, Anthony||Costain, A. P.||Gurden, Harold|
|Barlow, Sir John||Coulson, Michael||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)|
|Barter, John||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Bell, Ronald||Craddock, Sir Beresford||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Cunningham, Knox||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Curran, Charles||Harvie Anderson, Miss|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Dance, James||Hastings, Stephen|
|Biffen, John||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hay, John|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Deedes, W. F.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel|
|Bingham, R. M.||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hendry, Forbes|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Hiley, Joseph|
|Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Doughty, Charles||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Drayson, G. B.||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)|
|Bossom, Clive||du Cann, Edward||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Elliott, R.W.(Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Hocking, Philip N.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J.||Emery, Peter||Holland, Philip|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Hollingworth, John|
|Brewis, John||Errington, Sir Eric||Hopkins, Alan|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt. Col. Sir Walter||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Hornby, R. P.|
|Brooman-White, R.||Farr, John||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Fell, Anthony||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Finlay, Graeme||Hughes-Young, Michael|
|Bryan, Paul||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Hulbert, Sir Norman|
|Buck, Antony||Foster, John||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Bullard, Denys||Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||James, David|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)|
|Burden, F. A.||Freeth, Denzil||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Gardner, Edward||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Gibson-Watt, David||Joseph, Sir Keith|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Gilmour, Sir John||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Glover, Sir Douglas||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Kirk, Peter|
|Chataway, Christopher||Goodhart, Philip||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Goodhew, Victor||Leather, E. H. C.|
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Martin Redmayne)
rose in his place, and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question put, That the Question be now put:—
§ The Committee proceeded to a Division—
§ Mr. Denis Howell (seated and covered)
On a point of order, Sir Gordon. You guided the Committee a few moments ago by telling us that the Committee had refused permission to the right hon. Gentleman to withdraw his Motion. Within no more than seconds of his asking leave to withdraw the Motion and being refused, we have the Closure moved. Is it in order to have the Closure moved so soon after permission to withdraw has been refused by the Committee?
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 243, Noes 172.
|Leburn, Gilmour||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian||Stodart, J. A.|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Linstead, Sir Hugh||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Litchfield, Capt. John||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Longbottom, Charles||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Longden, Gilbert||Pitman, Sir James||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Pitt, Miss Edith||Taylor, F. (M'ch'ter & Moss Side)|
|Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Pott, Percivall||Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Teeling, William|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Temple, John M.|
|MacArthur, Ian||Prior, J. M. L.||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|McLaren, Martin||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|MacLeod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|McMaster, Stanley R.||Pym, Francis||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Macmillan,Rt. Hn.Harold (Bromley)||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Ramsden, James||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Maddan, Martin||Rawlinson, Peter||Turner, Colin|
|Maginnis, John E.||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Markham, Major Sir Frank||Rees, Hugh||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Marlowe, Anthony||Renton, David||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Marshall, Douglas||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Ridsdale, Julian||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Rippon, Geoffrey||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Mawby, Ray||Roots, William||Walker, Peter|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Mills, Stratton||Russell, Ronald||Webster, David|
|Montgomery, Fergus||St. Clair, M.||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Scott-Hopkins, James||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Morgan, William||Sharpies, Richard||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Shaw, M.||Wise, A. R.|
|Nabarro, Gerald||Skeet, T. H. H.||Wolridge-Gordon, Patrick|
|Neave, Airey||Smith, Dudley (Br'mf'd & Chiswick)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Smithers, Peter||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Noble, Michael||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Nugent, Sir Richard||Stanley, Hon. Richard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Stevens, Geoffrey||Dr. Broughton and Mr. Redhead|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Ainsley, William||Fletcher, Eric||Kelley, Richard|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Alien, Scholefield (Crewe)||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||King, Dr. Horace|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Lawson, George|
|Bence, Cyril||Galpern, Sir Myer||Ledger, Ron|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Benson, Sir George||Ginsburg, David||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Blackburn, F.||Gooch, E. G.||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)|
|Blyton, William||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P, C.||Lipton, Marcus|
|Boardman, H.||Gourlay, Harry||Logan, David|
|Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.)||Greenwood, Anthony||Loughlin, Charles|
