HC Deb 13 May 1964 vol 695 cc429-43

3.40 p.m.

Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

I beg to move Amendment No. 24, in page 5, line 27, to leave out paragraph (c) and to insert: (c) there would be an increase in dangers to health arising from the misuse of the goods by the public as consumers or users; or. The purpose of this Amendment is to rewrite the paragraph which was inserted in the Bill during the Committee stage. We wish to remove what we consider an ambiguous reference to conditions of sale. The intention of the Amendment is to bring the paragraph into line with the rest of the Clause within the condition, which the Minister has laid down and with which we agree, that the criteria for exemption should be clearly understood and that there should be no question of dispute.

Hon. Members will remember that the subsection was inserted during the Committee stage on an Amendment by the hon. Member for Putney (Sir H. Linstead) and that we had had previous discussions on the question of dangers to public health. The hon. Member for Putney said that there was concern about the protection of public health. He gave a list of goods which he thought, in the public interest, should be considered as suitable of exemption from the abolition of resale price maintenance in the provisions of Clause 5.

The hon. Gentleman mentoned drugs which, as he said—and it is obvious—were a clear example, and he went on to list others—medical and surgical equipment, surgical dressing, electrical appliances, pesticides, and so on. The House, I am certain, will agree, as there was agreement during the Committee stage, that any lowering of quality, adulteration or alteration in the ingredients of drugs by the cheapening of medical and surgical equipment as a result of competitive price cutting which brought hazards to public health would be contrary to the public interest.

We agree that the question of public health should be one of the factors which ought to be taken into account when considering legitimate claims for exemption from the general terms of the Bill. We are fully in agreement with the aims of the subsection. Our worry, and the reason for the Amendment, is the wording. We do not think that it conveys clearly the agreed intentions of the House. It might also confuse the issue were cases taken to Court under the provisions of the subsection. The right hon. Gentleman has repeatedly said that the criteria for granting exemptions should be clear and unambiguous and, so far as possible, specific.

Our quarrel is with the words …goods…sold by retail under conditions likely to cause danger to health… We think that they are ambiguous and may be construed as applying not to the goods, but to the conditions under which they are sold; in other words the conditions inside the chemist's shop, or the conditions of packaging, labelling, and so on. If the words were so construed, we think that the situation which concerned the hon. Member for Putney and other hon. Members, in which there was a lowering of the quality and tampering with the constituents of goods, might not be guarded against. The Court might consider only the conditions of sale.

We may take this further and say that there might be cases where goods were reduced in quality to a point where they became dangerous to public health, but so long as nothing else was altered inside the chemist's shop, the fixtures in the stock room, and so on—in other words, the conditions of sale had not been changed and were not likely to be changed in any way—the Court might have difficulty in deciding whether there was a case for the exemption of the goods simply because there had not been and was not likely to be any change in the conditions of sale.

It may be that the right hon. Gentleman will think that we misunderstand the meaning of the words in the subsection. As the words do have this element of ambiguity, and, in our view, there could be genuine doubt about their meaning, it seems to us that this doubt should be removed. We are, therefore, trying to help the Secretary of State in this matter. We believe that the words we propose remove the doubt and ambiguity and that the amended subsection would clearly express the agreed intention of the House.

It will be seen that our Amendment directs attention specifically to the goods which we all had in mind when discussing the question of public health, and leaves out all reference to conditions of sale which, in this context at any rate, are covered adequately in subsection (3). We agree with the Secretary of State that the criteria for granting exemptions should be specific and, in the case of medical goods, should refer only to the goods, and that there should be no doubt as to the meaning of the subsection.

3.45 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development and President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Edward Heath)

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling), in moving this Amendment, is seeking clarification of the point which he has raised. As he said this gateway was inserted in the Bill during the Committee stage as a result of particular discussions and the hon. Gentleman has clearly set out the difference between the gateway and his proposals. I explained in Committee that this gateway is provided for a case not covered by what is now in subsection (2,d), which is the services gateway.

