§ Mr. Chataway
I beg to move, in page 2, line 11, to leave out from "shall" to "the" in line 12 and to insert "take effect as from".
This is a technical Amendment which in no way alters the main purpose of the Bill or its effect, as has been explained to the House on previous occasions. The Statutory Instruments Act, 1946, would require orders made under the Bill to be laid before Parliament before they came into operation. Under the Bill as it stands, this could not be done in the case of the first orders to be made, since, under the wording of subsection (5) as drafted, they would be deemed to have come into operation on 1st April, 1963. My right hon. Friend therefore thought it desirable to suggest this Amendment in order that there will be no possible legal doubt as to the validity of these orders.
If the Amendment is accepted, the first orders will provide that they shall come into operation on a date after they have been laid before Parliament and that they shall take effect from 1st April. I understand that there are a number of precedents for this procedure. It will both meet the requirements of the Act of 1946 and enable the 331 increases of teachers' salaries to be backdated to 1st April. In short, this is a technical Amendment designed to reduce any possible doubts about the legal validity of the first orders laid under the Bill.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. Willey
I beg to move, in page 2, line 28, to leave out from "be" to the end of line 29 and to insert:of no effect unless approved by resolution of each House of Parliament".This is a point of some substance and importance. It was discussed in Standing Committee, and for that reason I will be brief. The Government propose to supersede the Burnham Committee and to resort to Government action defining the scales in the new provisions for teachers' salaries. This is obviously a matter which ought to be done by affirmative Resolution.
I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman is not here, because we both served on the Committee on Delegated Legislation and I have not the slightest doubt that he would agree that this matter comes within the category of matters which ought to be decided by affirmative Resolution. I think that we ought to do it. In Standing Committee the right hon. Gentleman advanced one reason only against so doing—and in view of what has happened today I have every sympathy with him. If we resort to affirmative Resolution, the Government find time and put the matter down on the Order Paper. Having heard what the Patronage Secretary has done today in putting down this Bill when the Minister had a long-standing engagement of some importance, I can appreciate the Minister's anxiety if the discussion of this important matter is left to Government initiative. This is not a reason we can accept.
There is nothing in the argument on the timetable. We know—every teacher knows—that he will get retrospective payment from 1st August. The Order, which ought to be in affirmative form, would have to be accepted by both Houses before the Summer Recess. There is no difficulty whatsoever in the Government finding time for this. Constitutionally they are obliged to do so.
332 Having put the constitutional view, which I think the Government should accept, I will put a personal view. I am sure the Parliamentary Secretary would recognise that these scales and this order are proper matters to be discussed in the House, particularly as he has told us that there are to be revisions between now and when the scales are to be introduced. We have had one issue raised in the course of the debate which put this graphically. The Parliamentary Secretary has made some concession towards teachers teaching in special schools. This is not sufficiently generous to satisfy us on this side of the House.
What have we to do—pray against the Order? In this context we are not really complaining about the Order, except that it is not sufficient. We are faced with the difficulty that it appears on the Order Paper. We as Parliamentarians know that it has no more significance than that this is the device which the Opposition have to adopt to get a debate in the House. It appears that we are seeking to annul the Order. We have reached the stage where the Government have made it impossible now to fall back on Burnham. They have said "We do not intend to do this and you either accept what we are putting to the House or you do not accept it." We cannot amend an Order. We think it is right and proper constitutionally and fair politically for the Government forthrightly to accept responsibility for what they are doing and not put the Opposition in the position of having to pray the annulment of the Order.
I had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman, who served on the Committee, would have been here to support my view. I regret his absence, because the Government showed some lack of consideration at any rate for my own position. They knew that I was heavily engaged on the Television Bill, propping up the Government against their opponents on their own back benches. Notwithstanding the service I was rendering the Government, they chose to have this Bill first discussed in Standing Committee at the same time as we were discussing the Television Bill. I was therefore unable to make a contribution in Standing Committee on this point
I hope now that the Parliamentary Secretary is briefed by the right hon. 333 Gentleman to say that in the circumstances it is proper for this to be in the form of affirmative Resolution. We know that there will be discussions through the usual channels. We know that there are difficulties at this time of the year, but the Government can take our assurance that we would take every effective action we could as an Opposition to ensure that the consideration of the Order was expedited.
§ Mr. Boyden
In view of the right hon. Gentleman's absence from the debate, I thought I would look up the opinions he had in 1953 when he served on the Committee on Delegated Legislation. I find that in those days he was a strong supporter of the maximum supervision in the House over delegated legislation. He took quite an active part in putting forward the views of back benchers to ensure that the maximum scrutiny was applied. I hope he has not changed his mind in the intervening ten years, because if he has it is rather significant. If he has changed his mind he now finds himself in the position, probably for the first time, when he wants to use rather more dictatorial powers than have been used in the past, and he finds himself on the other side.
To give an indication of what were the Minister's views in 1953, I shall quote from the Report of the Select Committee on Delegated Legislation, published on 27th October, 1953. The Minister, asking questions of Sir Cecil Thomas Carr—about a whole series of Board of Trade Regulations which, in the Parliamentary sense of discussion, were relatively minor—said:You agree it is very important for Members of Parliament to be able to keep control of this?That is something, I would say, which was the third degree of Statutory Instruments lower than a negative Instrument. The right hon. Gentleman said later:We on this Committee are simply considering how best the House of Commons can supervise delegated legislation and what improvements are required in our procedure.I am certain that the implication of that is that the maximum control possible in this House was to be exercised through the recommendations of this particular Committee. He later said:If we make certain recommendations we may seem to many hon. Members to be depriving them of some right which they 334 regarded as a much bigger one. The very fact that prayers have been regarded as a means for initiating debates and not simply annulling orders, while I agree with you that that may have its undesirable side, does make the whole thing very much more important from the point of view of private Members?Later on the right hon. Gentleman said:There are two more points I want to raise arising out of the negative Resolutions. Is not it fair to say that the discussion in the House is in fact very often a protest against the policy rather than a serious attempt to reverse policy? Everyone knows that if you vote against the cheese ration being only two ounces and the Minister and his permanent advisers say that the cheese is not there, the Minister must annul the order next day, but is not it rather a serious matter to deprive the House of Commons of the right of protesting against the fact that the cheese ration should fall to two ounces or whatever it may be?If the Minister has changed his mind since then it means that he regards the discussion of these new scales of pay for the whole of the teaching profession as being less important than a discussion on the ration of 2 ozs. of cheese. I can hardly think that the right hon. Gentleman could have changed his views to that extent. If he has, he has a lot of explaining to do to hon. Members.
