HC Deb 12 March 1964 vol 691 cc717-852

Question again proposed, That those words be there inserted in the Bill.

6.14 p. m.

Mr. O'Malley

As I was saying, Mr. Speaker, I cannot believe that much of the evidence given by representatives of the Magistrates' Association reflected adequately or accurately the ideas of many magistrates. I know that some have very different and much more forward-looking ideas. Indeed, in fairness to my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle), I should say that, although he is a prominent member of the Magistrates' Association, he made his position categorically clear when giving evidence before the Royal Commission, and also in Standing Committee upstairs, and here today. I want to consider briefly the grounds on which the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Mr. Renton) based his case, and the case posed by the Home Secretary and the Under-Secretary in Committee.

I had considerable difficulty in understanding what the right hon. and learned Gentleman was talking about, both in Standing Committee and here this after noon. At one stage I was not sure whether he had flown into the extreme heights of metaphysical abstraction or had descended into a morass of candyfloss nonsense. I remarked to my hon. Friends that I did not know where we were going on his argument, and I wondered whether we were going anywhere. Part of his argument that we should have magistrates was based on his assertion that when we have had trouble with the police it has tended to be in the boroughs.

Coming from the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that was a very unfair conclusion to draw from the available facts. He will appreciate that many other circumstances have to be taken into account. He knows that some magistrates on existing watch committees are also members of local authorities. He knows that in coming to a conclusion on the matter it is necessary to consider the type of area, the type of crime that occurs in cities, the closeness of contact in cities, as opposed to county areas, and even questions of historical accident and circumstance. His conclusion that when we have had trouble with the police it has been in the boroughs cannot be justified from any evidence that he or any of us can bring forward.

He also expressed fear of political pressure. That is why he wanted to include magistrates, whom he, and presumably other hon. Members, believe to be less political in their attitudes than are elected representatives. It is interesting to note that these views have been refuted by the Government at other stages. In Committee the Home Secretary said that in his view watch committees had developed a strong immunity to political argument, and the Under-Secretary said that in his view watch committees had worked very well.

The right hon. and learned Member also said that in the county councils there was no bossing of the police. He implied that this might have gone on in the boroughs, or that bossing could be prevented by the new organisation set up under tie Bill. But there is at least some evidence for saying that if some chief constables had been under a little more control, or had listened more to their watch committees, things might have been better in a number of cities. In fact, the situation has been the reverse of that which was suggested by the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

One point that he raised which was worthy of serious consideration, arose when he dealt with a matter of constitutional principle. He disliked the idea that the police should have any relationship with the executive—and he obviously meant that local authorities were executive bodies. I appreciate his point, but there is a much more important and fundamental principle at stake; that when there is financial expenditure, control should be in the hands of those who are democratically elected by the public.

Let us consider some of the arguments adduced by Government spokesmen in Committee about the reasons for the changes being brought about by the Bill. The Joint Under-Secretary said that both the standing joint committees and the watch committees had worked well. Having said that, it was strange to hear him say that they should be changed. He admitted that the existence of magistrates on watch committees was an historical accident and he reminded me of the headmaster who did not want to put anything bad on the little boy's school report.

I am not surprised that the standing joint committees have not worked badly. This is basically the view of the Royal Commission. Are the objections to the sort of arrangements the Government are proposing more theoretical than real? If one took away a democratically elected local authority and put in its place professionals to administer the area one would not expect administrative chaos. Despite this, one would find a steadily weakening interest on the part of the electorate in the area over a period and that would apply to the interests of all sections of the district. By introducing the principle of non-democratically elected magistrates to watch committees the Government will be doing precisely that.

Several stronger points were made by the Government in Committee upstairs, one of them being that by having magistrates on police and watch committees one would widen the field of selection. I agree, and I also agree that some people will not stand for election to these bodies and be prepared to stand up on public platforms and become councillors, although they could play a valuable rôle as magistrates and, as such, as members of watch committees.

The Home Secretary said that councillors who were at the same time magistrates might have little experience of judicial work and it was for that reason that the Royal Commission made the recommendation that the quarter sessions and magistrates benches should make appointments. It is precisely because magistrates are concerned with judicial work that I do not want to see them engaged in police affairs. There should be a fundamental division between the administration of justice and the administration of the police force. Whatever suggestions the Government make they must remember that it is necessary to keep a balance and to keep separated the administration of the police force and the administration of justice.

All the historical development of the last and this century has shown that the power of J.P.s has been taken away to prevent them from acting as local government officials. We all know how J.P.s were overlooked with all sorts of responsibilities—poor law work and so on—because local authorities were not then in existence and J.P.s were the only people available to take on those responsibilities. It was because they could not cope with the work and because of the changing political climate that we saw the growth of local authorities and the transferance of functions from J.P.s to the authorities. What the Government are now doing is reversing that historical process.

I would have a fundamental objection to magistrates going on to any kind of board or body, whether police committees or anything else, so long as magistrates are chosen in the unsatisfactory way they are now selected. Even if I regarded the situation of police committees as satisfactory, the Government's argument for widening the field of selection is out-balanced by the importance of maintaining the fundamental principle that the administration of justice and the administration of the police should be kept completely separate and divorced.

Mr. Victor Yates (Birmingham, Ladywood)

We have been discussing this matter for a considerable time and I will not weary the House by making a long speech. It is significant that the vast majority of hon. Members on both sides of the House have expressed opinions against the proposals of the Government, and the same can be said of our debates in Committee upstairs.

Despite the remarks of the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) about hon. Members who represent county constituencies not having spoken today, the same can be said about those hon. Members and their speeches in Committee. It was significant in Committee that the two right hon. Gentlemen who spoke in favour of the Government's proposals were both former Ministers at the Home Office.

The hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) raised objections on behalf of the town clerk of his constituency, although those objections were fully considered in Committee and were representative of the objections expressed by most local authorities; that is, all those which are members of the Association of Municipal Corporations.

Mr. Robert Cooke

I never heard directly from the Association of Municipal Corporations and I merely formed my judgment from the views expressed by the members of the watch committee and, as I said, the town clerk wrote to me.

Mr. Yates

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that his opinion is not the opinion of the few but is the unanimous opinion of the members of the Association of Municipal Corporations. Those authorities were entitled to ask for greater consideration from the Government than has been given to their views.

The right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Mr. Renton) made some remarks in Committee and again today which, I should have thought, would be thoroughly offensive to most local authorities. He referred to one-third magistrates and two-thirds members of the council as being a fair proportion. It would he a pity, he said, to bring local police under the control of local party caucuses. I resented those remarks because I am speaking on behalf of an authority which has always elected its members to its watch committee. I challenge the right hon. and learned Gentleman to tell me whether he considers that Birmingham, which has always had a watch committee elected by the council, has ever exercised its functions as a party political caucus. Sir Edward Dodd, a former chief constable of Birmingham, who was recently knighted, worked under the control of this elected committee in Birmingham for some years and the Home Secretary has paid tribute to Birmingham's police authority, not only to Sir Edward but to the committee as a whole. How did we in Birmingham achieve our success? People are appointed to watch committees on the basis of their ability, and in order to give a fair representation of the parties in the council. When that is done we get clear party opinion, as has been the case in Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester——

6.30 p.m.

Mr. John Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)

And Sheffield.

Mr. Yates

It would be unfair of the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Mr. Renton) to cast on those authorities the reflection that, as they do not have one-third of the members permanently appointed from outside, a political caucus runs things——

Mr. Renton

The hon. Member has known me for years, and he knows that I am not, by nature, an offensive person. I have cast no aspersions on the authorities he has mentioned. He knows equally well that there are some borough authorities where there have been unpleasant happenings on the police authority. That can always happen, alas, in any place; one wants to prevent it happening anywhere.

Mr. Yates

I quite agree that the right hon. and learned Gentleman never sets out to be offensive, but one cannot decide on the composition of committees on the basis of what black sheep there might be. It is up to the right hon. and learned Gentleman and those who support his views to show that the method adapted in the past by borough authorities has proved to be wrong and inefficient. I say that, on the whole, it has not been so.

The Birmingham local authority contributes over £2 million towards the maintenance of the police there, irrespective of the Government grant. That is the amount that falls on the ratepayers, and I think it absolutely reprehensible that one-third of the committee—with no direct responsibility to the electors—should have the right to vote on financial matters. That changes the whole principle, and the Town Clerk of Birmingham and the members of the Birmingham Watch Committee—a joint committee consisting of Conservative and Labour Members—are unanimously opposed to that change. That goes for most local authorities. That being so, the Home Secretary should give fairer consideration to the matter.

The hon. Member for Bedfordshire, South (Mr. Cole) raised important and fundamental questions about appointments. It would be most regrettable if, in the appointment of members of a police authority, one could not consider the political views of the magistrates from outside. It would be very serious for an all-party committee not to know the views of one-third of its membership. This is not a trivial matter but a major issue, and I hope that hon. Members will vote according to the merits of the argument. There are no party politics involved here. I regret any introduction of party politics, because the administration of the police ought to be beyond political arguments.

I do not mind magistrates serving on a watch committee, provided they are elected by the authorities. With the existing principle of co-option the local authority has the power to appoint individuals, and can refuse to appoint someone whose co-option is suggested, but that will not be the case under the Bill. Whether we like it or not, one-third of the members of the police authority will have to be magistrates.

Members of the public have asked me, "What is the good of a police court?" I have replied, "It is the magistrates' court." Members of the public think that the police run the courts, although we have tried to make clear that the courts are in the control of the magistrates. If magistrates are to be compelled to serve on the local authority, it will be said that they no longer run the courts. If the Home Secretary cannot go all the way with us, I hope that he will compromise in some way in view of the very strong opposition, in the House and outside it, to this proposal.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I had not intended to discuss these Amendments, as I represent a London constituency that will be quite unaffected by their fate, but in view of some of the things that have been said in this debate, and as I think that I am, with the exception of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Huntingdonshire (Mr. Renton), the only person to intervene who does not represent a constituency in which there is a watch committee, I think it right for me to make some contribution.

