HC Deb 18 June 1969 vol 785 cc617-31
Mr. Skeffington

I beg to move Amendment No. 7, in page 3, line 10, leave out from first 'a' to second 'of' in line 11 and insert term of years absolute'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this Amendment it would be convenient to take Amendments Nos. 21, 25 and 115.

Mr. Skeffington

The effect of the Amendments is to extend the qualifying interest for all the types of grant included in the Bill to some of those who might under the original terms of the Bill have been excluded.

I gave an undertaking to consider this as a result of observations by the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) to the effect that a number of 21-year leases had been granted after the 1965 Rent Act and before the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 at rack rents, where the landlord would hardly be likely to want to undertake improvements but the tenant might want to do so.

As the Bill was originally drafted, the benefit was secured only by those who had a freehold interest or who had a tenancy at a low rent within the meaning of the Rent Act 1968. I undertook to look at the evidence, and it is clear that, particularly since 1965, a number of tenancies may have been granted at a whole range of rents from slightly above ground rents right up to a full rent. It is right to take the opportunity to make the basis for grant the substantial interest of the person applying for the grant in the property, rather than the very much narrower point as to whether or not he is paying a ground rent or rack rent.

I feel that the Amendment will meet many of the cases which the hon. Member for Crosby had in mind. It does not go so far as to include the mortgagee in possession, but it will go so far as to include the mortgagee by demise. He will be within the terms of the Amendment, having a term of years absolute, and that brings him in, but it does not bring in the mortgagee in possession. The Amendment is a welcome extension, and I hope the House will accept it.

Mr. Graham Page

I am obliged to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary for introducing the Amendment. In one respect it goes even further than I had hoped. It does not restrict those who can apply for a grant to the owner of a freehold or to the owner of a ground lease. As a result of the Amendment, an ordinary tenant who pays rack rent, or whatever it may be, will be able to apply for a grant if he can show that he is left with five years of his lease.

I was a little worried when the Joint Parliamentary Secretary said that a mortgagee by demise would also come under the Amendment and would be able to apply for a grant. If that is the case, it will complicate matters a little. When a mortgage is going through quite smoothly, a mortgagee could step in and apply for a grant over the heads of a person occupying or owning a house. It would make an extraordinary distinction between a mortgagee by demise and a legal charge. It is a matter of the form of the mortgage; some are governed by legal charge, others by demise.

If the Amendment includes a mortgagee by demise, whether or not the mortgagee is in possession, I am not sure that we ought not to restrict the Amendment and not include him, otherwise there will be all sorts of complications. But if the Amendment merely means that a tenant with five years of his lease to run can apply for a grant, I welcome it.

Amendment agreed to.

10.45 p.m.

Mr. Clegg

I beg to move Amendment No. 8, in line 13, at end add: 'or he is a mortgagee in possession'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this Amendment, it will be convenient to take Amendments No. 22, in Clause 8, page 6, line 5, at end add: 'or he is a mortgagee in possession'. and No. 26, in Clause 17, page 11, line 10, at end add: 'or he is a mortgagee in possession'.

Mr. Clegg

The reason why we put down this interesting Amendment is that during discussion in Committee the Joint Parliamentary Secretary promised to look again at this matter. I am not entirely clear how far this Amendment has been affected by the explanation that we have just received from the Joint Parliamentary Secretary about the definition of "term of years absolute". But I think perhaps that it will take us some way towards it.

The object of the original Amendment was clear. The Clause, as drawn, gives the right to a person to apply for a grant if he is the owner in fee simple, the freeholder or the leaseholder under a term of years absolute. We sought to include a further category, as specified in the Amendment; namely, a mortgagee in possession. We felt that a mortgagee in possession could have the need to apply for a grant, first, to preserve the property, and, second, to get the grant perhaps and to sell in order to cover the amount of money that he had lent on mortgage.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary in Committee, after I had moved the original Amendment, disagreed with this, because he felt that it would be unnecessarily complicated and there would be risks in it for the mortgagee in going into possession. He further said that there were times when there was a gap between the mortgage going into default and the mortgagee going into possession.