Subsection (2,d) covers the case in which services are actually being provided and cease to be provided. As was pointed out in earlier discussions, it does not cover the analogous case in which goods are sold without services by retailers who have never supplied the goods before. I said that this loophole had become apparent and that it was to deal with the point which had been left uncovered that this gateway was added. This was brought about as a result of the intervention of my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Sir H. Linstead), who referred particularly to those goods with which he was concerned. It would be applicable also to other trades and goods, such as electrical appliances, and we had an intervention from my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow, Central (Sir P. Bishop) during that discussion.

Our gateway provides for a situation where the conditions under which the goods are sold are such that the goods are liable to be misused by consumers or users with consequent dangers to health if resale price maintenance is removed. I think that this is quite clear. The hon. Gentleman raised the question of quality and was afraid that the characteristics of the goods might not be included in the gateway. That would be included under subsection (2,a), where the quality of the goods available for sale, or varieties of goods available are specifically mentioned.

With the combination of paragraphs (a) and (b) the field is covered, with the exception of goods which, were resale price maintenance to be removed, would be sold by dealers where services would not be provided.

Having considered this matter very carefully, there does not seem to us to remain that element of doubt to which the hon. Gentleman has drawn attention, and we think that the particular points that have caused him anxiety are already covered in Clause 5(2,a)—the initial gateway about quality.

Mr. A. J. Irvine (Liverpool, Edge Hill)

We want clearly to understand the purpose here, and it would help us if the right hon. Gentleman were to explain it. Does he regard "conditions" as covering the physical conditions of the shop, for example? If so, perhaps he will explain that, as it is a source of real difficulty to us to know how that can have any significant connection or relationship with subsequent misuse of the goods by consumers.

Mr. Heath

We did not have so much in mind the physical conditions of the shop, but we certainly had in mind the way in which the goods were served, what are commonly called services, and the rest that are associated with them, and which would affect the point of whether or not the things were properly used by the public. We were not thinking so much of the packaging, but of the actual servicing conditions—advice, and so on—given with the sale of the goods. Because of the element lacking in the other two gateways I have described, it was necessary to cover this point.

Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)

I must press the Secretary of State a little further in this respect, because we are still not quite clear about the meaning. In passing, I am a little surprised that the hon. Member for Putney (Sir H. Linstead) is not present this afternoon. He expressed great anxieties and fears about this matter in Committee, but he does not seem to have stayed to ensure that his worries will really be met in the Bill as it will emerge from the House.

It still seems to be the case that so that the argument may be put to the Court about effects on health or safety of the goods concerned, two conditions have to be satisfied. The first is that the conditions in the retail shop have to be such that improper advice is not given. Secondly, there has to be something described as "misuse by the public." Perhaps I may be permitted to give two practical examples. Suppose that, as a result of price competition, electric fires were to be sold without sufficient physical protection—sufficient actual guard on the fire. Would anything be specified about the conditions of sale in the shop, and would it be misuse by members of the public if they were subsequently to use the electric fire in precisely the form in which, I suppose in good faith, they had bought it?

Again, oil stoves or oil heaters were mentioned at length in Committee. As we all know, they have led to deplorable accidents in various homes. Suppose an oil heater could only be safely used—and I do not know whether this is the actual case or not—if it were fixed to the wall or to the structure of the house or flat in which it was used, and that, if it were not so fixed, it was liable to fall over or be knocked over, and give rise to fire. I am not sure, in that case, how these words would apply.

If the purchaser were not warned of this by the shopkeeper, could the appliance be held to have been sold by retail under conditions likely to cause danger to health? And could it be argued that if the purchaser of the oil stove, not knowing, and acting in perfectly good faith, that there was any danger if the appliance were not fixed physically to the structure of the house, refrained from doing so fixing it, he was misusing the appliance? I do not know—it seems hard to say.

