HC Deb 10 June 1969 vol 784 cc1327-50
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)

The next Amendment selected is No. 23, with which we may discuss Amendment No. 24, in page 24, line 23, at end insert: (3) No order under subsection (2) above shall be made unless a draft of the order has been approved by both Houses of Parliament.

Mr, J. Bruce-Gardyne (South Angus)

I beg to move Amendment No. 23, in page 24, line 21, leave out from 'education' to end of line 23.

The purpose of the Amendment is to withdraw the provision in subsection (2) by which the Secretary of State is taking power to withdraw from teachers in further education at some future date their exemption under the first part of the subsection from the obligation to register in order to continue to enjoy certain privileges accorded to them under the 1962 Act.

My preference was clearly for the withdrawal of the whole Clause—that was the case I argued in Committee—but, since we must now face the fact that the Clause as a whole stands, it is essential to delete the latter part of the subsection.

The question we must decide is whether the Secretary of State should be given power at a future date in effect to extend the obligation of registration with the General Teaching Council to teachers in further education. My contention is that the answer to this question should be a firm and emphatic "No", and I will endeavour to explain why.

The House is entitled to an explanation from the Government why this part of the subsection was ever inserted in the Bill. No explanation has yet been given in any of our discussions on the Clause and on the Bill, either on Second Reading or in Committee. The Under-Secretary simply pointed out, quite correctly and fairly, that the first part of subsection (2) is designed to protect the position of teachers in further education, and that without it they would lose the privileges which they enjoy as certificated teachers under the principal Act of 1962, in the same way as other teachers. Teachers in the schools lose those privileges to the extent that they are not registered with the General Teaching Council under the Clause. It may be a little clearer if I quote what the Under-Secretary said: The intention of subsection (2) is not to pave the way to registration for further education teachers but to protect them in a situation in which they are not at present required to be registered. If the recommendations about the registration of further education teachers which have been made to the Secretary of State by the General Teaching Council are not brought forward, the full protection of certification given in Section 85 of the 1962 Act will continue. If the Secretary of State accepts that further education teachers should also be registered as an obligation on them, apart from the Regulations provided for that, we shall have to take steps to discontinue subsection (2) of this Clause.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, First Scottish Standing Committee, 11th March, 1969; c. 619.] He ended by saying that there would be ample opportunity to discuss the rights or demerits of registration of further education teachers, but he did not, either then or on Second Reading, and neither did his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on Second Reading, explain the arguments which had led him to conclude that what I described in Committee as a paving Clause, in the sense that it prepares for future action by the Secretary of State, should be included, beyond saying that there had been this recommendation from the General Teaching Council which the Government would consider, and implying that the Clause had been drafted in this way in the light of that recommendation. We need an explanation of the motivation behind the Government's drafting.

The Wheatley Committee on whose recommendations the Clause is based was not considering the position of teachers in further education and not making any recommendations about teachers in further education. I am strongly opposed to any further extension of compulsory registration and any further withdrawal of the rights of certificated teachers who are not now registered under the 1962 Act.

8.15 p.m.

What would be the purpose of extending the remit of the General Teaching Council to teachers in further education? The purpose of the G.T.C., as recommended by the Wheatley Committee and throughout our discussions, is to enhance the status and to protect and improve the calibre of the teaching profession, but, in considering what has happened since the General Teaching Council was set up in relation to teachers in schools, we must have considerable reservations about the desirability of extending its responsibilities to teachers in further education.

The setting up of the General Teaching Council has led within the past year to the dismissal of at least a score of highly qualified and experienced teachers in schools, and to a position where about 7,000 highly qualified and experienced teachers are currently facing the threat of immediate dismissal. On the other hand, it has led to several hundred teachers who are unable to obtain the qualifications necessary for registration, and who are in some cases unlikely ever to be able to obtain such qualifications, being retained in the schools. If this is a method of protecting the status and enhancing the calibre of the profession, it is a mighty odd one, and that is why I do not think we should extend the operations of the G.T.C., and, in particularly, the obligation upon teachers to register with the G.T.C. if they wish to preserve their rights under Section 85 of the 1962 Act, to teachers in further education.

