§ 3.55 p.m.
§ Mr. George Brown (Belper)
I beg to move,That this House, registering its disapproval of any debasing of the public services and institutions by allowing them to be used for the dissemination of political propaganda and other highly contentious matter, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to ensure that the Post Office, in any new distribution service, shall follow the standards already observed in these matters by British Railways, the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Independent Television Authority.This matter has had a variety of treatment in the House and outside, but it seems to some of us to be a very important issue that we ought to treat with some care. I think that the difference between the view of some of us about this turns on one issue: whether the undertaking by the Post Office of the business of door-to-door distribution of open circulars is merely an extension of the postal service or something of a totally different order.
Those who take the view that the Post Office is engaging in a different branch of its ordinary business will, presumably, feel that there is not a lot to argue about. I do not see it in that way. It seems to me that the difference between dealing with Her Majesty's mail in the ordinary 990 way—receiving packets, letters, postcards—is a totally different undertaking, different in degree and different in time, from distributing widespread door-to-door open circulars of the kind that we know are being offered to the Post Office.
Nor do I feel that what might be done under this service is in any way to be compared, as the Liberal Party seems to compare it in its Amendment, with the ordinary political material that might be distributed by the Post Office in the ordinary way—the sort of free distribution that all parties get at General Election time or the sending of anything in its appropriate envelope with the full postage paid on it.
I do not think that there is any comparison between the two. The only comparison is that both involve the use of a letter box. Beyond that it does not seem to me that there is any comparison.
It is because the distribution of Her Majesty's mail is a special and responsible operation, involving questions of security and responsibility, that the postman is regarded as a civil servant of responsibility security-wise, and he must be worthwhile. He has a status as a civil servant and his political activities have always been carefully regulated. In addition, like firemen and policemen, his terms of employment are different from those which are normally accepted by or imposed on ordinary workers in the State. None of these issues would apply to the door-to-door distributors of an open circular, because they do not need that kind of dignity, responsibility, skill, security or limitation on the freedom of a person. It is from that basis that we start to examine what is involved in the Postmaster-General's proposal, but something else arises from it.
We do not think that it follows that something that can go through the ordinary process of the distribution of Her Majesty's mail can necessarily be distributed by the Post Office by means of this door-to-door service that it now seeks to render. Postal matter delivered by the ordinary means may infringe some regulations, but that does not show itself openly to those handling it or to those who see them handling it. It is, for the most part, enveloped stuff. That means that the offensiveness of material that may or may not get past the Postmaster-General's regulations when 991 posted in the ordinary way is neither so apparent, because of that, nor so offensive, as it would be if distributed openly and unaddressed from door to door. Things that it would be perfectly proper to send through the mail become improper when distributed indiscriminately in this way.
People have said during the debate outside that has gone on that this is not so. The Postmaster-General himself once said that one cannot discriminate between users of the mail, but the right hon. Gentleman himself has knocked that argument on the head. He proposes—as he has to, as a responsible and sensible man—to discriminate in the service as he does not discriminate in regard to the ordinary mail—
§ Mr. Brown
The Postmaster-General shakes his head, but we have on record what he said last week.
I am rather shocked if he does not intend to discriminate. When the scheme was launched it was made clear that postal packets that are obscene, indecent, or grossly offensive, or which advocate racial discrimination, are to be prohibited. The Postmaster-General said that he was arranging for that prohibition by issuing instructions to head postmasters, making it… perfectly clear that we shall not accept for this service items which will give offence to the public at large"—let the House note the words—and we cite specifically circulars advocating racial discrimination."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th January, 1964; Vol. 688, c. 368.]The leaflet, Household Delivery Service, that the Post Office has issued to would be users of this service does not use those words at all.
We read in page 8:The Post Office can accept for delivery only those items which are eligible for transmission by inland post.That appears to include all items except those detailed in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of Section 11(1) of the Post Office Act, 1953. The House will probably not wish me to read through all of those items, but nowhere in that Section is racial discrimination mentioned.
992 In fact, I understand that the Postmaster-General has instructed local postmasters to exercise their judgment about what is to be regarded as too offensive to be distributed by this service in a sense that will enable them to exclude anything inciting to racial hatred. Those instructions do not exist in regard to ordinary inland mail. They are not contained in the Post Office Act, under which the Postmaster-General is operating. They are not issued in Supplement No. 5, issued in January of this year, to the Post Office Guide.
The Postmaster-General has, therefore, not accepted that anything that can go through the inland mail can necessarily go through this service. He has accepted that one has to be very much more careful with this open distribution service, and must lay down much tighter limits to what may be carried. That makes nonsense of the Amendment that the right hon. Gentleman is presumably shortly to move, which refers to respecting… the same principle of freedom of communications in the household delivery service …The right hon. Gentleman proposes nothing of the sort. I welcome the fact that he is issuing much tougher instructions, and is especially drawing to the attention of postmasters his wish that they should regard circulars advocating racial discrimination as being excluded. It may be that he has instructed them to exclude something else; I believe that he intends to exclude another form of literature which he does not think should be issued. If that is so, I applaud him, but, in so doing, he is accepting that there is a difference between this service and the ordinary inland mail.
It therefore seems to us that the discussion is not, as it has been put in some newspapers, whether in this distribution service our mails shall be free from censorship. It is clearly being censored. The issue is: what shall be censored, and by whom? The right hon. Gentleman proposes to make the local postmasters responsible for a very wide measure of censorship. He is giving them considerable discretion as to what they shall shut out and, presumably, anything that they regard as being offensive to the public at large will be shut out.
993 The only narrow argument the right hon. Gentleman has had with us is whether or not leaflets advocating political policies should be regarded as offensive to the public at large. It appears that he is giving the postmasters enough discretion to leave out many other things, but he is digging in his heels against ruling that political leaflets can be regarded as offensive.
Lots of things are offensive to the public at large—it is not only racial hatred that needs to be picked out for that dubious honour. I have just been reminded that in a large part of the county of the Quorn, anti-bloodsport leaflets might be found offensive. In an area in which Roman Catholics live in numbers, many of them would find family planning leaflets generally offensive. A whole range of things could be regarded as generally offensive.
If postmasters are to have this wide discretion, we must have it clearly from the Postmaster-General that they have it, and can use it, as widely as that. But then I must point out that leaflets that attack the principle of public service and distributed by public servants are highly offensive to many of those public servants, and to a large number of other people. There is no reason for saying that no one can be offended by a political leaflet attacking things in which he believes, and many people may be offended by literature attacking things in which they believe.
Since the Postmaster-General has accepted that there must be discrimination and censorship, it would be far better to write into the regulations that this House sees—not merely into the private regulations that the right hon. Gentleman issues to his postmasters—what is to be regarded as censorable and inadmissible, and we want political propaganda to be included. Our Motion is, therefore, directed to arranging that the Government shall set out in regulations approved by the House what the limits are on the new service; and shall be instructed to include a ban on the distribution through this service of political literature.
I will come in a moment to the merits of our case in that connection, but, first, I want to look at the background, since, in a way, it may be part of the 994 Postmaster-General's answer to our case that doing what we propose will so limit the service that it will not achieve what he wants, which is to find new money and a new field of operations for the Post Office. Part of the background to our case is that to do what the Postmaster-General wants would inevitably debase the standards that have so far operated in Her Majesty's Post Office.
The major Post Office case for this to be done at all is, "We require the additional money. Here is a service that private agencies presently perform, and which earns money for them. By that token, it could earn money for the Post Office, and we should be willing to go in and get that money." How far is this true? The question was examined by the Economist a few weeks ago. No doubt, hon. Members will have seen what was said. In the year 1962–63, the Post Office, had a profit of about £12 million on its telecommunications side, a deficit on minor services such as registered letters, printed papers, and samples of £1½ million, and a profit on letters alone of £9 million.
I understand that the estimated deficit overall for this year is about £4 million. But the estimated earnings from this new service are about £300,000. As the Economist says in its comment, the service has obviously been very cautiously costed to show a slight margin, but to show a slight margin just at the time when such experience as we can gain from what has happened in other countries shows that this is not at all a very profitable service. In fact, most other countries which have operated it have found it an increasingly unprofitable service.
One thing we do not know is how much literature which now goes through the post in the ordinary way will be attracted to the new, cheaper form of service. Obviously, the Postmaster-General cannot make a greater profit out of performing at a lower rate a service which he is already performing at a higher rate. It was interesting to hear him say last week that there cannot be anything against doing at a lower rate something which one is already doing. It all depends. There is a lot to be said against doing it at a lower 995 rate, (a) if the market will stand the existing rate, and (b) if one will not make very much out of doing it anyway.
On his own figures regarding printed papers and samples, it looks very much as though this would be exactly the kind of material likely to be attracted to the cheaper service, and he is losing money on it now. On the financial side, therefore, even if the right hon. Gentleman were right, the maximum which he could claim would be that he could turn a £4 million loss into a £3,700,000 loss. If it turned out that he had not made enough allowance for the traffic moving from one service to the other, he might not even make that marginal difference to his total loss, although, in aiming to make this highly speculative and marginal difference, he would be undertaking a whole range of risks, to which I shall refer in a few minutes.
The right hon. Gentleman's statement last week contained a collection of half-truths. There was the half-truth of his reference to our late colleague Mr. Will Williams, which gave such a distorted impression of what Mr. Williams actually said as to amount almost to a non-truth. One of the other half-truths was his reference to other countries. He left the House with the impression that there were several other countries which had experimented with and were running the service. He did not tell us that there was a tremendous outcry in America about the effect of "junk" mail—to use the American name—on the ordinary services and a good deal of satisfaction about what was happening, that the Swiss, who had operated this service, had gone back on their decision and given it up, and that the Germans, who also had the service, had found it so unprofitable that they had given it up. All that would have been relevant to what the right hon. Gentleman said about what other countries were doing.
§ Mr. Bevins
I must tell the hon. Gentleman that at no time in its history has the United States operated this system and that in Switzerland the system is still operated in most parts of the country.
§ Mr. Brown
My information about Switzerland is that it is being given up. We can check it during the course of 996 the afternoon. What I said about Germany is certainly true. While it is true that not exactly this system is operated in America, there is a system of delivering what is known as "junk" mail at very low rates, and there is a tremendous campaign to get rid of it because of the depressing effect it has on the ordinary services rendered by the postal department.
This brings me to my next point. The House ought to know more than it knows already about what the effect of operating the service, for its highly disputable marginal return, will be upon the ordinary service of the Post Office. We have had no evidence yet from the Postmaster-General of the examination which he says has been made. Already, public opinion of the services rendered by his Department is not as high as it used to be, and there is a great deal of anxiety in the country lest, by taking on this extra work, even though he proposes to have it done in the afternoons, he will, because of its very size and extent, interfere with the delivery of ordinary mail the next morning or at other times. Undoubtedly, we must know a great deal more about it before we can think of accepting what the right hon. Gentleman has proposed.
My own view as a layman, for what it is worth, is that we cannot expect the Post Office to undertake this new service, if it grows to any size at all, without forcing a clash with the normal services which the Department ought to render. It is bound to reduce to some extent revenue from the ordinary postal services. It is certain to lead to greater friction within the Post Office between the Postmaster-General and the postal staffs.
It is important briefly to examine this last point. It is not sufficient to say that postmen cannot expect to censor what they deliver and then imagine that that finishes any examination of the postman's case. I accept that postmen cannot expect to be the arbiters of the things which they are asked to deliver. I accept that and I urge it upon the postmen. But, leaving aside the point I made just now about the Postmaster-General himself putting the duty of censorship on some postmen, the local head postmasters or their deputies, there is a much deeper issue.
997 Postmen, as I said earlier, are civil servants. One of the consequences of that status is they accept obligations which other workers do not. One of these obligations is a liability to work overtime when the exigencies of the service require them to do so. Can one imagine what will happen if men are ordered to work overtime not to distribute the ordinary mail, not to do their normal work for the service, but to go out delivering from door to door leaflets to which they object? What they might be expected to do, uncomplaining, in the ordinary hours of duty is one thing. It seems to me that one cannot expect to order men to do this sort of thing in overtime without, at the same time, expecting that there may be friction in consequence.
There is bound to be difficulty. Inevitably, there will be awkward cases. Almost certainly, there will be men who will say, "I am not going to be ordered to do this. I do not believe that my obligation to accept compulsory overtime applies to this." Then, no doubt, postmasters will try to get out of the difficulty by giving the new service precedence over the ordinary mail delivery service, keeping the overtime for something which it is easier, they think, to instruct men to do during overtime. There will be a combination of industrial friction in the Post Office and interference with the normal services people expect from the Department.
I now have the result of inquiries which we have made into the situation in Switzerland. We do not know whether there are any cantons operating it, but the Swiss dropped it as a federal service in 1962.
§ Mr. Brown
The right hon. Gentleman can refer to it again in his speech and tell us which cantons he relies on for his statement. There is, therefore, more to this than the question of whether the postman should be the arbiter of what he delivers. There is the fact that a service which has accepted obligations for a particular reason will now, apparently, rely on those compulsory obligations to try to get this totally different service carried out.
I am told that relations in the Post Office between the staff and the Postmaster-General 998 are already a good deal lower in the régime of the right hon. Gentleman than they have been for a long time. Had I been a senior Minister who had been asked to consider the request from the Postmaster-General to introduce such a service as this, I would have been bound to oppose it on all general grounds, including that of his own relations with his staff.