Then the hon. Gentleman promised to look at it, after being convinced by my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page), with his vast experience of building societies, that it would be a very useful fillip for building societies if, as mortgagees in possession, they had power to apply for a grant to put the property in good condition and resell it. My hon. Friend pointed out that the building societies sometimes had a flair for seeing what could be made out of a property which the original owner could not see.

My hon. Friend went on to say—and this is probably the most important reason why the Amendment should be accepted—that building societies were somewhat reluctant to advance money on older properties, but that if they had this power to make application if they had to go into possession, because the mortgage was in arrears, it would encourage them to lend money on older properties. This is probably the main justification for adding to the Clause the words or he is a mortgagee in possession. There is a close analogy, although the hon. Gentleman did not go with me all the way on this in Committee, between a mortgagee in possession and the owner of a freehold or the owner of a leasehold, because, if they all have the basic power to manage and dispose of the property, a mortgagee in possession can enter into possession of the building and can use it in such a way almost to the extent that somebody in either of the other two capacities can.

Mr. Skeffington

As the hon. Member for North Fylde (Mr. Clegg) has said, the first of the Amendments which the House has accepted goes some way to meeting the points that were made in Committee. As I said in my previous remarks, the words "term of years absolute" would include a mortgagee by demise. However, the point raised by the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) will not arise. In the case that he had in mind, the mortgagee by demise would not be able to get into the house if the mortgagor was in possession; so no conflict would arise. But in the other case the extension goes further than the hon. Gentleman originally thought, and provides for the mortgagee by demise.

Why can we not accept the proposals which have been moved and which we discussed in Committee to deal with the mortgagee in possession? I do not want to go over the arguments which I rehearsed in Committee, because they are somewhat lengthy and involved, but the fact is that it is not always easy to establish when a legal mortgagee by a charge by way of a mortgage is in the position to take possession. Indeed, he may, by either an express or an implied provision in a document, be expressly prohibited from so doing. In these cases it would have to be established—and time would be taken by this—that the mortgagee was or was not in that position. He may have the status of being a mortgagee in possession, but not be able to take possession. Those who deal with these matters know that that occurs.

There is the other point, which I also mentioned in Committee, that on the whole, even since the great series of Acts of 1925, the mortgagee in possession has usually been very reluctant to take possession because he is under the strictest regulation to account precisely for moneys received or for any action that he might take which would have the effect of damaging the interests by preventing the moneys being paid, and this liability extends long after he may have parted with the property. From inquiries which I have made from some building societies since our debate I am told, and I accept this because it accords with my experience, that it is rare for the mortgagee in possession, even if he is in a position to do so, to exercise this right.

The hon. Member for Crosby in Committee, and the hon. Member for North Fylde tonight, referred to other parallels. In dealing with the case of a building society which might in certain circumstances want to take possession and apply for a grant, the hon. Member for Crosby referred to Section 34 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1968, and said that there was a parallel. I am sure the hon. Gentleman realises that there is not a parallel in the ordinary meaning of the term "mortgagee in possession", because subsection (2)(a) of that section makes the very point which I have been making. It distinguishes the mortgagee in possession in a normal case, because there one is entitled to act under the like provisions in the 1968 Act because the subsection clearly says that he must be entitled as a mortgagee by virtue of a power which has become exercisable. He has to get over that hurdle first, and he may not have the power, or, if he has it, it may not be exercisable because of time, or because of some other agreement with the parties concerned.

The mortgagee has to have this power which is exercisable to sell an interest in the hereditament or unit, giving immediate vacant possession. This is not what is normally meant by "mortgagee in possession", and consequently, as I said then, and as we feel now, this extension would be a very wide one, and I question very much whether the provision would generally be welcome.

Most building societies with a property left on their hands because a mortgagor has vanished and his payments have become overdue usually want to get rid of the assets as soon as possible. If they had this power, and there was no prohibition, I should not have thought that they would want to spend the time going to the local authority for a grant —that is bound to take some time, perhaps five or six months—and then doing the repair work. The legal consequences of a provision of this kind are bound to be uncertain, for the reasons which I have given.

