HC Deb 28 April 1970 vol 800 cc1074-163
Mr. Mulley

I beg to move Amendment No. 4, in page 2, line 42, at end insert: (7) The Minister may by order made by statutory instrument (which shall be subject to annulment by a resolution of either House of Parliament) change the name of the authority established by subsection (1) above, and an order under this subsection may make such provision as appears to the Minister to be necessary or expedient in consequence of the change of name effected thereby, including provision for amending enactments (whether contained in this or any other Act).

Mr. Speaker

With this Amendment we can discuss Amendment (b), standing in the name of the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) and the names of his hon. Friends, in line 4, leave out ' in ' and insert as a direct '.

Mr. Mulley

This is a very simple point. On a number of occasions people have expressed concern about the proposed title of the new Ports Authority and, in particular, it has been suggested that the word " British " could form part of it. Quite apart from the views which hon. Members may have about its title —and I should be extremely interested to learn about them—I think that it is also a matter of substance to those who will have the responsibility as members of the authority. They, too, will no doubt have views. This matter could also have a bearing on any commercial desirability of starting off with a title which the authority thought properly descriptive.

This follows the precedent in the Iron and Steel Act. The House will recall that the Act originally referred to the " National Steel Corporation "—and by similar powers exercised by the Minister it was renamed the British Steel Corporation. I am not yet sure what would be the most suitable title for the new authority, but I think that the House will understand that some concern has been expressed that " National Ports Authority " is not the most suitable title. This Amendment following precedent, would enable me to alter the title by Order without the cumbersome procedure which would otherwise be involved in having to have numerous Amendments to the Bill.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

The Amendment which the Government are proposing is one which we hope will never be used, because it is our hope that nationalisation will not take place. But if we are to have a nationalised Ports Authority it would be appropriate that a new name could be considered. On the other hand, the Amendment also gives the Government power by making such an Order to provide any other regulation which they think are needed, if they so desire, as a consequence of such a change.

While I am sure that such changes that are consequential are limited, I think that it is a dangerous precedent that we are putting in so many Clauses like this which give power in regulations to amend other Acts. That is why Amendment (b) says that such changes should be " as a direct " consequence of such a change. This limits the Amendment in such a way that it would not impose any hardship or burden on the Minister or the authorrity and I hope that he will accept it.

Mr. Tom Driberg (Barking)

I think that " National Ports Authority " is a satisfactory and adequate name for the new authority. The only reason which occurred to me why the Government might at some time want to change the name is that these bodies always become known by sets of initials and there is already an N.P.A. which is concerned with the publication of newspapers. I do not think that it would lead to a great deal of confusion, but there was some confusion, as my right hon. Friend may know, when the Ministry of Overseas Development was set up. It is now known as the O.D.M. and not the M.O.D., because I gather that a number of highly secret papers for the Ministry of Defence landed up on a desk at the Ministry of Overseas Development. Although I support the Amendment I rather hope that it will not be necessary to call it into effect, but it might be for reasons of convenience.

Mr. Mulley

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg) that in seeking a new name for an authority it is desirable that one should have regard not only to the name, but to the initials which inevitably these days the names become reduced to.

As regards Amendment (b), I do not think that there is much difference between the Opposition's words and mine except perhaps that what they have in mind is that if one uses the phrase " direct consequence " it opens up the possibility of argument very much more. But I make it clear to the House that I have no intention of using this and that my advice is that it cannot be used, in any event, for doing more than was done by the Statutory Instrument that had the same effect for the National Steel Corporation—namely, Statutory Instrument 1107 of 1967.

That merely changed the name in respect of all enactments, instruments, contracts and legal proceedings relating to the corporation. The change in name would have to go through all the documents which might have been issued in the old name so that contracts were in the name of the new body. No more could be done and would be done than this. I suggest and recommend to the House that it follows the precedent and does not accept Amendment (b).

Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)

The point which concerns me about this is why the Minister has to have a Clause in this form. Why has he not come for-word with a definite proposal to name the authority in the proposed change? Why clutter up the Bill with enabling powers of this kind? Why did not the Government go into the matter fully and make a decision and put it to the House at this rather vital stage and then the House could decide whether or not a new name was acceptable. Why leave the matter in a sort of hiatus to be decided by Order, after the Bill is passed? It is remarkable. The Government should have made up their mind and put the name for the new authority to the House today.

4.30 p.m.

Mr. Ridsdale

I support what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower). I cannot understand why the Government have not been able to make up their mind about the title of the authority and why they have to bring forward an Amendment such as this. What pressure has the right hon. Gentleman been under suddenly to alter the title? I hope that he will tell us.

Mr. Mulley

I wish that hon. Members opposite would not be so suspicious. It seems that they think that one never does anything except under pressure. That may be how they behave, but it is not how we behave. I only want to do what is best for the ports industry. I have received representations from many quarters that we should consider introducing the word " British ". No doubt the other place will have views about the matter.

As I have explained, it has been done successfully before without complaint and I think that to follow that precedent would be of general convenience. Hence the Amendment. We wish to avoid the Bill going through without such power. If it did, we would have to have a whole new Act of Parliament to give effect to this proposal.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

My hon. Friends the Members for Barry (Mr. Gower) and Harwich (Mr. Ridsdale) have made an important point. However, as the Minister has said that he will merely use the same kind of regulations as under the Iron and Steel Act, we have no cause for concern. We would not wish to pursue our Amendment (b).

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Speaker

The next Amendment is No. 5, standing in the name of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heifer) and the names of his hon. Friends.

I remind the House that we are operating under the Guillotine. In view of the exchanges which took place earlier, I hope that debates can be short and speeches brief.

I have given consideration to the proposal of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) for a manuscript Amendment, but I have been advised that it would create confusion if, at this stage, we took a manuscript Amendment on which the whole House does not agree, but the points can be made in the debate we are to have on Amendment No. 5, as I pointed out earlier.

Mr. J. H. Osborn

On a point of order. I thank you for your consideration, Mr. Speaker, but I think we had understood that you had accepted the manuscript Amendment. Does this mean that you have changed your mind? The fact that you accepted the paper I handed to you was taken by my hon. Friends to mean that you had accepted the manuscript Amendment. Your Ruling now puts us in a dilemma, particularly those of us who had assumed that we would be debating a much wider issue. I therefore ask you what the position is.

As I understood, you had accepted the manuscript Amendment, but now, because of precedence and the position you find yourself in—which I well understand—you find that you cannot accept it after all. My hon. Friends and I wished to vote on the content of that manuscript Amendment before the Bill went to another place, on the view that the number of ports to be nationalised should be reduced rather than increased. Now, at this late stage, we find that we shall be unable to vote on the matter. I hope that you will amplify the reasons for the decision you have now reached.

Mr. Speaker

I acted in perfect good faith. What the hon. Member for Hallam submitted to me seemed perfectly reasonable, but I said when he put it to me that I thought the points he wished to make could be made in the debate on Amendment No. 5, which we are now to discuss.

I thought that the hon. Member's request for a manuscript Amendment was reasonable and he brought it to me. It was after advice that I had to come to the conclusion that the House itself would be confused if we had a manuscript Amendment which is voted on at this stage. My object is to help the House and I have no other purpose.

Mr. John Tilney (Liverpool Wavertree)

Further to that point of order. Mr. Speaker. I think that my hon. Friends were under the impression that they would be able to vote on the manuscript Amendment submitted by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn). We may be able to discuss the issue it raises, but the important point is that we should be able to vote on it. I think that my hon. Friends have been under a misapprehension.

Mr. Speaker

I am sorry if I gave a false impression. It is unfortunate that the manuscript Amendment was not put on the Notice Paper when I considered my selections. Manuscript Amendments are very difficult procedure. They are usually a proposal drafted with which the House as such is in agreement, and that is hardly the position today. Again, I urge hon. Members to be brief in the debates.

Mr. Heffer

I beg to move Amendment No. 5, in page 2, line 17, leave out ' five million ' and insert ' one hundred thousand '.

I make it clear, Mr. Speaker, that my hon. Friends and I have no intention of filibustering. I cannot understand why hon. Members opposite should get so upset and believe that this would be our objective.

We have put down this Amendment because we feel that there is a great body of opinion in the country, particularly in the docks, which feels that there should be an extension of public ownership beyond the present terms of the Bill. The Amendment is designed to bring within the orbit of public ownership a number of the smaller ports which are not included in the Bill. It is true that in Committee an Amendment was moved calling for ports handling 2 million tons of cargo per year to be included, but this Amendment goes further and urges that all ports handling 100,000 tons or more should be publicly owned.

Mr. John Ellis (Bristol, North-West)

Will my hon. Friend also concede that in Committee I moved an Amendment saying that we should nationalise the whole of the docks industry?

Mr. Heffer

There were certainly Amendments in Committee suggesting that we should nationalise the whole of the industry, but no Amendment on the precise terms of Amendment No. 5, and that is precisely why it is put down for Report.

Some of my hon. Friends and I feel that it is hardly worth nationalising ports handling under 100,000 tons at the present stage, but we certainly feel that all those handling more than 100,000 tons should be publicly owned. The Bill covers all the major ports, doing 90 per cent. of the trade of the country and 95 per cent. of all the registered dock workers. We on this side welcome this as a very important step forward.

I also recognise that, under Clause 29, future transfers of harbours to public ownership can take place, and we also welcome that Clause. However, there are certain developing ports which are not included in the Bill and some of them handle over 2 million tons of cargo a year. In the annexe to the White Paper, " The Reorganisation of the Ports ", these ports are named. They are Blyth, Sunderland, Shoreham, Preston, Heysham and Ipswich. All of these ports handle over 2 million tons a year.

There are also ports such as Felixtowe and Harwich, which are reasonably large, have immense potential and are developing. As I have said, the Bill as drafted gives the new authority power to take over such ports at a later stage if it feels it necessary, but I believe that, in the interest of national planning and the organised development of the ports, the transfer of these ports should take place now and not at a later stage. To hold back from taking them over may create greater problems for the future.

The White Paper on Transport Policy Stated, in paragraph 118: The National Ports Authority will be the main planning and policy agency, and as such will be responsible for the control of the development of a comprehensive national plan for ports, the selection of particular ports and projects for development, and the relationship of the ports plan and port investment to the National Plan. This important concept, which was developed in the first White Paper, of the public ownership of the ports, has been weakened to some extent by not including in the Bill all ports handling more than 100,000 tons. Planning, development and investment could take place elsewhere and I believe that this could mitigate against the publicly-owned ports.