Of course, we must not resist change where change is suggested. I have heard arguments—and, no doubt, they will be used by the Minister—that the fact that one resists change suggests that one is reactionary. This sounds to me very much like a parallel in politics to the argument about the numerality in the Church, where modern divines seem almost unwilling to agree on the existence of God in case they are accused of being too traditionalist. All our traditions have to go to show that we are "with it".
I do not accept this approach. I am all for change where change can be shown to be good and where it can be shown to be not merely destructive of our standards. But the change in question seems to me to be offensive, because it does not have all that good to be claimed for it, and it will certainly destroy—"debase" is the word that we use—markedly the traditional standards that have applied in this service. It will make a vast departure from the view that the Government were taking until quite recently in the matter of these standards.
When the question of what came to be known as the "sticky label" issue arose in 1958, the then Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Bromley (Mr. H. Macmillan), is recorded in HANSARD of 12th November of that year as commenting in these terms. He set out to show that nothing seriously had gone wrong. He said that an official had given a list of names to a body which wanted to distribute political propaganda. He told us that that official had acted unwisely, that he had been indiscreet and that he had been formally reprimanded for doing that.
The right hon. Gentleman went on to say, however, that… no one in the public service made any official facilities available with the conscious purpose of assisting the distribution of this 999 pamphlet."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th November, 1958; Vol. 595, c. 400.]The right hon. Gentleman argued that the public service had not made available any facilities for the distribution of a contentious political leaflet and that, therefore, it was not as serious a matter as we had made out.
Now, however, under the new Prime Minister, the Postmaster-General says, "We will now make all the public service facilities available for distributing any contentious political leaflets. We will give you the household list which we have compiled. Give us the contentious literature and we will distribute it for you." That is a total reversal of the principle that the former Prime Minister laid down only five years ago. By their own standards, the Government are clearly debasing—I would say destroying—what only such a short while ago they obviously thought was an important issue.
I now come to the merits of our widened exclusions, as they would be if our Motion were carried. Any hon. Members on the Government side, or on this side of the House, who feel, contrary to my feelings, that, nevertheless, there is a case for this new distribution service, may still have their new distribution service even if our Motion is carried. I feel that there is a strong case against the new service for the reasons which I have given. If, however, people want to try it out, if the Postmaster-General wants to do so, if it is felt that there is money to be earned, we have not on a doctrinaire objection or deeply-held conscientious objection stopped the idea of this new service. We have merely tried to establish the limits within which it should work.
I hope that what I say about those limits will, therefore, be acceptable to those who disagree with me on the main issue as well as to those who might agree with me on that issue. We are trying to say that there should be a restriction not only on the things that the Postmaster-General has mentioned, but on other highly contentious matter and, in particular, on political propaganda. It is inevitable that everybody gets his attention stuck on the political issue, because that has been the first contentious issue to arise and it is proper that we should 1000 concentrate a lot of attention on the political issue.
The deliberate employment of public servants, uniformed for clearer identification, openly to disseminate political propaganda is a novelty upon which the country should not embark without a great deal of consideration. It is totally novel in our constitutional practice. It is quite contrary to anything that we have ever done and I believe that it would have been rejected by any Government other than the present one. Even the present Government would be well advised to consider whether they ought to disregard the age-old tradition that we do not employ public servants in that way.
Let it not be imagined, however, that political propaganda is the only issue involved. All kinds of other highly contentious and controversial matter might be distributed under this service unless the Postmaster-General turns every head-postmaster into a wide-ranging censoring official. The Post Office—the public service—will find itself inevitably involved in great issues of controversy.
I have mentioned the possibility of birth control or family planning leaflets. A uniformed public servant being paid by the State to put into somebody's letter box or hand a leaflet on birth control or family planning would be a controversial issue in a Roman Catholic household. If that is done by a woman or a man employed for the purpose as a street canvasser, it is an issue between the recipient and that person. The moment that it is done by a uniformed public servant, it involves the State, as the employer of that public servant, in the controversy about which somebody feels strongly.
§ Sir Kenneth Thompson (Liverpool, Walton)
The right hon. Gentleman knows that this is done now, every day, on practically every one of the subjects which he is talking about, except that in today's circumstances there is an address on the front of the envelope. Nevertheless, a State-paid and uniformed public servant does precisely what the right hon. Gentleman says.
§ Mr. Brown
I disagree; I dealt with that at the beginning. There is no similarity between delivering it in an envelope in the ordinary way of the mail 1001 and delivering it openly through one's letter box. There is all the difference in the world. If the hon. Member does not agree, that is a difference between us. I should feel totally differently about getting a leaflet of that degree of controversy in an envelope sent to me and finding a postman coming up and handing it to me or to a member of my family openly as a piece of controversial literature. There is a great deal of difference between the two things.
§ Mr. Arthur Tiley (Bradford, West)
For many years, it has been common practice of the Post Office to deliver postcards, which all can read, on all sorts of topics, addressed merely to the occupier of the house.
§ Mr. Brown
Drawing the line is extremely difficult concerning the ordinary mail, but that is no reason for taking the line away altogether and throwing in everything.
It is one thing for the Postmaster-General to say that he finds it difficult even to control things now. It is quite another thing to say that he will literally invite everybody to give him all their controversial literature and that he will go out of his way to deliver the lot without any cover or protection. That seems to me to be a total non sequitur as an argument and I do not follow its point at all.
There may be all sorts of things other than pamphlets about birth control. If Fanny Hill wins her appeal, and is held not to be obscene, leaflets can be handed out by uniformed postmen advocating that we buy the book, with some nice little passages from it telling us that it would be good for us to have it. This may be a highly controversial issue even if the court decides that the book is not obscene. Do we think that uniformed public servants should be placed in the position of having to deliver these things?
The fact that a private firm can do it, or does it, is no reason for saying that therefore the State should do it. We have to observe some different standards. I repeat that there is no way of preventing this happening unless the Postmaster-General is prepared to tell his head postmasters that they are free to so use and interpret the words "offensive to the public" as to cover anything they find offensive.
§ Mr. Norman Dodds (Erith and Crayford)
Is my right hon. Friend aware that last week, in my constituency, a letter was addressed to a Miss E. W. So-and-So, who is only 15 years of age, which contained a statement offering her tablets and contraceptives to prevent her having children? The argument and controversy is against the firm which sent it, but if the postman had put it through the door under this scheme the trades council and everybody would have been against the Post Office for having knowingly put it through the letter box.
§ Mr. Brown
I know that a case has arisen and that this can happen in the form of an ordinary letter. I do not like that at all, but I regard that as being in one category. I regard an invitation to send for these things by means of an official of the State openly distributing the literature to be in a different category and a much worse crime altogether. We should put a limit to what can happen, provided the money is available and the leaflet or material can get by the local head postmaster's definition of what is racial, obscene and generally offensive. I am not prepared to allow that to be the position. I am not prepared to allow the local head postmaster to have this wide discretion.
It is inevitable that the postman will be embarrassed and offended. Do not let us take too lightly this offending or embarrassing of the postman. As we know, he is a man of considerable dignity and status. We do not gain much from forcing him into an embarrassing position unless there are reasons of high State policy for it. The postman is not the only one involved. Citizens will be embarrassed and offended, too, and the public service will inevitably be involved in a growing area of controversy from which, so far, it has been kept.
On the political side, I admit quite frankly, unless an hon. Member opposite disputes it, that for the most part it will be friends of the Conservative Party who will use this organisation. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because they have more money. Others can use it, and no doubt will, but because in normal times there is greater freedom about the sort of money that can be spent on purposes which are agreeable 1003 and convenient to the Conservative Party than there is about the money available for the things which we on this side find agreeable, this arrangement will be used more by friends of the party opposite than by my party.
My objection, however, is not based mainly on that, and I trust that the case made by hon. Members opposite is also not based mainly on it, but even if that were not so there are tremendous objections to this proposal. The Postmaster-General has said that already some of this happens and that we have political franking and slogans on the backs of envelopes. This is true. I do not know what the balance of the arguments was when it was agreed to allow that to happen, but the fact that it exists is not necessarily a case for employing public officials to distribute political propaganda widespread.
This new practice is quite clearly an involvement of the public official in political controversy. The moment he goes round from door to door distributing the leaflets he is involved in the argument. In the past, Britain has always leaned backwards—some say too far backwards—to keep the Civil Service of all grades above any suspicion of being politically involved in this way. I do not find it easy to see where the line can ever again be drawn once civil servants are not only allowed to distribute these things, but are required to do so as part of their duty. I do not see what other barriers could ever be erected.
Those hon. Members who represent county constituencies know the situation in small village communities. The Government official whom the villagers regularly see is quite an important personage. He is to them an important contact with the State machine, and to place him in a position in which in a village he is involved in this proposal is at the very mildest an embarrassing situation and at the worst is seeking to get some degree of influence into the political issue.
This is one of the reasons why, even though there are other agencies which will do this work cheaper, organisations which support the Conservative Party have switched so quickly to the Post Office. They believe that if the postman 1004 brings the material, that little extra cachet of authority will be brought with it. This is what they believe they are getting. Whether they are getting it or not is a matter of judgment. This is why they want these things distributed by the uniformed postman rather than by a ununiformed casually recruited canvasser. A large part of my time every polling day is taken up in villages in my constituency in trying to prevent petty authority doing what it can to influence democracy in those areas.
This is clearly the reason why the Postmaster-General has decided that the service must stop when the General Election is announced. The postman, from then on, will not distribute any more political literature. The argument is that the election is then on and that the postman will be involved, but does anyone seriously maintain that an election campaign starts only three weeks before polling day? Does anyone seriously maintain that it is not on now? The only thing that the Postmaster-General is doing is to arrange that the service can continue during that period when there is no control over expenditure, and, therefore, friends of his party have the money and can spend it, and stopping the service as soon as there is control over the expenditure and all parties become equal.
We become equal, or achieve a measure of equality, only at the point at which the expenditure can be charged up against each of us as candidates. At that point, the service is stopped. Meantime, it is allowed to go on. The Postmaster-General recognises that from that point on the postmen will be involved as much as they will be in the last three weeks before the General Election.
We contend that this is not a suitable service for the Post Office to undertake. Door-to-door distribution is not suitable for the public service. We contend that this proposal will certainly interfere with the normal duties of the Post Office and will tend to disrupt them. It will almost certainly cause trouble internally in the Post Office. It will almost certainly involve the Post Office in public controversy, and it will still not make any significant contribution to the financial problems of the Post Office.
1005 We are giving away a very great deal, destroying some very dearly held traditions and taking some very great risks for a financial return which, even on the Postmaster-General's own figures, is highly marginal and which may turn out not to be anything like as good as that. For all these reasons, it would be better not to go on with the service.
However, if the Government are determined to run this service from now almost to the General Election, however long or short that period may be, we suggest that the restrictions which we propose in our Motion are the very minimum compatible with our traditions and with the maintenance not only of actual political impartiality by the public service, but of the appearance of impartiality and the removal of any ground for suspicion. Just because it is the Government's friends who will use this service more widely, it is more incumbent on this Government than it would be on any other to be susceptible to the arguments which I have used.
Unless the Government are willing to write in the protections which we propose, they must not only be open to the suspicion that they are introducing this service for party advantage, or for what they hope will be party advantage, but also accept that this will be set alongside the Prime Minister's declaration a short time ago that from then on everything which the party opposite did would be conditioned by one thing only, namely, the forthcoming General Election.
§ 4.43 p.m.
§ The Postmaster-General (Mr. Reginald Bevins)
I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:approves the intention of Her Majesty's Government to respect the same principle of freedom of communications in the household delivery service as applies to the postal services generally".I do not intend to make a long speech because, frankly, I do not think that it is necessary. After all, this is only a half-day debate and I know that several hon. Members hope to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, or that of Mr. Speaker.
The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) deployed his arguments with his customary vigour and I shall try to answer all those which he put forward and perhaps significantly, some 1006 which he did not put forward. One thing which I should like to take up straight a way—and I do this in the greatest good humour—is the right hon. Gentleman's reference to a novel which, I believe, is known as "Fanny Hill". I do not know whether he has read that novel. I have not done so yet, despite its alleged literary graces, but I know that there were considerable extracts from this piece of alleged literature in almost every Sunday newspaper in our homes last Sunday.
§ Mr. Bevins
When right hon. and hon. Members opposite refer to the standards observed by British Railways, I ask them to consider which nationalised industry in this country transported about 15 million of those Sunday newspapers from London to the provinces and Scotland.
Before I come to the main questions which the right hon. Member for Belper raised and which are in the minds of his hon. Friends, I think that the House is entitled to know a little about the background to this service. The right hon. Member asked me a number of questions about it. As we all know, for some years advertisers—and I use that word in its widest sense, to include retailers, contractors, societies, private businesses and public businesses—have been using agencies outside the Post Office to deliver circulars and handbills to householders on a fairly large and increasing scale. Their services being cheaper than our 2½d. printed paper rate, the Post Office has lost a lot of business in consequence.
To regain that lost business, we needed, as the Liberal Party's Amendment sensibly indicates, a new and cheaper service. This is what the new scheme provides. It makes for cheapness at both ends of the transaction—at one end by taking matter from the sender without there being an address on the envelope, or, perhaps, without an envelope at all, and at the other end, the Post Office end, by dispensing with the need for sorting at the post office.