Although I find this subject fascinating, I do not want to go on at great length. If the hon. Gentleman will study the summing up of Lord Justice Russell in the case of the Birmingham Citizens Permanent Building Society v. Caunt, he will see the enormous complications which can arise in dealing with a very simple point. I hope that since the mortgagee by demise is included in our definition, he will not press the Amendments.

Mr. Graham Page

The Parliamentary Secretary has got us into a pretty kettle of fish. We are talking about the borrower, the owner of the property, who has defaulted, perhaps deserting the property after a matrimonial row. The building society, or mortgagee, has the property on its hands. Since the acceptance of the last Amendment, if that mortgagee happened to be a mortgagee by demise—that is to say, if his mortgage says that, by way of security for the money advanced, the property is let to him for 3,000 years, if that is the form which has been used—he can say to the local authority, "I have a term of years absolute, of which there is more than five years to run, and I want an improvement grant." If his solicitor happens to have drawn the mortgage in the far more ordinary form of a legal charge, which merely says that the property is charged by way of security for the loan, not demise and not let to the mortgagee, he will not have a chance of asking for an improvement grant.

This will cause enormous problems; I know one building society which has its mortgages in the form of demises. Another has them merely by charge. So some mortgagees will be able to take advantage of improvement grants and some will not.

This is our first problem due to the Parliamentary Secretary's generosity over the last Amendment. His hon. Friend will tell him the trouble he gets into at times by being generous to me over Amendments but not doing the whole thing. When one tries to do it halfway one is bound to get into trouble. What we want is the whole way. We should give a mortgagee, left with a property on his hands, the right to sell a decent house and not a rotten house, whether he is a mortgagee by demise or by legal charge. In law it is the same thing, and there is no distinction between their rights. It is just a different form of mortgage.

It always had to be done by demise, by devising this fictitious term of 3,000 years, before the reform of the property law in 1925. It has stuck since then in many cases, but the right way to do it now is by legal charge.

11.0 p.m.

What we want to do is to enable the mortgagee, whatever the form of his mortgage, if he has a rotten house, not to put it up for sale without first improving it and making it a decent house. I have declared before in the House that I have an interest in that I am a director of a building society, and I can tell the House also that we would not like the stigma of putting up for sale a house which is badly out of repair and has no amenities in it. If it is known that a building society is selling that sort of thing, that is not good publicity for the building society. When a house of that sort comes on to our hands we would rather make improvements. If there are grants, why should we not have the opportunity of taking those grants? If the house is then sold, the grants go back to the local authority. If, on the other hand, it is better for the house to be held and let, there is no reason why that should not be so. Why should the mortgagee not let the house and use the grant?

When we talk about a mortgagee in possession it is anomalous, perhaps, to say that that does not necessarily mean that he is in possession in the sense of being in occupation. He may have taken over a house which is let, or let, perhaps, in flats. He may want to improve the amenities of the flats—put in extra bathrooms, put in extra lavatories, and so on. If we are giving one type of mortgagee that right merely because the mortgage is in the form of a demise, then do let us put the whole thing right and give that right to all mortgagees whatever form of mortgage they have. I am sure that when the Joint Parliamentary Secretary thinks it over a bit more he will find that he has gone only half way in his previous Amendment and that if he accepts our Amendment now he will provide for all occasions, and occasions which warrant the use of grants to keep houses standing.

Mr. Maddan

I am not a lawyer—

Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)

A liar?

Mr. Maddan

Let us not have too fine distinctions at this time of night. It seems to me that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary must have taken his stand on either some obscure legal difficulty or some principle. He did not read out that book. If he had read it out that might have become clearer to me, or it might have become less clear—I am not sure—but certainly I could not deduce from what he said any clear principle on which he drew the line where he did or any legal difficulty intelligible to me as the reason why he did that.

Perhaps the reason why the hon. Gentleman did it is that it is one of these restrictions on the operation of the Bill deliberately espoused by the Government so as to limit the occasions on which these grants can be made. I hope it is not that, but since it is not the former, or did not seem to me to be the former, I can only fear that it is the latter. If it is the latter, then it is rather discreditable. Therefore, I hope that we shall later on, and by leave of the House, have the Joint Parliamentary Secretary's further explanations and, perhaps, second thoughts.