Do we wish to see a situation among teachers in further education where some who choose to defy the Government's attempts to bully them into registration in one year get sacked for so doing, and where other teachers in the following year who commit precisely the same so-called "crime" get away with it with impunity? Is this the sort of mock justice that we want to extend to teachers in institutes of further education? I believe that we should have no part in it, and that is why I have put down Amendment No. 23. I am unalterably opposed to the procedures of bullying teachers and the arm-twisting of local authorities which has gone on during the last year in respect of teachers in schools being extended to teachers in further education. Our experience during the past year should lead us to think again before accepting the wording of the Clause unless my Amendment is accepted.

I accept Amendment No. 24. I hope that we shall be able to have separate Divisions on the two Amendments. Amendment No. 24 provides a useful further safeguard, in that it would require any order of the Secretary of State to annul the provisions of subsection (2) of the Clause at a future date to be subject to the affirmative procedures of the House. That would be an improvement on the Bill as drafted. But this is not the moment for the Government to accord such powers, even in embryo.

We have seen beyond a shadow of doubt that the Under-Secretary of State is more concerned with saving his own face and in resisting the evidence of his eyes than in protecting the interests of the teaching profession and the interests of children at school. For that reason it would be wrong to give the Government these powers.

Mr. Gordon Campbell

I should like to support what my hon. Friend has said on Amendment No. 23, and I would suggest that Amendment No. 24 offers an alternative and is an improvement on the Clause as it now stands.

Amendment No. 24 would ensure approval by Parliament before an order made by the Secretary of State came into effect. It would give oportunity for a full explanation by the Government on the necessity for such an order, and there could be full discussion both in this House and in the other place. We could then consider, in the light of the circumstances at that time, whether there was a real requirement for registration to be introduced for teachers in further education.

It is unnecessary, and indeed wrong, to give the Secretary of State discretion to act without any further need to consult Parliament. Recent experience leads us to feel that the matter should be considered in the light of what has happened. If the Secretary of State felt that he wanted to introduce an order in a year or two, we should be in a much better position to consider the reasons why he felt it to be necessary and would have a chance to consider his proposal.

We see Amendment No. 24 as a reasonable provision to give the House the opportunity to consider any such proposal as the Secretary of State of the day might think necessary to deal with the registration of teachers in further education. If the Minister sees objection in Amendment No. 23, then I hope he will look favourably upon Amendment No 24.

Mr. John Robertson (Paisley)

Without examining the attendance list of hon. Members during the Committee stage when the registration provision was introduced, I should not like to comment upon the attitude of the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) at that time. I know that nobody on the Opposition benches opposed the idea of compulsory registration when it was introduced. Indeed, I can claim that at that time I was the only member of the Committee to sound the warning. Therefore, it comes ill from hon. Members opposite to try to make political capital out of the point. All we are doing is perpetuating the difficulties.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

Does not the hon. Member recall an Amendment which was moved in Committee stage seeking exemption from registration of those with deep-rooted conscientious or religious objections? Does he not recall that that suggestion did not meet with a great deal of support from the Labour benches?

Mr. Robertson

I do not know the purpose of that intervention; I cannot understand the point. The principle of compulsory registration had the complete support of the other side of the House; indeed, it had the support of my side too. But I was the one exception, and, therefore, I claim the right to comment. It may well be that the hon. Member for South Angus was not on the Committee at that time. If he was on the Committee, he did not raise his voice. Why stir up trouble on Report when one remembers that this provision was at the request of the teaching profession, who wished to include in the Statute the principle of compulsory registration. The proposal was not dreamed up by either Members of Parliament or the Government.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)

Order. I must remind the House that the debate on registration cannot be reopened except as related to the Amendment, which is concerned with teachers in further education and the powers of the Secretary of State.

Mr. Robertson

I was going on to relate the point. Extension is being sought to the powers, but to begin with one had to deal with the general powers.

Mr. George Willis (Edinburgh, East)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Surely Amendment No. 23 proposes to leave out the word "register". Does it not raise the whole controversy of whether or not there should be registration?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The Amendment clearly is related to teachers in further education and the powers of the Secretary of State.

Mr. Willis

Further to that point of order. With great respect, that is not quite true. The first Amendment, No. 23, seeks to leave out from "education" to the end of line 23. That raises the matter of certification as opposed to registration.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I am sorry, but I must stand by my Ruling. Mr. Robertson.

Mr. Robertson

I accept your Ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in this matter, and I accept that the Amendment deals with the extension of the Secretary of State's powers. However, I felt that the question of compulsory registration ought to be dealt with. It is obvious that, having established the principle of compulsory registration at the express request of the teaching profession, it is natural that, to complete the picture, the registration should now be extended.