Mr. Keith Stainton (Sudbury and Woodbridge)rose

Mr. Heffer

If I give way I will only lengthen my speech, and that will give rise to complaint.

Mr. Stainton

Is it the hon. Gentleman's impression that the two Harbours Acts which control the national development of ports, whatever their size, will cease when this Measure becomes law?

Mr. Heffer

I am not suggesting anything of the sort. I am suggesting that there could be developments in other ports which could clash with the interests of the overall control of port development. Naturally, this would have to be discussed, and I am not prepared at this stage to waste the time of the House by going into the matter in detail. I am endeavouring to put my case briefly so that there is ample time for hon. Members to discuss the other Amendments which stand on the Notice Paper.

The White Paper to which I referred also pointed out that … estimates of our port requirements may have to be modified in the light of the container revolution that is now under way. What this means in terms of berth capacity can be simply illustrated. Whereas an ordinary deep-sea berth may be expected to handle approximately 100,000 tons of cargo a year, a containerised berth can be expected to handle not less than one million tons a year. and possibly more. In other words, a port which at present is handling only 100,000 tons a year or slightly more could quickly develop into a much larger port without very much development of the port berthing facilities. The development of a couple of new deep-water berths could make such a port a much larger-scale one. We wish to see these ports brought into public ownership at the earliest possible moment.

A few weeks ago the House of Commons saw an invasion of dock workers who demanded the fullest nationalisation of the ports. They urged that all ports should be publicly owned and, frankly—I do not apologise for this view—I thought that the dockers were absolutely right in their demand. On the other hand, they had a number of wrongly conceived ideas in thinking that, for example, the Bill would do things that it will not do and that it would look after all their interests in every respect.

It is also true that if we were to bring into public ownership all ports handling upwards of 100,000 tons, some of the very small ports such as Cowes and Whitstable would be included, and I would regard that as being perfectly correct.

Another factor which concerns the dockers and me is the fact that in the dim and distant future—we know that this will not happen in the near future—we may have a different Minister of Transport who is a member of a Government of a different complexion, or even a different Minister within a Government of a similar complexion, who is not as keen as the present Minister on public ownership. This would be regrettable and it is, therefore, important that we should make the position abundantly clear. If we are to bring the ports industry into public ownership, we might as well do a first-class job now and complete the task in one fell swoop rather than delay part of the operation until a later stage.

4.45 p.m.

A number of larger ports are not included—large in the sense that they handle more than 2 million tons—although they are close to some of the biggest ports. Preston is a good example of this. I see no reason why Preston should not be included for public ownership, with Mersey and Manchester, and brought under the control of the boards which will cover those areas.

Some of the much smaller ports which would be brought into public ownership under our proposal—I am thinking of ports like Milford Haven, Shoreham and Heysham—have workers who do not come under the Dock Labour Scheme. If those ports were publicly owned there would be a great incentive to develop this scheme for these workers, and this is another reason why the dockers would be happy if our proposal were accepted.

Mr. Michael Heseltinerose

Mr. Heffer

I understand that if the Amendment were approved, difficulties would be created in that we would have a Hybrid Bill. That might delight hon. Gentlemen opposite and if they had any sense they would vote for the Amendment. It would at least make it difficult for the Government to continue with the Bill. However, even this difficulty could be overcome. I urge the Minister to consider the arguments which I have adduced and which my hon. Friends will put to him and give a sympathetic reply to the call for expansion and extension of the proposals in the Bill for the ports industry as a whole.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

I regret that the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) was not courteous enough to give way to me so that, for the convenience of the House, he could have explained why the level of 100,000 tons would make the Bill hybrid when the level of 5 million tons does not.

I protest at the hon. Member for Walton making a speech the points of which were made extremely thoroughly and in great detail by many of his hon. Friends in Committee. He did not adduce one point that was not made on many occasions in Committee. His speech today was a repetition of the case advocated by his hon. Friends, and his intervention has only helped to ensure that we will not have sufficient time to examine the important Amendments which stand in the name of the Minister.

Mr. Heffe

r: All the hon. Gentleman's speeches are repetitious.

Mr. Heseltine

I regard what has occurred as a most serious situation. The hon. Gentleman's arguments were all extremely general: they were vague almost to the point of incomprehension. Not one of his arguments— this has characterised the whole debate on nationalisation—showed what benefits will flow from the Bill.

Mr. Heffer

Oh, dear.

Mr. Heseltine

It would have been helpful had the hon. Gentleman been on the Standing Committee, where he could have done the job in a proper fashion in the right place.

The hon. Gentleman argued that a considerable number of people wanted the Bill. That will not stand examination. I draw to the attention of the entire ports and ship-owning industry, let alone the Minister, the fact that by far his most significant argument was that the Bill represented an important step forward, because, he said, under Clause 29 future transfers could take place.

Time and again the Minister has argued that the Bill should be allowed to pass quickly into law because it will bring uncertainty in the docks industry to an end, and all concerned will know where they stand. It had better be clearly understood that the vast majority of ports that are left out of the Bill do not know where they stand.

All they know is that there is a dedicated group within the Labour movement who will seek to use parliamentary pressure on the Government to operate Clause 29 as soon as they can. This started under the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) in 1966, has been continued under this Government, and is now to be continued onward. Notice has been given today that this is to go on.

Mr. Ellis

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I would be grateful for your advice. The hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) seems to be going rather wide of this limited Amendment. I seek to know how wide hon. Members who speak subsequently will be allowed to go in suggesting that we should nationalise the docks. I think that we should all play the game according to the same terms.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harry Gourlay)

I am grateful to the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis), but the Chair never rules hypothetically. I have been listening to the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) and so far he has kept within the rules of order.

Mr. Stainton

Further to that point of order. I do not know whether you are aware, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that Mr. Speaker gave the House to understand that this debate could range over the terms of a manuscript Amendment, which has not been accepted, which would lift the amount from £5 million to £10 million.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

In giving my Rulings, I have regard to what has been said previously.

Mr. Heseltine

I took a careful note of what the hon. Member for Walton said and I am going through point by point of the arguments he advanced.

I have absolutely no doubt that hon. Members opposite agree that the logic of those arguments is that notice is now being served that the period of uncertainty which the Minister has been telling us is coming to an end is now only beginning for all other operators of ports and harbours, and not only them but for all those associated with ancillary activities within ports and harbours.

The hon. Member's second argument was that the present policy is weakened by not including all ports over 100,000 tons. As we have not yet succeeded in extracting from the Minister any idea of what is to happen to the ports and no one knows who will serve on the regional boards and what companies they will take over, I do not understand how the hon. Member can argue that this policy will be weakened by leaving some ports in and some out.

The Minister said that we have a big chunk here and we should let those who are appointed get on with the job. I would have listened to a reasoned argument by the hon. Member on this, but there was none. This has forced us back to the conclusion that this is a doctrinal Bill based on the conviction of hon. Members opposite that State ownership is desirable as an end in itself and that they are moving the frontiers further and further forward regardless of the arguments. The hon. Member convinced me this afternoon that that is one of the fundamental objectives he has.

The hon. Member moved to the argument that the dockers want total nationalisation of the ports. He pointed to a fact, of which we are all abundantly aware, that large numbers of dockers came to the House of Commons a few weeks ago to get their message across. What he did not tell us was where those dockers came from and, even more important, from where they did not come.

To my knowledge there was not a docker among them from Blyth, Shoreham, Ipswich, Heysham, Felixstowe, Harwich, or any of the other ports he mentioned. It is even arguable that they did not come because it was a long way to come. He did not tell us how many strikes took place in any of the ports he mentioned. I know, and the Minister knows, the answer. I am sure that in his heart, if not in his mind, the hon. Member knows the answer. Not a single strike took place in favour of extending the Bill in any of the ports mentioned by the hon. Member.

It was fascinating to see where strikes took place. They took place in Hull, Liverpool and London. In none of the major ports within the proposals to nationalise was there a strike in favour of extending nationalisation to the ports mentioned by the hon. Member. In only three of the 13 ports affected by the Bill can it be argued that the dockers cared sufficiently to strike. It is interesting to note that in Manchester and Bristol, two of the largest ports which are not within the ownership of statutory bodies or the British Transport Docks Board—one privately owned and one municipally owned — there was no strike and no dockers came to London to advocate the policies put forward by the hon. Member.

Mr. Ellis

In Bristol, the dockers have every confidence—I work closely with them and they give me their point of view— that all docks, not just those of over 100,000 tons, should be nationalised. They knew that I had that point of view and that I was on their side. They did not have to strike to make that known. It is peculiar to suggest that they should have to strike to get that argument home.

Mr. Heseltine

Would the hon. Member explain to his hon. Friend the Member for Poplar why the dockers of London found it necessary to come here to tell the architect of the Bill that they were in favour of extending nationalisation? Anyone with the honesty of the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis) knows that no one has done a census of opinion about what dockers in Bristol want. [HON. MEMBERS: " The unions."] The unions have said it, yes.

I fully appreciate that there are those elected to pursue higher wages and better working conditions who take to themselves political overtones and add to them the belief that they should advocate nationalisation. [Interruption.] I should have thought that hon. Members opposite who are getting so agitated should be more concerned about what those in their constitutencies want than about what the unions want.

Mr. Simon Mahon (Bootle)

Will the hon. Member take it from me that the dockers and all workers on the waterfront believe 100 per cent. in nationalisation? The reason is that their previous conditions—I speak from personal knowledge—were a sin crying to heaven for vengeance.

Mr. Heseltine

At least, the hon. Member is able to argue consistently that dockers in Liverpool have given some indication of support for the Bill, but it is equally true that those in Manchester did not do so. The vast majority have not shown political support, only a small group of people who hold trade union offices in those ports. The most that one can claim is that no one knows what the dockers want.

Mr. John Mendelson (Penistone)

Is it now accepted Tory doctrine, pronounced from the Opposition Front Bench, that people have to go on strike to express a certain point of view about the future of an industry? The hon. Member had better move from that doctrine before his Leader comes back.

Mr. Heseltine

I was dealing with the point made by the hon. Member for Walton that the great case he had was that dockers came to the House of Commons threatening to strike—

Mr. Heffer

I did not say anything of the kind.

