§ 4.18 p.m.
§ Sir John Vaughan-Morgan (Reigate)
I beg to move,That this House, whilst recognising that the welfare of pupils must be the primary concern of the approved school system, regrets the failure of the Home Secretary both to implement the assurances given on his behalf by counsel and to honour the principles of natural justice and the universal practice in the teaching profession by affording adequate opportunities for defence before taking action against the persons and institutions affected by the Gibbens Report.This is a complicated issue which affects a number of my constituents, and I am afraid that I shall have to burden the House with many details. First, however, it would be only right to express my thanks to the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary and to his officials, first, for allowing me, when this incident arose, to have a copy of the Report before it was published, "in confidence and as a Privy Councillor", to use the right hon. Gentleman's words; second, for allowing me to telephone him at his home when he was on holiday; and, third, for the subsequent interviews which I have had with him and with his Permanent Under-Secretary.
I should like to thank the right hon. Gentleman also for yet another courtesy. On Tuesday, he visited another approved school in my constituency, the Royal Philanthropic Society's School, at Redhill.. I had a letter from his office informing me of his visit, which arrived on the morning of his visit. I had, in fact, already heard from unauthorised channels that this was pending. Unfortunately, I had another engagement and could not accompany him. I trust that this delayed notice is due to dilatoryness in his office and not to any desire to prevent my being present. I only wished that I had been there with him. I might even have persuaded him to visit Court Lees, which lies only about four miles beyond, and meet some of those whose lives he has 654 so much affected by his decision in August.
This is, as I have said, a difficult and complex issue, on which there was a debate in another place last Session. I think that it is true to say that it did something to clear the air of the fog of rumour, innuendo and suspicion, and, I would say, undesirable publicity which has been hanging over the whole affair. Of course, there were matters which had to be cleared up, many of which still remain dubious. One noble Lord in the debate made two statements of fact about the school one of which was contradicted from the Government Front Bench and the other from the Opposition Front Bench. The noble Lord's comment was that it was "only a rumour". But still we felt that, in the words and reasons expressed in our Motion, it was quite right that this House, in its turn, should also debate this matter. My comment on the Liberal Amendment is that the issue is still not clarified.
I think that it would be as well if I pointed out what this debate is not about. First, it is not about the issue of corporal punishment in approved schools. I should state my position here. Frankly, I am neither a proponent nor an opponent of corporal punishment. I have no strong views. It is a matter which I consider should be left to the experts and to the advice and guidance of those whose task it is to maintain discipline in this difficult area of education in schools in which the ultimate sanction of dismissal is not available.
The fact remains that corporal punishment is today allowed under the rules laid down by the Home Secretary. I ask the House to note that when the board of management was negotiating with the Home Secretary it expressed its willingness to abolish corporal punishment in Court Lees subject to certain conditions. His answer was to sack them. The Home Secretary's position, judging from his statement, is that for the present he retains corporal punishment but expresses the intention to "phase it out". I find this rather an uncouth phrase for so elegant a writer, but I take it that it means that he is anxious to get the credit for the abolition while not incurring the consequent risks.
The second matter which this debate is not about is the question whether 655 approved schools should or should not be under local authorities. We all have views to be discussed when the legislation in question comes along, but I am sure that the House, and the right hon. Gentleman, would agree that to close a school to implement such a policy piecemeal and in advance of parliamentary approval would be wrong and would show callous unconcern for those at the school.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
My right hon. Friend said that this debate is not about whether approved schools should be under the local authorities. If some of us think that the whole point behind what has been done is to implement a move to bring in the local authorities, can it be said that this matter should be ruled out of debate?
§ Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan
I was not suggesting that it was ruled out of debate. That is surely a matter for you, Mr. Speaker, and not for me. I was intending to say that it is not a matter that we propose to discuss in the terms of our Motion. What we are debating is whether or not the action of the Home Secretary in closing Court Lees was justified in view of the consequences and the side effects of this decision on both staff and pupils.
Court Lees is in my constituency, a mile or so from my own home. I live roughly one-third of the way between Court Lees and the Royal Philanthropic Society's School. It is a familiar part of the local landscape. It enjoys a very good reputation. It is very well integrated into the community and, as a matter of comment, during the 17 years that I have been a Member I have had only one complaint, many years ago, about something that happened in the school. I know or have met most of the board of management and, unlike the Home Secretary, I have met the staff, including all the persons principally involved in this affair.
Now I must give a very brief summary of events, but I can assure the House that I am not going to try to repeat the whole of the Gibbens Report. There were anonymous letters in the Press making allegations which were quickly identified as referring to Court Lees, and after a preliminary investigation at the 656 beginning of May an inquiry was held under Mr. Gibbens, a distinguished Queen's Counsel. It is not, as I say, my intention to repeat everything that is in the famous Report by Mr. Gibbens. Nor do I in the main criticise it. On its narrow and limited terms of reference and on the evidence submitted, it would seem to be a fair Report. Many, including myself, consider that wider terms of reference might have produced a different result.
Since its publication, doubts have been raised about the evidence and about the findings which the Home Secretary has refused to consider would justify him in reopening the inquiry, but I must remind the House that an inquiry is not a trial and the report of an inquiry, however fairly conducted, is not a judicial decision.
I ask the House and those Members who are interested to compare the Gibbens Report with Cmnd. 937 of January, 1960, into the riots and disturbances that took place at the Carlton Approved School. I am not in any way suggesting that there is any merit in the length of a report, but it is noteworthy that the Carlton inquiry took 14 days instead of five and the Report itself is two or three times as long. The reason is that the terms of reference at Carlton were far wider.
In paragraph 42, Mr. Durand said:In considering the management and conduct of Carlton School for the purpose of the inquiry I thought it proper to take as a starting point the date of the full inspection of the school …".He was referring to the last full inspection.
This had been done four years beforehand—the identical lapse of time as there had been with Court Lees. But to read the two Reports is an interesting comparison. Mr. Durand painted a complete picture of the school, including both management and staff, and no one can read that Report without having, on the broadest and largest canvas, the most remarkable picture of the events and the people involved in those happenings.
Furthermore, the Carlton Inquiry was held in public, whereas Court Lees was held in private. The fact is that in the Court Lees inquiry the terms of reference were deliberately kept narrow. Yet, after the preliminary inquiry, which took place 657 on the 6th, 7th and 9th May by officials of the Home Office, the Home Office was approached on 17th May by Judge Cohen, the Chairman of the Board of Management, who urged that the terms of reference should be wider to include all aspects of conduct and management and should be held in public.
Did the Home Secretary know that this request had been made? If so, why was this reasonable application refused?
Mr. Durand, in the conclusions of his Report, gives a magisterial summing up of the reasons for and against closure of the school or other disciplinary action, and the Home Secretary of the day acted with this independent advice. The Home Secretary of today closes the school, he does not take independent advice, and it is from these decisions that stem the unhappy consequences which account for the continuing volume of protest against his high-handed action.
For the purposes of this debate we must accept the Gibbens Report. This House cannot today turn itself into a tribunal. It is the Home Secretary's action prior to and following that Report that we are criticising. The fact is that there were admitted breaches of Home Office regulations which cannot be condoned, and some disciplinary action was necessary.
I would now like to give an account of the events leading up to the closure. On 9th May, Mr. Cook, a master at the school, revealed himself as the writer of some pseudonymous letters in The Guardian which had raised the issue, but his identity had already been uncovered.
There was, as I have said, a preliminary inquiry on 6th, 7th and 9th May. Mr. Gibbens was appointed on 15th May, the inquiry was held between 26th and 30th June, and the Home Secretary received the Report on 27th July.
It is understandable that during this period there was considerable tension within the school, and I would emphasise the immense difficulty of the task of maintaining discipline and the unity of the staff under these conditions. The fullest credit is due to all concerned for the fact that no further trouble ensued.
The Permanent Under-Secretary at the Home Office wrote to Judge Cohen on Friday, 28th July, enclosing a copy of 658 the Report in the strictest confidence. On Tuesday, 1st August, Judge Cohen attended the Home Office and was informed of the Home Secretary's intention to withdraw the licence. He asked to see the Home Secretary, but an interview was refused. He was told that he could convene a meeting of the managers for the following Saturday, 5th August, but he was obligated to secrecy about the contents and outcome of the Report pending that.
On Tuesday evening, 1st August, Judge Cohen telephoned me. It was a rather baffling conversation. I found it difficult to know really what he was talking about, since he could not divulge the details of the Report. I telephoned the Home Office the next day, indicating my interest, and asked if the Home Secretary would see Judge Cohen and the managers before taking his decision. The Home Secretary, I am glad to say, agreed.
On Saturday, 5th August, the board meeting was held. There was only one copy of the Report amongst the 11 out of 12 managers present. It is hardly surprising that under those conditions no firm conclusions were reached. Meanwhile, I had received a copy of the Report and had read it cursorily.
I spoke to the Home Secretary on the telephone two days before he met the managers. I agreed with him then that the dismissals might be justified, that it was right that Mr. Cook should not be victimised, but that in my view to close the school would be too drastic. It is only right to say that I would now qualify the views I have given since meeting those concerned and having made a further study of the circumstances, but I would not qualify my views with regard to the closure of the school. The Home Secretary assured me that he would go to the meeting with the board of managers with an open mind. I repeated this assurance to Judge Cohen and I had hoped that all was well.
The meeting which took place between the Home Secretary and the board of managers was, presumably, confidential. I have no knowledge of what was said by any of the parties concerned. However, I can deal with the main issues which were obviously involved since the Home Secretary dealt with them at a later interview with me.
659 I now quote from a report by Judge Cohen:I attended with other members of the Board at the Home Office and urged strongly that we should be given a week to consider the matter and make proposals, but the Home Secretary insisted on keeping to his original timetable.The fact is that the Home Secretary would not wait a week. He could not offer even three days' grace. He was going abroad on the Wednesday, so Court Lees was closed—butchered to make an Italian holiday. That is why no time was given to the board to consider the matter again.
On Monday, 7th August, the Report was published, but even its publication and information to the school was handled with ineptitude. A meeting of the staff was convened at 3 o'clock at which officials, who have been described to me as very embarrassed, explained these proposals to a bewildered staff. The meeting was, understandably, lengthy. It lasted three hours. On emerging some of the staff discovered that their wives had already learned of the closure from the reporters and cameramen thronging the school, many of whom had copies of the Report, which was not given to the staff and had been denied to the managers two days before. It is a slight reflection almost of our times that the boys themselves learned from their transistor radios.
So it happened that on 8th August officials moved into the school and, in three days, the boys were scattered to other destinations.
The Home Secretary may say that he had to act quickly. I would entirely agree with him after the Report was published, but before the event was there so much hurry that a week would have mattered if the right solution had been produced? The school had been living under the shadow of this inquiry for over two months, and there had been no trouble.
Because of haste, the school was closed. What were the consequences? First, 40 or 50 staff not implicated in the inquiry had their employment jeopardised. The Home Secretary hopes that most will be re-employed by the Surrey County Council. Does he take responsibility for any of those not implicated in the inquiry if they are not taken on by the Surrey County Council? I hope that he will 660 answer that question. At best, the staff are to be shunted like railway trucks from a known employer in whom they have confidence and by whom they were engaged to an unknown employer. The House must know that the staff are almost unanimous in loyalty both to the board of managers and to the headmaster.
There are other more dire consequences. About 116 boys were dispersed. About 70 were sent to other schools, surely in defiance of all the principles of child care, to which security and continuity of environment must be essential. They were uprooted at short notice from familiar surroundings, with their friendships broken, and scattered over different establishments with strange companions and staff, having to adapt themselves to new administrations.
When I visited the Home Office, I raised this matter, and I was given the bland official comment that there was no evidence of harm. I do not dwell on this point too much, but I am sure that the Home Secretary will say that there is no evidence of good, either. No one has yet alleged that the boys benefited from it.
Furthermore, nearly 50 boys were sent home before their training was complete. To do this at a time when the schools were closed, with juvenile prospects at their worst, was not only inept but inhumane. Only six of the 50 boys thus released were reaching the stage when they were due for consideration for release. Here, we have evidence of what has happened, since after-care from the school has continued. There is evidence that about 12 of these boys have already been in trouble of one sort or another. One is on remand. Another has played truant. Some are in serious debt. One—I think this the most poignant of the lot—has been turned out of his home by his father.
Another difficulty has arisen. Boys of school age naturally find it unsettling to go to another school for a short time. But, more than that, some of these 50 boys—I have not the exact figure—were in need of, and were receiving, psychiatric treatment. They were summarily released without its completion and without arrangements being made for its continuance after release. If for nothing else, the Home Secretary stands condemned for the consequences to these boys alone.
661 What were the differences between the Home Secretary and the board of managers? They hinged on certain points. The first, I understand, was the matter of local authority representation on the board. I do not consider this an unreasonable request, but, bearing in mind the Home Secretary's rule 10, which demands that managers should live within reasonable distance of the school, the number available is somewhat circumscribed. The managers agreed to this suggestion, but asked only that it should be implemented gradually, without the demand for immediate retirement of the present members. I do not think that that was a serious bone of contention between the parties.
Second, the Home Secretary demanded the dismissal of the headmaster and the deputy headmaster—incidentally, the headmaster had offered to resign if the school were kept open—and the board of managers agreed to this, though reluctantly. I can understand their reluctance since I know these two gentlemen and the high esteem in which they are held.
The real stumbling block was the problem of Mr. Cook. And this is some problem. The Home Office was informed at the time of the decision to hold the inquiry, and again in June, that it was extremely difficult to hold the staff so long as Mr. Cook was still allowed to be an active member. The Home Office recognised this and sent down an official in June to try to persuade Mr. Cook to take extended leave; but, unfortunately, he refused to do so. When the board of managers negotiated with the Home Secretary, Mr. Cook was away on holiday. On returning after the Report was published, he immediately asked for six months' extended leave. This was gladly granted and willingly approved by the Home Office.
