§ Mr. Park
I beg to move Amendment No. 3, in page 1, line 7, leave out '22' and insert '12'.
This is perhaps the most important, certainly one of the most important, Amendments which we shall discuss. Its purpose is to delete the reference to those Sections in Part II of the 1966 Act which relate to terms and conditions of employment, and in particular to delete from the Bill the reference to what has become known as the punitive Section—Section 16—especially Section 16(4), which subjects trade unions and trade unionists to legal penalties for carrying out the policies and purposes for which trade unions exist.
There are many reasons for the Amendment. I shall not deal with them all. I have no doubt that some of my hon. Friends who will fellow me will find 344 no difficulty in rectifying any omissions I may make. I will confine myself to two points. First, it is a basic infringement of the liberties of a democratic society to subject to the penalties of the criminal law the right of trade unions to seek to maintain and improve the living conditions of their members.
This Section of the 1966 Act threatens to make criminals of trade union officers who are paid by their members to work on their behalf. It puts the clock of freedom back nearly 100 years. It invokes memories of the harsh and repressive legislation of the early years of the 19th century. It gives the Government the stigma of imposing an attitude of authoritarianism which was out-dated even before the end of the 18th century.
That the Government should have introduced this kind of Measure in 1966 was almost inconceivable. That, having introduced it, and having aroused the anger and distrust of those who had previously been their most loyal supporters, they should now seek the extension of 345 these powers passes the bounds of credibility. Do not the Government realise that the policy of imposing an incomes policy by punitive legislation has been roundly condemned by the Trades Union Congress, by one individual trade union after another, by the vast majority of trade union members, and, last but by no means least, by the electors whose interests we are supposed to represent here?
Why, then, must the Government persist with a policy which has been so clearly rejected? Having persisted in the policy, do the Government believe that the policy can work? I do not believe that it can. If the Government seek to implement this provision, they will propel themselves headlong into a major clash with the trade union movement and with the millions of people whom that movement represents.
If the Government do not believe that, if they do not realise that the danger of a clash with the trade union movement exists, I recommend them to read again the report of the conference of trade union executives in February this year. One trade union leader after another came to the rostrum not simply to condemn the Government's approach, not just to say that the punitive clauses were disastrously wrong, but to make clear that they intend to defy legislation of the kind which we have here.
Are the Government willing to pay the price of their determination to persist in the coercive approach? Are they willing to fine trade unionists, and to throw them into prison if they refuse to pay the fines? Are they willing to break up and destroy the unity of the political and industrial wings of the Labour movement? Are they willing to jeopardise all our hopes of economic recovery by a wave of industrial unrest affecting some of our vital export industries? I do not believe that they are. If they reach the brink, the Government will tremble but they will not go over it. They will capitulate first.
I commend to the Government's attention what happened in the Republic of Ireland only a few months ago. The Irish Government introduced legislation to outlaw strikes in electricity supply. A few months later they fined some strikers, and, when the strikers did not pay the fines, they put some of their leaders in prison. As soon as this happened, the 346 whole electricity industry in that country was threatened with standstill. Then the legal processes were thrown violently into reverse. The situation ended with the Government's legal powers thoroughly discredited and the electricity board paying the strikers' fines.
If a comparable situation were to occur in this country, Government and Parliament alike would be put in an utterly invidious position. We should have passed a law which, at the first moment of major challenge, we dare not apply, and even, perhaps, had no intention of applying at the time we passed it. If that be the position, why go to all the trouble of trying to pass it in the first place? Would it not be more sensible to drop the thing now, when it can be dropped honourably, rather than face a position of total retreat and lack of dignity at a later stage? Why cannot the Government acknowledge the realities of the situation? Why cannot they say at this stage that they recognise that they are trying to push through the House a Bill, or a section of a Bill, which will prove to be totally inoperative?
Time and again, the Government have told us that they seek a voluntary incomes policy, that legislation is only a long-stop, a reserve power, and they hope that it will not be necessary to renew it. One cannot run a voluntary policy in double harness with coercive legislation. It just will not work.
You cannot convince someone of your friendship by threatening to knock him over the head with a mallet if he does not agree with you. It is just not on. I want to see a voluntary incomes policy work no less than my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Front Bench. I want to see a voluntary policy based on the planned rise of living standards, and there is only one way in which the Government can give that policy a chance to succeed. That is by accepting the Amendment, even at this late stage. If they are not prepared to accept it, on an issue of such crucial importance my hon. Friends and I will not hesitate to divide the House.
§ Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes)
I very much agree with what the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Park) has said. It brings us back again to the basic point we discussed in Committee 347 on the whole question of principle. The right hon. Lady said in Committee that the leaders of the T.U.C. were men of standing in the community concerned with the future of the nation, and not only the interests of their own members but the industry in which they worked. She paid great tribute to them, but she treated them rather as a sergeant-major treats his men. In other words, she said, "We hope that you will make voluntary agreements, but if you do not the chopper will fall and I, as Minister, will take legislative action to make certain that you do what we believe you should do."
The Sections which the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends wish to leave out of the 1966 Act are those which deal with the whole question of legislative control of incomes. This is very important. Either the Government believe in free collective negotiation or they do not. If they do not, they should say so, and if they introduce this sort of legislation they should be prepared to say, "We believe that the accepted free negotiating system as we have known it has now gone, and the Government will decide what shall be the wages or incomes of employed people throughout the country, regardless of all the conditions that have applied before."
But that is not what the right hon. Lady is saying. She is saying that we should ask all those engaged in industry to meet to negotiate, and hope and keep our fingers crossed that voluntarily they will not negotiate any wage or salary increases of more than 3½ per cent. But if they do, we shall use the chopper and say, "Regardless of your free negotiating arrangements, the Government will prevent you from doing it."
The important point here is Section 16(4) of the 1966 Act. This makes it quite clear thatIf any trade union or other person takes, or threatens to take any action, and in particular any action by way of taking part, or persuading others to take part, in a strike, with a view to compel, induce or influence any employer to implement an award or settlement …which is in contravention of the present view of the Government, there can be on summary conviction a fine not exceeding £100 or on indictment a fine 348 which, if the offender is not a body corporate—and we are not at present dealing with bodies corporate—shall not exceed £500.
The hon. Member is on an important point. Section 16 of the 1966 Act creates a situation in which any trade unionist or group of trade unionists deciding to use the right to free collective bargaining, to independent arbitration and to strike if they believe there is no other way of solving their problems—a right which the Government say they are entitled to use—can, if they have the audacity to exercise that right, make themselves liable to a fine not exceeding £100 or, on indictment, £500.
In this case, other legislation has caught up with us. The person concerned, if he is fined £100 but refuses to pay, could have an attachment of wages order applied against him under which the fine would be deducted weekly from his wages. It will give no satisfaction to an employee if instead of his going to jail for refusing to pay the fine, it is deducted from his wages. Of course, the Government could put in the bailiffs, but again it would be no consolation to the individual that, instead of going to jail, he would have his television or front-room suite taken away.
These are the facts of the Bill. The hon. Gentleman is right in seeking to delete this provision. If the Government want to retain it, then the right hon. Lady must tell us that the Government do not believe in free negotiation, arbitration or the right to strike. If she does, then at least we shall see honest government for the first time from the present Administration. Unless she is prepared to do it, I am prepared to go into the Lobby in support of the Amendment.
§ Mr. Eric Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
Like many other hon. Members, I am a little tired of having, on various occasions, rather like a long drawn out period of intense agony, constantly to speak against the Government's policy in relation to this Bill. If it were not so serious a matter, it would be totally hilarious. But it is terribly serious. It can affect the whole future of industrial relations and the trade union and Labour movement. I support the Amendment because it is concerned only with excluding the wages control and the penal 349 Clauses connected with it. It does not deal in any way with the control of prices or dividends—a fact which I am sure commends itself to hon. Members opposite.
I hope that on this occasion they will be prepared to support my hon. Friend's Amendment. This would make a mockery of much of what they have said about other legislation which they would bring in if, God forbid, they ever regained a majority in the House. I have four reasons for supporting the Amendment. Let us look at the wartime experience when there was legislation containing penal provisions, and which put a number of trade unionists in prison. All hon. Members will have waded through the document called the Royal Commission on Trade Unions and Employers' Associations. At the end there is an extremely well-written passage, the most hilarious thing that I have read for a long time, written by Sir Harold Emmerson, K.C.B., K.V.O. on mass prosecution in war time. He says that a strike took place at Betts-hanger Colliery in Kent in December, 1941. About 4,000 people were idle.
As a result of this strike, and against his advice and that of the Department the Government decided that they must take strong action, by way of prosecuting some of the people. They had to ask the union to agree that only a few should be prosecuted, because they realised that it was impossible to prosecute the whole 4,000. The union was very decent about it. It said, "All right, you can have a few test cases." The secretary and chairman of the local branch were prosecuted and imprisoned. What happened? The workers remained on strike—they were more determined than ever before. What a position!
Ministers of the Crown had to go down and negotiate with the imprisoned men in order to get agreement for the men to return to work. The Minister of Mines had to consult the Home Secretary to find a way of getting the men out of prison. If ever there was any prosecution under this; current Measure the same thing would happen. Immediately after the war then; was the mass strike by the dockers, the great campaign against Order 1305. How did they destroy Order 1305? By going on strike. When their leaders were imprisoned they were more determined than ever to carry on with the 350 strike. It is not as though we have not had experience of what happens when action of this kind is taken.
We have had these provisions in the two previous Bills and until now there has not been a challenge. I thought that we would see a challenge when the Liverpool bus men came out on strike. The Ministry of Labour was either exceedingly clever or hopelessly inept. They asked the local authority to refer the award to the Prices and Incomes Board, but they did not put an Order on it. Therefore, for 13 weeks the Liverpool bus men were on strike, but they were not striking illegally because there was no Order. Had there been an Order and prosecutions, I do not believe that the Liverpool bus men would have been back to work yet, unless the sort of action taken in relation to the coal mines was taken.
I wish to go a little deeper into this matter. Since I was 16 years of age, I have been a member of a trade union and a member of the Labour Party. I have always rejected the theory of elitism. I have always believed that democracy was based on what people wanted from below. There has always been a current of thought in our movement, unfortunately, which has tended to argue— and this was very much the thinking of the Webbs—that certain things had to be introduced that were good for the people, whether they wanted them or not. I remember the old story about the chap, speaking in Hyde Park, who said, "When you get Socialism you will all have a car". Someone said, "I do not want a car", and he said, "You'll have it and like it".
That has never been my concept of Socialism. My concept has been the very opposite. People will create what they want on the basis of their actions and activity and not on what a small group of people, no matter how clever they are, believe is good for them. I have analysed this very interesting theory. It is not a Fascist theory, as I have heard argued by some hon. Members opposite. It is a corporate state theory in the sense of democratic control and the belief that everybody has his rightful place. This is why some of my hon. Friends think that the rightful place of the workers is to have their wages controlled. I am not prepared to accept that argument.
