§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
I beg to move Amendment No. 4, in page 3, line 38, leave out 'An oral statement' and insert:False or misleading oral statements if made—I understand that it is for the convenience of the House if we take with it Amendment No. 5, in page 3, line 38, after 'statement', insert 'if corroborated'.
- (a) persistently, and
- (b) knowingly or recklessly.
That was what Mr. Speaker told me before you took the chair, Mr. Deputy Speaker, on the understanding that we might vote separately on the Amendments. Mr. Speaker suggested that since they deal with the same problem, though in different ways, it would perhaps be a good idea to take them together.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Eric Fletcher)
If the hon. and learned Gentleman wishes. At the same time we can discuss Amendment No. 6, in page 3, line 39, at end insert:'no prosecution shall be brought unless the evidence has been corroborated by the prosecuting authority'.
§ Mr. Fletcher-Cooke
The Amendment deals with the question rather publicly aired by the President of the National Chamber of Trade since our Committee meetings of the extent to which, if at all, oral statements should be capable of founding a prosecution under the Act. I make no apology for reading out what the Molony Committee said on this point. For the sake of brevity I shall omit paragraph 658 of its Report, but we cannot repeat too often what the Committee said in paragraph 659, namely:If oral misdescription became a criminal offence, we would expect a marked increase 473 in prosecutions and the outcome would depend, in a high proportion, on whether the customer or the shopkeeper was believed. We are doubtful whether, in the long run, the consumer would, benefit from such invidious conflicts. On the other side of the balance, there must be recognised the danger that the shopkeeper might be taken to court out of spite; or threatened with prosecution if he failed to submit to some extortionate demand in relation to the goods.The hon. Lady rather pooh-poohed this fear in Committee. I had to repeat it then, and I repeat it now as it was set out by the very high-powered Molony Committee, which inquired into the matter most carefully. The paragraph continues:We also heed the consideration that to alter the present law might tend to impose restraint on what was said about the goods by the more responsible retailers. The result might be to deprive the customer of such information and advice as a helpful shopkeeper is able to give. In practice, the misdescription would usually emanate from a shop assistant or outside salesman, and with the rapid turnover in these occupations the owner of the business might be wholly unable to provide any answer to a charge. On balance, our conclusion is that extension of the law in this respect would not be justified. But better understanding of the law may lead consumers to ask for written confirmation of material points in the information given about the goods.Paragraph 660 says:It will readily be appreciated that we have not found our decision as to whether the law should be altered to strike at oral misdescription an easy one to make. As indicated in paragraph 658 above there is a real problem here which is not likely to abate. A substantial safeguard exists, in practice, in the capacity of inspectors to obtatin written confirmation of the oral misdescription on a test purchase made after the shopper's complaint. The scope for oral misdescription will be limited, we trust, by adoption of our recommendations for informative labelling. If these protective factors do not fulfil our expectations in the future, our decision might require to be reviewed.One of our first questions in Committee and now is why the Government have not given the time for which the Molony Committee asked to see whether, with the various other suggestions and the provisions of the Bill, it is necessary to legislate in the case of oral misdescription in the absolute way that the Government have plunged into. We have always recognised that there are bad cases of oral misdescription, not so much in shops as by the doorstep salesmen, of whom a minority—no doubt a small minority—persistently and knowingly or recklessly 474 have from time to time given false descriptions of the goods they are peddling to housewives. That is why we have not sought the extreme view of banishing oral misdescription from the Bill altogether but have sought a compromise by which only that wicked minority should be caught.
Instead of any oral statement being capable of being a misdescription, we say by Amendment 4 that it must be a false or misleading oral statement being made persistently, knowingly or recklessly. In other words, the Amendment imports into the Bill the concept of a guilty mind, about which we had a great discussion in Committee. It is the concept which the Government themselves introduced in later Clauses concerning misdescriptions in the case of provision of services. In the Clauses dealing with services, the offender must be guilty either of knowing what he is saying is wrong or doing it recklessly, not caring whether it be right or wrong. We say that that is a very appropriate test in the case of oral statement.
We have seen in another branch of the law since the Committee stage, in the case of the poor, unfortunate Miss Sweet, what can happen if we make too many absolute criminal offences. If we make too many offences absolute we shall cause the most grievous injustice and are liable to bring to a silent, if not grinding, halt the service provided by the retail trade, particularly the small retailer in giving advice and answering questions. There is a very great turnover in shop assistants. Seventy-five per cent. of them are school leavers and it is almost impossible to expect the employer, who will be absolutely liable for what these girls may say, to exercise the sort of care and control over them which the Bill now requires. The only consequence will be that the customer will not get the information he gets now.
A wise retailer will in future instruct his staff not to help. By doing so, they may give a false description, unknowingly and unwittingly; certainly not recklessly; but perhaps negligently or even innocently, and the shopkeeper will be in grave danger of being prosecuted. Even if he eventually escapes under one of the defences provided by a subsequent Clause, 475 he will still run the risk of a prosecution, and prosecution, even if innocence is found eventually under one of the special defences, is a very serious thing for him to face.