Then there is the further point that the hon. Gentleman really ought to comment on. If he draws the line where he has drawn it we have this absurd position that when certain mortgages are drawn up in a certain form they will be eligible and when they are not they will not. Presumably in cases where they will not, there will be great pressure on the legal departments of building societies to negotiate with mortgagors to revise the terms of their mortgages to take into account this part of the Bill. That must be an undesirable waste of legal talent and confusing to mortgagors.

I hope that the Government are not deliberately limiting, for some obscure reason, the occasions when these grants can be brought into operation. Perhaps the Joint Parliamentary Secretary is merely hesitating before accepting the Amendment and will, after several more of my hon. Friends have pressed the point on him, accept our suggestion.

Mr. John Wells (Maidstone)

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Mr. Maddan), I am not a lawyer. So far those who have spoken to the Amendment, other than my hon. Friend, have had the advantage of training which enables them to say that when one is in possession one is not in possession. I have not had that advantage.

After declaring his interest as a director of a building society, my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) made some accurate and thoughtful observations, on which I will comment. At present we see investments of all kinds sliding. The Stock Exchange has gone down rapidly. We read in a Sunday newspaper that the great boom in antique silver appears to be on the slide. I hear my hon. Friends who are experienced in agricultural matters gossiping tonight that the price of farms is not what it was. This is clearly an indication that investments generally are falling back into the hands of mortgagees, right across the board.

The investment experts tend to say that property is still safe and that people are still investing in property because they have confidence in bricks and mortar, even if they do not have confidence in the Prime Minister. However, even bricks and mortar are tending to fall back into the hands of mortgagees because of the difficulties and heedless default of mortgagors.

My hon. Friend the Member for Crosby mentioned the difficulty of the family in which there has been a breakup and where the house has fallen back into the hands of the mortgagees. He spoke of the reasonable situation in which no reputable building society would want to sell a run-down house when it had an opportunity to improve and repair it and make it a good article which would bear a good image for the society in question.

This must apply even more to private mortgagees in the case of a person who has taken out a mortgage, perhaps as an act of kindness, for a neighbour, friend or relation. He may have provided the cash for a mortgage to help a friend in difficulty, but perhaps a default occurs and the mortgagee is left with the house on his hands. A responsible private citizen would want to sell the house in good order.

The seven words which my hon. Friends seek to add are perfectly reasonable. The Parliamentary Secretary absolutely baffled us with legal jargon. I am afraid that this is the way in which things are carried on, but we should avoid that. He said that the matter was fraught with difficulty and much more complicated than it looked, but is it so fraught with difficulty? Lawyers always make a difficulty. They are paid 7s. 6d. a time for creating difficulties, [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] Well, 13s. 4d.—the price is always going up. I forget what it is now. Here is a simple opportunity for the Parliamentary Secretary to accept seven simple little words offered in good faith by my hon. Friends. That would help the reputable building society, the private mortgagee who has sought to do a friend a good turn and come unstuck, or the charitable trust.

We know about the expropriation Act which enables tenants to be beastly to their landlords—the Leasehold Enfranchisement Act. Time after time this Government bring forward Measures which are most unreasonable towards property owners and landlords who are trying to get their properties in decent order. The Parliamentary Secretary and his joint colleague are men of good will who would like to see the stock of the nation's houses in good trim. Here is an opportunity which would cost the Government nothing in doing that. As my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby pointed out, if the house is subsequently sold the money would come back to the Government. At a very modest temporary cost to the Government we could improve the nation's housing, maintain the image of the building societies and the spirit of good will of private mortgagees, charitable trusts and other bodies of that sort.

I deprecate the tendency of Ministers to try to baffle us with jargon. I am a simple man. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I believe my hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Mr. Maddan) shares with me difficulty in understanding these complicated measures, but people like us represent far more of the 52 million inhabitants of these islands than some other hon. Members here. The ordinary citizen cannot understand the jargon. Here is an opportunity to help people of good will, to maintain the image of the building societies and generally to assist the nation's stock of houses. A mortgagee with a house that needed a bathroom or more adequate sanitary arrangements would be enabled to improve it. Let us have more common sense and less jargon.