|Boyden, James||Grey, Charles||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||McInnes, James|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||McLeavy, Frank|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W-)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Manuel, A. C.|
|Callaghan, James||Hannan, William||Mapp, Charles|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Mason, Roy|
|Chapman, Donald||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Collick, Percy||Hayman, F. H.||Mellish, R. J.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Healey, Denis||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Millan, Bruce|
|Cronin, John||Hilton, A. V.||Milne, Edward J.|
|Crosland, Anthony||Holman, Percy||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Holt, Arthur||Monslow, Walter|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Houghton, Douglas||Moody, A. S.|
|Davies, S.O. (Merthyr)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Mort, D. L.|
|Diamond, John||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Mulley, Frederick|
|Dodds, Norman||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Neal, Harold|
|Driberg, Tom||Hunter, A. E.||Oram, A. E.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Owen, Will|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Padley, W. E.|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Paget, R. T.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Jeger, George||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Parker, John|
|Evans, Albert||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Fernyhough, E.||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Fitch, Alan||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Pentland, Norman|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Skeffington, Arthur||Thornton, Ernest|
|Popplewell, Ernest||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Prentice, R. E.||Small, William||Wade, Donald|
|Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Probert, Arthur||Snow, Julian||Warbey, William|
|Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Sorensen, R, W.||Weitzman, David|
|Randall, Harry||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Rankin, John||Spriggs, Leslie||Whitlock, William|
|Reynolds, G. W.||Steele, Thomas||Wigg, George|
|Rhodes, H.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Stonehouse, John||Willey, Frederick|
|Robertson, John (Paisley)||Stones, William||Williams, W. R. (Openshawe)|
|Robinson, Kenneth (St. Panoras, N.)||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John||Willis, E. C. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Rogers, G, H. R, (Kensington, N.)||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Ross, William||Symonds, J. B.||Woof, Robert|
|Short, Edward||Taylor, John (West Lothian)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Whitelaw and Mr. Peel.|
§ Question put accordingly, That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again:—
|Division No. 39.]||AYES||[7.4 p.m.|
|Ainsley, William||Hannan, William||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Allen, Scholefieid (Crewe)||Hayman, F. H.||Pentland, Norman|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Healey, Denis||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Bence, Cyril||Hilton, A. V.||Prentice, R. E.|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Holman, Percy||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Benson, Sir George||Holt, Arthur||Probert, Arthur|
|Blackburn, F.||Houghton, Douglas||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Blyton, William||Howard, Denis (Small Heath)||Randall, Harry|
|Boardman, H.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Rankin, John|
|Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Boyden, James||Hunter, A. E-||Rhodes, H.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Janner, Sir Barnett||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Jeger, George||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Butter, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Ross, William|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, 8.)||Short, Edward|
|Callaghan, James||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Chapman, Donald||Kelley, Richard||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Collick, Percy||Kenyon, Clifford||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W||Small, William|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||King, Dr Horace||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Cronin, John||Lawson, George||Snow. Julian|
|Crosland, Anthony||Ledger, Ron||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Soskice, Rt Hon. Sir Frank|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Diamond, John||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Steele, Thomas|
|Dodds, Norman||Lipton, Marcus||Stewart Michael (Fulham)|
|Driberg, Tom||Logan, David||Stonehouse, John|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||Loughlin, Charles||Stones, William|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McInnes, James||Stross, Dr.Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Symonds, J. B.|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||McLeavy, Frank||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Evans, Albert||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Fernyhough, E-||Manuel, A. C.||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Fitch, Alan||Mapp, Charles||Thornton, Ernest|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mason, Roy||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Mayhew, Christopher||Wade, Donald|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Mellish, R. J.||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mendelson, J.||Warbey, William|
|Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Millan, Bruce||Weitzman, David|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Milne, Edward J.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|George, LadyMeganLloyd (Crmrthn)||Mitchison, G. R.||Whitlock, William|
|Ginsburg, David||Monslow, Walter||Wigg, George|
|Gooch, E. G.||Moody, A. S,||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Gordon walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mort, D. L.||Willey, Frederick|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mulley, Frederick||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Neal, Harold||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Grey, Charles||Oram, A. E.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Owen, Will||Woof, Robert|
|Griffiths, w. (Exchange)||Padley, W. E.||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Grimond, J.||Paget, R. T.|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Parker, John||Mr. Ifor Davies and Mr. Redhead.|
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 171, Noes 242.