But, at the time of the interview with the Home Secretary, the board of managers had either to accept Mr. Cook's continued employment, in which case there would have been a near revolt among the staff, or give him two months' notice. They had no other powers. The Home Secretary's clumsy solution to this problem is to give everyone six months' notice, the managers, the head master, the deputy head master, Mr. Cook and all the staff.
662 At the end of this period, what will happen? The successor authority will face the same problem as the managers did, the same dilemma, whether to employ Mr. Cook, with the consequences which might ensue. Does the right hon. Gentleman intend to make it a condition of approval of the licence to the Surrey County Council that Mr. Cook should be employed? If not, where was the difference between him and the board of managers?
I am not advocating the employment of Mr. Cook in any way in the approved school service. The Report is not kind to him, and I do not propose to quote from it again. No one is shown in a worse light. It is not a good reference. He is shown as disloyal and jealous. A pseudonymous letter to a newspaper is no substitute for the elementary duty of a good citizen to report misdeeds to those in authority, to the managers, to his colleagues, to the Home Office, or even, if he did not trust his colleagues, to the chaplain who visits the school frequently. If he did not trust the managers, for his own peculiar reasons, could not Mr. Cook take the matter to the Home Office? If he did not trust the Home Office, is it not the duty of any citizen who claims to have evidence of brutality at least to go to the police?
I have the advantage over the Home Secretary in this matter of having had a conversation for an hour and a quarter with Mr. Cook. It is an interesting experience. To meet—I must say this, even if I lose the friendship of others of the staff at Court Lees—I found him a not unlikeable personality. But I judge him also to be ambitious, unsuccessful and very frustrated. In short, he is not in a job with the responsibilities which he considers equal to his intellectual capacity. He has had a varied and chequered career. It is obvious to me that he has a sort of superiority complex towards his colleagues and an apparent hatred directed towards, first, the board of managers, who have three times rejected him for offices of responsibility, and second, towards the children's department of the Home Office. Mr. Cook made an interesting comment to me. He said, "You will not get a report with wider terms of reference, as the children's department has too much to conceal". I make no comment on this.
663 Mr. Cook is also a bad disciplinarian. He issued a record number of yellow tickets or recommendations for punishment, most of which were disregarded. He is a fervent opponent of capital punishment, but the House will note with interest that when I saw the punishment book I noticed that two boys had been caned, quite rightly, on his recommendation less than a month before he wrote his letters to The Guardian.
All these qualities taken together add up to a difficult colleague and someone who is, in my view, quite unsuited to work in a community such as a school, particularly an approved school.
Having made Mr. Cook his casus belli with the managers, what will the Home Secretary do? Mr. Cook was promised that he would not be victimised if he came forward, but how will this be implemented? How will Mr. Cook receive his reward, his deserts? The answer is that the Home Secretary will drop him. He has served his purpose.
Now, what of the headmaster and the deputy headmaster?
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Roy Jenkins)
As I understand it, the burden of the argument which the right hon. Gentleman is now advancing to the House is that Mr. Cook is a highly unreliable character. Will the right hon. Gentleman say why, in those circumstances, he chose to give currency to a slur against the children's department of the Home Office, advanced without any support by someone whom he regards as wholly unreliable?
§ Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan
Naturally, it is a comment on Mr. Cook's unreliability. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I have had the advantage of meeting Mr. Cook. I think that the House and the Home Secretary, who has not met Mr. Cook, should have a complete picture of the man in question.
I was about to deal with the headmaster and the deputy headmaster. Neither has been suspended, neither has been reprimanded, and technically neither has been punished, even though guilty of breaches of regulations. They have been given six months' notice, and the same penalty has been given to all, regardless of the degree of severity of the offences.
664 At one time it was understood that the Home Office had let it be known that there would be no further employment in the approved school service for either of these people. This was a rumour. I must repeat it. It is unfortunate that the Home Office attitude towards their future career has not been clarified at an earlier stage.
I have now seen the Home Secretary's letter, dated 7th November, to Sir Ronald Gould in answer to Sir Ronald's letter to him of 5th October. There is still some doubt as to the Home Secretary's intentions, and I hope that he will make it quite clear where the Home Office stands in this matter. His powers are limited to the approval of the appointment of a headmaster at the approved school. In the case of other staff he has no authority, although he can seek, and did seek, and has sought, to influence appointments, as he did when Mr. Haydon was being considered for the headmastership in January of this year.
I turn to the future of Mr. Draycon. He has had 32 years in the educational profession and 16 years in the approved schools service. He has no blemish on his character that I can trace. He is getting towards the age of retirement and any break in his career can substantially affect his pension prospects. As I understand from the Home Secretary's letter to Sir Ronald Gould, the General Secretary of the N.U.T., the right hon. Gentleman has no power to prevent Mr. Draycon's appointment in any school as deputy; yet he has told the Surrey County Council that he would think it inappropriate that Mr. Draycon should be appointed to any post at Court Lees, including the deputy headmastership. So much for the independence of local authorities. How long is the Home Secretary going to seek to influence other boards of management or local authorities under which Mr. Dray-con would seek an appointment?
I turn to the headmaster's prospects. What is his future? In another place the noble Lord, Lord Longford, said this:I would hope that he would obtain a future in another approved school or some other part of the educational system …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, Wednesday, 25th October, 1967; Vol. 285, c. 1732.]Will the Home Secretary confirm when he speaks that he shares these hopes?
665 There are, I am glad to say, signs in this letter that the Home Office is reconsidering what appeared to be its somewhat severe attitude towards the headmaster. In his letter to Sir Ronald dated 7th November, the right hon. Gentleman said this:In the light of Mr. Gibben's Report I would not be prepared to approve the appointment of Mr. Haydon as headmaster of an approved school, but, after a suitable interval, it would be open to Mr. Haydon to put forward any fresh considerations which, in his view, might cause me or my successors to reconsider this decision.What does the Home Secretary consider to be a "suitable interval"? What does he mean by "fresh considerations", for this is a curious and ambivalent punishment—a suspended, undefined sentence for a man who has not been found guilty of a crime.
Furthermore, in the headmaster's case this burkes all the issues. In his case there are allegations of excessive beatings. These are not just breaches of regulations. These are crimes. I hope that the Home Secretary is reminded of the very good speech by Baroness Serota in another place and this comment by her:the proper place for justice is a court of law".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords; Wednesday, 25th October, 1967; Vol. 285, c. 1695.]and Lord Dilhorne's question whether this matter had been considered by the Director of Public Prosecutions. There will not be a prosecution. Unless there is one, the headmaster is entitled to consider himself innocent of all criminal charges.
Further, there is a new threat hanging over the heads of the headmaster and the deputy headmaster. I again quote from the Home Secretary's letter to Sir Ronald:However, the question of Mr. Haydon's and Mr. Draycon's future employment, either in approved schools or in other types of school, is now dependent on the outcome of the consideration that the Secretary of State for Education and Science … is giving to their suitability for continued employment as teachers. As you know, the procedure for considering such questions includes an opportunity for the persons concerned to offer an explanation of the matter, and I understand that the Union's solicitors have already been in touch with the Department of Education and Science about this.It is true that there is an opportunity for those concerned to offer pleas in mitigation and to give testimonials of 666 character, but this, too, is a private inquiry held by officials in the name of a Minister. This inquiry is not into their suitability for their present posts, but into their suitability for continued employment as teachers. It is the procedure for any teacher anywhere in the service who has, for example, been found guilty of an offence for which he has been tried in courts or who has been involved in some affair such as a notorious divorce case which, in the eyes of his employers, merits his dismissal. But the headmaster has not been tried in a court.
Further, it would be a tragedy of justice and the grossest injustice if this procedure alone takes place in complete defiance of the assurances given by counsel for the Home Office at the Gibbens inquiry. I quote from Mr. Solomon's speech. He said that these arenot allegations aimed against individual persons, although naturally it may well be that the result of your finding on one or other matters may be to attach credit discredit or blame to one or other persons, but, to put it in a word, no one is in the dock in this inquiry".He said:… it would be wrong to approach the matters as though they were quasi-criminal matters which had to be proved with the same strictness or strength of proof that is required in criminal cases in order to protect a man who is on trial. … I take it that if you in fact merely arrive at finding a particular allegation, which necessarily is a matter of finding fact involving one or other master, including a breach of the rules, nevertheless no disciplinary consequences would follow or could properly follow automatically upon your report.Mr. Solomon added:Therefore, an adverse finding against somebody may be involved, but if somebody were found to be under criticism or blamed in the report of a tribunal of this nature, and dismissed, or disciplinary action taken as a result of it, he would necessarily be the subject of a further inquiry or investigation. …But none of these remarks can be held to apply to the inquiry by the Department of Education and Science, for that relates to their suitability as teachers, and that is not the tenure hearing which is allowed in the educational service into the actual loss of posts. In the Lords debate it was part of the Government's defence that this Department of Education and Science summons was the point to which Mr. Solomon was referring. I do not know whether it was a consequence of that, but in fact the summonses were received fairly soon after. But 667 this is the reason why the N.U.T. have demanded that a proper tribunal should be set up to consider the matter, to be held in public, concerning their fitness to hold their present posts.
Of course, all masters in approved schools have occupational hazards, if I may so put it, in the kind of accusation which can be made against them, which shows that they have need for greater security of tenure, rather than less, than those in other parts of the educational service. But as a result of what happened to these two men, a feeling of insecurity has spread throughout the staff of other approved schools, as any hon. Member with an approved school in his constituency will agree.
I will end my remarks about the headmaster and Mr. Draycon by saying that in my view it would be a tragedy if their abilities were lost to the approved school service to which they have given so much. In Mr. Haydon's case, it culminated in his appointment as headmaster last January at the age of 45 to the largest approved school and on the strong recommendation of the Home Office. He has an impressive record in the service, and the Home Secretary may have noticed the pleas submitted by many who know him, many of whom are friends of the Home Secretary.
I must make it clear to the House—I hardly believe that I need to say it—that none of us would condone brutality if it were committed. After getting to know the headmaster, I find it quite impossible to believe that he was guilty of such an offence, and I pay very warm tribute to the courage with which during these months he has faced the ruin of a promising career. The Home Secretary condemns him unseen, unheard. If he could not visit Court Lees with me, he might at least have accorded them an interview.
I said at the beginning that I accepted the Report for the purpose of this debate. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Very well, I accept the Report in toto, and I will not reopen it. But I must express my doubt about the result. That is all I am trying to say, unless the Home Secretary is prepared to open a wider inquiry which, when I saw him, he said would serve no purpose.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
After meeting Mr. Haydon, the right hon. Gentleman did 668 not believe that he could have done that which the Report said that he had done. Does he accept the Report or does he not accept it?
§ Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan
I said that I did not think that he was guilty of brutality, which is a criminal offence and for which he has not been brought to trial.
§ Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan
I must accept the findings of the Report. We cannot reopen the inquiry today. But I do not accept that he is a criminal, because if he were then I am certain that the Home Secretary would have brought him to book.
I come back to the Home Secretary's dismissal of the board of managers. He stated that the managers did not appreciate the implications of the Report. How could they? They had only one copy between 12, and 24 hours in which to consider the important issues involved. They were faced with an ultimatum. After two hours' discussion they gave way on all but the employment of Mr. Cook. To say that they did not appreciate the implications is a purely subjective judgment.
The fact is that the right hon. Gentleman's mind was already closed. It is worth reminding the House of the timetable. On 1st August Judge Cohen was refused an interview with the Home Secretary when he had been informed of his intention to withdraw the licence. How could the Home Secretary have known that the managers did not appreciate the implications unless he met them? The managers were dismissed and the school was dispersed, and the Home Secretary went away expecting to find on his return that everything was neatly tied up. If any questions had been asked we should have been accused of disturbing the newly reopened school.
On 11th August a letter was sent to Judge Cohen informing him that Court Lees would cease to be an approved school on 8th February and outlining the financial arrangements for the early takeover by the Surrey County Council. It was quick work—between 7th and 11th 669 August. The letter contains one interesting comment:I should add that the Surrey County Council have said that they would be prepared to consider the appointment of some of the Managers to the new Management Committee for the schools.It was done in the name of the Surrey County Council, but the words were the words of the Home Office.
It seems that the managers were not so bad after all. They were sacked on Sunday and back again in good repute on Thursday.
There was another little gem of irony. It was stated that for legal reasons the name of the school would have to be changed, and the proposal was mooted to name the school after the late chairman, Colonel Hale. That was a little ironical, because it was under the late chairman that all the incidents took place. In fairness to the Home Secretary, I think that he was away when the letter was sent, but I assume that he would not disown it.
The fact is that the Home Office miscalculated. The Home Secretary, having dismissed and affronted the managers, expected them to hand over, but he overlooked the legal position. The managers, with the full support of the staff, were determined that they would maintain their position until the matter had been fully ventilated in Parliament and until all possible representations had been made to the Home Secretary to induce him to change his mind and, in particular, to have a wider inquiry. The managers do not care about the affront to them. But they feel that an injustice has been done, that harm has been done to the boys of the school and that a slur has been cast on all the staff who were not implicated in the inquiry.
The Home Secretary is perturbed at the delay in the arrangements. I hope that he will not spend too much time in his speech in denigrating the managers. He can rest assured that there will be full co-operation with the Surrey County Council, in the interests of the staff. I will do all I can to help.
No harm has been done by the delay, except to the taxpayers in the fact that the building remains idle. Meanwhile, the Home Secretary has had to learn that he cannot bend the law to his will without protest and expect others to toe 670 the line and I hope that it has been a salutary lesson.
I have no wish to be unconstructive and I think we all face the fact that, in May, the right hon. Gentleman was in a dilemma. What should he have done? His supporters would say that he had no option. He had many options but chose the wrong one. I would assume that the first desire of a responsible Home Secretary would have been to keep the school open, whatever changes he might in due course have found it wise to make in the school or in its administration, in order to try to secure continuity of education for the boys and security for the staff.
The preliminary investigations took place at Court Lees on 6th, 7th and 9th May and on the basis of these reports the Home Secretary set up an inquiry. No one considers that he was wrong in that. He had to set up an inquiry. But no other action was taken and the school continued with the shadow of this inquiry hanging over it throughout the hearing until August. But in my view this action was inadequate and was, in fact, the wrong action.
