HC Deb 21 February 1961 vol 635 cc339-83

Order for consideration, as amended (in the Standing Committee), read.

Motion made, and Question proposed,

That the Bill be recommitted to a Committee of the whole House in respect of the new Clause (Drainage rates—basis of assessment), the new Clause (Drainage rates—determination of relative poundage), the new Clause (Assessment of drainage charge on owners) and the Amendments to Schedule 1, page 31, lines 31 and 33, standing on the Notice Paper in the name of Mr. Christopher Soames.—[Mr. Soames.]

4.33 p.m.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

I beg to move, to leave out "Committee of the whole House" and to insert "Standing Committee" instead thereof.

As far as my researches go, it seems to me that the step that I am now taking is without precedent. For that reason, it would be advisable if I gave you the special reasons which have led me to take this step, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. The Bill is based partly on the Heneage Committee's Report. That Report, which was a unanimous one, was agreed more than ten years ago. Since then, the Government have been considering the matter and have been meeting interested parties. Some time ago, having concluded their consultations with the various authorities, they published a White Paper. It is upon the Heneage Committee's Report and the White Paper that the present Bill is based.

The first remarkable thing about the Bill is its time of gestation. The Heneage Report was a unanimous one, but no action was taken on it for ten years. It is clear that there can be no question of urgency in this matter. Any time that might be lost by the reference back of the Bill to Standing Committee must be considered in the light of the fact that the Government have been considering the Bill and discussing it with the authorities for over ten years.

Secondly, the Bill was thoroughly discussed in Standing Committee, when the time devoted to it was fairly evenly shared between the two sides. When we began our proceedings there I made it clear that there would be no party Whip on Members on my side of the Committee. The Government therefore had every opportunity to improve the Bill. The Committee stage lasted for ten sittings, but if the Government had so wished the Committee would have been willing to sit much longer.

In the Second Reading debate I called in aid the views of the North Hykeham Drainage Rate Protest Committee. I do so again today because I have received another communication from that body this morning, which says: As officers of this committee we have watched with interest through HANSARD and the OFFICIAL REPORT the process of making laws in a democracy. We have been impressed by the thoroughness of the debates but dismayed and discouraged by the pitiful result. That quotation admirably sums up the results of our endeavours in Standing Committee.

The Bill has taken ten years' consideration by a Government which have been indifferent to the flooding of the country; it has been thoroughly discussed in Committee, where the point was made repeatedly, on Clause after Clause, that it had nothing to do with flooding, and where repeated appeals have been made to the Government to do something about flooding. In spite of this, no action has been taken to deal with the emergency.

The Minister will concede that apart from one Clause those of my hon. Friends who wished to talk about flooding met great difficulties. In Committee. I was ruled out of order on every occasion upon which I attempted to raise the matter, except on Clause 31. Therefore, although we all recognise the existence of a grave emergency, no effort has been made by the Government to improve or alter the Bill in the light of that emergency. If any such action had been taken hon. Members on both sides of the Committee would have been willing to facilitate that action.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Gordon Touche)

The hon. Member will realise that we are now dealing with the question of recommittal.

Mr. Willey

Yes, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I am asking by way of Amendment for the Bill to be recommitted to a Standing Committee.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

That is not the effect of the Amendment; the Amendment merely recommits the Clauses referred to in the Motion.

Mr. Willey

Then I must ask your advice about the possibility of moving a verbal Amendment, which, I understand, is the fashion now. I am in the difficulty in which the Leader of the House found himself earlier. That is why I thought it might be appropriate to move a verbal Amendment.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

I am not sure what Amendment the hon. Member means to make. His Amendment at the moment is that the Bill be recommitted to a Standing Committee in respect of the Amendments on the Notice Paper.

Mr. Willey

The purpose of my Amendment is to leave out all the words after that the Bill be recommitted to a". I will confine myself to those parts of the Bill which are being recommitted. In doing so, I pray in aid the prospect which the House is facing.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Member must relate his remarks to the recommitted part of the Bill.

Mr. Willey

That is what I am endeavouring to do, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I am trying to explain the position in which the House now finds itself. We have a Bill, a substantial part of which is to be discussed on recommittal. That means that it will be discussed in Committee, and that means a long discussion. But the House must also face the fact that when we have concluded our discussion we shall begin the Report stage. We cannot divorce recommittal and Report. I am concerned with the position in which the House finds itself upon the Bill leaving Standing Committee. Incidentally, 40 Government Amendments appear on recommittal, and I submit that the time has come for the House to safeguard its rights.

I am sick and tired of Ministers not being properly accountable to the House. We are getting far too much legislation being put forward by Ministers merely for the bureaucrats. Why should we give a Bill all this consideration and then find we need to improve the Bill in these minor ways merely because it has not been properly thought in the first instance?

Here was a Bill which was thought about for ten years and there was consultation and agreement with the parties. I do not want to elaborate this point, but in protesting against the recommittal we are protesting about this slipshod way of conducting legislation. The Minister is a politician. He knows the House and the Committee, and when the Government have spent ten years on the job he should come to the House with the Bill in a proper form.

What do we find when we look at the new Clauses? I do not wish to deal with the merits of the Clauses, because we will have an opportunity to do that either here or in the Standing Committee. The first two Clauses are incomprehensible. They are incomprehensible even to the parties with whom the Government negotiated. Clauses of this kind ought to be discussed at leisure in the Standing Committee. It is an abuse of the time of the House for the Minister to come and say. "Here for this purpose are three new Clauses which we did not bother to introduce in the Standing Committee. We will rush them through the House".

But it is worse than that. I explained that the Bill depended on an agreement. These new Clauses have not been the subject of agreement with the parties concerned. Time and again, during our discussions in the Standing Committee the right hon. Gentleman appealed to us and said, "Well, however valid the point you make may be, the Government feel themselves bound by an agreement". Now, on recommittal, the Minister has brought forward three new Clauses which are, first, quite incomprehensible, and, secondly, are outside the consultations and agreements. This is a breach of faith by the Government. These matters ought to have been further discussed with the parties to the White Paper. It is a breach of that agreement if, instead of discussing these new matters in the Standing Committee they are introduced at this stage of the Bill.

The principle ought to be accepted and established that no new matters ought to be introduced at this stage of a Bill. You have said, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that you do not wish me to transgress by referring to the Report stage, but we have here a new Clause affecting the liberty of the subject. There was no mention of that on Second Reading, or in the Standing Committee. However, I will not pursue that, but will return to this Clause.

I have already complained about Ministers coming to the House and being the mouthpieces of the bureaucracy. In this case, I honestly believe that the Minister had not the slightest idea of what was happening in his Department. It might be asked what evidence there is to support that. The hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke) will remember that time and again we discussed the difficulties of an assessment based on Schedule A. Time and again the Government defended the attitude they had adopted.

Here, the Government are proposing, in the first two Clauses, a measure which is apparently presented as a solution. Not a word of this was mentioned on Second Reading, or in the Standing Committee. The Government did not even say that they were considering a solution. I am convinced that while we were discussing the Bill in the Standing Committee the bureaucrats in the Department and the Treasury were busily putting their heads together discussing this matter.

Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)

The hon. Gentleman will recall that the Parliamentary Secretary said that the Government would do everything they could to try to find ways of evening out anomalies. I think that all hon. Members of the Standing Committee will remember that. I cannot understand why he should accuse the Government of not wishing to co-operate with the Standing Committee.

Mr. Willey

I am touched by the loyalty of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, but that was not the case that I was making. I will put my case in a form acceptable to the hon. and gallant Gentleman.

I said that in Standing Committee we repeatedly discussed what could be done about the anomalies arising under Schedule A, and, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman rightly points out, the Government said that they would do anything they could to deal with this. What I am objecting to is that they did not suggest that they had some idea of what they could do.

Here we have embodied in the new Clauses an idea for dealing with the situation, but if the right hon. Gentleman had any such idea in his head when we were discussing this in Committee upstairs he should have explained it then to get the reactions of the Committee, otherwise it is a waste of time being in the Standing Committee. If the Minister had said in Committee upstairs, "I have a novel idea for dealing with this", it could have been discussed, and the parties affected could have been consulted about this novel idea.

The third new Clause appears, on the face of it, to be a concession to landlords. I object to this being squeezed in on recommittal.

Those are matters which ought to be discussed, but I do not wish to traverse this matter at any length. I want to re-establish clearly the points upon which I rest my case. This is a step which has apparently not been taken before. I urge that the exceptional circumstances of this case are that here is a Bill which is unrelated to any emergency but which was considered and discussed by the Government for over ten years. There is no excuse for bringing forward at this late stage new, novel, and revolutionary concepts which were not mentioned on Second Reading, were not mentioned in the Standing Committee, and which have not been discussed with the authorities. We find here new ideas about rating assessments which are contrary to the principle of rating and valuation under the present Government. As I say, I cannot help but suspect that this kind of thing happens because a Minister is not in proper control of his Department. and that some bright backroom boys were thinking about this while we were slogging away in the Standing Committee. That is my first broad point in favour of the Amendment.