In any case, has the right hon. Gentleman really met the point made in Committee that the phrase "danger to health", quite apart from the consequences of the misuse of appliances, might not cover accidents or injury—or, indeed, death—as a result of an accident in relation to an appliance of this kind? Is the phrase "danger to health" really wide enough, and does it cover outright injury, including fatal injury, as a result of the use, whether or not it be misuse, of one of these appliances? We know what we want to ensure, but we are still not sure whether what we want to ensure is covered by these words.

Mr. A. P. Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)

Does my right hon. Friend consider that we are covering the qualification of the man in the shop—a chemist, say? Does it cover the case of someone in the shop who is unqualified, but who could give advice to a customer about the quality of the products, and their effects? I should like an assurance on that point.

Mr. J. J. Mendelson (Penistone)

The Secretary of State has said that the danger against which he is trying to guard might arise even if the article were used properly by the customer. That is the essential difficulty to me, because the combination of misuse and conditions of sale blurs the picture. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would agree that if the conditions of sale were at fault, and were designed, possibly, to mislead the customer, the fact that he was using it quite properly would not be strictly relevant, because danger might still arise.

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

What strikes me as one of the difficulties is that "conditions of sale" is a term of art. Conditions of sale occur in the Sale of Goods Act, and are there defined as a matter of art. The phrase does not cover any of the things of which the right hon. Gentleman was talking and which he was seeking to cover. I understood that, amongst other things, the right hon. Gentleman was trying to cover the circumstances in which an electrical gadget of some danger was sold in a serve-yourself supermarket without any attendant there able to explain to the purchaser the use of the article and the danger he ran.

That is the sort of case that the right hon. Gentleman was hoping to cover, but conditions of sale, as a term of art, do not mean anything of that sort at all. They mean the subsidiary contracts that run with the goods sold. They include, for instance, resale price maintenance. If one sells articles with a condition that they shall not be resold below a certain price, that is a condition of sale under the Sale of Goods Act. Equally, on the other side, various forms of warranty by the vendor become conditions of sale within that meaning.

I therefore feel that we are putting the Court to very considerable difficulty if we use a well-known legal term of art, but intend it to convey quite a different meaning. I am not certain about this. It may very well be that the concluding words of this Clause indicate with sufficient clarity that what is meant here is not what the law understands by conditions of sale, but something as to the way goods are presented for sale. I do not think that this is by any means clear. It also seems to me quite an unnecessary confusion to impose upon us.

4.0 p.m.

I ask the Minister to apply his mind seriously to what objection he has to the words in the Amendment. In what he has said to us he did not seem to indicate any objection to those words. I should have thought that they were words which avoided the ambiguity of the original Clause and which, from what he said, would seem to accomplish exactly what he wants. We do not want to refuse resale price maintenance in cases where that refusal would increase the dangers to health arising from the misuse of the goods by the public as consumers … We do not want to remove resale price maintenance if that is the method of selling, or if it maintains a method of selling, whereby adequate instructions and warnings are, in fact, given with the goods sold.

That seems to me to be just what the Minister is saying. That is what the Amendment states in simple and unambiguous language. I believe that it is also what the Clause intends to say, but, by reason of certain built-in ambiguities, may not say. I prefer the simple words, at which nobody, including the Minister, has cavilled, instead of the other words which, rightly or wrongly, some of us do not like.

Mr. R. E. Winterbottom (Sheffield, Brightside)

I suggest that the Minister should apply himself to a comparison of our Amendment with the Clause as it stands from the point of view of simplicity. It is essential to judge this Clause, in particular, from that point of view.

Not only does the Bill allow for the abolition of resale price maintenance, but, where resale price maintenance has already been abolished, paradoxically the Bill can reinstitute it, where desired, under terms and conditions contained in this Clause. Whether in order to appeal to the Restrictive Practices Court or to enable a tradesman to decide if it would be wise to reinstitute resale price maintenance, it is essential for the tradesman to have in front of him the text of law that can be speedily understood.

