HC Deb 22 February 1965 vol 707 cc29-31
35. Mr. Kenneth Lewis

asked the Minister of Labour whether he will now name the members of the Royal Commission which he is setting up to review trade union law and practice.

Mr. Gunter

I hope that an announcement will be made in the near future.

Mr. Ridsdale

Could the right hon. Gentleman say how long the Royal Commission will take? Is it not a very convenient way of putting under the counter the very necessary reforms which must be made in trade union structure?

Mr. Gunter

I shall not enter into an argument reflecting on the eminent gentlemen who are to serve on the Royal Commission.

Sir D. Renton

As my right hon. Friend the Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) announced nearly a year ago that, if our party got in, there was to be an inquiry after the General Election, and as the right hon. Gentleman's Ministry has been well alerted to the things which have to be done to establish the Royal Commission, why is there this quite unnecessary delay?

Mr. Gunter

The circumstances are not quite as the right hon. and learned Gentleman imagines. Upon the passing of the Conservative Administration, there was a very sour atmosphere on this issue. [HON. MEMBERS, "Oh."] There was a very sour atmosphere indeed.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Who created it?

Mr. Gunter

I am not arguing who created it. It existed. Therefore, it was necessary to give a lot of new thought to how we were to get both the employers and the trade unions to co-operate in the establishment of what I regard as one of the most important initiatives undertaken in this field for a long time.

Mr. Michael Foot

Since the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) does not seem to have anything particular to do, can my right hon. Friend give an absolute guarantee that he will not land up on this Royal Commission?

Mr. Gunter

I can indeed.

Captain Elliot

Will the Minister give an undertaking that, when the Royal Commission is set up, there are on it members other than trade union or employer representatives?

Mr. Gunter

I think that the hon. and gallant Gentleman will be very satisfied.