One other matter came out of the Select Committee from which I have quoted. A great deal was done to satisfy the Committee that delegated legislation was most carefully considered and that all the Departments had elaborate procedures of consultation and so on. For this reason, I turned up the part of the Select Committee's Report referring to the Ministry of Education and found that this Department is among, as it were, the weakest Departments in ensuring that the delegated legislation is drawn up effectively. In this connection there are two paragraphs in the Report concerning a Memorandum which the Select Committee sent to all Departments. They state:We, in this Department, are concerned with so little new legislation that we have no regular procedure for drafting of the kind mentioned in…the Memorandum. The next paragraph states:We have no Standing Committee in this office for drafting regulations, partly because our output of Statutory Instruments is relatively small compared with other Departments.On these two counts—namely, that the right hon. Gentleman, as the record shows, is a great man for protecting the 335 interests of back benchers in supervising Statutory Instruments and on the second count that his own Department is particularly weak in preparing these matters when they come before the House, there should be an affirmative Resolution and facilities provided for hon. Members to discuss the matter.
§ Dr. King
We did not adequately discuss the Amendment in Standing Committee. It was one of a series of Amendments grouped together and, for this reason, it is worth emphasising how important the issue that we are discussing is, to remind the House that the Government are legislating on teachers' salaries by means of a Statutory Instrument and that the House will have to either accept or reject this whole complex salary scale structure. This is one of the reasons why the power of the Executive is growing.
There are, however, two ways of legislating even by regulation. Under the affirmative Resolution procedure, the Government will have to find time, and the Minister will have to attend the House to move these salary scales and to explain all the details. Under the negative Resolution procedure, the Government will print the new scales, and then wait to see whether the Opposition table a Prayer for annulment within the following 40 days. In this latter case, the onus is put on the Opposition. They will have to move the rejection of something, much of which they approve. They will have to table a Prayer for the annulment of the proposed salary scales when they come in.
Governments obviously prefer the negative Resolution procedure. It is less trouble for them. There is always the hope that nothing will happen over them, but I believe—and I am certain that hon. Members on both sides who think this out must also believe—that important regulations should be moved affirmatively.
I will not now refer, as I did in the Standing Committee, to the days when the Tory Party was in opposition and was using every method it possibly could to obstruct the Labour Government; when it was attacking the Labour Government for governing by regulation and urging that every Statutory 336 Instrument should, whenever possible, be subject to the affirmative Resolution procedure. Since Lord Dilhorne is in the news at the moment, let me quote the eminent ex-Attorney-General on this subject. He said:It is of vital importance that, if this power of delegation should go on—I think it must go on in a limited degree—that it should be subject to proper safeguards…we shall have to be careful to see that Ministers do not get wider powers than are necessary, and to see that Regulations do not slip through the net."—[Official Report, 17th May, 1944; Vol. 400, c. 243.]One of the ways in which we can carry out what Lord Dilhorne then said it was our Parliamentary duty to carry out is to see that whenever an important piece of this kind of legislation comes before us the Minister must move it and explain it to the House. Surely, in view of all that has happened during the last four months over the Instrument that was before the House setting up teachers' salaries, no one can argue that it is not of importance. It has torn up the whole fabric of local authority and ministerial relationship, and has brought the teachers nearer to a national strike than they have been in the century. This is pre-eminently the kind of legislation which our Parliamentary procedure demands should be dealt with by the affirmative Resolution method.
The only thing that the Parliamentary Secretary said when we spoke of this in the Standing Committee was that the negative Resolution procedure would waste time and that the affirmative Resolution procedure would be quicker. That is certainly not true. If the Government have done the work, they have time before 1st August to lay the scales before the House, have a general discussion about them, repeat the procedure in another place, and carry them out. As my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) has said, we would be willing to co-operate in such a procedure. If the negative Resolution procedure is adopted we on this side still have the power to subject the scales to a long debate, which will take almost the same amount of Parliamentary time.
I hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will concede us this point. We are not asking him to say that the Minister is wrong in what he has done. We are asking him to say that at least what has 337 been done is of sufficient importance for the House of Commons to treat it in the proper Parliamentary way.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)
I support what has been said by my hon. Friends and I hope that we shall have a satisfactory reply on the Amendment. We are entitled to complain of the Minister's absence on this occasion. My hon. Friend the Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) has quoted a remark which the Minister himself made on this subject of delegation, and here on this Amendment and on the new Clause which we have just been discussing.
I think that the House has been very shabbily treated by the absence of the Minister from our debates on this important matter. It is treating the House with contempt that not only should the Minister be absent, but that there should not be a Minister of Cabinet rank, or of near-Cabinet rank, on the Front Bench and that, the Government benches have been practically boycotted apart from the four Government Members in the House.
I can quite understand that Government supporters are more busily occupied in deciding who should succeed the Prime Minister, whether the First Secretary, or the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or somebody else, but it seems to me extraordinary that on a matter of this kind, affecting teachers' salaries and concerning the whole of the teaching profession and everybody interested in education during the last few months, the Government benches should be almost completely deserted and that it should be left to the Parliamentary Secretary to attempt to reply to what is a matter not only of great educational importance but of great constitutional importance.
It emerged while we were discussing a new Clause moved by a Government supporter, who has now left the Chamber, that the Government are in two minds whether or not to continue in operation Section 89 of the Education Act. It is recognised that if this Section is repealed the whole of the Burnham Committee machinery will be dismantled and nothing will be put in its place. We do not yet know whether that will be the Government's decision or whether they will amend the Section. In the 338 meantime, we know that, at any rate, until 1965 the whole of the Burnham Committee machinery as it has existed for many years will be scrapped.
The Burnham Committee has worked with great success for many years. I can testify to that effect, because some years ago I was a member of the Committee. In future it is suggested that the Burnham Committee, in practice, should cease to function and in its place the Minister should make orders dealing with teachers' salaries throughout the country. The negotiating machinery will lapse, and the powers of the local authorities will cease, and the Bill gives power to the Minister by his own order to say what teachers' salaries throughout the country should be. The only check on that is the approval of Parliament. Therefore, the issue for us on the Amendment is how that approval of Parliament shall be exercised.
The Minister is suggesting that the only parliamentary check should be the procedure of a Prayer, the negative Resolution procedure, as it is generally known, which places upon the Opposition the responsibility of putting down a Prayer which does not come up for debate until ten o'clock at night and then, under Standing Orders, can be discussed only until 11.30, and the Prayer may not even come up for debate at ten o'clock. Experience in recent years has shown that some prayers do not start until 10.30 or later, depending on how many Divisions there are at ten o'clock.
But, whatever time the Prayer begins, under the Standing Orders the debate has to end at 11.30, subject to this, that the Chair has the right, if Mr. Speaker thinks the subject has not been adequately discussed, to adjourn the debate to a further date when it comes on for perhaps another half hour or so. But the opportunities for effectively controlling delegated legislation by the machinery of the negative Resolution procedure are very restricted and, in practice, do not give the Opposition very much opportunity of debate or of curtailing the Government's proposals.
On the other hand, it has been recognised by successive Governments and various Ministers that on all matters of constitutional importance, notably on any matter affecting the imposition of taxes or payments of various kinds, it 339 has become traditional that the Government should obtain approval by way of affirmative Resolution. Under this procedure, the Government have to take the initiative and to explain and justify the Order for which, approval is sought. There is no time limit within which the House has to discuss the Order, because Orders which are subject to the affirmative Resolution procedure and confirmation of the House are exempted business and, therefore, can be debated without the imposition of a time limit.