I think that the House would like to know that this service was launched only after the study of similar services in a number of overseas countries. We came to the conclusion, I believe rightly, that 1007 this would be a useful service which would improve Post Office finances at a time when they are sluggish. Since the cost of postal services must be paid for at the end of the day, by the public, we felt that this service, which, I believe, will be profitable, would help both the public and our postal staffs.
Our initial estimate for the first financial year is that our profit may amount to about £300,000. That, set against the background of total postal revenue, is relatively small. But I say to the right hon. Member for Belper that any Minister who has a responsibility for an industry, whether it be nationalised or whatever it is, has a responsibility to the public to do the best he can with that industry from a financial point of view.
§ Mr. Bevins
Any notion that this service will be used mainly for political matter is, of course, quite unfounded. In the main, it will be used for commercial purposes, but it will also be used to publicise services which have essential social purposes.
For example, the Post Office has already had leaflets advertising mass radiography in various parts of the country. I have no doubt that this service will be used to promote and publicise such things as the blood donor service, road safety and other worthy causes. The idea which has been put about that most mothers and housewives object to unaddressed matter is, I believe, quite erroneous. The advertising profession knows better. It knows that most of our womenfolk welcome communications of any kind, especially when they are delivered by the friendly postmen.
The right hon. Gentleman and, last Wednesday, the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade), expressed fears that the start of the service might cause some worsening in our postal services and, of course, this is a serious argument which the House will want to take seriously. I assure the House at once that the introduction of the service will not lead to a deterioration of our general postal services, but right hon. and hon. Members may like 1008 to know what part it will take in postal deliveries and how, in practice, it will fit in with them.
The present position is that we deliver about 10,000 million items a year through the postal services, and my advisers reckon that in its first year the new service will deliver about 150 million items, which represents an addition of about 1½ per cent. to our present total of deliveries. Nobody can argue that that is a substantial addition during the first year. The new service will not be allowed to interfere with our present postal services. After all, the most important delivery of the day is the first one and this is everywhere timed to start and to end at a fixed time. I want to give the House a clear assurance that in no circumstances shall we extend this delivery time to accommodate unaddressed packets and that only when the traffic is light, as it is very often during the early part of the week, will we send out the leaflets with the early morning delivery and then no more than can be delivered within the normal time. The rest we will send out on the second delivery, which is usually much lighter than the first and consists, in the main, of second-class mail. If this delivery happens to be overloaded, then we shall arrange special deliveries.
These leaflets will require very little processing in the sorting offices and, of course, hardly any transport between post offices, so that the system for getting mail from one part of the country to another will not be obstructed to any particular extent by the new service.
I have made it clear beyond any possibility of doubt to the trade union involved that I am ready at any time to discuss with it how to make this service, both financially and otherwise, more acceptable to some of its members. That offer was sincerely made and still stands. So much for the service itself.
§ Mrs. E. M. Braddock (Liverpool, Exchange)
A postman will have to walk round a large area carrying these leaflets. What arrangements are being made to transfer them to a place near to his delivery area? Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that carrying round these deliveries in all sorts of weather, coupled with the fact that they 1009 will have to go to every house, will add a very great burden to the ordinary postmen?
§ Mr. Bevins
I take the point, but I do not think that what the hon. Lady says follows as a matter of course. A good deal of this unaddressed material will, by its nature, be lighter than much of the heavy printed matter which now goes through the mails. In any case, the present weight limitation on the postman's bag, which, I believe, is 35 lbs., will still apply. There will be no increase in the weight load.
§ Dr. Alan Glyn (Clapham)
What negotiations has my right hon. Friend had with the union and what has been its attitude?
§ Mr. Bevins
I am coming to that.
In April last year the National Executive of the Union of Post Office Workers recommended this scheme to its membership at a conference. The Executive could hardly, therefore, have thought it to be debasing—to use the expression of the right hon. Member for Belper. But the conference threw it out by a majority vote and it was then my responsibility to decide whether to abandon the service altogether or to go ahead. After an interval, I decided to introduce the service last month, by which time the attitude of the National Executive of the Union was not one of hostility, but of neutrality.
The Opposition have now chosen to make a political issue out of this matter. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition first raised it with the Prime Minister on 23rd January, when I understand, he complained about the Aims of Industry leaflet. He alleged that it was of a party political nature and made rude remarks about him.
I have seen millions of political leaflets in my time and I must say that I have never seen anything quite as mild and inoffensive as this one. Of course it is political, but its tone is much milder than what issues nowadays both from the Conservative Central Office and Transport House. I should be surprised if the Leader of the Opposition was so thin skinned as to believe that this was offensive towards him.
Moreover, the leaflet does not refer to the Post Office or to any of the other 1010 nationalised industries, like coal and electricity. If the party opposite, or the Fabian Society, or "Keep Left", or any other organisation wants to use the service to publicise the case for nationalisation then my hon. Friend and I will be only too delighted to accept because, of course, it will improve the financial position of the Post Office, whatever its side effects might happen to be politically.
This having been made a political issue, the House must decide it and, if it rejects the Motion—I believe that it will on the demerits of the Motion—then the service will continue. The Motion is, rather curiously, confined to the narrow question of the acceptance and delivery of political propaganda and other highly contentious matter through the post, more specifically through this new service. On page 61 of the Post Office Guide there is a list of articles prohibited from the post. They include.Indecent or obscene communications … and packets be Bring grossly offensive, indecent or obscene words, marks or designs.There is not, and there never has been in this country, any prohibition against political matter as such. I cannot emphasise that too strongly. Subject to the limitations within the Post Office Guide we are all free, in this House and outside it, to communicate with each other or with the whole nation about any subject, whether it be political or not, about anybody or not, through the ordinary postal service. Right hon. and hon. Members know perfectly well that communications of political content are delivered by first and second-class mail all the time.
Indeed, the two central offices are among the best customers of the G.P.O., and, as I said last week, the Labour Party itself is not prevented from putting political slogans on its envelopes. "Let's go with Labour and we'll get things done" is a perfectly acceptable slogan, partly, of course, because it does not say where we go with Labour, or what things will be done. Similarly, when the next General Election is being fought, no hon. Member, or any candidate, will be prevented from referring to himself or to his party on the envelope which includes his election address. There is no rule against printing exhortations on envelopes containing election addresses.
1011 It so happens that we on this side of the House believe in freedom to communicate, and it would be utterly preposterous for any hon. Member to argue that the Post Office should not handle political matter at all. I know that the right hon. Gentleman did not argue that. We ought to encourage and not thwart the clash of conflicting opinions in what is the old-fashioned belief that most of our people will then come to the correct conclusion, as I am told they did at the last three elections.
If this practice is right in the case of the existing service, why should it be wrong in the case of this new service, and if so, for what reason? I am still waiting for an answer to that question.
§ Mr. Bevins
I am coming to what the right hon. Gentleman said, but I do not regard that as an answer to my question.
§ Mr. Bevins
I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not mind my making my speech in my own way. I am not going to funk any question. I have no need to. This is too easy. If it is right in the case of existing services, why should it be wrong in the case of this new service, and if so, for what reason? I want to take this question seriously, as I am sure the House does. The Motion is a bit "cagey" about this, because it gives no reason at all. The right hon. Gentleman gave one and I shall deal with the considerations that he put before the House.
The first question with which I want to deal is this matter of the experience and practice in overseas countries, in respect of which I am sorry to say the right hon. Gentleman rather implied that I was lacking in good faith towards the House. This system operates in Belgium which, at the moment, has a Coalition Government which includes members of the Belgian Socialist Party, and they do not restrict political matter at all. In Switzerland, which is also governed by 1012 a Coalition Government, including Left wingers, there is no prohibition on political matter from any bona fide political organisation.
It is true that in certain areas and cities of Switzerland, where there is an acute labour shortage, it has been necessary for the Administration to hive some of this traffic off to private agencies, but to the best of my knowledge the Administration itself is still in control of this service. Switzerland also has special arrangements for the delivery of leaflets during General Election campaigns, and, as the House knows, we are not going that far.
In West Germany, in the Netherlands, and in Austria political matter is accepted provided that it is not anti-constitutional. In Canada, there is no restriction at all. In Denmark, the service is widely used at election times, and there is no restriction of any kind against political material. Finally, in New Zealand, the only restriction is that political matter must not over-step the bounds of ordinary propriety, and there the service is widely used by all political parthes, as I hope it will be here. Whatever the reservations may be abroad—and the House will have seen that they are trivial—to the best of my knowledge not one country in the world bars political matter through unaddressed services of this sort.
Let us suppose, for the sake of argument that all those nine countries are misguided, that I am misguided, that the Government are misguided, that my hon. Friends are misguided—
§ Mr. Bevins
—and that only the right hon. Gentleman and some of his friends—I suspect that it is only some of them—happen to be right. They say that we ought to prohibit political matter, but nobody has ventured to explain—and I do not think that anybody will in the course of this debate—how one prohibits political matter, and how one decides to define political matter. The right hon. Gentleman did not attempt to do so. He went further and said that they would prohibit not only political material but matter of a highly contentious nature.
I did not want to raise this, because I thought that the right hon. Gentleman would not do so, and I did not want to 1013 rub it in too hard. If we lay down that we are to prohibit matter of a highly contentious character, we are taking censorship—
§ Mr. Bevins
—much further than mere political censorship, and the right hon. Gentleman is asking the Post Office administration, not me, at various levels to consider whether notices or advertisements in respect of beer, or smoking, or gambling are contentious. That is taking the matter to absurd lengths.
The right hon. Gentleman made one serious point which deserves a serious answer. He suggested that the Post Office was already well on the road to censorship of the mails. That is wholly untrue. All that has happened is that in the Post Office Guide certain prohibitions have been laid down. Unlike ordinary mail, this is unaddressed mail and it may be open. All that the Post Office has done is to say that stuff that is grossly offensive shall be banned. The new service may deliver stuff that is open, and perhaps not even in an envelope. That is why the instructions say that matter relating to racial discrimination should not be allowed through this service.
§ Mr. Bevins
It is not. It is being done in accordance with the Post Office rules, namely, that the matter is grossly offensive. That does not involve any change whatever in Post Office policy.
§ Mr. Bevins
I said last Wednesday that we had spelt out also material which would be unsuitable for children. I think that that is right, but I would not regard that as censorship in the ordinary sense of the word. In one breath the right hon. Gentleman urges me to do something, and when I take the course he urges on me he attacks me for having taken it.
§ Mr. Brown
That is making it too easy. What I said was that the right 1014 hon. Gentleman was objecting to our Motion on the ground that it would involve his officers in exercising censorship. He says that he is exercising censorship over anything connected with racial discrimination, or which is offensive to children. I am pointing out that that is censorship, and the right hon. Gentleman has given away the whole case that we are urging on him.
§ Mr. Bevins
If the right hon. Gentleman will be good enough to read what I have said—and I have chosen my words very carefully in the last five minutes—he will see that there has been no departure from existing Post Office practices in this matter.
§ Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)
The right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that this discrimination will have to be exercised by at least 2,000 postmasters throughout the country. Will he give those postmasters freedom to accept or reject whatever they deem to be offensive?
§ Mr. Bevins
I am sure that the hon. Member appreciates that the discretion and right to decide whether matter is grossly offensive is a responsibility which lies at the various rungs of responsibility in the Post Office at present, and is exercised by responsible servants of the Post Office every day of the week.
I come, finally, to the terms of the Motion. Significantly, it does not argue that this service should be thrown overboard. All it asks is that the Post Office should follow the standards observed by British Railways, the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. The view of the right hon. Gentleman and some of his hon. Friends is that this would be right, because the Post Office, like the other three bodies, is a public body. It so happens, however, that the functions of the four bodies are totally different.
The function of the railways is to carry freight and passengers and the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. are broadcasters. The Post Office is neither of these things—thank heaven—but within the context that all four bodies are public bodies their advertising practices are very much the same, in the sense that all four prohibit certain advertising within their own houses—railways at their stations, the B.B.C. in the Radio Times, and the Post Office in telephone directories and kiosks.
1015 But this is not what we are debating. The House is not debating advertising on railway stations or in telephone kiosks; it is debating the question of freedom of communications, which is quite a different matter—
§ Mr. Bevins
—from advertisements on other people's property.
I have been trying to think of a closer parallel, and I think that a more appropriate one is not the hoardings of British Railways but the attitude of British Railways to the carrying of political propaganda. British Railways carries masses of it, in just the same way as does the G.P.O. In Liverpool, at the weekend, a friend of mine who is a political agent told me that he receives several thousands of leaflets from the Conservative Central Office. They are picked up by British Railways from a political organisation and delivered to a political organisation. There is nothing wrong with that, and what is right for one service is right for another.
I end on this note: if I were to prohibit political matter from household delivery, how could I refuse to apply the same principle to the mails in general? It just could not be done on any sensible basis.
My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury hopes to wind up this short debate, but I now repeat that my only interests in this matter are the interests of the public and of those who work for the Post Office. I am satisfied that this service will help both, and, subject to the one or two minor prohibitions which I have already mentioned, and which I am fairly sure are generally acceptable to the House, I am not—nor are the Government—willing to interfere with the principle of freedom of communications.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Charles Morris (Manchester, Openshaw)
It is probably true to say that not since the time of Postmaster-General Herbert Samuel and the Liberal Administration of 1911 has there been such a disputatious atmosphere in the Post Office as that which exists at present. If anybody needs any corroboration of that he can go into the Central 1016 Lobby or into the Committee Rooms upstairs, where Post Office workers are assembled to make their views known on the whole subject of the Household Delivery Service.