After the prima facie evidence was given to him, the right hon. Gentleman should have asked the board of managers to suspend the headmaster and the deputy headmaster pending an inquiry. They could then have appointed an acting headmaster from outside the school and a temporary deputy headmaster either from within the school or without it. They could then have arranged for supporting staff from other approved schools to be moved in, as has been done in other cases. This is a difficult situation but it is the same that would have arisen if the managers had dismissed the headmaster and the deputy headmaster as requested.
The right hon. Gentleman should also, as he did in June, have offered Mr. Cook six months' extended leave. If this was refused, he would have been justified and wise in suspending Mr. Cook. But the school would have been able to carry on and would have remained in being whatever report the inquiry produced.
§ Mr. J. C. Jennings (Burton)
May I point out to my right hon. Friend that this debate finishes at 7 o'clock and that he has now taken almost 55 minutes? If the Home Secretary takes that long—and 671 presumably we shall have winding-up speeches from both sides—this means that virtually no back benchers will have an opportunity to speak, and that is deplorable.
§ Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan
I apologise to my hon. Friend but he knows that, for the last three or four months, I have been living with this problem and I think it is right that I should not end my speech without at least saying what I think the Home Secretary should have done. I apologise if I have taken too long. I know my hon. Friend's feelings on the matter, which I share.
On receipt of the Report, the Home Secretary should have considered disciplinary action. Above all, before punishing those who might have been found guilty of disciplinary offences or of crimes, he could then have given them a chance to speak for themselves against the indictment and allowed evidence of character and pleas in mitigation. Again, in May, the Home Secretary should have widened the terms of reference to include conduct and management since 1963, and in the light of the Report could have made up his mind whether to close the school or not.
Why did the Home Office refuse an inquiry with wider terms of reference, as requested in May? I do not know. I made a similar request in August and in September, when I saw the right hon. Gentleman himself. My object was to get the school reopened. The right hon. Gentleman refused. He said he could not see what purpose it would serve.
Why did the Home Secretary do this? This is a precipitate and ill-considered closure which has deprived the community of the much needed services of this school. It has scattered the pupils, jeopardised the employment of staff and, most heinous of all, has wrecked the careers and condemned two men, unseen and unheard.
Why did the right hon. Gentleman do it? I think that he was understandably horrified by the photographs shown to him. But he should not act on a quick emotional reaction without calculating all the consequences. I think that he was badly advised. I think that he was in a hurry. I think also—and I have respect and liking for the right hon. Gen- 672 tleman—that he was more concerned with a theatrical gesture and with the preservation of his own image as a liberal-minded Home Secretary than he was with doing justice to those he has condemned or with the interests of those staff and those pupils for whom he has responsibility
It is, then, for his melodramatic and maladroit action in closing the school regardless of the consequences that we condemn him.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Dr. M. P. Winstanley (Cheadle)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The right hon. Member for Reigate (Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan) was good enough to refer to the Amendment standing in my name and the names of my hon. Friends to leave out from 'House' to the end of the Question and to add'believing that the matter of the rights of teachers at Court Lees School was fully and satisfactorily ventilated in another place, is of the opinion that any further discussion can only be damaging to the best interests of all those concerned with approved schools'.For the sake of the record, will you make it clear that the Amendment has not been selected for discussion?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Eric Fletcher)
I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman. The Amendment has not been selected. Mr. Paget.
§ Mr. T. L. Iremonger (Ilford, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I had two Questions down for Oral Answer on subjects highly germane to this debate, one to the Home Secretary and one to the Secretary of State for Education and Science. Both Answers should have been available in the Lobby at 3.30 p.m. It is now nearly 5.30 p.m. and they have not reached me. Can you help me?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The hon. Gentleman has made the point and no doubt those responsible for seeing that Written Answers to Questions are supplied to hon. Members in the Lobby will have taken note.
§ Mr. Iremonger
Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I make it clear that these Questions were not for Written Answer but for Oral Answer and, therefore, due today and not at the Ministers' convenience.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The normal practice of the House is that Questions down for Oral Answer and not reached by 3.30 p.m. receive a Written Answer as soon as convenient after that time. I am sure that the Ministers concerned will have noted what the hon. Gentleman has said.
§ Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas (Chelmsford)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Would it not be for the convenience of the House in having an intelligent debate if we were to hear the Home Secretary now so that we could discuss the issue in the light of both sides of the case?
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
I cannot call the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary if he does not rise. Mr. Paget.
§ 5.18 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
There was one passage in the speech of the right hon. Member for Reigate (Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan) which struck me as quite astounding. On the one hand, he says that he accepts the Gibbens Report and on the other he says that he does not think that Mr. Haydon was guilty of brutality. That seems to me to involve an odd definition of brutality.
But I shall go straight away on to the question which seems to be germane. Nobody is in the dock. Some may be very fortunate not to be there but they are not in the dock. The question which my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has to decide is quite simply, "On the facts as I know them, can I approve of a school under the control of men who behave as these men have said they behaved and managed by governors who condone, and almost go as far as approve, this behaviour?"
My right hon. Friend says that he cannot approve of such an institution. That is the issue here and that is all this is about. It is asked: why are not these men prosecuted if they are guilty of a criminal offence? It is a general custom that when one sets up an inquiry at which one asks people to give evidence, one does not then bring prosecutions in which that evidence can be used against them. It seems that in this instance it is a very fortunate custom for two, at least, of the men involved here and one which they would be unwise to question.
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas rose—
§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
I am grateful for the courtesy of the hon. and learned Gentleman. Surely the issue in this Report and in this debate is not whether the Home Secretary approves of the school or the Report approves of the school. The issue surely is whether the conduct of the headmaster and his deputy was approved. One could quite easily disapprove very strongly of that, as does the Report—and I very strongly disapprove of it myself—but at the same time think it unnecessary to approve or disapprove of the school.
§ Mr. Paget
This is an approved school—not approved masters. What my right hon. Friend was unable to do was to approve of a school conducted by such masters or administered by such governors. When we have looked a little further into this I will be a little astonished if I find that people could approve of such an institution.
Let us see what happened here. What were the irregularities which were confessed in this inquiry and found by Mr. Gibbens? Firstly, there is the question of the canes. The Home Office made a free issue of canes. They are canes which have a safety factor built into them. They break if too much force is used. They were not good enough for this institution of which it is said my right hon. Friend should approve. Canes were obtained which would stand the full strength of Mr. Haydon, a quarter finalist at Wimbledon whose forehand drive used to be famous.
§ Mrs. Freda Corbet (Peckham) rose—
§ Mrs. Corbet
May I remind my hon. and learned Friend that the headmaster previous to Mr. Haydon was the one who did not find the canes strong enough, and that that was three years before?
§ Mr. Paget
Well, the master before Mr. Haydon and then Mr. Havdon used these canes, and they are sufficient for 675 his purpose—with his forehand drive. The hon. Lady is not even right about that, because the cane actually used by Mr. Haydon was one that he brought with him. If one looks at the evidence it will be found to be so.
§ Mr. Quintin Hogg (St. Marylebone)
would the hon. and learned Gentleman be good enough to read to the House the whole of paragraph 39 of the Report and say whether what he has been saying is even a creditable summary of it?
§ Mr. Paget
Hon. Members have the Report—[HON. MEMBERS: "Read it."]— In due course. We have had 60 minutes of the Opposition Front Bench, and I do not want to take up more time. This is one of the charges which was found—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, these excessive canings. The next case which was made out and charged was that at this school, beating was the first punishment, not the last. Of that these men are convicted, and in defiance of the first rule here which is to the effect that every effort shall be made to enforce discipline without resort to corporal punishment.
Thirdly, one of these gentlemen, Mr. Draycon, beat boys in pyjamas, which again was contrary to the rules. Mr. Haydon made it a practice—this is the tennis player—on a number of occasions, to pull out their shirt tails. This was, as he says, in order to make the beating more severe. He goes on to say at one point—this is from the debate in another place—that another reason why he pulled the tails out was to add drama to what he was doing and to make it more memorable. There was a certain drama on these occasions. According to him there was nothing in the least surprising, not something he would remember, if, during these beatings, boys threw themselves down, had to be picked up and held, and were beaten whilst they had their heads between another master's legs who held them. Beatings were not recorded in the book.
The most serious charge of all is that of excessive severity. In the cases of the children referred to as No. 13 and No. 3 photographs were not necessary. In the case of four of them photographs were produced. This is four instances. I do not know if anyone throws any doubt 676 upon these photographs, certainly according to the Report no one questioned their validity or reliability at the trial.
§ Mr. Iremonger rose—
§ Mr. Paget
I will not give way any more. In another place some question was raised about this. Let us see what the evidence was about these photographs. The boys said that they were photographed. Mr. Cook said that he photographed them. The film was sent, undeveloped, to The Guardian. The Guardian developed it and from there it went to the pathologists. If those were not the photographs Mr. Cook said they were, what were they, and how could they come to him?
They were undeveloped when he sent them along. I do not know Dr. Paul, I do know Keith Simpson and I do know Donald Teare. They are men of great experience. They are forensic experts and are highly accustomed to dealing with photographs. They had no doubt at all about these photographs. Both agreed that if they had found a child in the state shown on two of these photographs they would immediately have sent for the police.
One of them, Simpson, said he would equally have done so in a third case. Dr. Teare was not certain of this. Added to that, there is the evidence of the schoolmasters themselves, that there was nothing unusual about the beatings which had preceded the taking of these photographs, and that they were not of any exceptional severity. This was the kind of conduct which two experienced Home Office pathologists would have sent straight to the police. These were the photographs of the results of what the masters described as perfectly normal beatings.
It is often said in this House that whatever we are discussing somebody can bring a personal experience to it. I am going to venture to do so, and this may be one reason why I feel so involved in this debate. I have often been held as being less than enthusiastic on the side of immature self-government. I think that in some degree this is because I experienced some of it—I was at a public school.
At one period discipline was conducted by the prefects. One of them did not 677 like me, or found it fun,—I do not know what it was—and I was continually flogged for about five months, until severe ulceration set in and the doctor stopped it. I think that one has to have a little of that kind of experience to discover what this sort of thing is like for the person who receives it.
The worst part was not primarily the pain, nor even the going in, but the coming out of the room and facing the little boys, my contemporaries, who had been counting the strokes, and were there as a pack to finish off a wounded member. One felt like a wounded dog doing what it could to conceal the hurt and escape back into the pack. The next night I would be there as one of the pack counting the strokes being received by others, and in my heart feeling bitterly ashamed of being there, but too frightened to do anything else. The worst part was the need to conceal, to hide away one's hurt. Inside I curled up like a hedgehog, throwing out defensive spikes of pretence and show-off, anything to conceal my real and over-vulnerable feelings. It took me about 20 years to uncurl that hedgehog so that I could begin again to share feelings which I had found it so desperately necessary to conceal. In fact, it was not until 20 years after, when I came to this House, that I began really to be able to enjoy the kind of friendship which involves sharing one's emotions. I say this because I wish to make it clear that it was no light and transitory injury which was being done to these boys.
One of these masters pointed to a boy and said, "Stand up." The school was in assembly, "I want everyone to know that you are a coward, that you squirmed and whimpered when you were punished." When asked about it the master said "I do not use the club" but he accepted squirm and whimper. What kind of scar tissue will grow on that injury? How long will it last? When I received my treatment, I started whole. These children started as casualties in need of care and protection. I do not know whether they needed it before they got there, but they certainly did on arrival.
Let us consider the question of absconding. These boys scamper home to Mum. This is the only love which many of them have. These are disturbed children, and Mum is their haven. Everybody knows 678 where they are going, and the police are there to meet them, or Mum has been talked to and she has to send for the police. There is a sense of awful betrayal when they find that the only available haven has been closed, and a policeman takes them back to school. They arrive there at midnight, or perhaps two o'clock in the morning, and they are thrashed, either immediately, or, as they are sometimes filthy, they are given a wash before being thrashed. In heaven's name, what can thrashing a child in these circumstances achieve? These may be kind men, but is anyone going to entrust children to this monumental stupidity?
Another thing for which these children were being thrashed was masturbation—in this day and age.
§ Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan
This statement was made in the Lords, and was contradicted. No boy was beaten for masturbating.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
There is no record of that in the punishment book. There is record that there were beatings for mutual masturbation during the period leading up to the inquiry. There was no suggestion in the punishment book that this was for bullying.
§ Mr. Paget
That is only one instance of beatings for sex play, there were many.
I am not saying that in all circumstances I am opposed to corporal punishment. I regard it as a confession of defeat, either by a parent or by a schoolmaster, but at some point in a rebellion, in bullying, or in defiance, it may be necessary to demonstrate that one is stronger than the person whom one has to rule.
That is all that it amounts to, but it should not be administered for the sort of purpose to which I have been referring, and these are the people whom the Home Secretary is asked to approve for the 679 management of boys. He is asked to approve of people who are capable of such stupidity. Almost the most shocking thing is the subsequent offer to run the school without corporal punishment, and a confident expression that it can be done. If they did not think it was necessary, why did they do it?
I turn now to Judge Cohen and his colleagues, the governors. I could perhaps forgive their negligence in not knowing what was going on at this school, but it was not a question of having to wait for a report. They had the opportunity to be at the hearing to find out what had happened there.
What was their reaction when these terrible things came to light? They wanted to wreak vengeance on Mr. Cook who showed them up. That is all that they were concerned with. They said that they must keep the headmaster, because he is a good chap, but they must get rid of the man who showed him up. If Mr. Cook was so bad, why was he employed for so long? It was only when he showed them up that they discovered he was bad. It was not a question that they would not keep Mr. Cook. Here were people who were running this school reacting with no seriousness to what had come out in the evidence, and they did not have to wait for Mr. Gibbens to tell them the result of the evidence. They had heard it. They were quite unperturbed by the evidence of what had been done. All that they wanted was to get rid of Mr. Cook. They were not much concerned about anybody else. It was quite enough to know that these men were unfit to be managers.