The second point is that we, as Members of this House, should safeguard the use and time of this House. We are pressed for time throughout the year. The most valuable time is the time of the House, not that of people who sit behind the Minister advising him. It is in this House that time is valuable. On a Bill which was largely noncontroversial and largely technical we cannot allow the Government to come forward with pages and pages of Amendments and new Clauses which it will be necessary to have explained by the Law Officers. The Minister's action shows a complete disregard for the parties who were apparently brought together for the purpose of getting agreement on the White Paper.

I hope that the Government, not disregarding their present difficulties, will see that the course that I am suggesting is the right and proper one and that it would be far better to adopt my suggestion. Those of us who were on the Standing Committee would not begrudge the time necessary to discuss the Bill if it were sent back to the Standing Committee.

If that were done, it would have this advantage. It will give those of us who will serve on the Committee an opportunity to discuss these new matters thoroughly with the parties affected. Only this morning I received a communication from the National Farmers' Union and from the Country Landowners' Association. I have not had time to consult them. I also want time to consult the drainage authorities. The Minister can contradict me if it be not so, but as far as I know they have not been consulted about this.

Further, the local authorities will feel that if the new principle of assessment is introduced it might be employed in regard to local authorities. As far as I know, there has been no consultation with them. The only argument against accepting my Amendment would be perverseness on behalf of the Government, similar to the perverseness they displayed on the Post Office Bill upstairs. The Government will probably say, "Because we tabled all these Amendments we intend to stick our toes in. We shall keep hon. Members here in Committee and on Report discussing pages and pages of new Clauses and Amendments."

Alternatively, the Government can say, accepting all that has been said in favour of the Amendment, "We feel ourselves burdened by emergency. We need the legislation immediately". That is one argument the Government cannot advance, because the legislation has taken ten years to reach this stage.

I hope that the Government will look at the Amendment sympathetically and agree that the only way to have proper discussion of these new matters is to recommit the Bill to Standing Committee. If the right hon. Gentleman is willing, I am prepared that the whole Bill should be recommitted to Standing Committee. I should much prefer that, but if we are to compromise we should recommit in respect of the three new Clauses and the two Amendments which the Government have specified in their Motion.

For these reasons, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will say that he agrees with my proposal and thus lighten the labour of the House.

4.52 p.m.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)

I support the Amendment, and I do so for a number of rather different reasons from those advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey). I do not for a moment dispute the reasons he advanced, but we have to examine this problem—first, the Motion of the Minister that in respect of these matters the Bill should be recommitted to a Committee of the whole House and, secondly, the Amendment of my hon. Friend that it should he recommitted to Standing Committee—from three different points of view.

First, we must consider what is the most efficient way of dealing with the Bill. Secondly, we must consider what is the most convenient way of dealing with the matter from the point of view of the time of the House as a whole. Thirdly, what is the most convenient method from the point of view of hon. Members? Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North, who had the advantage of sitting through the Committee stage, I am a newcomer. I was not on the Standing Committee. I am in the same position as the majority of hon. Members. After a detailed, complicated and technical Bill has been fully considered in Committee, I, like all hon. Members, am quite prepared to spend a certain amount of time on Report dealing with the matters left over by the Committee for Report.

I object to having to deal in Committee of the whole House with matters of detail which ought properly to be dealt with in Committee. I do not feel that that is fair to myself or to the House as a whole. Four or five Standing Committees are sitting at present. Some are likely to sit for several weeks. I am on the Standing Committee that is considering the Licensing Bill. Hon. Members cannot attend in detail to more than one Committee at a time. Therefore, when a Bill comes to the House for consideration on Report I submit that hon. Members are entitled to find that it has been fully considered in Committee. They ought not to have to devote their time to dealing with purely Committee points. That is why it is so essential on principle that the Bill be recommitted to Standing Committee.

My hon. Friend said that he could not find any precedent for such an Amendment. I am not sure if he is right on that. To be suite honest, I have not searched Erskine May or the precedents, hut, speaking from recollection, I believe that there has been a case when a Bill has been recommitted to Standing Committee. Therefore, I do not think that the House would be taking an unprecedented step if it adopted my hon. Friend's suggestion. Whether or not there be a precedent, we are perfectly entitled to look at the matter de novo, because this affects very materially the whole procedure of the House of Commons.

We are being asked to re-commit to a Committee of the whole House three new Clauses and two Amendments. A number of Amendments have been tabled to each of the three new Clauses. My hon. Friend says that the new Clauses are incomprehensible. I will be quite honest with the House, I cannot confirm that, because I have not read them, but I am prepared to believe that they are incomprehensible if my hon. Friend says that they are, because he is the expert on this subject. He was on the Standing Committee. If the three new Clauses are incomprehensible to those who sat through the Committee stage, they will be far more incomprehensible to the hundreds of hon. Members who are now asked to consider the matter on Report. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where are they?"] I am giving very good reasons why I think some of them would be wasting their time if they were here, because the whole burden of my argument is that hon. Members ought not to be asked to deal in Committee of the whole House with these new Clauses, which my hon. Friend says are incomprehensible and should go back to Standing Committee.

Whether or not they are incomprehensible, no one can deny that they are highly complicated, highly technical and highly controversial. Some of them seem to introduce entirely novel principles into our law. The rubric to the first new Clause is: Drainage rates—basis of assessment. The new Clause consists of about fifty lines, and there are three Amendments to it. The rubric to the second new Clause is: Drainage rates—determination of relative poundage. Do hon. Gentlemen who were not on the Standing Committee know what "relative poundage" is? This is also a very long Clause, and there are four Amendments to it. The rubric to the third new Clause is: Assessment of drainage charge on owners Amendments to this new Clause have been tabled from both sides of the been tabled House.

There is very ancient authority on the subject of incomprehensibility, with which I will not trouble the House at present, but whether or not any of this is comprehensible and whether we deal with the matter in Standing Committee or in Committee of the whole House, the presence of one of the Law Officers is essential. I observe that no Law Officer is in attendance. If the matter is dealt with in Standing Committee, a Law Officer can attend, whether he is a member of the Committee or not. He can attend as a matter of convenience to give the Committee the guidance which it is entitled to have in such matters.

My first point is that, in the interests of efficiency, doing our duty as a Legislature, and ensuring that the Bill when it is passed into law will be as perfect in form, as sensible and as intelligible as it should be, it is obviously desirable that the three proposed new Clauses—cumbersome, complicated and controyersial—should be carefully and leisurely considered in the quiet surroundings of a Committee room upstairs.

My hon. Friend the hon. Member for Sunderland, North, has pointed out that there will be points involved about which the body of the interested organisations will have something to say. None of us—not even those who served an the Committee—has yet had the advantage of hearing their observations. How on earth can we hon. Members who have come, if I may say so, with virgin minds to this complicated problem of land drainage, be expected to comment intelligently and discuss three long, tedious new proposals which are being offered to us by the Government?

My hon. Friend has pointed out that there is no urgency about this legislation. The period of gestation has been about ten years and surely a little further delay will not matter. Since I became a Member of the House my concern has always been to regard one of our principle objects as legislators to be to see that legislation passed through the House is carefully considered, measured, analysed, and vetted. We try to perform our legislative tasks and duties to the best of our ability, and I do not think that the public can possibly expect us to do that in this kind of situation. This is not merely a matter which affects a small class of the community; it affects the whole of the agricultural community and, in fact, all who are interested in the whole subject of land drainage. I think that goes for the whole community.

I now turn to what is equally a feature of this valuable debate and one which involves consideration of the whole of the arrangements for dealing with the business of the House. My hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot), who takes a great interest in these matters, in view of the discussions that have taken place in the House both at Question Time this afternoon and at the early hours of the morning, no doubt will have something to say on this subject before we part with this Amendment. Surely we must try to reach some sensible arrangement as to how the time of the House should be spent. This afternoon, when the momentous events which are taking place, or which may take place, in Africa are uppermost in the minds of all hon. Members, as was indicated in the discussion across the Floor—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Order. I am afraid that this is getting very far from the Amendment.

Mr. Fletcher

With great respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, may I explain why it is in order? I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale is following this. The issue on this Amendment is whether or not three highly complicated and controversial new Clauses of the Land Drainage Bill should be discussed in the whole House or whether they should be recommitted, as my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North and I think, to a Standing Committee. The issue is, therefore, whether the time of the House today will be usefully spent in what is sure to be a long and intricate argument as to whether or not the new Clauses of the Land Drainage Bill should be discussed in the whole House or sent back to a Standing Committee.

The Government are saying that they are entirely responsible for arranging the business of the House. My complaint, and one of the reasons why I support the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North—I hope without undue vehemence —is that it is an intolerable abuse on the part of the Minister, presumably with the knowledge and approval of the Leader of the House, to suggest that we should spend several hours this afternoon on this purely technical matter of whether these new Clauses should be considered by a Committee of the whole House or whether, bearing in mind the important matters the House has to discuss, they should go to a Standing Committee.