There is, therefore, a very considerable difference in degree in the form and nature of Parliamentary control over Ministers according to whether the negative Resolution procedure or the affirmative Resolution procedure is adopted. It is important that that should be emphasised because some relatively new Ministers do not always appreciate the great distinction which exists between the negative Resolution procedure and the affirmative Resolution procedure.
I agree with what my hon. Friends have said. The matter we are discussing seems, both in substance and procedurally, to be essentially the kind of matter which the Minister should be required to explain and justify to Parliament by taking the initiative and laying an affirmative Resolution and finding Government time to justify it before it obtains Parliamentary approval. [Interruption.] There is no need for the Parliamentary Secretary to get impatient. The fact that the Minister of Education has thought it appropriate to try to get the Bill through by suggesting the negative Resolution procedure for these measures is to me a further indication of his contempt for Parliament. We hear a good deal these days about Parliament falling into disrepute and losing its authority. One of the reasons for this trend in recent years has been the conduct of the Minister of Education and his colleagues, and the Government are to blame.
It is hypocrisy for the Minister of Education, who is absent while a matter of the greatest importance affecting his Department is being considered, to give evidence, which has been quoted, a few years ago saying how important it was that Parliament should have control of this kind and then to do two things which 340 show his utter disregard and contempt of Parliament First, he has proposed the negative Resolution procedure where the affirmative procedure is not only appropriate, but essential. Secondly, the Minister has absented himself from discussion of this matter on Report in the House of Commons tonight. This is conduct which is disgraceful and thoroughly discreditable. I can only hope that the one way in which the Minister of Education and the Government can redeem themselves from what seems to me to be such discreditable conduct is by indicating that they are prepared to accept the Amendment.
§ Mr. Donald Wade (Huddersfield, West)
Before we hear the reply to this discussion, I should like to add such weight as I can to the case which has been made for the Amendment. I have spoken on other occasions about delegated legislation and I do not propose to deploy all the arguments again. There are, however, three points to be mentioned.
First, a principle is involved. It is important that Parliament should have a watchful eye on any form of delegated legislation; and where there are arguments for the affirmative or the negative Resolution procedure it is essential that we should come down on the side of the former wherever possible. The present instance seems to me to be such a case. Secondly, there is the time factor. I shall be interested to hear what we are told from the Government Front Bench, but it would seem to me that the time factor is not an important issue here. Thirdly, the confidence of the teachers has been badly shaken in the last two years.
I am not suggesting that the whole teaching profession has been studying carefully the advantages and disadvantages of affirmative and negative Resolutions. We know, however, that there is importance in the affirmative Resolution procedure and anything that we can do to show that Parliament is endeavouring to exercise control over the Executive in this matter is all to the good. For these three adequate reasons, I support the Amendment.
§ Mr. Chataway
A number of reasons have been advanced by hon. Members for changing from the negative Resolution procedure, as we propose, to the 341 affirmative procedure. The hon. Member for Islington, East(Mr. Fletcher) said some harsh words. He took it, he said, as a sign of contempt for the House of Commons that it should be proposed to use the negative procedure in this instance. I admit readily that this is a proper matter for discussion and for argument, but I assert that there are no cut and dried rules by which one can decide whether a matter should be subject to the affirmative or to the negative Resolution procedure.
The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) has quoted from some speeches made ten years ago by my right hon. Friend the Minister, attesting to his interest in this matter at that time. I assure the hon. Member that my right hon. Friend remains today as interested to see that the House of Commons has a proper opportunity to consider and control delegated legislation as he did then. The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland will, I hope, agree that that control may be by either of these two procedures and, equally, that the object of the exercise would be defeated if every order were to be subject to the affirmative procedure. It seemed at one point as if that were almost the argument of the hon. Member for Islington, East. Clearly, there is a decision to be made. Also, there are no hard and fast rules to be observed.
I will give the House the considerations which were in the mind of my right hon. Friend when he decided to suggest the negative Resolution procedure in this instance. It has been argued that this is a matter of such importance that it should be subject to affirmative Resolution procedure. Clearly, the Bill is important, and hon. Members will not argue about that. The first Orders made under it will have a far-reaching effect, but their broad content has been discussed in principle during the proceedings on the Bill. Thereafter, the Orders issued will very often be very trivial ones—for example, minor alterations in allowances or the addition of a degree or diploma as a qualification for an allowance. That is the kind of thing which will be included in subsequent Orders, and it would be disproportionate to the importance of the order for Parliamentary time necessarily to be taken up in discussion of it.
342 It has been suggested that the negative Resolution procedure has disadvantages for the Opposition, and I accept that the affirmative Resolution procedure gives the Opposition more opportunities in a number of ways. First, a number of hon. Members may not notice an order on the Order Paper, and it may, therefore, not be prayed against, though I do not think it would be argued that that would be likely to be the case with the first Orders published under the Bill.
Secondly, it has been argued that the Opposition's attitude may be misrepresented if we are following the negative Resolution procedure. The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) said that if one is praying against an Order it may be felt outside the House that one is, therefore, opposed to the content of the Order. I am not sure that I go with the hon. Gentleman entirely in this argument, because it would seem to me equally that if one prayed against an order subject to the affirmative Resolution procedure the same deduction might be drawn outside. Also, in neither case, as he admitted, can one amend an order. Even if one accepts his contention, which was repeated by other hon. Members, in this instance the outside world is unlikely to misunderstand the attitude of the Opposition on the main order because that attitude has been made very clear during many hours in the course of the Bill.
More important—I recognise the importance of the argument advanced by the hon. Member for Islington, East—there is less time under the negative Resolution procedure. Here it must be a matter of judgment. Perhaps it is rash of me to venture a guess, but I should be somewhat surprised if a great deal of time were required by hon. Members to discuss the first and major set of Orders under the Bill because the general principles have been already discussed to such an extent.
In considering this matter and whether these orders do rate the sort of importance as would qualify for affirmative Resolution, I think that the House might wish to bear in mind that the Orders made under Section 89 are not subject to either negative or affirmative Resolutions. I appreciate that these Orders come to the House after they have been agreed between the three parties to the education service. But they have not 343 been agreed by the House of Commons, which can, on many occasions, be jealous of its privileges and resent the idea that matters that have been agreed by outside parties are necessarily going to secure its consent.
It seems to me that if it is now their view that the Orders under this Bill should qualify for affirmative Resolution procedure, hon. Members opposite could be expected to show at least some disquiet about Orders under Section 89, which are not even subject to negative procedure.
§ Mr. Chataway
The hon. Gentleman does not put it in quite the words I would choose, but I agree that there is this kind of difference. All I argue is that the orders under Section 89 can be of great importance. There may have been little or no time for the House to discuss a settlement. In this instance, it seems almost certain that there will only be one major and important set of Orders under this Bill, and these have been discussed in broad principle very fully during its passage.
But, as I indicated in Committee when we discussed this question, the affirmative Resolution procedure in this instance is very likely to cause delay in the coming into operation of the Orders, as time has to be found in Parliament to consider and vote upon them. The hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) thinks it unlikely that we would have difficulty in finding time at the end of this Session. But he will appreciate that time is getting short, and I suggest that there is considerable risk that towards the end of this Session it might well be that time could not be found for these Orders necessarily to be discussed.