I have not had the advantage of meeting Mr. Cook. I do not know what his motives were. I do not know what sort of temperament he has. I do not know whether he is a suitable schoolmaster, but at one point in his life he did a good thing. He opened this sewer. He has let this out. He has stopped great cruelty, and I do not kid myself that this is the only approved school in which it has happened. He has brought relief not only in this school but elsewhere.
My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has been attacked. I hope that he will not feel it presumptuous of me to say so, but he has shown great courage. 680 He has had to face the establishment in the shape of the formidable and respected figures who made up the board of governors and who form other boards all over the country. He had to face his own Department's commitment to these people. It cannot have been easy to do it, and it was a brave thing to do. In the last few years, we have seen far too many people going to the Dispatch Box as captives of the establishment, to deny the principles they once professed. Here we have a Minister who has had the guts to face up to that situation and, although I have of late sometimes been reluctant lobby fodder, I shall vote joyously tonight.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. Is this not an example of why we ought to have a speech from the Home Secretary during the course of the debate, so that we have on record the official reply from the Treasury Bench on the matter?
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ Mr. J. C. Jennings (Burton)
I rise to make a short but pointed speech. I do not intend to discuss corporal punishment or the behaviour of Mr. Haydon, Mr. Draycon or even of Mr. Cook. I want to discuss the principles behind this unfortunate story.
I consider that the precipitate closure of the school was unnecessary and unjust. The effect on the approved school service has been most disruptive and, to start with, it has affected seriously the morale of the service.
A blanket judgment was made on the whole staff, when the majority had nothing to do with the incidents which were the subject of the Gibbens Inquiry. Their livelihoods and their professional integrity were put in jeopardy arbitrarily by this blanket judgment. It was unfair and quite contrary to the rules of natural justice. It has left the sour taste of suspicion and mistrust, and has resulted in a complete loss of faith in the various parts of the approved school service.
What lies behind the cases of the headmaster and the deputy head? It involves the vital principle of tenure and security 681 of employment. That is what is at stake in the whole of this incident, and not only in approved schools but, as I hope to show, possibly in the maintained side of our education system.
In effect, the headmaster and the deputy head have been dismissed by the Home Office.
§ Mr. Jennings
I said that I was not debating the merits of the case. It is the manner in which the action was taken that counts, and I am not entering into a discussion—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) apparently does not agree. If hon. Members opposite came to know of people in industry who had been treated as arbitrarily as these two men have been, we should see unofficial strikes, demonstrations and the rest of it.
I am pleading for the system not to be operated in the way that it has been. Virtually, the Home Secretary has dismissed these two men. In his letter to Sir Ronald Gould, the General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, he says that he would not be prepared to approve the appointment of Mr. Haydon as headmaster of an approved school.
However, let us keep to basic principles. He goes a little further by saying that they may apply for an interview with the Secretary of State for Education and Science. How kind and charitable of him. It is quite in keeping with his liberal outlook on these matters. He says that, if the Secretary of State grants them an interview, they can put their case to show that they are fit persons to be ordinary teachers.
That is as far as the right hon. Gentleman has gone, but he has closed the door to these two men to any appointment in a senior capacity in the work in which they have been trained for years. He has closed it without the tenure hearing which is the normal established practice for the whole teaching profession.
These men are teachers. They are in a specialist part of the teaching service. The whole consensus of opinion and practice in the teaching service is that, if a man or woman is in danger of being dismissed, he or she is entitled to a tenure hearing. When the right hon. Gentleman 682 replies to the debate, I invite him to tell the House whether the Inquiry was in the nature of a tenure hearing. It is clear that it was not. It did not fulfil any of the conditions of a tenure hearing. It was held in private, which put these two men at a great disadvantage. Mr. Haydon and Mr. Draycon had no prior knowledge of the allegations made against them. Their legal advisers were not shown copies of the boys' complaints prior to the hearing, so that they could take instructions upon them. They were not permitted to be present when the boys gave evidence, as would be the case in a criminal trial or a tenure hearing. The Inquiry was not able to consider evidence relating to the general work of the school or to the professional integrity and records of the two men. The allegations were considered in complete isolation from their general backgrounds and careers.
It was not a tenure hearing and, in the interests of common justice, these men are entitled now to a full tenure hearing, whatever else they are given.
The Home Secretary was requested—[Interruption.] The Minister of State for Education and Science shakes her head—
§ The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Miss Alice Bacon)
No. I was not shaking my head.
§ Mr. Jennings
I am sorry; I thought that the right hon. Lady was disagreeing with me. As a teacher, I am sure she will agree with what I say about a tenure hearing.
The right hon. Gentleman was requested to set up a Home Office inquiry to consider the future of these two men as employees in the approved school service. The right hon. Gentleman rejected this and told them that they could have an interview with the Secretary of State for Education and Science instead. However, such an interview is not a tenure hearing. On the wording of the right hon. Gentleman's letter, they will still be debarred from senior posts in approved schools purely on the basis of the Gibbens Report, without there being a full consideration of their case by a tenure hearing.
This situation is completely unsatisfactory when compared with the position of 683 their colleagues in maintained schools. If this happened in a maintained school, there would be trouble throughout the country—
§ Mr. Jennings
I am glad that the Home Secretary has returned, because I want to say to him that the very least that he can do in the interests of common justice—he has the full power—is to grant each of these men a separate personal interview. If he will not accept my request for a full tenure inquiry, then, in the interests of fair play between man and man—not between himself as a Minister with full powers and these poor individuals ground under the heel of the Home Office—let him, as a man, tell them that they can come to see him and put their case fairly.
Unless justice is seen to be done, the Home Secretary's arbitrary action gives credence to the suspicion that any Minister engaged in any aspect of education, because the right hon. Gentleman has pushed the door open, will be able to dismiss any teacher without a tenure inquiry. This is the creation of a dangerous precedent and could lead in future to a dangerous situation.
§ 5.51 p.m.
§ Mr. Ben Whitaker (Hampstead)
One listened in vain during the lengthy and vigorous pleas made on behalf of the teachers at Court Lees by hon. Members opposite for any recognition whatsoever of the rights of Mr. Cook. There is no dispute in the House that these teachers in Court Lees have their rights. Many, I am sure, are excellent teachers and will be re-employed when the school reopens, but it is worth remembering that not one of them had the courage to speak out about the state of affairs which undoubtedly existed in the school. It is also worth remembering that the only teacher who had the guts to report what an independent inquiry has shown to be a deplorable situation at this school was Mr. Cook, who has been attacked from the other side.
It may well be said—and I would not dissent—that Mr. Cook was wrong to send his evidence initially anonymously to a national newspaper, but that lack of confidence in the managers' impartiality 684 has been amply justified and his fear of being victimised for speaking the truth has been fully borne out by the actions of those managers subsequently in their attitude to the Home Secretary.
Mr. Cook has since been a victim of a sustained campaign of vilification. At least one national newspaper has now offered him an apology and damages for having printed allegations by those who were attacking him. The question has been asked—it was not answered by the hon. Member for Burton (Mr. Jennings)—why did these managers continue to employ Mr. Cook, for whom they are now unable to find a good word to speak, for a great number of years at this school? The step which the Home Secretary had to take was a blunt one, but the lamentable attitude of the managers left him no alternative.
A report by an independent Queen's Counsel leaned over backwards to be fair to the headmaster and the deputy headmaster. The Times Educational Supplement said that the Report was almost excessively fair. Mr. Gibbens accepted no allegation which was not corroborated by additional evidence, yet one felt that the state of affairs which he found could have resulted, with responsible managers, only in the instant dismissal of the headmaster and deputy headmaster, whose reliability and evidence on oath the Report necessarily rejected.
In particular, the coloured photographs—which the headmaster's expert witnesses, to whom they were shown before the Inquiry and who stated that they could not challenge them because they accepted that they were both authentic and unaltered—disclosed, according to two of the most distinguished expert medical witnesses in the country, men who are experienced in seeing daily numbers of injuries when they appear in the courts for the police, and who are quoted in paragraph 57 of the Report, what amounted to prima facie evidence of criminal offences having been committed. It has been said in the House of Lords, and I think that all hon. Members must agree, that the headmaster and the deputy are very fortunate men not at present to be prosecuted. The public concern which I have heard expressed over this case relates only to the fact that these two men have not so far been prosecuted, whereas the headmaster of Colderton College was.
685 When the Report reached the managers, they read it in what one can only describe as a "looking glass" fashion. Instead of instantly dismissing those who had been found by the Report to be seriously culpable, they sought, when they saw the Home Office, to retain them and obstinately insisted on trying to dismiss Mr. Cook, whose allegations the Report had found to be largely substantiated.
If the Home Secretary had acceded to the managers' extraordinary attitude, only three results could have followed—first, that a very grave injustice would have been done; second, that no other approved school teacher would have dared to make any allegation, however justified, again because of the fear that he would be victimised as a result; third, that the Home Secretary would have deserved censure, which I would have had great difficulty in not supporting.
My right hon. Friend's action was indeed drastic, but the blame for this belongs solely to the managers whose attitude left him no alternative, because only they possessed the power to dismiss any of the staff. If any damage has subsequently flowed to the school or the boys, the responsibility can lie only at the door of the managers. It is their responsibility too for having prolonged over the past few months the uncertainty for the boys and the staff at this school and it is their responsibility too for not allowing the Home Office to reopen the school more quickly; a school on which a vast sum of public money has been spent.
In all their managers' sustained campaign of innuendo and self-justification, one has listened in vain for a single word of apology or regret for their own responsibility for the state of affairs at this school, for they cannot escape one of two alternatives. Either these men knew that the rules were being habitually violated and connived at the fact—which I cannot believe—or they were so out of touch with what was going on that they were not doing their job as managers.
This responsibility is all the more serious at an approved school, where the managers are to some extent in loco parentis, because, unlike a private school, from which parents can remove their children if they are subjected to cruelty, at an approved school they cannot do so. Therefore, any impartial person consider- 686 ing the attitude of the managers can only have felt that, if they were to act responsibly, they would have resigned immediately the Report appeared.
One further matter arises from the Gibbens Report which must call for comment. Many people are disturbed by the fact that Mr. Garlick, the previous deputy headmaster at Court Lees, who, in paragraph 38 of the Gibbens Report, was found to have broken the rules by ordering the unlawful canes from one Mr. Wildman and who Mr. Gibbens could not accept as telling the truth in his evidence, is now the warden of the Royal Philanthropic Society School at Redhill. This is not the place to try any man, but I hope that the authorities will consider whether such a man is fit for such a position as he still occupies.
I would now like to leave this sorry and sad tale, which we all hope will tonight be closed once and for all. In closing, I would ask what lessons can we learn for future benefit? I suggest that there are four. First, I hope that the Home Office will ask for and receive early Parliamentary time to reform the whole system of young offenders in this country, in which we have been waiting for so long for some radical reforms to be made. This will be of help to all approved school staff to whose difficult and expert work I am sure that every hon. Member pays tribute tonight. I suggest that in this reform the Home Office needs much closer control over approved schools, or whatever system takes their place, because the present system leaves no alternative to the drastic and blunt step which my right hon. Friend had to take in closing the school if the managers, as in this case, wish totally to misread plain black and white facts. I suggest that the present system of amateur managers must be re-examined, despite the sincerity and good intentions of many of them.
The second lesson, I suggest, is that the traditional method of school inspection in this country needs rapid and drastic revision. As at Colderton College earlier this year, it failed, not in my right hon. Friend's Department but in the Department of the Minister of Education and Science, to detect a disturbing state of affairs which had existed over several years, and we in this country have therefore no way of knowing how exceptional are Court Lees and Colverton. My own 687 time in the Army at both ends of inspections give me no confidence in the veracity of any inspection where there is any forewarning, and I therefore hope that in future there will be snap inspections without forewarning and that the inspectors will gently and thoroughly talk to the children at these schools, out of the presence and hearing of the staff, to find out what is really going on.
My third suggestion is that, whether we like it or not, in several sectors of life in this country, as Mrs. Robb—my constituency—also found among hospital staff in a minority of mental hospitals, there is a reluctance to use the official machinery for making complaints against one's superiors. Whether or not this is justified, one may reflect that the action of the managers in Court Lees school has given this a further tenure of belief in this country. It may be that some may feel that only an independent Ombudsman type of investigation will fully protect people in junior posts in staffs who wish to make allegations against their superiors.
§ Sir Richard Glyn (Dorset, North)
This is very important. The evidence makes it clear that on no occasion did Mr. Cook attempt to make any complaints through what used to be called the usual channels—to the headmaster, to the inspectors, to the managers, to the chaplain, to the doctor and, of course, he is blamed in the Report for not having done so.
§ Mr. Whitaker
I agree, but if the hon. Member had heard the earlier part of my speech he would know that. I was suggesting that he was justified by the subsequent actions of those managers. The headmaster to whom he should have complained was the very man against whom a criminal offence has now been found.
§ Mr. Whitaker
I do not know whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman was listening, but I said that I did not de- 688 fend Mr. Cook's attitude in taking the matter initially to The Guardian. But may I suggest that the condemnations in the Report of Mr. Cook, such as they are—and I have read them carefully—are nothing compared with the criminal evidence which has been found against the two gentlemen whom the right hon. Member for Reigate sought to exonerate.
There is a fourth lesson which I believe we may learn from this sorry episode. It is that the Government should lose no further time in ending corporal punishment in all schools in this country. I very much respect my right hon. Friend's determination as a result of this case to phase it out as quickly as possible. This is one of the recommendations of the Plowden Report which it would cost no money whatever to implement. Indeed it might be said that it would save a little. I believe that every other country in Europe, if not in the world, has already done this. It is one of the unenviable distinctions which Britain would be better without, because, as my hon. and learned Friend said, corporal punishment continues a chain reaction of brutality for a new generation. The staff at Court Lees admitted that it was not necessary when they offered to the Home Office to dispense with it. Many schools in the country have successfully dispensed with it. Not until it is no longer available will adequate thought be given to alternative methods of controlling difficult children.