In that I am not merely thinking of the Opposition. We have indicated quite clearly the matters that we think should be discussed in the House. The Government equally want to discuss the Consolidated Fund Bill because they are in frightful trouble with it. They could not get it through this morning and they have had to rearrange the whole of tomorrow's business because of that.

What an intolerable muddle the Leader of the House is getting us all into by his comic, short-sighted, inefficient way of handling business. He has condemned hon. Members, in the priceless hours of this Tuesday afternoon, to spend their time trying to persuade the Government to do the sensible thing and send the Land Drainage Bill back upstairs so that the new Clauses can be considered in Standing Committee.

The Government are suggesting that, instead of discussing either the things we want to discuss, or the things they say they want to discuss, about the Consolidated Fund Bill and decimal coinage and matters like that, we should spend our time fruitlessly and inefficiently considering three new Clauses to the Land Drainage Bill which my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North says are incomprehensible. I have deliberately refrained from reading the Clauses, because I object to having to discuss them in Committee of the whole House, but if my hon. Friend says that they are incomprehensible I accept it. If they are incomprehensible to him I am quite sure that I should have to spend a great deal of time, and give a great deal of thought, to trying to understand what the new Clauses mean, before I could usefully pass any opinion on them.

If these matters are seriously to be considered in Committee of the whole House then it will be the duty of every Member to apply his mind to the question of drainage rates, the basis of assessment and the determination of relative poundage. I ask hon. Members who were not members of the Committee on the Bill if they know what is meant by "relative poundage". Has my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale any idea what is meant by the determination of relative poundage? I am sure that he would not cast a vote lightly on a matter of this kind without having given it careful thought.

My hon. Friend has other things to do and other Bills to consider in Standing Committee, as have a great many of us. It seems to me intolerable, therefore, that we should have to divert our attention from all the questions that occupy us, and that in Committee of the whole House the 640 Members should be trying to solve for the Government problems which they have been too lazy even to bring before the House until this late stage of the Bill and having to deal with them without the benefit of hearing what the Standing Committee has to say about it.

I feel that this is a most unfortunate proposal which the Minister has made. Whether or not there are precedents for my hon. Friend's Amendment, I do not care. I ask the House, in its wisdom and sanity, to say that it would be unreasonable, inefficient and an abuse of the time of the whole House to commit this Bill to a committee of the whole House. The right course for the Government to adopt, in their own interests as well as in the interests of their supporters and the Opposition, is to accept my hon. Friend's Amendment and send these three Clauses back to Standing Committee. Then, when the Standing Committee has finished with them, they will have done a good job.

The Committee on this Bill had ten sittings, but I am a member of a Committee on a Bill which is likely to have sixty sittings. After the Committee on the Land Drainage Bill has had the Bill recommitted to it and done a good job on it it should come back to the House for Report. Then we could fulfil the task which the Committee could not do on its own. I hope that my hon. Friends will strongly support the Amendment.

5.10 p.m.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. Christopher Soames)

In view of the speech which has just been made by the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher), which showed a certain lack of understanding of the situation, perhaps it might be helpful to the House if I say something on how this by no means unusual situation comes about. He said that he had not read the new Clauses and did not know what they were about, because he wanted the Bill to be recommitted to the Standing Committee. He was taking a new-found interest in this matter.

The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), when he moved the Amendment, talked as he has done before—and we are aware of it—about the time that has been taken between the date when the Heneage Committee reported and the bringing of this Bill before the House. As he knows, during that period a large number of organisations and associations were deeply interested in the matter and many of their interests pulled in different directions. The Government were anxious to get as broad a degree of agreement as could be obtained on a Measure of this kind, which, as the hon. Member said, is largely technical. Naturally, if we could do it by agreement it was so much the better. Much time has been spent on that. I do not want to go over that again, for it was spoken of on Second Reading and in Committee.

I, so to speak, inherited this Bill and I realised when I first read it that it suffered from both the advantages and disadvantages of having had so much work done on it in the past in order to try to get agreement. The advantages speak for themselves. The disadvantages, which were echoed by a number of hon. Members on Second Reading, include the fact that, when we have a Bill which is too much the result of agreement between different associations, it is difficult to amend it and for Parliament to do the work which it feels it likes to do on a Bill of this character. I was determined to do all I could to ensure that when suggestions were made or Amendments were moved which perhaps we could not accept in Committee, we should do our very best to incorporate them in the Bill if we thought it would thus be improved, and that is what we have done.

As the hon. Member said, there are some forty Amendments and some new Clauses. While I could not say that this is true of every one of them, certainly the vast majority have been put down to meet points made by hon. Members on both sides of the House on Second Reading and in Committee. Time and again my hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary and myself said that for one reason or another we could not accept an Amendment as it stood, but that we would consider putting forward an Amendment on Report. That, of course, was readily accepted by the hon. Member for Sunderland, North.

Mr. Willey

I at once pay tribute to the Government. On some matters they accepted the spirit of Amendments in Committee, but many other matters appear on the Notice Paper today. I refer, for instance, to power of entry—that is, power of entry under the Act of 1930. It is thirty years since that Act was passed but nothing has been done about it in relation to this Bill and it was not mentioned either on Second Reading or in Committee.

Mr. Soames

The question of power of entry is not dealt with in the new Clauses or Amendments mentioned in the recommittal Motion and, therefore, is not under discussion at present. What is being discussed is recommittal of the Bill for certain Clauses and Amendments. Some of them have been put on the Notice Paper for reasons which are well known to hon. Members. If they touch on financial matters they have to be recommitted. There are about three new Clauses and half a dozen Amendments which have to be dealt with on recommittal because they touch on financial matters.

The two main Clauses to which the hon. Member referred and which form the bulk of the recommittal motion raise points which were discussed by a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House on Second Reading. My hon. Friend the Joint Parliamentary Secretary said on Second Reading: Broadly, that basis reflects land values. There are, of course, considerable anomalies in certain circumstances, and both my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) and my hon. Friend the Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover) mentioned that. In particular, we know that these anomalies are found in reference to the existing assessments of drainage areas, but I hope that I can help by saying that we are now looking into this to see whether it is possible to find any way of ameliorating … Perhaps I should change the word to "improving"— the position."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th November, 1960; Vol. 630, c. 153–4.] In Committee, my right hon. Friend said on this point, in answer to an Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke): I hope, however, that I have shown that we appreciate that there are certain anomalies which we intend to examine, though I would not like the Committee to think that we are on the way to dealing with them all."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 20th December, 1960, c. 315.] What we have done is to give our minds to this problem and, on a number of points which have been raised, we have done our best to meet hon. Members. There are a number of Amendments on the Notice Paper, but this is a long Bill and there is nothing unusual at all in what we are putting to the House. There are certain Clauses which by custom we all understand have to be recommitted because they touch financial aspects.

The hon. Member for Sunderland, North said that this was a precedent and the hon. Member for Islington, East said that he did not know whether it was a precedent because he had not looked it up. I have looked it up and I have not found any precedent for recommitting a Bill to a Standing Committee. There is nothing unusual in what we are proposing. The hon. Member for Sunderland, North said that these new Clauses are incomprehensible, but I do not think that is so. I am not trying to over-rate my own intellectual abilities, but I hope that I shall be able to explain them in a not too difficult fashion to the hon. Member. If I can understand them, I am sure that he can. I suggest that we get on with these Clauses and discuss them. I therefore hope that the House will accept the Motion and will not accept the Amendment, which could do nothing but to hold up further a Bill which I think the country at large realises will be of benefit to it.

Mr. Willey

The right hon. Gentleman referred to what was said by the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, but the only discussion we had on this matter was on Clause 31, which later the right hon. Gentleman will seek to remove. In the speech to which the Minister referred the Joint Parliamentary Secretary said: I should not like to know what part of his future he is able to foresee, but I do not think that a change is likely in the immediate future. This was in the discussion on Schedule A, and apparently the Department knew that a change was likely to be made.

Mr. Soames

What my hon. Friend was referring to was Schedule A valuation and there has not been a new Schedule A valuation. If we get on to discussing the Clauses, I shall be able to inform the hon. Member of very considerable improvements that we have been able to make in wiping out anomalies and achieving a greater degree of equity and fairness in the raising of rates.

Mr. Willey

I do not want to pursue the matter further, but I want to make it right for the record. This statement was prefaced by the Joint Parliamentary Secretary saying: The question of if and when Schedule A assessments may be revised and brought up to date is beyond discussion on this Clause."—['OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 20th December, 1960; c. 315 That is the very matter we shall be discussing on one of the new Clauses.

5.20 p.m.

Mr. George Jeger (Goole)

In his reply the Minister very rightly played upon the fact that he had been trying to get agreement between all the interested parties on matters arising out of the Heneage Report. It is perfectly true that that was the answer which Ministers have given to us on a number of occasions during the past ten years when we have asked time after time for the implementation of that Report and for something to be done in connection with land drainage. But in bringing forward these new Clauses to the whole House in this manner, the right hon. Gentleman seems to have departed somewhat from the practice of trying to get agreement between the interested parties.