Therefore, we say that it is wrong to make an absolute liability, as the Bill does, for oral misdescriptions and oral statements by employees and others. It is a breach of faith to the small keeper. Hon. Members will remember that the small shopkeeper was very suspicious of the Resale Prices Act, and he was assured that he retained a place in the community and provided a service to the community which could not be provided by the supermarket. He and his assistants were free, in a way that supermarkets were not free, to give advice and to recommend one article rather than another.
If oral misdescriptions, innocent though they may be, are to be held to expose him to prosecution under the Act, he will, if he is wise, shut up like a clam, which will mean that he will not have the edge over the supermarkets which he has had hitherto and which he is entitled to expect.
Whatever the hon. Lady and others may have said in Committee, it is not difficult to import the test of "knowingly or recklessly". It is not difficult to import the test of persistence either. There are in our law many examples of that. It is very important, if a prosecution is to be launched purely for an oral misdescription, that it should be necessary to prove that it was made either knowingly or recklessly and persistently. Otherwise, we shall find ourselves in the danger that the shopkeeper might be taken to court out of spite, or threatened with prosecution, if he failed to submit to an extortionate demand in relation to the goods. The Molony Committee thought that this was a danger which was very likely to arise.
Hon. Members must realise that prosecutions, quite rightly, can be launched by private persons. But one of the consequences of that is that there is in the Bill no barrier against any private person instituting a private prosecution out of spite in the way that the Molony Committee fear.
Amendment No. 5 tackles the problem in a slightly different way. It leaves the 476 absolute offence. That is to say, it is not necessary to prove mens rea, or guilty mind, but provides that no conviction shall be secured unless the statement is corroborated by someone other than the complainant. The Amendment would go some way to meet the fears of the Molony Committee that a high proportion of the cases would depend on whether the customer or the shopkeeper was believed. It is always dangerous to trust an account of a conversation between two parties when there is no corroborative third party present. Therefore, if Amendment No. 4 is not accepted, at least Amendment No. 5 should be. There are many offences in law where corroboration is required. I could elaborate on this, but I do not wish to do so, as we are anxious to get on.
We will not accept the approach of the Government, that for these economic crimes it is necessary to have a standard of absolute reliability, irrespective of a guilty mind, irrespective of whether the person charged is a rogue or not, because otherwise the law cannot be enforced. We utterly reject this approach.
Indeed, the opposite is the case. It is true that a lay bench is not likely to convict, and is likely to regard the law as wrong. A lay bench, like a jury, believes that the criminal law is there to deal with rogues, and not with innocent persons. Therefore, if you put upon the lay bench the task of deciding whether innocent people are guilty, even although they did all that they could reasonably be expected to do to stop the offence being committed, the Bill will become just such a dead letter as did the Merchandise Marks Act. In that case the standard of proof in the event, after the judicial glosses were put upon it, was even more stringent, in the sense that an innocent person might be found guilty. It became a dead letter for that reason, and lay benches thought very little of the Act.
We do not want that to happen here. We want to make sure that the rogues are caught, but we do not want the retail trade to be embarrassed, hustled and frightened. The President of the National Chamber of Trade, who is the spokesman for the retail trade, has recently stigmatised this portion of the Billl as being an appalling prospect for the retail trade.
477 I hope, therefore, that the hon. Lady, having failed to give us anything on the previous Amendment, may feel that she can give us the substance either of Amendment No. 4 or of Amendment No. 5, and I leave to her which of those two approaches she prefers.
§ Mr. Goodhart
We are very lucky in that the acoustics in this debating chamber are splendid and, even if we lower our voices, there are microphones to pick up and amplify what we say. Our words are recorded, and we then have an opportunity to correct them. Such conditions do not apply in the shops and on the doorsteps to which the Clause refers.
Together with a number of my colleagues, I have had the experience in the last few days of trying to do some doorstep selling. I have been going round to the houses in my constituency holding out election addresses to the householders, when they answer, and suggesting that they might like to give their support—or make a purchase, as it were—to the eminently desirable Conservative candidates standing for election in the area. By and large, I have had a very friendly reception.
However, on one occasion I went to the door and went through my little set speech and the woman of the house looked at me and said, "The picture keeps shaking". It was plain to me that, despite the fact that I was covered with party labels, she thought that I was from the television rental company and had come about the line hold in her set. I tried to put the matter right. However, as I was going through my little speech again, a lorry went roaring past and drowned the conversation. She took out her purse and offered me a £1 note, which put me in a very difficult position, because I was not sure whether she thought that she was offering it to me as representing the Conservative Party or as representing Radio Rentals. I gently restrained her enthusiasm and said that people would call for the money later.
That merely goes to show the total confusion which can arise in what was, after all, a perfectly normal conversation on a doorstep.