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Goodhew, Victor||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian|
|Aitken, W. T.||Gower, Raymond||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Allason, James||Grant, Rt. Hon. William||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R-||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Green, Alan||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Balniel, Lord||Gresham Cooke, R.||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Barber, Anthony||Grimston, Sir Robert||Peel, John|
|Barlow, Sir John||Gurden, Harold||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Barter, John||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Pitman, Sir James|
|Bell, Ronald||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Pitt, Miss Edith|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Got & Fhm)||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Pott, Percivall|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon, Reginald||Hastings, Stephen||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Biffen, John||Hay, John||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Bingham, R. M.||Hendry, Forbes||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John|
|Birch, Rt, Hon. Nigel||Hiley, Joseph||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Bishop, P. P.||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Pym, Francis|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hills, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Bossom, Clive||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)|
|Bourne-Anton, A.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Ramsden, James|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J.||Hocking, Philip N.||Rawlinson, Peter|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Holland, Philip||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Brewis, John||Hollingworth, John||Rees, Hugh|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col.Sir Walter||Hopkins, Alan||Renton, David|
|Brooman-White, R.||Hornby, R. P.||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Howard John (Southampton, Test)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Hughes Harlet, Vice-Admiral John||Rippon, Geoffrey|
|Bryan, Paul||Hughes-Young, Michael||Roots, William|
|Buck, Antony||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Bullard, Denys||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Russell, Ronald|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||James, David||St. Clair, M-|
|Burden, F. A.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Sharples, Richard|
|Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden)||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Shaw, M.|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Joseph, Sir Keith||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntfd & Chiswick)|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Kerens, Cdr. J. S.||Smithers, Peter|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Kershaw, Anthony||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Chataway, Christopher||Kirk, Peter||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Clarke, Brig, Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Cooke, Robert||Leather, E. H. C.||Stodart, J. A.|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Netlt||Leburn, Gilmour||Stoddart-Scott, Sir Malcolm|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Cordle, John||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Corfield, F. V,||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)|
|Costain, A. P.||Litchfield, Capt. John||Tapsell, Peter|
|Coulson, Michael||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Longbottom, Charles||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford||Longden, Gilbert||Taylor, F. H. (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Loveye, Walter H.||Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)|
|Cunningham, Knox||Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby||Teeling, William|
|Curran, Charles||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Temple, John M.|
|Dance, James||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||MacArthur, Ian||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Deedes, W. F,||McLaren, Martin||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||McMaster, Stanley R.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Doughty, Charles||Macmillan, Rt.Hn.Harold (Bromley)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Drayson, G, B.||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|du Cann, Edward||Maddan, Martin||Turner, Colin|
|Elliott, R.W.(Nwcstle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Maginnis, John E.||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Emery, Peter||Markham, Major Sir Frank||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs, Evelyn||Marlowe, Anthony||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Marshall, Douglas||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Marten, Nell||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Farr, John||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Felt, Anthony||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Walker, Peter|
|Finlay, Graeme||Mawby, Ray||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Webster, David|
|Foster, John||Mills, Stratton||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Montgomery, Fergus||Whitelaw, William|
|Freeth, Denzil||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Gardner, Edward||Morgan, William||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|George, J. C. (Pollok)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Wise, A. R.|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Nabarro, Gerald||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Gilmour, Sir John||Neave, Airey||Worsley, Marcus|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Nugent, Sir Richard||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Mr. Chichester-Clark and|
|Goodhart, Philip||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Mr. Noble.|
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
On a point of order. In the very special circumstances in which we find ourselves and of which you are aware, Sir Gordon, would you be prepared in principle to accept manuscript Amendments? It is now clear that hon. Members on both sides would wish to table Amendments which they have been deterred from doing previously owing to being misled by the Minister. Also, it is clear that the undertaking given by the Secretary of State is not worth very much because he did not give a further undertaking that he would, if necessary, recommit the Bill. Amendments on Report suggesting that we should spend more money would be out of order unless the Bill were recommitted. It may be that that was an implied commitment, but it was not an express commitment.
Since there is now wider scope for Amendments than we thought, and since the undertaking given by the Secretary of State about the Report stage does not go far enough and in any case does not concern you, Sir Gordon, in your present capacity and cannot be taken into account by you, I wonder whether you will accept manuscript Amendments in principle. Obviously, you would select some and reject others, but in principle would you accept manuscript Amendments during further stages of the Bill?