I hope that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science will show the same civilised courage as the Home Secretary has shown in ending corporal punishment in approved schools. It can only be described as scandalous that it is still used in this country for mentally handicapped and maladjusted children. I suggest that the actions of my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary deserve the earnest congratulations of the House instead of this attempted vote of censure.
§ 6.6 p.m.
§ Mr. W. F. Deedes (Ashford)
May I begin with one comment on the speech by the hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. Whitaker). It has been taken up by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg). It is wrong to suggest that Mr. Cook has been subjected to an unfair campaign 689 of calumny by all concerned. If one reads and accepts the Gibbens Report, it is impossible to dress Mr. Cook out in a white sheet.
The nub of the debate, at least to me, though not necessarily to everyone else, is whether justice has been done to the headmaster and certain members of the staff by the Home Office. It is not difficult to lose sight of that point in the welter of evidence on other matters. What has happened since to the former pupils since the school was closed, for example, is important, but in my view it is not the nub of the matter. What troubles me, and I think troubles most people who have been concerned with this case, is this. Had this headmaster committed any criminal act—and with respect to what was said by the hon. Member for Hampstead, we must presume, in the light of what has happened, that he has not—he would have been accorded better justice than he has received at the hands of the Home Secretary.
What has been done, on any pretext, is, I believe alien to the principles of justice in which most of us firmly believe. The Home Secretary committed a precipitate action which denied justice to the headmaster and certain members of the staff in this case. That is the case against the Home Secretary and why some of us feel that there is need for a further inquiry into the matter. This is what has caused so much disquiet among several bodies who are not directly connected with approved schools, but who, nevertheless, have expressed it hardly less strongly than have my hon. Friends in the course of the debate.
I am not arguing against the Commissioner's findings nor the events leading to the appointment, curious though they were. I am quite prepared to assume—though not everyone will—that every word of the Gibbens Report is correct and justified, indeed that all Mr. Cook's testimony is to be accepted as justified. But in my view there still remains a great deal to which we need an answer.
The first question which arises in my mind concerns the timetable. The allegations made by Mr. Cook first appeared in early March. The Home Secretary reacted instantly and made a speech promising an investigation. The 690 Gibbens inquiry was in fact set on foot on 16th May. When the Report reached the Home Office we do not know, but it was signed by Mr. Gibbens on 27th July. On 6th August, a Sunday, the managers met. Why Sunday? It is not the best possible day for assembling a company of managers.
§ Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan
In fairness to the Home Secretary, Sunday was at the wish of the managers. Otherwise, it would have been Monday.
§ Mr. Deedes
Then I accept that apparently it was at the wish of eight out of 13 managers, because only eight were able to attend.
A number of versions of this matter have appeared, and I cannot accept that the version which appeared on behalf of Judge Cohen and his colleagues in a letter to The Times a week or two back was in any way untruthful. While there is conflicting evidence from the two sides, I am persuaded that a considerable area of misunderstanding was left after the meeting between the Home Secretary and managers. And yet the following day the Home Secretary ordered the school closed, and the Report was published that same day. I hope that the Home Secretary will give some explanation for this very precipitate programme. What was the urgency? Why could not a week have been given to discussions and negotiations before, if necessary, the Report was published?
Unquestionably—and anyone who argues to the contrary is doing no service whatever—serious mistakes were made at this school. For this the managers must accept a degree of responsibility. Does not the Home Office also carry some responsibility in the matter? To what extent is the Home Office willing to admit a degree of blame for what occurred? On the answer rests a point which causes me considerable disquiet; how far Mr. Haydon and his staff are being made the scapegoat for a serious failure on the part of the Home Office, to which I will come.
When the Home Secretary saw representatives of the National Union of Teachers on 11th September he rightly stressed his special relationship to approved schools. He was reported as having said:In the case of Approved Schools, the Home Office was more accountable for the conditions … there was no Local Authority to act 691 as a cushion between the schools and the Home Secretary.That was quite right, but how was the stewardship fulfilled? I hope that hon. Members have read paragraph 13 of the Report, which concludes, referring to full Home Office inspections:… although many such full inspections have been made, the pressure of work on the Inspectorate has caused the programme to be curtailed and at present such inspections are undertaken only when circumstances make it necessary or desirable. Court Lees School, which is an intermediate school, last received a full inspection in 1963 and has since received annual inspections and regular visits.It is a not unimportant coincidence that another important event occurred in 1963. One of the main charges against Mr. Haydon is the use of a cane—not authorised by the Home Secretary—habitually for corporal punishment. This began in 1963 and paragraph 38 of the Report refers specifically to how it came about. It should be noted that this was the cane inherited by Mr. Haydon when he succeeded this position on 1st January of this year. He did not spot the error. Why did the Home Office inspection not spot it—in four years? Paragraph 40 points out:It may be that the use of a cane larger than the type approved by the Secretary of State contributed to causing the injuries …If the injuries inflicted on a boy were associated with the weight of the cane used, I do not believe that the Home Office can absolve itself from all blame, let alone the blame for certain other irregularities which might not have occurred if there had been fuller inspections.
It is vain and rather odious for the Home Office to give the impression—as was given in an earlier debate—that Mr. Cook and Mr. Gibbens between them had uncovered a scandalous state of affairs—so scandalous and so at variance with Home Office standards that there was no course open to the Home Secretary but to close this sink of iniquity. The situation was not helped when the Home Secretary said that he proposed to "phase out"—whatever that phrase means—the cane in these establishments.
Mr. Haydon's fault was not that he used a cane illicitly—its use was still part of 692 Home Office standards, however much one may regret it; I am not sure that I do not myself—but that it was used excessively. It is not a matter of principle but of degree and, because of this, I insist the Home Office must carry a fair measure of blame for what went on. That is why I find this injustice so disturbing.
One cannot escape the feeling that the first reaction of the Home Office was that apportionment of blame was something which did not bear the investigation of a wider inquiry. A fuller inquiry in public could hardly have enhanced the position of the Home Office.
In this, as in many spheres, the responsibility which falls on the Home Secretary is a cruelly exacting one, sometimes unfairly so. He has a bomb on his desk in almost every political issue which may arise, and sometimes it explodes to his own detriment. Yet the right hon. Gentleman's ultimate responsibility is something which should not be fobbed off too freely on to other people in circumstances such as these. Of course, the Home Secretary must admonish and, if necessary, punish those who exceed authority on his behalf, but a balance must be struck between doing that and making a public example of those who share these difficult responsibilities with him.
That is why I sharply question the wisdom of failing to admit—and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will—that, in some regards, the Home Office has contributed to this chapter of misfortune. That reflection leads me to think that Mr. Haydon has received less than justice—justice which, if this had been meted out to a criminal found guilty of a serious offence, would have provoked indignation.
What is to be the effect of all this on other servants of the Crown in like positions of responsibility? I believe that it must be grievous, as some expressions from unexpected quarters have indicated. Because of the harm it will do to those exercising authority on his behalf, I condemn the Home Secretary's conduct.
§ 6.16 p.m.
§ Mr. Quintin Hogg (St. Marylebone)
I rise with an apology to hon. Members who wanted to continue the debate. The 693 Home Secretary indicated to me that he wanted fully 40 minutes for his reply, and I am sure that no hon. Member would grudge him every minute he requires. I am deeply grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving the matter so much careful attention and, like my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes), while I would have preferred to have heard the right hon. Gentleman's account of the facts before I presented my comments on the matter, it is for a Minister to select the time at which he chooses to reply to a debate of this kind.
This is obviously a much more difficult case than many of the participants had thought. I shall criticise the Home Secretary later, but I recognise—and some hon. Members on both sides have not—that in handling this matter he was handling an extremely difficult case.
The Home Secretary and I have been facing each other across the Dispatch Box for nearly two years. He will probably agree with me that during that time our relations have, for persons placed in that uncomfortable position, been unusually amicable. I value that relationship and I do not want to lose it now. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman has gradually acquired, perhaps against his better judgment, a little regard for me, and I have always had a great regard for him. The business of the House gains enormously by the relationship between two protagonists remaining on this sort of footing. I hope, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman will acquit me of malice or insincerity when I criticise what he has done in this case. The last thing I would wish to do is to in any way question his sincerity or his human instincts in the matter.
Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford, I do not regard this as a question which arises about brutality. All hon. Members who have anything like decent instincts reprobate brutality of all kinds with deep feeling. These boys are our charge. They are in our care. The Home Secretary is only our executive officer. We cannot have them being knocked about by anybody. Whether we approve of corporal punishment or whether we do not so approve, the fact remains that in any decent system punishment must be subject to regulations, and the regulations must be observed. Any- 694 thing like a repeated breach of the regulations is an extremely serious thing.
But the meanest criminal in this country—and these two persons were not that—is entitled to a free trial. The fundamental question in giving anybody a fair trial is whether one has listened to both sides of the case. The nub of my criticism of the Home Secretary is that these people have never had a fair trial and that he failed to listen adequately to both sides of the case.
The Home Secretary was, of course, right—whatever one may think of Mr. Cook—to institute an inquiry. I agree with my right hon. Friend that Mr. Cook cannot be dressed up as a knight in shining armour. The fact is that he was an unsuccessful applicant for the job of headmaster—the job of the man he tried to ruin. The Report expressly states both that his evidence was unreliable in point of fact and ought not to be accepted except when it was corroborated, and that it was seasoned with malice towards his more successful rival. So let us have no nonsense about his being brave, or seeking to uncover scandals, or anything like that. The Report says the contrary.
The Minister has been criticised for the narrowness of the terms of reference. With hindsight, I agree with the criticism, but I do not think that Ministers ought to be criticised with hindsight. One should put oneself in the position of the Minister and say what one would have done in the light of one's knowledge at the time. I cannot say whether at that time I would have chosen the wider or the narrower terms of reference. What I am absolutely certain of is that I would have recognised the limitations which the narrower terms of reference, had I chosen them, placed upon the conduct of a Minister before he took adequate action of any kind on the Report.
As a result of the narrower terms of reference, and here I quote from the document of the National Union of Teachers,There was no opportunity to place before the Tribunal any evidence relating to the professional competence and character of the head and staff, nor any reference to the life of the school, particularly its standing …This governed the whole conduct of the inquiry.
This limitation not only governed the whole conduct of the inquiry, but was 695 expressly brought to the attention of the Commissioner. In his Report—and again I do not think that anyone should go behind it—the Commissioner draws the attention of the Home Secretary to this fact—and this is the answer to something said by the hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. Whitaker)—in the following words:It is not within the Terms of Reference for me to comment on the quality of supervision exercised by the managers in regard to the administration of punishment in this school. They did not know the evidence on which my findings have been based for they relied upon the information contained in the Punishment Book or given to them by the headmaster, and those who could have brought the irregularities to their attention refrained from doing so.I respectfully agree with the rejoinder made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford. This school was inspected regularly—fully in 1963, and year by year thereafter—and only in January the headmaster, whose conduct has been the subject of such violent, and to my mind, unjustifiable abuse by one hon. Member, was appointed to the school with not only the approval but, I was told by my right hon. Friend, the warm recommendation of the Home Office. It is enough to say that no one has questioned the judgment of the National Union of Teachers that the headmaster has spent the whole of his professional life in approved school service and stands very high in the estimation of his colleagues.
§ Mr. Whitaker
But would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that managers who did not know that this state of affairs existed in the school and had existed for several years were not doing their job? Could he not agree that any Minister, on either side, who sought to escape from his responsibility when such a scandalous state of affairs existed in his Department could not escape responsibility for either inefficiency or connivance?
§ Mr. Hogg
I should like to develop my arguments stage by stage, but I do not, in the light of the findings of the Report, accept that the responsibility lay more on the managers than on the Home Office, or on either, or in what proportion.
At the inquiry, counsel instructed on behalf of the Treasury Solicitors expressly gave an undertaking to the Commissioner in the terms which my right hon. Friend 696 the Member for Reigate (Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan) has read. It was in unequivocal terms. He said—and I had better turn up the actual words—that nobody was in the dock, and that no disciplinary consequences would follow or could properly follow without a further investigation. The matter would have to be investigated subsequently by the appropriate authority and it would give an opportunity of defence, and so on. No responsible counsel would say that without the Treasury Solicitor's instructions.
This promise has not been kept. It has been broken. Even if it had not been given, I know of no honest member in my profession who would not have given it as his opinion that the rules of natural justice require not less than what counsel said at the inquiry, and which the Commissioner accepted. And even if that were not the case, the National Union of Teachers has informed me, as it has informed the right hon. Gentleman, that to dismiss a headmaster of any kind, or a deputy headmaster, without taking these precautions, would have been unheard of in the teaching profession.
The right hon. Gentleman has had to face the censure not only of my right hon. Friends and hon. Friends and myself, but of the four trade unions—professional associations—involved in this matter, not the least of which is the extremely experienced and extremely responsible National Union of Teachers. It knows what is right or wrong in these matters, and the right hon. Gentleman has done what is wrong.
I want now to develop, stage by stage, the point at which the right hon. Gentleman, at least in my judgment, went wrong. I am bound to say that I am profoundly shocked and distressed at what happened after the receipt of the Report. Does the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) wish to intervene?
§ Mr. Hogg
I recognise that point, and I was just coming to it. The essence of the case for the Home Secretary was that this man had not been dismissed. I consider that to be both a discreditable 697 and an unworthy quibble. The Report was received by the right hon. Gentleman towards the end of July. What ought he to have done on receipt of that Report?
I accept at once that no Home Secretary in his right mind would have failed to treat that report extremely seriously. I say so for this reason. The Report contained some findings which appeared to me to be either uncontradicted or irrefutable of breaches of the regulations relating to corporal punishment.
§ Mr. Hogg
No, it does not find brutality but repeated allegations proved of breaches of the regulations relating to corporal punishment. I would have treated it at least as seriously, possibly even more seriously, than the Home Secretary did. He was obviously quite right to do so. Quite obviously different minds will attach different importance to the particular findings, but the particular finding to which I attach most importance—I have some reason for thinking that the National Union of Teachers takes the same view—was that the instrument which was used throughout the period under review was an unlawful instrument.