Mr. Heseltine

He did not mention a strike, but how does he explain how they came to the House of Commons on that Tuesday morning?

Mr. Heffer

They took a day off.

Mr. Heseltine

Now the hon. Member is saying that they took a day off and went on strike. At least we should have a consistent argument from him.

The hon. Member for Walton added that it is conceivable that there could come a different Minister of Transport who was not so keen on pursuing a policy of public ownership. That is something on which we could all agree. The party I represent would not consider implementing Clause 29. We would not consider allowing the small ports outside the National Ports Authority to believe that they will face the uncertainty which the hon. Gentleman engendered. There is not the slightest prospect of our allowing this wanton and quite unjustified extension of State ownership when we come to power as I have not the slightest doubt we shall as soon as the Government have the courage to test their policies in a General Election.

Mr. Ellis

I ask my hon. Friends not to become so excited when the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) takes the particularly arrogant line that he often takes in twisting the argument. Those of us who were on the Committee have great experience of this and have learned to bear it with some fortitude, if not always with patience. He still gets under my skin occasionally.

Avonmouth is in my constituency. The dockers in Bristol are 100 per cent. behind the proposals in the Bill. If they have any criticism of the Transport and General Workers' Union, of which I am a member, it is that it is not militant enough, and not the other way round. Their feelings stem from the conditions in the Bristol docks up to the time the present Government did something about them. Under previous legislation there were about 70 employers in those docks. We reduced them to a reasonable figure. Men used to have to stand around in the pens at Bristol waiting to be selected for work. Sometimes they got jobs and sometimes they did not.

We on this side of the House are often told to forget the cloth cap of Keir Hardie and the harsh industrial tradition that gave rise to our party. I entered the House at the last General Election. The system in Bristol when I was elected, only a few years ago, was that men still stood around in pens waiting to be selected for employment. For the first time they have good conditions of work, and they know that that is because of the Government's intervention. They are willing and anxious for the Bill to proceed.

Some of the old employers had no equipment. Most of it was provided by a municipally-owned port—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will come a little closer to the terms of the Amendment. He is going rather wide.

Mr. Ellis

I raised a point of order earlier, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was not in a position to see the manuscript Amendment, but I took it from an intervention that the debate was to be allowed to proceed extremely widely. I shall do my best to keep in order, although it is very difficult in view of the assurance about the raising of points on a manuscript Amendment which I have not seen.

Mr. J. H. Osborn

It may help the hon. Gentleman if I tell him that the manuscript Amendment is in page 2, line 17, to leave out " five million " and insert " ten million ". I hope that I shall have a chance to speak to it.

5.10 p.m.

Mr. Ellis

It is because of the way in which men have been used in the docks that some of my hon. Friends say that the sooner we get the private sector out of the dock industry altogether the better. That will be a red letter day. We are not prepared to see these provisions watered down so that there are any exclusions.

My hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. Roy Hughes) and I put down an Amendment in Committee saying that we should take over all docks. My hon. Friend the Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) had an Amendment saying that the figure should be 2 million tons instead of 5 million. My hon. Friend the Member for Newport and I saw that we were isolated on our demand for complete nationalisation of the dock industry and, therefore, withdrew our Amendment and supported my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar. Therefore, I very much agree with the present Amendment, which goes some way towards meeting the needs of the situation.

Private enterprise has proved over the years that it was prepared to use the workers only in the most despicable way. There has been a great fight in the docks to end the old system, and we are seeing the end of that fight. As a result of their experience, dockers do not wish to see smaller ports failing to benefit. They have a very real fear here, because they have seen one section of men and one port antagonised against another. They do not want to see this encouraged. It is wrong for hon. Gentlemen opposite. whether they are in opposition, as I think they will be for a considerable time, or in office, or through their private contacts with the industry, to encourage sectional strife.

For these reasons my hon. Friends and I will support the Amendment. We are very pleased to welcome the end of a terrible time in the docks. Now workers there will have real stature and have a say in running the docks in which they work.

Mr. J. H. Osborn

In speaking to the Amendment, I wish to bring in my manuscript Amendment which, as I have said, is to leave out ' five million ' and insert ' ten million '.

When we discussed whether the Amendment should be included, hon. Members on this side pointed out that inevitably its inclusion would make the debate cover a much wider issue. Do we nationalise at all, or do we not nationalise? If we are to nationalise, to what extent are we to do it? How are the ports to be nationalised?

The Minister is like a bomb disposal officer, wanting to dispose of a high explosive bomb—the Bill. He must want to get it into another place as soon as he can rather than sit on it here.

" Signposts for the Sixties ", 10 years ago, warned us that the Bill and many other measures would be imposed on the country. " Agenda for a Generation " indicates that many more industries will be nationalised. The hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis) reminded us of his Amendment in Committee which he withdrew in favour of the Amendment of his hon. Friend the Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo). The hon. Member for Bristol, North-West held the view that all ports should be nationalised. That would be one more implementation of Clause Four, calling for public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, which Mr. Gaitskell, then Leader of the Opposition, was unable to remove from the Labour Party doctrine.

The hon. Member for Bristol, North-West, and particularly his hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer), who deployed his arguments very carefully, have assumed that nationalisation will cure many of the management problems facing the ports. That is one of the most false assumptions that can be made. There are problems. The structure of every industry is changing, and so is the structure of the docks, particularly after the 1964 Act, let alone the 1966 Act. A momentum was gained after the 1964 Act, and under a competent Government with the will to implement that Act many of the managerial deficiencies could have been ironed out in the past six years.

This has not happened. We get from hon. Gentlemen opposite an implication —almost an insult—about the competence of the management of these docks. That is fair enough. These are powerful words which will be reported to the dockers in their constituencies. But is this what we really want? We want modernisation and improvement of the docks. But would not proper implementation of the 1964 Act have achieved these objects rather than a measure to nationalise all the ports?

Mr. Heffer

I made no reference to the management of any of the various ports and harbours. In no way did I insult or attack them. In fact, the argument that I deployed was the need to extend and expand public ownership. It may be that many managements will be the same, but they will have a greater opportunity of developing as a result of public ownership instead of being held back, as they are now, by private enterprise.

Mr. Osborn

I think that it was the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis) who used the words " despicable conditions ".

Mr. Ellis

This is their history. They have had terrible working conditions. The men were picked out like animals. I hold the profit motive and the harsh conditions responsible for the state of labour relations now and over the years in the Bristol docks.

Mr. Osborn

The hon. Gentleman has supported what I was saying. He has confirmed that this implies that those who ran, operated, managed and owned the ports would be responsible.

The 1964 Act was passed with all-party agreement. If vigorously implemented by the Government of the day —the Government have had six years to implement it—it could have brought about the modernisation of the docks and improved relations and so made this Measure utterly unnecessary. But I do not wish to pursue this point now.

The hon. Member for Walton said that the dockers in his area welcomed the Bill, and he implied that they wanted wholesale nationalisation. We have discussed whether the dockers who came here were on strike or not. The hon. Gentleman implied that if the Amendment is not accepted the provisions in Clause 29, about which my hon. Friend the Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) reminded us, will continue the state of uncertainty in the docks. As was mentioned on Second Reading and in Committee, the docks and harbours are not solely for the benefit of the dockers and people earning their living in them. Our docks and harbours are surely for the import of raw materials and stock for our industries and the export of our products to our customers. Industry as a whole—management, owners, and particularly the workers—wants to be assured that the products of its endeavours can be exported efficiently at as low a price as possible to its customers.

I can assure hon. Gentlemen opposite who have spoken that they do not represent the views of all dockers in their constituencies. I doubt whether the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West represents the views of more than a handful of dockers in his constituency, because he is speaking against the views of many of them on this issue.

If the process and scale of nationalisation goes badly it will handicap and shackle industry for some time to come. The Opposition did not want to debate this Second Reading issue at this stage. with the Guillotine operating. I put forward a manuscript Amendment, and I am disappointed that we shall not be able to vote upon it. Given time, I believe that we might have altered the figure from 10 million to 20 million tons.

This brings me to which docks should be inside or outside this nationalisation Measure. Once the Bill reaches the Statute Book effective competition through our ports will be eliminated. It is suggested that the National Ports Authority will bring about an element of competition. But how can it? It will go the way of the British Steel Corporation which now has standard prices throughout. Therefore, I hone that hon. Gentlemen opposite will consider the consequences of the elimination of this competition. It could mean that the cost of shipping goods through any port will be so high that alternative methods will have to be considered.

Mr. John Mendelson

The hon. Gentleman, in passing, mentioned the British Steel Corporation. He is painting a picture of the users of the ports—the people we represent in this House— being in a worse position. Does he recall that the Steel Users' Association was the first to support the recent price decisions of the British Steel Corporation?

5.15 p.m.

Mr. Osborn

I support the price decisions. I do not think that the steel users supported an increase in the price of steel.

Mr. Mendelson

They did. They are on record—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I do not think that we should pursue this aspect on this Amendment.

Mr. Mendelson

It is important.

Mr. Osborn

I was saying that the British Steel Corporation has established a standard price. I made no reference to the level of prices. The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) typically puts words into the mouths of hon. Gentlemen opposite. We are talking about standard prices.

Mr. Mendelson

On a point of order. The hon. Gentleman has on several occasions, quite deliberately, brought in as an example the publicly-owned steel industry. If he is entitled to do that, I submit that I, representing a steel constituency, am entitled to put him right on the facts.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I thought that the hon. Member was going to introduce more detail.

Mr. Mendelson

No. The Steel Users' Association was the first, on the level of recent increases, even before the Government gave their decision, to support the new prices. That should be on record.

Mr. Osborn

The hon. Member for Penistone may put this on record, but it is nothing to do with the argument. If he wishes to clarify what I am saying he is welcome to do so.

If the Amendment is accepted it means that effective competition within British ports will be eliminated. If effective competition is eliminated and if the usual process of a State corporation takes its course and the costs for handling goods go up, then we, as a trading nation, may regret this Measure. I therefore hope that the Minister will resist the Amendment, because free enterprise docks might provide that element of competition which will keep a monolithic docks organisation on its toes.

Mr. Ormerose

Mr. Speaker

Order. I have appealed for brief speeches.

Mr. Orme

I will be brief. It is only fair to state that the short speeches have come from this side and that the long speeches have come from hon. Gentlemen opposite.