I had another example of people being totally at cross-purposes at lunch-time today. I had the very good fortune of being invited to a rather formal occa- 478 sion. I am happy to say that a wine waiter appeared and said to me: "Will you have the hock or burgundy?". I said, "I will have the burgundy", to which the waiter said, "A very wise choice, sir", and proceeded to pour out the hock. On this occasion, no noise of any sort intruded, but the two parties to the conversation were totally at cross-purposes.
It may well be that the wine waiter could say, "I have an impediment in hearing". I have a slight impediment in my hearing as a result of diving too deeply and breaking an eardrum. I find it very difficult to hear what is said on the telephone if I hold the telephone in my left hand and against my left ear. Difficulty in hearing is not unusual. Thirty per cent. of the population are said to suffer from some impediment in hearing. One wonders whether deafness will be an offence under this Clause. Certainly one would imagine that in any prosecution the defence would wish to test the hearing of all concerned. Very few successful prosecutions will be brought under the Clause because of the difficulty, for one reason or another, of establishing the true facts.
Do people outside understand the real position, which was satisfactorily outlined by the Parliamentary Secretary in Committee? She said:I hope that we do not get too bogged down in the arguments…that prosecutions in respect of oral misdescription will be brought solely on the strength of what a customer claims that a shop assistant said. It is unjust that the trade should be open to conviction as a result of such evidence. That argument shows little faith in our courts.The hon. Lady went on to say:I have no doubt whatever that if the courts are faced with the uncorroborated evidence of an aggrieved customer about what a shop assistant said, they will treat it with appropriate circumspection".—[OFFCIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A, 14th March, 1968; c. 84–5.]The hon. Lady gave a fair and accurate description of the efficiency and fairness of our courts. But the fact that we have good courts is no excuse for passing bad laws. Acceptance of these Amendments can do no harm, because, as the hon. Lady will acknowledge, they merely ensure court procedure at its best.
However, rejection of all the Amendments would do positive harm. It is my 479 view that the real danger to shoppers is not deliberate misdescription of goods but imprecision in the description of goods by shop assistants. If we allow this part of the Bill to go through without Amendment, the danger is that a shop assistant will give an inaccurate description of the goods rather than say, "I do not know".
Like all hon. Members, I want to see the real rogues caught. Therefore, I am not opposed to oral misdescription playing some part in the Bill. But I fear that if all the Amendments are rejected the decision to make oral misdescription an offence will, on balance, do more harm than good to the consumer.
§ Mr. Crouch
I say again that our object is to make better a good Bill, which we welcome. I merely wish to support the argument of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) that the danger of the Bill concerning oral misdescription is that it will tend to take away from our lives the helpful salesman and saleswoman. Let us produce a good Bill to help the consumer and, by so doing, help the helpful retailer to go on being helpful.
This Bill, if it has this Clause regarding the oral description, without this valuable Amendment containing the categorisation of such an oral misdescription as being made persistently and knowingly or recklessly, will not take account of the way shopping is done. This Amendment constitutes a recognition of the contribution of the retailer, whose salesmen want to help the shopper. If the hon. Lady feels that she cannot accept the Amendment and must leave this bald statement in the Bill as it now stands, I am afraid that we shall see a deterioration in the relations between the customer and the retailer, which is just what we do not want to happen.
The whole object of the Bill is to improve and perfect those relations, to take us on to a new plane and level of fair trading. Maybe we shall still get fair trading, but the Bill will take out some of the oil that is put in to help the customer, the housewife or any other person shopping to find what they want and be satisfied with their purchase.
I support absolutely what my hon. and learned Friend has said are his misgivings 480 about the Bill as it stands. It will also put some sand into the workings of the relationship between the proprietor of a shop and his employees. His employees will be afraid of his breathing down their, necks with this Bill in his hands, throwing the book at them too, and saying, "Do not tell the customers anything in the future; for goodness sake do not get me into the courts." This will mean a very unsaisfactory way of shopping.
My hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) said that he had the misfortune to have to drink the wrong wine at lunch. He should have pointed to the label on the bottle and said, "No, I mean that one", because, as hon. and right hon. Members know, I am a very strong supporter of informative labelling at the point of sale and correct information in all forms of advertising where it is applicable and where it is possible, but particularly at the point of sale. Good and helpful salesmen or saleswomen can point to the label even if they cannot find the words to give the reasons why the customer should be persuaded to buy a certain article. I mention this because it is a way out of the hon. Lady's difficulty in exercising, as an hon. Lady, a Member and a women herself, the woman's privilege of changing her mind on this subject.