My quarrel with the Clause as it is at present worded is that it is confusing, not only to lawyers, but even more confusing to people who have not got legal minds, who are engaged in distribution and who have to interpret the Bill from a practical point of view. It is essential that the suppliers and dealers, who are mentioned so frequently in the Bill, should have a Bill which they can readily understand.

Mr. Heath

If I may have the leave of the House to reply to the points which have been raised, I do not believe the difficulty mentioned by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Winterbottom) exists in this gateway. His first point related to the Bill's permitting the reinstitution of resale price maintenance. In that respect, the position is not changed. Even though it may long have been the practice not to exercise resale price maintenance in respect of particular goods, it can be reinstituted in a moment's notice from today, except that to be reinstituted it would be necessary to pass through one of the gateways.

Mr. Winterbottom

Except that the gateways themselves will have to be reconsidered and this may lead to the reinstitution of resale price maintenance in certain sections of the trade.

Mr. Heath

That, I would have thought, was unlikely. If anybody were thinking of reintroducing resale price maintenance, he would have done so without first of all seeing whether the gateways were here to allow him to do so.

The right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) raised a question about the word "health". I think that I can reassure him that it covers the ground to which he referred of injury and death. I am advised that there is no greater danger to health than death, and, therefore, this is included in the definition.

The hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) said that great confusion would follow from the use of the words "conditions of sale". With great respect to him, this is not what the existing gateway says. It says: the goods would be sold by retail under conditions likely to cause dange …". This is quite different from a condition of sale which, I agree, has a technical meaning. It appears that the hon. and learned Gentleman had not read the Clause with his customary diligence before raising the point. I hope that he will be reassured and that he will understand the reason for our wishing to adhere to the present wording.

The other points raised related to the application of the Clause. As I understood him, the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) said that there might be certain cases which were dangerous not because of the service, but because of inherent danger. To a certain extent, such cases are covered by other legislation. They would not be particularly covered by this Clause or by the Amendment. The other cases which were raised by the right hon. Member for Battersea, North and by my hon. Friend the Member for Folkestone (Mr. Costain) would be covered.

To the hon. and learned Member for Northampton I would say that it is because the Amendment omits any question of the conditions under which the goods are sold that I take exception to it. This is the important change which results in the abolition of resale price maintenance and is one of the criteria by which we have to judge. If we abandon resale price maintenance the new conditions under which the goods would be sold would lead to these consequences. That is the criterion by which one should judge whether or not resale price maintenance ought to be maintained. I hope that, with these assurances, the right hon. Gentleman will be prepared to withdraw the Amendment.

Mr. Jay

The question of danger to health and life arises not from the conditions under which the goods were sold, but from the nature of the goods sold. Would this be covered?

Mr. Heath

This is surely no different from the present situation. If conditions are inherently dangerous, this will have to be covered by other legislation. It is also to a certain extent covered by safety regulations.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned the question of inflammable dresses or nightgowns. This has been dealt with by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary under existing legislation. There is no difference there from the present position, either under resale price maintenance or without it.

Mr. Darling

I am not quite satisfied with the right hon. Gentleman's reply on the last point. I agree that some questions of public health ought to be dealt with in other legislation and are not appropriate to be dealt with here, but the other legislation is not so good in its form and in the way in which it is applied as the right hon. Gentleman thinks.

The question of nightdresses has been under discussion for a considerable time. Even now it is open to question whether the regulations under the Consumer Protection Act, 1961, will achieve the results we want, whereas by the application of some form of r.p.m. with the regulations we might more easily achieve our purpose from the point of view of safety. On the whole, I believe that my hon. Friends would agree that we are disappointed with the right hon. Gentleman's reply.

The interventions of my hon. Friends show that we are disturbed about the wording of the subsection, which seems to me to go contrary to the general principles and intentions of the Clause. At any rate, the Secretary of State has not removed all our doubts about the Clause and the ambiguities which we see in it. The more we go on arguing about this matter the more confused we seem to become, which is in itself an argument for accepting the Amendment. If the Secretary of State had said that there there was substance in our arguments, as we think there is, and if he had offered to look at this matter again we would have been somewhat happier.