351 It is true that we are not arguing about putting people in prison—not immediately, anyway. I hope that the Clause will not go through and that people will never be put in prison for this sort of thing. Just imagine the scene. Is there to be distraint on the workers? If we do not stop something out of their wages, will we go to their house and take out their bathroom suite? Will we put all their furniture in the street? I ask my hon. Friends to consider the scene which there would be on one of the working-class estates in Liverpool. First, we should have to train some pretty hefty fellow in order to get the furniture out. But, having got it out on to the street, I can imagine every docker on the estate getting the stuff back in again. There would be a riot. This is absolutely ludicrous. The whole thing is hilarious. It does not work, and it cannot work.
My hon. Friends on the Government Front Bench have boasted about the policy time after time. They have said, "We have not introduced many Orders because the trade unions have voluntarily applied the policy". Of course they have. If they had not done so, it would not have been successful at all.
The trade union movement does not want penal Clauses. It has stated quite clearly that it is prepared to give a go to the voluntary system. To do what? I think George Woodcock said, whenever necessary, to have a shabby compromise and to do the best we can. We will get no more than that. That is what the Government have to do concerning the control of wages and so on. We must do the best we can.
I make one last appeal to my hon. Friends on the Front Bench. Drop this Clause. Do not put us in the position of having constantly to argue and vote against our own party on matters of this kind. If we have to, we have to. But at the last minute I appeal to my hon. Friends to drop it now and do the most sensible thing concerning prices and incomes that can possibly be done.
§ Mr. Emery
There is little doubt that this Amendment is causing the most searching investigation of conscience that any hon. Member of this House can possibly have.
352 The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) and I do not often agree, but I agree with him when he tells the Government that they cannot, by whatever action they like, control the free action of people, whether members of a trade union or not, when free and collective barganing has been brought about. If the Government believe that they can stop this kind of action they could not be more wrong.
The Government are attempting to ride a tiger, which is uncontrollable. They are trying to give directions to those who have no intention of listening to what the Government wish to propound. This seems to expose more clearly than at any time the complete nonsense forming the basis of the thinking of the Government in this matter.
The hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Park) talked about the long-drawn-out agony. It certainly has been. Time after time we have heard speeches from different Ministers—they have always differed—year in and year out giving pledges that there is only this bit more, only that bit extra. Indeed, today they are saying that this Bill is all that they need. It is like the geometrical equation that, once started, gets greater and greater. Once we start on the path of controls which the Government are suggesting, there will be no stopping until there is ultimate control. That is why I support the Amendment.
I do not agree with the hon. Member for Walton when he suggests that we just let wages out and not affect prices and dividends. I suggest that if we go that far we have to go further. This Amendment, if carried, makes it apparent that the Government have to rethink their policy. This is why I go along with it, although it would leave certain parts of the Bill, which I think are repugnant, perhaps even more repugnant.
I turn now to a number of points in the Amendment which have not been covered. The Amendment is extremely wide. It refers specifically to the control of incomes, but in fact it goes to the heart of the Prices and Incomes Act, 1966. It deals not only with pay and other claims, but with awards and other settlements. This has not been mentioned so far. It deals with all aspects of the standstill, and therefore the Government would be deprived of any power to 353 institute any form of standstill at any time. That is what the Amendment sets out to do.
It also deals with the terms and conditions of employment, and with enforcement, but certain conditions of employment would still be affected if the matter involved a summary conviction or conviction on indictment. It deals with employment under the Crown, and finally it deals with offences to which this part of the 1966 Act refers.
This is a battle about free and collective bargaining and the hon. Member for Walton was right in asking whether, even for a short period, the Government wish to condemn the results of free and collective bargaining. I shall not represent my party and stand for that. It is clear that this issue transcends party politics in many strange ways, and it is as well that the country should realise that. It is of the greatest importance that the message should go out from this House tonight that we believe that no Government have the right to condemn to imprisonment those who organise trade unions to better the working conditions of their members. [Interruption.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite may not like some of the people who support them, but they should realise that the feelings of others are as deep as their own.
I suggest that hon. Gentlemen should realise that they are not the only sincere people in this House, and that when Members other than themselves make speeches they mean what they say. I think the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) knows that I do not readily say anything which I am not willing to defend at any time. We ought to make it clear that, irrespective of party, we believe that the concept of free collective bargaining should continue, and that there should not be control by the Government. That is what the Amendment is about.
§ Mr. Michael Foot
Mr. Speaker, I thank you for having arranged that this Amendment should be called. We greatly appreciate the consideration you gave to our representations.
The hon. Member for Honiton (Mr. Emery) at the beginning of his speech said that the Amendment was so comprehensive that if carried it would wreck the Government's prices and incomes policy. I do not take that view. I agree that 354 the Amendment is extremely comprehensive, but if the House decided to accept it I do not believe that consequence of that vote would be the wreckage of the Government's prices and incomes policy. In a sense, the Government would be able to start afresh, to rebuild that policy in much better circumstances. I should like to explain, therefore, what would be the consequences of accepting the Amendment.
It would not mean the destruction of all the ideas behind the Statement of Intent agreed about two years ago or of the prices and incomes policy upon which this party was elected at two General Elections or of any plan for having an incomes policy. What it would mean is that the Government would have to revert to a voluntary prices and incomes policy or at any rate a voluntary incomes policy. They would be able to keep the compulsory part dealing with prices and dividends, which I think would be a good thing, but would have to revert to a voluntary policy for incomes.
No hon. Gentleman or hon. Lady on the Front Bench can say that that is an impossible situation, because that is the position which the Prime Minister himself took up during the last General Election. He did not say then that he would have a system of legislative control. Even as recently as the period immediately after devaluation, the Government, and the Prime Minister in particular, were talking in terms of a voluntary incomes policy. The Government themselves say that they wish to return to a voluntary incomes policy as speedily as possible. If they accepted this Amendment, they would get it even more speedily than they had hoped. They will still be able to return to a voluntary policy.
Therefore, the argument of the hon. Member for Honiton does not stand up. I understand the attraction from his point of view, but he must recognise our position. Our position on this Bill—or certainly mine—is that I am in favour of a prices and incomes policy, but a voluntary one, and I believe that the compulsory element will help to wreck the possibility of an effective voluntary policy. That has been the case which many of us have sought time and again 355 to urge on the Government in circumstances which would have prevented this debate taking place.
It is a most melancholy state of affairs that we should have ever reached a debate on this issue under a Labour Government. It has not been for lack of warning from some hon. Members on this side. We have sought to warn the Government on every conceivable occasion that we could debate this matter and therefore the Government should not be surprised about their present predicament. It is one which they have chosen for themselves, despite all the warnings. Therefore, if their policy has to be, not wrecked, but fundamentally altered by a decision of the House of Commons, it will be their choice that it has been in the House that the matter has had to be settled.
Let me turn to the argument which appears to be the most substantial one which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State puts on this matter. She may argue, as she has in Committee, that this Amendment raises the whole question of an incomes policy. I have sought to argue that a voluntary policy could perfectly well follow after this Amendment was carried. No one, I believe, can deny that. If it were carried, we would reach the situation which the Government say that they wish to see at a later stage. But my right hon. Friend has argued that the incomes policy for which she now argues depends in present circumstances upon possessing these reserve powers and has gone on to argue the whole incomes policy case on those grounds. She could do so again today. So could we.
I am opposed to the incomes policy as it has operated. The same view is held by a growing number of people throughout the country because it has operated in a grossly unjust way. It has applied primarily to people who are organised in trade unions. The incomes of people outside trade unions are not affected to anything like the same degree, and the reference of the single salary of Mr. Hambro is a prime example of the case that many of us have been making for months.
The hon. Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen) has been stressing that many salary 356 increases are not being referred to the Board. That hon. Gentleman has raised this matter on numerous occasions and has asked when the Government intend to take action to deal with the salaries of lots of people who have had increases which have never been reported. This is another reason why I regard the policy as it has operated as unjust.
Mr. James Turn (Cleveland)
Would my hon. Friend agree that this disadvantage, if that is what it is, would also apply under a voluntary system? Since he would welcome a voluntary prices and incomes policy—and he has stressed the voluntary aspect of it—does he intend to support Amendments standing in the names of hon. Gentlemen opposite which would modify the policy affecting prices, rents and dividends?
§ Mr. Foot
One step at a time. As for measures affecting rents and prices, I am in favour of the Government having powers to deal with them and I have no objection to those powers being strengthened. But that is another question and there is a great difference between Government intervention to deal with price levels and rents—these have been long-standing matters dealt with by former Governments—and Government intervention in collective bargaining, in the dealings of trade unions, backed by sanctions of a penal nature. This is an entirely different state of affairs. If my hon. Friend fears that this might be carried further—to the powers dealing with rents and prices—he need have no fear because when we come to discuss those matters later he can vote accordingly. Meanwhile, he can vote for this Amendment and raise his voice to sustain those later parts of the Bill, as many of us will be eager to do.
My right hon. Friend's other defence of the step she is taking is that she is in a dilemma. Partly, she argues, these reserve powers are essential for the maintenance of the Bill, but when my hon. Friends follow the argument through and question—as they did in Committee and in previous debates on this subject—the consequences of the reserve powers being brought into operation, my right hon. Friend says that they are being alarmist. She says that we are raising fears that may never arise. I agree that they may 357 never arise, but it should be remembered that in Committee she said:My hon. Friend said that the powers had not been used, and the Government could not use them. I would say to him that the reason the powers have not been used is that when it comes to it, the vast majority of the people of this country, and certainly the vast majority of trade unionists are law abiding. The penal powers have not been used because no one has struck against the standstill. They have not struck against the standstill for reasons that I have given, that when it comes to it, it is a very serious decision indeed for anyone to have to make, that he will deliberately defy legislation which has been enacted by Parliament."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee F, 29th May, 1968; c. 156.]That is a tautological argument. It is saying that people will not defy the law because they do not like doing so. That is true. Once a law has been passed, people do not like defying it, but we must decide whether the law is just, is right or is unjust. We must also decide whether it is likely to be defied. My right hon. Friend can say that so far, on experience—because it has not been defied—one can say, arguing the position backwards, that the elements of justice in it can be proved and that that is why people have accepted it. I can understand her argument, but I do not think she should carry it that far.
Industrial disputes have a way of blowing up in places where they are least expected. I doubt whether my right hon. Friend would have expected that the Report stage of this Bill would be before the House at a time when the major industrial dispute was on the railways. At one time my right hon. Friend made great play of the fact that the Government's incomes policy was supported by the N.U.R. Many of us warned a predecessor of hers that he should not count too much on that vote in support of the general policy, because when it came down to particulars he might find that the union was opposed to it. I warn the Government that they cannot be certain how the possibilities of the application of penal sanctions are likely to occur.
They could occur in a case that they may not have foreseen. The right hon. Lady may say that the Government have to give the Order and the Attorney-General has to agree to the prosecutions, and therefore these afford some protec- 358 tion. The Government may get into a position where they are forced from one stance to another, and eventually have to resort to the sanctions in the Bill. Once they are forced into such a situation, all the circumstances described by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) will emerge, and the Labour Government would be faced with a hopeless situation in which they would either have to proceed with the prosecutions, with all the hilarious, but tragic, consequences described by my hon. Friend, or they would have to retreat.