I want to come to the central objection of the opposition to the Amendment. My hon. Friends and I find it absolutely extraordinary that hon. Gentlemen opposite should consider that we should not debate a major facet of the Bill in the House as a whole. Many facets were discussed in Committee, but surely the House is entitled to discuss these matters. My hon. Friends and I make no apology for putting down the Amendment, as many of our constituents are involved.

The hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) in his interjection called the contribution of my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) vague, incomprehensible and incoherent, but he reached quickly enough the central point, that my hon. Friend said that we wanted the Bill to include the vast majority of ports because, otherwise, there will not be comprehensive nationalisation of the whole industry.

I declare my interest in this. The Manchester ports about which a great deal of heat was generated in Committee are mostly in my constituency, Salford. That is one of the ironies of the situation, that the Manchester Docks are in Salford.

Mr. H. J. Delargy (Thurrock)

And " Manchester United ".

Mr. Orme

Unfortunately, they are just across the road in Stretford. It has been said that the Manchester dockers had not gone on strike to demonstrate that they were in favour of an extension of the Bill. This is a strange philosophy to come from the hon. Member for Tavistock. Am I to say to those dockers that the spokesman for the Conservative Party feels that they are not expressing their views on nationalisation strongly enough and that in future they must strike? Perhaps he would like to come with me and expound these views, if he does not think that the Manchester dockers are in favour of nationalisation.

Shareholders in the Manchester Docks have come down on me like confetti to protest against the compensation terms, and the Joint Parliamentary Secretary has diligently written many letters dealing with the correspondence which I have sent to him. I have received no objection from the dockers to the public ownership of the Manchester Docks. Dockers to whom I have spoken—not union officials—are fully in favour of the Bill and of public ownership of the Manchester Docks, and it is a travesty of the facts to say that they are not. It is a smoke-screen put out by the shareholders and by the directors of the Manchester Ship Canal Company, which should come to nought when put alongside what the dockers want and what is in the interests of the industry as a whole.

The development of containerisation in many smaller ports could detrimentally affect publicly-owned ports. Clause 29 allows for the extension, and I want to see Clause 29 implemented when possible. The hon. Gentleman can make what use he likes of that, either in my constituency or elsewhere, but we want an extension of public ownership of the docks. We do not need the dockers to come down to tell us this. That was why, unlike the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor), we did not panic when the dockers came to the House on a perfectly legitimate lobby. They came, as the farmers, the teachers and many other sectors of industry came, to express a point of view. That they were not able to persuade my right hon. Friend to accept all the points they made shows that he is not entirely susceptible to pressure, whether from dockers or elsewhere. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Walton that some of the views expressed were misguided because the dockers were not fully conversant with the terms of the Bill.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Gentleman must not get wide of the Amendment.

Mr. Orme

I am sorry. The dockers who came here were in favour of the full extension of public ownership and wanted to see docks not included within the Bill brought into public ownership. They felt that there would then be a fully comprehensive publicly owned industry and they would not be threatened by the private sector.

Mr. F. P. Crowder (Ruislip-Northwood)

I declare my interest at once in the port of Charlestown in Cornwall, where we have the happiest relationship with the dockers, and have done for 160 years. They do not wish to own that port. We have looked after them, and they have looked after us, and we get on extremely well. The last thing they want is national ownership.

Mr. Orme

The hon. and learned Gentleman is conversant with the dockers he represents, but I do not know whether they will accept the paternal tones in which he has expressed himself.

Mr. Crowder

They look after me, and I look after them.

Mr. Orme

I will leave the dockers in the hon. and learned Gentleman's constituency to decide for themselves whether or not they favour public ownership.

Mr. Staintonrose

Mr. Speaker

Since we are under the Guillotine, I hope that we can have a short debate.

Mr. Stainton

I am grateful to be reminded of that. The hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) was developing the interesting point about the fears in the nationalised sector that might arise about what is left out of the nationalised sector. One could understand this argument to mean that there is considerably more virility in the private sector than there ever will be in the nationalised sector. Otherwise I fail to interpret the argument.

Mr. Orme

The experience of the dockers leaves them with the feeling that the docks should be brought into full public ownership. They have suffered in the past—

Mr. Stainton

That was not the point the hon. Gentleman was making.

Mr. Orme

That is the argument I am deploying at the moment. The benefits to the dockers within the publicly-owned sector may not be so apparent within the private sector, as we have seen in the aircraft industry.

Mr. Stainton rose

Mr. Orme

I cannot give way, although I want to see the Amendment fully debated. I am not filibustering. We want to see the docks fully efficient and working in the interests of the country, and we want the labour relations of yesterday to become history. I hope the Amendment will be accepted so that we can go from strength to strength.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I again remind the House that we are under the Guillotine. We finish a certain stage of the Bill at 10.30 p.m. Debates should be reasonably brief.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Ridsdale

The most efficient ports are the ports handling under 5 million tons of cargo. Have there been any strikes in these ports or any refusals to handle containers? The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) knows very well that there have been no strikes in these ports or any difficulties in the handling of containers. Indeed, they have been an example to other ports.

Why is the hon. Gentleman being so vindictive in wishing to bring these efficient ports which are working so well within the ambit of nationalisaton? These small ports have been pathfinders to Liverpool and London in their handling of containers and their industrial relations. I only wish the hon. Gentleman would come and visit some of them to see how excellently they are working, both in their industrial relations and indeed in carrying out the recommendations of the Devlin Committee long before London and Liverpool have been able to do.

I understand the depth of feeling by hon. Members opposite because of the difficulties of decasualisation in the past. But because history has been bad in the past this is no reason now to spoil good organisations. That is what will happen if this Amendment is accepted. The hon. Member must know that the wages and salaries paid in the private ports compare favourably with those paid in Tilbury and Liverpool, and indeed exceed them. The reason is that the productivity in the private ports is excellent and they have good capital investment. This is why I am so glad that the Minister is exempting these ports, and I hope that he will continue to exempt them, from the dead hand of nationalisation. I understand the problems in Liverpool and London. but we do not wish to export them to the smaller ports.

My remarks will be brief, Mr. Speaker, in view of your appeal to the House for short speeches. A further important point is that the management in the small ports is excellent and the relations between management and men in consultations about productivity are extremely good. Why do hon. Members opposite wish to be old-fashioned and doctrinaire? Why do they want to hark back to the old days and to spoil efficient, excellent ports which are bringing so much good to the country?

Mr. Driberg

I shall speak for only a minute or a minute and a half in response to your appeal, Mr. Speaker, with which I entirely agree.

I was astonished to hear the word " vindictive " used of my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer). It is the least vindictive action in the world to try to liberate dock workers or any other workers from the tyranny of private avarice for which the Conservative Party stands.

It was interesting to hear what the hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton) said about public and private sectors, but it does not answer the fears which have been expressed by those who came to lobby us last month. Rightly or wrongly, they fear the possibility of a fairly massive transfer of operations from one of the major ports which are to be taken over to one of the minor ports which are not yet to be taken over, to try to dodge public ownership. If anything of that kind were attempted, and I am not sure that it would be practicable, I hope that the authority would not hesitate to use Clause 29 of the Bill.

Dr. M. P. Winstanley (Cheadle)

I oppose the Amendment. I shall try to make a short speech, but as a Liberal I am not privy to the communications that pass between the " usual channels " and I am not sure what precisely is intended by this Amendment. However, it would appear that the debate on this Amendment has come to be the crucial debate on the general question of nationalisation. As such it appears to be the only opportunity that my party has of ventilating its anxieties. I will try to keep in order; no doubt you, Mr. Speaker, will remind me if I do not do so.

I am sure the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) will not be surprised to hear that the Liberal Party does not agree with hon. Members opposite on this crucial question of nationalisation. We often agree with them on other matters, such as human questions and certain questions of foreign policy on which we talk the same kind of language. But we talk a totally different language on nationalisation. We do not share the passionate belief displayed by hon. Members opposite in nationalisation as a solution to all problems, nor do we necessarily believe that private enterprise can provide all the answers.

We have endeavoured for a long time —and this is relevant to this Amendment which seeks to nationalise the whole of the docks industry—to pioneer alternative solutions.

Hon. Members

Middle of the road.

Dr. Winstanley

What is the matter with the middle of the road? [An HON. MEMBER: One gets run over."] Those who cling to the sides of the road are as likely as others to strike obstacles. We believe that this is a crucial matter.

In organising large-scale functions of this kind it is necessary to observe accountability and a degree of corn-competition. The only answer of hon. Members opposite is that of nationalisation.

Mr. Speaker

Order. We are discussing a specific Amendment. We are not discussing nationalisation in general.

Dr. Winstanley

I do not wish to dispute your Ruling, Mr. Speaker. We are discussing nationalisation in particular, and therefore I will pass from the general to the particular and come to the remarks of the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis). He seemed to suggest that the whole reason for this Amendment was the harsh conditions that formerly existed in the docks. I do not dispute that there were harsh conditions, but it is wrong to suggest that harsh conditions must inevitably exist in any kind of organisation of industry except nationalisation. There were harsh conditions in agriculture, in the cottage industries, and so on. In those cases nationalisation is not automatically the answer. Such nationalisation as has taken place in various sections of the economy, and much of it rightly, has not brought about the kind of remedies the hon. Gentleman suggests will be brought to the docks industry.

I see, Mr. Speaker, you are not thoroughly in sympathy with me. Nevertheless, it would be wrong if I were to resume my seat without demonstrating that we regard this Amendment as crucial. Either we have more nationalisation or no nationalisation at all. We take a different point of view, and this is the only place I can express it on the narrow subject of the docks.—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker


Dr. Winstanley

I am getting so used to being called to order that I thought you were referring to me. In fact, you were referring to someone else.

If one could find evidence of an ability to organise industries under public ownership in such a way as to achieve everything that was necessary, out attitude might change. We are not wholly opposed to public ownership. In some cases we recommend it, and even extensions of it. A case in point is water supplies—[Interruption.] This is not a laughing matter. The party in power at the moment is apparently wholly wedded to the principle of nationalisation since it believes that it can solve all the problems—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must confine himself to whether we extend the public ownership of the docks, which is the purpose of this Amendment.