In the Second Reading debate on 14th November last—I will give only a short quotation—the right hon. Gentleman said: The first point to be resolved before we could legislate was what was an equitable basis for a charge on agricultural land. Negotiations were entered into with the leaders of interested parties—The River Boards' Association, the N.F.U. the Country Landowners' Association and the Association of Drainage Authorities. Then comes the important item: The parts of the Bill which deal with the financial contribution to be made by occupiers of agricultural land outside internal drainage districts represent the agreement reached between all these bodies."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th November, 1960; Vol. 630, c. 35–6.] We are perfectly willing that agreement should be reached between 'those bodies. In fact, the Minister and his many predecessors have, over and over again, paid tribute to the various hon. Members on both sides of the House who are clamouring for action with regard to flood prevention and land drainage because, they said, that they were anxious to obtain agreement.

On the first new Clause which the Minister is anxious to put before us today we have this morning received communications from the National Farmers' Union and the Country Landowners' Association, two of the four parties to the general agreement reached. which do not seem to fit in with the general scheme and pattern of getting agreement between all the parties concerned. I will quote from the circular from the National Farmers' Union which, as I say, arrived only this morning. It says: The National Farmers' Union welcomes the tabling of this new Clause by the Minister. So the right hon. Gentleman has the N.F.U. on his side. The communication from the Country Landowners' Association, on the other hand, starts by saying: The meaning of this new Clause is far from clear If the Country Landowners' Association, which has a time-honoured association with this kind of subject, finds the Clause far from clear, what does the Minister expect that we, who are more or less laymen and are meeting the Clause for the first time, shall deduce from its wording?

We are accustomed to having items discussed in Committee and to having Bills referred to a Standing Committee for two reasons. The first is that we should save the time of the House which should be used for other purposes. That matter has been dealt with by one of my hon. Friends and I do not propose to repeat what has been said. The second purpose. and one which I think is the main purpose for which the Standing Committee exists, is that Bills should be discussed in detail, not day by day and hour by hour but at intervals.

As we know, Standing Committee A which considered this Bill—I was a member of it—met twice a week in the mornings. That gave us time to digest the proceedings, to consider the Amendments put down on the Notice Paper and to take counsel from those interested organisations of a national character with which we were connected and also to consult the interested people in our constituencies, some of whom are direct sufferers from the lack of adequate drainage and the floods which have occurred so repeatedly during the past few years.

To consider these Clauses now without the benefit of such consultation and advice places upon us a rather invidious duty. I am the first to say that we cannot do the Clauses justice by considering them here and now without the opportunity of consultation with those expert bodies upon whom we rely to give us advice in these matters.

In my opinion, the Minister is doing both the Bill and the House a disservice by pushing the matter forward in this way. My hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) referred to the Bill as "slipshod" legislation. That is a word which I myself jotted down, and my hon. Friend took the word from my notes. But it is also casual legislation, and if we have to offer any excuse for the Minister, for whom we have a high personal regard, it is that he is new to the office. Unfortunately, most of the Ministers of Agriculture whom we have had under the Tory Administration have come to us quite new and left while still new. It may be, perhaps, that the right hon. Gentleman feels that his position is temporary, insecure, and that he is bolstered up by a Parliamentary Secretary who is also new —though also an estimable gentleman—and that, possibly, he is not going to he in that office very long.

There they are, the right hon. Gentleman and his Parliamentary Secretary. perhaps taking a casual and slipshod attitude towards legislation connected with agriculture as a whole. I hope that. for the sake of their own reputations, they will accept the Amendment moved and supported by several of my hon. Friends, and that they will realise that the best way in which these matters can be considered in detail with the agreement of the interested professional bodies which really have studied these matters very carefully—far more carefully than has the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend—is that we should consider them at our leisure with the benefit of expert advice. Then the legislation for which we have waited for over ten years will be effective and will be fruitful to the agricultural community generally and to our flooded land which is so sadly in need of effective and efficient drainage.

5.26 p.m.

Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)

I must confess that when I listened to the Minister's speech I thought that he had a very strong case. My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) appealed to me on a number of occasions to support the view which he was presenting to the Committee, but I am not yet convinced by the case which he has put forward. I will certainly listen very carefully to everything which is said from this side of the House. But a more convincing argument will have to be produced has has yet been produced to get me into the Division Lobby tonight. I say that quite frankly at the start. I say it particularly because I was surprised when I saw this Amendment on the Notice Paper. I was surprised on general grounds because on general grounds, if possible, all Bills should be taken on the Floor of the House. That used to be the practice. The Committee system was developed much later when it was discovered that the business of the House was becoming so difficult to get through that the House established the Committee system.

Theoretically, it is advantageous that all Bills should be considered on the Floor of the House, and the more Bills that can be so considered the better. Therefore, as I say, I was surprised when I saw that my hon. Friends were urging that instead of taking the Bill on the Floor of the House it should be sent to a Standing Committee. That being so. I started favourable to the view which the Minister has presented. Moreover. if we have to have Bills going through the House it is better to have good Bills than bad Bills. On the whole, I prefer the Bills introduced by the right hon. Gentleman to those introduced by many of his colleagues. I prefer the Bills of the right hon. Gentleman to the Bills of the Minister of Health. I would rather see his Bills going through the House than those of the Minister of Health. Therefore, I do not want to suggest, particularly in a Measure of this kind, that there is any fundamental reason of principle why it should not be taken on the Floor of the House, and as extensively as everyone wants.

The Minister, as far as Ministers go, is about the best of the bunch. They say that the choice is small in rotten apples, but the right hon. Gentleman is about the best of them. He is prepared to come to the House at whatever time of day, he shows good temper at night, he comes with an excellent temper, a buoyant manner and legitimate modesty, and I think that we should give him every assistance we can. Therefore, I am very eager to support the Minister in this respect.

I should have to hear much more convincing arguments from my hon. Friend than those which have been advanced to show why we should not support what the Minister is saying. I would go so far as to say that in his speech in support of his Amendment—with the exception of one or two matters to which I will refer later—he put his case as strongly as he could. I would not attempt to improve on his language, much less ameliorate it. If there are any defects in the Bill, that was clearly explained by the right hon. Gentleman who said that he had inherited this Bill; that it is not the kind of Bill be would have liked. If that is not the case, I cannot understand why he should have insisted so strongly that he inherited the Bill, and therefore changes have to be made in it. I think that the right hon. Gentleman was casting a reflection on his predecessor which is something I should not wish to dispute—

Mr. Soames

Let me get this absolutely right. That was not my point at all. I think that the hon. Gentleman is well aware of the point I was trying to make. I said that when I first read the Bill-4 was not the Minister at the time when it was drafted—I realised that it was inevitable, as a result of the many negotiations which had taken place, that it should have both advantages and disadvantages. When it became my task to bring the Measure before the House, I was determined to ensure that during its progress through its Parliamentary stages it should be possible for hon. Members to make normal improvements to it.

Mr. Foot

I do not think that I have misrepresented the Minister in any way. I said I thought that the Minister had hinted that there were some disadvantages in his having inherited the Bill. He now tells us there was some advantages and some disadvantages. I was only giving the disadvantages. There may be advantages, but the Minister has not explained very clearly what they are. Indeed, what he has just said suggests that when he first saw the Bill he could not understand it any better than most other people. But now he is fully equipped to carry the Measure through the House.

If the right hon. Gentleman admits how difficult it is. he has conceded one point to my hon. Friends, although I am not yet convinced by the case they have advanced. The Minister admits that it is an extremely complicated Bill, with forty Amendments and the new Clauses. It has been said by some hon. Members that parts of the Bill are incomprehensible. The Minister rebutted this argument powerfully and skilfully. He said that if he could understand it everybody ought to be able to understand it, and that is a very fair point.

But how long has the Minister been in his office? How many months is it since he became Minister of Agriculture. Fisheries and Food? It is quite a long time. The right hon. Gentleman says that he is capable of piloting the Bill through the House now, but he cannot expect everybody to pick up in a few minutes what has taken him several months to comprehend. So, when he comes to the question of comprehensibility, there may be a case if not for sending this Measure to a Standing Committee—I do not like that procedure at all—at any rate for giving the House a longer time to consider it.

There have been suggestions that negotiations have been going on for a long time and that land values are going up all the time. They are going up so fast that indeed they will alter all the figures in a Bill of this kind as discussion upon it progresses. Therefore, it may be that the quicker we get the Bill on the Statute Book the better it will be for the nation. I do not stress that point too strongly because, although I am not convinced by the arguments of my hon. Friends, I do not want, as it were, to present an argument to the Government.

If we are to have the proposition that a Measure should not be taken on the Floor of the House or that there should be pressure for removing some Measures from being discussed in this Chamber, the arguments must be stronger than those which have already been voiced. Anyone speaking from the Opposition Front Bench and arguing such a case, if he wants to win my sympathy—they do not always wish to do that—should, at any rate, start his speech by laying down the principle that it is desirable that as many Measures as possible should be taken on the Floor of the House as opposed to being discussed in a Standing Committee.