The very fact of having to retreat in those circumstances would be more serious than having to retreat now. This is what some of us have tried to warn the Government about for months. We have said, and no one can deny it, that we are heading for very serious troubles. We have evidence all around us. I do not say that the cause of these troubles is the prices and incomes legislation, although I believe that the situation has been considerably aggravated by the rigidity of the legislation and will become more so. The Government are facing several months of very serious industrial disturbance, and we are debating this question at a moment of very serious industrial trouble. No Government can prophesy how fax that will proceed, or when they will have to invoke the powers which they say are so essential for the maintenance of this legislation. We are trying to rescue them before they get any deeper into this trouble. We are asking why do they not revert to the policy which they were saying was the better policy a few months ago, and which they prophesied would be a better policy a few years hence?
Why is there something so critical about this moment in our affairs that we must have this special form of legislation? Or why is there something so critical in the affairs of this country, as compared with other countries, that we have to have a form of penal legislation dealing with the trade unions which exists in practically no other country? Why are our circumstances so unique? Is it because in the Letter of Intent sent to our international creditors, it was agreed by the previous Chancellor that some form of prices and incomes legislation 359 would be introduced, and the Government now have this albatross round their neck?
The Government must explain to us, as they have not explained before, why it is so essential at this time to have legislation of such a rare character, which the Government abhorred a few months ago, and which they will abhor in a few months' time. Now they say that we must have it, otherwise the whole economy of the country will be wrecked. I do not believe that. If the House were to throw out this part of the Measure tonight, the Government would have to revert to the voluntary incomes policy and it would do a great deal of good to the House. The authority of the House would be greatly enhanced; our international creditors, and I give them credit when I can, would be able to understand the situation, and the protest which had brought about this changed state of affairs.
What would be best of all would be for the Government to say that they would give the voluntary system another chance, that they would remove this threat and revert to the voluntary system. Above all, I believe that it would be in the interests of the Government. A Labour Government can survive only if it sustains its links with the trade union movement. No member of the Government can doubt that the relations between the Labour Party and the trade union movement of this country have been more deeply strained in recent months than in generations past.
The Government should be seeking to repair those relations. If they were prepared to revert again to the voluntary system I believe that they would make a start in repairing those relations, they would get better results from the point of view of the economy and they would get all the productivity agreements which my right hon. Friend talks about and more. I believe that the Government could begin to regain an upsurge of popular support. This country can be governed only with the popular support of the people, it can be governed only with the willing co-operation of the trade union movement, it can be governed only by persuasion; it cannot be done by force. So I hope that the Government will think before it is too late.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Gower
The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) in his early remarks expressed his anxiety at the possibility of a Government from this side of the House introducing some form of trade union legislation. It is true that at different times we on this side have put forward our ideas on that basis, but at no time have we ever contemplated introducing legislation such as we are now discussing, and at no time have we ever thought of putting on the Statute Book legislation which would so basically prejudice the democratic rights of the parties in industry as this Bill does.
The hon. Member for Walton went on to utter a strange invitation to us on this side to support him and his colleagues in the Lobbies. He hoped that he would have our support, and that was an unusual request to come from below the Gangway. I hope that he will have the support of all hon. Members on this side, not because we wish to embarrass the Government—we have ample opportunities for doing that—but because we feel that the implementation of the Bill in its present form would be prejudicial not only to the future relationship of the parties in industry but to the welfare of our industry and our economy. Like the hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), I appeal to the Government to have further talks about this. We go further than did the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale. He, apparently, objects chiefly to penal enforcement. We object to the whole paraphernalia behind it.
§ Mr. Gower
The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale objects to the Clauses which are discussed in the Amendment, and the Amendment relates chiefly to enforcement. We share his abhorrence, so we will support the hon. Gentleman who moved the new Clause, we will support the hon. Gentleman the Member for Walton and we will support the hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale. I hope that the Secretary of State for Employment and Productivity can feel that she has what is perhaps a very last-minute chance to alter this legislation. By accepting this new Clause she can at 361 least remove one of the most obnoxious aspects of it.
§ Mr. Raphael Tuck (Watford)
I have the misfortune to disagree with what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Park) and many others of my hon. Friends for whom I have the greatest regard. I do it with deep regret.
My hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South-East would have us believe that the Government should change their policy and that, if they do not, the trade unions will make it very hot for them. However, a Government who based their decisions not on their Tightness or wrongness but on the effect which they might have on a section of the community and the actions of that section, would be in for a very bad time, and I would hesitate to give my support to such a Government.
This is not a question of whether or not collective bargaining is desirable, which is what my hon. Friend would have us believe. We have reached a point where it is vitally necessary that the increase in incomes should not outstrip the increase in productivity—
§ Mr. Raphael Tuck
The lawyers as well. It is vitally necessary that we control both ends of the economy, not only incomes, but prices and dividends as well. I hope that my right hon. Friend will remember that.
§ Mr. Mikardo
I agree that there ought to be a balance between both ends of the economy, but has my hon. Friend caught up with the fact which came out in Committee that applications for dividends above the norm are dealt with in 72 hours, whereas applications for wages above the norm can hang about for 14 months? Does he think that that is dealing with both ends of the economy?
§ Mr. Raphael Tuck
I would not go so far as to say that every Clause of the Bill is a model of perfection, but I feel that this Bill is dealing with both sections of the economy. The penal powers can only cause one year's delay, in any case.
I was grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) for making my point for me, because I was about to mention the chairman of 362 Hambros Bank. Without statutory powers covering all claims and awards, those undergoing trade union vetting will be restrained, but there will be no control of those outside organised labour. I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point for me.
§ Mr. Raphael Tuck
It is not a question of where the £4,000 goes. It is a matter of the principle of the whole Bill.
My hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South-East says that all this should be left to voluntary action, but suppose that voluntary action does not work? Then, my hon. Friends say, so much the worse. What happens then is that the whole economic policy of the Government is frustrated. The increase in wages outstrips the increase in productivity. Inflation follows. The balance of payments position worsens. The country faces economic collapse. I ask if the Government ought to risk that.
§ Mr. Arthur Lewis (West Ham, North)
My hon. Friend the Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) interjected a point with regard to lawyers. Evidently my hon. Friend agreed that this was right. Is he aware of the fact that I put a Question to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General pointing out that at the Aberfan inquiry £76,000 was paid out over 17 days in legal fees? I would ask my hon. Friend to whom that sum was paid?
§ Mr. Raphael Tuck
I am sorry I am not in a position to tell my hon. Friend that. It is a matter for my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, not for me. But the principle of this Bill remains. I should love to see a voluntary incomes policy. I should love to see a voluntary Income Tax policy. But it will not work; and if it does not work it is necessary that there should be measures for the Government to take, no matter how unpleasant those measures may be. My hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) told us what the Government ought to do, as the trade unions were not convinced. May I, in reply, suggest that he and his hon. Friends, instead of denigrating the Government should do their utmost to 363 convince the trade unions that in the final analysis, not in the short term, it is in their own interests [Interruption.]—
§ Mr. Raphael Tuck
It is not in their own interests to go to prison, just as it is not in my short-term interests that I should go to prison for evading Income Tax. In the long term it is in their interests that this Measure should be passed.
Finally, I want to say a word about the honeyed accents in which my hon. Friends have received support from the Opposition. In my view, this comes ill from Members of a party which passed the Trade Disputes Act, 1926.
§ Mr. Biffen
I would like to make only four comments on this particular Amendment, because I know that a very large number of hon. Members wish to take part in what, for many of them, will be the most significant of the debates we shall be having on this Report stage. I would like to comment first on the contribution of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), because I believe he very rightly identified what is at the core of this Amendment in its relation to what we are pleased to call a voluntary incomes policy; because the effect of this Amendment, by eliminating Sections from Part II of the Prices and Incomes Act, 1966, effectively destroys the whole of Part II of that Act, inasmuch as it relates to incomes. It is quite important that we should understand that the hon. Gentleman believes that to be a voluntary policy, because I suspect we have been conditioned by the Acts of 1967 and 1968 to suppose that a fallback to the 1966 Act would be a return to a voluntary policy. The hon. Gentleman knows that that would be a deceit on the part of his own Front Bench and he fears that it is exactly the kind of deceit they may have in mind. I am certain that that lies behind a great deal of the very pertinent reasoning with which he addressed himself to this Amendment.
Secondly, I would like to comment on what would be the consequences if this Amendment, which I welcome, were passed. It would effectively de-fuse the 364 incomes part of the prices and incomes policy. It would permit us to return to a situation of Ministerial weekend exhortation, except I suspect that with the right hon. Lady it would be weekend Ministerial admonition—vinegar this weekend for Mr. Hambro, chastisement the following weekend for the National Union of Railwaymen, and so on; a series of Ministerial weekend exhortations.
Although I find that a nonsensical proposition, and we have far too much Ministerial exhortation, that is better than the system of penal powers contained in Part II of the 1966 Act which are being sustained by the Bill we now have before us.
My third point concerns the whole question of the industrial relations and what is very generally called industrial discipline. This is not the first time that the House has addressed itself to the whole philosophy of what is contained in Part II of the 1966 Act. I quote from the speech made by Mr. Cousins during the proceedings in Committee on the 1966 Bill. Referring to the Part II provisions which the Amendment seeks to delete, Mr. Cousins said:This proposal, however, is more rigid than anything there is anywhere else in the world outside the totalitarian societies. I do not easily reconcile the idea that we have probably the most advanced trade union movement in the world and yet the most restrictive Governmental edict as to what it can or cannot do.The question to which the Secretary of State must address herself is whether she concurs with that judgment of Mr. Cousins. If she does not, she must tell us what has happened in the two years since that speech was made which makes her wish to persist in a policy which she knows is acutely embarrassing to the Government and which could well lead to a House of Commons event tonight, in the sense that the Government majority could be in jeopardy, for there must be some tangible reasons which have not been revealed to the House as to why the Government are determined to persist in this policy.
Surely the implication of Part II, as the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) rightly said, is that it undermines conventional and, in many cases, the most responsible of trade union authority. In a sense, it is the potential Trotskyite charter, the potential charter for 365 any troublemaker who wants to take advantage of the martyrdom that could be implicit in this kind of legislation.
My fourth point is that the Amendment rightly challenges the whole philosophy that it is the Government who know what is the right wage to be paid and when it shall be paid. The Amendment challenges the whole philosophy of economic interventionism. The hon. Member for Walton was right to draw attention to the clash which is implicit in this between the traditional trade union support within the Labour Party and what he was pleased to call élitism.
I hope that the right hon. Lady will not think that I am seeking to become an unofficial paid-up member of the Transport and General Workers' Union if I again quote something that Mr. Cousins said during the Committee proceedings on the 1966 Bill and which I believe to be profoundly true:I have said that we must have a method of ensuring that there is a growth of the economy and an improvement in the standard of living. The place to get this is not in Parliament. One cannot do this in Parliament. The complex problems of industrial relations and understanding between the two sides of industry cannot be solved unless one is working in industry."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B; 2nd August, 1966, c. 267–68.]Is it not time that there was some blinding flash of humility about this place and a realisation of just what are the functions that Parliament can reasonably discharge and what functions it cannot? Is there not a realisation that, the Government having persisted with their policy as exemplified by the Part II provisions, we have not seen any of the advantages it was supposed to have brought about? Industrial unrest is rife. None of the supposed economic advantages which were to flow from the policy are yet tangible. I do not want to widen the debate by mentioning all the things which were supposed to be avoided by the policy but which have inevitably followed as a result of it. The hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Park) has, consciously or otherwise, cast himself in the rôle this evening of an economic freedom-fighter. He said that he was prepared to go into the Lobby in defence of that faith. I shall be delighted to join him there.