Dr. Winstanley

I thought by now that I had made it clear that I was not in favour of an extension of public ownership of the docks—certainly not to the extent advocated in the Amendment. We do not say that there is no case for the public ownership of certain docks, especially with the integration of transport services generally in certain areas or regions. What we say emphatically is that nationalised control on the pattern followed so far by our nationalised industries is not the way to organise small enterprises such as those envisaged in the Amendment.

It is not the way to run large enterprises like the Manchester Ship Canal Company, which the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) introduced into his speech. He appeared to be arguing for the nationalised control of that company, and his main support lay in the fact that the dockers are in favour of it. Obviously their opinions must be considered. No solution which is not acceptable to the people working in the industry concerned will turn out to be a workable one. However, that is not the only argument, since we must consider how an industry is best operated.

The Manchester Ship Canal has shown that it is capable of operating in a highly efficient way. For many years, it has shown great imagination, initiative and a sense of public service. It is much admired by people who live in the area. I am one of them, and I take notice of what the dockers think—

Mr. Tilneyrose

Dr. Winstanley

I will give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment. I would like to see private industry run in different ways so that workpeople have a greater share in management, and so on. However, the solution provided in this Amendment is the wrong one. If hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite are not satisfied with private enterprise and seek another way of organising matters, they should look for an entirely different way which involves the greater participation of workpeople, co-ownership, and matters of that kind. It is important to make clear that there is a third side to the argument. We do not face total private enterprise or total nationalisation. There is another solution, and we think that it is a better one.

Mr. Tilney

Before the hon. Gentleman sits down—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I think that the hon. Member for Cheadle (Dr. Winstanley) had sat down.

Dr. Winstanley

I promised the hon. Gentleman that I would give way to him.

Mr. Tilney

Will the hon. Gentleman make it clear that the Liberal Party is opposed to all nationalisation of the Manchester Ship Canal Company?

Dr. Winstanley

That is quite correct.

5.45 p.m.

Mr. Simon Mahon

I intervene briefly as the representative of one of the coun- try's largest ports, and I cannot agree that the tonnage going through a port should dictate whether the port is nationalised or denationalised. My experience of the docks and my interest in the industry's welfare compel me to the view that all our ports should be nationalised one hundred per cent. I have no doubt about that, and I want to offer whatever advice I can to my right hon. Friend.

It was in 1929 that I first set foot on the Liverpool dockside, so I have some experience of an industry which has been turbulent, unjust and undignified. For that reason, I support this Amendment. I believe that it is in the best interests of the industry.

In my opinion, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite should be ashamed to talk about what has transpired in the past. I do not know how they have the effrontery to talk in such terms, in view of what has gone before.

In Merseyside, I mix with a fairly broad spectrum of people. I do not only mix with trade unionists or people in my own sphere of public life. I mix with ship owners and the people who run the port. Liverpool is the greatest exporting port in the country, and the ship owners operating from it are placing a lot of hope in this Bill nationalising the port of Liverpool. Many of them would like to see its provisions extended to the smaller ports—

Mr. Michael Heseltine

It would help the House if the hon. Gentleman could name one ship owner who has advocated the nationalisation of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board.

Mr. Mahon

That is the general position which has been relayed to me.

Mr. Heseltine

Name one.

Mr. Mahon

The hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) is a very arrogant young man. When he was asked for information on a certain point, he treated the House with some discourtesy. Bust I will try and arrange for the information to be presented to the hon. Gentleman in detail. I know a number of ship owners. Only last Friday, I was in the company of a group of shipping personalities. They expressed to me the hope that there will now be peace in the industry.

We cannot hark back to the past all the time. What my hon. Friends have said is right. We all know what happened in 1911, 1912, 1926, and between 1939 and 1945, when there was decasualisation. We can all talk of the past and about the iniquities in the industry. However, we have to move on from there.

My right hon. Friend has considerable difficulties. More than anything else, he wants peace in the industry. He hopes to see a reduction in the number of strikes. However, nationalisation will not bring the millennium. It will bring its own difficulties. Anyone who knows the first thing about shipping appreciates that every ship coming into a dock represents another problem. It is not the docks which are the problem. It is the ships which come into the docks. They bring in problems with them. They bring in trouble and turbulence with them. They present the dock workers with different circumstances. That is just one reason why there will never be peace all the time.

We want fewer strikes, but that situation will never come about unless all our ports are nationalised. While one group of people has different working conditions from other groups, real or imaginary difficulties are exacerbated.

Today, we have heard hon. Gentlemen opposite discussing dock workers in a paternalistic way. However, I want to remind them that most of the personalities who spent their lives in the docks and who would have supported this Amendment gave a lifetime of service to the industry, at the end of which they got nothing.

I wonder if hon. Gentlemen opposite know that the first men to be retired from the docks after 45 or 50 years hard diligent work, having put up with the social and economic difficulties which hon. Members on both sides deplore, received 10s. a week and £100 pay-off money to get the hell out of the docks because they were old and getting in the way. This is the basis of some of the ire which we feel.

I am not a 100 per cent. nationaliser. I do not want to nationalise everything but if one industry is crying out to heaven for vengeance it is the docks industry. We will be making a mistake if we do not close these gaps, because while they exist we will not get the atmosphere in this industry which my right hon. Friend needs.

Some hon. Gentlemen opposite claim that my hon. Friends who have spoken on this issue represent a particular group in the House and that they are speaking only for those who comprise that group. If ever my hon. Friends were speaking with a united voice in the interests of the nation and this great industry, it is today. We should never forget that our whole economic health depends on this industry, and I hope that the Amendment will be considered in that light.

Mr. Gower

The hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) and the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) placed great emphasis on the impressive nature of the demonstration of the dockers at the House of Commons some time ago.

It may have been impressive as a token of their support for an extension of nationalisation to cover the smaller ports, but it was valid for my hon. Friend the Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) to point out that the dockers who demonstrated on that occasion tended to come from the docks which are already embraced by the Bill and not from those which are excluded.

Mr. John Mendelsonrose

Mr. Gower

I will give way to the hon. Gentleman because he is usually fair-minded about these things and will no doubt accept that dockers employed in ports which are not embraced by the Bill were singularly absent on that occasion.

Mr. John Mendelson

I intervened in the speech of the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) because he seemed to be saying that unless people go on strike they are not expressing their opinion about the future of their industry. I thought that that was a dangerous Tory doctrine, since he appeared to say that unless one indulges in strikes one is not giving one's view on the future of one's industry.

Mr. Gower

I thought that my hon. Friend said that striking was one method which had been adopted as a token for expressing views.

The feeling expressed by hon. Gentlemen opposite, and notably by the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Simon Mahon), is that there may be great advantage in bringing the whole of this industry into State ownership. This unfortunately, is one of the terrible weaknesses in the argument of those who advocate State ownership. They are intolerant of any excluded sector, whether it be meritorious or lacking in merit. This is an appalling commentary on those who advocate an extension of State ownership.

Those who take this view are avaricious and want to embrace everything. It is not fear but greed. My hon. Friend the Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton) thought that hon. Gentlemen opposite might be afraid of the small sector that will be excluded. They are not afraid. Already by the Bill they are grabbing 90 per cent. of the docks industry and 90 per cent. of the employing capacity of the industry. They cannot endure the tiny sector which will be left out. That is why I say it is greed and not fear.

Mr. Heffer

I cannot understand the hon. Gentleman's reference to " grabbing " and " greed ". Is he suggesting that by advocating full public ownership we shall get some personal gain? His argument is absolutely irresponsible.

Mr. Gower

Hon. Gentlemen opposite are taking over, appropriating, 90 per cent. of the industry, and they cannot endure the prospect of even a small part being excluded.

How on earth can one have any sort of yardstick or competitive element by which to judge the efficacy of the part of the industry taken into national ownership if there is not a sector not in State ownership? The same applies in aviation. Hon. Gentlemen opposite argue that there must be State corporations but no private airlines.

My hon. Friends and I see great merit in the part of this industry which will be excluded. There are obvious advantages in keeping a private sector which contains ports which, by common consent, are now doing a splendid job. For example, Felixstowe is a byword of efficiency. It is a pacemaker. It is the sort of port we want. What evidence is there that if it were embraced within the Bill it would retain its present dyna- mism? No such evidence has been offered.

There is not a tittle of evidence to show that the inclusion of the smaller ports would increase their efficiency. If the Minister believes in State ownership or private enterprise, or both, I implore him to allow them to coexist. If he believes that the State sector is so superior, let it prove, in competition, that it really is.

Mr. Newens

Many hon. Gentlemen opposite have asked why the smaller ports should be taken into State ownership. I welcome that question, particularly since one might gather from the remarks of, for example, the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) that this whole matter was something to be decided between a few chosen hon. Gentlemen opposite and the occupants of the Government Front Bench.

In other words, I am glad that we are dealing with the real issues that are raised by the Bill, and it is to those issues that I come immediately, especially in view of the remarks of the hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton).

We are particularly anxious to take over the smaller ports because of the possibility of them being used to transfer work away from the larger ports. This has already occurred to some extent, and it could lead, in the long run, to the misuse of resources in the process of rationalisation which all hon. Members recognise must take place in the docks industry.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite wish to preserve the largest possible private sector from nationalisation. If they had their way, the most profitable parts of the trade would be transferred to the smaller ports, with the result, first, that the position of the dockers in the nationalised ports would be undermined, and, secondly, it would enable those who argue that nationalisation is not efficient to make their case because the nationalised ports would have been left with the trade that is most difficult to carry on efficiently.

Let us look for a moment at what happened in the road transport industry, because in my opinion there is a very close parallel. When that industry was denationalised certain sectors of it were sold back to private enterprise and many of the least profitable sectors were left in public hands; and many of us would argue that this has occurred right the way through the nationalised industries. Does the hon. Gentleman wish to interrupt me?

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Tilney

I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving way. Surely business would be transferred to the non-nationalised ports only if those ports proved themselves to be more efficient. That is the only possible reason why the business should be transferred.

Mr. Newens

I do not at all agree with what the hon. Gentleman is saying, but it may well be that conditions for the workers in certain of the smaller ports could be inferior to those applying in nationalised ports, so that those could provide opportunities by way of cheaper facilities. That is one of the possibilities which exist. There are also operations which could be transferred which might be regarded as profitable to transfer to those areas, whereas other operations will still go to the nationalised ports.