§ Mr. Dudley Smith
I strongly support what my hon. Friend has said. I am sure that all reasonable people are very anxious to clamp down on the unscrupulous doorstep salesman and run him out of business, but what worries me about this is that as the Bill is drafted large numbers of innocent people could quite inadvertently get on the wrong side of the law and be prosecuted. They might get away because the evidence was not corroborated, but there is a certain stigma even in being taken before a court and being exposed to this kind of thing. As my hon. Friend has just said, there is the difficulty that the shopkeeper, manager or owner may take the line of least resistance and tell his staff not to take any chances but just to give the stuff to the customer over the counter and refuse to answer any queries. How can the manager or owner of a big shop or store keep proper supervision over all his staff, many of whom are young, a staff which, as has been said, 481 is constantly changing? Surely this part of the Bill must be qualified.
I was amazed to read this particular statement in the Bill. There would seem to be a certain amount of slipshod drafting. Surely, if this provision is to be in the Bill it must include the words proposed by my hon. and learned Friend—persistently, and…knowlingly or recklessly".This would be a clear indication of an intent on the part of the individual to mislead.
I am thinking also of young girls who serve in chemist shops. The chemist is not always available and customers often ask for elementary advice about medicines which are sold. These young girls, quite sincerely and honestly, give their own impression of what the stuff is. Many such people would expose themselves to prosecution under the Bill as drafted at present, and this would lead to a deterioration in the relationship between members of the public and shopkeepers. People definitely look for guidance and are prepared to accept reasonable guidance. I do not believe that the public is as gullible as some people think. It understands that it is being misled. We know the dangers of the doorstep operator and the fact that he can get away with quite serious offences, but the vast majority of people who serve behind counters in shops try to do their job honourably, and this is accepted by individuals
There is a great danger that, if we let this go through unamended, there will be malicious prosecutions. There are large numbers of busybodies around who are only too pleased to take legal action Whenever they can find the opportunity. I am extremely worried, particularly with this Government, that more and more regulations and restrictions are being brought forward and that, as a result, people who are otherwise completely innocent are finding it extremely difficult to keep within the letter of the law.
§ Mr. Burden
I should like to draw the attention of the House once again to the fact that this is a Bill that has criminal sanctions, and very serious ones. It cannot be spelled out too often that a person found guilty of an offence under this Bill might be liable on summary conviction to 482 a fine not exceeding £400 and, on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding two years, or both. This is a very serious matter.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) made the point in his speech that if lay magistrates were to have brought before them a Bill that had criminal sanctions, particularly sanctions of this type, they would be extremely reluctant to convict because of the weight of the sanctions. If this is so, it is all the more reason for the hon. Lady to give very serious consideration to these Amendments, because surely the last thing in the world that the hon. Lady would like to see is a situation in which, owing to the harshness of the sanctions, the lay courts would be reluctant to convict, if indeed they found there was a good case.
If this argument has any validity at all it must be strengthened by the fact that the courts are going to be asked also to convict on uncorroborated evidence. That is a very serious matter and, again, something that should give the hon. Lady cause for very serious thought. In view of the harsh character of the sanctions that could be imposed by the courts, I should be extremely careful about convicting if I were a lay magistrate, and I should want the charge to be backed up by other evidence to make sure that the statements were persistent, reckless and had been knowingly made. I hope that the hon. Lady will consider that.
The Bill could well prove to be an incentive to unscrupulous shoppers who want to gain their own ends. Just as there are unscrupulous shopkeepers, so, alas, there are unscrupulous shoppers who will often do all that they can to avoid keeping an article after they have bought it.
Let us suppose that Mrs. Jones is going to an important function. She buys an expensive dress, she wears it and her husband says, "You looked lovely this evening, but how much did the dress cost?". On being told he says, "I am not paying for that. You can take it back to the shop." Mrs. Jones then takes the dress back to the shop and says that she bought it because of the information which she was given, but she has brought it back because she has discovered that 483 what she was told is not true. She might well decide to take the case to court if the shop refuses to accept the dress. Many reputable stores take back items even if they have been sold to unscrupulous people because they know that if they are involved in a court case that might damage their reputation.
§ Mr. Gardner
Is it not true that Mrs. Jones' legal advisers would advise her that the shopkeeper has a good defence under Clause 23 and that she should not pursue the matter any further?
§ Mr. Burden
That sounds wonderful, but we cannot rely on her receiving that advice, and even if she did the shop's reputation could still be damaged. An implied threat is often sufficient to get a store or shop to settle a case.
The hon. Lady referred to firms not being convicted. Surely we want to avoid innocent shopkeepers being brought before the courts, with all the odium that would result? In Committee the hon. Lady said:I would hesitate to comment on all cases in which a particular phrase could or could not be considered as a mis-statement. There would be an onus on the shopkeeper to make sure that his assistants were instructed in the correct facts about the goods they were selling. This is an important point. In reply to the hon. Member for Gillingham (Mr. Burden) I would say that one should not underestimate the question of whether or not people would hesitate to prosecute. I do not think that there will be cases where shopkeepers are subjected to malicious prosecutions because, after all, this is a major undertaking and involves some expense."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee A; 14th March, 1968, col. 86.]That is one side of the coin. What will happen if people undertake malicious prosecutions and they are successful? The poor unfortunate shopkeeper will have severe penal sanctions imposed on him. Just as we want to provide protection for the honest member of the public, so we must ensure that we protect the shopkeeper from the dishonest member of the public who might want to use the Bill to achieve some personal gain or to bring a malicious prosecution against a shopkeeper.