Having said that, I should make it abundantly clear that all reasonable people—all people who genuinely have the good will and future of the British Post Office at heart—would accept the obligation of the Post Office to examine new and different services and to consider the question of areas where the Post Office might expand its services to the community. The reason why I identify myself with the Motion is that I believe that the whole introduction of the service has been mishandled.
In the interchange of questions which we heard in the House last week some of the views which were expressed were symptomatic of a somewhat strange attitude for any Postmaster-General to adopt on behalf of his Department. He said that there were two justifications for the Household Delivery Service—one, expansion and the other, profitability. He went on to make the charge that the idea of expansion had been prompted by the late Member for Openshaw—Mr. W. R. Williams. The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that the leader of the Union of Post Office Workers—Mr. Ron Smith—had also identified himself with this service.
On that occasion the House showed its contempt for the introduction of the name of a former Member, and the manner in which the Postmaster-General used it. But no matter how contemptuous it is to bring the name of a deceased Member into a debate in the House in order to buttress one's own argument, the point made by the Postmaster-General was that both Mr. W. R. Williams and the U.P.W. were in favour of this service. He said that they recommended the service to a conference of the U.P.W.
He was right in that, but to leave the matter on that basis was very unfortunate. If he is criticising the general secretary of the U.P.W. and also the views expressed in this House by the former Member for Openshaw, he might well criticise my views, because I was a member of the executive council of the U.P.W. at the time, and shared the corporate responsibility of that body for 1017 the recommendation which was put to the annual congress.
Why did the union executive change its mind?—because that is what the right hon. Gentleman implied. It went to the annual conference of the U.P.W. and put the recommendation to the conference. It was considered by the conference. Is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting that the executive body of the Union of Post Office Workers should bulldoze its opinions through its annual and special conferences? Is he suggesting that the general secretary of that union ought to go to the members of the union and say, "This opinion should over-ride your opinion"? Of course not. We claim that the structure of our union is as democratic as any in the country. It is a serious matter that these charges should be made and I hope that on future occasions the Postmaster-General will not do so.
There is another important factor. When the executive council of the union assembled after the annual conference decision—a decision made by the elected representatives of the nation's postmen—and when that decision was considered, one important fact was borne in mind which the Postmaster-General has tended to overlook. Against a background of the expressed hostility of postmen, were we to engender a situation in which industrial action would have been a possibility and bearing in mind that, through the action of the Postmaster-General 18 months previously, revenue amounting to £1 million was lost?
The right hon. Gentleman talks about profitability. But 18 months before he involved the Post Office in a loss of revenue amounting to £1 million over his handling of the work-to-rule and pay negotiations. If the right hon. Gentleman says that he is interested in profitability and that £300,000 is all-important I welcome his departure from his previous point of view.
All along he has said that there are two justifications for this scheme—expansion and profitability. Why not take the same attitude regarding the giro system of Post Office cheques? Why did he resist that suggestion from the staff associations within the Post Office? That was an avenue of expansion. But because the right hon. Gentleman 1018 meekly yielded to pressure from the joint stock banks this country is without a giro system of Post Office cheques, and the banks are introducing transfer credits.
This was from the same individual who talks about expansion and profitability. He says that we ought to have a household delivery service because it would bring in £300,000 additional finance to the Post Office. But I ask, "Will it?"
Let us examine some of the facts. He says that there is an area covered by private agencies which cater for correspondence and leaflets, within the definition of a household delivery service, to the extent of 600 million items, and he suggests that the Post Office ought to give attention to this. Even though the right hon. Gentleman succeeded in introducing his household delivery service, it would create a situation in the Post Office which would be like having Christmas every week. I say, with respect, that the right hon. Gentleman has not the physical characteristics to be a Santa Claus. Nor are there at present the resources within the Post Office which would be necessary to carry on the additional work.
The most important consideration which ought to occupy the minds of hon. Members is that raised by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond). Last week he asked whether the introduction of the service would have a deleterious effect on first-class and second-class correspondence deliveries. The Postmaster-General quickly said that that had been considered before the scheme was suggested, and the Postmaster-General was certain that first-class correspondence would take precedence over household delivery correspondence. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman will be able to substantiate that view if the service is introduced.
When will the household delivery service correspondence be delivered? It is said that it will be delivered partly by means of the night mail deliveries and during the day mail deliveries. Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that postmen engaged on night mail deliveries are not fully occupied? Is he quite sure that the day mail deliveries could absorb this additional correspondence? 1019 These are questions which he will have to answer, if not now, in the future.
He talked about the use of the mails in other countries for this type of correspondence, in Switzerland and the United States of America. Only last year, through the courtesy of the English-Speaking Union I had the privilege of visiting the United States for three months to study Post Office administration there. I went to most of the major centres and I found that, whether in New York, Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco or New Orleans, the same attitude was apparent with regard to this type of correspondence.
§ Mr. Bevins
The hon. Gentleman must not say that. I have already said, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will not contradict me, that there is no such service of this kind in the United States.
§ Mr. Morris
I do not wish to contradict the Postmaster-General. I will grant him that courtesy. I shall leave it to his own leaflet to contradict him.
The Postmaster-General has said that there is no household delivery service in the United States and, technically, he is right. But let us look at the definition of household delivery in the Departmental circular dealing with household delivery service. The definitions within the service indicate the same type of correspondence as that carried at a low preferential rate within the Federal Post Office service in the United States. I gather now that the right hon. Gentleman accepts my point.
§ Mr. Bevins
Oh, no. The hon. Gentleman must not jump to that conclusion. If he has been to the United States and seen the working of the postal service there, he will realise that one reason why the postal service in the United States is perhaps not as good as the U.S. Administration thinks it ought to be, is that it carries a very large quantity of what we call second-class mail at a very cheap rate. May I say to the hon. Gentleman, for about the third time, that here we are dealing with unaddressed, and very often unenveloped, mail.
§ Mr. Morris
I will catalogue the type of correspondence which the right hon. Gentleman is now suggesting that the British Post Office should deal with. It is in the leaflet. It does not need defining. The Post Office leaflet says:Leaflets, circulars, shopping guides, sales letters, sample packets, etc.The right hon. Gentleman has defined it, not I. Those are precisely the classifications of correspondence which in the post offices of the United States are defined, in colloquial expression, as "junk" The right hon. Gentleman is suggesting that the British Post Office should take on "junk".
I was very impressed by a letter which appeared in the Guardian yesterday about this classification of correspondence. I accept the Postmaster-General's opinion that we have a much more efficient Post Office service than there is in the United States. The reason why the service in the United States is inefficient is that the volume of this type of mail which the right hon. Gentleman suggests he should take on is crippling normal Post Office services in that country.
I do not want to advance only my own views about the United States service. I advance the views of the writer to the Guardian yesterday. He said:As an American in Britain for a few months, I must express the horror I feel at the thought of another country being deluged with the delivery of unaddressed mail. For the past few years this delivery has brought into American homes tooth paste, detergent, shaving lotion, perfume and literally baskets of unwanted printed matter. We have long ago ceased to enjoy more than one delivery of mail a day and perhaps we may not have even that soon, and at an increasing cost.That is precisely the position we shall be in if we accept these proposals of the Postmaster-General.
The letter went on to say:So loud is the din of unsought and unread circulars that the next step contemplated by those who hope to penetrate the numbed brains of the public will surely be advertising over the telephone. Those who say the mail service will be degraded by this burden are, I think, right. Many Americans would welcome, and are urging, an end to this unnecessary irritation.If one wanted justification for the arguments we are putting forward this is one which I hope this House will accept.
1021 I have instanced the views which the postmen of the country have expressed in the Central Lobby and in Committee rooms of this House this afternoon. People ask, "Why are the postmen concerned about the introduction of this service?'' Having worked with so many of them for so long, I know that they have a pride of craft in the service. It probably has a psychological background. When one is wearing the Queen's uniform and going about with crowns on one's lapels one does not want to be reduced to the status of a pamphlet pedlar. Yet the Postmaster-General and his department put out advertisements in which they say, "Give your mailing system the prestige of Post Office delivery". In effect we are to sell at five guineas a thousand the prestige of Post Office delivery in rural areas. Does this House accept that reasoning?
I hope that the Postmaster-General will think again, not only of the political implications but about the wider questions of the household delivery service as such. He said in his contribution today that he had indicated to the Executive Council of the Union of Post Office Workers that he is prepared to have further discussions with them. I ask, is he prepared to withdraw this household delivery service so that those discussions can proceed on a completely impartial and neutral footing?
I say in all honesty that it does him no good to interpret the statesmanlike attitude of the executive council of the Union of Post Office Workers as mere neutrality. If these people are to be attacked in that fashion because they adopted a statesmanlike attitude when they met you the other day—The Postmaster-General is looking puzzled. Let me tell him what I am getting at. During your introduction—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir William Anstruther-Gray)
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member, who has not been here for very long, but he should address the Chair.
§ Mr. Morris
May I apologise most sincerely? Will you put it down to my complete ignorance of the customs of this House, Mr. Deputy Speaker?
I wish to deal with the point made by the Postmaster-General this afternoon. In the course of his contribution 1022 he referred to the meeting he had with the executive council of the Union of Post Office Workers. He said, referring to the time before the conference, "When I met them in deputation they adopted a policy of neutrality". I say that that is a complete misrepresentation.
§ Mr. Bevins
This is becoming tiresome. I never said anything of the sort. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is on the record."] It will be on the record. I did not refer to the deputation. I said that since the decision of the conference to turn down this proposal the executive had adopted an attitude of neutrality, which is true.
§ Mr. Morris
That is precisely what I have said. The right hon. Gentleman can put what interpretation he likes on it. I hope hat the House will decide who is reflecting the truth of what the Postmaster-General said in his contribution to the debate.
No matter which way the voting on this Motion goes, the decision on it will not be all-important. What is important is that within the Post Office there is an harmonious relationship between the Postmaster-General and the departmental heath and the staff whom they control and who serve the Post Office and the nation. Debates which take place here are important, but the Post Office will have to go on providing its services long after this debate is over. I indicated when I started my speech that we have had two occasions in the past two yeas when Post Office workers within the minor manipulative grades have been on the brink of the abyss of industrial action. They took industrial action in January, 1962.
I hope that the Postmaster-General will reflect and take a more realistic view of the opinions which are being expressed to him by the able leaders who represent the nation's postmen. I hope that the House will reject the Amendment and will vote in favour of the Motion.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Sir Kenneth Thompson (Liverpool, Walton)
The House may recall that I was privileged to serve in the capacity of Assistant Postmaster-General for about three years, long enough for me to develop a deep affection for the Post 1023 Office and all who work in it and the greatest possible respect for all the services which it renders to the community. Nothing could be more hurtful to the Post Office in particular or to the country as a whole than that anything should be done to damage either the relationship that exists between all members of the staff of the Post Office at whatever level or the quality of the service that the Post Office gives.
I hope that, whatever the outcome of this debate, and whatever may be said in the course of it, it will be realised that the two prizes which we seek to achieve will be, first, that the first-class mail service of the Post Office will never be damaged or imperilled, and, secondly, that nothing will be said or done that will damage the structure of the relationship that exists within the Post Office at the present time. If we approach the question of a household delivery service with those two objectives in view, then possibly we are in a position to arrive at a sensible conclusion.
I do not believe that this is a political issue. Neither can I believe that the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) really believes that the household delivery service is some wicked idea concocted by the Conservative Central Office in Smith Square in order that we shall have a better chance than we already have of winning the next election. I do not believe that to be true for a moment and I do not believe that the right hon. Member for Belper believes it to be true either.
My right hon. Friend would be gravely remiss in the administration of the Post Office if he saw an opportunity for increasing the revenue of the Post Office and improving the services that it can render to the community and then proceeded to neglect them. Here is an undoubted service already being given in some sketchy forms over selected areas in the country. It is obviously a useful service or it could not survive commercially and obviously a profitable service by the same token, What, then, is wrong with the British Post Office taking part of this service, and as much of it as it can get on strictly competitive commercial terms, in order to add to the revenue of the Post Office? On straightforward commercial considerations I can see no real argument against it.
1024 I see the point of view of the postman who says that this is a commercial operation which ought to be done by girls, wearing a particular coloured overall with the name of the firm on it, delivering leaflets or samples as a special service, and that this is something different from and less than the kind of service that the uniformed State servant—the postman—proud, dignified and responsible as he is, has been accustomed to give. I see that argument. But what is in the argument? Is it really true that what the postman does today in delivering the addressed mail—collecting, transferring, sorting and then delivering—is so different from what he is now to be asked to do in the household delivery service? If it were true that the leaflets to be delivered in this service were mere frivolithes—were mere throw-away, unimportant leaflets of the nature that we seen on the street corners—there might be something in the argument.
This is quite an expensive service. It is a service that can be used only by someone who is determined that he is prepared to pay enough to get his message delivered into the houses in which he wants to get it delivered. This is not a lighthearted enterprise that anyone who wants to get his message delivered for 12s. 6d. a dozen will engage in. This is a serious enterprise that can appeal only to some one who has something he wants to say and is prepared to make the effort to see that it is said at the very points where he wants it said. That is precisely what the postman has been doing all his life. He has been accepting a responsibility that is quite considerable and carrying it out as a uniformed, responsible, trained and very highly-skilled servant of the State. He is being asked to do the same thing with a service which is wanted by people who are prepared to pay a considerable price for it.