I pause for a moment, even though it is not strictly relevant to the Motion, to stress the importance of that. The hon. and learned Member for Northampton said in his speech—I think that it was the only statement of his which I could conscientiously endorse—that the Home Office approved cane breaks if one hits too hard. It is, and must be, a very serious thing to use an instrument which is unauthorised. I shall now do what the hon. and learned Member did not do. I will read verbatim the findings of the Report which I think on this point the Home Secretary should have accepted—on this point, and indeed most others.
The most charitable thing I can say to the hon. and learned Member for Northampton about his speech at any stage is that I think his early experiences have warped his judgment of what is just and unjust, because he allowed himself to use language about the two persons whose professional reputation is at stake in this House which he would not have done had he paid due attention to this 698 paragraph, which he refused to read when I invited him to do so.
The fact was that this cane had been found by the headmaster with a batch of others left behind by his predecessor. The predecessor, very foolishly, discovering that the Home Office cane broke, had gone to another source of supply. I shall not name it, but it came under most unfortunate notice by the Press some years ago. Certainly, at that time I formed the impression that not only was it not a satisfactory source of supply—I use the expression as a warning—but it was at that time catering for more types of clientele than one. This batch of canes was found in the headmaster's desk.
This is what the Commissioner finds about it:Mr. Haydon had used an approved cane at his previous school … and so ought to have recognised that the canes he took over on going to Court Lees School were of a larger calibre. He frankly admitted that it was negligent of him to have failed to do so. I think that he, like …his predecessor, who is named—did not trouble to think whether the cane was proper to be used or not, but it was not unreasonable for him to assume that the canes he took over at the school on his assuming office were properly authorised canes.Those are facts I cite, not in defence of this man because I accept that the breach of the regulations was extremely serious and it was the headmaster's responsibility to see that they were kept, but because in his speech the hon. and learned Member, under the influence of earlier experiences which no doubt were extremely painful, and from which he claims to have recovered, implies that this kind of cane was knowingly used by this master. This was not so. The cane was not to his knowledge the wrong one. It must have escaped the knowledge of the Home Office inspector, also.
§ Mr. Victor Yates
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman note the beginning of that paragraph which says:at all times since the end of 1961 an unauthorised cane has been used at this school
§ Mr. Hogg
Yes, but the period in which the headmaster was in office was from January, 1967. I think that I have stated the case perfectly fairly.
I am seeking to answer the crucial question in this case of what the Home 699 Secretary ought to have done. Clearly, he was right to take it extremely seriously. The first thing he ought to have done was to see to it that those whose reputation and whose possible employment was in question were brought before him, or before a senior official, and asked to explain what they had done and why, and been given an ample opportunity to defend themselves as we give an ample opportunity to the meanest of criminals in this country.
The right hon. Gentleman ought to have summoned the managers and given them a full opportunity for reading the Report. He ought to have discussed it with them and, in the light of what he had found after a fair trial, he ought to have told them what he thought ought to be done. He did neither of those things. In breach of the undertaking by his counsel, and in breach of the completely universal practice, I am informed, in the teaching profession—certainly in breach of natural justice, which is far more important than either—he failed to give these persons any hearing at all.
The right hon. Gentleman made his decision, a provisional decision, to close the school without hearing the managers at all. That was the first thing he did wrong. Then he sent one copy—I do not complain about that—to the chairman of the managers. The chairman of the managers was not allowed to communicate with his colleagues. He was summoned and seen, not by the Home Secretary but by a senior official, and told that the Home Secretary had provisionally already made up his mind. That was the second thing he did wrong. It is vital if one is to be a just judge—that is what the Home Secretary should have been—to hear both sides and not to make up one's mind, even provisionally, until one has done so.
Then the chairman of the managers asked to communicate with his colleagues, and was refused. When the 12, or 13 I believe, met together on 5th August they were authorised at last by the Home Secretary to discuss the matter, but they never had an adequate opportunity of considering the Report. They had only one copy for all of them. They had been refused any more. As the Home Secretary in his statement complained that they did not properly realise the implications 700 of the Report, which at that stage had not been published, I wonder whether on reflection he does not ask himself how they could consider adequately the implications of the Report which they had not been allowed to read.
The story goes on another stage. Having been told, first, that the school was to be closed and, secondly, that it would be closed unless they provided an alternative solution, they asked for more time to consider the Report, and they were refused it. They asked for an interview and were refused that until my right hon. Friend granted it, or so he said. The interview took place. I do not know how far at this stage the Home Secretary regards that interview as confidential. Certainly, I do not know, except what has been said about it by others, what took place at that interview.
It appears not to have been denied that at that interview, whatever else he may have said, the Home Secretary said that he would continue the school on the condition, amongst others, that the headmaster should be dismissed. The managers—I find them guilty of doing so—although they protested that it was unjust because the headmaster had never been tried and had never been heard, accepted the Home Secretary's condition.
The Home Secretary, through his colleagues in another place, has made great play of the fact, or what he claims to be a fact, because I do not think that it is a fact, that Mr. Haydon has not been dismissed, that his employment has only been terminated on six months' notice—redeployment, perhaps.
Even that is not the gravamen of the charge against the Home Secretary. The Home Secretary offered to keep the school open if that was done which his counsel at the inquiry had promised would not be done, namely, that people should be condemned and dismissed summarily without trial. They have never had a trial. That is the gravamen of the charge. When the Home Secretary says that the teachers were not dismissed because their employment was only terminated after six months' notice, in the light of the first of those four conditions I regard that, if it is right, as a shoddy and disreputable quibble. I am very sorry that the Home Secretary, or his colleagues in another place, should have lent themselves to it.
701 There were three other conditions, one of which related to Mr. Cook. I shall return to Mr. Cook later, because I do not think, whatever else was true, that that ought to have been a breaking point on either side. The other two conditions were—I have them here, but they have been spoken to—
§ Mr. Richard
I am obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I apologise for trying to interrupt him in the middle of a sentence. I thought that he had stopped. I am listening to his speech with a great deal of interest and attention. I wish to ask him one question. Does he accept the findings of the Gibbens inquiry? If he does accept those findings, as I think that he does, does he think, on reflection, that those men ought to have been allowed to have continued in the approved school service?
§ Mr. Hogg
I have already accepted the substantial findings. My answer to the second question is that they certainly should not have been forbidden to continue without fair trial. This is the point. If I had given them a fair trial, if I had heard what they had to say and what could have been said in their behalf, although I do not think that I would have brought about the closure of the school, which is a far more serious step in the educational world than some people seem to think, I think that I might very likely have demanded the resignation of the headmaster or his dismissal. I could not, I would not and I would never concede the possibility that I could, condemn a man without a hearing.
That is what the Home Secretary has done. The Home Secretary not only did it without a hearing, but after having promised, through his counsel, a hearing before anything was done. This is what dismays me.
§ Mr. Roy Jenkins
May I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who did hold the office of Secretary of State for Education and Science, whether during the whole period he held that office, when undoubtedly, I am informed, several hundreds of teachers must have been dismissed, he ever saw a single teacher himself in connection with that process?
§ Mr. Hogg
I think probably only once, but they all had a fair trial. They were all given a full hearing before the tribunal recognised by the National Union of Teachers or their professional association. There is no such tribunal available in the approved school service, and I hope that the Home Secretary will tell us that that will be remedied.
In the absence of an appropriate tribunal, and of wider terms of reference, it was manifestly the Home Secretary's duty either to set up one or to hear the man himself. I do not hesitate to say that in the extraordinarily difficult and poignant circumstances of this case I would have heard him myself. I am sure that the Home Secretary should have done so.
It is not only that. In the excuse which was put forward in the Home Secretary's statement after the second interview it was said that he was not sure that the managers really realised the implications of the Report. I assert, I think beyond the possibility of cavil, that when the Home Secretary allowed that to go out in his name he was being inaccurate; he was deceiving himself. It could not possibly be true. He had already made up his mind provisionally to close the school before he had even seen the chairman of the managers and before the chairman of the managers had seen the Report.
As I have tried to demonstrate, the Home Secretary finally made up his mind before the managers had had a proper opportunity of considering the Report and after they had already agreed, with one exception, to the conditions for the continuance of the school which the Home Secretary himself had imposed.
I come back to the unfortunate and rather unattractive Mr. Cook. I think that it was quite right to accept the extended leave which Mr. Cook asked for and was subsequently given, because the tragedy of Mr. Cook—this is a 703 tragedy—is that, whatever undertaking the Home Secretary may have given him not to victimise him, in substance that undertaking, too, has been broken. Mr. Cook's career is as irretrievably blighted as that of the headmaster. Even that would have been unnecessary if the Home Secretary had realised the seriousness of closing the school and if only he had understood that before either a person or an institution is condemned both sides of the case must first be heard. That the Home Secretary failed to do.
I have only one more thing to say to the Home Secretary about this case. That is about the future. It is obvious that the boys cannot be reassembled in this school and that the only thing that the Home Secretary can now do is to reopen it at the earliest moment in an appropriate form.
I want just to say this in confirmation of what my right hon. Friend the Member for Reigate said at the beginning. This school, the largest of its kind in the country, the only purpose-built approved school, so I am told, is run at the moment under the terms of a trust. It may very well be, as the hon. Member for Hampstead said, and as many people think, that this method of running approved schools has probably outlived its usefulness. I hope that the House will have an early opportunity of discussing it. In the meantime, three-quarters of Britain's approved schools are run under voluntary management of one sort or another. They are run under the possession of a local trust. That is the law of the land.
If Parliament wants to alter it and to destroy these trusts, it has the power, and perhaps the duty, to do so. It is wrong for the Home Secretary to cajole or blackmail by the financial method, which is what I am told he did, a set of managers and a set of trustees who are running an institution under the law of the land. This is lawlessness. What the Home Secretary did, so I am informed, was to threaten to reclaim the £200,000 of public money which has been invested in this building unless the trustees did what he told them. That is to ask them to cease to act as trustees and to substitute his own discretion for theirs. This is not lawful action.
704 I think that it is almost unprecedented for a Minister to act in this way. Indeed, the only precedent that I can think of is that of the Secretary of State for Education and Science, who is sitting on the Front Bench opposite, in the action over Enfield which was condemned by the courts of law not very long ago.
§ 6.50 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Roy Jenkins)
I am extremely glad that this debate is at last taking place. I suppose it is in general the case that Ministers, and not only Ministers, welcome periods of Parliamentary respite, but I am bound to say that I greatly regret the fact that the House was not sitting when the Court Lees controversy was at its height. It would have given me an opportunity then to deal with the spate of misleading propaganda which has since come out on this issue—and propaganda, if I may say so, in which the boys have to a large extent been treated as pawns.
I must say, also, that while I thought that, on the whole, the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) made a moderate speech—and I am grateful for his opening remarks—the attitude of some other hon. Members of the Opposition ever since the House reassembled has been somewhat curious. They have refused to let this matter die—I do not blame them for that—but they have also been extremely reluctant to bring it to a head. They have tried to probe in the other place where I could not answer, and at Question Time there was nothing on the Order Paper from hon. Members opposite, while the right hon. Member for Reigate (Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan), who says that he has lived with this issue for three months, was not even present in his place.
§ Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan
It happened that I was in my constituency. I had a very important engagement, otherwise I would certainly have been here. I should like to add that I am not to blame for the fact that this matter was not debated earlier.
§ Mr. Jenkins
The fact remains that on the first Thursday that the House met the Home Office was first on the Order Paper for Questions, and I would have thought that the right hon. Gentleman, if he was as concerned as he said he was 705 —and I accept that he was—would have made a special effort to be here on that occasion.
§ Mr. Jenkins
May I now explain why I regard this matter as of some significance? It is because of one fact which has been touched on but has not been fully realised in the debate. The Opposition Motion attacks me on the carefully chosen ground of the rights of the teachers at Court Lees. It also has a fairly perfunctory reference to the welfare of the pupils, but we have not heard very much of that in the debate. I rather suspect that that bit was added by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle), whose name is on the Motion but who, wisely, has not attended any part of this debate.
There are 41 members of the staff, and the position of 37 of them—I shall come to the others in a few minutes—has retained an element of uncertainty precisely because of this dilatory attitude on the part of the Opposition. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Certainly. Right from the beginning we have envisaged that the Surrey County Council would take over and reopen the school and reengage the overwhelming majority of the staff before their period of notice ran out.
I should like to pay tribute to the attitude which the Surrey County Council, which rightly enjoys a very high reputation for its children's services, has taken throughout. But what has been the difficulty? It has been that the trustees of the school, a body which can be described as the core of the managers, have refused to open negotiations for the transfer of the property while Parliamentary action remained pending—and pending it has certainly remained.
For three or four months past we have been trying to get the trustees to agree to such a transfer. That was either delayed or refused because they said they could not agree that the issue was settled while Parliamentary action might overturn my decision. That is a perfectly legitimate view of Parliamentary action, 706 but it might be an argument for taking it rather more swiftly if the interests of the teachers was of such importance; and in the second place—
§ Sir Spencer Summers (Aylesbury) rose—
§ Mr. Jenkins
I cannot give way again. I have already done so once.
In the second place, it makes it clear where the responsibility for continued uncertainty lies. Nevertheless, after strong pressure from me, the managers agreed that the Surrey County Council could write to 39 of the staff a week ago, but, because of the attitude of the managers, they are able to make only provisional offers. They expressed the hope that there will be no break in the service, and I greatly share that hope, but if there is, the responsibility will lie in part with the managers and the trustees, in part with the right hon. Gentleman who toyed with this issue for so long—
§ Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The right hon. Gentleman is making some very serious allegations. Is it not a fact that any Minister has an opportunity at any time to bring a Motion before the House, asking that his actions shall be supported by the House? He does not have to wait for the Opposition to put down a Motion.
§ Mr. Jenkins
There is no point at all in this. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] There is no point of order and there is no other point in it.