11.15 p.m.

Mr. Allason

I very much support the plea for simplicity urged by my hon. Friend the Member for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells). It is so awfully hard for a layman to comprehend the subtleties in the mind of the Parliamentary Secretary. He talks of the enormous complications which arise if one gives to the mortgagee in possession the sanction which one gives to the freeholder. If the freeholder is there with an empty house, maybe the local authority will say they do not think that the freeholder ought to have an improvement grant because he is going promptly to sell the house. I think that was the argument used against the mortgagee in possession. But equally, let us consider the position of the freeholder with a tenancy in the house. The Government want him to improve the house. The whole Bill is about encouraging the freeholder to improve the house in the interests of the tenancy. Why, if it is not the freeholder, but merely someone who calls homself a mortgagee in possession but who is in a very similar position to a freeholder, should he be debarred?

The whole purpose of this Bill is to try to improve the housing stock at the least cost. Where there is a good case for a house with a tenant in it which needs improvement, what can be the objection? What is the point of saying that because technically he is not a mortgagee by demise but he is a mortgagee by legal charge therefore he cannot get it?

The Parliamentary Secretary has a wonderfully subtle brain, and he sees all sorts of difficulties, but I suggest that he throws these subtleties out of the window and accepts the Amendment.

Mr. Skeffington

If I may reply briefly to the points hon. Members have made, I think that so far as the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) is concerned, we have not only gone half-way. The Amendments I moved went further than he had anticipated, and it does mean to say that anybody now with a leasehold interest of five years is in a position to apply for grant. So really we have gone one and a half times, and it is because I cannot go the other half and make it twice what he asked for that we are getting into trouble.

How very much I wish with the hon. Members for Maidstone (Mr. John Wells) and Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Allason) that this was a simple matter. Indeed the trouble is that in nearly all these matters of land tenure, although there was a tremendous simplification and crystallisation in the 1925 Acts, we still have a very large number of partial interests in land which are often complex, and none are more complex than the term "mortgagee in possession." I know it sounds absurd to say that someone is mortgagee in possession but he cannot have possession because he has agreed not to take possession himself because of a document which he is party to, or because he feels inhibited so to do by the position he is placed in of having to account for all the monies he has received, or because action he has taken could reflect adversely on the estate.

When the hon. Member for Crosby and others referred to the parallel in the 1968 Act, I had to point out that the mortgagee in possession there is defined in a very precise way.

The trouble with this series of Amendments is that the term is so wide that if we put this into the Act we would be giving rights to a category of interests which would be incapable of definition when it came to practical implementation, and we should be helping no one at all by doing that.

As the hon. Member for Crosby describes the proposition, if there had been an Amendment down which restricted to some extent the term "mortgagee in possession" as it is in the 1968 Act, I think that might have been a starter, and I would like to suggest to the hon. Gentleman that it may be possible to find a definition which would take this category of interest a little further than we have done. The mortgagee in possession does not in the normal way have a definite term of years. This is one of the imprecisions, in addition to others I have mentioned. If we put these simple words in, as a few hon. Gentlemen want, we would make a whole whale of trouble for many people, including many building societies. With the greatest of good will—there is no shortage of good will here—we should be doing something which would be utterly irresponsible. We have gone a long way. In view of my offer to see