I find it objectionable that hon. Members opposite at one time give wholehearted support to the principle and then seek to object to extension of the principle. I could not accept such an Amendment.

Mr. Millan

The hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) asked why we had subsection (2) of Clause 18 in the Bill at all. The quotation that he made from my speech in Committee explained quite admirably why we needed the subsection. It is to protect the further education teacher at the moment when there is no requirement for registration from the situation in which the protection of Section 85 would otherwise be taken away from him by the Clause.

The qualifying phrase to which he is objecting now certainly looks forward to the day when there might be an extension of registration to further education as well as to teachers in the schools. That is all that I can say at the moment. The hon. Gentleman suggested that this would go beyond what was intended by the Wheatley Committee and by the Act. It is fairly obvious that it cannot go beyond what was intended by the Act, otherwise the G.T.C. would not be able to make recommendations to the Secretary of State in the first place and there could be no question of the Secretary of State accepting them. Therefore, it must have been known when the Act went through in 1965 that the extension of registration to further education was included in the terms of the Act and was a possibility. It is also clear from reading paragraph 130 of the Wheatley Report that that Committee also expected at an appropriate stage that registration would be extended to teachers in further education.

8.30 p.m.

The hon. Gentleman's Amendment would give the protection of Section 85 of the 1962 Act permanently to teachers in further education even if they became subject to registration in the same way as teachers in the schools. Obviously that is completely illogical. There is no reason why protection should persist for teachers in further education which, by this Clause, has already been taken away from teachers in the schools unless they register, as they are bound to do under the 1965 Act. Therefore, I could not possibly accept his Amendment. If it were accepted, it would mean that, if and when we extended registration to further education, some further legislative adjustment would be required to bring teachers in further education into line with their colleagues in the primary and secondary schools.

It is true that the General Teaching Council has been considering the extension of registration to further education, but the proposals so far are not accepted by the Secretary of State. We are considering them at the moment. There are still a number of matters to be discussed. If the proposals were accepted, regulations would be required.

That brings me to Amendment No. 24. I am sorry to say that the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. Gordon Campbell) does not seem to understand what the Clause is saying. He suggested that it would be necessary to have his kind of Amendment to get discussion in the House of the order bringing further education teachers within the scope of registration. That is not so. It would not be the regulations or the order under this Clause that would bring in further education teachers, but regulations made under other powers. They would be regulations amending the Further Education (Scotland) Regulations, 1959–68. These regulations would be subject to the negative resolution procedure. In other words, the substantive regulations which would bring further education teachers into registration would be subject only to the negative resolution procedure.

In those circumstances, having taken the substantive decision by negative procedure regulations, it would be absurd then to provide that a purely consequential Amendment concerned with the timing of the change in the law were to be subject to the affirmative procedure. That is why I could not accept the Amendment put down by the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn, either.

The kind of order with which we are dealing here is simply a timing order to bring into operation something which has been discussed and decided upon by the House already. Such an order is never subject to the affirmative procedure. All the precedents are that an order of that sort is subject to the ordinary negative procedure. It is simply a consequential order about timing. It does not raise the substantive issue. Therefore it would be completely illogical and against the rules which one normally applies for the affirmative procedure if I were to accept the Amendments.

For those various reasons, I must ask the House to reject both of them.

Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)

I do not find it easy to follow the point made by the Minister about negatives, substantive regulations, affirmative procedure and one thing and another. If it becomes the intention of the Secretary of State to incorporate further education teachers in the General Teaching Council, does it mean that regulations will be laid before this House so that we can debate them?

Mr. Millan

Certainly; and these regulations will be subject to the negative procedure. That means that they can be discussed in the House, and I imagine they would almost certainly be discussed. We would have an opportunity to discuss the regulations twice. The first regulations would be discussed when they were introduced. The consequential regulations and the order involved in the Clause would also be subject to the negative Resolution procedure and, therefore, could be discussed again. To some extent at least the matter in substance on both occasions could be discussed. It could certainly be discussed in substance on the first occasion and on the second occasion it would probably be in order to cover a good part of the ground again. There is no question of anything happening in this sphere without Parliament having a full and adequate opportunity to discuss it.