That certainly applies to Measures which are favoured by hon. Members on this side of the House. I do not see why we should not assist Measures like this, which we wish to assist, by discussion in this Chamber; particularly when there are a number of other Measures awaiting discussion which we dislike and which we do not want discussed either on the Floor of the House or in Standing Committee. I shall wait to see whether my hon. Friends really have a strong case, but, so far, my sympathies are with the Minister.

5.37 p.m.

Mr. Frederick Peart (Workington)

I congratulate the Minister on securing the sympathy of my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot).

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. W. M. F. Vane)

I hope that we shall retain it.

Mr. Peart

My hon. Friend has asked what is our position. Do we believe that the Bill should be discussed on the Floor of the House or in a Standing Committee? I say that a Bill should go through all its stages and that at every stage there should be adequate opportunity for discussion. There are Bills which, in certain circumstances, should be discussed in a Standing Committee. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale would not argue that no Bill should be sent to a Standing Committee. If he is so arguing, he is arguing against the whole procedure of Standing Committees, and I should like to know whether that is his view

Mr. M. Foot

In most cases—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Order. That is going beyond the bounds of the Amendment.

Mr. Peart

I was replying in respect of a principle of debate concerned with the procedure indicated in our Amendment which seeks to recommit parts of the Bill to a Standing Committee. My hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale dealt with this matter and was allowed to continue. I was making a debating point. I should have thought it far better to debate these matters rather than discuss them personally.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale has said that if I do not make clear the position of speakers from the Opposition Front Bench he will have sympathy with the Government and that if we press our Amendment he will vote with the Government. That would be a terrible crisis for the Government.

Mr. M. Foot

It might be a crisis for me, too. My hon. Friend must accept the principle that if we send Bills to a Standing Committee—which is unavoidable if we are to cope with the business of the House—we are infringing to some degree some of the rights of other hon. Members who are not members of the Committee and there are some Standing Committees which have been formed in which I have not absolute confidence. I should prefer that all Measures go through the Committee stage on the Floor of the House. I know that that is not possible, and that exceptions have to be made, but I hope that my hon. Friend will put a good case for making it the exception, rather than a general rule, that Bills should be discussed by Standing Committees.

Mr. Peart

I cannot accept either the logic or the principle of my hon. Friend. I think it right that a Bill of this nature should be discussed by a Standing Committee because important technical matters are involved which could be discussed at greater length and in greater detail—

Mr. Fletcher

Would not my hon. Friend agree that the real answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot) is that unless this complicated matter is first discussed in a Standing Committee we cannot have a full and adequate discussion on the Floor of the House? One reason why this Amendment has been moved is that, if it is analysed in Committee, we can discuss it at length. If we accept the Government's proposal we are not equipped to have a full-scale debate on the matter.

Mr. Peart

I thank the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) for supporting my point of view that the purpose of a Standing Committee was to sift the details, to examine the evidence and establish the principles, but in no way to prevent a Report stage, so that hon. Members may argue the details of the Bill or, indeed, the Amendments or the principles. There must at all times be adequate discussion.

Mr. Cyril Bence (Dunbartonshire, East)

My hon. Friend has suggested that when Bills are sent to Standing Committees they put experts on the Standing Committees.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Order. This is going beyond the Amendment.

Mr. Bence

But the point has been raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot), and has been replied to, about this Bill being sent to a Standing Committee, and my hon. Friend, in supporting that proposition, said that the Bill would get full examination in Standing Committee because the Members being appointed to that Committee will give it a full examination. I was suggesting that very often on the Scottish Standing Committee, hon. Members from English constituencies are thrown in just to make weight.

Mr. Peart

I cannot speak of the Scottish Grand Committee. When we are arguing about experts, I think of Veblen, who said that experts sometimes have a trained incapacity to think.

I believe that on matters affecting agricultural Bills, as in the case of this Bill, it is desirable that in the Committee there should be hon. Members who have had experience of land drainage, either as Members of river boards, as one hon. Member is, Members who have particular constituency interests, like the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke), and, indeed, other hon. Members on my own side of the House who represent the views of the municipal corporations and others who represent rural areas. I am merely arguing that it is right and proper that we should have a Bill of this kind examined by a Standing Committee.

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

It seems to me that the great difficulty here is this. I have tried to read this Clause and I find it totally incomprehensible. If we had had this in the Bill originally, we should have had an Explanatory Memorandum, which would have given some idea of what it means. As it is, the only way in which we can get some explanation of what it is about is for it to be discussed in Committee, and until it has been discussed in Committee and we have had the explanation, we cannot understand the Clause or consider the explanation. That is why, in these circumstances, with no Explanatory Memorandum, a Report stage here seems to me to be so important, and a Report stage after a sufficient interval for us to be able to consider the explanation, and indeed to get the views of farmers. rivers boards and others.

Mr. Peart

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) reinforces my argument, and I am glad of his support. He has argued, as my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) was arguing, that many of these new Clauses which we are to discuss are incomprehensible. My hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale took up the Minister's point of view, and the Minister said that he now understood it very clearly and thought that my hon. Friend should.

I must say that if any hon. Member here in the House, apart from the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary, can honestly say that he really does understand the Government's first new Clause, which deals with drainage rates and the basis of assessment, and if my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale says he understands it. and if he also understands the second Clause about drainage rates and the determination of the relative poundage, and the other Clause which deals with the assessment of the drainage charge on owners, I would say that, because of the language, I am certain that they do not understand it.

Very often there is a legal interpretation, and that is why my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East asked that we should have the advice of one of the Law Officers of the Crown, and which we shall ask for when we come to it.

Mr. M. Foot

That will not help.

Mr. Peart

I know that it will not help. Indeed, on previous occasions, the Attorney-General has been asked for his advice in a Standing Committee, and his advice has been refuted by the legal advisers in the Ministry, and we have had complications. While I admit that the advice of the Attorney-General may not help, perhaps that of the Solicitor-General will. Certainly, we shall ask for his advice when we come to this Clause.

All I am saying now is that these Clauses are difficult to understand, if not incomprehensible. There should have been more consultation and more discussion. That was the point of view argued with great force by my hon. Friend the Member for Goole (Mr. G. Jeger), who gave an example of a case in which there is now a dispute between the various parties concerned in this Bill.

I would remind hon. Members, to pick up a point mentioned by the Minister, that the Bill we are discussing is the result of long negotiations. I believe, also, that we have the Bill now because of delay, because the Government have been afraid to make up their minds and have used delaying action, which I argued strongly on Second Reading. They have failed to do something for land drainage and to act according to their own policies put forward at election times.

In their "charters" they said that they would do something about land drainage, but it has taken ten years before they start to implement even part of the Heneage Committee's Report, which Committee was set up by the Labour Government. Then, there was delay. Nevertheless, in the framing of this legislation, as it was admitted on Second Reading and during the Committee stage, we have had to have proper consultation.

How can consultations have taken place on these new Clauses? I should like to ask the Government whether there has been consultation? Have they really taken advice from outside bodies, because there is a difference of opinion? As my hon. Friend the Member for Goole rightly said, the National Farmers' Union point of view is already different to that of the Country Landowners' Association.

Mr. Vane

I do not think that it is.

Mr. Peart

The Parliamentary Secretary says that he does not think it is. I am only quoting from the document mentioned by my hon. Friend and dated 20th February, a document which has been addressed to all hon. Members. The hon. Member for Isle of Ely must have got it. It says, in relation to the Minister's new Clause on drainage rates and the basis of assessment: The National Farmers' Union welcomes the tabling of this new Clause by the Minister which meets a point raised by the Union in connection with some of the anomalies inherent in the use of Schedule A values as the basis of drainage rates in internal drainage districts. It goes into much more detail.

Then, the Country Landowners' Association, dealing with the Government's new Clause, puts the views of the Association in a circular which has been sent to us, also dated 20th February, in which it says that the meaning of this new Clause is far from clear. It goes on to argue the detail, and says: The amendments would allow such people to ask the drainage board to adjust their assessments to the general average of the district.

Hon. Members

Read on.

Mr. Peart

It continues: This seems a desirable objective. I am not denying that. All I am saying is that the Association has argued that the meaning of this new Clause is far from clear. [Horn. MEMBERS: "They support it."] Of course, they support it, but they are not certain. My hon. Friend wanted to know if there had been consultations with the authorities concerned, with the landowners and the N.F.U. on these matters. After all, they have a close liaison with the Ministry, which could easily ring up Mr. Woolley so that the Government could find out what the N.F.U.'s attitude was. The Government could contact them in a jam or crisis. Have the Government consulted the River Boards Association? I should like to know.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

On a point of order. I quite see that all the matter that the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) is now propounding is very relevant to the Clauses when we come to them, but what we are really now debating is whether we should go into Committee of the whole House or recommit the Bill to a Standing Committee. That is what troubles hon. Members opposite. The hon. Gentleman's argument is more suitable to the Clauses when we come to them, so why not let us do it?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Norman Hubert)

I understood the argument of the hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) to be that there should be more delay so that there may be more consultation.