Local authorities are political bodies—certainly those of a size sufficient to be concerned with this Bill. That is all to the good. I do not think that they would be able to work except on that basis. The hon. Lady the Member for Leeds, South-East (Miss Bacon) said in moving the Amendment that the political majority on police authorities would be disturbed as a result of the provisions of the Bill——

Miss Bacon

It could be.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

It could be—I accept that. My answer is, "Why not?" What is so serious about that? I am sure that she and all hon. Members will agree that watch committees have done their job without bias—and, certainly, without political bias. If that is so, the addition of a number of other members, whether or not they are politicians, will not affect the matter—[Interruption.] I hear an hon. Member say "My goodness"—the implication of that remark is that there are political considerations that affect the minds of those on these committees——

Mr. Winterbottom

All watch committees, according to the numbers that have to be provided by the local authorities, are conditioned by the party representation in the council. Proportionately to those parties, representation is made on the watch committee, which is a political body. The position will be disturbed.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I fully appreciate that. My point is that members of these committees, whatever their politics, discharge their duties on the committees without bias. If it is suggested that the membership of a number of these individuals will disturb the political balance within the committees and that that will have some effect, it is a suggestion that there is some sort of political bias already affecting these committees.

Mr. Julius Silverman (Birmingham, Aston)

Is it not precisely because of this suggestion of political bias on the part of some representatives that the proposals in the Bill are being put forward?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I am not certain of the implication of that remark, but I understand that if we accept that these committees work without political bias, the political proportion in the membership does not matter.

Mr. S. Silverman

If the hon. Member had difficulty in understanding the relevance of the intervention by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Aston (Mr. J. Silverman), may I remind him that his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Huntingdonshire (Mr. Renton) advocated this proportion of magistrates on police authorities precisely in order to redress what he said was the adverse political balance which one would have on the police authorities unless that amendment was made?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I did not understand that and I do not accept it. I accept fully that magistrates have political views. One would be silly not to do so. Many of them are politicians at one time and magistrates at another. The point of the provisions in the Bill is that whereas the political members of the police committees will be appointed by an avowedly political body, namely, the local authority, one-third of the members will be magistrates appointed not by a political authority but by the magistrates themselves who will be acting in an entirely non-political capacity. This seems to me to be of the greatest importance.

The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) argued very strongly that when members of these committees get on to the committees they do not act in a political capacity. I accept that. Therefore, I think it is important that we should have a certain number of members who are not appointed by a political body. This seems to me to be the advantage of having a proportion of the membership magistrates appointed by magistrates.

Mr. Winterbottom

Will the hon. Member agree that there must be political selection of magistrates in order that here shall be political reaction from the magistrates among those who are appointed to a watch committee? If we had magistrates selected as non-political people but who had political leanings and who in many cases would alter the balance of power within the watch committee, this would arouse agitation about political considerations in the judgment of magistrates. This has happened. It happened in 1906 to the detriment of the hon. Member's party when hundreds of Liberal members were selected.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I do not accept what the hon. Member has just said. I accept that a political body must choose people on a political basis and that therefore those appointed by a local authority will be a political choice. I say that it is unfortunate that such a body as a police authority should be of that character and, therefore, it is of great value that there should be members of that body appointed on a non-political basis. Hon. Members have said that magistrates ought not to control the police. I agree, but if magistrates ought not to control the police, neither should a p political body.

6.45 p.m.

There is no ideal solution to the problem. The Bill shows how difficult it is. The Bill is not short and it has many complex provisions dealing with many aspects of his matter. These provisions are entirely different from those which deal with education and other matters coming within the responsibilty of local authorities. The reason for this difference is that difficult constitutional considerations are involved. The administration of the police involves disciplinary, legal and political considerations.

It seems to me that with a body of this kind it is desirable to have some special arrangement. I agree that the local authority should be one, and the most predominant, of the bodies to appoint members, but it is also desirable to have other bodies and the best source of such other bodies is the magistrates. I believe that the 33⅓ per cent. proportion of members chosen by magistrates is about the right solution. I warmly welcome the Bill.

Sir C. Taylor

I should say for the benefit of my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) that I represent part of the County of East Sussex but the area also includes a county borough. I have met members of the watch committee. I have known them well individually over a great many years and I fully agree with their disagreement with this part of the Bill and their agreement with the Amendment moved by the hon. Lady the Member for Leeds. South-East (Miss Bacon).

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has had a pretty bad time today. There has been one lukewarm speech in his favour and one rather indifferent speech in his favour and I will not say which I think was which. But for almost the first time in my life I find myself in considerable agreement with the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) when he drew attention to the old principle of the executive and the judiciary being separate. His arguments were not new. We have all learned them throughout our lives, and I think that the principle still applies.

Two fundamental issues are at stake. The first is that, as I believe, the elected council should be responsible for the composition of the watch committee. My hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South missed the point about magistrates, in that magistrates are not responsible to the local electorate for the rates. They are not responsible for answering to the ratepayers for the expenses of the police authority. This is the second fundamental point that we have to consider.

I support the Amendment. I can only say to the Home Secretary that this disease of voting against the Government is inclined to be catching and, being old-fashioned, before making up my mind how to vote in the Division, I shall listen keenly to the answers he gives to the pleas made to him today.

Mr. Anthony Wedgwood Benn (Bristol, South-East)

So many hon. Members have spoken in the debate that I do not wish to take more than a few minutes. I was encouraged to continue trying to catch the eye of the Chair by the speech of the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth). The more the debate proceeds, the more the fundamental issue is disclosed. With his torch, the hon. Member for Hendon, South illuminated brilliantly the confusion which lies behind the Home Secretary's proposals which we are now discussing.

I, too, have had representations from the Bristol Corporation. I would go further than the watch committee and say that those members of the council who are also magistrates should be disqualified from serving on the watch committee. I will explain why. This is not a question of whether one is elected or not elected. The point is a fundamental one about functions and the incompatibility of certain functions.

It has been suggested that what makes a man unsuitable for certain types of office, like membership of a watch committee, is his political view and the danger that politics would enter into consideration. The idea is that a man's views, particularly if he is active in politics on either side, somehow make him unsuitable to control power in the community. But, of course, the whole principle on which this House rests is just the opposite of that. It is only because a man has been elected that he may control power. With the greatest respect to the Home Secretary—and that is saying a lot—the reason why I support certain of his proposals which would give him greater power over local police forces—although my watch committee does not agree about this—is just that he is political; because he has been appointed by the party which won the previous election, and he is answerable to political questioning in the House of Commons.

If we allowed the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Mr. Renton) and the hon. Member for Hendon, South to take their argument a little further, we should find that there were many other functions which, so it could be said, were unsuitable for political control.

The whole principle lying behind the speech of the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Sir C. Taylor) was perfectly sound. I was going to call the hon. Gentleman the "honourable Baronet". I am not sure whether he is a baronet now. No doubt, he will be soon, unless he votes against the Government. I do not know what he will do, and I honestly do not know whether he is a knight or a baronet. However, the hon. Gentleman's point about the rates is fundamental. Of course, the watch committee, spending the local ratepayers' money, must be answerable to the ratepayers. When I hear some of the speeches which are made in Bristol by our non-political Conservatives—who call themselves citizens in order to keep politics out of voting—suggesting that, if people do not like the council and if they want to protect the ratepayers' money, they should get rid of the council and substitute another, I cannot see how such ideas fit in with the Bill which the right hon. Gentleman has presented.

If magistrates are put on the local watch committee or police authority, their function will be a political function, because the watch committee is a political committee of a political body. If a magistrate is genuinely non-political—not non-political in the way the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) is non-political—once he is put on the watch committee, his duty will be to deal with policy regarding the police with the efficiency of which his committee is charged. Therefore, one is tempting the genuinely non-political magistrate—there may be a few—by his responsibilities to enter into honourable political decisions about the police in his area. This is the point.

It is not the views of a man which make him unsuitable for certain offices. What makes a man unsuitable for certain offices is incompatibility of double service. I do not think that some hon. Members opposite understand the principle which lies behind this matter in the British constitution. We keep various groups of people out of the House of Commons. I have had to make some study of this subject. Now, at least, there is one less disqualification for membership of the House than there was some years ago.

There are two reasons why people are excluded from the House of Commons. First, we exclude people who are inherently unsuitable, the felon, the criminal, the alien or the lunatic. Second, we exclude those who would be unsuitable because of incompatibility of double service. In one sense, there is no one more suitable to be a Member of the House than a judge, but we keep him out not because he is unsuitable but because, if he were allowed in, there would be the fundamental incompatibility of his duty in the House of Commons, where he might become Home Secretary—there is almost a vacancy, as we know—and his duty on the bench where he would have to listen to the arguments presented in court.

The hon. Member for Bristol, West said that he was speaking representing the Town Clerk of Bristol. I began to wonder whether he, too, understood the British constitution. If the watch committee had taken a contrary view, the town clerk would have written the hon. Gentleman a letter in the opposite sense, telling him about it. The hon. Gentleman is not representing the Town Clerk of Bristol. The Town Clerk of Bristol—I mean this in a perfectly proper sense—is a functionary of Bristol representing in his public duties the opinions of the majority or the watch committee.

Let us be quite clear about it. The only thing which makes a man unsuitable is the constitutional principle that to ask honourable people, whether elected councillors or magistrates—a man must be a person of character and distinction to hold either such office—to undertake certain duties would be to ask them to assume incompatible functions.

Mr. Robert Cooke

I think that the hon. Gentleman was not here at the very beginning of the debate, and I would like him to be clear about what I said. I mentioned the Town Clerk of Bristol because he had written a letter on behalf of the watch committee. I was very careful to say that the letter expressed a view with which I concurred, but I did not say that I claimed here to represent him. I may have said that I wanted his view to be represented in the House, but I added a good deal more with which, no doubt, the town clerk would not agree.

Mr. Benn

The hon. Gentleman still has not understood. The town clerk does not have a view to be represented. His view is the view of the watch committee, and when the hon. Gentleman says that he put the town clerk's view forward only because he agreed with it, it makes it worse. For this purpose, the town clerk is acting as a letter-box, which is his function and duty, and if the hon. Gentleman thinks that he is any way a party to the argument in a personal sense, he is wrong.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is taking the argument seriously. We shall judge whether hon. Members opposite who have spoken really put police matters above politics by whether they come into the Lobby to vote with us. This matter is above politics. It is a constitutional question, and we shall soon know, after the Division, whether hon. Members opposite really believe that the police should be above politics in this sense.