Mr. MacArthur

I am certain that the House is grateful to the hon. Gentleman for explaining why he has advised us not to accept the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. Gordon Campbell). However, I am not satisfied with the reason that he has advanced.

The concern which my hon. Friends and I feel about the Clause is that the Secretary of State, as I understand it, could, by the negative procedure, pave the way for teachers employed in further education to be subject to the registration requirement. I understand that the Minister feels that that procedure would be adequate for Parliament to seek to debate the situation at that time, should it wish to do so. That is a reasonable statement, but I suggest that the experience that we have had in the general matter of registration over these last months gives us on this side reason to recommend that the procedure to be followed for the implementation of the intent in Clause 18 should be subject to the affirmative proedure.

Clearly, it is possible for the Opposition or any private Member to be put in some embarrassment if a Statutory Instrument is laid during a long recess. We have had experience of this. We could find that we were not able to raise a Prayer on the Statutory Instrument until after the regulations had taken effect. That is precisely the difficulty that we encountered in the regulations which we debated at the beginning of this Session—I think early in November. By the time that the Government had made it possible for us to move our Prayer, the regulations in question were already in force although we sought to raise the Prayer within a day or two of them first being laid. That is a point to be borne in mind. That is a good reason for proposing that we should seek the affirmative procedure, and that is the purpose of the Amendment.

The Minister was right to remind us that the Wheatley Report envisaged that one day the registration procedure might well extend to teachers in further education. I want to make it clear to the Minister, to the House, and indeed to people outside the House, that I have no objection in principle to that proposal. If the G.T.C. is to work as we want it to work the principle of registration must be adhered to, and it may well have to be extended in this way, but I believe that it would be a mistake for it to be extended to teachers in further education now or in the near future. I was relieved to hear what the Minister said about that a moment ago. It would be a mistake if that were to happen because the Council, and indeed the whole question of registration and the procedure of registration, has been going through what I might charitably and kindly describe as a period of growing pains.

We are faced today with a situation which I can only describe as one of extreme delicacy. I prefer not to say more than that, beyond reiterating support for the Council, my pleasure that the Secretary of State belatedly agreed that the constitution and functions of the G.T.C. should be reviewed, and my regret that possibly many teachers have not yet re-registered as they are required to do. The fact that possibly a substantial number of teachers have not reregistered has given rise to this—

Miss Margaret Herbison (Lanarkshire, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It seems that the hon. Gentleman is going far beyond either of the two Amendments on the Notice Paper.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The right hon. Lady probably saw me edging to the forward part of my seat to intervene. The hon. Member is getting wide of the Amendment.

Mr. MacArthur

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I appreciate what you say, but I am sure you will appreciate that I am trying to relate this passing reference to the reason why I do not believe it right that the principle of registration should at this time be extended to teachers in further education.

Before the right hon. Lady intervened, I was trying to explain that one reason for that is the delicacy of the position with which we are confronted today. I believe that there is some inequity here, and that is perhaps putting it mildly. I do not propose to belabour the Government about that now, but I very much hope that the Minister will shortly address himself to the problem and consider very carefully the inequity which exists.

The time may well come when registration will need to be extended as proposed in this Clause. In view of the experience that we have had, and in view of the genuine interest which every hon. Member has in the development and success of the G.T.C., and in the development of further education, I believe it right that the procedure provided for in this Clause should not be the negative procedure as the Minister claims, but should be the affirmative procedure which my hon. Friend recommends in his Amendment.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

The hon. Member for Paisley (Mr. John Robertson) upbraided me in particular for not having opposed registration when it was first introduced. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Perth and East Perthshire (Mr. MacArthur). It is not the principle of registration to which I object; it is the way in which the Government have decided to enforce it. If I had had any idea that the Government were seriously going to attempt to bulldoze teachers into registration by threatening them with the loss of their livelihood, it would never have entered my head to do other than oppose it hook, line, and sinker.

Mr. John Robertson

Is the hon. Gentleman suggesting that the decisions of the G.T.C. were made at the direction of a Government Department, the Scottish Office? Are the Government responsible for the decisions of the G.T.C.?

8.45 p.m.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

We are not discussing the decisions of the G.T.C.; we are discussing the way in which the Government chose, in their wisdom or unwisdom, to attempt to enforce compulsory registration on teachers already in the profession. This was the action of the Government, not the G.T.C.