Division No. 276.] AYES [11.20 p.m.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Grant, Anthony Percival, Ian
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Grant-Ferris, Sir Robert Pink, R. Bonner
Awdry, Daniel Grieve, Percy Pounder, Rafton
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Hastings, Stephen Prior, J. M. L.
Bell, Ronald Hawkins, Paul Pym, Francis
Biffen, John Heseltine, Michael Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Black, Sir Cyril Higgins, Terence L. Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.) Hill, J. E. B. Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Braine, Bernard Holland, Philip Russell, Sir Ronald
Brewis, John Hordern, Peter Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Hornby, Richard Silvester, Frederick
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hunt, John Smith, John (London & W'minster)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M) Iremonger, T. L. Speed, Keith
Burden, F. A, Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Stainton, Keith
Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.) Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Carlisle, Mark Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Jopling, Michael Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Clark, Henry Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
C"egg, Walter Kaberry, Sir Donald Tilney, John
Cooke, Robert King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Corfield, F. V. Knight, Mrs. Jill van Straubenzee, W. R.
Costain, A. P. Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Vaugnan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Crouch, David MacArthur, Ian Waddington, David
Cunningham, Sir Knox McNair-Wilson, Michael (W'stow, E.) Walker, Peter (Worcester)
Currie, G. B. H. Maddan, Martin Weatherill, Bernard
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Maude, Angus Wells, John (Maidstone)
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Maxweil-Hyslop, R. J. Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Mills, Peter (Torrington) Wiggin, A. W.
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Monro, Hector Williams, Donald (Dudley)
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Montgomery, Fergus Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Errington, Sir Eric Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Eyre, Reginald Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Wright, Esmond
Farr, John Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Wylie, N. R.
Fortescue, Tim Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Younger, Hn. George
Foster, Sir John Nott, John
Gibson-Watt, David Onslow, Cranley TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Glover, Sir Douglas Osborn, John (Hallam) Mr. Jasper More and
Goodhart, Philip Page, Graham (Crosby) Mr. Humphrey Atkins.
Gower, Raymond Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Dalyell, Tam Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)
Anderson, Donald Davidson, Arthur (Accrington) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Archer, Peter Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Foley, Maurice
Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw) Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek) Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Ford, Ben
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Delargy, Hugh Forrester, John
Barrett, Joel Dell, Edmund Gardner, Tony
Bidwell, Sydney Dempsey, James Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)
Bishop, E. S. Dewar, Donald Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony
Blenkinsop, Arthur Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Gregory, Arnold
Booth, Albert Dickens, James Grey, Charles (Durham)
Boyden, James Dobson, Ray Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Doig, Peter Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Brooks, Edwin Dunn, James A. Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Broughton, Sir Alfred Dunnett, Jack Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Edwards, William (Merioneth) Hannan, William
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Ellis, John Harper, Joseph
Cant, R. B. English, Michael Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Haseldine, Norman
Concannon, J. D. Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, vardley) Hazell, Bert
Crawshaw, Richard Fernyhough, E. Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret

whether we can carry this further in the rather specific case the hon. Gentleman mentioned, which is much narrower than the normal term "mortgagee in possession", I hope that the Opposition will not press the Amendment.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Noes 162.

Hooley, Frank Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty) Perry, George H. (Nottingham S.)
Horner, John Mackintosh, John P. Price, William, (Rugby)
Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.) McNamara, J. Kevin Probert, Arthur
Hoy, Rt. Hn. James Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.) Rees, Merlyn
Huckfied, Leslie Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Richard, Ivor
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Robertson John (Paisley)
Hynd, John Manuel, Archie Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh) Marks, Kenneth Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Marquand, David Sheldon, Robert
Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Silverman, Julius
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Mendelson, John Skeffington, Arthur
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West) Millan, Bruce Spriggs, Leslie
Judd, Frank Miller, Dr. M. S. Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Kenyon, Clifford Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test) Taverne, Dick
Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Tinn, James
Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Urwin, T. W.
Lawson, George Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Varley, Eric G.
Leadbitter, Ted Neal, Harold Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Newens, Stan Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton) Norwood, Christopher Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Lester, Miss Joan Ogden, Eric Wallace, George
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold (Cheetham) O'Malley, Brian Watkins, David (Consett)
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Oram, Albert E. Wellbeloved, James
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Orme, Stanley Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Loughlin, Charles Oswald Thomas Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Lubbock, Eric Owen, Will (Morpeth) Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Page, Derek (King's Lynn) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Palmer, Arthur Winstanley, Dr. M. P.
McCann, John Pannell, Rt. Hn, Charles Woof, Robert
MacColl, James Pardoe, John
Macdonald, A. H. Park, Trevor TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
McGuire, Michael Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Mr. Ernest Armstrong and
McKay, Mrs. Margaret Pentland, Norman Mr. Ernest G. Perry.
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