In these circumstances, there is a very strong argument for taking the smaller ports into private ownership. Despite what has been said by the hon. Member for Tavistock about the attitude of dockers, there is no question in my mind on this issue. The vast majority of them feel very strongly not merely that all ports over the 100,000 tons limit should be taken into public ownership but that the complete industry, with every single port in the country, should come under public control. While it is true that strikes were limited to certain areas that action was really a manifestation of the tremendous feeling which exists amongst dockers as a whole, which in these areas boiled over.

I hope that if the Government are not prepared to accept the Amendment they will still recognise the very strong feeling which exists on this matter, and will recognise also that the Opposition certainly have not a monopoly in criticism of this Bill. There are some of us who criticise it because it does not go far enough.

I hope that if this Amendment is not accepted the Government will be prepared to give us some undertakings on this issue. The hon. Member for Tavistock has made it quite clear that if the Conservatives ever come into government they will never be prepared to use Clause 29 to extend the scope of the nationalised industry. This means that, whatever happens, these ports are outside the scope of the Bill; and it is incumbent upon us in this House at the present time to make the possibility of Conservative damage to the nationalised ports industry at a later stage much more difficult than otherwise it would be. I feel very strongly that this Bill is a good one. I believe that it is welcomed by a majority of the people concerned, the dockers and the public. In these circumstances, I believe the Government should be prepared to strengthen it in the way the Amendment suggests.

Mr. Stainton

I come from Sudbury and Woodbridge, a constituency which, generally speaking, has a rural connotation. Hence, I understand the reaction earlier of the hon. Member for Salford. West (Mr. Orme) when I made certain exclamations in connection with the docks. It so happens that the dock at Felixstowe lies within my constituency. It now exceeds a volume of 2 million tons. Therefore, I am intimately interested and concerned in this Amendment. The container tonnage that will move through Felixstowe dock this year will exceed that of Rotterdam. That is a very remarkable achievement for a dock that was rescued only 10 years ago from being completely silted up.

If any hon. Member questions the virility of private enterprise in this respect and the benefits to the dock workers there, I repeat the invitation given by my next-door neighbour, the hon. Member for Harwich (Mr. Ridsdale): please come down and visit Orwell Estuary ports with the two of us. I am sure various hon. Gentlemen will learn a great deal.

Mr. Heffer

If the hon. Gentleman is serious about that, we shall be quite happy to take him up on it.

Mr. Stainton

I am never less than serious when speaking in this Chamber, and I will leave the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) to pursue that.

The first of the points I wish to make is perhaps the middle of the road point—which, again, is not a happy connotation. The Bill would give the Government, or the new nationalised authority, 90 per cent. of the tonnage that moves through the ports and 90 per cent. of registered dock workers. I suggest, therefore, that it would be the height of administrative folly to increase the administrative duties of the National Ports Council, or whatever the authority is to be called, by this extra 10 per cent., which would bring in its train an utterly disproportionate amount of work and involvement.

We had a most excellent illustration of the argument I am now putting forward only a fortnight ago when the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer opened his Budget. One of his proposals, perhaps striking to the other side of the House, was to unleash from surtax quite a number of lower liability surtax payers. This was on his demonstration that by doing so the administrative saving would far exceed the revenue that was released thereby. It is of this type of argument that I would hope the Minister will be particularly conscious when he replies to the debate. The extra 10 per cent., ignoring whether the 90 per cent. is right or not, just is not worth a candle.

Coming now to the more specific arguments employed here today, I congratulate those resolute and doughty representatives of the dockers in the places which they represent in this House —the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton, the hon. Member for Salford, West, the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis) and the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg). They do not, however, represent the dockers who are employed at Felixstowe Dock, nor, I would hazard also, those in the Ipswich Dock Commission, in the area which my constituency surrounds. Nor do they represent those at Harwich or in any of the estuary ports.

I would like to place it on record that I have not had one single representation from labour organisations or individual workers in any of these docks, and particularly that in my constituency, one way or another regarding this Bill. I am sure this is not because the local organiser of the Transport and General Workers Union does not know where I live. He and I have been in touch with each other on many occasions, mostly to our mutual advantage or to the advantage of a member of that union. But there has been absolutely no representation to me to exert myself on behalf of my local dock in the way that these supposed representatives of dockers are addressing themselves to the Chamber this afternoon.

Mr. Driberg

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. Surely he will realise that the representative of the Transport and General Workers Union or dockers in his constituency, even though they may agree with us privately, would know that it would be hopeless to try to press that view on the hon. Gentleman since, quite rightly, like all other Members of this House, he makes up his own mind and his views will be well known to his constituents.

Mr. Stainton

All I can say about that is that they and other unions have not been backward in coming forward on a number of parallel issues in the past. Whether I have ultimately agreed with them or not, they have made their submissions.

Dr. Winstanley

Will the hon. Gentleman remind the House that the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) said that he had been flooded with representations from shareholders and directors of the Manchester Ship Canal Company?

Mr. Stainton

That puts it all in context. I must move to my next point, though I should be only too happy to discuss this at still greater length. I repeat that I have received no representations from labour, organised, unorganised, individual or collective in my constituency.

I turn now to the point made with some emphasis by the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West, that workers in the docks which will not be nationalised will somehow be left out of some kind of benefits. This was discussed at considerable length in Committee. I suggested then—I quoted a number of figures—that remuneration and conditions of employment in the dock in my constituency are head of the list, and I am open to challenge on that. If the hon. Members for Barking, Bristol, North-West, Salford, West or Walton wish to challenge that assertion, I invite them to do so, but I stick to my guns, and I refer them to the details which I gave in Committee.

I deal next with the intriguing point adumbrated in part by the hon. Member for Salford, West. When I intervened, he rather back-tracked. He said " There is a danger of large developments in what are left out of the nationalisation net." That poses the suggestion that there is necessarily greater virility amongst these private enterprise ports which will be left out. Many hon. Gentlemen opposite are shaking their heads in disagreement. There are other motives why traffic may move to them, and I should like to deal with these.

Mr. Orme

When I talk about lucrative trade, I mean that there is a lucrative trade in containerisation, and so on, which will go to the private sector, but which we believe ought to be in the public sector.

Mr. Stainton

Traffic in Polish bacon is not very lucrative, nor very clean. Polish bacon would not be entering this country now were it not received at Ipswich docks. It was thrown out by the London dockers three or four months ago, and it had to be rerouted to Ipswich. I leave it to the hon. Gentleman to tell his story and so embellish my point.

There is another side to the coin of traffic moving from nationalised ports to non-nationalised ports. Obviously, traffic will move not just for the hell of it—I hope that that is a reasonably parliamentary expression—but only if there is a direct incentive to move. One would like to think that if we are to have a National Ports Council it will be successful and exert itself. I hope and pray that it will, otherwise we are setting out on a most forlorn exercise.

What the owners of these private ports are concerned about is something which no hon. Gentleman opposite has recognised, nor, I think, would dare to recognise, because the argument goes the other way. They are concerned about the possibilities of cross-subsidisation between the nationalised ports. There is nothing in the Bill, nor in the format of its organisaton structure, nor in the format of the accounts to be presented, which will enable any hon. Member to make any intelligent appreciation of the existence of cross-subsidisation between nationalised ports and harbours. Let us put that into the other side of the scale when hon. Gentlemen opposite inveigh against the possibility of traffic moving from a nationalised port to a non-nationalised one.

The hon. Member for Walton talked about the need for national planning and organised development. I am sure that anyone who has studied the Report of the Rochdale Committee, and who has even a nodding acquaintance with transport throughout the country, be it by road, rail, or sea, knows that the systems are intimately connected. I am sure that no reasonable or intelligent person would wish to suggest that there should not be co-ordination between these various means of transport. I put it to the House that such co-ordination and national planning has existed ever since the Harbours Act of 1964, a Conservative Measure.

There were various exchanges in Committee—I am sure that the Minister remembers them rather vividly—because some hon. Members wished to raise the figure which requires submission to the Treasury. I think that that is the context in which we were discussing the matter. The Minister said that not only must he continue to watch the purse strings, but that national co-ordination must continue. This powerful and potent co-ordination through the whole apparatus of the Harbours Act will, I understand, continue in these private port enterprises.

Those are five powerful arguments for resisting the Amendment. I hope that the Minister will find not only his eloquence but his integrity and will resist the Amendment tonight, as he did in Committee.

Several Hon. Membersrose

Mr. Speaker

Order. I remind the House that I have appealed for brief debates.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Mulley

I hope that the House will shortly come to a decision on what I am sure we all agree is an important Amendment. I think it is generally accepted that my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) and other of my hon. Friends have spoken in extremely reasonable and moderate tones. Their views reflect what I think is known by all those who have had direct contact with the dockers.

Throughout the considerable period of discussion on the Bill, and, indeed, during the years preceding it, there has been a lot of talk about the size of the ports to be taken over. Some people have suggested that all the ports should be taken over, which would mean taking over about 300. Others have suggested that ports with a tonnage of 100,000 tons should be taken over. Figures of 2 million tons, 3 million tons, 5 million tons, and 10 million tons have been suggested.

The Government's decision to confine the take-over to ports of more than 5 million tons was taken not only after a great deal of consideration but after a great deal of consultation with all those concerned on both sides of the industry. My hon. Friend the Member for Walton referred to the original White Paper. The decision to take over these ports was confirmed by my predecessor in the White Paper issued more than a year ago, and naturally, I accepted the reasons which led him to take that decision, otherwise I should not have sponsored the Bill.

I do not think that anyone can disguise the magnitude of the task that will fall on the new authority to put right the unsatisfactory situation in our major ports, whether one looks at them in terms of their finances, their industrial relations, their efficiency, or their ability to compete and to provide the country with what it needs—an efficient service for goods going out of and coming into the country. The figure of 5 million tons has the great advantage there are no ports which are just a little above or a little below that figure. There is no port with a tonnage of between 3 million and 7 million. Thus, the figure of 5 million is in an area of its own, and divides the major ports from the smaller ones.

In addition to the ports to be taken over under the 5 million ton criterion—the major ports—also in the National Ports Authority will be all the existing nationalised ports that are under the British Transport Docks Board. Some of those, like Hull and Southampton, are large; there are others that are quite small; clearly, it would have been wrong to de-nationalise any of those on a size criterion.