These will be, as I have stressed, the first and most important Orders and are to be retrospective to 1st April. If they are subject to the negative Resolution procedure, they will come into force immediately and, therefore, make it pos- 344 sible for the teachers to get their increases, including back pay, at the earliest date. But if the affirmative procedure is required it could well be several months before they could be getting that extra money. There is the real possibility of delay.
These are the considerations that have led us to propose that the negative Resolution procedure should be used in this instance. I hope that what I have said may persuade the House that in this instance this is the correct procedure to be followed. I therefore urge the House to reject the Amendment.
§ Mrs. White
The hon. Gentleman has been carefully trying to play out time until his right hon. Friend turned up from his other engagement. I emphasise our disappointment that the Minister of Education has not been here for nearly three hours. He has been keeping an engagement which was well known to those of us who took part in a similar meeting. We have known for about three months that the Minister of Education was to be engaged tonight at a meeting which, we agree, is important. It is a meeting of the Campaign for Education, 1963, which we support, but this is another example of the utter incompetence of the Government in arranging their business.
This engagement was well known in the Minister's Department. Apparently, the Patronage Secretary and the Leader of the House did not bother to ask the Minister of Education whether he was free to be at the service of the House of Commons in respect of a matter which affects not only his Department, but all the teachers in the country.
I therefore think that we are fully entitled to complain at the prolonged absence of the right hon. Gentleman when we are dealing with matters which include the question of Section 89 and this question of delegated legislation in which he was most particularly concerned and on which I think we have a right to have his views.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Lady is entitled to do so in relation to the Amendment now being discussed.
§ Mr. Speaker
Confined to this Amendment, I dare say that the hon. Lady can 345 complain that the Minister of Education is absent, but not on this question from the discussion of other than this Amendment.
§ Mrs. White
I appreciate the point of your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, but I am sure that the House will be able to extend my complaint to the other Amendments for which the right hon. Gentleman was also not present.
The Parliamentary Secretary has endeavoured to make the point that the Opposition were being unreasonable in insisting that we should have the affirmative Resolution procedure for a matter of this moment, because he said that under Section 89 of the 1944 Act there is no debate in the House. But that is a completely different matter. The Orders which the Minister issues under Section 89 are merely the registration of an agreement.
We as an Opposition have protested that the House of Commons is not, in fact, a negotiating body. We are not suitable for negotiations. We fully recognise that, and that is why we make no complaint that when the matter has been properly negotiated by the parties concerned the House of Commons should not discuss it. We do not think that the House of Commons is a suitable place to deal with the details of remuneration of a complicated and large profession such as the teaching profession.
We make no complaint about the absence of opportunity for debating decisions which are registered under Section 89, because that is all that the Minister does, but this is a completely different position. Far from there being any negotiation, this is an imposed solution by the Minister. This is one of our objections to the whole way in which the Minister has handled this matter. Because he is taking these powers unto himself, he puts at the same time the responsibility on Parliament, to which he is directly responsible, for scrutinising the scale of salary which he unilaterally is imposing on the teaching profession and on the local education authorities. It is not our fault, but that of the Minister, that the House is now to be brought into a consideration of detailed scales which the Minister is imposing. The position is, therefore, utterly different from the registration of an agreement freely reached by negotiation under Section 89.
346 It is because the Minister is acting in this way that we as an Opposition say that it is not only the broad principles that ought to be discussed, as we have been discussing under this Bill, but that we should have a right in these particular circumstances to consider the details. As my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King) remarked—
§ Mr. Chataway
The hon. Lady seems to be falling into the error into which a number of speakers have fallen in suggesting that there will be no opportunity to discuss this. There will be 1½ hours for each Order in this instance.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Mrs. White
The hon. Member has condemned himself out of his own mouth. We are to discuss detailed scales for hundreds of thousands of our teachers. In Committee and on Report we have discussed the principles, but only in the broadest sense. We have referred only occasionally, by way of illustration, to particular sums of money. We have been most scrupulous in not referring to matters which were not before the Committee and which were not strictly speaking within the cognisance of the House because they were not part of the Bill or any Schedule.
We have not discussed in detail the differentials on which the right hon. Gentleman the Minister lays so much stress. The whole essence of the dispute between the Minister and the Burnham Committee was not merely on a matter of principle but on the detailed way in which the right hon. Gentleman considered that he knew better than the Burnham Committee, and on the detailed arrangements that he was proposing to make for differentials in respect of different groups of teachers in different grades. All of this is what is to be contained in orders placed before the House.
I have quite strong feelings about the whole question of allowances for special responsibility. These are being dealt with under these scales. There is the differential for headmasters and headmistresses of schools, and the question of how these compare with those of heads of departments and other teachers, and so on. There are endless matters which, if we are to bring this question at all before the cognisance of Parliament, 347 should be discussed. How can we do justice to a matter of this magnitude and complexity in one and a half hours? To suggest that we can is adding insult to injury. It is insulting to the teaching profession and to the House of Commons. It is insulting to the teaching profession to suggest that these complicated scales can be discussed in one and a half hours, and insulting to the House of Commons to suggest that it can carry out this sort of business in that time.
The Parliamentary Secretary made great play with the suggestion that if we had agreed to the affirmative Resolution procedure there might be some danger that this Order could not be approved before the House rose for the Recess and that teachers might be deprived of money to which they are entitled. The hon. Gentleman has been reminded—if he was not already aware of it—that an affirmative Order is exempted business. In a matter of this kind, when the Opposition are anxious that the teachers should obtain the extra money to which they are entitled, the hon. Gentleman can be quite sure that although we want adequate time for discussion of these scales—and although we might complain about the time available—in the circumstances, when we were getting near the Recess, my hon. Friends would not mind sitting late on a matter of this sort—all night, if need be. We would be quite prepared to do that. What we are not prepared to accept without protest is the suggestion that in a matter of this kind we should be discharging our duty by agreeing that we can deal with the matter adequately in a maximum of one and a half hours.
There is another point to consider. All Members of the Opposition at one time or another have been concerned with trying to put down Prayers against one Order or another. We have a certain limited time in which to do this. There is always a queue of people seeking to put down different Prayers on different orders. An hon. Member must try to find a night which is suitable, and even if he does this something quite unexpected can happen—as so often occurs in this place—so that just when he thinks that he has everything laid on 348 something turns up to prevent his Prayer being debated.
Furthermore, under the negative Resolution procedure an order can become effective before the Recess. As an Opposition, what we are really concerned about is the question whether we can be expected to wait until after the Recess—if we ever come back to this House before another election takes place. Even assuming that we resume in the ordinary way after the Summer Recess, why should we have to delay a consideration of these scales, as the Parliamentary Secretary possibly envisages, until the autumn?—because at least 40 working days must elapse. He is saying that it does not much matter whether the Opposition examine these orders because the Government will see that the teachers get their money. But the Government do not want to have a particular examination of what they are doing. That is another reason why we resent the attitude of the Government. They are taking the House of Commons for granted.