There is another fundamental contradiction in this part of the Bill. The Home Secretary is drawing certain powers to the centre, to himself. It would be out of order to discuss this matter further, but I happen to think that there is a case for doing what the right hon. Gentleman proposes. However, at the same time as drawing certain powers to the centre as a corrective, the Home Secretary is introducing what he regards as another corrective at the local level. This is the absurdity in this part of the Bill. The police authority which is to be set up, with the magistrates, will in toto have less authority than the watch committee which is being replaced. Until now, the watch committee has had much more power relative to the Home Secretary. Now, however, we have the completely muddled idea that we both allegedly strengthen the police authority by putting magistrates on it and, at the same time, draw greater powers to the centre.

A case might be made—I could not accept it—for saying that the magistrates were an alternative to more central control, but what cannot be justified is the idea of introducing what is supposed to be an ameliorative element locally while, at the same time, retaining ultimate power centrally. If the right hon. Gentleman thinks about it, he will realise that he has got himself into difficulties.

One result of the Bill will be that there will be fewer magistrates on the county police authorities than there have been hitherto. We are told that the county authorities work very well. We are told that the borough authorities work very well. We are then told that they are both to be changed, in a contrary sense to one another, one having fewer magistrates and the other having more. I do not think that it makes sense at all.

My last point is this. We have been told that one reason for accepting the Amendment is that the Bill will be a blueprint for the police for many years to come. I do not think that this is so. Only a very simple Amendment would be required to repeal the Clauses as at present drafted, and, since the feeling about it is so strong and the general view is so firmly opposed to the present proposals on constitutional grounds, if the right hon. Gentleman did not accept the Amendment—I still hope that he will—it would be quite easy to put matters right without having to go to the length of passing another great Measure on the police.

7.0 p.m.

Mr. Brooke

The Government's desire is to get the best possible police authorities. The matters which we have been discussing for the past three hours were examined very carefully by the Royal Commission. After consideration, the Royal Commission came down unanimously against the points of view embodied in the Amendments and against the arguments which have been expressed today. All the arguments were pressed on the Royal Commission by the Association of Municipal Corporations, but, after considering the whole matter and looking at it in the large, the Royal Commission unanimously recommended that we should form police authorities which would consist as to two-thirds of councillors and as to one-third of magistrates. The Government have accepted this recommendation. They stand by it and they believe that the arguments which swayed the Royal Commission have more substance than those which have been put to the House by objectors today.

There are three sets of Amendments before us, and, judging by the way the debate has gone, the main issue is whether there should be magistrates on the police authority. Perhaps the House will forgive me if I pass quickly over the other two. One is the suggestion that the proportion instead of being one-third should be one-sixth. I think that one-sixth would be too small a proportion in a committee of 12, and, in any case, it would not meet the objection on principle that has been adduced. I do not think that there is anything that need be said for the proposal that one should man the police committee with councillor magistrates. If we are to have magistrates on the police committee, and if it is thought that there should he magistrates there, I am quite sure that the best people for the purpose out of the whole body of magistrates should be chosen rather than we should impress certain magistrates who happen also to be councillors or aldermen.

As to financial control, which was mentioned by some of my hon. Friends and the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn), we are, of course, discussing police authorities in whose hands financial control does not lie. The financial control lies with the council and not with the police committee. If the council thinks that the police committee, however it is constituted, is over-spending, the council has the remedy in its own hands.

We are also discussing police authorities which do not direct the police force. I detected in a number of speeches today, and I regret to say one from my own side of the House, this fallacy—the idea that the police committee was responsible for everything that the police did in a town. That, of course, is not so. It is the chief constable who directs the force and who carries the responsibility for anything that his men do, and if he does the job badly he has to go and the police authority must find a new chief constable. The police authority's duty is to secure the maintenance of an adequate and efficient police force. It does not, as I think my hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, South (Mr. Cole) imagined, in any way carry responsibility for what the police actually do.

There have been two main arguments adduced against the proposal in the Bill. The first, that the police authorities should be 100 per cent. democratically elected, and, the second, that under the Royal Commission's proposals, endorsed by the Government, the functions of the police and the magistrates will become blurred.

As to the argument that the police authorities should he democratically elected, what, in fact, the Government are doing it this Bill is to set up for the first time in history a democratically elected majority on all police committees. Of course, throughout the counties up to now we have had standing joint committees on which the democratically elected element has amounted to no more than 50 per cent. and the other 50 per cent. has consisted of magistrates. It is quite true that the watch committees have consisted as to 100 per cent. of elected councillors or aldermen.

The Royal Commission, reviewing this position, believed that the magistrates had a valuable contribution to make to the work of the police authorities, but were unable to see any grounds for this anomalous differentiation as between the counties and the boroughs. It was very strongly pressed by the County Councils Association, a body which is not without experience of democratic government, that the 50 per cent. representation—50 per cent. councillors and 50 per cent. magistrates—on the police committees in the counties should be maintained. Nevertheless, it rejected that. It said that the only reasonable thing to do was to have the same composition on police authorities in both counties and boroughs, and it recommended that the element of the magistrates should be brought in by giving them one-third of the places, but that the element of democratic control should be maintained in the watch committees and should be inserted for the first time in what had been the standing joint committees by making the proportion two-thirds to one-third.

As to the other argument, that the functions of the police and the magisstrates would become blurred, I think that the hon. Member for Leeds, South-East (Miss Bacon) said that there would be confusion in the minds of people appearing before the courts, and my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) said that the two bodies would become intermingled in the public eye. I think that all this is linked with the fallacy that the police committee runs the police, which it does not. If indeed those who argue like this wish serious attention to be given to their argument, the onus is on them to explain why these dreadful things have never happened in the counties hitherto, because there has been none of this blurring. There has been no confusion in the minds of people appearing before the courts outside boroughs.

The truth is that the system has worked very well in the counties—the system of having magistrates on the standing joint committee. [Interruption.] I have explained already the reasons and I shall continue to explain them if hon. Members will allow me to complete my speech. It is quite clear that the Royal Commission had given serious attention to this argument. It was put forward by the Association of Municipal Corporations—the argument that …it was inherently objectionable to associate the functions of the police with the administration of justice."— I am quoting from the Royal Commission's Report— Our own view is that this objection is theoretical rather than real, and that there are overriding advantages in enabling the experience of justices to be made available to police authorities. That is the unanimous view of the Royal Commission and that is the view which is shared by the Government. Indeed, what has happened over the past years in the counties, without any sinister developments, is the practical rebuttal of much that has been said in arguments today. I think that we can fairly say that we have gone over the whole field. We spent three hours in Committee on Amendments of this character, and the Committee rejected them by 21 votes to 14; we have spent just on three hours on Amendments today, and I think that we have canvassed every argument.

There has been, of course, as we recognise, a direct conflict of approach between the county interests and the borough interests, reflected in the conflict between the Association of Municipal Corporations and the County Councils Association—the Association of Municipal Corporations arguing for 100 per cent. councillors and aldermen on the watch committees in the boroughs, and the County Councils Association arguing for the continuance of what would appear from this debate to be the detested system of having 50 per cent. magistrates on the police committee in the county.

I can assure the House that I know what I might call the watch committees' case very well. I have had it expressed to me by many people. I have studied the Association of Municipal Corporations' evidence and its views as expressed to the Royal Commission, and its views as expressed to me, if I may say so, very forcibly and well when I consulted it, among other bodies, after the Royal Commission's Report had been received.

This is not something about which I knew nothing until this afternoon. My hon. Friend the Member for Stockport, South (Mr. H. Steward), who, unfortunately, is ill and cannot be here today, made sure that the whole Committee was aware of this view. Hon. Members who were on the Standing Committee will confirm it. My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mrs. Hill) did the same. She said that these views were held in places as different as Manchester and Wallasey. I do not want to draw any comparisons, but it is true that my right hon. Friend the Member for Wallasey (Mr. Marples) came to see me to make sure that I understood in full the view taken by his watch committee.

I come back to the Royal Commission. Because we have heard so much this afternoon about what I might call the watch committee arguments and so little about the arguments which influenced and led the Royal Commission unanimously to come down in favour of the principle incorporated in the Bill, I would ask leave to read what the Royal Commission said about its reasons. In paragraph 210 it stated: …we regard locally elected persons as entirely fit and proper people to discharge the functions which we propose in future should be accorded to police authorities. But we think that they can be greatly assisted in their tasks of enhancing the standing of the police force and appointing its senior officers by the inclusion in their number of a proportion of justices. Through their judicial work magistrates have a close knowledge of police affairs and problems, and they above all see the fruits and nature of police work. They constitute a body of public-spirited citizens whose services cannot be enlisted through the normal machinery of local government; and the inclusion in the police authority of a quota from the magistracy widens the field of selection". In Standing Committee the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) said: I accept as a matter of argument that there are great advantages in bringing to bear on the administration of the police the experience which a magistrate acquires through sitting on a bench. Undoubtedly, as he sits on the bench and tries cases coming before him, listening to police evidence and acquiring a general knowledge of how the case is prepared and presented, he gathers together a valuable store of experience and knowledge, and I would not for a moment contend that such knowledge could not be most usefully made available to police authorities".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 3rd December, 1963: c. 29–30.] There is no dispute about the potential value of magistrates on police authorities. There is no doubt, I hope, about the proposition that the composition of police authorities should in future be made uniform in counties and boroughs. There is no doubt that the general experience in the counties hitherto is strongly in support of the Royal Commission's view that all police authorities would benefit from the admixture of a proportion, but always a minority, of magistrates along with elected members, who will always be in the majority. Those are the grounds on which I ask the House to reject the Amendment.

Mr. S. Silverman

The Home Secretary has been at great pains, rightly, to tell us what the Royal Commission thought, but the Royal Commission has made its Report and it is now not for the Royal Commission but for Parliament to decide what shall be done with it. Apart from the Royal Commission's view, will the right hon. Gentleman tell us his view?

Mr. Brooke

I am asking Parliament to decide. I expressed my views at some length in my speech today and at greater length in Standing Committee. I think that we are nearing the time when Parliament should come to a decision on the matter.

Sir F. Soskice

There is one thing about which the Home Secretary is undoubtedly right, and that is that it is the first. Amendment which raises the issue about which the House is concerned. Having agreed with him about that, and readily accepting that the other Amendments are second and third bests, I must go on to tell him that I think that his speech was unworthy of the occasion.