§ Mr. Ted Fletcher (Darlington)
On this Amendment we are considering 366 whether we can force through the House legislation which is opposed by 9 million organised trade unionists, and whether, if this Measure goes through, it can be effective in face of the hostility of the organised trade union movement.
There is no doubt that the Government are relying upon experience with the 1966 and 1967 Acts, but on those occasions the T.U.C. said that it reluctantly agreed to co-operate with the Government. On this occasion, however, the organised trade union movement has said in emphatic terms that it is not prepared to co-operate in the operation of a prices and incomes Measure such as this.
A few weeks ago there was a meeting at Croydon of the national executives of all the trade unions affiliated to the T.U.C. There were only two propositions before the conference, one that the T.U.C. was prepared to recommend voluntary cooperation with the Government, the other an amendment which was hostile in every sense to co-operation with the Government. There was no motion enthusiastically supporting the provisions of this Prices and Incomes Bill.
Every trade union conference which has met since the White Paper—the shop-workers, the clerical workers, the amalgamated engineers, the draftsmen and many others—has roundly condemned the penal clauses in this Bill. The latest came only a few days ago when N.A.L.G.O., the organisation of local government officers, which no one could accuse of having revolutionary tendencies, unanimously rejected the penal clauses.
My hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Park) instanced what happened in the electricity supply industry in Ireland, but he did not tell the end of the story. After the men had been arrested and the electricity board sent representatives down to pay their fines in order to free them from prison, they said, "We do not want to go now. It is midnight, and we have no means of travelling home. We intend to stop in prison for another night". The electricity authorities said, "For God's sake, you must go back. You must be at the power plant in the morning". So the electricity board paid for a fleet of taxis to take the workers from prison.
During the war, we had many instances, Regulation 1305 and so forth, in which the policy of compulsion failed. My 367 right hon. and hon. Friends on the Front Bench learn nothing from history. All they learn is to learn nothing from history. If organised trade unionists say that they will not be compelled by penal legislation, they will not be compelled, and the law is held in disrepute.
I raised this matter in Committee with my right hon. Friend, and she replied that my fears were groundless. She said that it was not the Government's intention to send anyone to prison and that people would have great difficulty in getting into prison because of the Criminal Justice Act. Apparently, it is quite a job to get into prison nowadays. All that would happen would be that people would have to pay the fine. If they had not the money, they would have their goods sold, the bailiffs would be called in, and so on, but they would not be sent to prison. She said that this has not happened in the past and will not happen in the future. But if it is not the Government's intention to send people to prison, why do they include the provision in the Bill? Are they asking for a provision they do not intend to use? If it is their firm intention not to send trade unionists to prison, there is no need for any reference to penal sanctions in the Bill.
Therefore, the position is that we are faced with hostility from the organised trade union movement, and we cannot get an effective prices and incomes policy without its co-operation. I know that there are all sorts of economic arguments that it is necessary to force a prices and incomes policy through, but we must ask whether the policy is politically feasible. It is not, when the people the Government are asking to co-operate with them are refusing to do so.
I have listened very intently to the contributions by hon. Members opposite. We simply cannot believe the newfound enthusiasm of the Conservative Party as the standard bearers of trade unionism. We know their history, right from the Combination Acts to the Osborne and Taff Vale judgments and the 1927 Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Act. We have read their pamphlets about what they will do when they return to power.
It may well be true that the Government are trying to handcuff the trade 368 union movement, but if hon. Members opposite return to power it will have a rope around its neck before it can say "knife", and the trade unionists know this. Whatever the trade unionists might think about the Labour Government— and there is a good deal of resentment about the Government's attitude towards them—they will always have an allegiance to the Labour movement and the Labour Government, because they fear what will happen to them if hon. Members opposite ever return to power.
Therefore, I am not asking hon. Members opposite to come into the Lobby with me when I support the Amendment. I do not care a damn what they do. If they like to come in, that is up to them. But this is an Amendment submitted by people who have the true interests of the trade union movement and the Labour Government at heart. We profoundly believe that our Government, who have done many admirable things, are making a mistake over the penal Clauses. Even at this late hour, will not they think again about this headlong confrontation with the trade union movement? It will destroy our Labour movement if it is permitted to happen. Therefore, even at this eleventh hour I appeal to my right hon. Friend to think again and let us go forward with a prices and incomes policy acceptable to those whom it will most concern.
§ Mr. Peter Hordern (Horsham)
I intervene only briefly to ask the Minister one question, because I observe that the Financial Secretary to the Treasury is present. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) raised a very interesting point when he said the Letter of Intent referred to the prices and incomes policy which was to be introduced by the Government. Can the right hon. Lady give a clear assurance, before the House considers its attitude to the Amendment, that there was no pledge that there would be a compulsory statutory prices and incomes policy in order to gain a loan from the International Monetary Fund or any similar body?
§ Mr. Kenneth Lomas (Huddersfield, West)
My hon. Friend the Member for Darlington (Mr. Ted Fletcher) made the point that he could not give a damn what the Opposition did tonight. Of course he could give a damn, because 369 this is why some of my hon. Friends have put down the Amendment. They want to defeat the Government and therefore they want Tory support. [Interruption.] They have my support when I think that Government policy is wrong.
§ It being Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.
§ Question again proposed, That the Amendment be made.
§ Mr. Lomas
It is also to try and control the mavericks who exist in unions as much as in big business. No one from either side of the House has yet told me how it is possible to control people who are not prepared to accept the T.U.C.'s voluntary policy. That is the crucial issue.
The Government have not used the power it was given to imprison trade unionists since the 1966 Act was passed. I remember the speeches made at Labour Party Conferences and elsewhere at the time about how trade unionists would rot in jail and the rest of it. But it has not happened because, with the reserve powers in the Act, the majority, indeed all the trade unions, have seen the light. They have seen that they cannot go beyond that which is fair and proper.
If we did not have these provisions in the Bill certain trade unions—and my hon. Friends know to which I refer— because they are in a militant position and are strong, because they can bring the economy down, could hold the nation to ransom. They could get ahead while those at the bottom end of the scale would suffer.
§ Mr. Peter M. Jackson (The High Peak)
Do my hon. Friend's remarks 370 refer to the National Union of Agricultural Workers?
§ Mr. Jackson
Would my hon. Friend apply his remarks to the National Union of Agricultural Workers? He has spoken of certain militant trade unions, I draw his attention to Part II of Schedule 2, which gives the Government power to restrict the orders of agricultural wages boards. I had not previously understood that members of the N.U.A.W. were regarded as militant or that they could hold the nation to ransom.
§ Mr Speaker
Order. I apologise for the word "Press". I meant the Parliamentary Press, the Parliamentary Reporters.
§ Mr. Lomas
I thought for a moment I was back on the Countryside Bill. Of course one can include agricultural workers among the lower paid. The objective of the Government's policy is to ensure that those at the bottom of the scale are lifted up. This is what my union, the National Union of Public Employees, has recognised. It realised the value of the Prices and Incomes Board as far as the ancillary workers in the health services are concerned.
Surely the Government and the nation are trying to level up, to even out the differences. We are trying to ensure that those who are strong and militant should not merely use their power in their own interests. That is what these provisions are about. They are to try and restrain people who are in a position of strength and who will use their militancy to take that to which we do not think they are entitled while others are left at the bottom.
Unless we have these Clauses, and I address myself to my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) and any other hon. Members who think in that way, how on earth are we to control people who are not prepared to play the game according to the voluntary system? We have to have these provisions, written into the Bill, as a longstop. The Government have no intention of implementing these Clauses if the trade unions will work the voluntary 371 system. We want them to do this, we have asked them, appealed to them to do so. Provided this voluntary system can be worked out between themselves, and provided that they will accept the decision of any T.U.C. vetting committee that might be set up, there is no reason why the Government should intervene at all.
If there is a union which deliberately sets about violating the regulations or the decisons of the vetting committee, it follows that the Government must have the reserve powers to stop this happening, to stop people breaking through when they are not entitled to do so. This is why we want these Clauses in the Bill. I ask my hon. Friends to be very careful indeed when they are applauded by the party opposite. I do not believe in the synthetic support for the trade union movement from the benches opposite. If hon. Members on this side of the House are to divide tonight, they should not think that they have struck a blow for Socialism by taking that rump apposite into the Lobby. I would seriously ask them to consider what the alternative to this policy is.
What is the real way in which we can make the Measure effective? Unless and until we get the economy right, and unless and until we ensure that the lower paid worker is cared for, looked after, and ensure that people are not allowed to break through, we will get nowhere. I know that there is a hard core on this side of the House which will divide tonight, but there are some who should think again before going into the Lobby against the Government and who should bear in mind the benefits conferred upon the working people by this Labour Government in the past 3½ years before enlisting the support of the Tory Party, in their effort to bring down the Government tonight.
§ Mr. J. J. Mendelson (Penistone)
I want to address myself to my right hon. Friend who is responsible for this legislation and who represents the Cabinet in this debate. Like other hon. Members I am fully conscious of the fact that she has inherited this policy. I do not say that she has not got her own good reason for supporting it, otherwise I am certain that she would not try to pilot it through the House. The historical fact is that she has 372 inherited the legislation, and there are other senior members of the Cabinet responsible for its introduction.
I begin with a simple point concerning the policy put forward by the two major parties at the last two General Elections. The party opposite has for some years put forward, sometimes rather half-heartedly, and sometimes a little more brazenly, a policy which includes a legal framework to enshrine the trade union movement and its major action. The party opposite is on record as wishing to isolate the trade union movement, and it has no case to make for a free trade union.—[HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."]— I do not mind hon. Members shouting "Rubbish", particularly those who know very little about the subject, especially the policy of their own party. I notice that those who have taken part in working out the policy are not saying "Rubbish." I have made my point.
§ Mr. R. Carr
Would the hon. Gentleman tell the House, in view of what he has said, whether he regards the trade unions in Sweden, Germany or the United States as not being free, because they operate under a system of civil law, which is very different from the law that the Government are talking about?
§ Mr. Mendelson
If I were to engage now in a dissertation about trade unions in those countries I would be out of order and would not fulfil the purpose of my speech. I say to the right hon. Gentleman and to those who worked out this policy that they are intending to introduce a legal framework of compulsion to frustrate and control the main functions of the trade unions, and, when we fight the next round on this subject, we shall see how their proposals have been received by the trade union movement.
In contrast to the Conservative Parly, the Labour Party and all the members of the Cabinet, in the 1966 and 1964 elections, put no proposals containing penal clauses and sanctions before the electorate. That cannot be controverted by any of my colleagues who fought on the same platform on which I fought those two elections. Moreover, the substance of this Clause was the subject of many questions put to us as Parliamentary candidates. There are many Press reports from the Sheffield area, for instance, where trade unionists put this 373 very point to me, and I was able to reply on the basis of our policy as put forward jointly by the Cabinet and the National Executive Committee that such clauses and such intentions were not part of our policy.
It is, therefore, clear that what we are debating on this important Amendment is an issue which goes to the heart of our policy and principles. The introduction, without any mandate from the electorate, never mind only the trade union movement, although it is most directly concerned, of a Clause which, for the first time in over 60 years, seeks to put the criminal law on trade unionists and trade union officers who are following their normal industrial course is something which a Labour Government must not do.