§ Mr. Darling
Hon. Members on both sides of the House are agreed that the Bill must cover oral misdescriptions. It is right that concern should be expressed for the trader who accidentally or 484 innocently offends against the terms of the Bill, but I wish that hon. Members would express as much concern for the customer who might be misled, who might suffer financial damage as a result of being misled, and who, because the trader concerned does not give him the redress to which he is entitled, takes the case to the weights and measures inspector. No doubt the inspector will have a new title when the Bill reaches the Statute Book. Whatever his title, he will decide whether to approach the trader to see whether the grievance alleged by Mrs. Jones can be put right, or to prosecute.
I am concerned about the customer. It is true that there are traders—and not all of them are doorstep salesmen—who swindle their customers. The Bill is concerned primarily with looking after the interests of the aggrieved customer. I agree that it will provide protection for the honest trader. If we weaken the Bill so that people acting on behalf of aggrieved customers cannot stamp out practices which we know ought to be eradicated, we will fail in our purpose. We therefore look carefully at any suggestions which might weaken the Bill.
With due respect to the hon. Member for Warwick and Leamington (Mr. Dudley Smith) I suggest that he has not read the Bill properly, because according to him the trader will have an adequate defence under Clause 23. When hon. Members talk about the possibility of malicious prosecutions, they should remember that the courts can, and do, deal with these. Let us assume that the Mrs. Jones referred to by the hon. Member for Gillingham (Mr. Burden) decided to bring a malicious prosecution. She would not, of course, do it under this Measure. No weights and measures inspector would act on her behalf. She would have to bring the action herself, and stand the costs involved. The trader would resist the action, and he would be backed by his trade association. I am convinced that the courts would deal with such a malicious prosecution and that Mrs. Jones would have to bear the costs of her action. That would deter anybody else from bringing malicious prosecutions.
Mrs. Jones would be trying to get her money back, and she would therefore start a civil action, because, as the hon. Gentleman said, this Measure does not provide for civil damages. It is concerned 485 with criminal offences. Mrs. Jones would have to bring her action for civil damages under the Misrepresentation Act. The hon. Member, as he did in Committee, referred to the heavy penalties quite rightly provided in this Bill, but they are maximum penalties, and if a prosecution is successful the court will inflict the kind of penalty that fits the crime. I would agree with the hon. and learned Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) that this is a matter which we can leave to the discretion and good judgment of the courts.
I am concerned with the argument which hon. Members have repeatedly used that if we leave all the discretion and restriction in the Bill in the form it is in now this will deter shopkeepers and shop assistants from giving information. The hon. Member for Canterbury (Mr. Crouch) had what I think is the real answer to this, and we are in perfect agreement about it. We need more and more information to be given with goods. By leaving his reference to oral misdescription in the Bill in the way it is now it will encourage manufacturers to provide the printed information on the label or in some other way. To provide an informative label is something we all want.
Let us look at this in practice. I do not want to take any of the examples given by the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) who has the most curious experiences when drinking, or shopping or even canvassing on behalf of his political party. The revelations we have had from him in Committee have surprised me.
It is true that the Molony Committee was worried about the possibility of malicious prosecutions, and in my view the Committee did not take sufficient note of the actions which the court could take against people who bring malicious prosecutions. Recommendations were made which in fact have gone into the Bill in the way the Molony Committee, by and large, required that create criminal offences. At the time the Molony Committee was reporting the Misrepresentations Act under which civil damages could be ordered if individuals with a grievance cared to take action was not on the Statute Book. As I mentioned in Committee, fortunately some local 486 authorities have given their experiences of what is likely to happen when the Bill goes on the Statute Book. In a sense they have anticipated the Bill even though they have had no sanctions behind what they do. The experience of the consumer protection advisory officer in Sheffield is that in 90 per cent. of the cases where a customer has a legitimate grievance against a shopkeeper, usually for an oral misdescription, by informing the shopkeeper that the customer has a grievance the shopkeeper puts the matter right. This is going to happen repeatedly. The shopkeeper not only wishes to avoid a prosecution, but also values his goodwill and if it is known among the community that if one trades at Mr. So-and-so's and something goes wrong he always puts it right to the satisfaction of the customer, that kind of advertisement, if you will, by word of mouth building up the goodwill of the trader, is tremendously important.