If my arithmetic is correct, no fewer than 17 speakers on bath sides of the House are concerned about one major principle. They do not wish to see a partial or even a minimal obliteration of the fundamental distinction in our constitution between the judge and the member of the Executive. That principle was reasserted by and underlay the basic argument of every one of the 17 hon. and right hon. Members to whom I have just referred. The right hon. Gentleman, in his reply, did not begin to try to answer their contentions.

7.15 p.m.

This is not a matter which can be decided on party lines. All of us in this House, whatever view we may have on this Amendment, prize and value that great constitutional principle which the wisdom of generations has thrown up and upon which our democracy largely depends, namely, that we must have judges who are apart from the Executive. Those of us who support the Amendment feel that that principle is involved here.

Mr. Brooke indicated dissent.

Sir F. Soskice

The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head. I am surprised to learn that he does not think that it is involved. He might have contended that it was involved only in a minor degree—I should not have agreed with him about that—but he says that it is not involved at all. Therefore, he starts from a premise which is utterly unsustainable. Obviously it is involved, and the only question is whether there is some counter-balancing consideration justifying that degree of infringement which the Bill imports.

The Home Secretary paid me the great compliment of quoting a portion of the speech which I addressed to the Standing Committe dealing with this topic. What he did not tell the House was that in the same speech I said that the overwhelmingly important consideration was the infringement of that principle. As the Royal Commission found and stated in paragraph 10 of its Report which has been read out over and over again in our debates, I accept that there is an obvious advantage in having the wisdom which justices acquire in the administration of their duties put at the disposition of the police authority. That is a truism; it is obvious. However, in the same speech, I stressed over and over again, as did all hon. Members of the Committee who felt as I did, that there was an overwhelming consideration, and that was the one to which I have adverted on a number of occasions.

Faced with that basic question of principle, whatever the right answer to it might be, and faced with speech after speech during what the Home Secretary rather complainingly referred to as the three hours which we have devoted to this important topic this afternoon, what does the right hon. Gentleman say? He says that, first, there is a financial problem. Although it is relevant and important, that is on the fringe of the question which we are deciding. He said that it was necessary that there should be elected representatives who should have responsibility. We accept that.

The Home Secretary went on to say that the other argument was the blurring of distinction between the judicial and the executive function. He tossed it aside as though it was scarcely worthy of notice. It is for this reason that I reproach the right hon. Gentleman with having made an unworthy speech.

Mr. Brooke

I did not toss it aside as being not worthy of notice. I said that this theoretical argument could have been advanced all these years against the composition of standing joint committees, but, although different Governments have been in power, the point has never been made and it has never been thought to be a practical objection in the working of this system, which we have had in counties for many years.

Sir F. Soskice

Exactly the same argument could have been used against a proposal to stop calling magistrates' courts police courts and, instead to call them by their present name, magistrates' courts. Exactly the same argument could have been used against substituting for police ushers, ushers who do not belong to the police force. Exactly the same argument could have been used. Exactly the same form of argument could have been used against every change ever proposed in this House.

Of course, very often—fortunately it is our experience—adjustments in our social and political arrangements could have tended to ill consequences but in fact have not produced ill results. Fortunately, we are still blessed with an administration of justice which is the envy of the world. But why not keep it the envy of the world? And why, when a perfectly proper change is proposed, use that kind of archaic, antiquated argument that, "It has worked all right so far, so whatever on earth you do, do not change it"?

Why I say that he tossed the argument aside as clearly unworthy of notice was because he used the same kind of argument about blurring the issue. That is the whole argument. It is the argument on which every consideration which has been addressed to the House today has centred and from which it derived its root force.

Having in the course of the discussion in Committee weighed carefully these considerations which are put in paragraph 10 of the Report of the Royal Commission, with that process of balancing having gone on now throughout the three hours we have discussed this problem in this debate, I really do put it to the right hon. Gentleman that the balance comes down heavily and incontrovertibly in favour of acceptance of the Amendment which we propose.

The Home Secretary must have had an embarrassing experience this afternoon. He has sat there alone, unsolaced, except by the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Mr. Renton). He gave him some small comfort, which was rather derisively described by an hon. Gentleman who spoke later who called it, I think, "milkwash". Some such phrase he used about it. That was all the solace the right hon. Gentleman had. He has sat there in solemn state wondering when it was all going to end, and no doubt hoping that it would end before very long, and he had to wait for speaker after speaker, and nobody looked upon him with favour until the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth), and then—with great respect to the hon. Gentleman: he knows that I have an affection and regard for him—that really could not have brought very much comfort to the right hon. Gentleman. He did his best on a bad wicket. He displayed a considerable sense of loyalty, which does not mark everybody's performance in the House these days.

The right hon. Gentleman has sat there alone. He should recognise, as one of my hon. Friends said, that he has got himself into a difficulty and he should withdraw from it gracefully and honourably. It really is not the province of a Minister with great responsibilities on his shoulders to dig himself into a trough and refuse to get out of it and to sit there sulkily and solemnly and refuse to listen to the case. He ought now to adopt a posture of dignity instead of the rather undignified posture he has adopted hitherto.

I greatly hope that the House will instruct the Home Secretary by its vote that he really has made a very serious error, and that it will vote in support of the Amendment proposed.

Several Hon. Members rose——

Mr. Speaker

I think I ought to say now, as. it may have some bearing on the desire of hon. Members to address the House, that, whereas at an early stage I said that I would select for Division, if necessary, the Amendments in page 2, line 12, in line 13, and in line 18, I understand that that would not really suit the House, and having heard the debate I agree, and that, therefore, I propose to call for Division, if desired, the Amendment under discussion and the Amendments in page 2, line 18 and line 19.

Mr. Charles A. Howell (Birmingham, Perry Barr)

I make no apology for intervening even at the last minute. I do not get many opportunities of catching your eye, Mr. Speaker, and though when I happen to be sitting near to you I thereby shudder the more to remember what often happens when an hon. Member says "I shall be brief", I will say that, nevertheless, I shall try to be practical and brief at the same time.

I think that the Home Secretary made a big mistake when he recalled what happened in the debate we had on this matter in the Standing Committee. He said that the vote against the Amendment was 21 to 14. That was not a victory for the right hon. Gentleman—that was a victory for the Whips. If the Division tonight takes any cognisance of the speeches it will not be a victory for the Whips.

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Eastbourne (Sir C. Taylor)—if I can catch him before he goes beyond the Bar—referred to two speeches by hon. Friends of who have both left the Chamber, and he described them in a not very complimentary way, but they were the only two speeches which supported the right hon. Gentleman. I do not think that either of them, the hon. Gentleman the Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) or the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Huntingdonshire (Mr. Renton), was speaking for the county councils. I think they were speaking for the esprit de corps, because both have held office in the Home Office, and what the Home Office wants they must support. I think that they were more sincere in that than was the right hon. Gentleman in his reply.

The right hon. Gentleman did not attempt to justify what he is doing, or why he is doing it. He did not say why he wanted it. What he did say was that during every Government for a long time, in particular the one we have had for the last 12 years, nobody has seen fit to complain and nobody has brought in a Bill like this. Since this Bill was introduced a number of complaints have been made.

What are we proposing to do? According to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Huntingdonshire, the inclusion of magistrates is to have some tremendous effect, to make some great improvement, on watch committees. Who are these magistrates? To my way of thinking, they are amateur judges, members of the judiciary, people who, having gone to bed one night, next morning got letters from the Lord Chancellor telling them that they were made magistrates.

So overnight a man has become a superman. The only superman I know is one my grandchildren used to watch on television, who, as soon as he was arrested had a cloak put on him, and could fly through ceilings and windows and off to the sky. That was a superman. But no one is going to tell me that an ordinary mortal, whether a bank manager, or the managing director of a firm, or a miner, or a railwayman, or even a housewife, who goes to bed at night as an ordinary mortal, wakes up next morning suddenly changed into someone who ought to be on a watch committee.

The right hon. Gentleman announced—I will not say he boasted—that he has introduced more Bills into this House than any other Minister. I think he is right. But this is one Bill which will not stand to his credit. I do not know whether it was he or someone else who said in the House that he has been described as the most hated man. That amuses the right hon. Gentleman now, but I was only quoting what somebody else has said.

Of all the Bills he has introduced this is the most retrograde Bill.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member appears to be addressing himself to the entire contents of the Bill. I am afraid that we must keep to the one point, although the group of Amendments is rather large.

Mr. Howell

I apologise to you, Mr. Speaker. I will come to it.

If the right hon. Gentleman adheres, as he is going to—we know that—to this Clause, and brings in the magistrates, he will bring the whole of the judiciary in this country, in my opinion, into disrepute. We in Britain like to boast that here we have got nearest to the perfect judicial situation. If this Clause passes, that will not be possible.

I would draw attention to something else the right hon. Gentleman said. He said that there had been no complaints when anyone had gone before councillor magistrates. How many of these people know who the magistrates are? The ordinary person probably does not know that the chairman is a lieutenant-colonel somebody or other who is the sort of person who gets noticed in the Press and who makes some pronouncement which gets the headlines. Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the ordinary person who is charged with a mis- demeanour or whatever it may be, asks pointedly, "Is the magistrate a member of the local authority?" Or vice versa? Of course he does not. Of course, the point is that one cannot be forced.

7.30 p.m.

I commend to the Home Secretary the speech of his hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, South {Mr. Cole), who said that magistrates might even lean over backwards not to believe the police and to ensure a fair hearing for the other side. There should be no suspicion in the other direction. In many cases it is police evidence against the evidence of an individual. I know what can happen to a policeman who commits perjury. A magistrate must accept the word of a police officer who is sworn to tell the truth. Magistrates go on a slippery slope when they do otherwise. Certain magistrates withdraw from the bench if they know the person appearing before them or are connected with him in any way.