Let us remember that five guineas per thousand for city or urban delivery is only one part of the cost that falls on the man who wants his message delivered. He has to have the message printed and to employ, since he is in business in a fairly big and responsible way, a designer, a draftsman, or at least a script writer to get the whole thing right. This is a highly-skilled and highly-expensive service, and it demands that 1025 it should be handled by somebody in a very special and highly-skilled class. For these reasons in particular, I think that it can be done by no other service than the Post Office. I hope that my right hon. Friend will stick to his guns and see that this is not only continued but lifted to a proper, responsible part of the Post Office service.
§ Mr. Julian Snow (Lichfield and Tamworth)
Is the hon. Member suggesting that this service should be introduced where there is already a shortage of postmen, for instance in my constituency, where there is a severe shortage of postmen and where they are working up to 25 hours a week overtime as it is? Is he suggesting that this service will not jeopardise the existing service even more?
§ Sir K. Thompson
The hon. Gentleman was here when I made my two qualifications of the service. It can stand only provided that it is not allowed to impinge on the high quality of the services that we already give and that the operation of it, the day-to-day arrangements, do not cause any deterioration in the relationship that exists between the staff of the Post Office at all levels. These are conditions which must override all other qualifications of this service or of any other services concerned. This is not the only part of the Post Office service that might cause difficulties in a constituency area, such as the hon. Gentleman represents, or at certain times of the year in practically every one of our constituencies. They are nevertheless essential qualifications that must be observed by the Post Office if this service is to be accepted as part of the normal run of the services of the Post Office. I am sure that my right hon. Friend is as much aware of and as careful of these considerations as anyone who has ever had anything to do with the Post Office. I hope that he will stick to his guns in this matter and see that the service is developed to the very best of his ability.
§ 5.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Donald Wade (Huddersfield, West)
A case can be made out against having any new household service at all, but it is more difficult to justify the Opposition's Motion which, in effect, proposes that the new delivery service should proceed but that the dissemina- 1026 tion of political propaganda and other highly contentious matter should be excluded.
I do not look at this problem with a prejudice in favour of the increased distribution of political propaganda. I cannot envisage a situation in which the party to which I have the honour to belong would be so well endowed with funds as to outdo the other parties in the distribution of literature. I can, therefore, look at this subject somewhat objectively. In any case, it would be very difficult to define political propaganda. For example, I understand that a certain religious denomination advises its members that it is wrong to vote. I do not know whether literature issued on behalf of that denomination would be regarded as political.
There is a more serious example. The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. George Brown) referred to family planning. If, under the present system of second-class mail, a leaflet were to be distributed in a small wrapper showing quite clearly the words "Support family planning", that would be quite permissible. It might upset some postmen—I do not know—but I do not see how a logical distinction can be made between that leaflet and another delivered without a wrapper. The right hon. Member said that this new service was not just an extension of the postal service, but represented a difference in degree and kind. There is a difference in degree, but not in kind. There may well be a considerable increase in the amount of matter a postman will have to carry, and it is most important that postmen and postwomen should be adequately remunerated. That is why our Amendment stresses the need for a satisfactory reward for these people.
I have here a letter from the wife of a postman. I do not normally quote from an anonymous letter, but in this case I am satisfied with the writer's reasons for not giving her name, and her letter illustrates the attitude of a number of postmen's wives. She writes:I am writing in the hope that you will please press for an increase in the postman's wages. The Household Delivery Service is only one of the bitter grievances of men like my husband, who brings home less than £11 per week to feed, clothe, pay rent, rates, provide for holidays, etc.How can we expect to be even decently dressed or fed on £11 15s. gross for 45 hours?1027 Further on she says:My husband used to be proud to serve in his job, but now he is dispirited …A little later she pleads:In heaven's name, please do something …I am sure that most hon. Members will sympathise with the writer's point of view, but would the proposals in the Oppositon's Motion really help? I do not think that they would.
I have one or two queries about the working of the scheme. First, how will the prohibition on certain types of literature work? That raises certain practical problems that we must face. I am not too happy about censorship by individual head postmasters. Would it not be possible to have principles clearly laid down, and approved in some way by Parliament, rather than leaving the decision to individual head postmasters?
I do not suggest that we should cut out political material. I have already made it clear that, on principle, I cannot see how, if we have this service, we can say that political matter must be excluded. What the House ought to consider is the amount of money expended by organisations of various kinds on political propaganda prior to a General Election. The figure for maximum expenses now allowed a candidate is antiquated in comparison with the colossal amount expended in other ways. We should consider that aspect, but we cannot deal with that problem under the heading of this particular service.
There is probably a simple answer to my next question. The Post Office rightly has a monopoly of the ordinary mail but, presumably, that will not apply to this delivery service. This point had not occurred to me until my right hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) received the following letter from a Mr. Caro, who writes:Dear Mr. Grimond,With regard to the new service, shortly to be introduced by the Postmaster-General concerning the distribution of unaddressed circulars, I am of the impression that if this is allowed to go through a situation might arise which would make it illegal for private individuals to indulge in door to door leaflet distribution.1028When the Post Office is responsible for services (postal telegrams, telephone and radio, etc.) they automatically become the monopoly of the State, and legislation prevents firms or individuals from entering into competition, whether it be on a profit making basis or not. One can well see that now the Post Office intend providing an unaddressed leaflet delivery service, small tradesmen, political parties and companies in existence for this purpose might well be breaking the law.I would suggest that the Postmaster-General gives assurance (during tomorrow's debate)"—that is today:that the right of individuals to indulge in their own leaflet distribution will not be threatened by the introduction of the new service by him.Perhaps the Government spokesman will be able to give me an answer later this evening.
Would it be practicable for members of the public to opt out of this service? I suppose that it would be too difficult. There are members of the public who dislike receiving quantities of literature by whatever means it is delivered. Literature without any envelope or wrapping is probably the least popular and the least likely to be read, and literature in an envelope addressed to the occupier is regarded less favourably than that which bears the address of the person. The reason is probably psychological. Furthermore, some people are just fed up with the amount of literature coming through the letter box, and I have some sympathy with them. I do not know whether it would be possible to register people who wish to be non-recipients. That might be impracticable, but it could be looked into—
§ Mr. Godfrey Lagden (Hornchurch)
Has it not occurred to the hon. Gentleman that if we were to take this course, in households where there were five or six people, two of them might wish to reject this service while three would be eager to accept it? That difficulty could not be readily overcome.
§ Mr. Wade
That is a very interesting conundrum, but I shall not try to answer it now.
More important is the effect of this delivery service on first- and second-class mail. The Postmaster-General last week gave me an assurance that has been repeated today. We all know that 1029 Christmas time is an exception. A great effort is made to get Christmas cards out before Christmas Day, and my impression is that first-class mail is held up then as a result. I often have complaints from business firms and other concerns about business mail being delayed during that period—and this may be a matter of great importance to a business man. But these people are prepared to put up with that during the 10 days to Christmas. Nevertheless, one would not wish that to happen from time to time during the year, so one must stress the importance of not delaying first-and second-class mail. Already, I frequently have complaints in Huddersfield about delays in the delivery of mail.
I return to the point of fair remuneration. I am aware of complaints made by postmen on the score of their standing in the community—that they are civil servants, and do not wish to be regarded as of a lower standing—but I think that, in the long run, that is closely linked to remuneration. If they were well paid, I do not think that their standing in the community would be lowered merely because they were asked to help with this new kind of service. It is for that reason that our Amendment states, first,… that any extra work postmen and post-women are required to do is satisfactorily rewarded",and, secondly,… that it involves no reduction in the standard of service for fully paid mail …".If these conditions are satisfied, it would be reasonable that this service should be tried out.
§ 5.59 p.m.
§ Mr. Kenneth Lewis (Rutland and Stamford)
On the occasion when he announced that this service would be coming into operation, my right hon. Friend gave among his reasons for introducing it that he felt that it was right from a commercial point of view. Usually, when we are discussing the affairs of a nationalised industry in the House, we are not allowed to discuss commercial matters which are the day-to-day responsibility of the industry, but this, of course, does not apply to the Post Office. The Post Office is a Government Department financed by the State and the profit from it is taken by the State.
1030 The first question one must ask oneself, as a Member of this House, is whether the new service is likely to be a good commercial proposition. Whatever may be said in the Motion moved by the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), or the Amendment moved by my right hon. Friend, political propaganda and the delivery of it are quite secondary to the question whether this kind of service will be a commercial proposition. I doubt that it will be a commercial proposition. This point has already been mentioned by hon. Members on both sides. I am doubtful about it because I am not at all certain that the kind of people to use the new service will not come from those who already use the ordinary second-class mail service.
Also, I am a little concerned that by introducing this service my right hon. Friend may find himself involved in commercial matters which at present do not trouble him. Acting through his officers, he will have to look at mail as it goes through the service. He will have to decide what is to go through and what is not to go through. This, it seems to me, will be a form of censorship. I know that my right hon. Friend argues otherwise, but one cannot seek to ascertain what is going through the service, whether there is, for instance, pornographic literature being circulated, if one does not look at everything.
My right hon. Friend will be involved in passing through the service all kinds of circulars, samples and the like from commercial firms. Some of the commercial firms will, no doubt, be making perfectly bona fide offers. Others may be shady; their samples and their offers may be suspect. If their material went through the ordinary mail, there would be no problem, because my right hon. Friend does not know what they are pushing through the ordinary mail, and he can deal with them through the normal processes of the law whenever he thinks that they are sending by mail something which they ought not to send. In this service, on the other hand, he will be in a difficulty. In my view, therefore, it will provide a new kind of commercial risk for the Post Office.
Further, on the commercial side, I am not at all sure that there will be the 1031 kind of demand for the service, at the price which the Post Office will charge, which will make it profitable, taking into account the extra money which must be paid to postmen or the extra staff it may be necessary to take on. This is a matter of pure commercial judgment, of course, and usually in discussing these things in the context of other nationalised industries we should be ruled out of order by the Chair.
There is another reason why I am a little concerned. I am concerned about the staff side of this operation. During the coming months, as we have been during the past year or two, we shall in this country be involved in affecting great changes in industry, with the introduction of automation, the adoption of new industrial processes and the like. Sometimes it may take months, sometimes a year or two, to get the changes on a proper footing. There is already an instance. At one of our biggest steel companies, in the Midlands, it took a long period of discussion to get moving to fruition new processes to get them fully working, because this operation involved redundancy and other changes in conditions for the workpeople.
Whenever one is introducing a new service, not only in a nationalised industry, the Post Office or anything run by the State but in private industry as well, it is important to make absolutely sure of carrying the staff along with one. Of course, management does not have to do everything just because the staff want it. In this case, the Post Office workers must realise that it is their duty to work the service when it is introduced. But I remind my right hon. Friend of something said by the Assistant Postmaster-General on 25th March last, when the idea of this service was first mooted.
The proposal was supported by the then hon. Member for Manchester, Openshaw, the late Mr. Will Williams. Incidentally, I take exception to some of the comments made by right hon. and hon. Members opposite about the quotation from what was said by the late Mr. Williams. He was a great friend of many hon. Members on both sides of the House. I say that to the present hon. Member for Openshaw (Mr. C. Morris). We sat under Mr. Williams' chairmanship in Committee. 1032 It is quite a common thing to quote the words of a Member who may, unhappily, have died. It has been done by the present Leader of the Opposition, who has at that Box quoted things said by the previous Leader of the Opposition.
It is unfair of hon. Members opposite to suggest that my right hon. Friend should not have quoted what Mr. Williams said.
§ Mr. Lewis
I am sorry. I have not time to give way.
The late Mr. Williams supported the idea of this service at the time, and he gave a list of deliveries which might be sent. At the end of that list, he said something like "and other things". He left it quite open.
Now, on this occasion, in winding up, my hon. Friend the Assistant Postmaster-General said:The household delivery of literature is being seriously studied, and we wish to take advantages of the opportunities …This was in reply to the late hon. Member for Openshaw.naturally, we do not wish to take the final step before we have reached agreement with the staff on this matter".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th March, 1963; Vol. 674, c. 1073.]That seemed to me to be a promise which should be fulfilled by the Postmaster-General. I have, therefore, some doubt on the staff side of the matter.
Last, I have some doubt about whether people really want the service in its present form.
§ Mr. Lewis
But I think that there is something to be said against postmen being involved in carrying bagfulls of propaganda, advertising material and samples. I regard this as a job which should be done by the private companies 1033 which are involved in these things themselves. I believe that people generally, when they resent much "junk" and rubbish being put through their doors, put up with it when it comes from a private source because they have to, because the private sources are so numerous that they cannot get at them.
But if we involve postmen and the Post Office in carrying too much of this advertising and publicity material, we may make the postman the focal point for resentment, and we will lose the kind of good relationship which the public has always had with the postman. Therefore, I hope that my right hon. Friend will go forward with this service but will look at it again and consider whether it can be rather more defined than he has defined it so far.