I turn to the case, as far as I know it, made in the last few weeks by my right hon. Friend, because obviously, when she replies to this debate, there will be an easy opportunity to refer to her policy. On the other hand, I am convinced that unless one follows my right hon. Friend and her Cabinet colleagues on their own ground one will not have done justice to the importance of this debate.
My right hon. Friend needs no lecturing from me or from any other hon. Member about the important economic consequences involved in this matter. She knows as well as many of us that if, in this period of economic recovery which we are beginning to enter—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—I realise that hon. Members opposite do not know much about this, but my right hon. Friend does. There is, for instance, the fact, which is of great importance to trade unionists in my area, that production in the steel industry has gone up from 74 per cent. to 85 per cent. of capacity. We are making similar advances in other industries. Hon. Members opposite who are interrupting me and opposing that point of view are gloating, as usual, in the hope that we shall not make an economic recovery. That is their normal attitude and policy. It does not surprise anyone on this side of the House.
My right hon. Friend the First Secretary knows very well that if we have a summer and autumn in which there is 374 great dissension in the trade union movement and in industry, in which, ipso facto, the Government by virtue of this Clause will have to make the final decision about whether penal sanctions will be invoked—the employers will not be in a position to do that; this is a right exclusively reserved to the Government— then, instead of concentrating on productivity agreements and on advancing our economic policies, we shall be involved in countless quarrels and disagreements which will endanger our economic advance.
The reason the Government are tying themselves to these sanctions is very straightforward. Over the last few years many senior members of the Government —in my opinion wrongly, but it is a matter of fact—have been exaggerating the importance of an incomes policy in their discussions and negotiations with bankers abroad, with members of the International Monetary Fund, with the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, and with other Governments. Many senior members of the Government —and we must pay attention to this dilemma, otherwise we would not be doing justice to the debate—feel that they are committed to a continuation of this policy, including the penal Clauses to retain the Government's credibility internationally in the economic and political sphere in the eyes of those with whom they have entered into many engagements.
That is why, Mr. Speaker, with your approval, some of my hon. Friends and I made several attempts to move for an emergency debate on the Letter of Intent. I am not saying that the Letter of Intent contained a sentence saying that on such and such a day we commit ourselves to introduce a Bill containing a Clause which is punitive in its intent. Of course not. But the understandings that have gone on for several years now make the Government feel that if they were to say, "We will abandon part of this policy", their credibility would be seriously affected. They, therefore, feel that they have no room in which to move.
I hope to some extent that I have fairly stated what is in the minds of many senior Ministers. I believe that they are profoundly mistaken. If, in a democratic country, the trade union movement and its large majority having declared that it 375 does not wish to support this policy and if, on many occasions, it has been proved that the Government's standing with their most constant supporters, as has been proved in by-election after by-election, is going disastrously downhill, the Government deliberately takes account of these movements of opinion and says to the House of Commons and to the country, "We are taking note of these aspirations and expressions of opinion and we will modify our policy", and makes a stand on a modified policy, this will not be disastrous for the Government's international standing, it will not be disastrous for the Government's credibility, and it will in no way impair the prestige of the Government. But it will do one important thing. It will bring back to the support of the Government many major sections of the trade union movement— [Interruption.]—It is all very well hon. Gentlemen opposite saying "Ah". I know that they are dedicated to the proposition that we should do nothing to bring back the support of the trade union movement to the Government. But I am giving advice to my right hon. Friend, not to the enemies opposite of the trade union movement.
My last point is that there is now a special situation which makes this policy and its enforcement, with the help of the criminal law, even more unacceptable to our supporters and to trade unionists in general.
In Committee my right hon. Friend said:The whole approach is to increase the standard of living and the share of the good things of life for the working people. Therefore, I point out that the principle is certainly not all on one side in this situation."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th May, 1968; Standing Committee F, c. 146.]We are now in a position where, on the admission of the Treasury and of people like Mr. George Woodcock and others, there will be, at least in the view of the Government, an increase in the cost of living of 5 per cent. According to Mr. Woodcock, it will be 7 per cent. Some of these increases, on the Government's admission, are completely inevitable.
We are therefore in a situation—and I should like my hon. Friends to pay particular attention to this in view of what has been said during the debate—in 376 which, after the enactment of the Bill if it is accepted with this penal Clause, we will for the first time in many years have at least a 1 per cent. cut in real wages. It is in that situation that my right hon. Friend proposes to have this Clause included in the Bill. This means that, for the next 12 months at least, this punitive Clause will be one of the reinforcing agents of a policy which is responsible for a cut in real wages. That is what is new compared with the debates of twelve months and two years ago.
I remind my right hon. Friend of the position of railwaymen, many of whom are in the Penistone area. They were the first to suffer under the standstill in July, 1966, when they had a 3½ per cent. claim in. They are the workers who are always lagging behind, and under this legislation if a group of trade unionists get together and try to persuade their employers, or try to put some pressure on them to grant an increase, they will be acting illegally.
It is on those grounds that I urge the Government to take note of what is being said in the trade union movement outside, to take note of what is being said by a large section of the electorate, and to take note of what is being said by hon. Members in this House who, like my right hon. Friend, have the future of the movement at heart, and not to insist in going on with this Clause.
§ Mr. James Hamilton (Bothwell)
It was not my intention to take part in this debate, but after listening to some of my hon. Friends, I felt, as an active trade unionist, that the trade unionists' point of view had to be put, and put clearly.
As one who attended the Croydon Conference and participated in the discussions, and was there when we arrived at a conclusion—and the trade union movement, as it went on record, took a decision that it would agree to a voluntary policy —I can tell the House that on every occasion without exception virtually every trade union has agreed to accept a voluntary policy.
I should like my right hon. Friend to tell the House whether she dissociates herself from the policy of the Government. I do not think that it is good enough that some of my hon. Friends should be making the point that the Minister responsible for presenting this 377 policy to the House should not be in favour of that policy, and I hope that when my right hon. Friend replies to the debate she will make this very clear to each and every one of us.
I am a member of one of the most militant trade unions affiliated to Congress.—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Hamilton
We bend the knee to no union in the movement when it comes to the question of wages. Nevertheless, over the years we have realised that the lower paid workers had fared badly under any policy put forward in respect of wages. Perhaps I might give the House an example of something which happened only last Monday involving my own trade union. We negotiated with the employers in Grangemouth. At the end of the negotiations we came out with a productivity agreement which gave our members on the Grangemouth site an increase in wages of close on £9 per week, provided there was the necessary increase in productivity.
My members, in the main, construct power stations, which of course are paid for by the taxpayers of this country. They realised that many of the lads who are responsible for the fabrication of the materials used in the construction of these power stations are lucky if they go home with £13 a week, whereas in many cases the lads responsible for the erection work make as much as £50 a week. The money is coming from one cake, but the difficulty is that some of the lads are receiving a very small portion of the cake, while others are receiving a mammoth share of it. This, of course, is grossly unfair.
Much has rightly been said about the penal Clause. I have never believed that any such Clause should be in the Bill. I said so at the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting, I have said it at virtually every trade union meeting upstairs and at trade union conferences. Why, oh why? the Government have it I cannot understand. This has been in operation since 1966 and on no occasion have the Government had to resort to the penal Clause.
I have implicit faith in the trade union movement. Trade unionists are accepting 378 the prices and incomes policy, providing that it is equally applied to everyone. But the Government tell us that if there is any difference of opinion about dividends, the matter will be solved within 72 hours. But it is a different matter for wages. The Federation of Engineering Unions put in a wage application on which negotiations have been going on for ten months. It took a day's token stoppage by the engineering unions to bring the employers to their senses, and negotiations have now been reopened. By the time that they are concluded, 14 or 15 months will have elapsed. Thus, dividends disputes can be settled in 72 hours but wages disputes cannot be settled in 14 or 15 months. This is why the trade union movement is justifiably dissatisfied.
Under no circumstances do the Government intend to invoke the penal Clause, because they know that, if they tried to do so with one union, the whole of the trade union movement, without exception, would align itself with that union and there would be a strike similar to that in 1926. Therefore, I plead with the Government to measure up to the points of view put so forcibly by many of us on this side, who cannot, under any circumstances, in our hearts accept the penal Clause.
I advise my hon. Friends, however, that, if they are prepared to divide the House, and if the Opposition follow them, as there seems no doubt they will, and if by some strange circumstances the Government should be defeated, I have no hesitation in saying that the whole trade union movement will condemn them for ever for bringing to their knees a Government dedicated to carrying out a Socialist policy, a Government who will, given the chance, carry out the policy upon which we were elected, a Government who will, of course, carry out an incomes policy which will be acceptable to all of us. I am asking my hon. Friends, if they are genuinely behind the Government, to refrain from voting this evening, because, if they align themselves with the Tory Party, who have never been the friends of the trade union movement, for ever they must hang their heads in shame for having brought this Government, once again, to the floor.
§ 10.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Peyton
The hon. Member for Bothwell (Mr. James Hamilton) made a remarkable speech. He commanded a good deal of support when he asked why the Government needed to import penal sanctions into the Bill. But just when many of us were beginning to feel that he was right, he turned on his hon. Friends and warned them not to carry their opinions, or his, too far. I assure the hon. Gentleman that to do the same thing as one's political opponents does not mean that one is open to permanent condemnation. There are honourable hon. Members on both sides of the House who deeply value freedom and who are far more concerned, as I have no doubt he is, with the future of this country than with any sectional interest.
Coming from an hon. Member who I know to have the virtues of common-sense and fairness, I found it difficult to swallow his sectional approach, along with the cheap threat which he lodged against his hon. Friends; that if they vote with their convictions they will for ever more have to hang their heads in shame in the company of good trade unionists. In adopting that sentiment the hon. Gentleman did himself less than justice.
I regret that, because I was in some personal difficulty—[Interruption.]—I was not able to be present for the beginning of the speech of the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson), who made it clear that the Government were taking a step which no Labour Government should ever take. If one looks back three or four years, to the time when the sun was rising on Socialist prospects—to the dogmatic statements of the Prime Minister, the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. George Brown) and others about how a compulsory wages policy was a complete anathema—one recalls that had the suggestion ever been made that a Labour Government would be introducing penal Clauses in such a brutish Measure, anybody making such a suggestion would not even have got a hearing.
The hon. Member for Penistone made it clear that this is something which a Labour Government must not do. As this is a matter of conscience and deep 380 conviction, one wonders how many hon. Gentlemen opposite will bow to the party whip. And when one considers whether or not the Government are credible— leaving aside the question of the credibility of back bench spokesmen—one must accept that the credibility of the Government Front Bench is very low sunk.
Although I do not share the Minister's convictions, she does not lack courage. She has the most extraordinary ability to battle through, carrying with her an almost impossible case, along with the odium of responsibility for having pushed down the throats of hon. Gentlemen opposite a policy which must be an anathema to them all. But while I pay tribute to her ability, even her eloquence and ability are not sufficient to explain to the opponents of this policy, and even to those who are prepared to go along with her, how this policy will work.