Suppose that magistrates belong to a watch committee and someone steals something from that committee. How can the magistrates adjudicate in such cases? Recently in the courts there have been objections to the jury. We know that in certain circumstances someone can object to the magistrate. What will happen if the defendant or his solicitor raises the point in respect of the panel of magistrates and objects to any magistrate who is a member of the council? Will that magistrate be barred from serving? The man himself may know that it will be his word against that of a police officer, and he may object to any magistrate who is a member of the watch committee. What will be the situation then? Can the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that the defendant, who is innocent until he is proved guilty, will be offered the right of challenging a magistrate? It is important that the man should be certain that the decision, when it comes, has not been biassed by any association that the magistrate has had.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman has not come here with a knowledge from the Patronage Secretary of what his majority will be. We have heard that only two hon. Members have given lukewarm support to his proposal. He is steamrolling through a proposal which nobody in the House seems to want. Nobody in the city councils, county councils and borough councils in Britain has asked for it. What it means is that the right hon. Gentleman is telling those people that he is imposing what he proposes whether they want it or not. If he will not reconsider it now, I hope he will do so before the next stage.

Sir Douglas Glover (Ormskirk)

I apologise to the House for intervening, but I want enthusiastically to support my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary. I do not say that because of what has been said from the Opposition benches. I intervened in the Second Reading debate to make the case that the Home Secretary has been making tonight.

All the hon. Members I have heard in the debate have said that there is no authority for what the Home Secretary is doing. The hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) spent a great deal of time talking about the constitutional and historical background. For a long time magistrates were appointed not only to keep the law but to enforce it, and that is where the connection between the magistrates and the police forces arises. It is also the case that the Home Secretary had the authority of a Royal Commission, which has spent far more time on this subject than any one of us has had the opportunity of doing and unanimously recommended the proposals which the Home Secretary is putting forward.

The Home Secretary is the political head of his Department, and therefore his Department would automatically lean to a political solution. But the Department, as the governing body of the police forces in the country, having considered the evidence of the Royal Commission and all the arguments which have been put forward, has favoured this compromise solution.

The representatives of the county boroughs have been a little arrogant in their speeches when they say that this is creating a precedent. It may be that this has to be sold to the county boroughs, but it has also to be sold to the county councils.

Here we have an agreement in a Bill to try to maintain a modified form between two different systems. Up to now 50 per cent. of the county council joint boards have been magistrates, but in the county boroughs there have been no magistrates. Under the proposed alteration of control, county councils are to have one-third magistrates and county boroughs one-third magistrates. This leaves in the county boroughs a two-thirds' majority of political control and reduce; the 50–50 balance which existed in the county council joint boards.

We are dealing with something which has operated successfully. I am not concerned about historical aspects. I am concerned with what works. My experience of certain county councils—I do not want to get into any controversy, and I admit that one can have only a limited knowledge in this field—leads me to say that the system in the counties has worked at least as well as, if not better than, that in the county boroughs. It is not too bad a thing to have on certain bodies people who have no other axe to grind than the fact that they have been appointed magistrates, which means that they are expected to be impartial. I believe that the system is working very well in the county councils.

Some hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East, said that we should not have non-elected people on this body. In any number of county boroughs—let us be honest about this and say that it is a reward for loyal service—one has on these bodies a great many aldermen, and a great many magistrates have been ex-councillors and at that particular moment they may not be elected representatives. But they are people of wide knowledge who bring to the problems—which should not be emotional but should be ones which are dealt with from acquired knowledge—very practical appreciation of the matters with which they have to deal. They bring that knowledge to the consultations and discussions which go on at the moment in the joint boards. When the Bill becomes law, they will bring that same specialised knowledge and collective wisdom—they do not get it in one day on being appointed; they get it from experience over the years—to the deliberations of the watch committees in the towns. Surely that is a good thing. It is also a good thing that the elected members, the political representatives, will have a two-thirds' majority. It is no bad thing that their views are influenced by people who have no axe to grind but who have a specialised knowledge in this field.

I believe that after great thought the Minister has produced the right answer to this new police structure. I have not risen to speak in support of the Minister because he is in a difficulty. I have risen to sneak because I sincerely believe that what we have here is an improvement for the whole country, and something which will do what we are all trying to do, and that is to produce a better, closely-knit, police force.

Me, Leslie Hale (Oldham, West)

I shall not detain the House for more than a minute. I desire to apologise for not having heard all the discussion, but I left the House in the early hours of this morning, travelled to my constituency to keep a long-standing engagement, and travelled back by the fastest available means, and it has not been a singularly comfortable day.

The main issue of principle for the Royal Commission on this head was a question of uniformity. I do not think that the Royal Commission was very excited or divided on this issue. It was obviously desirable to have the same formula for standing joint committees of counties and borough councils. The Royal Commission was, I think, impressed, as I was, by the suggestion that standing joint committees had had this membership for a long time and that it gave them the right to hear from people who saw the police in action, and people who would know whether things were right or wrong in the day to day operation of the police forces in the courts, information which would not normally be available to borough councillors unless they were also magistrates, as they frequently are.

I think that the right hon. Gentleman was guilty of one false argument when he referred to the absence of criticism of standing joint committees. I was a member of a county council for 25 years. We never knew what the standing joint committee discussed. We merely received a brief note of its discussions. But the matter has been discussed at great length, and on Second Reading my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. C. Royle) made a moving and sincere speech in which he raised what he called an issue of deep principle, and I think that we should regret the use of the word "theoretical" which did not do adequate justice to the argument on this matter.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) has moved an Amendment suggesting that there should be magistrates on the committee as borough councillors, which seems to be a fairly happy solution of a problem which has exercised the minds of hon. Members to an extent which I do not think any member of the Royal Commission anticipated.

I understand that we are to vote on the Amendment in line 11, the Amendment in line 18, and the first Amendment in line 19. The Amendment in line 19 suggests that a proportion of the council should be selected from those who have had magisterial experience, which seems to me to be a fairly happy solution. I should have thought that the arguments were fairly evenly balanced, and I think that it would be wrong for me as a member of the Royal Commission to vote against the main Clause, or for the first two Amendments, in view of the fact that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary has almost completely embodied the recommendations that we made.

However, I shall be happy to support the Amendments which are concerned with saying that magistrates shall not be members of a watch committee merely because they are magistrates, but that they shall be members when they have the additional qualification of being borough councillors, which I think is a distinct improvement, and deals with the issue of princiciple raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West. I should have thought that that was a solution on which agreement could have been obtained.

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

The House divided: Ayes 134, Noes 159.

Division No. 45.] AYES [7.44 p.m.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Harper, Joseph Oram, A. E.
Bacon, Miss Alice Hayman, F. H. Oswald, Thomas
Beaney, Alan Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis) Padiey, W. E.
Bence, Cyril Holman, Percy Paget, R. T.
Benn, Anthony Wedgwood Holt, Arthur Parker, John
Bennett, J (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hooson, H. E. Prentice, R. E.
Benson, Sir George Houghton, Douglas Probert, Arthur
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Bowles, Frank Howie, W. Randall, Harry
Braddock, Mrs. E. M, Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Bradley, Tom Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Reynolds, G. W.
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Hunter, A. E. Robertson, John (Paisley)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Panoras, N.)
Callaghan, James Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Carmichael, Neil Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Ross, William
Chapman, Donald Janner, Sir Barnett Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
Cliffe, Michael Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jones, Dan (Burnley) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Dalyell, Tam Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Skeffington, Arthur
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Jones, T. w. (Merioneth) Small, William
Delargy, Hugh King, Dr. Horace Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Dempsey, James Ledger, Ron Sorensen, R. W.
Diamond, John Lee, Frederick (Newton) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Dodds, Norman Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Stonehouse, John
Doig, Peter Lubbock, Eric Swain, Thomas
Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley) McBride, N. Taverne, D.
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. McCann, John Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) MacCo[...], James Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) McLeavy, Frank Thornton, Ernest
Evans, Albert MacPherson, Malcolm Timmons, John
Fitch, Alan Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Tomney, Frank
Fletcher, Eric Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Wainwright, Edwin
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Manuel, Archie Warbey, William
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Mendelson, J. J. Weitzman, David
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Millan, Bruce Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Galpern, Sir Myer Mitchison, G. R. White, Mrs. Eirene
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) Moody, A. S. Whitlock, William
Ginsburg, David Morris, Charles (Openshaw) Willey, Frederick
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Morris, John (Aberavon) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Moyle, Arthur Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Mulley, Frederick Winterbottom, R. E.
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Neat, Harold Woof, Robert
Gunter, Ray Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)
Hannan, William O'Malley, B. K. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Lawson and Dr. Broughton
Agnew, Sir Peter Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J, K. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Arbuthnot, Sir John Corfield, F. V. Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Atkins, Humphrey Costain, A. P. Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Craddook, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Hirst, Geoffrey
Barter, John Critohley, Julian Hocking, Philip N.
Berkeley, Humphry Crowder, F. P. Hollingworth, John
Bidgood, John C. Curran, Charles Hornby, R. P.
Biffen, John Dance, James Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.
Biggs-Davison, John Digby, Simon Wingfield Howard, John (Southampton, Test)
Bingham, R. M. Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John
Bishop, Sir Patrick Elliot, R. W. (Newc'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hughes-Young, Michael
Black, Sir Cyril Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hutchison, Michael Clark
Bourne-Arton, A. Errington, Sir Eric Iremonger, T. L,
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Farey-Jones, F. W.
Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Farr, John James, David
Brewis, John Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Freeth, Denzil Johnson, Erie (Blackley)
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Gardner, Edward Johnson Smith Geoffrey
Buck, Antony Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Glover, Sir Douglas Kerans, Cdr. J. S.
Butcher, Sit Herbert Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, M.) Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Grant-Ferris, R. Kershaw, Anthony
Chataway, Christopher Green, Alan Kirk, Peter
Chichester Clark, R. Gresham Cooke, R. Langford-Holt, Sir John
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Cleaver, Leonard Harris, Reader (Heston) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Cooke, Robert Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Linstead, Sir Hugh
Cooper, A, E. Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Litchfield, Capt. John
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Hastings, Stephen Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)
Longbottom, Charles Page, Graham (Crosby) Stevens, Geoffrey
Lovers, Walter H. Page, John (Harrow, West) Summers, Sir Spencer
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Partridge, E. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Peel, John Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
McAdden, Sir Stephen Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
MacArthur, Ian Pike, Miss Mervyn Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Pitman, Sir James Turner, Colin
Maclean, Sir-Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs) Pounder, Rafton Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
MacLeod, Sir John (Ross & Cromarty) Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Tweedsmuir, Lady
McMaster, Stanley R. Prior, J. M. L. van Straubenzee, W. R.
Maddan, Martin Prior-Palmer, Brig. Str Otho Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Ma[...]land, Sir John Proudfoot, Wilfred Walker, Peter
Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Pym, Francis Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Maude, Angus (Stratford-on-Avon) Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Ward, Dame Irene
Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Webster, David
Mawby, Ray Renton, Rt. Hon. David Wells, John (Maidstone)
Maxwell Hyslop, R. J, Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Whitelaw, William
Maydon, Lt. Cmdr. S. L. C. Ridsdale, Julian Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Mills, Stratton Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
More, Jasper (Ludlow) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Morgan, William Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey) Wolrige-Cordon, Patrick
Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Russell, Sir Ronald Woodhouse, C. M.
Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Scott-Hopkins, James
Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Shepherd, William TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Stainton, Keith Mr. McLaren and Mr. Hugh Rees.