We are grateful that the Minister has now returned to the Chamber and his Parliamentary duties. But the right hon. Gentleman has returned only just in time to hear himself being accused of taking the House of Commons for granted. He is assuming that, having intervened in a matter of this moment and imposed a detailed scale, the whole thing may be brushed aside and examined adequately in the space of an hour and a half.
I do not wish to detain the House, because there are other matters to be dealt with after we have disposed of this Bill. But I hope that we have made abundantly clear that we object very strongly indeed to the procedure adopted by the Government. We think it significant that they should not only dictate the solution but should consider that this very cursory examination of their detailed proposals should be satisfactory.
I hope that anyone who cares for the proper control of public business by the House of Commons, and recognises especially the unique character of the ministerial intervention in this matter, will support the Amendment.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill:—350
§ The House divided: Ayes 191, Noes 149.351
|Division No. 138.]||AYES||[9.37 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Grant-Ferris, R.||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Allason, James||Gresham Cooke, R,||Panned, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Partridge, E.|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Pearson, Frank (Ciltheroe)|
|Barlow, Sir John||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Percival, Ian|
|Barter, John||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Batsford, Brian||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Hastings, Stephen||Pitman, Sir James|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Hay, John||Pitt, Dame Edith|
|Bell, Ronald||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Pott, Percivall|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Hendry, Forbes||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Hill, J. E, B. (S. Norfolk)||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Bidgood, John C.||Hocking, Philip N.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Biffen, John||Holland, Philip||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Hollingworth, John||Pym, Francis|
|Bingham, R. M.||Hornby, R. P,||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P,||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Rees, Hugh|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Hughes-Young, Michael||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Brewis, John||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Roots, William|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||James, David||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Bryan, Paul||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Buck, Antony||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Sharples, Richard|
|Bullard, Denys||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Shaw, M.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Kerans, Cdr. J. S,||Shepherd, William|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Kershaw, Anthony||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Chataway, Christopher||Kirk, Peter||Speir, Rupert|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Leather, Sir Edwin||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Leavey, J. A.||Stodart, J. A.|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Lilley, F. J. P.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Cooke, Robert||Lindsay, Sir Martin||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Corfield, F. V.||Loveys, Walter H.||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Courtney, Cdr, Anthony||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Curran, Charles||MacArthur, Ian||Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Teeling, Sir William|
|Dance, James||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Temple, John M.|
|Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||McMaster, Stanley R.||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Doughty, Charles||Macpherson,Rt.Hn.Niall(Dumfries)||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|du Cann, Edward||Maddan, Martin||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Duncan, Sir James||Maginnis, John E.||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Maitland, Sir John||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Elliott,R.W.(Newc'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Marshall, Douglas||Turner, Colin|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Farr, John||Mawby, Ray||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Fell, Anthony||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J,||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Finlay, Graeme||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S, L. C.||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Fisher, Nigel||Mills, Stratton||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Miscampbell, Norman||Wall, Patrick|
|Forrest, George||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Foster, John||Morrison, John||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Gardner, Edward||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|George, Sir John (Pollok)||Neave, Airey||Wise, A. R.|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Worsley, Marcus|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Goodhew, Victor||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian||Mr. Peel and Mr. McLaren.|
|Gower, Raymond||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Abse, Leo||Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)|
|Ainsley, William||Brockway, A. Fenner||Davies, Ifor (Gower)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Carmichael, Neil||Deer, George|
|Bence, Cyril||Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Dempsey, James|
|Blackburn, F.||Collick, Percy||Diamond, John|
|Boardman, H.||Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Duffy, A. E. P.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Cronin, John||Ede, Rt. Hon. C.|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leica,S.W.)||Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)|
|Boyden, James||Dalyell, Tam||Edwards, Walter (Stepney)|
|Evans, Albert||King, Dr. Horace||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Ledger, Ron||Ross, William|
|Finch, Harold||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Short, Edward|
|Fitch, Alan||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Fletcher, Eric||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Forman, J. C,||Loughlin, Charles||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Lubbock, Eric||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|George, LadyMeganLloyd(Crmrthn)||McBride, N.||Small, William|
|Ginsburg, David||MacColl, James||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Gourlay, Harry||McInnes, James||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Grey, Charles||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. Jamas (Llanelly)||McLeavy, Frank||Steele, Thomas|
|Hate, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Mallaileu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Manuel, Archie||Stonehouse, John|
|Hannan, William||Mapp, Charles||Stones, William|
|Harper, Joseph||Millan, Bruce||Swain, Thomas|
|Hayman, F. H.||Milne, Edward||Symonds, J. B.|
|Healey, Denis||Mitchison, G. R.||Taverne, D.|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Moody, A, S.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Morris, John||Thomson, G. M. (Dunee, E.)|
|Hilton, A. V.||Neal, Harold||Thornton, Ernest|
|Holman, Percy||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Wade, Donald|
|Hooson, H. E.||Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||O'Malley, B. K.||Warbey, William|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Oswald, Thomas||Watkins, Tudor|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Padley, W. E.||Weitzman, David|
|Hunter, A. E.||Paget, R. T.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Hynd, H, (Accrington)||Parker, John||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Paton, John||Whitlock, William|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Peart, Frederick||Willey, Frederick|
|Janner, Sir Barnett||Pentland, Norman||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Prentice, R. E.||Willis E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Jeger, George||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Probert, Arthur||Woof, Robert|
|Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Redhead, E. C.||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Rhodes, H.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Kelley, Richard||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Kenyon, Clifford||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Mr. Charles A. Howell and Mr. Lawson.|
|Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
§ 9.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Chataway
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
In moving this Motion I do not wish to detain the House for more than a few minutes. The brisk and businesslike proceedings in Committee upstairs and the somewhat more prolonged consideration on the Floor of the House have resulted in one or two important Amendments to the Bill which have served to clarify the Bill's implications, and, I hope, its very limited purpose.
The Amendment to which I particularly draw the attention of the House concerns a point to which my right hon. Friend referred on Second Reading. He pointed out then that the Bill as drafted, the power to make Orders, and the Orders then in force, would lapse on 31st March, 1965. This meant that if that date were to be reached without a new salary settlement having been worked out, there would be no provision to govern teachers' salaries. The Bill was drafted in this way because my right hon. Friend wished it to be seen that the power that he was seeking was as limited and as temporary as possible. 352 My right hon. Friend made it clear that to avoid the risk of any gap in the orderly regulation of teachers' salaries he would, if the House so wished, be willing to table the necessary Amendment. He did so in response to Amendments during the Committee stage tabled both by Members of the Opposition and by my hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee).
The present position is, therefore, that although the power to make new orders will expire on 31st March, 1965, the orders then existing to govern teachers' salaries will continue in force unless and until they are revoked. One hopes, of course, that new arrangements for the negotiation of teachers' salaries will have been agreed before that. The amended subsection (6) represents a precautionary measure, and in all the circumstances it seems a reasonable precaution.