The way it is, I cannot support the Amendment in the Lobby. [HON. MEMBERS: "Vote with us."] I would not think of voting for the Opposition's Motion, because it is nonsense. The Post Office already carries political propaganda and hon. Members opposite know this perfectly well. I could fully subscribe to the Government Amendment, but if I vote for it I should be not only doing that, but voting for the service as it is proposed, and I am not happy with the service as it is proposed. Therefore, I will abstain.
I do not want my right hon. Friend to withdraw the service. I simply want to have discussions on it on the way in which it should be applied. I certainly do not want my right hon. Friend in any way to run away from the political argument which has been put forward by the Opposition, because, as the Post Office already carries political propaganda, there is absolutely nothing in the argument that the service has been introduced for this purpose or that it can apply with advantage to one political party as against another. The Opposition Front Bench knows this as well as I do.
§ 6.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Roy Mason (Barnsley)
I was sorry to hear the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. K. Lewis) mention again the name of my late hon. Friend the former Member for Manchester, Openshaw, Mr. Will Williams. It is my intention to place it once more on the record that on 25th March, 1963, 1034 referring to bills, notices, rate notices from local authorities and notices from private commercial firms and insurance firms, my hon. Friend specifically said "and all the rest". Anybody in this House who knew "Bill" Williams could never have imagined him—indeed, he would have been grievously hurt if challenged with doing so—advocating the service that the Postmaster-General has now brought forward, which introduces advertising on a large scale and political matter.
What the Minister said about the executive of the Union of Post Office Workers was offensive. To state that it took a neutral attitude is wrong, because the U.P.W. executive, exactly the same as my late hon. Friend, advocated a household delivery service, but did not have in mind its use for political propaganda purposes.
§ Mr. W. R. Rees-Davies (Isle of Thanet)
In his speech, will the hon. Member make plain exactly what limitations the U P.W. seeks? I understand them to include commercial advertising. Will the hon. Gentleman make plain exactly what are the precise exclusions? Are they political only, or is there anything else?
§ Mr. Mason
The hon. Member, I gather, has only just come into the Chamber. I have been here since 3.30. If the hon. Member will wait and see, he will probably gather from my speech precisely what attitude we take.
I agree with the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Sir K. Thompson) and the hon. Member for Rutland and Stamford, who said that this service must be seen to pay. In spite of the speech of the Postmaster-General, I am not yet satisfied—and, as the right hon. Gentleman has not convinced me, he will not have, convinced other hon. Members—that the service is necessary, that it will be profitable, or that the right hon. Gentleman has not departed from past practices.
The Postmaster-General hastily introduced this 'measure. It had not been properly thought out. It was announced on 6th January. It was publicly advertised in all general post offices that the service was available on 20th January. Yet following the first query—that of racial and political propaganda—the 1035 Postmaster-General flapped, the Post Office was puzzled and the service was suspended.
§ Mr. Mason
It is all on record. There seems to have been little consultation about the service. The Post Office Advisory Council was not consulted and never discussed it. The Postmaster-General notified the Advisory Council that he would introduce it, but he never sought the council's advice. Indeed, before introducing the service he had no knowledge of what public reaction would be. He knew very well that the postmen would react strongly against the scheme.
That is the trouble with the right hon. Gentleman. Too often in Post Office affairs he acts like a bull in a china shop. He did the same with the introduction of subscriber trunk dialling. There was little thought beforehand of public reaction. The scheme is running months behind time. It was born in the face of public protest. There have been shoals of letters in the Press. Questions were asked in the House. The matter was raised in debate and, shortly after the introduction of S.T.D., there had to be a change in the cost of calls.
That is the trouble with this new service. It has been born against a background of discontent in the Post Office and from the public. The few thousand pounds that the right hon. Gentleman hopes to make will be offset by a worsening of relationships between postmen and the Postmaster-General and, likewise, between the postmen and the public.
Listening to the Postmaster-General and to the debate, I have not been satisfied that sufficient consideration has been given to the effects of the service upon postmen, upon head postmasters and upon the efficiency of the postal service. Postmen genuinely feel that they are being downgraded, that they are suffering loss of dignity, that there will be a loss of respect for them and that the public image of the Post Office will be tarnished.
Imagine the postman's position and difficulties. Does he, or does he not, take out the leaflets with the early morning delivery? If he does, undoubtedly 1036 the early morning delivery will be delayed and the efficiency of the service will suffer. The Postmaster-General knows that an indication has gone out from his office to all the advisory councils suggesting that, where possible, that should be done.
There have been shoals of complaints in the House about the inefficiency of the service, mails being delayed, late deliveries, and so on. The new service will aggravate the situation. If, on the other hand, a postmaster decides that there is too much mail to go out with the first mail and that deliveries might be retarded, he must decide upon a special service.
The Postmaster-General never does his homework. He is too slick at the Box in trying to introduce these measures. He said that 10,000 million items a year now go out and that he expects an addition of 150 million items under this service. He blandly said that that would be an increase of 1½ per cent. He knows that the increase will not apply evenly throughout the country. Postal "pockets" will be chosen by commercial organisations and in these districts the increase will be a great deal higher than 1½ per cent. If there is to be a special service, a second delivery exclusively for leaflets, I wonder whether, as they will have to be delivered at every household delivery point, overtime may be necessary and there will be sufficient postmen in some areas to carry out the service.
I do not want the red herring of competition to be drawn across my path. One of the reasons why the postal service is losing revenue is the loss of coupon traffic. That coupon traffic was fully paid for. The new service is a cheap, selective service, not an expensive one, at half the rate of the coupon traffic. Consequently, the coupon traffic could carry a little overtime and a special delivery because it made money. The 1¼d. rate for leaflets will not be able to do that.
The Postmaster-General referred to the fact that advertisers are doing these deliveries and that the Post Office wanted to try to take some of the traffic because the advertisers had been taking the 2½d. traffic. Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that those who remained loyal and faithful to the G.P.O., who continued to send their printed matter in a 2½d. envelope, will now switch to the 1037 leaflets and the Post Office will lose on the printed paper rate? I am not yet convinced that this service will pay.
Samples are also allowed to be delivered by this service. Any manufacturer who wants to advertise any product can send out a 4 oz. or 2 oz. sample. The manufacturers are likely to send out 2 oz. samples, because they will not want to give too much away. There can be samples of soap, toothpaste, detergents, or drugs. This means special deliveries, because the postman has only a 35 lb. pouch and if he takes 2 oz. samples he can deliver only 280 and he may have 400 delivery points. This will necessitate his doubling back to make the extra delivery, or more postmen will have to be employed on the walk. I am satisfied that the sample service on its own will not pay.
Another question is the size of the material to be allowed. Have hon. Members read the instructions for the service? The maximum size will be 12 in. by 4¾ in. by ¾ in. thick. Many of those cannot be accommodated in a pouch, and if there is to be a deluge of these things in an area many postmen will be required to take them out. I cannot see how that can pay.
It is obvious to me, therefore, that this will be a subsidised service. In other words, manufacturers of detergents or soap will be guaranteed a house-to-house delivery by uniformed civil servants, and some other post office activity will have to subsidise it. The Postmaster-General estimates a profit of £300,000 this year, at a time when General Election propaganda will go out before Parliament is dissolved. It therefore should be a profitable year. It may well be that the whole service will have to be subsidised if it does not pay in the first year. As I have said, the right hon. Gentleman estimates a £300,000 per year profit in the first year's operations. What a measly sum at the expense of the postman and his status and the public ill-feeling and the G.P.O. gradually turning the letterbox into a litter bin.
What about the head postmaster's dilemma? He will suffer most. The usual rules are easy. The matter must not be obscene, libellous, or likely to cause a breach of the peace. This is the general run of instructions to head 1038 postmasters. The Postmaster-General says that this case is no different. He has defeated that argument time and again in his own speech by now bringing fresh rules. He has now sent out instructions to head postmasters that no matter must go out which is offensive to young people, and no racial literature must be delivered. This is because these are open leaflets. They are not in sealed packets and there must be stronger censorship. Head postmasters now become censors. They become political censors because they have to decide what is political material and whether it can go through openly in the leaflet post. But the head postmaster has no guidance on political matter yet.
At the moment, in the main, the only bodies wanting to use this service are the Conservative "front" organisations—Aims of Industry, Industrial Aids Limited, and possibly the Economic League. They have printed thousands of leaflets and are clamouring to use the service. It makes one believe that the right hon. Gentleman is now allowing political matter to go through solely because of that. Indeed, it makes one believe that he is allowing political matter purposely to assist the Tory trumpeters with an easy, cheap and guaranteed access to every home.
The right hon. Gentleman certainly did not have this in mind when he introduced the service. It was not in the documents which he sent out, in the Press hand-outs or in the regulations on the household delivery service. There was no comment in any of these about political matter. It is only since the service has been advertised that the right hon. Gentleman has sent out fresh instructions on racial literature and matter which is offensive to young people.
As for the Aims of Industry leaflets, the anti-nationalisation propaganda will probably go to steel-producing areas. These Conservative "front" organisations may have had difficulty in any case in finding a sufficient number of sympathetic distributors. In any event, the propaganda would not have been efficiently distributed. What better than that a Government Department should be used with uniformed postmen as their agents?
1039 This is where we cross swords with the right hon. Gentleman. This departure from past custom and practice is to be deplored. As has been said, British Railways and the I.T.A. go out of their way, in their rules, to cover this point. It is no use frowning and saying that there is no comparison here; there is. Uniformed postmen will take out leaflets carrying advertising and political matter, and it will be open matter just the same as if it were put on hoardings. This literature will not be sealed and the postmen will know precisely what it is. Therefore, there is an analogy here.
British Railways are quite clear about their rules governing the acceptance of advertisements which are controlled by British Transport Advertising Limited on behalf of British Railways. They say specifically thatAdvertisements will not be accepted for or retained on display on British Transport Advertising sites if they … might wound racial susceptibilities … attack a member or the policies of any Government … are of a political nature, whether produced by a political party or not … might foment social unrest.As the Postmaster-General knows, in the matter of programme content the I.T.A., under the provisions of the Television Act, 1954 makes sure that nothing is included in programmes whichoffends against good taste or decency or is likely to encourage or incite to crime or to lead to disorder or to be offensive to public feeling or which contains any offensive representation of or reference to a living person …Section 3(1.g) provides thatno matter designed to serve the interests of any political party is included in the programmes.The Second Schedule of the Act states that there must be no material which has a bearing on industrial disputes.
I should like to draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to two of these matters. First, there is the sentence in the British Railways rules about fomenting social unrest and then there is the I.T.A. ruling about matters which have a bearing on industrial disputes. The Post Office will be inundated with requests from minority groups who have an axe to grind, the Fascists, the Nazis and—I say this as a trade unionist—the warped-minded Martells and the racialists. The Martells already have pamphlets waiting for the Postmaster-General to say that they can 1040 go through the post. These antidemocratic factions may send out material which is not racialist, obscene or likely to cause a breach of the peace, but it may cause social unrest and lead to strikes. Where will the Postmaster-General draw the line and what are the rules which will govern all this? These anti-democratic factions may send out political material which is not racialist, or obscene, or likely to cause a breach of the peace, but which may foment social unrest, and, in some strike ridden areas, may worsen the relations between management and men, and, indeed, even cause a strike.
This new service is cheap and is attractive to people, and above all it is a guaranteed delivery in chosen pockets or postal districts in any part of the country. The service, used in this way, can be dangerous, and it places our postmen in the invidious position of being political censors.
What is the Postmaster-General going to allow? We have always been proud in this country of its political stability. We have never denied democratic rights to minorities. On the other hand, we have never encouraged factions whose sole aim is to undermine and destroy our democratic institutions. This service will be an encouragement to them. If, say, there is social unrest, how guilty will the Postmaster-General and head postmasters, and postmen, feel about it?
I must stress to hon. Members that this is a very cheap service. Those who use it have no addressing of envelopes to do; they do not have to buy envelopes. The minority factions can choose pockets or postal districts. The Postmaster-General and head postmasters will have great difficulty in deciding whether or not the material is contrary to the blanket rules, whether it is strongly political or otherwise.
The timing of the service could not have been worse, either. The right hon. Gentleman told us that it will stop as soon as Parliament has been dissolved, and that it will not be allowed in a by-election area when a Writ has been issued. There are five by-elections pending at the moment; most of the candidates have been chosen, and the initial sparring has begun. So it is all right then for the Aims of Industry, the 1041 Economic League, Industrial Aids, Ltd., Martell—any of those—to cheat the Representation of the People Act, to cheat the statement the right hon. Gentleman made, by his allowing the Conservative "front" organisations to flood the areas concerned? They can do it now. The same will apply to these factions who get by his political censors in the Greater London area; they will be able to influence the Greater London electorate as well. It also affects one-sixth of the Members of this House who will probably be active in that campaign.
If the B.B.C. felt guilty over the political controversial content of "T.W.T W.T.W." and withdrew it on the ground that this is election year, why does the Postmaster-General allow his Department to be used in political controversy at this time? Five by-elections are pending, the Greater London Council election is pending, local elections are almost on our doorstep, and there is, indeed, a General Election expectancy in the air.
§ Mr. Mason
But the timing could not have been worse for another reason. The right hon. Gentleman knew that the Union of Post Office Workers' conference had turned down his scheme. He knew, also, that the postmen were against his imposition of a low wages policy on postmen and that the postmen are now mustering their forces for seeking a national revision of wages. There is great unrest in the Post Office. In the face of all this the right hon. Gentleman decides to launch a scheme which to many postmen proved to be the last straw—hence the lobbying today and the meetings upstairs, and the many Union of Post Office Workers' branches' resolutions against it.