I have no objection to the principle of registration. I go along with my hon. Friend entirely in envisaging the extension of that principle to teachers in further education. What I cannot accept is the proposition that we should extend this system of bullying and blackmail, in which the Government have been indulging in the past nine months, to another large group of teachers, that we should face the possibility of another situation where we have thousands of teachers in further education, highly qualified and experienced teachers, being thrown out because they refuse to succumb to this attempt by the Government to bully them. That is the point.

Mr. Dewar

The hon. Member has plausibly explained that he had no method of knowing that this was to happen when he approved the principle of registration. Will he accept that the Wheatley Commission made it perfectly clear, in words of one syllable, that it was talking about compulsory registration? What did he think "compulsory" meant if it did not mean that teachers would have to join?

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

The Wheatley Commission in paragraph 128 said: We cannot recommend in present circumstances that it should be an offence for an unregistered person to be employed in teaching. That, at least, to put it mildly, leaves a certain margin for uncertainty about how exactly the Government might try to enforce registration. I am prepared to admit that I should have been aware earlier of what was to be involved in this process, and to the extent that I was not I plead guilty. If I had had any idea that the Government were to go about it in this monstrous manner I should have voted against it and opposed it all the way. I suspect that some other hon. Members might have some second thoughts about it too.

We could not have expected that the Government would be as hamfisted as they have been, and we did not have quite the same experience of the Under-Secretary and his little ways as we have today. The Under-Secretary's reply was unsatisfactory even by his standards. He gave us no explanation why the particular phrase which I am seeking to delete from the subsection was inserted. He simply said that it would follow; he did not say under what circumstances the extension of registration would follow; he did not say when; he did not give any indication about the way in which an extension might be applied.

The hon. Gentleman did not even, and one might at least have expected this, acknowledge that as and when registration was extended to teachers in further education, the Government, at least learning by bitter experience, would not try to bulldoze them into registration by threatening them with the loss of their livelihood. He gave us no explanation that he had understood the unwisdom of repeating the errors which he has already committed.

The Under-Secretary of State made a very revealing comment in reply to my hon. Friend's Amendment. He said that, in any case, the implementation of the powers extended to the Secretary of State in the second part of the Clause would be purely a consequential matter—to have another few thousand teachers driven out of employment to the detriment of our institutes of further education, instead of our schools. If he calls that a purely consequential matter, I cannot agree with him.

There is nothing to match the obstinacy of some members of the present Government when they have made a mistake and lack the honesty and courage to admit it. [Interruption.] We have had tragedy enough in this matter. We should not do anything now which might have the result of repeating tragedies of this kind, particularly while the present Ministers hold office.

Miss Herbison

I had not intended to take part in this debate, but, having listened to two discreditable speeches from the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne), I feel obliged to intervene.

The hon. Gentleman said that the Government had made a mistake but lacked the honesty to admit it. It would seem that in that statement he is supported by the hon. Lady the Member for Hamilton (Mrs. Ewing). I wonder what the vast majority of Scottish teachers believe? They certainly do not accept that the Government have made a mistake.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

How do you know?

Mrs. Winifred Ewing (Hamilton)

I made my position clear in a full speech on Second Reading. I do not depart from what I said on that occasion. I argued my case then, and I certainly did not argue it in a discreditable way. If the right hon. Lady will refer to my remarks I am sure that she will agree that I was constructive. As for any agreement that I might have with the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne), I assure her that I start, as I did when I made my speech on Second Reading, from the basis that qualified teachers should not have been dismissed.

Miss Herbison

I was not referring to the hon. Lady's speech on Second Reading. I had in mind what happened only moments ago when the hon. Member for South Angus accused the Government of having made a mistake and lacking the honesty to admit it. I understood that the hon. Lady said "Hear, hear" at that point.

Mrs. Ewing rose

Miss Herbison

I will not give way again because it is important that we get on with this matter, which is of vital importance to Scottish education. I assure the hon. Lady that I was not referring to any speech which she made earlier.

The hon. Member for South Angus is a wonderful representative of those people in the Scottish education profession who are against the General Teaching Council. The language he uses is not unlike the language they use from time to time in Scotland, particularly his reference to "bulldozing teachers".