Sir Douglas Glover (Ormskirk)

Further to that point of order. I do not know whether there is a Question before the House at the moment, except whether the Bill should go to a Standing Committee.

Mr. Peart

That is precisely what we are discussing. I am sorry if the hon. Gentleman was not here, or did not understand my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North, when he moved our Amendment. We are arguing strongly—although we have not yet convinced my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale—that these Clauses should be discussed in a Standing Committee rather than have the procedure of recommittal affecting them.

The Clauses themselves are complicated, and very difficult to understand. They are in what I would call the language of gobbledegook—extremely difficult language—and they should be simplified, not only from the point of view of law but from that of every hon. Member. They could be pruned down. The English is rather diffuse, and difficult to appreciate.

More than that, these Clauses must affect the various organisations I have listed. As the hon. Member must know, the basis of this legislation has been consultation between the various bodies—the landowners, the Country Landowners' Association, the National Farmers' Union, the River Boards' Association, the various local authority associations and all the bodies affected by land drainage. I merely ask at this late stage of the Bill: has there been consultation? We say that if this Bill was again referred to a Standing Committee we would have more detailed discussion, and more opportunities for consultations with the bodies concerned.

I think that I have now convinced even the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Sir D. Glover)—

Sir D. Glover

indicated dissent.

Mr. Peart

If not, perhaps he admits that I have made a good try, and I hope that he will sympathise with my point of view. We want a detailed discussion in Standing Committee of Clauses that are important because they affect the financial arrangements. The assessment of the drainage rates are important topics to the rural community, and arouse considerable controversy from time to time.

Another point, mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North, is that we have to deal not only with the Clauses but also with the various Amendments. I shall not go into detail about those Amendments, but as the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely quite rightly said, we must argue some of those when we discuss the merits of each Clause. Here, we have not only Clauses, but various Amendments to deal with. It is quite an unusual step for a Government to take, although the Minister argues that there have been precedents and that there are financial implications. Nevertheless, there are numerous Amendments, and it would be far better to have referred those to a Standing Committee.

Added to that, there is the important issue of the time of the House—and this is where I come back to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale. I am quite certain that there is no threat to Parliamentary institutions or Parliamentary democracy if we refer detailed legislation to specialised Committees, provided always that we have an opportunity on the Floor of the House to check the results of that Committee's work, not only in principle but in detail. In this case, of course, we would have a Report stage, but I am quite certain that if the Government had so wished, if they had taken our advice and had a Standing Committee we would have saved the time of the House, and the House itself could discuss the broader principles of policy not affecting land drainage but other matters.

For example, we would like to discuss the effect on the rural communities of flooding, something to which, because of procedure, we could not allude in the Committee. We have had great difficulty in referring to the major issue that affects all our standpoints. It would have been far better to have had time on the Floor of the House to discuss this general position.

Again, why waste time here on this when we could discuss other matters? To say that principles of scientific policy are not as important as these two or three Clauses is absurd. I would go further and say that we should have a major debate on agricultural policy. It would be far better to give more time to general discussion of the principles and to allow those details, which, in part, we have argued in Standing Committee, to be left to a Standing Committee—a specialised body. That is why I reject in principle the point argued so very cogently by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale.

I want larger issues of policy to be debated on the Floor of the House—agriculture, drainage, scientific policy defence, foreign affairs, etc., and controversial matters of detail like the National Health Service charges, but a Bill like this, which is of a technical nature and non-controversial, and cuts across party —in Committee, the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Mahon (Mr. Turton) and the hon. Members for the Isle of Ely and for King's Lynn (Mr. Bullard) took the contrary point of view to their own Ministers—

Sir D. Glover

The hon. Member said that the Bill was not controversial.

Mr. Peart

I said that it went across party—

Sir D. Glover

The hon. Member also said that it was not controversial.

Mr. Peart

I was using controversy in the sense of political controversy, but, if the hon. Gentleman wants to be pedantic, that is all right.

Although the Bill caused controversy in Committee it went across party. Certain interests were revealed; there were the River Boards Association's representatives, those who take the view of municipal corporations, and others who take the view of the landowners and of the National Farmers' Union. They all put their view, irrespective of party, although I must admit that when the Government put on the Whip rebels opposite inevitably weakened. There was one honourable exception, but I believe that the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely time and again did not support us, although he was prepared to strike at the Government.

The Bill was discussed in Committee. We met on ten occasions, and I am quite sure that if we were now given the opportunity we would be able to examine in greater detail and more closely the full meaning of these Clauses. We wish to save the time of the House. My hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North stressed that point of view over and over again. This is an important Bill and should be argued in close detail —and these Clauses, in particular, should be considered in Standing Committee. That would enable the House to have more time to discuss other matters, and would also make certain that the Bill was more adequately and effectively discussed.

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Dan Jones (Burnley)

As one whose background is wholly industrial, I wondered why I was selected to be a Member of the Standing Committee, but I must say, after attending the Standing Committee, that I was much impressed by the very intimate knowledge that certain hon. Members on both sides have of the factors involved in the Bill. As one who plodded wearily through many sittings of the Standing Committee, trying very hard to grasp the details stage by stage, I feel that I have served my apprenticeship and I wish now to understand precisely what the effect of the new Clauses is. For that reason, I support the Amendment that the Bill should go back to the Standing Committee. My concern is truly based upon what I take to be the views of the local authorities. I confess with no apology at all that I was very much assisted and advised by them, and I have not at this stage the benefit of that advice.

One of my hon. Friends drew to the attention of the House a statement made by the Minister. I wish to bring to the attention of the House something else said by the Minister which seems to support the view now held by the Opposition. On Second Reading, the Minister said: It could not have been easy to reach such a measure of agreement, for many interests were pulling in different directions, and I pay a tribute—I know that my right hon. Friend, who was responsible for the negotiations, would like to join me—to the broadminded approach of all these bodies to this whole delicate problem which has made agreement possible."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th November, 1960; Vol. 630, c. 36] The emphasis is clearly upon "all these bodies". I suggest that not the least significant among those bodies would be the local authorities. Quite frankly, I am a little puzzled about the observations made by the Country Landowners' Association because, although at the beginning it says that the meaning of the new Clause is far from clear, at the end it says that this is a desirable objective. There seems to me a contradiction.

This is a very important matter. I do not want to take up time. Those of us who slogged through the Committee should really have an opportunity to understand a little more about the Clauses before we are asked to decide upon them and submit them to the House. My hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. M. Foot), who is not here at the moment, said, in supporting the Minister, that we should all have the benefit of this discussion. I believe that the Minister will agree that our forces were not very strong in the Committee. I recommend that my hon. Friend should join us there. Why not? I should welcome his contributions, quite apart from the fact that his presence would add to our numerical strength. If he feels that interest, he should be able to apply his mind to the matter in that way, and I see no reason why he should not join us in the Committee. For those reasons, which I believe are cogent, logical and forgivable, I support the Amendment.

6.4 p.m.

Mr. Bence

I have listened to this debate for about an hour. I very seldom support a Minister of the Crown in this Government, but I feel some sympathy for the proposal that the Bill should be committed to a Committee of the whole House. When complicated Bills of this character are sent to Standing Committees, only a limited number of Members can attend. I do not know what the principle of selection is, but very often people with strong interests are not selected and they cannot make their contributions.

Mr. Peart

My hon. Friend will understand that in putting our case we accept, of course, that the Bill should still be discussed on the Floor of the House. We are now arguing only about those parts of the Bill which involve recommittal. There would be a Report stage, and it is right that there should be searching criticism. I hope that when we reach Report and Third Reading my hon. Friend the Member for Dunbartonshire, East (Mr. Bence) and my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) will be active in scrutinising the Bill very carefully.

Mr. Bence

Certainly. I and many hon. Members on both sides, I think, who were not on the Standing Committee wish to take this opportunity, when the Bill is recommitted to a Committee of the whole House, to raise important issues. I have a constituency interest. We look forward to having a full opportunity to examine very thoroughly the Clauses and provisions which are proposed because we did not have the opportunity previously in the Standing Committee. There are, perhaps, twenty or thirty of my hon. Friends who were not on the Standing, Committee but who wish to take part in the Committee stage of the Bill on the Floor of the House. It seems most desirable that the matter should be dealt with on the Floor of the House so that we may examine thoroughly the new Clauses and any Amendments which are put down.

I imagine that there is not one constituency in the country which is not affected in some way or other by the implications of the Bill, but we cannot have a Member for every constituency on the Standing Committee. On the Floor of the House, however, everyone who is affected can enter the discussion. I am sure that there are hon. Members opposite who will wish to raise constituency matters as they are affected by the new Clauses.

I have tried to understand the new Clauses during the last three hours, but I am not really sure whether my constituency is affected or not. I should have to listen to a long discussion on them in order to understand exactly what they mean. This is why I am pleased that it is proposed to recommit the Bill to a Committee of the whole House. I hope that we shall have a good Committee stage tonight and that every Member of Parliament will take the opportunity to examine fully these very complicated new Clauses and Amendments.