Amendment proposed: In page 2, line 18, after "persons", insert "being members of the council".—[Miss Bacon.]

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

The House divided: Ayes 133, Noes 156.

Division No. 46.] AYES [7.54 p.m.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hamilton, William (West Fife) O'Malley, B. K.
Bacon, Miss Alice Hannan, William Oram, A. E.
Beaney, Alan Harper, Joseph Oswald, Thomas
Bence, Cyril Hayman, F. H. Padley, W. E.
Benn, Anthony Wedgwood Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur(Rwly Regis) Paget, R. T.
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Holman, Percy Parker, John
Benson, Sir George Holt, Arthur Prentice, R. E.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hooson, H. E. Probert, Arthur
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S. W.) Houghton, Douglas Pursey, cmdr. Harry
Bowles, Frank Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Randall, Harry
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Howie, W. Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Bradley, Tom Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Reynolds, G. W.
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hunter, A. E. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Callaghan, James Hynd, H. (Accrington) Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Carmichael, Net Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Ross, William
Chapman, Donald Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
Cliffe, Michael Janner, sir Barnett Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Collick, Percy Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jones, Dan (Burnley) Skeffington, Arthur
Dalyell, Tam Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Small, William
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Jones, T. w. (Merioneth) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Delargy, Hugh King, Dr. Horace Sorensen, R. W.
Dempsey, James Ledger, Ron Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Diamond, John Lee, Frederick (Newton) Stonehouse, John
Dodds, Norman Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Swain, Thomas
Doig, Peter McBride, N. Taverne, D.
Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley) McCann, John Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. MacColl, James Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McLeavy, Frank Thornton, Ernest
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) MacPherson, Malcolm Timmons, John
Evans, Albert Mallalleu, E. L. (Brigg) Tomney, Frank
Fitch, Alan Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Hudderefield, E.) Wainwright, Edwin
Fletcher, Eric Manuel, Archie Warbey, William
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Mendelson, J. J. Weitzman, David
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Millan, Bruce Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mitchison, G. R. White, Mrs. Eirene
Galpern, Sir Myer Moody, A. S. Widley, Frederick
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) Morris, Charles (Openshaw) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Ginsburg, David Morris, John (Aberavon) Willie, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Moyle, Arthur Winterbottom, R. E.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Mulley, Frederick Woof, Robert
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Neal, Harold Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Gunter, Ray Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Phillip (Derby, S.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Lawson and Dr. Broughton.
Agnew, Sir Peter Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Nugent, Rt, Hon. Sir Richard
Arbuthnot, Sir John Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Oakshott, Sir Hendrie
Atkins, Humphrey Hastings, Stephen Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Page, Graham (Crosby)
Barter, John Henderson, John (Cathcart) Page, John (Harrow, West)
Berkeley, Humphry Hilt, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Partridge, E.
Bidgood, John C. Hirst, Geoffrey Peel, John
Biffen, John Hocking, Philip N. Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Biggs-Davison, John Hollingworth, John Pike, Miss Mervyn
Bingham, R. M. Hornby, R. P. Pitman, Sir James
Bishop, Sir Patrick Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Pounder, Ration
Black, Sir Cyril Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Bossom, Hon. Clive Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Prior, J. M. L.
Bourne-Arton, A. Hughes-Young, Michael Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Hutchison, Michael Clark Proudfoot, Wilfred
Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Iremonger, T. L. Pym, Francis
Brewis, John James, David Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. Sir Peter
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)
Buck, Antony Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Renton, Rt. Hon. David
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Butcher, Sir Herbert Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Ridsdale, Julian
Chataway, Christopher Kerr, Sir Hamilton Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)
Chichester-Clark, R. Kershaw, Anthony Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Kirk, Peter Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Cleaver, Leonard Langford-Holt, Sir John Russell, Sir Ronald
Cooper, A. E. Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Scott-Hopkins, James
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Shepherd, William
Corfield, F. V. Linstead, Sir Hugh Stainton, Keith
Costain, A. P. Litchfield, Capt. John Stevens, Geoffrey
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Summers, Sir Spencer
Critchley, Julian Longbottom, Charles Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Crowder, F. P. Loveys, Walter H. Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
Curran, Charles Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Dance, James Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Turner, Colin
Digby, Simon Wingfield McAdden, Sir Stephen Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) MacArthur, Ian Tweedsmuir, Lady
Emmett, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn McLaren, Martin van Straubenzee, W. R.
Errington, Sir Eric Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Farey-Jones, F. W. Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs) Walker, Peter
Farr, John MacLeod, Sir John (Ross & Cromarty) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Finlay, Graeme McMaster, Stanley R. Ward, Dame Irene
Fraser, ran (Plymouth, Sutton) Maddan, Martin Webster, David
Freeth, Denzil Maitland, Sir John Wellis, John (Maidstone)
Gardner, Edward Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Whitelaw, William
Gillmour, sir John (East Fife) Maude, Angus (Stratford-on-Avon) Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Glover, Sir Douglas Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Glyn, Sir S chard (Dorset, N.) Mawby, Ray Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Grant-Ferris, R. Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Green, Alan Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Woodhouse, C. M.
Gresham Cooke, R. Mills, Stratton
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Morgan, William
Harris, Reader (Heston) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. R. W. Elliott and Mr. More.

Amendment proposed: In page 2, line 19, leave out from "borough" to end of line 24 and insert: being such members of the council of the borough as may be selected by the council provided that in making the selection the council shall as to a number not exceeding one-third of the total number of the mem-

bers of the watch committee select members of the council who are magistrates".—[Miss Bacon.]

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

The House divided: Ayes 158, Noes 134.

Division No. 47.] AYES [8.4 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Bourne-Arton, A. Cooper, A. E.
Arbuthnot, Sir John Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Cooper-Key, Sir Neill
Atkins, Humphrey Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Brewis, John Corfield, F. V.
Barter, John Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Costain, A. P.
Berkeley, Humphry Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)
Bidgood, John C. Buck, Antony Critchley, Julian
Biffen, John Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Crowder, F. P.
Biggs-Davison, John Butcher, Sir Herbert Curran, Charles
Bingham, R. M. Chataway, Christopher Dance, James
Bishop, Sir Patrick Chichester Clark, R. Digby, Simon Wingfield
Black, Sir Cyril Cleaver, Leonard Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Bossom, Hon. Clive Cooke, Robert Eillott, R.W. (Newc'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Kirk, Peter Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Errington, Sir Eric Langford-Holt, Sir John Prior, J. M. L.
Farey-Jones, F. W. Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Prior-Palmer, Brig, Sir Otho
Fair, John Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Proudfoot, Wilfred
Finlay, Graeme Linstead, Sir Hugh Rawlinson, Rt. Hon. Sir Peter
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Litchfield, Capt. John Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Freeth, Denzil Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)
Gardner, Edward Longbottom, Charles Renton, Rt. Hon. David
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Loveys, Walter H. Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Glover, Sir Douglas Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Ridsdale, Julian
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)
Grant-Ferris, R. Me Adden, Sir Stephen Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Green, Alan MacArthur, Ian Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Gresham Cooke, R. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Russell, Sir Ronald
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs) Scott-Hopkins, James
Harris, Reader (Heston) MacLeod, Sir John (Ross & Cromarty) Shepherd, William
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) McMaster, Stanley R. Stainton, Keith
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Maddan, Martin Stevens, Geoffrey
Hastings, Stephen Maitland, Sir John Summers, Sir Spencer
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Marten, Neil Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Maude, Angus (Stratford-on-Avon) Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
Hirst, Geoffrey Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Hocking, Philip N. Mawby, Ray Turner, Colin
Hollingworth, John Maxwelt-Hyslop, R. J. Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Hornby, R. P. Maytton, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Mills, Stratton van Straunenzee, W. R.
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Hughes Habett, Vice-Admiral John Morgan, William Walker, Peter
Hughes-Young, Michael Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Ward, Dame Irene
Hulbert, Sir Norman Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Webster, David
Hutchison, Michael Clark Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Iremonger, T. L. Page, Graham (Crosby) Whitelaw, William
James, David Page, John (Harrow, West) Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Johnson, Erie (Blackley) Partridge, E. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Peel, John Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Kerens, Cdr. J. S. Pike, Miss Mervyn Woodhouse, CM.
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Pitman, Sir James
Kershaw, Anthony Pounder, Rafton TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Mc [...]aren and Mr. Pym.
Allen, Scholefield (Crowe) Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mendelson, J. J.
Bacon, Miss Alice Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Millan, Bruce
Beaney, Alan Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Mitchison, G. R.
Bence, Cyril Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Moody, A. S.
Benn, Anthony Wedgwood Gunter, Ray Morris, Charles (Openshaw)
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Morris, John (Aberavon)
Benson, Sir George Hamilton, William (West Fife) Movie, Arthur
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hannan, William Mulley, Frederick
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S.W.) Harper, Joseph Neal, Harold
Bowles, Frank Hayman, F. H. Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)
Bradley, Tom Holman, Percy O'Malley, B. K.
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Holt, Arthur Oram, A. E.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Houghton, Douglas Oswald, Thomas
Callaghan, James Howen, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Padley, W. E.
Carmichael, Neil Howie, W. Paget, R. T.
Chapman, Donald Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Parker, John
Cliffe, Michael Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Prentice, R. E.
Collick, Percy Hunter, A. E. Probert, Arthur
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Hymt, H. (Accrington) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Dalyell, Tam Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Randall, Harry
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Delargy, Hugh Janner, Sir Barnett Reynolds, G. W.
Dempsey, James Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Robertson, John (Parsley)
Diamond, John Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Dodds, Norman Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Doig, Peter Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Ross, William
Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. King, Dr. Horace Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Ledger, Ron Sillverman, Sydney (Nelsen)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Skeffington, Arthur
Evans, Albert Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Small, William
Finch, Alan McBride, N. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Fletcher, Eric McCann, John Sorensen, R. W,
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) MacColl, James Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) McLeavy, Frank Stonehouse, John
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) MacPherson, Malcolm Swain, Thomas
Galpern, Sir Myer Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Taverne, D.
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) Mallalleu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.) Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Ginsburg, David Manuel, Archie Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Thornton, Ernest Wells, William (Walsall, N.) Woof, Robert
Timmons, John White, Mrs. Eirene Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Tomney, Frank Willey, Frederick
Wainwright, Edwin Williams, W. T. (Warrington) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Warbey, William Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.) Mr. Lawson and Dr. Broughton.
Weitzman. David Winterbottom, R. E.
The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. C. M. Woodhouse)

I beg to move, in page 2, line 32, at the end to insert: (5) The quorum of a police committee or watch committee shall be such as may from time to time be determined by the council of the county or county borough.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grimston)

With this Amendment we can discuss the following Amendments:

In page 2, line 32, at end insert: (5) The quorum of a police committee or watch committee shall be such as may from time to time be determined by the council of the county or county borough, provided that it shall be deemed that at any meeting of the police committee or watch committee a quorum shall exist only where a majority of the members present are members of the Council. In Clause 3, page 3, line 14, at end insert: (4) The quorum of a combined police authority shall be such as may from time to time be determined by that police authority, provided that it shall be deemed that at any meeting of the authority a quorum shall exist only where a majority of the members present are members of the constituent councils.