If penal clauses of this kind are put into the Statute Book, it must mean that there is a real possibility of enforcing them, and yet which one of us believes that this Government would be prepared to prosecute trade union leaders? As the hon. Member for Bothwell said, why do the Government need this when they have never used it during the period while this legislation has been in force? The right hon. Lady, not by one of her storms of eloquence but in simple monosyllabic terms, if she can bring herself to such a thing, must try to explain why the Government need these penal Clauses when they have not yet seen fit to use them; and under what circumstances they would possibly do so.
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Penistone referred to the fact that the workers of this country face a prospect of a minimum of a 1 per cent. cut in real wages. I believe that that is a gross underestimate, and that his estimate was a very modest one.
Many hon. Members on this side of the House will agree with me when I say that we do not accept that it is right or practicable for Governments, no matter how well intentioned, to interfere in the detailed complexities of industrial affairs, and when they do so without the means of making that interference effective a heavy price in national terms will have to 381 be paid. They will vitiate the atmosphere of industrial relations by causing promises to be broken, which is a dangerous thing to do in the world in which we live. The Government carry a heavy load of responsibility for interfering in a sphere which they can never hope decisively or beneficially to influence. I hope the right hon. Lady will listen, not to my pleas— she is well defended against them—but to what her hon. Friends behind her have said. Although they may doubt the conviction with which I say it, I have no doubts about their sincerity. I know how strongly they feel on this issue. I respect their convictions and believe they are right, and I hope that at this late hour the Government may change its normal habit of obstinacy and yield to common sense and to justice.
§ Mr. Paget
The hon. Gentleman the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) prefers his vanity to his cause; I do not propose to follow him; I shall be very short indeed. I cannot support the Government in their policy of attempting to control wages and prices. I regard this as a piece of archaic obscurantism; it is something the Government cannot do.
I will refer shortly to an experience in the middle period of this policy, that of the Emperor Julian in the 4th Century. He summoned a meeting of the chief people of Antioch and ordered them to find a remedy for a prevalent distress of inflation. During three months their deliberations had no effect. At the end of that time, Julian took the matter into his own hands and drew up a list of prices. Inflation continued and the hoarding continued. Julian had another meeting with the Antiochians, which ended in the whole body of his senators, over 200 in number, being ordered into custody.
I do not say to my fellow senators that we are in immediate peril, but I am not prepared to support a proposal that trade union officials shall be gaoled or victimised for doing that which their fellow members have elected them to do, and I shall say so in the Lobby tonight.
The Government of this country and the Persians have one feature in common, and that is a process of surviving by 382 threatening their supporters with suicide. I may think a good deal about our Prime Minister, but I do not regard him as a suicidal type. If the Government are beaten tonight, I think that it will do Parliament good, because Parliament has been impotent for far too long. I think that it will do the Government good, and I can assure my hon. Friends that the Prime Minister will not resign.
§ Mr. Orme
I want to deal with a couple of very valid points which have been raised in the course of the debate by my hon. Friend for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Lomas) and my hon. Friend the Member for Bothwell (Mr. James Hamilton), who are not in their places, unfortunately.
My hon. Friend the Member for Both-well is a trade union sponsored hon. Member, and I have a great personal regard for him. He warned those of us on this side who have expressed the intention of dividing the House that the Opposition probably will go into the Division Lobby with us. But why are we in such a situation? That is what we have to ask ourselves. Who introduced punitive legislation against the trade unions which is anathema to the whole trade union movement?
It will not be the trade union movement which will castigate us tomorrow if we take the punitive legislation out of the Bill. That movement will be the first to thank us, and we shall be doing the Government a very great service. We will be removing the abscess from the body, and it has to be cut out.
I have not heard any of my hon. Friends defending the punitive Clauses in the sense of saying how necessary they are and how pleased they are that a Labour Government have introduced them. What my hon. Friends have said is that they do not like them.
This, surely, is the whole crux of the argument about prices and incomes. We have been involved in the argument ever since the Labour Government came into power in 1964. We set off on the basis of a voluntary policy. I remember what my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. George Brown) said in the Letter of Intent about his desire to get a voluntary policy. But then we became aware that the Government more and more were making prices and incomes the 383 central theme of their economic policy. We have gone from one form of legislation to another.
The interesting point about legislation is that when it was first introduced in 1966 we were told that it was to be for a short period. When it was supplemented in 1967, we were told that that was the last time we would see such legislation. In 1968 we see it extended for the longest period since the legislation was introduced. We cannot get any undertaking from the Government that at the end of 18 months they will not introduce further legislation. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said that he wants to see no more of it and that he thinks that this is the end. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will not give that assurance, though he has been pressed consistently.
Some of us on these benches have tried, as my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) said, to get some agreement on this policy which would take it out of the cockpit of party politics or internal politics within the House and within the Labour Party in particular, but we have not been successful. Those of us who are opposed to penal legislation refrained from voting against last year's Bill because we were almost given an assurance that that would be the last time we would see such legislation. Unfortunately, that was not true.
In all honesty, and out of loyalty to what the trade union movement believes in, the Amendment has been put forward. If the House accepts it, it will not be a disaster for the Labour Government. I have never heard such nonsense. The Labour Government will be left with a voluntary prices and incomes policy which they will have to try to make work. My hon. Friend the Member for Hudders-field, West spoke of having some sanctions against the type of trade unions which would take advantage if sanctions were not available. He was hinting at certain militant unions.
§ Mr. Orme
I will give a far better example. The people who are at the moment challenging the incomes policy are in one of the unions that voted for it 384 —the National Union of Railwaymen. If the Minister desired, an order could be made, because of the National Joint Council decision. My hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield, West went further and said that this is to protect the lower-paid worker against the higher-paid worker and those that would exploit the position. The railwaymen are amongst the lower-paid workers.
§ Mr. Orme
A large section of them. I could mention many workers who get much more than railwaymen do. My hon. Friend must explain to the railwaymen that they are not amongst the lower-paid. They are, generally, a lower-paid section. [Interruption.] I would ask my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Mr. Bradley), who is from another railway union, not to interject like that, because I might have to give him a pretty straight answer. I am talking about the National Union of Railwaymen and the question of lower-paid workers and whether it is essential to have penal Clauses to implement agreements.
The provisions in Section 16 have not been implemented. True, we have gone two years without their being implemented, but these clauses have been a constant irritant to the trade union movement ever since they were introduced, and everyone from George Woodcock to the leaders of every major trade union has said so.
The powers have not been used, and it is said that we all desire a voluntary policy to be implemented. There are many views on what a voluntary policy should be, whether we should have one, and whether it is possible to operate it. There are differences of opinion on this side of the House about that. But there is hardly any difference of opinion about the central issue of penal clauses. It is alien to all our traditions and beliefs that a Labour Government should introduce such legislation. It is alien to the British trade union movement. This is one of the issues which take trade unionists' minds away from the aims of which my right hon. Friend talks, growth, productivity and all the other things. But the trade union movement does not feel free to think about those other things 385 now because it is bound by certain pieces of legislation which could, in some circumstances, be implemented against it.
§ Mr. Lomas
Will my hon. Friend explain what would be the consequence if a trade union went beyond what had been agreed with the T.U.C. vetting committee or settled in any other voluntary agreement? If it went beyond that, what action would he suggest should be taken in the interests of the people below those militant individuals?
§ Mr. Orme
Just a moment. I am answering my hon. Friend the Member for Huddersfield, West. He asks what action I would take. What action is taken against the many people who are not in trade unions, the many employees in private industry in small firms, solicitors, barristers and the rest? It is impossible to go round chasing 26 million employed people. My hon. Friend knows as well as I do that, if we are to have a successful incomes policy, we must have a redistribution of income, and all the other factors falling into place.
In a mixed economy and the type of society in which we live, it is impossible to implement statutory powers against trade unions. This legislation is directed against trade unions more than against any other sector. In many instances, it operates against the larger unions which are easily identifiable. It operates more particularly against those whom one can loosely call Government employees and people working in the nationalised industries because the Government provide, through taxation, some of the finance.
If my hon. Friend is thinking of the nice little tidy policy which he talks about, I ask him to cast his mind back to what happened before there were such ideas. How much difference will the present policy make? It is estimated that, at the outside, it could have a 1 per cent. or 1½ per cent. effect on the economy. In my opinion, that is absolute nonsense. As Mr. Frank Cousins said on the earlier Bill, when he was a member of the Standing Committee, what is needed is growth in the economy, an expanding economy and a planned 386 growth of incomes in the sense that incomes really go forward.
A policy of that kind would take away the dissatisfaction which has been expressed by working people throughout the country. That is the way to approach it. It is not possible to put people into a straitjacket in the way my hon. Friend suggests.
§ Mr. Orme
My hon. Friend knows that that is not true. He knows as well as I do that my hon. Friends and I have advocated economic policies far more radical than have been implemented by the Government, policies which hon. Members opposite do not like and will never accept. In present economic circumstances, he knows that what he is asking to be implemented is impossible and will not work. The British trade union movement, of which he is a member, as I am, has overwhelmingly rejected it. The trade unions have not rejected their share in planning, in development, in growth and in a say in industry. I want to see some things far more radical than my hon. Friend would accept take place in the economy, but this is not the place to debate them.
The case we have made tonight is that this policy will never work and that the Government are being side-tracked by allowing this to remain in the Bill. There is no need for the Tories to come into the Lobbies with us. The Government have the opportunity of recognising the validity of our argument and withdrawing the penal Clauses. They know that there is overwhelming demand in the movement for this.
At this eleventh hour this is the way to avert the vote tonight: withdraw the penal clauses, and see how we get on with a voluntary prices and incomes policy.
§ Mr. R. Carr
The Amendment is in line with Amendments to similar Bills which we have moved in previous years from this side of the House, and moved in Committee to this Bill. In voting for it tonight, we shall therefore be following a long and firmly established line of policy.
§ Mr. Norman Atkinson (Tottenham)
The right hon. Gentleman made a policy statement. Is he now saying that the party opposite supports the policy of restraint on prices and dividends only, excluding wages completely, which is the purpose of the Amendment? The party opposite has never tried to introduce legislation restraining prices and dividends only.
§ Mr. Carr
If I deal with all those points I shall be going well beyond the Amendment. But I think that I shall not be called to order if I remind the hon. Gentleman, if he needs reminding, that we have consistently voted against this and previous Prices and Incomes Bills in toto. Our position is well known, and has been consistent. We would have none of the Bill, and none of these powers.
All we can talk about at present is the subject of the Amendment, which is powers, particularly penal powers, over incomes. We are absolutely consistent in our attitude to this. It may be said by the Government that if they accepted the Amendment they would be destroying the whole of their prices and incomes policy in effect. Like hon. Members on both sides, I ask them even at this late stage to reconsider that belief. I do not think that it is correct. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) and my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen) are two examples of hon. Members who doubt their proposition. There is more chance of getting a successful incomes policy by voluntary means than by statutorily controlled means, and the use of penal sanctions or the threat of their use.
We have made absolutely clear our position on incomes policy. We have said we recognise that a Government in modern conditions must have a view on incomes and their movement, and must try to influence that movement. But we have also made absolutely clear, over and over again, that the means of trying to achieve that influence must be voluntary and that we will have nothing to do with statutory control, compulsion and penal sanctions.