I wonder whether the hon. Member for Galloway (Mr. Brewis) will intervene to give the point of view of the vast majority of teachers in Scotland. After all, he is the representative of an honourable body of people, the Educational Institute of Scotland, and when an attack has been made on the Government concerning the G.T.C., a body which has the full support of the Educational Institute of Scotland, he should put the record straight and explain that the vast majority of teachers in Scotland are in favour of the Government in this matter.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne rose

Miss Herbison

I will not give way. I would at no time use such shocking words as "bulldozing" and "blackmailing" in the context in which the hon. Gentleman used them.

If the hon. Member had read the Wheatley Report at all he would know that both sides of the House voted in favour of the recommendation for compulsory registration. As I said before, I believe that improvements must be made in the G.T.C.—most of us believe that—but because a small minority of Scottish teachers do not like it, the hon. Member apparently wishes to assume the right to stop the Government proceeding, and to accuse this Labour Government of things for which they are not responsible at all. I hope that those on the Front Bench opposite will not support their hon. Friend the Member for South Angus; and that both of these Amendments will be rejected.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

In view of what has been said relating to—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I again remind the House that we cannot go into the whole question of the integrity of Scottish teachers or, indeed, into the question of registration. I allowed the right hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) some scope to reply to a point that was made, but all hon. Members must relate their remarks to the Amendments.

Mr. Taylor

If a previous speaker was out of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker, it does not mean that I, who have yet said nothing, will also stray.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I apologise for being so suspicious.

Mr. Taylor

The right hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) was seeking to imply that those teachers, whether in further education or in schools, who were not prepared to register were doing so, perhaps, because of bigotry or unreasonableness, or because they were being difficult—[Interruption.] That was the whole implication of the right hon. Lady's remarks. I suggest that when we are considering the position of further education teachers we should bear in mind that some of them, perhaps a considerable number of them, may not wish to register

because they have strong, deep-rooted, conscientious or other objections to doing so.

I therefore plead with the Government that in view of what has been said, they will in another place try to avoid a very real tragedy in respect of a small number of teachers by inserting a conscience Clause in the Bill. My hon Friend the Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) was absolutely right in saying that we should do all we can to avoid the same tragedy as we had in relation to ordinary teachers. Although, admittedly, only a small number of teachers are concerned, the Government should at least bear in mind the fact that some of them object to registration on principle, and, in another place, make some provision for them.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment proposed: No. 24, in page 24, line 23, at end insert: (3) No order under subsection (2) above shall be made unless a draft of the order has been approved by both Houses of Parliament.—[Mr. Gordon Campbell.]

Question put, That the Amendment he made:—

The House divided: Ayes 137, Noes 182.