What we are doing is to take the major ports in terms of dock workers. Some 95 per cent. of registered dock workers work in the ports that will be part of the N.P.A., and on the latest figures the N.P.A. ports will do almost 90 per cent. of our total trade. So it is a very major undertaking indeed, and before the industry can hope to become efficient and viable a great deal has to be done in the setting up of the port boards, and probably, I would imagine, in the way of substantial reorganisation in the management field.

So a great deal has to be done, and to add, as this Amendment would, some 40 additional ports would not help. It would more than double the number of the ports to be considered. But, in terms of the additional number of dock workers, I am advised it would only be 1,790, another 3¾ per cent. of the total registered dock force, and in terms of trade it would be less than 10 per cent. additional trade that would be brought in.

In terms of the practicality of trying to get the ports working properly I think it would be unwise to accept this Amendment. My hon. Friend the Member for Walton and several others of my hon. Friends—including the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis), who made the kind of constructive speech that we have become used to hearing him make in Committee—have all made the point that Clause 29 of the Bill—this was a point my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) made with great force—provides the fear that exists. I know, because I was meeting dockers only this morning. I have had many talks at different levels with the representatives of the dockers and the dockers themselves.

There is a concern that in some way they may be at a disadvantage. Clause 29 provides for the National Ports Authority to apply to Parliament, and, of course, a parliamentary procedure will be necessary before additional harbours can be brought within the N.P.A. The authority is allowed to do it with a view to furthering the efficient and economical operation or development of the system of harbours in Great Britain. This meets the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, West about the feeling that there would be a development of smaller ports to the detriment of larger ports.

Mr. Geoffrey Wilson (Truro)

If the Minister is implementing Clause 29, does Clause 24 apply? In other words, would he implement Clause 29 on a one-industry port basis? Clause 24 is the one which defines a port used exclusively or mainly for a particular industry.

Mr. Mulley

I think I am right in saying that in Clause 29(1)(a) the taking over of harbours covered by Clause 24 is excluded. If the hon. Member will look at Clause 29 he will see that point is covered.

The purpose is to ensure that the industry will become efficient. I make no bones about the fact that I happen to believe in public ownership—not as an end in itself, not because I think it is a good thing that there is a national flag outside, but because I think it is going to work; and because I believe it is going to work I do not fear that the nationalised ports will be at a disadvantage.

I look forward to our getting the industrial relations right. Believe me, there are no dockers in the world who can move cargo like British dockers when they have a mind to get on with the job. I hope so to organise things —this perhaps is why I shall be criticised later on—as to bring workers into management and get worker participation throughout the organisation. I believe this will work. That is why I have presented the Bill. I understand the fears. Frankly. I do not think they are well founded. That is why it is not necessary to extend, as my hon. Friends would like.

My hon. Friend the Member for Walton asked whether another type of Minister might be here. No Minister is every very certain how long he might hold any office, or certainly a particular office. I know that my hon. Friend was only putting the matter in a hypothetical context, but I could not agree with him that there was a prospect that there might be another Minister of another political complexion responsible for this industry. It seems to me that is not a probable contingency.

I would say, not only to the House but to people outside, that if we want this industry to be run efficiently, if we want it to come under public ownership, at the next election they must ensure that this party is returned, because the party opposite will do nothing either for the ports or for the workers in them. That is beyond question. I make it clear to both the Conservative and the Liberal spokesmen that it is all very well to criticise what is in the Bill—I am prepared to admit it is not perfect but I know of no one who knows anything about the ports who wants things to stay as they are. Therefore, the onus is on the other parties to say what they will do if things go wrong and we are no longer in office.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

The Minister is fully aware that all we are saying is that if one looks around the world one sees that other countries have found far better ways of running ports than the Bill we have before us. This Bill is without precedent, and this is one of the reasons why it is so bad.

Mr. Speaker

Order. We are discussing a particular Amendment, not the whole Bill.

Mr. Mulley

Every time I recommended in Committee that we should follow a precedent I was told that was not a good reason for putting my proposal forward. I am afraid that that argument applies in the large as it does in the small. I ask my hon. Friends not to press the Amendment. I give them the assurance not only that I believe in public ownership but that I am going to do all I can to see that it works.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

We certainly applaud the Minister's sturdy rejection of this Amendment. I wish that he had done so a little more enthusiastically. He said that there were two reasons why he did not want to accept the arguments put forward by his hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer)—first, that it would have involved more difficulties, and, second, that it could be done anyway. These arguments are not very enthusiastic, but we are glad that he has decided to reject the Amendment, and I hope that this is the last we will see of it.

During this debate various points of view have been expressed. First of all, the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Simon Mahon), in his own unique way, put forward his blind faith in nationalisation, as if more and more would in itself sort out labour troubles. Unfortunately, the evidence of other industries does not back this up. The hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg) went further and suggested that this was the beginning of almost a Red revolution in which we would be liberating dockers from a tyranny of private avarice. The middle-of-the-road view was expressed by the hon. Member for Cheadle (Dr. Winstanley).

One thing which stands out a mile is that no valid argument has been put forward for the Amendment which would be of any benefit whatsoever to the country. We are not thinking, by and large, about whether this will please the Transport and General Workers Union. We are talking about a great industry, on which certainly our exports depend immensely. What we are interested in is whether the hon. Member for Walton and his hon. Friends are simply saying this to placate the Transport and General Workers Union, and please those outside who want to see these kind of things, or whether he is putting this forward as a real argument. Does he mean this, or is it just being said? We will watch with great interest, after this long and protracted debate, to see whether the hon. Member for Walton means business, or whether he and his hon. Friends just want these things on the record to please the people who come to the House in demonstrations.

6.30 p.m.

There has been no argument of any substance. The most interesting one was that the nationalisation of more and more ports was necessary so that ports with 100,000 tons of cargo did not threaten the public sector. The word " threat " was used again and again. My hon. Friend the Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton) was right to realise that this was the key argument. Is this why the hon. Member for Walton wants them taken over—because the more efficient smaller ports could pinch trade from the National Ports Authority? He wants the N.P.A. to have no competition. This was the principal argument—that Blyth, Ipswich, Felixstowe and other small ports could be a real threat to the N.P.A.—

Mr. Peter Mahon (Preston, South)

There are small ports like Preston, municipal ports subsidised by the rates. There was an eight-weeks' strike at Preston last year, and it is experiencing great difficulty in carrying on in the right way.

Mr. Taylor

I respect the hon. Gentleman's opinion, as always. In some of the publicly-owned docks, like London and Liverpool, he will see problems much greater than the ones in his own case.

What we want to know is whether the Amendment will sort out the situation. Will these problems be any better if the ports are owned by the N.P.A.? We want to know whether the hon. Members for Walton or Preston, South (Mr. Peter Mahon) or anyone else can say that the ports will be more efficient and that the labour relations will be better because of nationalisation.

We have not had one piece of evidence to prove this. All we have had was a fleeting reference by our old friend the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson), who quoted the example of the steel industry. But figures given in HANSARD for 16th March show that ever since nationalisation the number of hours lost through strikes in the steel industry has increased.

Mr. John Mendelson

I merely interrupted the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr. J. H. Osborn) because he was talking about those who will use the ports and alleged that they would be worse off. I quoted the Steel Users Association as being in favour of the recent increase in the price of steel and said that they were well satisfied with the industry's position.

Mr. Taylor

We cannot go into this in detail, but several hon. Members opposite said that nationalisation would improve labour relations—and there is not a shred of evidence for this.

The third argument was that if we took over the small ports, we would for once have a national plan. We might think back to the last National Plan, brought forward by the former Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, who has been thrown into the wastepaper basket with his plan. Surely, before putting forward this Amendment, the hon. Member for Walton read the Harbours Act of 1964. There is control now: no one can plan expansions of harbours without the permission of the Ports Council. This Bill will transfer that power to the Minister. National planning exists, and there is nothing a small port can do up to £500,000 which can make any difference. Planning is there and will continue.

An additional argument was that, with nationalisation, the small ports would develop better. I would ask the hon. Member to consider industries which have been nationalised. The railways are starved of capital—

Mr. Speaker

Order. Again, we are discussing a specific Amendment.

Mr. Taylor

I would not think of going into this in detail, but the argument has been advanced. The hon. Member for Walton spent a great deal of time on the Amendment, holding back ours, and he has on obligation to put up a case. All I am trying to do is deal with the points made in support of it; I have tried to show that there was no argument at all. There is no evidence that nationalisation will bring more investment.

The hon. Member for Bootle put forward the most unusual argument that if we nationalised the small ports there was the danger that the unsavoury working conditions in the private ports would be used to undercut. It was said that if we had a public and private sector, the private could undercut the public by paying lower wages and offering fewer conditions—[Interruption.] That was certainly the impression I had. If this argument is advanced, as it was by the hon. Member for Epping (Mr. Newens), I would point out that it is dealt with in Clause 42, which lays down that the private sector is not allowed to claim—

Mr. Simon Mahon

This is the second time that hon. Members opposite have done this. I completely deny that I used the words which the hon. Member says I used. If he continues to say so, I can only think that it must have been two different fellows in another place altogether.

Mr. Taylor

I am sorry if I placed the wrong interpretation on the hon. Gentleman's words, but the hon. Member for Epping, whose words I listened to with great care, did put this argument. I was trying to pay a tribute to the hon. Member because he is here and his hon. Friend is not. But the argument is dealt with in Clause 42.

There has been no valid case, economic, social or industrial for the Amendment. The ports are not just another State monopoly but a unique case. Electricity has competition from gas and some competition from coal. The airways to some extent face competition from the railways. The ports would be a real monopoly if they were under total State ownership. A private sector is the only check on the efficiency of nationalised ports. With the Amendment there would be no such guarantee that taxpayers' money was not being abused and that there was real competition.

The hon. Member has introduced a great deal of uncertainty by the Amendment because, he says, a future Minister might think differently about nationalisation. What clearer warning could there be to those who operate the private ports of a threat because of the powers in the Bill and the strong feeling which he says exists in the Labour Party? Do they really mean business and believe these arguments, or are they simply using the time of the House on a guillotine Motion so as to mouth words to please some people in a trade union or in their constituencies who have marched to the House of Commons?

I suggest that not one real case has been put for the Amendment. If we see, after this debate, that the hon. Member for Walton is not prepared to stand by his convictions all the way we shall know that a great deal of unnecessary concern has been caused in the private ports and that our time has been wasted.