Mr. Woodhouse

This Amendment provides for a quorum of a county or county borough police authority to be fixed by the county or county borough council. The Amendment was put down following an undertaking given by my right hon. Friend in Committee in a debate on a new Clause suggested by my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mrs. Hill). Our Amendment is not identical with that new Clause, which proposed to fix the quorum of all police authorities at one-third. Our view is that this would be unnecessarily rigid and would not sufficiently recognise that a different quorum may reasonably be desired in different circumstances.

The present quorum on watch committees is three. The present quorum on standing joint committees is not fixed by Statute but fixed jointly by the county council and quarter sessions. The quorum of county borough councils is one-third and of county councils it is one quarter. In this House the quorum on Standing Committees is a different proportion of the total in Committees of different sizes. These examples all suggest that there is a case for some flexibility. Therefore, if it is not laid down by Statute, the responsibility must be laid on someone to fix it. It seems right that police authorities, like local authorities generally, should have their quorums fixed or decided. That is most appropriately done by the body which determines the numbers on the police authority itself, the council.

8.15 p.m.

Although I apologise to the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. O'Malley) for answering his arguments before he puts them forward, I think the point of his Amendments is perfectly cleat. His first Amendment goes beyond the Government Amendment only in one respect, by providing additionally that a quorum would be constituted only where councillors were in a majority. That reopens the question of inclusion of justices on police authorities which has been closed by a series of Divisions. The Government feel that, having settled that point by the Divisions which have just taken place, it would be wrong to make a change inconsistent with those decisions by, in effect, dividing this police authority into first-and second class members.

Once it has been decided that magistrates should be members of the police authorities, they must surely be regarded as equal partners with the other members, just as they are today in the standing joint committees even though in the latter the division is 50–50 and the magistrates are not in a minority as they will be in future on police committees. The police authorities can function effectively only if the members are treated on a basis of equality.

The hon. Member's second Amendment would make similar provision for combined police authorities, but would incidentally also provide that the police authorities should fix their own quorum. Apart from the similar objections to a division into first- and second-class status, it would be wrong that a combined police authority alone of all police authorities should fix its own quorum. Responsibility for fixing the quorum should lie outside the police authority and would be most appropriately done by the body which determines its numbers.

Mr. O'Malley

I am in something of a difficulty here. As I understand the position, according to the Amendment which has been moved the quorum on a police committee or watch committee is to be fixed by the council of the county or county borough. This same position will occur for a combined police authority. If I have got it wrong, perhaps the hon. Gentleman will explain.

Mr. Woodhouse

I am glad to explain. The quorum on a combined police authority always has been, and in future will be, fixed by the terms of the amalgamation scheme. That has been the invariable practice. Although I shall gladly listen to points the hon. Member may make, I should add that the Amendment we propose is known to be acceptable to the local authority associations. I hope that it will commend itself to the House.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

I wish briefly to address remarks to the Amendments in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Mr. O'Malley) and myself. They are concerned with the quorum on police committees and watch committees on the one hand and combined police authorities on the other. Our Amendments were couched in exactly the same terms, bearing in mind that in the second Amendment the method of choosing the quorum is different from that in the first.

I accept that in most of this debate we have been discussing the question of the composition of various committees. Our Amendments do not seek to open that argument again. The starting point of our argument in these two Amendments was expressed by the Home Secretary this afternoon, as it was also expressed in Standing Committee as reported in column 87 of the OFFICIAL REPORT. When dealing with this point, the right hon. Gentleman said: Nevertheless, the Government's proposal is that throughout the country the democratically-elected element should be given a firm majority On the police authority."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 5th December, 1963; c. 87.] It is from that statement, made by the right hon. Gentleman, that we proceed on the question of quorum. Unless we proceed as laid down in these two Amendments, this dictum will not be carried out and the democratically-elected element will not have a firm majority.

I accept the point made by the Parliamentary Secretary—because I am trying to be conciliatory in the hope that he will accept the spirit of our Amendments—that watch committees under the terms of the Bill are in a different position from that which they occupied before. Nevertheless, the Home Secretary made his statement that the democratically-elected element must be seen to be in firm control, and unless the quorum is laid down in this respect, we could have the magistrates' elected element making decisions at a meeting. The Amendments do not break new ground, for we are working in the light of what the Home Secretary said in Committee and again this evening. On that our case rests.

Certain disabilities are laid down under the 1933 Act and possibly the 1948 Act in respect of councillors in local government. For example, one cannot be a councillor if one has contracts with the local authority. I used the words "local authority" deliberately, not "watch committee". Certain rules and regulations are laid down in legislation about the pecuniary interests of a councillor. I hope that this will be dealt with in the reply to the debate. Will the legislation which applies to the democratically-elected element in a watch committee also apply to the magistrates' nominated or elected element? This is extremely important.

Returning to the major point of our Amendments, we stick to the point made by the Home Secretary that the democratically-elected element must be in firm control. We do not go back to our earlier arguments this afternoon. On this basis, we hope that the Minister will accept our Amendment.

Sir Stephen McAdden (Southend, East)

I intervene, as usual, for only a brief moment. I see the point made by the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees), but it does not seem to me that what my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has proposed is in any way at variance with his undertaking. The Committee will be constituted by two-thirds elected members of local authorities and one-third magistrates. That being so, my right hon. Friend has made it possible for those elected representatives always to be firmly in the saddle if they like to attend to their duties as members of the watch committee.

I do not accept the suggestion, when we have two-thirds of the committee as elected members, that they will be so negligent—or will all be taken ill at the same time—as to put themselves in a minority. While I agree in principle with much that the hon. Member said, I think that in practice this will work Out all right.

Mr. Winterbottom

The Home Secretary's Amendment deals with the quorum in terms of numbers and my hon. Friends' Amendments deal with the quorum in respect of composition. If the Minister's Amendment is carried and my hon. Friends' Amendments are not carried, will the numbers forming the quorum and the composition of that quorum be decided by the local council concerned? That is a very important matter, because many things are left out of the Clause.

The Home Secretary quoted the Royal Commission against our arguments about magistrates being on the watch committee. I therefore point out that the Royal Commission recommended that the chairman of the watch committee should be appointed by the local authority. That is not in the Bill. Will the Home Secretary say that if his Amendment is carried and my hon. Friends' Amendments are not carried, the question of the quorum in terms of numbers and of composition, and all relevant matters, such as the chairmanship of the committee, will be left in the hands of the local authority from which the elected members are drawn?

If that is so, how shall we know that it will be done, because it is not mentioned in the Bill. Presumably the Home Secretary will send out one of these secret manifestoes which he issues from time to time in terms of instructions. May I have confirmation that he will do that or, if there is some other way of doing it, that he will give us the information?

Mrs. Hill

I want to thank the Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Government Amendment. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary for taking into consideration the point which I raised about the quorum because the Bill had contained no mention of a quorum. Following the view of the House on the other Amendments, I am satisfied that it will be ensured that there will be a quorum present at meetings und that the committee will not conduct business in the absence of a quorum. My object was to ensure that business was not disposed of between the chairman and some other odd person present. I wanted to ensure that a number of people were present when decisions were taken. I am grateful for the Amendment.

Mr. O'Malley

There is no need for me to detain the House by amplifying the argument. I should find it difficult to improve on the case put by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees). I welcome the Government's Amendment, but I was curious that they had put an Amendment down in respect of county councils and county boroughs but had put down no similar Amendment in respect of combined authorities. I assumed that the reason was that when the amalgamation scheme was drawn up provision would be made for the combined police authority to have the same power as the county council and the county borough.

Mr. Woodhouse indicated dissent.

8.30 p.m.

Mr. O'Malley

The Under-Secretary shakes hi; head. I was disappointed about that I would have thought that there was every reason why a combined authority should have that kind of power.

The Amendment is both desirable and necessary. It gives a local authority a degree of flexibility of control over what I regard as an undesirable situation, where magistrates come in from outside. Why have the Government put down their Amendment? If I am not misreading it, Section 96 of the Local Government Act provides that a local authority has the power to fix the quorum of the committees of the council. I would have thought that that was a blanket authority.

My second question has a bearing on a statement made by the Home Secretary in Committee about the voting powers of co-opted members. He said that co-opted members have full voting rights. With my limited experience, I have known local authority committees in which it has not been the custom for co-opted members to use their votes. I have looked at the 1944 Education Act to try to clarify the issue, but under Section 85(1) of the 1933 Act it seems that local authorities have the power to impose restrictions and conditions concerning the working of their committees. I want to know whether local authorities will have the right, under that Section, to fix the quorum and also to ensure that a quorum shall be deemed to exist only when there is a majority of local authority members present. If they have that power, there is no need for our Amendment. But on the grounds put forward by my hon. Friend I hope that the Government will reconsider the question.

This is not an extension of our previous arguments; it is a completely different principle. I would have thought that the Government Front Bench would agree with it, according to the statements made in Committee.