We shall have the benefit of advice from several lawyers on both sides. The number of lawyers on the Standing Committee is limited. In Committees which I have attended upstairs in the mornings we have very often been short of lawyers, but in Committee of the whole House there are always plenty of lawyers present. There is nothing so illuminating to a layman as hearing the lawyers discuss complicated provisions of this kind. It is fascinating to listen to the discussions in which they clarify these matters.

Mr. Jeger

Is my hon. Friend saying that he would like to have more lawyers taking part in the discussion in order that we might reach agreement or in order that we might be enlightened? I gravely doubt that the lawyers assembled would reach agreement.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Gordon Touche)

This is going rather far from the Amendment.

Mr. Bence

I do not wish to deal with that point, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I was advancing what I thought was a reasonable argument in favour of the Bill being recommitted to a Committee of the whole House. On the Floor of the House we can have the advice of many experts, whereas the membership of a Standing Committee must be limited in its selection. For instance, it may be discovered after a Committee is selected that there are first-class experts on land valuation and drainage in the House but who are not on the Committee and that the Committee cannot have the benefit of their advice and expertise. But tonight we can have them all because we know that they are here. There are experts on both sides of the House determined to examine every word of the new Clauses, and that is desirable.

6.10 p.m.

Mr. J. B. Symonds (Whitehaven)

As a member of the Standing Committee, although not having a 100 per cent. attendance record, I should like to make one comment. I was paired during the Committee stage and therefore did not hear all the arguments, but I noticed in the closing stages in Committee that congratulations were offered all round because, so it was said, the Bill had been improved. New Clauses were added in Committee. What has happened since all these congratulations saying that the Bill had been improved and that it could be safely recommended to the House on Report? The Minister suddenly discovered that he had left something out, that he had forgotten something. If that is the case, surely the correct place in which to rectify the matter before the Bill comes back to the House is in Standing Committee.

I have heard it said this evening that hon. Members will not get a chance to discuss the new Clauses if the Bill goes back to Standing Committee. I am. however, convinced that they will get a chance to do so when it comes back on Report. That being so, I think that we should do the right thing in letting the Standing Committee have a look at these new Clauses.

Sir D. Glover

The hon. Gentleman said earlier that he had not heard much of the Committee stage because he was paired. I suppose that the same thing will happen again.

Mr. Symonds

If the hon. Gentleman would like a pair with me, whether it be of the Eton variety or otherwise, I should be happy, to accommodate him.

Having taken an interest in the Bill, although, unfortunately, circumstances over which I had no control did not permit me to attend every Committee meeting, I believe that the Committee stage helped hon. Members considerably and that they greatly appreciated it. I therefore think that the new Clauses should first go back to Standing Committee so that they can be thoroughly thrashed out and where all the advice possible can be obtained.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 263, Noes 186.

Division No. 59.] AYES [6.15 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Holt, Arthur
Aitken, W. T. Doughty, Charles Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Drayson, G. B. Hopkins, Alan
Allason, James du Cann, Edward Hornby, R. P.
Ashton, Sir Hubert Duncan, Sir James Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)
Atkins, Humphrey Duthie, Sir William Howard, John (Southampton, Test)
Barber, Anthony Eden, John Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John
Barlow, Sir John Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hughes-Young, Michael
Barter, John Elliott,R.W.(N'wc'stle-upon-Tyne,N.) Hulbert, Sir Norman
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Emery, Peter Hurd, Sir Anthony
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hutchison, Michael Clark
Bell, Ronald Errington, Sir Eric Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)
Berkeley, Humphry Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Jackson, John
Bovine, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Farr, John James, David
Bidgood, John C. Fell, Anthony Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Biggs-Davison, John Fisher, Nigel Jennings, J. C.
Bishop, F. P. Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Bossom, Clive Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Johnson Smith, Geoffrey
Box, Donald Freeth, Denzil Kaberry, Sir Donald
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Gammans, Lady Kerans, Cdr. J.S.
Boyle, Sir Edward Gardner, Edward Kerby, Capt. Henry
Braine, Bernard George, J. C. (Pollok) Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Brewis, John Gibson-Watt, David Kershaw, Anthony
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Cot. Sir Walter Glover, Sir Douglas Kimball, Marcus
Brooman-White, R. Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Kirk, Peter
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Kitson, Timothy
Bryan, Paul Goodhart, Philip Lambton, Viscount
Bullard, Denys Gough, Frederick Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Gower, Raymond Leavey, J. A.
Burden, F. A. Grant, Rt. Hon. William Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Green, Alan Lilley, F. J. P.
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Gresham Cooke, R. Lindsay, Martin
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Grimond, J. Linstead, Sir Hugh
Cary, Sir Robert Grimston, Sir Robert Litchfield, Capt. John
Channon, H. P. G. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Longbottom, Charles
Chataway, Christopher Gurden, Harold Longden, Gilbert
Chichester-Clark, R. Hall, John (Wycombe) Loveys, Walter H.
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby
Clarke, Brig. Terence(Portemth, W.) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Cleaver, Leonard Harris, Reader (Heston) McAdden, Stephen
Cole, Norman Harrison, Brian (Maldon) MacArthur, Ian
Cooper, A. E. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) McLaren, Martin
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) McMaster, Stanley R.
Costain, A. P. Harvie Anderson, Miss Macpherson, Nlalt (Dumfries)
Coulson, J. M. Hastings, Stephen Maddan, Martin
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward Maginnis, John E.
Craddock, Sir Beresford Henderson, John (Cathcart) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Markham, Major Sir Frank
Crowder, F. P. Hicks Beach, Maj. W. Marlowe, Anthony
Cunningham, Knox Hiley, Joseph Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest
Curran. Charles Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Marten, Neil
Dalkeith, Earl of Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Mathew, Robert (Honiton)
Danee, James Hirst, Geoffrey Mawby, Ray
d' Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hocking, Philip N. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
de Ferranti, Basil Holland, Philip Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Hollingworth, John Montgomery, Fergus
More, Jasper (Ludlow) Renton, David Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Morgan, William Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Thorpe, Jeremy
Morrison, John Roberts, Sir Peter (Healey) Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Robertson, sir David Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Neave, Airey Robson Brown, Sir William Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Nicholls, Sir Harmar Roots, William Tweedsmuir, Lady
Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard van Straubenzee, W. R.
Noble, Michael Russell, Ronald Vane, W. M. F.
Nugent, Sir Richard Scott-Hopkins, James Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Seymour, Leslie Vickers, Miss Joan
Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Sharples, Richard Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Osborn, John (Hallam) Shaw, M. Wade, Donald
Page, John (Harrow, West) Skeet, T. H. H. Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Page, Graham (Crosby) Smithers, Peter Wall, Patrick
Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Ward, Dame Irene
Partridge, E. Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher Watts, James
Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Speir, Rupert Wells, John (Maidstone)
Peel, John Stanley, Hon. Richard Whitelaw, William)
Percival, Ian Stevens, Geoffrey Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Pike, Miss Mervyn Stodart, J. A. Wills. Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Pilkington, Sir Richard Stoddart-Scoff, Col. Sir Malcolm Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Price, David (Eastleigh) Studholme, 81r Henry Wise, A. R.
Prior, J. M. L. Tapsell, Peter Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.) Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
profumo, Rt. Hon. John Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.) Woodhouse, C. M.
Proudfoot, Wilfred Teeling, William Woodnutt, Mark
Quennell, Miss J. M. Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret Woollam, John
Ramsden, James Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Worsley, Marcus
Rawlinson, Peter Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Finlay and Mr. J. E. B. Hill.
Ainsley, William Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mapp, Charles
Albu, Austen Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Ginsburg, David Marsh, Richard
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Mason, Roy
Awbery, Stan Gourlay, Harry Mayhew, Christopher
Bacon, Miss Alice Greenwood, Anthony Mellish, R. J.
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Grey, Charles Mendelson, J. J.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Gunter, Ray Millan, Bruce
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Hannan, William Milne, Edward J.
Benson, Sir George Hayman, F. H. Mitchison, G. R.
Blackburn, F. Henderson,Rt.Hn.Arthur(RwlyRegis) Monslow, Walter
Blyton, William Hewitson, Capt. M. Moody, A. S.
Boardman, H. Hilton, A. V. Morris, John
Bowden, Herbert W. (Lela, S.W.) Holman, Percy Moyle, Arthur
Bowles, Frank Houghton, Douglas Mulley, Frederick
Boyden, James Howell, Charles A. Neal, Harold
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hoy, James H. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Brockway, A. Fenner Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby, S.)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hunter, A. E. Oliver, G. H.
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Oswald, Thomas
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Owen, Will
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Padley, W. E.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Janner, Sir Barnett Paget, R. T.
Callaghan, James Jeger, George Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Pargiter, G. A.
Chetwynd, George Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Cliffe, Michael Jones, Dan (Burnley) Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.)
Collick, Percy Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Cronin, John Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Peart, Frederick
Crosland, Anthony Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Pentland, Norman
Crossman, R. H. S. Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Kelley, Richard Popplewell, Ernest
Darling, George Kenyon, Clifford Prentice, R. E.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Ledger, Ron Probert, Arthur
Deer, George Lee, Frederick (Newton) Proctor, W. T.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Delargy, Hugh Lipton, Marcus Rankin, John
Diamond, John Logan, David Reid, William
Driberg, Tom Loughlin, Charles Reynolds, G. W.
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Edelman, Maurice McCann, John Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mclnnes, James Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McKay, John (Wallsend) Ross, William
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Mackie, John Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Finch, Harold McLeavy, Frank Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Fitch, Alan MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Fletcher, Eric Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Skeffington, Arthur
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Mallalieu. J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Forman, J. C. Manuel, A. C. Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Small, William Symonds, J. B. Willey, Frederick
Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Snow, Julian Taylor, John (West Lothian) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Sorensen, R. W. Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Thornton, Ernest Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Spriggs, Leslie Tomney, Frank Winterbottom, R. E.
Steele, Thomas Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Wainwright, Edwin Woof, Robert
Stonehouse, John Watkins, Tudor Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Stones, William Weitzman, David Zilliacus, K.
Strachey, Rt. Hon. John Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Swingler, Stephen White, Mrs. Eirene TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Sylvester, George Wilkins, W. A. Mr. Lawson and Mr. Redhead.