The attitude of the managers was that this issue was to be raised by the Opposition and that my action might be overturned. I have been waiting for that to be done. Let there be no thought either that the managers—this brings me to the last point that the right hon. and learned Gentleman made—are asked to give up some valuable piece of property on unfair terms, or that I am behaving in any way in an illegal manner towards the trust. Court Lees, it is true, stems from an old charity founded about 100 years ago, but at least since 1922 the school has been run exclusively on public funds. Since 1937, every penny of expenditure, capital or 707 current, has come either from the Home Office or from the local authorities.
So far as the capital position is concerned, it is provisionally estimated that the school is now worth approximately £175,000, but the managers are liable to repay to the Exchequer approximately £195,000 which has been spent on buildings I have not threatened them with anything—quite the contrary. There could be a possible legal position whereby they would be liable for the balance of £20,000, but, so far from threatening them with this, we propose to extinguish their debts and, subject to negotiation with them and the Charity Commission, allow them, perhaps over-generously, to retain something in respect of the original charitable contribution to apply to other charitable purposes Therefore, there is nothing in the right hon. and learned Gentleman's last point.
Despite this complete and longstanding dependence on public funds, the managers were a self-perpetuating, self-elected body with no public authority holding any rights of nomination. This is one of the anomalies of the present approved school system and it is something that I want to put right as soon as I can.
Even without powers, however, the Home Office felt it necessary long before my day to express disquiet about the composition of this particular board of managers. It had been dominated for nearly half a century by the previous chairman, who died only in May of this year. As recently as 1955—I believe that the right hon. Member for Ashford (Mr. Deedes) was serving at the Home Office—he was assisted by only five other managers. One was his wife. Another was his son. A third was the present chairman. The fourth and fifth were a married couple.
The ingrowing and inadequate nature of this committee was pointed out to the then chairman by the Home Office inspectors, but he expressed great resentment at this intrusion and took no action. A few years later, however, he made a substantial concession. He added his nephew to the board, and also another local resident. In 1963, the inspectors reported:The managers are reluctant to recruit additional members unless they are quite sure that their faces will fit, but they have 708 recently added one to their numbers in the person of the vice-chairman's wife.So this "representative" body continued, inspired, certainly—I say this perfectly seriously—with no object other than that of public service, but at the same time, drawn from a hopelessly narrow social field, and very close-knit within itself. At the time of the publication of the Report, out of a membership of 13 six were still made up of three husband and wife teams.
I mention these facts about the managers because an important element in my decision to withdraw the certificate was a lack of confidence in their ability, in the difficult circumstances which had arisen, to give the school the fresh start which the Gibbens Report made essential. This lack of confidence, however, sprang principally not from the nature of the board but from their attitude to the inquiry and its results. Before I come to describe this attitude, I must say a word about the inquiry itself.
The inquiry was set up immediately following the identification of the anonymously complained of school. The managers resented the idea of an independent inquiry. They thought the allegations unimportant. But, when they were told that there had to be an inquiry, we have no record—I must contradict the right hon. Member for Reigate here—of their making representations in favour of wider terms of reference. Their view was that there was no need for an inquiry.
§ Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan
Two witnesses, Judge Cohen and the headmaster, both went to the Home Office on 17th May.
§ Mr. Jenkins
We have no record of that—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—and, as I shall have to say in a few moments, on at least one other issue Judge Cohen's recollection is capable of being inaccurate. Neither did we receive representations from the staff. At this stage, indeed, the only formal representations in favour of a wider inquiry came from the Haywards Heath juvenile court magistrates, who wished to bring to the attention of Mr. Gibbens the lack of co-operation which they had received from the school in connection with the release of boys and their aftercare. But we ruled this out.
709 Mr. Gibbens's job, in my view— and it remains my view—was to investigate with judicial skill specific allegations, not to make general pronouncements of opinion about Court Lees or about approved schools in general. This was contested by no one within the school until they found that they did not like the result of his investigation.
As has been said, the inquiry was held in private. This was done because the experience of the Carlton School inquiry in 1959 suggested strongly that it would be quite impossible to run the school effectively while a public inquiry was in progress. No representations against this decision were received. Mr. Gibbens himself decided, this time in accordance with the Carlton precedent, that masters should not be present when boys were giving their evidence; but the headmaster was present the rest of the time, and the legal representatives of those directly concerned, including the headmaster, were present throughout, and, quite contrary to a suggestion in a letter published in The Guardian last week, they subjected the witnesses to full cross-examination.
Furthermore, there were adjournments for counsel to consult their clients about any allegations made in their absence. No objection to this procedure was expressed by anyone. It was open to any of the parties to call any evidence relevant to the issue. If they did not do so, it was their own choice.
§ Mr. Jennings
Does not the right hon. Gentleman accept that Mr. Haydon and Mr. Draycon had no prior knowledge of the detailed charges which were being laid against them, and will he agree, also, that their legal advisers were not shown copies of the boys' complaints prior to the hearing, so that they could not take instructions from the men who were being condemned?
§ Mr. Jenkins
No; I understand that they were shown all the proofs of evidence which had been taken. In any event, if anything came out in cross-examination, their counsel were there and were able to consult their clients and take instructions from them.
§ Mr. Jennings
Is it not obvious that the right hon. Gentleman is not certain of the facts of his reply? Will he give 710 me an assurance that he will corroborate or deny what I have just said?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I will check any fact which the hon. Gentleman puts to me, but what I am confident of is that Mr. Gibbens, who is a very experienced Queen's Counsel, with great experience as a recorder, conducted this inquiry properly and judicially. What we constantly have is an attempt, in different ways, to say, "Well, the inquiry is more or less all right. We more or less accept it". Hon. Gentlemen must face the fact that there is no basis of evidence at all to suggest that the inquiry was not scrupulously conducted, and, that being so, it should be accepted.
Mr. Gibbens sat for five days and conducted a most searching inquiry. The result was described by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Reigate in August as "a very fair report". He went a little back on that today—not much, but a little. It was a Report which set itself high standards of proof. Mr. Gibbens did not proceed on a balance of probability or on any uncorroborated statements by boys. Where Mr. Cook's evidence conflicted with that of the headmaster, he preferred the latter except where Mr. Cook was reliably corroborated.
Several hon. and right hon. Members, including, notably, the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone, have quoted some concluding remarks made by the barrister who presented the case on behalf of the Treasury Solicitor but who at no time—I must make this clear to the House—was acting on behalf of or on instructions from the Home Office. He certainly did not give assurances on instructions from myself or anyone else at the Home Office. Indeed, they were not assurances but observations directed to where the burden of proof might lie. What is much more significant, however, is that these observations appear to have been rejected by Mr. Gibbens, for in the middle of the exchange Mr. Gibbens stated clearly:I have to consider this, that if I am finding one way or another in respect of a particular master, it may cost him his job".What was the substance of this very fair Report? As the controversy developed, there has been a strong tendency for this central issue to be buried and forgotten. The headmaster was found 711 specifically to have contravened three of the approved school rules relating to corporal punishment, to have contravened the clear spirit of one other, and to have failed to observe the common law rule as to severity of punishment. This led to caning, which Mr. Gibbens described as greatly excessive in severity in the case of one boy, almost of the same degree in the case of another, and excessive in the case of two more. The deputy headmaster was found to have contravened two rules.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
Does the right hon. Gentleman deny that counsel on behalf of the Treasury Solicitor used these words, which I take from the transcript:If someone was found to be under criticism or blamed in the report of a tribunal of this nature and dismissed or disciplinary action taken as the result of it, he would necessarily be the subject of a further inquiry or investigation, and so forth".Were those his words or not?
§ Mr. Jenkins
That is precisely the point to which I have just directed myself. It was put at considerably greater length and, I think, with even more legal acumen by the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone, and I have given the answer to it, which, in my view, is a very important answer, namely, the words which Mr. Gibbens used during the exchange.
It has since been persistently suggested that the conclusions of the Report were invalid, because the photographic evidence did not stand up. That is a baseless suggestion. The photographic evidence was one of the central issues before the inquiry. Its authenticity was strongly supported by expert witnesses, and was in no way contested by any of the parties. But then, after the Report was published and I had announced my decision, there were numerous suggestions in the Press—some couched in very extreme terms, particularly by the deputy headmaster—that it could be undermined.
I therefore looked most carefully at, and took most careful legal advice upon, the so-called new evidence which was sent in. It was of no substance at all, despite the fact that facilities had been granted for fresh interviews of boys after the inquiry, and for further independent expert scrutiny of the photographic evidence.
712 I was, nevertheless, fully prepared to hear representations in its favour and at the meeting I had with the four professional bodies on 11th September, I was waiting for these representations to be forthcoming. But they were not. The point was abandoned, and those present agreed that the photographic evidence was no longer challenged. But that has not prevented a continuation of the misrepresentation of this point—not by the right hon. Gentleman, but a great deal outside. In my view, professional organisations would be wise to discourage their members from repeating points that they have themselves abandoned when they had an opportunity to put them to the proof.
Having dealt with the conduct of the inquiry, I now return to the attitude of the managers to the Report, which was central to my decision. It should be borne in mind that at least one of the managers was present throughout all parts of the inquiry, so that they were aware of the course of the evidence. Throughout the period leading up to the inquiry, during it, after it and on the receipt of the Report, they were concerned above all with one thing—to get rid of Mr. Cook, the master whose allegations had brought the whole matter to light. So insistently did they persist that it was necessary for Home Office inspectors, between the conclusion of the inquiry and the publication of the Report, to attend a special meeting of the managers and urge them not to send Mr. Cook on enforced leave even before publication. The inspectors succeeded with difficulty, but at the price of being subjected to a good deal of abuse by the managers.
There is another point which I must mention here. After the appointment of Mr. Gibbens, a good deal of beating continued to take place at Court Lees. There were 10 such canings between mid-May and mid-June. In his letter to The Times last week, the chairman claimed that these were all carried out only after express permission had been obtained from the appropriate official at the Home Office. That is untrue—[An HON. MEMBER: "Disgraceful."]—and unless the chairman was even more out of touch with his school than I feared I find it difficult to believe that he did not know that it was untrue.
§ Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan
I checked up on this early on in the inquiry, and I can, in private, give the name of the official who gave the permission.
§ Mr. Jenkins
No. I propose to go on and state the position, because I have checked this carefully after reading the letter.
§ Mr. Jenkins
What I propose to do is to state the position as I understand it to be, having made most careful inquiries. If the right hon. Gentleman submits the name, I shall investigate the matter further most carefully, and if I have been misinformed I will, of course, apologise to the right hon. Gentleman and to the House.
§ Mr. Hogg
Of course, I absolutely accept the good faith of the Home Secretary in this matter. I would not question it for an instant. But this is an extraordinary conflict of evidence. After all, the chairman is, I understand, a county court judge and the right hon. Gentleman is a Privy Councillor, both people of the highest repute. Can the Home Secretary not cause an investigation to be published about this extraordinary conflict, which disturbs me profoundly, because I do not doubt for an instant the right hon. Gentleman's complete good faith in the matter?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I certainly do not doubt the good faith of the right hon. Gentleman. I have observed the name which he has written down. It is the name of an official who is known to me and whom I have consulted about the matter.
I now propose to continue—
§ Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan rose—
§ Mr. Jenkins
I will give way at the end of this passage.
I now propose to continue and to state the position as I believe it to be. When we decided that it was necessary to hold an inquiry, we strongly advised the chairman that caning should be discontinued. The chairman and the headmaster repre- 714 sented strongly, however, that in certain circumstances caning might be essential to maintain discipline.
On 15th May—and this may explain the misunderstanding—we therefore agreed that in such exceptional circumstances caning might be justified provided it was administered strictly in accordance with the approved school rules, and we advised the headmaster to consult a Home Office inspector before using it. However, the Home Office inspectors were not consulted about the subsequent caning of any individual boy, and it is their considered view that in none of the 10 cases when it was subsequently used was it essential for discipline, or professionally justifiable on other grounds.
That is the position, and I think that this may explain the misunderstanding. The right hon. Gentleman may be referring to the general position, but what the letter said was that specific permission was given in each case when it was used, and that is quite untrue.
I confess freely that this whole background influenced me in my reaction to the Report. I thought the Report extremely serious, and I still do, and I am very glad that the right hon. and learned Gentleman also took this view. I trust that hon. Members generally do so, as well. Yet it was clear from the contacts we had what the attitude of the managers was likely to be—sack the man who brought the trouble to light; shrug everything else off. This proved to be almost exactly right. I therefore reached a preliminary view that the best solution was likely to be a withdrawal of the certificate of approval.
But it was not final view at that stage. I asked my Permanent Under-Secretary to see the chairman, tell him that this was my preliminary view and ask him whether he wished to make any counter-suggestions. This was done six days before publication. There was no question of the chairman's being unduly rushed. He was sent a copy of the Report little more than 12 hours after I saw it myself. He had four days to consider it before the first meeting, and another six days before publication.
I was cautious about wider distribution of the Report. After all, it was a Parliamentary Paper. I had a duty to prevent it "leaking" before it was published and 715 available to Members of the House. Furthermore, a "leakage" in advance of the decision about the future of the school might well have had a very adverse effect upon discipline there. I do not think that we could have distributed 13 copies around Surrey a week or more in advance without that happening.
However, the chairman was certainly left with flexibility about the timing of his meeting, and the amount of time, therefore, available for discussion with the other managers before a decision had to be reached. The managers, in fact, discussed the Report exhaustively—and it is a fairly short Report—at their Saturday meeting before they came to see me the next day. I wish that they could have had more time, but I do not think that it would have begun to influence the outcome.
The chairman, who, without question, had plenty of time, faithfully mirrored the attitude of his committee throughout—subject only to the one proviso that some of them tended to be more intransigent than he was.
What was their attitude and why did it create an unbridgeable gap between them and me? First, there was a complete failure to appreciate the seriousness of the Report or to feel real concern at the brutality which they had allowed to go on under them. Secondly, they had great reluctance to see that the allegations made against the headmaster made it impossible for him to go on supervising the school. But this reluctance, let us be clear, sprang from no respect for the rights of the staff as such. They had been insistently demanding the removal of Mr. Cook and for the deputy headmaster, who is severely criticised in the Report, although less so than the headmaster, they had little concern. They were willing to get rid of him without much further ado.