This is a limited Bill. It is introduced solely to resolve a deadlock. The Minister of Education has a duty under Section 89 of the 1944 Act which cannot responsibly be evaded. He is required to approve or reject the recommendations of the Burnham Committee. He has a decision 353 to make as Minister of Education for England and Wales on the basis of the evidence and the advice which he as Minister and he alone is in a position to receive. It is possible for a Minister of Education to take the easy way out and to accept a set of Burnham proposals that he is convinced are wrong. I do not believe that at a time when education is more than ever before a matter of national concern the service could afford a Minister who chose to take an easy option in that way.
My right hon. Friend, for the reasons first advanced in his letter to the Committee, did not feel able to accept the Burnham proposals. We have argued that the letter was conciliatory and did not seek to dictate an alternative settlement. The Burnham Committee was not prepared to move to meet my right hon. Friend, and in those circumstances if he were to face up to his responsibilities the only way in which the teachers could receive an increase was by means of this Bill. The deadlock did not arise over the size of the award, but over the distribution of the sums available.
The Bill is not an attempt generally to revise the pay structure of the teaching profession. That is a matter for negotiation. Nor does it seek to construct a new negotiating machinery. That, equally, is for discussion between the partners to the education service. It simply enables teachers to receive increases as from 1st April on a set of salary scales which take account of the principle to which my right hon. Friend has rightly attached such importance.
§ Mr. Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)
Yesterday, the Prime Minister asked for a vote of confidence, the Government's majority dropped by 27, and we were told that the whole future of the Government was imperilled. Tonight, the Minister of Education is asking for a vote of confidence and the figures show that 25 more Tory Members have abstained than yesterday—and the majority is down to 42. The majority recorded was 42. Is it the intention, in the presence of the Leader of the House, to force the Bill through on a diminished majority of that kind?
§ Mr. Chataway
I do not know who told the hon. Member that a reduction of 25 in the size of the majority creates 354 a threatening situation. It was not me. He will notice that as the evening has worn on our majorities have been increasing, and we hope that that will continue.
This is a limited Measure, but one which is necessary if teachers are to receive the increases to which all of us agreed they are entitled. It is on these grounds that I have moved the Third Reading.
§ 9.53 p.m.
§ Mrs. White
I am sorry that the House has had to spend time on this Bill. In the view of most of us, it is an unnecessary and obnoxious Measure. The Parliamentary Secretary referred to a deadlock which had to be resolved, but the deadlock was created by the Minister, and the legislation on which we have had to spend so many hours is a direct result of the simple proposition that the Minister thinks that he knows best.
It is not even a matter of saving money. When Lord Eccles intervened in the question of teachers' salaries, at least he had the excuse that he was under pressure from the Treasury, that in that lamentable period cuts were being made all round, even in most desirable expenditure, and that he had given way. But at least he was saving millions of pounds. The present Minister of Education has no such excuse. He is not saving a penny. All that he has done is to reorganise the arrangements which had been made by the Burnham Committee simply because he felt that he knew better than either the local education authorities or the organisations of the teachers which together, after many weeks of careful consideration and negotiation, had reached an agreement which was supported by all of them. The Minister found it necessary to intervene in a way which does not command the acquiescence of this side of the House.
As the Parliamentary Secretary reminded us, there have been only two changes of any significance in the Bill. One was a clarification of drafting—and it is the Minister's departmental responsibility to make sure that the Bill does what he intends it to do. The other was the very small but welcome—as far as it goes—concession of a £10 per annum increase in allowances for teachers of handicapped children. It is welcome as far as it goes, but it amounts to only about 5s. a week.
§ Mrs. White
I thank my hon. Friend. It is 4s. a week for those doing probably the most onerous job of all in the teaching profession.
All the arguments that we have advanced in the course of our deliberations on the Bill have fallen on rather stony ground. I will not delay the House, because I know that there is other business which has still to be discussed and other matters which are of great importance in the state of employment of the country. I will simply put firmly on record that we consider that this Bill is undesirable, that it is unnecessary, and that we intend to oppose it to the end.
§ 9.56 p.m.
§ Dr. King
This debate is probably the last one which will occur under the Permanent Secretary ship of a great lady who has rendered great service to education. I as a back bencher want to pay humble tribute to the Permanent Secretary who is retiring in five weeks' time and wish her happiness in her retirement.
Third Reading debates are usually pleasant affairs. I am sorry that this one cannot be. This is a bad Bill. It is an unnecessary Bill. It is a Bill of a stubborn and doctrinaire Minister who has defended all his bad details stubbornly throughout the Committee and Report stages. We are told by the Parliamentary Secretary that it is to resolve a deadlock. The deadlock need never have happened. It was created by the Minister, and the Bill is the result of his own failure to accept the wage negotiating machinery that previous Ministers had accepted for forty years. Its declared object is to improve the Burnham recommendations in order—I quote the Minister—thatmore should be done for those with longer service, higher qualifications, or greater responsibility.For longer service the Minister has chosen one group, those between the ages of 27 and 36. Teachers aged 37 and over get less increases from the Minister than those in the 27 to 36 group compared with the Burnham proposals. No ordinary teacher at the maximum will get more from the Minister than he was to get under the Burnham proposals. Some at the maximum, those with an extra year's training, will get less from 356 the Minister than they would have done from Burnham. The additions for degrees are unaltered as compared with Burnham. So much, then, for the rewarding of longer service and so much for the rewarding of extra qualifications.
Turning to special responsibility, many of those who receive from the Minister with one hand a little extra for special responsibility lose the £30 a year safeguard which the Burnham Committee introduced, so that those who get less than an extra £30 from the Minister for their special responsibility as compared with Burnham will be worse off if they suffer under the Minister's abolition of the protective £30.
It is no wonder that the Association of Assistant Masters, representing the grammar schools, charges the Minister about this Bill with "breach of faith" and "failure to pass the test of his own declared intentions".
The National Union of Teachers has from the start bitterly attacked the Minister and bitterly protested in the name of professional unity and professional status against a Bill which gives the Minister power to ignore Section 89 of the 1944 Act; indeed, so to ignore it that one of his hon. Friends even proposed that we wipe it off the Statute Book this evening; power to ignore wage settlements arrived at by negotiation; power to impose wage settlements on his own; power to rob young teachers in order to benefit an already better paid group, selected on a basis which makes sense to the Minister and to the pundits of his Ministry, but which appear nonsense to the expert negotiators on both sides of the Burnham Committee.
I hope that when we get into power—and it is not now a question of "whether" but "when"—we shall take this Bill, tear it up and get back to the principles—
§ It being Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.
§ Proceedings on Government Business exempted, at this day's Sitting, from the provisions of Standing Order No. 1 (Sittings of the House).—[Sir E. Boyle.]
§ Question again proposed, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
§ Dr. King
I was saying that I hope that when we return to power we shall 357 get back to the principles of freely negotiated wages between employer and employee. In the meantime, I urge the Minister to run away from the attitude he has adopted throughout the Bill and get down to setting up a new salary negotiating body. I hope that he will try to end some of the ill-will he has gratuitously created. The harm he has done to teachers is, I believe, less important than the harm he has done to teaching by the Bill.