We believe that statutory control, and penal sanctions in particular, under- 388 mines the basic authority and influence of the constitutional union leadership, and that, in 99 cases out of 100, is the most responsible leadership there is to call on. If once one begins to undermine that influence, then one undermines the very hope of responsible voluntary action and of a voluntary incomes policy.
I believe that the Government underestimate the very real danger of compulsion becoming an irreversible process, because compulsion feeds on itself. The whole experience now provided by three years and three Bills is that every time one has to have another Bill the compulsion threatened has to be greater and has to cover a wider field, and so the need for compulsion gets greater, it can become an irreversible process, and it can make a responsible voluntary policy less possible rather than more possible.
One thing which one cannot help noticing—anyone at least who sits through these debates at length on this subject—is that all the substantial arguments used by the Government in favour of their particular type of policy are arguments for it on a permanent and not a temporary basis. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale drew attention to this when he said that the Government had made clear a year or two ago that they did not want to have this, and they also continually made clear that they did not want or expect to have it in the future.
It is, for some peculiar reason, only at the particular moment at which they are speaking that it is apparently going to be necessary. But as that particular moment moves from the present into the future they still find a need for maintaining compulsion, and so they will go on doing. Therefore, we believe that this House must make a clear and clean break with compulsion and penal sanctions. The Amendment, of course, goes much wider than this question, but the debate has concentrated on penal sanctions and I want to do the same.
In conclusion, I want to repeat our view, which we have held for a long time, that the criminal law ought not to be brought into the field of industrial relations. We say to the Government, even at this late stage, why have these 389 powers? Why have these penal sanctions?
The right hon. Lady in Standing Committee—and for all I know she will do the same tonight—made a great point of the fact that these sanctions would be applicable only in the most exceptional circumstances. She keeps making the point that the great majority of people will abide by law passed by this House, and will abide by Orders and directions. But there will be exceptional circumstances, and what does one do then?
The right hon. Lady in Standing Committee seemed to go a stage further and to say that even in exceptional cases the chances of these powers being used were very remote. But if they are not going to be used, why have the powers at all? Why bring a penal law into this field of activity if it is never intended to use it? Either in exceptional circumstances the Government intend to use these powers, and will have to do so, or they do not intend to use them, in which case they would be far better off without them.
We do not accept for one moment that the only way to persuade people is by holding a pistol to their heads, and least of all by the discovery at the end of the clay that it is a pistol that has got no shot in it. If there is to be a pistol, 1st it be a real one.
But better by far not to have any pistol at all. Therefore, we urge the Government to think again and to agree to remove these penal powers from the Bill. We do not believe that they will fail in their objective if they do so. On the contrary, we believe that they will increase their chances of success. These powers are wrong. They have not worked and will not work. If they are ever used, they will do enormous damage not only to the prices and incomes policy but to other things far more precious as well.
§ Mrs. Castle
Having listened with great care and attention to what has been a protracted debate, it is essential for me to get clear first what this legislation does and exactly what it is we are being asked to vote about. On the points of order which were raised with the Chair earlier, demanding a discussion on this and other Amendments, a claim was advanced that some entirely new principle 390 was being introduced through this Bill and that it would be intolerable for the House not to debate it on Report—the new principle of penal legislation against trade unionists.
Indeed, it was very moving to hear the right hon. Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr) saying—and he has repeated it —how iniquitous it is to take trade unionists to court. That was rather cool coming from the author of "A Fair Deal". It does not lie in his mouth to talk about principle in this matter. But, of course, this is important. I am not just making a play on words or a debating point.
§ Mr. R. Carr
I am sure that the right hon. Lady wishes to be fair both to me and to my party's proposals. Here we are talking about penal law, the criminal law. There is nothing in our proposals which brings the criminal law anywhere near this field. We refer entirely to civil law.
§ Mrs. Castle
The right hon. Gentleman knows that the distinction between his recommendations and those of the Donovan Report is that the Report thought that these matters were not appropriate to be taken into court— which is the phrase I used and I stand by it.
The Bill introduces no principle which has not been embodied in the two previous Acts. [Interruption.] I listened with great care to the development of some very difficult arguments and I have had to think through my own position. I hope the House will allow me to express it in my own way. It is not a question of importing penal sanctions into this Bill as a new development. I stress this because, listening to some speeches, one might think that that was so, that somehow we were at a great turning point in the history of trade unions and of industrial relations. If that were so, then I can well imagine the anxiety that many would express about the unknown. But my starting point is that what Clause I does is to renew the powers of the 1966 Act. [AN HON. MEMBER: "Once for all."] The hon. Gentleman is not correct. There has never been a once-for-all pledge given. If he would read the speech of my right hon. Friend last year, he will find that he took very great care to tell the House that there could be 391 no categoric pledges that these powers would never be renewed.
This renews powers taken in 1966 and debated then, taken in 1967 and debated then, and now being taken again. In other words, we shall continue to operate on the same basis as we have done, with the power of statutory notification and statutory standstill as reserve powers. This is important, because hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite have to make up their minds. Is the complaint that we have operated the prices and incomes policy, or is it that we have not? People are asking: "Why take these powers, they are totally irrelevant and have never been used?"
§ Mrs. Castle
The argument has been that we are breaking the movement in two, and breaking the hearts of people for something which is irrelevant and unnecessary, because it has never been used.
§ Mrs. Castle
The complaint of hon. Members is not that we have had a policy that was meaningless, but that we have been operating a policy which trade unionists did not like. The whole burden of my argument is that the reasons why trade unionists are unhappy are very different from those advanced, poignantly, by my hon. Friends. They do not like the prices and incomes legislation, for economic and not deep philosophic reasons. The policy has not, up to now, delivered the economic goods that they would like. This is important.
It means that we have operated a policy, yet we have done it without exercising the penal provisions, and without even having to use the basic statutory powers. It is central to the argument that it has never been necessary to use the power to make an Order requiring a statutory notification of a pay or price increase. Never once. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why do the Government need it then?"] One might as well ask why one needs any statutory power in a law-abiding country, just because it is law abiding. The complaint of my hon. 392 Friends has not been against the power of statutory notification. This is not a great principle. They want to continue this. There is no question of individual liberty here. They want to continue the power of statutory standstill on prices. There is no great issue of human liberty there. Therefore, I repeat that the objection has not been basically to the statutory power of notification or standstill.
§ Mr. Biffen
I should like to raise an important point of substance which turns on the point the right hon. Lady is making. Are we to assume that when the Government say that they are working towards a voluntary incomes policy they foresee a situation in which they will still keep in being Sections 13 to 22 of the Prices and Incomes Act, 1966?
§ 11.15 p.m.
§ Mrs. Castle
It will be better if I do not give way because I am trying to evolve an argument. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I will come to that part of my speech when I am ready. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will understand that I am trying to follow through a thread of thought. We have had a debate on a high level, and I have tried to follow through and answer the arguments as logically as I could.
It is of great significance that it has never been necessary to make an Order requiring statutory notification. The matter has been dealt with voluntarily. Yet massive numbers of notifications are taking place. In only three cases out of more than 80 have we had to order employers not to pay an increase while the Board was investigating the matter. In the rest of the cases the standstill has been voluntary. Why has that been so? If there were the sense of outrage that some people have tried to express, I am convinced that it would not have been possible to get this amount of voluntary collaboration. If people had felt that we were doing violence to some vital and key principle, we should not have had this amount of voluntary collaboration.
The reason for that is this. First, the trade union movement and the employers' movements agreed on the initial purposes of the policy. They agreed on what the policy was all about. These are powers to enforce something which was collectively and jointly agreed in 393 its aims and purposes. In drawing up the Declaration of Intent, they agreed to interfere with the principle of free collective bargaining. This is the historic fact which we must all take on board and from which my hon. Friends, despite the sincerity of their distress about the development of the policy, are running away. I have had to listen to hon. Members opposite and some of my hon. Friends talking about the sacredness of free collective bargaining. But the simple fact is that this policy would not have been launched and we would not have had a single Prices and Incomes Bill if it had not been for the Declaration of Intent, when the two great organised sides of industry said, "Free collective bargaining is not enough in our modern economic conditions".
That is the starting point. Some of my hon. Friends may not have liked some of the developments on the way, but I repeat that we could never have launched a single piece of this legislation if there had not been an agreed and voluntarily accepted starting point.
§ Mr. R. Carr
The right hon. Lady says that this flows from the Declaration of Intent. Therefore, can she say why, on 6th October, 1966, 18 months or thereabouts after the Declaration of Intent, the Prime Minister promised the country that there would be no further legislative powers after August, 1967?
§ Mrs. Castle
Yes. The policy has evolved. I am not running away from that. [Interruption.] Certainly. We are dealing with another piece of evolution of it in this Bill. We are dealing with the extension of the powers over prices and dividends. [An HON. MEMBER: "And rents."] Yes, and rents. Certainly the policy has evolved. It has evolved in some directions which my hon. Friends like and in others which they do not like. I repeat: there would have been no legislation at all if it had not been for the agreed starting point.
The reason we have had this massive amount of voluntary acceptance is that the trade unionists recognise that there is all the difference in the world between reserve powers to back up a policy they have voluntarily accepted and penal legislation to undermine and weaken trade unionism.
During the debate, some hon. Members have tried to suggest that the Government 394 are outlawing the strike weapon. Heavens! That is not my experience in the last few weeks. Anybody who could suggest that we are in a situation in which the trade unionist has been robbed of the strike weapon could not have been keeping abreast of things that have been happening in my sphere. It is not a question of outlawing the strike weapon. It could never be. It is that powers could be used only in very precise and limited circumstances, not where a union is using the strike weapon to press a wage claim in the normal processes of rough and tumble with an employer, but where it is using it with deliberate intent to pressurise an employer into committing an offence. That is a different situation. It is a situation which I believe will never happen and it is a reason why the penal powers have never been used.
If this Amendment were carried, what would be the consequences? As has been pointed out, the powers over incomes would drop and the powers over prices would be retained. That will not stop hon. Gentlemen opposite from voting, despite the illogicality of the position in which they find themselves. They are prepared to surrender their logic in pursuit of the embarrassment of the Government.
My hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) said that this would be a very happy situation, because we would be back to a voluntary policy. He spent a lot of his speech in stressing what he called our dilemma in this situation. I suggest, in all sincerity, that he and his hon. Friends are running away from facing their dilemma because they say, and the hon. Member for Derbyshire, South-East (Mr. Park) repeated, "We favour a voluntary policy". My hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale said, "There is no question of going back to the Statement of Intent." He says that we may have to face the consequences of our policy, or to retreat. I say to him that so may he, because one consequence of the voluntary policy is that it is an interference with free collective bargaining and that is why large sections of the trade union movement are opposed to it.
There was a man at the A.E.F. Conference only the other day who supported a motion throwing out of the window the T.U.C. policy and said, "I 395 will have nothing to do with it because it is interference with free collective bargaining." What will the hon. Member do with his voluntary policy when it is defied? Will he retreat? Although no evolution of a prices and incomes policy is easy, I think he is making a big mistake if he imagines that some easy alternative flows in his direction through the operation of a voluntary policy.