Division No. 242.] AYES [9.0 p.m.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Drayson, G. B. Kimball, Marcus
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Astor, John Elliot, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Kitson, Timothy
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Emery, Peter Lews, Kenneth (Rutland)
Awdry, Daniel Errington, Sir Eric Longden, Gilbert
Bell, Ronald Ewing, Mrs. Winifred Lubbock, Eric.
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Eyre, Reginald McAdden, Sir Stephen
Berry, Hn. Anthony Fisher, Nigel MacArthur, Ian
Biggs-Davison, John Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty)
Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel Fortescue, Tim McNair-Wilson, Michael
Black, Sir Cyril Foster, Sir John Maddan, Martin
Blaker, Peter Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Maginnis, John E.
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.) Gower, Raymond Marten, Neil
Body, Richard Grant, Anthony Maude, Angus
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward Grant-Ferris, R. Mawby, Ray
Brewis, John Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hall, John (Wycombe) Miscampbell, Norman
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Bryan, Paul Harris, Reader (Heston) Montgomery, Fergus
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M) Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) More, Jasper
Bullus, Sir Eric Harvie Anderson, Miss Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.) Hawkins, Paul Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Murton, Oscar
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Heseltine, Michael Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Clegg, Walter Higgins, Terence L. Nott, John
Cooke, Robert Hiley, Joseph Osborn, John (Hallam)
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Hill, J. E. B. Page, Graham (Crosby)
Corfield, F. V. Holland, Philip Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Cunningham, Sir Knox Hooson, Emlyn Percival, Ian
Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.) Hornby, Richard Pike, Miss Mervyn
Dean, Paul Hunt, John Pink, R. Bonner
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Jenkin, Partick (Woodford) Pounder, Rafton
Digby, Simon Wingfield Jopling, Michael Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
Doughty, Charles Kershaw, Anthony Prior, J. M. L.
Pym, Francis Speed, Keith Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Quennell, Miss J. M. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Wiggin, A. w.
Rees-Davies, W. R. Summers, Sir Spencer Williams, Donald (Dudley)
Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side) Winstanley, Dr. M. P.
Royle, Anthony Temple, John M. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Russell, Sir Ronald Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret Wright, Esmond
Scott, Nicholas Tilney, John Wylie, N. R.
Sharples, Richard Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H. Younger, Hn. George
Silvester, Frederick Waddington, David
Sinclair, Sir George Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Smith, Dud'ey (W'wick & L'mington) Ward, Dame Irene Mr. Bernard Weatherill and
Smith, John (London & W'minster) Weils, John (Maidstone) Mr. Hector Monro.
Albu, Austen Fowler, Gerry Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Anderson, Donald Galpern, Sir Myer Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Archer, Peter Gardner, Tony Moyle, Roland
Armstrong, Ernest Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth) Neal, Harold
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony Newens, Stan
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Gregory, Arnold Norwood, Christopher
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Grey, Charles (Durham) Ogden, Eric
Barnett, Joel Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Oram, Albert E.
Baxter, William Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly) Orme, Stanley
Bence, Cyril Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Oswald, Thomas
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Padley, Walter
Binns, John Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Page, Derek (King's Lynn)
Blackburn, F. Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Palmer, Arthur
Blenkinsop, Arthur Haseldine, Norman Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hazell, Bert Park, Trevor
Booth, Albert Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret Parker, John (Dagenham)
Boston, Terence Hilton, W. S. Pavitt, Laurence
Boyden, James Hooley, Frank Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Bradley, Tom Horner, John Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Brooks, Edwin Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.) Pentland, Norman
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Huckfield, Leslie Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Buchan, Norman Hunter, Adam Price, William (Rugby)
Hynd, John Probert, Arthur
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) Rankin, John
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Jeger, Mrs. Lena (H'b'n & St. P'cras, S.) Richard, Ivor
Cant, R. B. Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Carmichael, Neil Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Chapman, Donald Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Ross, Rt, Hn. William
Coleman, Donald Judd, Frank Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, s.)
Concannon, J. D. Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Sheldon, Robert
Conlan, Bernard Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Leadbitter, Ted Silverman, Julius
Crawshaw, Richard Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Slater, Joseph
Dalyell, Tam Loughlin, Charles Small, William
Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Luard, Evan Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek) Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Summenkill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Dempsey, James McBride, Neil Tinn, James
Dewar, Donald MacColl, James Tuck, Raphael
Dickens, James MacDermot, Niall Urwin, T. W.
Dobson, Ray McGuire, Michael Varley, Eric G.
Doig, Peter Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Dunnett, Jack Mackie, John Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Mackintosh, John P. Watkins, David (Consett)
Eadie, Alex Maclennan, Robert Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Weitzman, David
Edwards, William (Merioneth) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Wellbeloved, James
Ellis, John McNamara, J. Kevin White, Mrs. Eirene
English, Michael Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.) Whitlock, William
Ensor, David Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Wilkins, W. A.
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Manuel, Archie Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley) Mapp, Charles Willis, Rt. Hn. George
Faulds, Andrew Marks, Kenneth Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Fernyhough, E. Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Winnick, David
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Mikardo, Ian Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Millan, Bruce
Foley, Maurice Miller, Dr. M. S. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Milne, Edward (Blyth) Mr. John McCann and
Ford, Ben Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Mr. Joseph Harper.
Forrester, John
Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

I beg to move Amendment No. 26, in page 24, line 23, at end insert: (3) Nothing in subsection (1) above shall have the effect of infringing the right of a teacher who has been dismissed for failure to register or re-register to enjoy superannuation benefits which would otherwise have accrued to him on retirement. The purpose of the Amendment is to protect the right of a teacher who has been dismissed for no other reason than failure to register or re-register with the General Teaching Council to enjoy superannuation benefits not only to the point at which he is dismissed under this bizarre procedure but to the point at which he would have retired in the normal way and become entitled to superannuation.

I see one flaw in my Amendment, in that it refers to … benefits which would otherwise have accrued to him … I hope that the House will accept that "her" is subsumed in "him", and that no masculine bias is intended.

I cannot now debate the merits of the manner in which a group of highly qualified and experienced teachers were sacked last year and another and much larger group are facing the threat of imminent dismissal this year. But I feel that we need clear assurances and explanations from the Government about the pension rights of these teachers, who have become the victims of the extraordinary mechanisms thought up in his bath or somewhere by the Under-Secretary of State.