It is not a good thing for our children that so much bad blood should exist, as it now does, between the Minister and the teaching profession. It is not a good thing for children that staff rooms should ring not with the talk of education and children, school problems, new methods of teaching, books and so on, but that there should exist a feeling of frustration and humiliation and bitter talk about the Bill. The Minister rightly wants the co-operation of the teaching profession in discussing curricula. He wants conferences on teaching methods and so on, and we all want to examine the fundamental purposes of education. But he has created barriers by the Bill between himself and the very people who, in the long run, must find all the answers to the searching questions which are confronting British society and education today.
I do not understand why the Minister has taken this action, although behind it, of course, is the Tory desire to impose a wage policy on teachers, civil servants, local government workers and all whom they control—while leaving luxury to run riot in land and property rackets and a society which offers Christine Keeler more for a week than an infant teacher will earn in a year.
§ Dr. King
Behind the Bill is the growing power of Whitehall; a whittling away of local authority power at a time when we should be getting together, central and local government, to see how we can find new instruments to meet the changing pattern of British life, at the same time preserving local initiative and local participation in democratic government. The best comments on the Bill are to be found in a Motion of 27th January, 1937, when one of my hon. Friends, then a Liberal, moved: 358That the power of the Executive has increased, is increasing and ought to be diminished.This Parliamentary exercise of opposition to a Ministerial diktat has been, to Ministerial circles, just so much time wasted—whereas we believe it to have been a battle worth righting, even though we were bound to lose it because of the Government's majority. I want to protest against the growing power of the central authority against the local authority and of the Executive against Parliament generally, as is shown by the Bill.
This comment is to be found in a speech—a piece of doggerel dug up by Lord Morrison when he led this House in such a distinguished way—made in 1943:The Ministerial Octopus—Grows new limbs every day;Three more are quickly sprouted—For each one chopped away.
It is with both sorrow and anger that I oppose this Bill; in sorrow, because it has been introduced by a Minister who has so much to give to education that it is lamentable to see him throwing away such gifts in the promotion of such a shabby piece of dictatorship.
§ Mr. Boyden
This is not a Bill about differentials or a career structure in the teaching profession, but about power. The Bill enables the Minister to dictate salary scales to the teachers and to their employers, the local education authorities. This power is taken at a time when the maximum co-operation is required from the local education committees and the teachers. Only with that co-operation can the maximum number of training college students be brought forward, and only with that co-operation can the attack on the reduction in the size of classes go forward.
If this Bill were shown to any of my constitutents in a working men's club they would not understand what it was all about. Indeed, the experts would agree with that conclusion, because one 359 sentence in the pamphlet, The Burnham Story, reads:Unfortunately, they"—the Government—have now wrecked the working machine without having anything to put in its place, and without having done the fundamental thinking necessary to find an improvement.This Bill, in their sense, is exactly in the same sense as those in a working men's club would find it.
The Bill makes nonsense in the educational context. It is disastrous, and one of the biggest blows to education that has been struck. We, on our side, think it all the more pity that the right hon. Gentleman has seized power and in that way has become the enemy of educational advance. We have opposed this Bill now for about seven days. We have wrung one concession from the Minister, which is that there should be £10 extra per year for teachers of handicapped children. That is a fitting epitaph on this Bill—a concession of £10 a year from the Government. I am sure that the Minister will later regret this Bill.
§ 10.8 p.m.
§ Sir E. Boyle
I know that there is other business to follow this, so I will reply to the debate as briefly as possible. Particularly in view of what the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) said, I should like, first, to apologise for being absent from the House for three hours. I am not, I think, particularly sensitive in debates to criticisms of a personal kind, but I must say that I was sorry to hear her say that I took the House of Commons for granted. Whatever my faults may be. I hope that lack of respect for the House is not normally one of them.
As the hon. Lady knows, the sole reason for my absence was that I was asked to take part with my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary at a meeting of the Campaign for Education, 1963. Had I left 20 minutes sooner, and so missed part of the question time, I think that I would have received harsher criticism at Hamilton House than in this Chamber—
§ Mrs. White
The right hon. Gentleman will be able to read in HANSARD the whole of the comments on his absence. 360 We were not blaming him so much personally as the whole arrangement of Government business, because he was keeping an engagement which all of us concerned with these matters knew two or three months ago was to take place. Our complaint was that the Government were so incompetent with their business that they chose this day, when the right hon. Gentleman should have been here, when, had there been any liaison at all, it should have been clear that he could not be in two places at once.
§ Sir E. Boyle
I will certainly read what the hon. Lady said when I come to HANSARD tomorrow.
In reply to her speech this evening, I would say that the need for the Bill has arisen directly out of the principles which I set out in my letter to the Chairman of the Burnham Committee on 20th February. I confess that on the following day in the House I had the impression that those principles commanded a good deal of support—and not only on the Government benches—and I was a little surprised to hear the hon. Lady say that she would not have minded so much had the object of my intervention been to save money but that I was intervening purely on educational grounds.
I must point out that Section 89 of the 1944 Act shows that Parliament clearly intended the Minister to play a part in the negotiating machinery, and this implies the propriety of using it.
I would remind the House of a fair point made in the Guardian some weeks ago when it said that a number of those who are keen that the Minister should not be a dictator are in great danger of requiring him to be a nonenity. I would emphasise that my desire is to be neither the one nor the other. This ad hoc legislation tonight is necessary because, as my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary has said, there was a deadlock which is an inherent possibility in the present system, but there were no arrangements for resolving it. I could have left the deadlock unresolved or set about straight away revising the machinery in the hope that new machinery would have been able to renegotiate a salary settlement but, as I explained on Second Reading, in neither 361 case could teachers have been guaranteed a pay increase from April, 1963.
My sole purpose in asking the House to pass this ad hoc legislation is to ensure that teachers are paid an additional sum which over the next two years will be £50 million in all. Hon. Members have said that only one miserable concession has been wrung out of the Government, but on two quite important points referred to me, one by the Burn-ham Technical Committee and the other by the Farm Institutes Committee, as my hon. Friend explained tonight, I have decided that those concessions should be granted.
This legislation in no way prejudices the outcome of discussions about future negotiating machinery and I have arranged to see the representatives of all the associations concerned both on the teachers' side and the employers' side for the first round of talks before the House rises for the Summer Recess. Therefore, I am not ignoring the next stage. Meanwhile, this ad hoc legislation is not intended to be dictation. I believe it to be the only right and possible solution to the present deadlock.
I regret the necessity for the Bill but I thank all hon. Members on both sides of the House who have taken part in the debate, the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Dr. King), the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short), and many others besides them on the Front Bench opposite. I was grateful to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) for his tribute to Dame Mary Smieton. The sole reason for the Bill, I repeat, is that I think it is the only solution to the deadlock in which we find ourselves at present.