§ The Chairman
It is generally undesirable to accept manuscript Amendments, but I should be prepared to consider them.
The first Amendment is No. 8, and with it will be discussed Nos. 11, 13, 19, 21, 22, 28, 30, 31, 33—
§ Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn)
On a point of order. I gather from what you have just said, Sir Gordon, that you do not intend to call my Amendments Nos. 50 and 51. Will you give the reason why they have not been accepted?
§ Mrs. Castle
Further to that point of order. May I point out to you, Sir Gordon, that we are meeting in rather special circumstances and unusual conditions which I think warrant an explanation or, at any rate, an 1220 assurance, since I have reason to know that the decision not to select my Amendments was taken before the explanation of the Secretary of State concerning the Money Resolution was given.
§ The Chairman
The explanation of the Secretary of State does not affect the matter in any way. The Amendments were not selected. We cannot discuss that.
§ Mrs. Castle
Further to that point of order. Since the decision not to select my Amendments was taken before the position concerning the Money Resolution was made clear to hon. Members, to the Chair or anybody else, may I at any rate have an assurance—
§ The Chairman
The position about the Money Resolution is always clear to the Chair. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Mr. Reynolds.
§ Mrs. Castle
Are you in fact saying, Sir Gordon, that the revelations which came from the Minister were always known to the Chair and to the Table?
§ The Chairman
What I am saying is that when we considered these Amendments we had the Money Resolution before us, quite irrespective of any argument in the House. The Money Resolution is what decided our selection.
§ Mr. Hale
Would you, Sir Gordon, be prepared to accept a Motion, "That the Chairman do report Progress and ask leave to sit again," so that Her Majesty's Ministers may consider the situation which has arisen in which all Her Majesty's Ministers present voted against a Motion moved by the Secretary of State for War? Surely this is a matter which Her Majesty's Ministers should be given an opportunity to consider. In view of the progress we have made since—
§ The Chairman
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but the Committee has just decided against the Motion.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)
Further to the point of order 1221 raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle). First, it is necessary that my understanding of the matter should be correct. Am I right in understanding that you, Sir Gordon, said in answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn that you had the Money Resolution before you when you were considering the Amendments which were tabled?
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
Thank you, Sir Gordon. That means that that happened before 27th November. I have the OFFICIAL. REPORT for 27th November in my hand, and, according to my understanding, the Minister's interpretation of the Money Resolution as stated in the OFFICIAL REPORT of that date was different—
§ The Chairman
The matter of the Minister's interpretation of the Money Resolution cannot be raised now. We are on another matter.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
If I understood it correctly, the Minister's interpretation of the Money Resolution tonight was that it covers several other Acts of Parliament. When you, Sir Gordon, considered it you were confined to what was agreed on 27th November. If the Secretary of State for War puts a different construction on the Money Resolution, it means that, before we proceed, those who desire to table Amendments should have the opportunity—
§ The Chairman
That point does not arise. There is no difference of view about this. No Amendment has been ruled out of order by a false interpretation of the Money Resolution. The Amendments in the name of the hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) have not been selected. We cannot go on discussing that.
§ Mr. Ellis Smith
I will keep precisely to the point that we are discussing. My understanding of a Money Resolution is that hon. Members are confined by the limits on financial expenditure imposed by it. If that is correct, the financial 1222 expenditure under this Money Resolution as interpreted by the Secretary of State tonight is outside the limits agreed when the Committee considered it on 27th November. If that is so, the Committee should have the opportunity of moving Amendments on the basis of the new interpretation placed on it by the Minister.
§ The Chairman
That argument might have relevance had I ruled the hon. Lady's Amendment out of order. In fact, I did not select it.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
May I briefly thank you, Sir Gordon, for what you said about manuscript Amendments and make it clear that we regard this only as an emergency measure? We are debating now, which we did not want to do, because we supported the Government's Motion. We presume that the undertaking by the Minister, in so far as it went, concerning the Report stage still holds.
§ Mr. Profumo
Certainly, that undertaking still holds. Regarding the right hon. Gentleman's earlier question, in so far as it is within my power—it is, of course, a matter for Mr. Speaker—the undertaking applies also to the recommittal.