I recognise that the Post Office is losing about £8 million on postal activithes—although I understand that this will be reduced to about £4 million this year—and that this has been mainly caused by the loss of pools traffic, but what worries us is that the Postmaster-General forgets that the Post Office is a public service, a fact which must always be borne in mind during his bouts of commercial fanaticism. He also is pruning back the rural telephone 1042 kiosk service, and he is gradually stifling the telegram service. Now he is introducing the unaddressed delivery service, which could well impair his mail delivery service.
In view of the fact that this service is generally not wanted, and that it will blur the public service image of the Post Office for little financial return, that we fear that there will be a worsening of relationships all round, and, above all, that our postmasters are to be asked to be political censors, and that this is departing from the nationally recognised convention that Government Departments and agencies should not be used for politically controversial services, we intend to ask the House to vote against the introduction of the service.
§ 6.35 p.m.
§ The Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster-General (Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter)
The concluding words of the most eloquently delivered speech of the hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) underline the tangle in which the Opposition have got themselves on this issue.
When my right hon. Friend answered a Question last Wednesday the attack on him, led by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), was that he was introducing the service at all. Indeed, during the course of this debate at least two-thirds of the speech to which we have just listened, and about one-third of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, and the whole of that of the hon. Member for Manchester, Openshaw (Mr. C. Morris), were directed not to the issue actually raised by the Motion, whirl speaks ofany debasing of the public services … by allowing them to be used for the dissemination of political propaganda and other highly contentious matterbut related to an attack on the service as a whole.
Therefore we must ask hon. Members opposite to be a little clearer than that about what it is they are asking the House to decide this evening.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The hon. Member says, "Not to do it at all." Of course, that is precisely the opposite 1043 of what his right hon. Friends have put in their Motion. It is a long Motion, but there is a copy by the hon. Member—
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
—in which he will see that it relates tothe dissemination of political propaganda and other highly contentious matter".
§ Mr. G. Brown
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman is really quite as obtuse as he is making out, but let us get it quite clear. There is still time for the House, under its ordinary procedure, to decide whether or not regulations shall be made. At this stage, what we are saying, as I was very careful to say to the right hon. Gentleman, is that if, despite all the arguments we have put, the Government want to pursue it, then we will consider that in the light of whether they are prepared to amend the regulations in accordance with our Motion. That is what I said. This is the constitutional position. That, at this stage, is what the right hon. Gentleman should address himself to.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
It is precisely the Motion to which I am addressing myself. The Motion says nothing whatever about stopping the inception of the service.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The hon. Gentleman can say that it comes later, but I am dealing with the proposal which the Opposition have seen fit to put in the Motion.
I know why hon. and right hon. Members put it in this way. They realise that it is patently inconsistent for the Labour Party, which stresses in and out of season the need for nationalised industries to expand their scope, to come forward and attack my right hon. Friend when he proposes an additional service to the public which will improve the financial position of the Post Office. It is completely inconsistent with what the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said at his 1961 party conference, that nationalised industries should be set free to expand their activities.
1044 When my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General, whose skill and determination in restoring and improving the finances of the Post Office are plainly serving the public interest in general and the interests of his staffs in particular, comes forward with a proposal of this sort I would not have been surprised if some of my hon. Friends had taken a little exception—indeed, I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Stamford (Mr. K. Lewis) did—to this extension of nationalised industry's scope in competition with private enterprise in what is believed to be a remunerative field.
But it comes ill from hon. Gentlemen opposite. I think that that is the reason why they have, in the Motion—if not in a good many of their speeches—switched from the line taken last Wednesday, and produced this portentous Motion about "debasing" the public service and "political propaganda and other highly contentious matters".
I thought that the right hon. Gentleman made rather heavy weather about political propaganda. There is not an hon. Member who would be in this House at all had he not taken part in political propaganda. The right hon. Gentleman knows that perfectly well. In what, as I think we must all agree, was one of his less happy speeches, the right hon. Gentleman sought to make an argument—here, I must accept that he did for a short time refer to the terms of the Motion—by trying to establish that there was something so different about this service that while it was, he accepted, legitimate for political propaganda to go through the ordinary mails, it should be excluded from this service.
On thinking that over, I believe that the right hon. Gentleman will find that there is nothing like a sufficient difference between this service and the regular mails to sustain the totally different conclusion about whether they should carry political propaganda or not. It is carried by the same organisation, the General Post Office. It is delivered by the same organisation, using the same staff. The only substantial difference is the instructions which the sender gives about delivery which are given in general terms—shall we say, "Deliver to all the houses in Barnsley"—rather than that each envelope is separately addressed.
1045 If it is unobjectionable for political propaganda to be delivered anywhere one likes in the country if the sender puts a 3d. stamp on an envelope and addresses it or a 2½d. stamp on a postcard and addresses it I cannot see why there is any objection—when it is being delivered by a "uniformed public servant", to quote the right hon. Gentleman—to any house in the country by means of this new service.
The right hon. Gentleman said that the propaganda delivered by this service would be open and not in envelopes. That argument will not sustain the difference. One can send political propaganda on a postcard; indeed, I believe that a good deal of propaganda is sent in that way. With their worldly wisdom the courts of law have said that we must presume that postcards are read in transmission.
One can go further and stamp a political slogan on an envelope going through the ordinary post. In May of this year the director of the Labour Party's publicity organisation in Smith Square asked the permission of the Post Office to put a slogan on envelopes emerging from that address stating "Let's go with Labour"—
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
—"and we'll get things done."
I think that even the right hon. Gentleman would accept that that was political propaganda, and that hon. Members who cheered it did so because they thought that it was political propaganda. It is not very good political propaganda. But it is the best that hon. Gentlemen opposite can do, so we must not be too censorious. That is the most blatant political propaganda, and I must stress that it was permitted to anyone who cared to put a 3d. stamp on a letter and put that slogan on it. It was delivered by a uniformed public servant. What is the distinction between that use of political propaganda—
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The 3d. stamp—exactly. Political propaganda ceases to be political propaganda if it costs you 3d.—according to the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Brown
The right hon. and learned Gentleman may be enjoying himself. But let us also be fair. The difference is that when one has to pay for it, provide an envelope, put a 3d. stamp on it and address the envelope to an individual person, it is a totally different operation from the door-to-door indiscriminate distribution, at a cheap cut rate, of unaddressed, open material.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
Exactly. It is, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, a good deal cheaper.
But what is the deduction from that? It is that political propaganda—apparently this is the view of the right hon. Gentleman—should be rationed by the purse. If one can afford an organisation to address envelopes, and the postage—as apparently Transport House can—it is all right. The right hon. Gentleman exposes the weakness of his argument when he says that he accepts that political propaganda can go in this way, but cannot go by the cheaper method which my right hon. Friend is introducing.
The right hon. Gentleman argued that we were accepting censorship because we said that grossly offensive—to use the right hon. Gentleman's words—material should not be sent by this service. I accept that there may be marginal cases of doubt about what is grossly offensive material. It may be a matter of argument. But surely there is all the difference in the world between, for example, obscene attempts to arouse racial antagonisms, and straight obscenity, and ordinary political propaganda which would fail in its object were it anything of the sort.
The right hon. Gentleman said that anti-nationalisation propaganda—he hastily corrected himself and said anti-public service, to show that he really meant the same—was offensive to him. The right hon. Gentleman is confusing two things what is in the real sense offensive to all decent people, and propaganda. The attitude of the right hon. Gentleman is painfully different from that of the old radical who said. "I hate what you lay, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it." That was the older and better tradition of radicalism in England—[HON. MEMBERS: "A Frenchman said that."]—and I am glad 1047 to see that the members of the Liberal Party, to their credit, support it in their Amendment.
The right hon. Gentleman let a large cat out of the bag. He said that this proposal would mainly help the Conservative Party. I do not know whether he is right. He then said that opposition to it was not mainly based on that, which, I thought, a very revealing remark.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The right hon. Gentleman—it was referred to in some of the other speeches—suggested that the new service should follow the standards observed by three other public bodies. I accept that that is not an unreasonable criterion. It is true, as was said by the hon. Member for Barnsley, that British Railways accept some restrictions on advertisements displayed on railway premises. There is no suggestion that advertising of a political character will be displayed on Post Office premises, which is the exact analogy.
But my right hon. Friend pointed out that British Railways make absolutely no political distinction in the case of freight carried. That is an exact analogy with what the Post Office proposes to carry by means of this service. Indeed, British Railways go further. They even run a special train to take right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to their party conference.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
As the right hon. Gentleman says, they pay for it, as the customers of this service will pay for it—at the full rate. I have no doubt that if the Liberal Party put in a similar request British Railways would be happy to supply a minibus.
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The B.B.C. is mentioned in the Motion. The Corporation does not exclude political propaganda from its programmes. There is no ban on political propaganda on the B.B.C. It maintains a proper balance in its programmes, both in the party political broadcasts which are organised by agreement with the main parties and 1048 in the discussion programmes which, I believe, it takes great trouble to secure are properly balanced. The same goes for the I.T.A.'s political programmes.
The hon. Member for Barnsley quoted the Television Act, but he did not quote all of it. He did not quote the proviso to Section 3 under which there is provision for properly balanced political programmes. The Post Office is following that principle by providing a service which is open and available to those who do not break the rules about obscenity or offensiveness.
The next question is: why is this restriction thought necessary in this country? My right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General has reminded the House that other countries which run services of this sort do not impose the political ban which is asked for. In New Zealand, where there is a very similar service, both political parties make very considerable use of it to the profit of the New Zealand Post Office. I must ask right hon. Members opposite why a protection from the "debasing" influence, to quote the Motion, of political propaganda which is not required for the New Zealander is required for the Briton. Why are we thought to be so unsophisticated that it is necessary to have this kind of protection?
The right hon. Member for Belper ducked the question of political censorship. He spent a lot of time making the point that my right hon. Friend's ban on obscenity and gross offensiveness amounted to a form of censorship. That is an arguable view, but, whatever censorship it may be, it is a very much smaller and less vicious thing that political censorship. What the Motion asks the House to approve is the introduction of political censorship in the Post Office for the first time in our history.
Hon. Members opposite are all alone in this. The Press, from The Times to the New Statesman, is against them on this. They have seen the criticisms which have been made of this venture and how the hon. Member for Barnsley referred to the problem of a head postmaster dealing with possibly obscene or offensive leaflets. I accept that there may be problems, but they are very small compared with the head postmaster's 1049 problem of what is, or is not, for the purpose of this rule, to be treated as political propaganda.
For example, would an analysis of the reasons for the financial crisis at the end of the last two Labour Governments be political propaganda, or, as it could be suggested, an interesting historical analysis?
§ Mr. Boyd-Carpenter
The difference is that a report on the Prime Minister would be for the benefit of my right hon. Friends, whereas it is arguable whether a biography of the Leader of the Opposition would be in our interests or in the interests of hon. Members opposite.
Take the two leaflets to which reference has been made. Is it to be said that the Post Office cannot be used to send round a leaflet about nationalisation by the new cheaper service? Take the other case, in which a former deputy chairman of the Liberal Party is apparently putting round material
§ suggesting that the Conservative Party should be more conservative if it is to meet his taste. Are we to censor that kind of thing? If so, where would the censorship stop? This is the serious issue which is raised by today's debate.
§ I accept at once that I do not think that right hon. and hon. Members opposite fully appreciated the seriousness of the issues which they raised when they tabled their Motion. I say this in their favour; I may be wrong. However, I am bound to say that I welcome this debate and their action, because it has lifted a veil on the arrogant intolerance with which a Labour Government would treat those who ventured to criticise them. They make it clear that they would use the authority of the State to check fair criticism of their measures. Many people have trod that dangerous path before. We reject it tonight. The country will reject it tomorrow.
§ Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 237, Noes 310.1053
|Division No. 17.]||AYES||[6.58 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Crossman, R. H. S.||Hamilton, William (West Fife)|
|Ainsley, William||Dalyell, Tam||Hannan, William|
|Albu, Austen||Darling, George||Harper, Joseph|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hart, Mrs. Judith|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Davies Harold (Leek)||Hayman, F. H.|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Healey, Denis|
|Baoon, Miss Alice||Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)|
|Baird, John||Deer, George||Herbison, Miss Margaret|
|Barnett, Guy||Detargy, Hugh||Hill, J. (Midlothian)|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Diamond, John||Hilton, A. V.|
|Beaney, Alan||Dodds, Norman||Holman, Perey|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Doig, Peter||Houghton, Douglas|
|Bencs, Cyril||Driberg, Tom||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)|
|Benn, Anthony Wedgwood||Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Howie, W. (Luton)|
|Benson, Sir George||Edelman, Maurice||Hoy, James H.|
|Blackburn, F.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Blyton, William||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Hughes, Emrye (S. Ayrshire)|
|Boardman, H.||Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Evans, Albert||Hunter, A. E.|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S. W.)||Femythough, E.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Boyden, James||Finch, Harold||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Fitch, Alan||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Bradley, Tom||Fletcher, Eric||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Foley, Maurice||Janner, Sir Barnett|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Forman, J. C.||Jeger, George|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Jenkins, Roy (stechford)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Galpern, Sir Myer||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Callaghan, James||George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Ginsburg, David||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Gourlay, Harry||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)|
|Chapman, Donald||Greenwood, Anthony||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Cliffe, Michael||Grey, Charles||Jones, T. W. (Marioneth)|
|Collick, Peroy||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Kelley, Richard|
|Corbet Mrs. Freda||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, B.)||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||King, Dr. Horace|
|Cronin, John||Gunter, Ray||Lawson, George|
|Crosland, Anthony||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Ledger, Ron|
|Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Oswald, Thomas||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Owen, Will||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Padley, W. E.||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Peget, R. T.||Steele, Thomas|
|Lipton, Marcus||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Loughlin, Charles||Pargiter, G. A.||Stonehouse, John|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Parker, John||Stones, William|
|McBride, N.||Parkin, B. T.||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|McCann, John||Pavitt, Laurence||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|MacColl, James||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Swain, Thomas|
|MacDermot, Niall||Peart, Frederick||Swingler, Stephen|
|McInnes, James||Pentland, Norman||Symonds, J. B.|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Popplewell, Ernest||Taverne, D.|
|Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Prentice, R. E.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|McLeavy, Frank||Price J. T. (Westhoughton)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Probert, Arthur||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Proctor, W. T.||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Mahon, Simon||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Tomney, Frank|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Rankin, John||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Manuel, Archie||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)||Warbey, William|
|Mapp, Charles||Reid, William||Weitzman, David|
|Marsh, Richard||Reynolds, G. W.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Mason, Roy||Rhodes, H.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Mellish, R. J.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Whitlock, William|
|Mendelson, J. J.||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Wigg, George|
|Millan, Bruce||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras N.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Milne, Edward||Rodgers, W. T. (Stocktson)||Willey, Frederick|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Monslow, Walter||Ross, William||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Moody, A. S.||Royle, Charles (Salford, West)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Morris, Charles (Openshaw)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Morris, John||Silkin, John||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Moyle, Arthur||Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Woof, Robert|
|Neal, Harold||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Woof, Robert|
|Neal, Harold||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Oliver, G. H.||Small, William|
|O'Malley, B. K.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Oram, A. E.||Snow, Julian||Dr. Broughton and Mr. Redhead.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Bullard, Denys||Elliott, R. W. (Newc'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Emery, Peter|
|Allason, James||Burden, F. A.||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Errington, Sir Eric|
|Anderson, D. C.||Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Errott, Rt. Hon. F. J.|
|Arbuthnot, Sir John||Carr, Rt. Hon. Robert (Mitcham)||Farey-Jones, F. W.|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Cary, Sir Robert||Farr, John|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Channon, H. P. G.||Fell, Anthony|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Chichester-Clark, R.||Finlay, Graeme|
|Balniel, Lord||Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Fisher, Nigel|
|Barber, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles|
|Barlow, Sir John||Cleaver, Leonard||Foster, Sir John|
|Barter, John||Cole, Norman||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)|
|Batsford, Brian||Cooke, Robert||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Cooper, A. E.||Freeth, Denzil|
|Bell, Ronald||Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Cordeaux, Lt-Col. J. K.||Gardner, Edward|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Cordle, John||Gibson-Watt, David|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Corfield, F. V.||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Costain, A. P.||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)|
|Bidgood, John C.||Courlson, Michael||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)|
|Biffen, John||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Goodhart, Phllip|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Crawley, Aidan||Goodhew, Victor|
|Bishop, Sir Patrick||Critchley, Julian||Gough, Frederick|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Cunningham, Sir Knox||Gower, Raymond|
|Bossom, Hon, Clive||Curran, Charles||Grant-Ferrie, R.|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Dalkeith, Earl of||Green, Alen|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Dance, James||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Box, Donald||d' Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Gurden, Harold|
|Braine, Bernard||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Brewis, John||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Hamitton, Michael (Wellingborough)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt. Col. Sir Walter||Doughty, Charles||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Drayson, G. B.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Duncan, Sir James||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Duthie, Sir William (Banff)||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Bryan, Paul||Eden, Sir John||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesfield)|
|Buck, Antony||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Harvie Anderson, Miss||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Hastings, Stephen||MacLeod, Sir J. (Ross & Cromarty)||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||McMaster, Stanley R.||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Maddan, Martin||Sharples, Richard|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maginnis, John E.||Shaw, M.|
|Hendry, Forbes||Maitland, Sir John||Shepherd, William|
|Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Hiley, Joseph||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Marshall, Sir Douglas||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Marten, Neil||Speir, Rupert|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Stainton, Keith|
|Hobson, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Hocking, Philip N.||Maude, Angus (Stratford-on-Avon)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Holland, Philip||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Hollingworth, John||Mawby, Ray||Stodart, J. A.|
|Holt, Arthur||Mills, Stratton||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||Miscampbell, Norman||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Hopkins, Alan||Montgomery, Fergus||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Hornby, H. P.||Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Morgan, William||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Morrison, John||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)|
|Hughes-Young, Michael||Neave, Airey||Teeling, Sir William|
|Hurd, Sir Anthony||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Temple, John M.|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Oakshott, Sir Hendrie||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)|
|Jackson, John||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|James, David||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Hendon, North)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Jennings, J. C.||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Johnson, Dr Donald (Carlisle)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Partridge, E.||Turner, Colin|
|Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Percival, Ian||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Peyton, John||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Pitman, Sir James||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Kimball, Marcus||Pitt, Dame Edith||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Kitson, Timothy||Pounder, Rafton||Wade, Donald|
|Lagden, Godfrey||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Walder, David|
|Lambton, Viscount||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Walker, Peter|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek|
|Leather, Sir Edwin||Prior, J. M. L.||Wall, Patrick|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Prior, J. M. L.||Wall, Patrick|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Lilley, F. J. P.||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Webster, David|
|Lindsay, Sir Martin||Pym, Francis||Whitelaw, William|
|Linstead, Sir Hugh||Ramsden, Rt. Hon. James||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Litchfield, Capt. John||Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. Sir Peter||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Longbottom, Charles||Reea-Davies, W. R. (Isle of Thanet)||Wise, A. R.|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Renton, Rt. Hon. David||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Lubbock, Eric||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Ridsdale, Julian||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey||Woodnutt, Mark|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Woollam, John|
|MacArthur, Ian||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)||Wordey, Marcus|
|McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Roots, William|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mr. Peel and Mr. McLaren.|
§ Question put, That the proposed words be there added:—1054
§ The House divided: Ayes 299, Noes 232.1059
|Division No. 18.]||AYES||[7.10 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Barlow, Sir John||Biffen, John|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Barter, John||Biggs-Davison, John|
|Allason, James||Batsford, Brian||Bishop, F. P.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Black, Sir Cyril|
|Anderson, D. C.||Bell, Ronald||Bossom, Hon. Clive|
|Arbuthnot, John||Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Bourne-Arton, A.|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Berkeley, Humphry||Box, Donald|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John|
|Balniel, Lord||Bidgood, John C.||Braine, Bernard|
|Brewis, John||Hastings, Stephen||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon, Henry||Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Oakshort, Sir Hendrie|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Browne, Percy (Torrington)||Hendry, Forbes||Orr-Ewing, Sir Charles|
|Bryan, Paul||Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Buck, Antony||Hiley, Joseph||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Bullard, Denys||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Burden, F. A.||Hobson, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hocking, Philip N.||Partridge, E.|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Holland, Philip||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Carr, Rt. Hon. Robert||Hollingworth, John||Peel, John|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Holt, Arthur||Percival, Ian|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||Peyton, John|
|Chichester Clark, R.||Hopkins, Alan||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Hornby, R. P.||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Pitman, Sir James|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Pitt, Dame Edith|
|Cole, Norman||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Pounder, Rafton|
|Cooke, Robert||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hughes-Young, Michael||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Cordle, John||Iremonger, T. L.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Corfield, F. V.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Costain, A. P.||Jackson, John||Pym, Francis|
|Coulson, Michael||James, David||Ramsden, Rt. Hon. James|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Jennings, J. C.||Rawlinson, Sir Peter|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Crawley, Aidan||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Rees-Davies, W. R. (Isle of Thanet)|
|Critchley, Julian||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Renton, Rt. Hon. David|
|Curran, Charles||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey|
|Dance, James||Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)|
|Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Kershaw, Anthony||Róyle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Doughty, Charles||Kimball, Marcus||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kitson, Timothy||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Duncan, Sir James||Lagden, Godfrey||Sharples, Richard|
|Duthie, Sir William (Banff)||Lambton, Viscount||Shaw, M.|
|Eden, Sir John||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Shepherd, William|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Leather, Sir Edwin||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Elliott, R. W. (Newc'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Lilley, F. J. P.||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Emery, Peter||Lindsay, Sir Martin||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Speir, Rupert|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Litchfield, Capt. John||Stainton, Keith|
|Farey Jones, F, W.||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Farr, John||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Fell, Anthony||Longbottom, Charles||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Finlay, Graeme||Loveys, Walter H.||Stodart, J. A.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lubbock, Eric||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Foster, John||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||McLaren, Martin||Tapsell, Peter|
|Freeth, Denzil||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Gardner, Edward||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs)||Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Teeling, Sir William|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)||Macleod, Sir J. (Ross & Cromarty)||Temple, John M.|
|Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||McMaster, Stanley R.||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Maddan, Martin||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Maginnis, John E.||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)|
|Goodhart, Philip||Maitland, Sir John||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Goodhew, Victor||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Gough, Frederick||Marshall, Sir Douglas||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|Gower, Raymond||Marten, Neil||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Green, Alan||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Maude, Angus (Stratford-on-Avon)||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Turner, Colin|
|Gurden, Harold||Mawby, Ray||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Mills, Stratton||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Miscampbell, Norman||Van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)||Montgomery, Fergus||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Morgan, William||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Maccelesf'd)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Wade, Donald|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Neave, Airey||Welder, David|
|Harris Anderson, Miss||Nicholls, Sir Harmer||Walker Peter|
|Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)||Woollam, John|
|Wall, Patrick||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Ward, Darne Irene||Wise, A. R.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Webster, David||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Whitelaw, William||Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Williams, Dudley (Exeter)||Woodhouse, C. M.||M. MacArthur and|
|Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)||Woodnutt, Mark||Mr. Hugh Rees.|
|Abse, Leo||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Moody, A. S.|
|Ainsley, William||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Morris, Charles (Openshaw)|
|Albu, Austen||Gunter, Ray||Morris, John|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Moyle, Arthur|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Neal, Harold|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Hannan, William||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Harper, Joseph||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)|
|Baird, John||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Oliver, G. H.|
|Barnett, Guy||Hayman, F. H.||O'Malley, B. K.|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Healey, Denis||Oran, A. E.|
|Beaney, Alan||Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Ballenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Owen, Will|
|Bence, Cyril||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Padley, W. E.|
|Benn, Anthony Wedgwood||Hilton, A. V.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Holman, Percy||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Benson, Sir George||Houghton, Douglas||Parker, John|
|Blackburn, F.||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Blyton, William||Howell, Dents (Small Heath)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Boardman, H.||Howie, W. (Luton)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hoy, James H.||Peart, Frederick|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S. W.)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pentland, Norman|
|Boyden, James||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Popplewalt, Ernest|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Bradley, Tom||Hunter, A. E.||Price, J. T. (Westhougton)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Probert, Arthur|
|Brown, RI. Hon. George (Belper)||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Proctor, W. T.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Pureey, cmdr. Harry|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Randall, Harry|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Janner, Sir Barnett||Rankin, John|
|Callaghan, James||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Jeger, George||Reid, William|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Cliffe, Michael||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Rhodes, H.|
|Collick, Percy||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Cronin, John||Jones J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Roberson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Crosland, Anthony||Jones, T. W. (Merionoth)||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockson)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Kelley, Richard||Rogers G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Kenyon, Clifford||Ross, William|
|Darling, George||King, Dr. Horace||Royle, Charles (Salford, West)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lawson, George||Silkin, John|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Ledger, Ron||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Deer, George||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Lipton, Marcus||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Diamond, John||Loughlin, Charles||Small, William|
|Dodds, Norman||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Doig, Peter||McBride, N.||Snow, Julian|
|Driberg, Tom||McCann, John||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley)||MacColl, James||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||MacDermot, Niall||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Edelman, Maurice||McInnes, James||Steele, Thomas|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mckay, John (Wallsend)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Stonehouse, John|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||McLeavy, Frank||Stones, William|
|Evans, Albert||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Swain, Thomas|
|Finch, Harold||Mahon, Simon||Swingler, Stephen|
|Fitch, Alan||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Symonds, J. B.|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Taverne, D.|
|Filler, Maurice||Manuel, Archie||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Mapp, Charles||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Forman, J. C.||Marsh, Richard||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mason, Roy||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mayhew, Christopher||Thornton, Ernest|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)||Mellish, R. J.||Tomney, Frank|
|Ginsburg, David||Mendelson, J. J.||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Gourlay, Harry||Millan, Bruce||Warbey, William|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Milne, Edward||Weitzman, David|
|Grey, Chares||Mitchison G. R.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Griffiths, David (Bother Valley)||Monslow, Walter||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Whitlock, William||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Wigg, George||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Wilkins, W. A.||Winterbottom, R. E.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Willey, Frederick||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Williams, D. J. (Neath)||Woof, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Dr. Broughton and Mr. Redhead.|
§ Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.
That this House approves the intention of Her Majesty's Government to respect the same principle of freedom of communications in the household delivery service as applies to the postal services generally.