§ 10.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Willey
In view of the fact that I commented on the Minister's absence I must say at once that I accept the right hon. Gentleman's apology. I realise, as I pointed out, that he was in a difficult dilemma. As my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) has said, the reflection was on the Leader of the House and the Chief Patronage Secretary, bur, having heard lately of what goes on behind closed doors in Government quarters, we are not surprised. I am sure that this was not a situation which the right hon. Gentleman would 362 willingly have sought. I give him credit that he has left us in no doubt about his personal attitude towards us and that he has accepted full responsibility for the action he is taking.
The action which the right hon. Gentleman is taking is making him another of the lonely men. We look at the Government Front Bench and we recognise its occupants as lonely men, shunned, scorned and scoffed at. The right hon. Gentleman associates with his colleagues. It is clear that in education he now is a very lonely man. I again recognise his genuine interest in education. He must be a particularly lonely man in that he has cut himself off from other people who work diligently in the interest of education.
It has also been clear in our discussions that the right hon. Gentleman has not done this through any flair for originality. This really is a blatant case of the men in Whitehall knowing best. It is a great pity that the right hon. Gentleman, with his talents, has become no more than a spokesman for men in the Executive who have sought to extend their scope of power and influence further than it should go.
§ Sir E. Boyle
I apologise for interrupting, because I know that the House wants to get on with the business, but I must correct the hon. Gentleman's statement. This is a Government Bill. I took this decision as the responsible Minister with the support of my colleagues in the Government, and it simply is neither proper nor true to suggest that this Bill has been foisted on me by the Executive or my advisers. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will withdraw his statement.
§ Mr. Willey
I accept what the right hon. Gentleman says. He is more foolish than I gave him credit for, and more stubborn and obstinate than I believed him to be. This makes him more dangerous to education.
Let the right hon. Gentleman reflect on what he has done. He has caused the gravest offence to and the deepest distrust among those public servants who have acted honourably, conscientiously and well on the Burnham Committee over the past years. He has caused the deepest distrust to be felt about the intentions of the Government and their attitude 363 towards the whole of our wage and salary negotiating machinery. He has caused the teaching profession as a whole to distrust his regard for it. It believes that the right hon. Gentleman has no proper appreciation of its urgent and eager desire legitimately and properly to establish its professional status. He has seriously damaged the partnership upon which British education depends.
As I have emphasised time after time, the responsibility for education does not lie solely in the Minister's Department. It depends on those engaged in the teaching profession and in local government and also on those in his Department. I regret the damage that he has done. That damage is serious, but it goes no further than that, because I am sure that the
§ right hon. Gentleman will not remain in office much longer. The Government are falling and disintegrating. It is a pity, recognising the right hon. Gentleman's real interest in education, that he has allowed himself to be put in a position where he appears to be retarding the advance being made by those interested in education and those conscious of the difficulties facing education today and is making their job so much more difficult.
§ For this reason we must continue our root and branch opposition to this Bill by opposing the Third Reading.
§ Question put. That the Bill be now read the Third time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 178. Noes 139.365
|Division No. 139.]||AYES||[10.17 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Goodhew, Victor||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Allason, James||Cower, Raymond||Morrison, John|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Grant-Ferris, R.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Gresham Cooke, R.||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Neave, Airey|
|Barter, John||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie|
|Batsford, Brian||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Biffen, John||Hay, John||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Partridge, E,|
|Bishop, F. P.||Hendry Forbes||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hiley, Joseph||Peel, John|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Percival, Ian|
|Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Hocking, Philip N.||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Brewis, John||Holland, Philip||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Hollingworth, John||Pitman, Sir James|
|Bryan, Paul||Hornby, R. P.||Pitt, Dame Edith|
|Buck, Antony||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dam P.||Pott, Percivall|
|Bullard, Denye||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Hughes-Young, Michael||Prior, J. M. L,|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Chataway, Christopher||James, David||Pym, Francis|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Rees, Hugh|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Cooke, Robert||Kershaw, Anthony||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kirk, Peter||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Leavey, J. A.||Roots, William|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Lilley, F. J. P.||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Critchley, Juilan||Lindsay, Sir Martin||Russell, Ronald|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Loveys, Walter H.||St. Clair, M.|
|Dance, James||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Sharples, Richard|
|Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Shaw, M.|
|Doughty, Charles||MacArthur, Ian||Shepherd, William|
|du Cann, Edward||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Elliott,R.W.(Newc'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Speir, Rupert|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||McMaster, Stanley R.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Stodart, J. A.|
|Farr, John||Macpherson,Rt.Hn.Niall(Dumfries)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Finlay, Graeme||Maddan, Martin||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maginnis, John E.||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Foster, John||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Gardner, Edward||Mawby, Ray||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|George, Sir John (Pollok)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Teeling, Sir William|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Mills, Stratton||Temple, John M.|
|Glyn, Or. Alan (Clapham)||Miscampbell, Norman||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Thompson Sir Richard(Croydon, S.)||Vane W. M. F.||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)||Vickers, Miss Joan||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Turner, Colin||Walker, Peter||Wise, A. R.|
|Turton, Rt, Hon. R. H.||Wall, Patrick||Worsley, Marcus|
|Tweedsmuir, Lady||Ward, Dame Irene||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|van Straubenzee, W. R.||Wells, John (Maidstone)||Mr. McLaren and Mr. Ian Fraser.|
|Abse, Leo||Hilton, A. V.||Prentice, R. E.|
|Ainsley, William||Holman, Percy||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Hooson, H. E,||Probert, Arthur|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Houghton, Douglas||Redhead, E. C.|
|Beaney, Alan||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Rhodes, H.|
|Bence, Cyril||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Blackburn, F.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Blyton, William||Hunter, A. E.||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Boardman, H.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S.W.)||Iremonger, T. L.||Ross, William|
|Boyden, James||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Short, Edward|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Janner, Sir Barnett||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Brawn, Thomas (Ince)||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Small, William|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Cilffe, Michael||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Cronin, John||Kelley, Richard||Steele, Thomas|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||King, Dr. Horace||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Lawson, George||Stonehouse, John|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Stones, William|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Symonds, J. B.|
|Dempsey, James||Loughlin, Charles||Taverne, D.|
|Diamond, John||Lubbock, Eric||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||McBride, N.||Thompson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||MacColl, James||Thornton, Ernest|
|Edelman, Maurice||McInnes, James||Wade, Donald|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Evans, Albert||Manuel, Archie||Watkins, Tudor|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mapp, Charles||Weitzman, David|
|Finch, Harold||Mendelson, J. J.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Fitch, Alan||Millan, Bruce||White, Mrs. Elrene|
|Forman, J. C.||Milne, Edward||Whitlock, William|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mitchison, G. R.||Wigg, George|
|George, Lady MeganLloyd(Crmrthn)||Morris, John||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Ginsburg, David||Neal, Harold||Willey, Frederick|
|Gourlay, Harry||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Grey, Charles||Noel-Baker, Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.)||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||O'Malley, B. K.||Woof, Robert|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Oswald, Thomas||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Padley, W. E.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Hannan, William||Paget, R. T.|
|Harper, Joseph||Parker, John||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hayman, F. H.||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Mr. Charles A. Howell and|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Peart, Frederick||Mr. Ifor Davies|
|Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Pentland, Norman|
§ Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.