Main Question Put:—

The House divided: Ayes 263, Noes 187

Division No. 60.] AYES [6.25 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) James, David
Aitken, W. T. Elliott,R.W.(N'wc'stie-upon-Tyne, N.) Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Emery, Peter Jennings, J. C.
Ashton, Sir Hubert Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
Atkins, Humphrey Errington, Sir Eric Johnson Smith, Geoffrey
Barlow, Sir John Farr, John Kaberry, Sir Donald
Barter, John Fell, Anthony Kerans, Cdr. J. S.
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Finlay, Graeme Kerby, Capt. Henry
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Fisher, Nigel Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Bell, Ronald Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Kershaw, Anthony
Berkeley, Humphry Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Kimball, Marcus
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Freeth, Denzil Kirk, Peter
Bidgood, John C. Gammans, Lady Kitson, Timothy
Biggs-Davison, John Gardner, Edward Lambton, Viscount
Bishop, F. P. George, J. C. (Pollok) Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Bossom, Clive Gibson-Watt, David Leavey, J. A.
Bourne-Arton, A. Glover, Sir Douglas Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Box, Donald Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Lilley, F. J. P.
Boyle, Sir Edward Goodhart, Philip Lindsay, Martin
Braine, Bernard Gough, Frederick Linstead, Sir Hugh
Brewis, John Gower, Raymond Litchfield, Capt. John
Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Col.Sir Walter Grant, Rt. Hon. William Longbottom, Charles
Brooman-White, R. Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. Longden, Gilbert
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Green, Alan Loveys, Walter H.
Bryan, Paul Gresham Cooke, R. Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby
Bullard, Denys Grimond, J. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Grimston, Sir Robert MCAdden, Stephen
Burden, F. A. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. MacArthur, Ian
Butler,Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Gurden, Harold McLaren, Martin
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Hall, John (Wycombe) McMaster, Stanley R.
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Maddan, Martin
Cary, Sir Robert Harris, Reader (Heston) Maginnis, John E.
Channon, H. P. G. Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Chataway, Christopher Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Marlowe, Anthony
Chichester-Clark, R. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Harvie Anderson, Miss Marten, Neil
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hastings, Stephen Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Cleaver, Leonard Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Mathew, Robert (Honiton)
Cole, Norman Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)
Cooper, A. E. Henderson, John (Cathcart) Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Mawby, Ray
Costain, A. P. Hicks Beach, Mal. W. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Coulson, J. M. Hiley, Joseph Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Montgomery, Fergus
Craddock, Sir Beresford Hinchingbrooke, Viscount More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hirst, Geoffrey Morgan, William
Crowder, F. P. Hooking, Philip N. Morrison, John
Cunningham, Knox Holland, Philip Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Curran, Charles Hollingworth, John Neave, Airey
Dalkeith, Earl of Holt, Arthur Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Dance, James Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Nicholson, Sir Godfrey
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Hopkins, Alan Noble, Michael
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hornby, R. P. Nugent, Sir Richard
de Ferranti, Basil Howard, Hon. G. R (St. Ives) Oakshott, Sir Hendrie
Digby, Simon Wingfield Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Orr-Ewing, C. Ian
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Osborn, John (Hallam)
Doughty, Charles Hughes-Young, Michael Page, Graham (Crosby)
Drayson, G. B. Hulbert, Sir Norman Page, John (Harrow, West)
du Cann, Edward Hurd, Sir Anthony Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Duncan, Sir James Hutchison, Michael Clark Partridge, E.
Duthie, Sir William Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Pearson, Frank (Ciltheroe)
Eden, John Jackson, John Percival, Ian
Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher Vickers, Miss Joan
Pike, Miss Mervyn Speir, Rupert Vesper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Pilkington, Sir Richard Stanley, Hon. Richard Wade, Donald
Price, David (Eastleigh) Stevens, Geoffrey Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
prior, J. M. L. Steward, Harold (Stockport) Wall, Patrick
prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Stodart, J. A. Ward, Dame Irene
Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm Watts, James
Proudfoot, Wilfred Studholme, Sir Henry Webster, David
Quennell, Miss J. M. Tapsell, Peter Wells, John (Maidstone)
Ramsden, James Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.) Whitelaw, William
Rawlinson, Peter Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.) Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Teeling, William Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Renton, David Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Wise, A. R.
Robertson, Sir David Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Robson Brown, Sir William Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Roots, William Thorpe, Jeremy Woodhouse, C. M.
Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.) Woodnutt, Mark
Russell, Ronald Tilney, John (Wavertree) Woollam, John
Scott-Hopkins, James Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H Worsley, Marcus
Sharples, Richard Tweedsmuir, Lady
Shaw, M. van Straubenzee, W. R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Smithers, Peter Vane, W. M. F. Mr. J. E. B. Hill and Mr. Peel.
Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Ainsley, William Hannan, William Mulley, Frederick
Albu, Austen Hayman, F. H. Neal, Harold
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Henderson,Rt.Hn.Arthur(RwlyRegis) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hewitson, Capt. M. Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.)
Awbery, Stan Hilton, A. V. Oliver, G. H.
Bacon, Miss Alice Holman, Percy Oswald, Thomas
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Houghton, Douglas Owen, Will
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Howell, Charles A. Padley, W. E.
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Hoy, James H. Paget, R. T.
Benson, Sir George Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Blackburn, F. Hunter, A. E. Pargiter, G. A.
Blvton, William Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Boardman, H. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.)
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Bowles, Frank Janner, Sir Barnett Pentland, Norman
Boyden, James Jeger, George Plummer, Sir Leslie
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Popplewell, Ernest
Brockway, A. Fenner Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Prentice, R. E.
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Probert, Arthur
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Proctor, W. T.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Pursey. Cmdr. Harry
Callaghan, James Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Randall, Harry
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Kelley, Richard Rankin, John
Chetwynd, George Kenyon, Clifford Reid, William
Cliffe, Michael Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Reynolds, G. W.
Collick, Percy Lawson, George Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Cronin. John Ledger, Ron Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Crosland, Anthony Lee, Frederick (Newton) Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Crossman, R. H. S. Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Ross, William
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Lipton, Marcus Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Darling, George Loughlin, Charles Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) McCann, John Skeffington, Arthur
Deer, George McInnes, James Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
de Freitas, Geoffrey McKay, John (Wallsend) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Delargy, Hugh Mackie, John Small, William
Diamond, John McLeavy, Frank Smith, Ellis (Stoke. S.)
Driberg, Tom MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Snow, Julian
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Sorensen, R. W.
Edelman, Maurice Malfalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Manuel, A. C. Spriggs, Leslie
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mapp, Charles Steele, Thomas
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Markham, Major Sir Frank Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Finch, Harold Marsh, Richard Stonehouse, John
Fitch, Alan Mason, Roy Stones, William
Fletcher, Eric Mayhew, Christopher Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Mellish, R. J. Swingler, Stephen
Forman, J. C. Mendelson, J. J. Sylvester, George
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Millan, Bruce Symonds, J. B.
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Milne, Edward J. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Ginsburg, David Mitchison, G. R. Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Monslow, Walter Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Gourlay, Harry Moody, A. S. Thornton, Ernest
Greenwood, Anthony Morris, John Tomney, Frank
Grey, Charles Mort, D. L. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Moyle, Arthur Wainwright, Edwin
Watkins Tudor Williams, LI (Abertillery) Woof, Robert
Weitzman, David Williams, W. R. (Openshaw) Yates, Victor (ladywood)
Wells, (percy (Faversham) Willis E. G. (Edinburgh, E.) Zilliacus, K.
White, Mrs. Eirene Wilson, Rt. Hon Harold (Huyton)
Wifkins, W. A. Winterbottom, R. E. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Willey, Frederick Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A. Dr. Broughton and Mr.Redhead.

Bill immediately considered in Committee.

[Major Sir WILLIAM ANSTRUTHER-GRAY in the Chair]

  1. New Clause.—(DRAINAGE RATES—BASIS OF ASSESSMENT.) 25,341 words, 4 divisions