Frankly, I believe that the consequences of the passing of this Amendment tonight would be that a prices and incomes policy, voluntary or compulsory, would be left in ruins and the country would be back with no economic alternative. Let me tell my hon. Friends why I am supporting this Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Bothwell (Mr. James Hamilton) asked if I was not an unwilling victim of the circumstances. I would make it clear to him and to other hon. Members on both sides of the House that this is not merely a Bill which I invented; it is a Bill which I endorse, and I do so for the very simple reason that I do not believe that the trade union movement of our country thinks that there is a great issue of principle here. I say that because I believe that that movement is not so concerned about the statutory powers taken for this or that as about the level of its members' pay and, what is perhaps more important, about the level of their real earnings. So far as the suggestion that this policy is taking their minds off growth and productivity is concerned, then, on the contrary, I support this policy because it concentrates their minds on these things. —[Laughter.]—Right hon. and hon. Members opposite may have their mirth, but I can tell them that anyone who has been dealing with this pay and productivity question knows that the trade unions, and managements, are becoming productivity minded in a way which has never before been known in this country.
That is a fact which is incontrovertible. There is no doubt that our discussions have been difficult. As the processing of this policy has gone on, we have found that the prices and incomes policy has compelled us to talk in terms of productivity in a way which has not happened before. I support this Bill because we cannot have the real improve- 396 ment in the pay and conditions of our trade union members unless we do relate prices, incomes and productivity.
I have been challenged, but I say unequivocally to hon. Members that it is not true to suggest that this Bill represents some secret or overt commitment to the I.M.F.—[AN HON. MEMBER: "Isn't it?"]—no, it is not. The Letter of Intent was written well before the Government decided on the introduction of this Bill. We decided that it was necessary, in the light of our own assessment of our economic needs, to introduce this Bill. We decided that in the light of our own assessment of what was necessary in the way of prices and incomes guidance in order to strengthen the competitive advantage which devaluation had given us.
Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I believe that there is a far better, and a far stronger, case for the Bill than for the two previous Acts which were introduced by this Government on prices and incomes —[Interruption]
§ 11.30 p.m.
§ Mrs. Castle
Because it is set in the context of an economic policy of expansion—indeed, it is the best way of enabling that expansion to take place without our running into balance of payments difficulties again—I support the Bill. I urge the House to reject the Amendment, because I believe that it is integrally linked with whether one believes in the need for a prices and incomes policy at all, voluntary or compulsory, and because it is integrally linked with whether we are seeking an economic alternative to the kind of free-for-all which brought this country into its present desperate straits.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
It will be within the recollection of the House that the right hon. Lady promised to answer a question put to her by my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry (Mr. Biffen) relating to Clauses 13 to 22. Is the right hon. Lady not going to fulfil her promise?
§ Hon. Members: Sit down.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
It is obvious that the right hon. Lady does not intend 397 to reply. In that case I claim my right to have the Floor. The right hon. Lady, in the course of her speech, promised that she would answer a question put to her by my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry. That question was relevant to the point that the right hon. Lady was making in her speech. The First Secretary has now sat down without making any reference to the question. That is cheating the House.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
To maintain her own credibility in the very difficult task that she has to pursue, will the right
|Division No. 241.]||AYES||[11.32 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Higgins, Terence L.|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Hiley, Joseph|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Hill, J. E. B.|
|Astor, John||Dickens, James||Hirst, Geoffrey|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Holland, Philip|
|Awdry, Daniel||Doughty, Charles||Hordern, Peter|
|Raker, Kenneth (Acton)||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Hornby, Richard|
|Baker, W H. K. (Banff)||Drayson, C. B.||Howell, David (Guildford)|
|Balniel, Lord||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Eden, Sir John||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Batsford, Brian||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Hunt, John|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Elliott,R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Bell, Ronald||Emery, Peter||lrvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Errlngton, Sir Eric||Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)||Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)||Jeger, Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras S )|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Ewing, Mrs. Winifred||Jenkin, Patrick(Woodford)|
|Biffen, John||Eyre, Reginald||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Farr, John||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Fisher, Nigel||Arthur (Northants S.)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Jones,Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Blaker, Peter||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Jopling, Michael|
|Boardman,Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Body, Richard||Forstescue, Tim||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Booth, Albert||Foster, Sir John||Kelley, Richard|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Kerby, Capt. Henry|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Galbralth, Hn. T. G.||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)|
|Braine, Bernard||Gibson-Watt, David||Kerr, Ruseel (Fltham)|
|Brewis, John||Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Kimball, Marcus|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||King Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Glover, Sir Douglas||Kirk, Peter|
|Bryan, Paul||Glyn, Sir Richard||Kitson, Timothy|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Goodhart, Philip||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Burden, F. A.||Goodhew, Victor||Lane, David|
|Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)||Gower, Raymond||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Grant, Anthony||Lee, John (Reading)|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Grant-Ferris, R.||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Gresham Cooke, R.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Grieve, Percy||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)|
|Clark, Henry||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Clegg, Walter||Gurden, Harold||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Cooke, Robert||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Longden, Gilbert|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Loveys, W. H.|
|Cordle, John||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||MacArthur, Ian|
|Corfield, F. V.||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Costain, A.P.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||McMaster, Stanley|
|Crosthw.iiie-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)|
|Crouch, David||Hastings, Stephen||Maddan, Martin|
|Crowder, F. P.||Hay, John||Maginnis, John E.|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Marten, Nell|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Maude, Angus|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Heffer, Eric S.||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Dance, James||Heseltine, Michael||Mawby, Ray|
§ hon. Lady keep the promise she made, within the recollection of the House, about 10 minutes ago and answer the question put to her by my hon. Friend the Member for Oswestry? The question is relevant and important, and it should be answered in the context of the right hon. Lady's speech.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made: —
§ The House divided: Ayes 263, Noes 281.
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Pink, R. Bonner||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Mendelson, J. J.||Pounder, Rafton||Tapscll, Peter|
|Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Mills, Stratum (Belfast, N.)||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Prior, J. M. L.||Teeling, Sir William|
|Mitchell, David (Baslngstoke)||Pym, Francis||Temple, John M.|
|Monro, Hector||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Tilney, John|
|More, Jasper||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Rees-Davies, W. R.||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Murton, Oscar||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Ridsdale, Julian||Wall, Patrick|
|Neave, Airey||Robson Brown, Sir William||Walters, Dennis|
|Newens, Stan||Rodgere, Sir John (Sevcnoaks)||Ward, Dame Ircne|
|NichollS, Sir Harmar||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Royle, Anthony||Webster, David|
|Norwood, Christopher||Russell, Sir Ronald||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Nott, John||Ryan, John||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Onslow, Cranlcy||St. John-Stevas, Norman||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian||Scott, Nicholas||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Osborn, John (Hallam)||Scott-Hopkins, James||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Sharpies, Richard||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Paget, R. T.||Silvester, Frederick||worsley, Marcus|
|Park, Trevor||Smith, Ductley (W'wick & L'mlngton)||wylie, N. R.|
|Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||Smith, John (London & W'minster)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Peel, John||Speed, Keith|
|Perclval, Ian||Stainton, Keith||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Peyton, John||Stodart, Anthony||Mr. Ian Mikardo and|
|Mr. Stanley Orme.|
|Albu, Austen||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Gourlay, Harry|
|Alldritt, Walter||Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Anderson, Donald||Dalyeil, Tam||Grey, Charles (Durham)|
|Archer, Peter||Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)|
|Ashley, Jack||Davidson, Arthur (Accrlngton)||Griffiths, Eddie|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Davidson,James(Aberdeenshire,W.)||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.|
|Barnes, Michael||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)|
|Baxter, William||Davies, Dr Ernest (Stretford)||Hamling, Wiiliam|
|Bence, Cyril||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Hannan, William|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Delargy, Hugh||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith|
|Binns, John||Dell, Edmund||Hattersley, Roy|
|Bishop, E. S.||Dempsey, James||Hazell, Bert|
|Blackburn, F.||Dewar, Donald||Hazell, Bert|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Dobson, Ray||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Doig, Peter||Henig, Stanley|
|Boston, Terence||Dunn, James A.||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Dunnett, Jack||Hilton, w. s.|
|Boydcn, James||Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Dunwoody, Dr. Jonh (F'th & C'b'e)||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)|
|Bradley, Tom||Eadie, Alex||Howarth Robert (Bolton, E.)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Edelman, Maurice||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)|
|Brooks, Edwin||Edwards, Robert (Bitston)||Howie, W.|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Betper)||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Hoy, James|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Ellis, John||Huckfield, Leslie|
|Brown,Bob(N'Ctie-upon-Tyne,W.)||English, Michael||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Ennals, David||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Buchan, Norman||Ensor, David||Hunter, Adam|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Hyna, John|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Irvine. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Faulds, Andrew||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Fernyhough, E.||Janner, Sir Barnett|
|Cant, R. B.||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Carmichael, Neil||Fletcher, Raymond (Iikeston)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Foley, Maurice||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Huff W.)|
|Chapman, Donald||Ford, Ben||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Coe, Denis||Forrester, John||Jones,Rt.Hn.SirElwyn(W.Ham,S.)|
|Coleman, Donald||Fowler, Gerry||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)|
|Conian, Bernard||Freeson, Reginald||Judd, Frank|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Gardner, Tony||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Craddock, Ceorge (Bradford, S.)||Garrett, W. E.||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Ginsburg, David||Lawson, George|
|Cronin, John||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Ledger, Ron||Morris, John (Aberavon)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Moyle, Roland||Silkin, Hn. S. c. (Dulwich)|
|Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Lestor, Miss Joan||Murray, Albert||Slater, Joseph|
|Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Neal, Harold||Small, William|
|Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Snow, Julian|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip (Derby, S.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Oakes, Gordon||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)|
|Loughlin, Charles||Ogden, Eric||Storehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Luard, Evan||O'Malley, Brian||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Lubbock, Eric||Oram, Albert E.||Swingler, Stephen|
|Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Oswald, Thomas||Symonds, J. B.|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Taverne, Dick|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George|
|MacBride, Neil||Palmer, Arthur||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George|
|McCann, John||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Thornton, Ernest|
|MacColl, James||Pardoe, John||Tinn, James|
|MacDermot, Niall||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Macdonald, A. H.||Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)||Varley, Eric G.|
|McGuire, Michael||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross&Crom'ty)||Pavitt, Laurence||Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)|
|Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Mackie, John||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Wallace, George|
|Mackintosh, John P.||Pentland, Norman||Watkins, David (Correett)|
|Maclennan, Robert||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.||Weitzman, David|
|McNamara, J. Kevin||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)||Wellbeloved, James|
|MacPherson, Malcolm||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Price, William (Rugby)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Randall, Harry||Whitlock, William|
|MalIalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Rees, Merlyn||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Manuel, Archie||Reynolds, Rt. Hn. G. W.||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Marks, Kenneth||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Marquand, David||Richard, Ivor||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|MaxwelI, Robert||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St.P'c'as)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Millan, Bruce||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)||Winstanley, Dr. M. P.|
|Miller, Dr. M. S.||Rodgers, William (Stockton)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Milne, Edward (Biyth)||Roebuck, Roy||Woof, Robert|
|Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Molloy, William||Rose, Paul||Yates, Victor|
|Moonman, Eric||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Shaw, Arnold (llford, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Mr. Joseph Harper and|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Mr. Ernest Armstrong.|
§ Further consideration of the Bill, as amended, adjourned.—[Mr. O'Malley.]402
§ Bill, as amended, to be further considered Tomorrow.