The difference between us, apart from their failure to appreciate the implications of the Report, was about Mr. Haydon and Mr. Cook. They took the view that Mr. Cook must go and Mr. Haydon should stay. On the first point, they were adamant. There was not the slightest indication that, however many meetings were held, they would budge. On the second point, they were prepared to budge, but reluctantly.
716 I must define my attitude on both these points. Like most others who have considered the matter, I regard Mr. Cook's conduct as far from ideal. He did not proceed in the way he should have done. But I am also bound to place on record my view that he could have complained about the excessive use of corporal punishment to the headmaster or to the managers until he was blue in the face and would have got nowhere.
Mr. Cook was no doubt an awkward colleague. I think that his longer term future may not lie with Court Lees, and I told the managers this. I accept what Mr. Gibbens said about Mr. Cook, but I also accept that, having said that, Mr. Gibbens found much of his evidence to be corroborated and true. It follows, then, that Mr. Cook was the agent, the necessary agent, in bringing to light a grave scandal and abuse of trust. Those who perform such roles are often difficult men and awkward colleagues. If I had allowed the managers to react to the report, and to show almost no further reaction to the report, by dismissing this agent of the unpleasant truth, I would have been totally failing in my duty.
§ Mr. Hogg
There is one point which I should like the right hon. Gentleman to explain, because it seems to me to go very deep in relation to Mr. Haydon. Does it not occur to the right hon. Gentleman that, if Mr. Haydon had been shown these photographs the first time they were seen, or the damage done by the unauthorised instrument which the Report finds he did not know was not the approved type, he must have discontinued the canings? Is it not elementary that we should investigate from Mr. Haydon's point of view the effect that this kind of knowledge must have had upon him?
§ Mr. Jenkins
I find it difficult to answer questions as hypothetical as that. What I do know is that Mr. Haydon, when he knew that an inquiry was being set up into these allegations, continued to administer the 10 canings to which I have drawn the attention of the House.
I was about to turn to the position of Mr. Haydon. I took the view on the basis of the Report that I could not allow him to remain in charge of the boys at Court Lees. Had the managers given me confidence in their ability to 717 give the school the necessary fresh start, this could have been achieved either by their dismissing him or asking him to resign, and had they dismissed him he would have had certain rights of appeal to them. But as things were my only other alternative was to withdraw the certificate.
It is the core of the Opposition Motion, as I understand it, that neither course should have been followed by me without some further inquiry and, therefore, some further considerable delay. I find this an unacceptable proposition. First, it would remove almost the only effective power which the Home Secretary has for discharging his Parliamentary responsibilities for approved schools. He is answerable for what goes on in these schools and, in my view, the nature of the schools gives him a special and peculiar responsibility. These schools are often isolated units. The boys are compulsorily committed and they do not in the normal way see their parents for long periods. Compulsory commitment makes these schools different from private boarding schools. Separation from parents makes the schools different from ordinary day schools.
These two factors make it peculiarly important that the boys there should be protected from any abuse of authority and they are perhaps reinforced, certainly in my mind, by the fact that those who are sent to approved schools have mostly broken the rules of society. This makes it especially important that those who teach them should not themselves break the rules.
What, after all, does the very term "approved school" mean? It means that it is approved by the Home Secretary. It means that he takes the responsibility to see that it is properly conducted and if his approval is to mean anything he must be able to withdraw it, and if he cannot withdraw it on the basis of a five-day independent inquiry leading to the un-covery of grave abuse, when can he withdraw it?
Of course, the withdrawal of the certificate, even though it is not technically dismissal, involves unpleasant consequences for the headmaster and his deputy. But, in all the circumstances, are those consequences oppressively unpleasant? Their contracts have been 718 terminated. How many people in this country in a normal week have their contracts terminated at much less than six months' notice, perhaps without any dereliction of duty and certainly without any allegation of misconduct against them being investigated by an independent tribunal, sifting evidence for five days and arriving at a clear conclusion?
§ Mr. Hogg
What I do not understand from what the right hon. Gentleman is saying is why he could not either interview the man himself or have caused him to be interviewed, on suspension if need be, in accordance with the universal practice, as I understand it, of the teaching profession in order that, as the N.U.T. has put to me, mitigating circumstances, if any, which were excluded from the terms of reference, could be put to the right hon. Gentleman or his officials.
§ Mr. Jenkins
I think that this might have been done had the course of dismissal followed from agreement with the managers, but, as I say, unable to reach a basis of agreement with them, I had no alternative but to withdraw the certificate of approval.
Indeed, such a withdrawal of the certificate of approval can happen in a field not very far removed from that of approved schools. A few weeks ago, the Cheshire County Council closed a remand home temporarily and the staff lost their jobs. I have no reason to think that the county council's action was not right. My hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State defended it on Friday when my hon. Friend the Member for Bebington (Mr. Brooks) was concerned about it. But there has not been a peep from any Opposition Member from Cheshire or anywhere else about this. Yet there was no independent inquiry, no published report and no six months' notice. I might also add that there were no politics in it.
I turn to the future of the headmaster and the deputy headmaster. They have both lost their particular jobs. The Department of Education and Science have written to them and to one other master in relation to what is said about them in the Report, and if they wish there will be a hearing at which they can be heard and represented by a friend. It will then be for the Secretary of State 719 for Education and Science to decide whether they can continue to teach, and if so, whether in a residential establishment or not, whether in a supervisory capacity or not
§ Mr. Iremonger rose—
§ Mr. Iremonger rose—
§ Mr. Iremonger rose—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Eric Fletcher)
Order. The hon. Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Iremonger) must resume his seat if the Home Secretary does not give way to him.
§ Mr. Jenkins
As far as other future appointments are concerned, I will take due note of what the Department of Education and Science says, but I must reserve the right to say that, in view of everything which has taken place, they should not be reappointed in any capacity at the reconstituted Court Lees or at least for the time being appointed to any other approved school as headmaster.
Having said all that, I must make it clear that I do not regard the present arrangements for dealing with staff disciplinary matters within approved schools as ideal. I regard a position similar to that in the maintained school area—a three-tier system, with a responsible body, such as the local authority or a national charitable organisation, standing between the staff and the Secretary of State and yet detached from both—as considerably preferable. But I did not create the present approved school system. On the contrary, I inherited it, and I propose to change it in important respects as quickly as I can.
But while I believe that structural change is necessary, I think that there is some outstandingly good work being done in approved schools at present. What happened at Court Lees and what we have been forced to discuss, to my regret, in considerable detail today—to my regret 720 not because I am afraid of discussing it, but because it means dragging out details about individuals—is not, I am perfectly sure, in any way typical of the general picture. But I ask those who live their lives in the approved school world to consider whether they are wise to give the impression that they will fly in the face of all the evidence to insist that what the Commissioner found did happen, in fact did not happen and could not have happen, or, if it did, that it did not matter very much.
The strength of the system and its public esteem is to be measured not by its determination to hush up abuses but by its eagerness to see that when they have been proved to exist they are put right. These were not abstract abuses. They were abuses, as has been described, affecting boys who mostly have a background of failure, rejection, lack of human affection, who are poised between a childhood of emotional disturbance and an adult life of possible menace to society. What happened to them?
Let me quote briefly from paragraph 37 of Mr. Gibbens' cool, judicial Report:Further, in accordance with the practice I have mentioned in subparagraph (b) above, boys brought back to the school after absconding, if they are to be caned, are caned forthwith on their return, whatever the hour. Thus it often happens that a boy who arrives at the school late at night, disconsolate, tired after a long journey, and probably emotionally upset, is immediately caned. Any preliminary inquiry by the headmaster as to the reason for absconding, is probably cursory.Again, in paragraph 57 we read:Medical witnesses of great eminence in their profession, … gave evidence before me. They were unanimous in saying that the photograph revealed injuries in boy No. 2 of quite unusual severity. Professor Simpson and Dr. Teare declared that if such cases as boys Nos. 2 and 8 had been brought to them in their hospitals, they would have felt bound to call for an investigation by the police or other authority.We have had the fullest investigation, of far greater power, and more judicial sifting of evidence, than that involved in any normal educational inquiry or appeal. I acted on its clear results. I acted quickly. I believe that I was right to do so. I ask the House to endorse my decision.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 225, Noes 278.725
|Division No. 4.]||AYES||[7.35 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Glyn, Sir Richard||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Murton, Oscar|
|Astor, John||Goodhew, Victor||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Gower, Raymond||Neave, Airey|
|Awdry, Daniel||Grant, Anthony||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Baker, W. H. K.||Grant-Ferris, R.||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Balniel, Lord||Gresham Cooke, R.||Nott, John|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Grieve, Percy||Onslow, Cranley|
|Batsford, Brian||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Gurden, Harold||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Bell, Ronald||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Peel, John|
|Biffen, John||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Percival, Ian|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Pounder, Rafton|
|Blaker, Peter||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Boardman, H.||Hastings, Stephen||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Body, Richard||Hawkins, Paul||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hay, John||Pym, Francis|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Braine, Bernard||Heseltine, Michael||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col.SirWalter||Higgins, Terence L.||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hill, J. E. B.||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Bryan, Paul||Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Qulntin||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hordern, Peter||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Burden, F. A.||Hornby, Richard||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Campbell, Cordon||Howell, David (Guildford)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hunt, John||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Royle, Anthony|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Iremonger, T. L.||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Scott, Nicholas|
|Clark, Henry||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Sharples, Richard|
|Clegg, Walter||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Cooke, Robert||Jopling, Michael||Silvester, Frederick|
|Cordle, John||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Smith, John|
|Costain, A. P.||Kershaw, Anthony||Stainton, Keith|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Kimball, Marcus||Stodart, Anthony|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Crouch, David||Kirk, Peter||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Crowder, F. P.||Kitson, Timothy||Tapsell, Peter|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Lambton, Viscount||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Teeling, Sir William|
|Dance, James||Lane, David||Temple, John M.|
|Davidson, James(Aberdeenshire, w.)||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Tilney, John|
|Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Doughty, Charles||Loveys, W. H.||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Drayson, G. B.||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||MacArthur, Ian||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Eden, Sir John||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Walters, Dennis|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||McMaster, Stanley||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Elliott, R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Emery, Peter||Maddan, Martin||Webster, David|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Farr, John||Marten, Neil||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maude, Angus||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Mawby, Ray||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Fortescue, Tim||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Foster, Sir John||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Fraser,Rt. Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G.||Miscampbell, Norman||Wright. Esmond|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Wylie, N. R.|
|Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan||Monro, Hector||Younger, Hn. George|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Mr. More and Mr. Eyre.|
|Abse, Leo||Galpern, Sir Myer||Marks, Kenneth|
|Alldritt, Walter||Gardner, Tony||Mason, Roy|
|Allen, Scholefield||Ginsburg, David||Maxwell, Robert|
|Anderson, Donald||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Archer, Peter||Gourlay, Harry||Mellish, Robert|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Mendelson, J. J.|
|Ashley, Jack||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Mikardo, Ian|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Gregory, Arnold||Millan, Bruce|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Barnes, Michael||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)|
|Barnett, Joel||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Molloy, William|
|Bence, Cyril||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Moyle, Roland|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Binns, John||Hamling, William||Murray, Albert|
|Blackburn, F.||Hannan, William||Newens, Stan|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Booth, Albert||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Oakes, Gordon|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Hattersley, Roy||Ogden, Eric|
|Boyden, James||Hazell, Bert||O'Malley, Brian|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Heffer, Eric, S.||Oram, Albert E.|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Orme, Stanley|
|Brooks, Edwin||Hilton, W. S.||Oswald, Thomas|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hooley, Frank||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|Brown,Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)||Horner, John||Padley, Walter|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Paget, R. T.|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Cant, R. B.||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Carmichael, Neil||Howie, W.||Pardoe, John|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Hoy, James||Park, Trevor|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Huckfield, Leslie||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Chapman, Donald||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Coe, Denis||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Coleman, Donald||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Hunter, Adam||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Conlan, Bernard||Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Pentland, Norman|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Perry, Ernest G (Battersea, S.)|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Cronin, John||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Probert, Arthur|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Randall, Harry|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Jones,Rt. Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Kelley, Richard||Richard, Ivor|
|Delargy, Hugh||Kenyon, Clifford||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Dell, Edmund||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth(St.P'c'as)|
|Dempsey, James||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)|
|Dewar, Donald||Kerr, Russell (Feitham)||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Lawson, George||Roebuck, Roy|
|Dickens, James||Leadbitter, Ted||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Dobson, Ray||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Rose, Paul|
|Doig, Peter||Lee, John (Reading)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Lestor, Miss Joan||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|Driberg, Tom||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Ryan, John|
|Dunn, James A.||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lipton, Marcus||Sheldon, Robert|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Lomas, Kenneth||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Loughlin, Charles||Shore, Peter (Stepney)|
|Eadie, Alex||Lubbock, Eric||Short, Rt. Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Short, Mrs. Renée(W'hampton,N.E.)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Ellis, John||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|English, Michael||McBride, Neil||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Ennals, David||MacDermot, Niall||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Macdonald, A. H.||Slater, Joseph|
|Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||McGuire, Michael||Small, William|
|Fernyhough, E.||McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)|
|Finch, Harold||Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross&Crom'ty)||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Stonehouse, John|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Mackie, John||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Foley, Maurice||Maclennan, Robert||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Swain, Thomas|
|Ford, Ben||McNamara, J. Kevin||Taverne, Dick|
|Forrester, John||MacPherson, Malcolm||Thornton, Ernest|
|Fowler, Gerry||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Tinn, James|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mailalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfie1d,E.)||Tomney, Frank|
|Tuck, Raphael||Whitaker, Ben||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Urwin, T. W.||White, Mrs. Eirene||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Varley, Eric G.||Whitlock, William||Winnick, David|
|Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)||Wilkins, W. A.||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Walden, Brian (All Saints)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Woof, Robert|
|Walker, Harold (Doncaster)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Wallace, George||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)||Yates, Victor|
|Watkins, David (Consett)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Weitzman, David||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)||Mr. Harper and Mr. Fitch.|
|Wellbeloved, James||Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.)|