I cannot understand why hon. Members opposite keep on pressing the case that the shopkeeper is not going to give information, that shop assistants will be told they must keep silent when trying to sell things to the customer. If the customer asks, "Will this garment wash?" and there is no informative label, as there should be, the shop assistant has to say something otherwise the customer will walk out of the shop. Therefore, I would rather take the experience I am quoting where the aggrieved customer goes to the appropriate officer of the weights and measures authority and he takes up the phone and says that Mrs. Jones has come in and is complaining about a carpet and seems to have a genuine case and asks that it be looked into. In 90 per cent. of cases the matter is put right without delay. If not, action can be taken under the Misrepresentations Act to get civil damages, which is the most likely thing to happen in these cases. But if action is taken by the weights and measures inspector, or he contemplates taking proceedings, he has to look at Clause 23 of this Bill which says—In any proceedings for an offence under this Act it shall…be a defence for the person charged to prove—In most cases this is a perfect defence if the trader is innocent. No weights and measures inspector is going to contemplate spending public money on a prosecution unless he is certain that the defence will not stand.
- (a) that the commission of the offence was due to a mistake or to reliance on information supplied to him or to the act or default
487 of another person, an accident or some other cause beyond his control; and
- (b) that he took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence to avoid the commission of such an offence by himself or any person under his control."
§ Mr. Crouch
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. If I may take up the case he gave us of going into a shop and asking the assistant "Will this garment wash?" the right hon. Gentleman says that the salesman will say something. He may well say the wrong thing. He may say it will wash but will not say at what temperature, or that it should be hand washed and not washed in the machine, although information to this effect has been given to him by the supplier. He could make a mistake.
§ Mr. Darling
I was trying to follow up the argument of the hon. Member for Canterbury. The label should be attached to the garment, but if it is not there, instead of making an off-the-cuff reply, the shop assistant, if this Clause goes through, will have to take care. This is important. The shop assistant will have to say, "I do not know, but I will find out".
If the Amendment is added this plea that we are making that the shop assistant should take care is weakened. That is why I do not want to see the Amendment accepted and I hope my hon. Friends will not accept it. I am convinced that the experiences I have quoted will be the common experiences. The decent honest shopkeeper is going to put complaints right, but if by some chance an innocent shopkeeper is threatened with a prosecution those who are threatening the prosecution have to look very carefully at Clause 23, because that provides an adequate defence, and the weights and measure inspector has to make sure he has a prosecution that will not be knocked down by that defence.
I cannot see the possibility of honest shopkeepers suffering under this Bill, but I can see the decent honest customer being defrauded and misled and suffering finan- 488 cial damages if we weaken this Clause in the way suggested by the Amendments put forward.
§ Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody
Hon. Gentlemen opposite have made great play with their fears—I think, legitimate fears, although perhaps greater than the difficulties which will be encountered would warrant. I was not quite clear whether the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) was suggesting that he had to use oral misdescriptions to get people to vote for the Conservative candidate, but I understand that life seems very complex for him.
Amendment No. 4 raises two issues, whether the Bill should distinguish between oral and other forms of misdescription by making oral misdescription an offence only where there is fraud or recklessness, and whether persistence should also be part of the offence. We discussed these points at great length in Committee, as the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Darwen (Mr. Fletcher-Cooke) has said, when a similar Amendment was rejected, and I am afraid that I still regard the principle as completely unacceptable. I disagree strongly with the view that the consumer would be adequately protected if the law were concerned only with acts which could be shown to be fraudulent or reckless.
It is equally wrong to suggest that the Bill would create hardship and injustice for traders and manufacturers by requiring them to be convicted in cases where most people would think the circumstances did not warrant such a result. I would emphasise that Clause 1 does not create a truly absolute offence in the same way as does some legislation which has attracted criticism recently. This was a point made by the hon. and learned Member for Darwen. The defences provided in Clauses 23 and 24 are very wide and see to that. No one will be convicted if he can satisfy one of those defences, which are designed to protect the honest traders who have taken proper care to ensure that the public are not deceived, and if a trader has a clear defence he is unlikely to be prosecuted at all.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) has clearly stated that we do not believe that there will be a series of private prosecutions with malicious intent, because it is a 489 major undertaking and it involves penalties even for the person who undertakes the prosecution and so I think it would be unwise to make too much of this possibility.
If a person is prosecuted and is unable to establish one of the defences I really cannot think he deserves much sympathy. The offender may have misdescribed his goods deliberately or recklessly or he may have done so through carelessness or negligence, which are also culpable. It would certainly be standing consumer protection on its head to weaken the misdescription provisions of the Bill in order to protect him.
The additional requirement proposed in paragraph (a) of the Amendment, that the offending act should have been committed persistently, still seems to me to be very strange. I cannot see why a man who is proved to have deliberately or recklessly misdescribed his goods—to have lied about them, in fact—should escape conviction unless he is also proved to have lied repeatedly. Even as an alternative I think it might present difficult problems of interpretation. For instance, I am not clear whether the oral trade descriptions would have to be identical in every respect for persistence to be shown. Since Clause 1 is concerned with applying a trade description to goods, rather than trade descriptions—in the plural—I think it probably would. This would mean that the deliberate rogue would easily evade the Bill by varying his false descriptions each time. Again, I am not clear whether a person who repeated a trade description seven times in a conversation would have displayed persistence. It would seem odd to make the commission of an offence depend upon a person's talkativeness.