I do not want to go over or expand the arguments, although it is now pos-

sible to do so in view of the right hon. Gentleman's interventions, but we think that our wording for the purpose that we have in mind is better and is in line with the principles of the Bill. It is clear and unambiguous and therefore, in all the circumstances, I suggest to my hon. Friends that we should press the Amendment.

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

The House divided: Ayes 203, Noes 163.

Division No. 94.] AYES [4.13 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Anderson, D. C. Foster, Sir John McMaster, Stanley R.
Atkins, Humphrey Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Maitland, Sir John
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Gammans, Lady Markham, Major Sir Frank
Balniel, Lord Gardner, Edward Mathew, Robert (Honiton)
Barlow, Sir John Gibson-Watt, David Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)
Barter, John Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Mawby, Ray
Batsford, Brian Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Goodhew, Victor Mills, Stratton
Bell, Ronald Gough, Frederick More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Gower, Raymond Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Grant-Ferris, R. Nicholson, Sir Godfrey
Biffen, John Green, Alan Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard
Biggs-Davison, John Gresham Cooke, R. Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Bingham, R. M. Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Page, Graham (Crosby)
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Grosvenor, Lord Robert Page, John (Harrow, West)
Bishop, Sir Patrick Gurden, Harold Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Black, Sir Cyril Hall, John (Wycombe) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Bossom, Hon. Clive Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Peel, John
Bourne-Arton, A. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Box, Donald Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Pitt, Dame Edith
Braine, Bernard Harvie Anderson, Miss Pounder, Rafton
Brewis, John Hay, John Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Col.Sir Walter Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward Price, David (Eastleigh)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Henderson, John (Cathcart) Prior, J. M. L.
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Hendry, Forbes Pym, Francis
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Bryan, Paul Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Hobson, Rt. Hon. Sir John Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)
Campbell, Gordon Hocking, Philip N. Rees-Davies, W. R. (Isle of Thanet)
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Holland, Philip Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Carr, Rt. Hon. Robert (Mitcham) Holt, Arthur Ridsdale, Julian
Channon, H. P. G. Hooson, H. E. Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey
Chataway, Christopher Hopkins, Alan Robertson, Sir D.(C'thn's & S'th'ld)
Chichester-Clark, R. Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Robson Brown, Sir William
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Roots, William
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hughes-Young, Michael Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Cleaver, Leonard Hulbert, Sir Norman Russell, Sir Ronald
Cole, Norman Hutchison, Michael Clark Sharples, Richard
Cooke, Robert Iremonger, T. L. Shaw, M.
Cooper, A. E. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Skeet, T. H. H.
Cooper-Key, Sir Neil[...] Jackson, John Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Cordle, John Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Spearman, Sir Alexander
Costain, A. P. Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Stainton, Keith
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Kerr, Sir Hamilton Stanley, Hon. Richard
Crawley, Aidan Kershaw, Anthony Stevens, Geoffrey
Cunningham, Sir Knox Kimball, Marcus Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Dalkeith, Earl of Kirk, Peter Storey, Sir Samuel
Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F. Lambton, Viscount Studholme, Sir Henry
Digby, Simon Wingfield Lancaster, Col. C. G. Summers, Sir Spencer
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Tapsell, Peter
Doughty, Charles Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
du Cann, Edward Lindsay, Sir Martin Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Eden, Sir John Linstead, Sir Hugh Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Litchfield, Capt. John Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Errington, Sir Eric Longbottom, Charles Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Fell, Anthony Loveys, Walter H. Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Finlay, Graeme McAdden, Sir Stephen Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Fisher, Nigel MacArthur, Ian Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Tweedsmuir, Lady Whitelaw, William Woodhouse, C. M.
Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John Williams, Dudley (Exeter) Woollam, John
Vickers, Miss Joan Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.) Worsley, Marcus
Wade, Donald Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Ward, Dame Irene Wise, A. R. Mr. McLaren and
Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick Mr. R. W. Elliott.
Webster, David Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Abse, Leo Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Pargiter, G. A.
Ainsley, William Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Paton, John
Albu, Austen Hamilton, William (West Fife) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Hannan, William Peart, Frederick
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hayman, F. H. Pentland, Norman
Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central) Healey, Denis Popplewell, Ernest
Barnett, Guy Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur(Rwly Regis) Prentice, R. E.
Beaney, Alan Holman, Percy Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Blackburn, F. Houghton, Douglas Probert, Arthur
Blyton, William Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Redhead, E. C.
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics,S.W.) Hoy, James H. Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Bowles, Frank Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Reynolds, G. W.
Boyden, James Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Rhodes, H.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Bradley, Tom Hunter, A. E. Robertson, John (Paisley)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Brockway, A. Fenner Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Short, Edward
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Silkin, John
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Janner, Sir Barnett Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Carmichael, Neil Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Skeffington, Arthur
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Cliffe, Michael Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Collick, Percy Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Small, William
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Kelley, Richard Snow, Julian
Cronin, John Kenyon, Clifford Spriggs, Leslie
Cullen, Mrs. Alice King, Dr. Horace Steele, Thomas
Dalyell, Tam Lee, Frederick (Newton) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Darling, George Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Stonehouse, John
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lipton, Marcus Stones, William
Davies, Harold (Leek) McBride, N. Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) McCann, J. Stross, Sir Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Deer, George McInnes, James Swingler, Stephen
Dempsey, James McLeavy, Frank Symonds, J. B.
Diamond, John MacPherson, Malcolm Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Dodds, Norman Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Doig, Peter Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Driberg, Tom Mapp, Charles Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Duffy, A, E. P. (Colne Valley) Marsh, Richard Thompson, Dr. Alan Dunfermline)
Edelman, Maurice Mason, Roy Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mayhew, Christopher Thornton, Ernest
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mellish, R. J. Warbey, William
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Mendelson, J. J. Weitzman, David
Evans, Albert Mitchison, G. R. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Fernyhough, E. Monslow, Walter Willey, Frederick
Fitch, Alan Moody, A. S. Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Foley, Maurice Moyle, Arthur Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Mulley, Frederick Winterbottom, R. E.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Neal, Harold Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Galpern, Sir Myer Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Woof, Robert
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) Oram, A. E. Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Ginsburg, David Oswald, Thomas
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Owen, Will TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gourley, Harry Paget, R. T. Mr. Rogers and Mr. Lawson.
Grey, Charles Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Edward du Cann)