Miss Bacon

The essential question is not whether or not the police authorities have the power of fixing the number constituting a quorum, but whether or not they also have the power to impose conditions such as those set out in my hon. Friend's Amendment. Can a watch committee or a police committee say that a quorum shall be deemed to exist only if the number of members present contains a majority of members of the council, or can the committee merely fix a definite number for the quorum?

Mr. Woodhouse

With the leave of the House, I should like to reply. I apologised earlier for having sought to answer the hon. Member's arguments before he put them, and in fact he has made a number of points which I was not able to answer before. The hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) quoted my right hon. Friend. On the first occasion his reference was to a firm majority on the authority, but later the word "control" slipped in, in place of "majority". There is an important distinction. My right hon. Friend was not talking about quorums at the time but about the total membership of police authorities. The majority will always rest with the elected councillors. For the reason so well put by my hon. Friend the Member for Southend, East (Sir S. McAdden), there is not the slightest danger, provided the elected councillors do their job, of the magistrates ever outvoting the councillors in terms of a quorum.

The hon. Member for Leeds, South also made a point about disqualification under the 1933 Act. I confirm that any magistrate who is disqualified under that Act from membership of a local authority would automatically be disqualified from membership of a police authority.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Winterbottom) reintroduced the question of the appointment of the chairman of a police authority. This matter was touched on in Committee and I can reaffirm that the intention is that the chairman should be elected by the police authority and should not be imposed by the local authority. This is consistent with the kind of democratic procedure to which I know the hon. Member is genuinely devoted, and I hope that he will not quarrel with it, although it does not strictly arise in connection with the Amendments.

Mr. Winterbottom

The hon. Gentleman has referred to the chairman of the committee and the method of selection. He must be aware that the Royal Commission recommended that the chairman should be selected from among the members of the local authority on the watch committee. Considering that that will exclude people who have been placed on the watch committee from the magisterial bench, must not we ensure, or is it not logical, that the quorum should not be violated by the absence of members—

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

Order. The hon. Member must confine himself to a question and not make another speech.

Mr. Woodhouse

We are not talking about the chairman in this Amendment. The Government decided, and explained in Committee, that we did not accept the recommendation of the Royal Commission to which, I think, the hon. Gentleman is referring. In any case, his point can be easily met because councillors will always be in the majority in the police authority and it will always be within their power to secure that a councillor and not a magistrate is elected chairman. I am sure that that meets his point.

Mr. Winterbottom

In which case will the fixing of the quorum—the number of members to comprise it and similar conditions—be left to the committee as a whole to decide?

Mr. Woodhouse

The hon. Gentleman knows that the answer is "No" because of the Amendment the Government have now introduced. As to the conditions, this touches on the points raised by the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. O'Malley) and the hon. Lady the Member for Leeds, South-East (Miss Bacon) to which I now wish to refer.

The hon. Member for Rotherham referred to the combined police authorities and he still wants to give them the power to fix their own quorums. To do that would make them unique, not only among local authorities but would set them apart from all other committees of local authorities, which would be taking a rather extreme step. He asked why the Government had put down the Amendment and also about the right of co-opted members to vote. The answer to both questions is that the police authority is a unique body. It is a statutory body set up in its own right. It is defined in the Bill as a committee of the parent council, but it is like no other committee of the parent council because it is vested with statutory powers in its own right. It is not exercising delegated powers given to it by the parent council and if the hon. Member will study the relevant Sections of the 1933 Act, to which he referred, he will see that in each case that legislation refers to councils appointed by a local authority and gives powers delegated to it by the local authority. This is what sets the police authority apart, in that it is not given delegated powers by the local authority.

This also answers the question asked by the hon. Lady the Member for Leeds, South-East; it would not be possible for the parent council to use any powers to impose, conditions on the police authority that would be in any way restrictive of the statutory powers with which it is vested by the Bill. I hope that I have now answered all the questions raised by hon. Members, and that we may now come to a decision.

Mr. Ede

This is the sort of difficulty we get into when the committee of a local authority has been constituted the police authority, and throughout our discussions on this Bill we have never quite clearly defined the exact relationship between these two separate bodies, each of which is an authority. Very often the standing orders of a local authority deal with what is to happen on the committees of that local authority. In some cases, the standing orders give to the local authority the power of appointing the chairman of the committees, and it may very well be that one of the local authorities that will be responsible for the appointment of a police committee will have such a standing order. If that is so, is that standing order to be regarded as ultra vires? If it is to be so regarded, something should be put in the Bill, before it becomes an Act, to say so.

This matter should be very carefully considered by the local authority associations before the Bill completes its course, so that, if necessary, Amendments may be moved to make sure that there is no doubt about it. It would be quite disastrous to local government if a dispute arose as to the exact position of a local authority and its standing orders when applied to the proceedings of a police authority to be created under the Bill. We do not want loose ends like that lying about, to cause friction and trouble when we are starting the new administration.

I support the view that the quorum should always insist that there should be a majority of elected representatives present at a meeting, as otherwise I do not see how the pledge that has been given, and which has been quoted in this discussion, can be carried out. It is important that, particularly when consideration is being given to the demands of the police authority on the local authority for finance, we can be assured that all votes taken are taken when elected members are in a majority.

Mr. Cole

My hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary interpreted the Government Amendment in line 32 quite clearly, but is the ability or inability of a local council to fix, as it were, the constitution of the quorum somewhere else in this Bill, or elsewhere in police legislation? We may need a little annotation to make sure that we do not leave a loose end.

Secondly, where is it stated, either implicitly or explicitly, that the chairman—and, I suppose, the vice-chairman—of the watch committee or police committee, as the case may be, shall be appointed in the way described by my hon. Friend? I would think from the 1933 and 1948 Local Government Acts, that there would not be cover for the point my hon. Friend made. All I seek is information so that we may avoid doubt later about the authority of my hon. Friend's statement.

8.45 p.m.

Mr. J. Hynd

I am not opposing the Government Amendment, but I press my hon. Friend's Amendment because from the arguments it is clear that everybody, including the Joint Under-Secretary, agrees that the quorum should be such as to ensure that there is a majority of elected members. The Minister made clear in Committee, and the Under-Secretary has now said, that this was the intention, that this is why we have the Government Amendment and that there is every reason to assume that there will be such a majority. If that is the intention, why not make sure?

Why does the hon. Gentleman oppose a proposal which will make it quite plain and will make sure that there is no slip-up? It can do no harm to his case and cause no defect in the Bill. It will merely confirm what he said if he accepts the Amendment, otherwise, as my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) has said, we are leaving loose ends about quite unnecessarily. In view of the fact that all of us want this assurance that there will be a majority of elected members, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will consider accepting my hon. Friend's Amendment.

Miss Bacon rose

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Lady has exhausted her right to speak. Mr. Woodhouse.

Mr. Woodhouse

May I, by leave, briefly reply to the point made?

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The hon. Gentleman has the right to speak.

Mr. Woodhouse

I will look carefully at the point made by the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede), as I always do at any matter that he raises, but to my mind there is no such doubt and ambiguity as he and my hon. Friend the Member for Bedfordshire, South (Mr. Cole) had in mind. I will, however, make careful inquiry to make sure that I am right.

The answer to my hon. Friend's question is that a local authority has only such powers as are given to it by statute. Power to fix a quorum does not by itself imply power to determine the composition of a quorum. This makes the kind of conflict which my hon. Friend has in mind impossible. He asks what provision there is in the Bill for the appointment of the chairman. It is the universal practice of the committees of local authorities to elect their own chairman. Therefore, there is no need for express provision in the Bill.

Mr. Cole

To use my hon. Friend's own words, he said that these committees were unique. I did not use the term. I doubt what my hon. Friend calls the comprehensive pattern of local government.

Mr. Woodhouse

It is perfectly true that these committees are unique, in the sense that they have statutory powers conferred upon them and are not exercising delegated powers given to them by the parent council. In every other respect they follow the normal pattern, and they will in this respect.

In reply to the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd), I can only repeat the argument I made about the equality of status which I think is desirable for members of police authorities, whether they be magistrates or councillors, once they are appointed. No such objection as he and his hon. Friends envisaged has ever arisen in the case of standing joint committees which have had a 50 per cent. quota of magistrates for a very long time.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Woodhouse

I beg to move, in page 2, line 36, at the end, to insert: and paragraphs 1, 2 and 4 of Part V of Schedule 3 to that Act (proceedings of local authorities) shall apply to a committee appointed under this section as they apply to a local authority and as if for any reference to that Act there were substituted a reference to this Act". This Amendment is intended to attract to police authorities certain procedural provisions which apply to local authorities generally. They are set out in Part V of Schedule 3 to the 1933 Act. The provisions so attracted will secure the following: that decisions of the police authority are taken by a majority of members present and voting; that the chairman has casting vote if necessary; that the names of members present at a meeting are recorded and that the police authority may make standing orders for the regulation of its proceedings and business.

The Amendment is intended simply to fill a lacuna in the Bill and to ensure that police authorities follow the rules laid down for local authorities generally in the conduct of their meetings.

Mr. O'Malley

Why has paragraph 3 of Part V of the Schedule, which provides for the keeping of minutes, been omitted? I am curious to know also why paragraph 6, which deals with the question of a quorum in cases of disqualification, has not been included.

Mr. Woodhouse

The answer as regards paragraph 3 and paragraph 5—the hon. Gentleman did not refer to paragraph 5 of the Schedule, but the same point applies to it—is that it is unnecessary in those two cases to make explicit provision to attract them because in each case the paragraphs refer to meetings of a local authority or of a committee thereof". Because a police authority is by definition a committee of the local authority, there is no need to make the explicit addition.

The reason for the omission of paragraph 6 is a little different. It is not attracted and it does not apply automatically. The reason is that the paragraph is appropriate only when a quorum is fixed as a proportion of the body it question. For the reasons which we discussed a little earlier, this is not the case with police authorities.

Amendment agreed to.

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  7. Clause 18.—(ATTESTATION OF CONSTABLES.) 995 words
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  11. Clause 21.—(AMALGAMATION SCHEMES.) 45 words
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  15. Clause 29.—(REMOVAL OF CHIEF CONSTABLES ETC.) 1,780 words
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  19. Clause 32.—(LOCAL INQUIRIES.) 1,261 words
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  29. A.129 ROAD, HUTTON (PEDESTRIAN CROSSING) 4,107 words