The scale of the matter should be emphasised. Last year, a score of highly qualified and experienced teachers were thrown out of employment and we are now asking about their pension rights. Currently, 7,000 teachers in Scottish schools have not re-registered since 1st April and should theoretically, by the letter of the Act, already have received notices of dismissal. Perhaps even at this late stage we can hear something about this from the hon. Gentleman, although that may be too much to expect. Perhaps the Government have cold feet. They should have done by now. But we have to assume that these 7,000 teachers, or a substantial proportion of them, may be thrown out of their employment, as their fellows were last year, and it is therefore all the more important that we should know what their rights and entitlement to superannuation will be.

Paragraph 171 of the Wheatley Report suggested that certain rights, such as those of superannuation in relation to past service, would be preserved but that teachers must become registered in order, for example, to continue within the superannuation scheme for the future. If the Government had taken the line, as Wheatley suggested, that teachers already in employment and with years of experience but who decline to register would find their superannuations suffering there-from but not their employment as such that might have been an argument worthy of serious consideration, but the position is the other way round. The Government, like all weak Governments, have attempted to wield a blunderbuss. They have preferred the technique of dismissal and in this situation the question of superannuation entitlement becomes of prime importance.

I understand that these people who have been or may be sacked will be entitled on reaching pensionable age to superannuation benefits accumulated by service up to the moment of their dismissal. But that is not good enough and I drafted the Amendment with a view to ensuring that if these people are to be sacked in this ludicrous manner, at least they should be entitled to continue to accumulate superannuation benefits as they would have done if they had been retained in employment from which they had been sacked for no character defect or shortcomings in their teaching ability until the point that they are due to receive such superannuation benefits in the normal course of events.

9.15 p.m.

I should like to think that the Under-Secretary will accept the Amendment, but, unfortunately, I know him better than that. Certainly we ought to have a clear explanation of what the pension position of these people is. I hope that hon. Members will feel that, in view of the circumstances of their dismissal, they should be treated in a particularly generous manner.

Mr. Millan

I could not recommend the House to accept the Amendment despite the beguiling way in which the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) moved it. Teachers who are dismissed for failure to register or reregister are in precisely the same superannuation position as teachers who leave the profession for any other reason; that is to say, if they have sufficient pensionable service to qualify for a pension, they will be entitled to receive a pension, and, if they do not, they will, like other people who leave the service, be entitled to repayment of the superannuation contributions they have made. That seems to be a very fair position and I would not recommend that we change it in any way.

The hon. Gentleman suggests that people who leave the profession because of failure to register with the General Teaching Council should be treated particularly favourably and should get privileges under the superannuation scheme which are not available to people who leave the profession for any other reason. I could not recommend that to the House.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

The Under-Secretary's reply was as unsatisfactory as it was expected. He said that it was only fair that these teachers should be treated in the same manner as teachers leaving the profession in any other circumstances. I do not agree. Teachers may leave the profession in all sorts of circumstances, of their own free will, or because they are guilty of some offence, or have disqualified themselves by some action which effectively diminishes their ability to teach. These people are being thrown out of the profession for no reason other than their refusal to succumb to Government bullying and threats. For those reasons they are entitled to special consideration.

I am dissatisfied with the proposition that some may not have achieved sufficient years of service to obtain a pension at the point at which this sledge hammer has been thrown at them by the Under-Secretary. In those circumstances, I should be much happier if the Amendment were included, because it would do some small thing to rectify a disgraceful injustice.

Mr. Woodburn

The teachers wanted the scheme modelled on the General Medical Council, which has the right to ensure that doctors are registered and can compel them to be so registered before they can practise. Does the hon. Gentleman propose that this scheme of his should be applied to the medical profession as well, and should take away the rights of the General Medical Council?

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

I am not sure that I would be in order to answer that. My answer is that, of course it is one thing to require people entering a particular profession, as doctors are required, to undertake a particular form of registration as one of the procedures involved in entering the profession. It is quite another thing not only to impose a similar obligation on people of many years' experience and qualification already in the profession, but to go around saying, "We will drum you out of the profession unless you sign on the dotted line tomorrow or the next day." That is the real point and that is where unfairness arises.

Amendment negatived.

Forward to