I beg to move Amendment No. 27, in page 5, line 35, after "detriment", to insert: to the public as consumers or users of the goods in question". I do not know whether you would think it convenient, Mr. Speaker, for us to discuss Amendment No. 28 at the same time.

Mr. Speaker

If the House agrees.

Mr. du Cann

I am much obliged.

I should like to pick up something which was said by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Winterbottom) in our discussion on the last Amendment. He said that it was extremely important that the Bill should be as readable and intelligible as possible. These two Amendments are purely drafting Amendments to improve the balance of the tailpiece and to ensure that it reads more easily and is more intelligible.

I hope that the House will see fit to accept them as part of the desire of my right hon. Friend, expressed throughout deliberations on the Bill, to make it as sensible and clear as possible.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendments made: In page 5, line 36, leave out from "to" to "whether" in line 37 and insert: them as such consumers or users".—[Mr. du Cann.]

In line 39, at end insert: (2A) On a reference under this section in respect of goods of any class which have been the subject of proceedings in the Court under Part I of the Restrictive Trade Practices Act 1956 the Court may treat as conclusive, against any person who was party to the proceedings under the said Part I, any finding of fact made in those proceedings, and shall do so unless prima facie evidence is given of a material change in the relevant circumstances since those proceedings.—[Mr. Heath.]