In any event, it is quite inappropriate to seek to achieve the purpose of the Amendment by altering Clause 4(2). Clause 4 does not relate to the offence of applying a false trade description, which is what the Amendment seeks to qualify. It is concerned only with methods of applying a trade description, and the truth or falsity of the description is irrelevant in this context. The Amend-
§ ment is, therefore, misconceived in form as well as objectionable in principle, and I must ask the House to reject it.
§ On Amendment No. 5 I can only repeat, on the question of uncorroborated evidence, that this also was very fully debated. No court is going to convict a trader or a shop assistant of the oral application of a false trade description unless the evidence produced is sufficient to satisfy the court beyond reasonable doubt that the trade description was applied and that it was false. I hope the House will share this view.
§ I must in any case point out that the Amendment would not produce the intended result. The effect would be that a false trade description could be applied by means of an oral statement only if the statement itself were corroborated, not the fact that the statement was made. There would be no offence if only one shop assistant said, "This garment is made of wool" when it is not, even though there were plenty of witnesses to testify that she said it, but if her colleague backed her up by assuring the customer, "The garment is indeed made of wool", then an offence is committed. I cannot think that this is the result hon. Members opposite intend, and I must ask the House to reject the Amendment.
§ On the other points raised by hon. Gentlemen opposite, I do not think it would be possible for a shopkeeper to continue in business if he persistently refused to give his assistants selling the goods any information because he was frightened that action might be taken against him. I think that what he would do would be, before the goods were put on sale, to insist that they were either very clearly and informatively labelled or else ensure that the assistants acting on his behalf would have a very clear indication of exactly what was involved before they started their day's work, and this seems to me to be all to the good, not just for the consumer but for the country as a whole. I ask the House to reject the Amendment.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 135. Noes 182493
|Division No. 133.]||AYES||[6.57 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Awdry, Daniel||Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)|
|Astor, John||Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Berry, Hn. Anthony|
|Biffen, John||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Higgins, Terence L.||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Blaker, Peter||Hiley, Joseph||Pounder, Rafton|
|Boardman, Tom||Hill, J. E. B.||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hirst, Geoffrey||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Pym, Francis|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Holland, Philip||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hordern, Peter||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)||Hornby, Richard||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Hunt, John||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Royle, Anthony|
|Burden, F. A.||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Sharples, Richard|
|Campbell, Gordon||Jopling, Michael||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Kershaw, Anthony||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Clegg, Walter||Lancaster, Col, C. G.||Stainton, Keith|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Stodart, Anthony|
|Crouch, David||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Loveys, W. H.||Tapsell, Peter|
|Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Eden, Sir John||MacArthur, Ian||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Elliott, R.W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Maddan, Martin||Temple, John M.|
|Eyre, Reginald||Maginnis, John E.||Tilney, John|
|Farr, John||Maude, Angus||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Fisher, Nigel||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Miscampbell, Norman||Walters, Dennis|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Glyn, Sir Richard||More, Jasper||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Goodhart, Philip||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Webster, David|
|Goodhew, Victor||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Gower, Raymond||Murton, Oscar||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Grant, Anthony||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Neave, Airey||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Gurden, Harold||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Wright, Esmond|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Wylie, N. R.|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Harvie Anderson, Miss||Percival, Ian||Mr. Humphrey Atkins and|
|Hawkins, Paul||Peyton, John||Mr. Hector Monro.|
|Allen, Scholefield||Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)|
|Anderson, Donald||Dickens, James||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)|
|Archer, Peter||Dobson, Ray||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Doig, Peter||Hoy, James|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Dunnett, Jack||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Barnett, Joel||Eadie, Alex||Hunter, Adam|
|Baxter, William||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Hynd, John|
|Bessell, Peter||Ellis, John||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Bishop, E. S.||English, Michael||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)|
|Blackburn, F.||Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Faulds, Andrew||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Booth, Albert||Fernyhough, E.||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)|
|Boyden, James||Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)||Kelley, Richard|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Kenyon, Clifford|
|Bradley, Tom||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Forrester, John||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Freeson, Reginald||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Gardner, Tony||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Buchan, Norman||Garrett, W. E.||Loughlin, Charles|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Lubbock, Eric|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)|
|Cant, R. B.||Gregory, Arnold||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Coe, Denis||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||McBride, Neil|
|Concannon, J. D.||Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||MacColl, James|
|Cronin, John||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||MacDermot, Niall|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Hamling, William||Macdonald, A. H.|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hannan, William||McKay, Mrs. Margaret|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Harper, Joseph||Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)|
|Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Haseldine, Norman||Mackie, John|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hooson, Emlyn||Maclennan, Robert|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Horner, John||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Dewar, Donald||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Stonehouse, John|
|Manuel, Archie||Pavitt, Laurence||Swingler, Stephen|
|Mapp, Charles||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Taverne, Dick|
|Marquand, David||Pentland, Norman||Thornton, Ernest|
|Mason, Roy||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)||Tomney, Frank|
|Millan, Bruce||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.||Varley, Eric G.|
|Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Price, William (Rugby)||Wainwright, Richard (Coine Valley)|
|Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Randall, Harry||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Moyle, Roland||Richard, Ivor||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c'as)||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Neal, Harold||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Newens, Stan||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Norwood, Christopher||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Ogden, Eric||Ryan, John||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Orbach, Maurice||Sheldon, Robert||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Orme, Stanley||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Oswald, Thomas||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)||Woof, Robert|
|Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Yates, Victor|
|Page, Derek (King's Lynn)||Slater, Joseph|
|Palmer, Arthur||Small, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Park, Trevor||Steel, David (Roxburgh)||Mr. Harry Gourlay and|
|Parker, John (Dagenham)||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Mr. Joseph Harper.|
§ Amendment proposed: No. 5, in page 3, line 38, after 'statement', insert 'if corroborated'.—[Mr. Fletcher-Cooke.]494
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 128, Noes 174.495
|Division No. 134.]||AYES||[7.7 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Hawkins, Paul||Percival, Ian|
|Astor, John||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Peyton, John|
|Awdry, Daniel||Higgins, Terence L.||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Hiley, Joseph||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Hill, J. E. B.||Pounder, Rafton|
|Biffen, John||Hirst, Geoffrey||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Boardman, Tom||Holland, Philip||Pym, Francis|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hordern, Peter||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hornby, Richard||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Hunt, John||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Royle, Anthony|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Sharples, Richard|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Jopling, Michael||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Burden, F. A.||Kitson, Timothy||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Campbell, Gordon||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Stainton, Keith|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Stodart, Anthony|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Clegg, Walter||Loveys, W. H.||Tapsell, Peter|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Crouch, David||MacArthur, Ian||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Dance, James||Maddan, Martin||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Maginnis, John E.||Temple, John M.|
|Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Maude, Angus||Tilney, John|
|Eden, Sir John||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Eyre, Reginald||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Farr, John||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Miscampbell, Norman||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Galbraith, Hon. T. G.||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Gibson-Watt, David||More, Jasper||Webster, David|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Goodhart, Philip||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Goodhew, Victor||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Gower, Raymond||Murton, Oscar||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Grant, Anthony||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Wright, Esmond|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Neave, Airey||Wylie, N. R.|
|Gurden, Harold||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Younger, Hn. George|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Mr. Reginald Eyre and|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Mr. Anthony Royle.|
|Allen, Scholefield||Armstrong, Ernest||Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice|
|Anderson, Donald||Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Barnett, Joel|
|Archer, Peter||Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Baxter, William|
|Bessell, Peter||Hannan, William||O'Malley, Brian|
|Binns, John||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Orbach, Maurice|
|Bishop, E. S.||Haseldine, Norman||Orme, Stanley|
|Blackburn, F.||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Oswald, Thomas|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Hooson, Emlyn||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)|
|Booth, Albert||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Boyden, James||Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Park, Trevor|
|Bradley, Tom||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Hoy, James||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)||Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pentland, Norman|
|Buchan, Norman||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hunter, Adam||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hynd, John||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.|
|Carmichael, Neil||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Coe, Denis||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Randall, Harry|
|Cronin, John||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Richard, Ivor|
|Dalyell, Tam||Kenyon, Clifford||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth(St.P'c'as)|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Leadbitter, Ted||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Ryan, John|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Sheldon, Robert|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Loughlin, Charles||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Dewar, Donald||Lubbock, Eric||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Slater, Joseph|
|Dickens, James||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Small, William|
|Dobson, Ray||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Steel, David (Roxburgh)|
|Doig, Peter||McBride, Neil||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)|
|Dunnett, Jack||MacColl, James||Stonehouse, John|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Macdonald, A. H.||Swingler, Stephen|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Taverne, Dick|
|Eadie, Alex||Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty)||Thornton, Ernest|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Mackenzie Gregor (Rutherglen)||Tomney, Frank|
|Ellis, John||Mackie, John||Varley, Eric G.|
|English, Michael||Mackintosh, John P.||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Maclennan, Robert||Wainwright, Richard (Coine Valley)|
|Faulds, Andrew||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacPherson, Malcolm||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Manuel, Archie||Wellbeloved, James|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Mapp, Charles||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Marquand, David||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Forrester, John||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Freeson, Reginald||Millan, Bruce||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Gardner, Tony||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Garrett, W. E.||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Woof, Robert|
|Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Yates, Victor|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Gregory, Arnold||Moyle, Roland|
|Grey, Charles (Durham)||Neal, Harold||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Newens, Stan||Mr. Joseph Harper and|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Norwood, Christopher||Mr. Neil McBride.|
|Hamling, William||Ogden, Eric|