Mr. Heffer

I do not want to comment on that speech at all. I just wanted to say that we heard from the Minister what I thought was a very important statement which was a clarification of the position and an emphasis that Clause 29 does give the opportunity to the National Ports Authority to extend public ownership if that is felt necessary by the authority. I think that this, emphasised and brought out in this way, makes it clear that many of the fears—

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

This is scandalous.

Mr. Heffer

You just mind your own business.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman will address his colleagues in the parliamentary way.

Mr. Heffer

I only hope that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) looks after his business and I will look after mine. I shall be the keeper of my conscience; let him be the keeper of his. I have nothing to be ashamed of in my convictions and my opinions or in the views that I and my hon. Friends hold.

In the circumstances, with the assurances that were given and spelt out by the Minister in a very clear way indicated the position, without creating any uncertainty in the industry but making it quite clear that there can be an extension of public ownership in future under Clause 29. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. We have been discussing Amendment No. 5 for two hours and forty minutes during which the Minister made a five-minute speech in which he repeated word for word what is clearly on the record of the Standing Committee. That means that more than one third of the total allotted time for 60 Amendments and 19 debates has now been wasted by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller) and he has not even the intention of carrying the Amendment to a Division.

Is there, Mr. Speaker, any parliamentary procedure whereby I am entitled to ask the Minister whether, as we have now been deprived of this quite unwarrantable amount of time, we can have additional time to make up the time lost in order to discuss other Amendments?

Mr. Speaker

Order, that is not a point of order for me. Is it your pleasure that the Amendment be withdrawn?

Hon. Members: No.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

I beg to move Amendment No. 6, in page 2, line 45, at end insert: (8) Before making an order under subsection (7) above, the Minister shall arrange for public inquiries to be held in areas where substantial representations are made by local authorities or organisations representing workers or port users to the effect that the consequences of the transfer of the ports concerned to the Authority could affect adversely the prosperity of the area in question, and he shall be under an obligation to consider the reports of any such public inquiries before making an order. This is an Amendment which we on this side of the House are moving and which we believe in. We are certainly not paper tigers who will make arguments and then run away from the consequences We shall certainly not waste any time in that shameful way.

What we are proposing under the Amendment is that before making an order to take over any port the Minister shall arrange for a public inquiry to be held. I am not suggesting that this is in any way a wrecking Amendment which will provide opportunities for long, time-wasting public inquiries simply to delay nationalisation. I am suggesting that we should have public inquiries only in limited circumstances where certain cases can be put up by certain specifically named organisations or groups.

The public inquiry should be held in areas where … substantial representations are made by local authorities or organisations representing port workers or port users to the effect that the consequences of the transfer of the ports concerned to the Authority could affect adversely the prosperity of the area in question,…". The Amendment says that the Minister shall be under an obligation to consider the reports of any such public inquiries before making an order. There was a temptation which we resisted. We could have proposed public inquiries when anyone objects to a port being taken over under nationalisation, but we have deliberately limited the terms of the Amendment. I hope that the Government will accept that this is a reasonable Amendment and if they cannot accept the precise wording at least will accept the principle.

6.45 p.m.

My only fear is that the Government may reject the Amendment, which they may know to be sound, simply because they want to indulge in a mad rush to have nationalisation completed before an election takes place. If this is their intention, they should have serious regard to the needs and the good of industry as a whole and indeed of the ports as a whole before coming to such a decision.

We are proposing that where a local authority or a trade union can put up a sound case that the prosperity of an area would be seriously affected by nationalisation there should be a public inquiry and that public inquiry should make a report to the Minister before he actually takes over the harbour. We cannot emphasise too much just how important a port is to the prosperity of a large area round about. I am thinking in particular of Bristol. The hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis) is sitting opposite. He may be aware that it is reliably estimated that one in four of the population of Bristol derive some benefit from the activities of the highly successful port of Bristol, which is municipally owned and under the Bill will be taken over, despite violent opposition from the people of Bristol and from those who are directly concerned with the operation of the harbour.

I suggest that if the people of Bristol, if the local authority and if some of the trade unions concerned, or indeed if the users concerned feel that nationalisation—

Mr. J. H. Osborn

My hon. Friend used the words " if the users concerned " and he has also used the words " port users ". Therefore does he mean industry which will want to use the port to bring the goods in for industry and export their products, or does he intend there to be a smaller definition?

Mr. Taylor

As far as I am aware, there is no definition in the Bill of a user. I am thinking of terms of those who make substantial use of the ports for their exports or ship-owners themselves. I should hope that both would be covered.

If such an organisation can put forward a case that the prosperity of the area would be seriously affected, there should be a public inquiry. What kind of matters could they be concerned about? One would be whether a nationalised authority would regard their own port as having any future, any real probable or growing future, under a nationalisation scheme. Certainly, we know in the case of Bristol that people there have good reason to doubt the views of the Government as to the future of the port of Bristol when we have had the tragedy of the Portbury scheme. There are many people who would perhaps want to put Bristol into a straitjacket at all costs. There is also the real danger that one might have, if a port board were to be established covering perhaps the whole of the estuary, some loss-making ports on one side brought in with one port making a substantial profit on the other side.

These are matters which could be discussed by a public inquiry. I am not just thinking of Bristol, because there are other circumstances which could arise elsewhere. The other most obvious example is Milford Haven, which is certainly quite unique and apart from all the general cargo handling ports. The situation there is that the Conservancy Board, consisting of voluntary people and employing about 50 persons, is to be taken over under nationalisation in an area of great beauty in a national park. Obviously, that board and others in the area will be concerned about the port and the board being taken over.

In Scotland, we have a great deal of interest in the unique national asset we possess in the deep water facilities on the Clyde. There is widespread fear in Scotland that, because so many Government Departments are involved, and because of decisions being delayed because of ports nationalisation, the great opportunities afforded by that asset will be lost. But if there were an opportunity for the users of the facilities or the local authorities on Clydeside to get an inquiry held before nationalisation, they might be able to get some kind of assurance that their interests would not be neglected.

There has been difficulty in finding some form of words which would cope with this situation. One only has to look around the country to realise the vital significance of each of these ports for the prosperity of its area. For example, there is the case of Manchester and the contribution which the Ship Canal has made towards new industry and services to that area. Then there are the cases of Bristol and Milford Haven and the Clyde. Before any step is taken to nationalise a port and centralise the facilities, there should be opportunity for inquiry for the cases to be put for and against nationalisation. This is a very important Amendment and I hope that the Government will give it serious consideration and at least accept the principle.

Mr. Ridsdale

I support the excellent views of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor). I do so because, in our debate on Amendment No. 5, the Minister held what was almost a sword of Damocles over the heads of all our ports when he talked about Clause 29 and the further nationalisation which could take place under it. I tried to put myself in the position of one of these ports which would be under threat of nationalisation. There is a great deal of uncertainty already in such ports and the opportunity for a public inquiry would be a further safeguard. The right hon. Gentleman said that certain parliamentary procedures would have to take place before further nationalisation was undertaken, but there should be the further safeguard of a public inquiry before nationalisation came about. Realising how the people of Bristol, Milford Haven, Manchester and all the other ports which are to be nationalised feel, I know that they would welcome a public inquiry. I support the Amendment so ably moved by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Ronald Atkins (Preston, North)

This is obviously a wrecking Amendment, and I think that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) realises that only too clearly. One would assume from what he said that there has been no discussion of this matter so far, but the debate on nationalisation has been going on for years. Not only are we all aware of what the local authorities think in the cases he referred to, but also of what the workers think. Indeed, he himself has already referred to the unanimous feeling among dock employees in favour of ports nationalisation.

The hon. Gentleman's attitude is all the more peculiar in demanding so much inquiry when one remembers his attitude over U.C.S. Ltd. He would barely have allowed my right hon. Friend the Minister of Technology to go to Glasgow to consider the proposals for public money to be injected into private industry there. He was demanding that the money should be given immediately and without any further consideration. He made no demand then for an enquiry, public or private. He was all of a rush. I hope that we reject this obviously wrecking Amendment, which should be treated with the disgust that it deserves.

Dame Irene Ward

I want to add my support for the Amendment which is of great importance to the port of Tyne. For a long time, it has been clear to all of us concerned with the port of Tyne that it is being run down while the port of Tees is being built up. I am not arguing against the port of Tees. The people on Tees-side naturally want to do what they can, and good luck to them, to build up a strong port with a good future to help them earn a good living on Tees-side. But coming as I do from Tyneside. I think it is imperative that the position of the port of Tyne should be known and recognised.

I can see no way of ensuring that the country as a whole knows about the port of Tyne unless we have an extensive enquiry into the problems arising there. I listened with great interest earlier to three hon. Members who represent Tyneside constituencies making strong representations about what is happening on Tyneside. If we could have a proper enquiry, we might be able to persuade the Government of the day—whether this one, which heaven forbid, or a Conservative Government—to look into the interests of the Tyne.

The use of the Tyne by shipping has declined tremendously. We have had to close down some of the hostels which used to house seamen coming into the Tyne. Our unemployment is rising by leaps and bounds. The terrible decision has just been taken to close down Palmer's ship-repairing yard. Our situation requires and deserves a first class enquiry.

I am against the nationalisation of the ports and therefore the whole Bill. At the same time. I would welcome a first class inquiry into the situation to give all the interests concerned an opportunity of co-ordinating their case so that the attention of the Government of the day can be directed towards the future of the Tyne. So far as it is within my power to do so, I shall argue in favour of a full-scale inquiry. I shall vote against the Bill, but I would like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman what he has in view if he rejects the Amendment, as I hope he will not. If the Amendment is rejected, we should be told what the Government intend to do to ensure that urgent consideration is given to our problems.

7.0 p.m.

All sorts of difficulties arise on Tyneside. For example, we are short of land and the various nationalised industries which are concerned with giving employment to the port of Tyne operate so slowly that nothing seems to emerge from their consideration of issues. I am not saying that they are not interested or do not appreciate the position. The trouble is that we do not get any action from them.

When I listen to the speeches of hon. Gentlemen opposite on this matter I wonder whether those who are so keen on nationalisation really believe that the mining community on Tyneside, and those who live adjacent to other ports which have mining interests, believe that their salvation lies in nationalisation. [Interruption] I wish that hon. Gentlemen opposite would be a little more quiet and would for once listen to what they are being told.

If hon. Gentlemen opposite came from my part of the world they would know just how bad the situation is. I cannot see how we will benefit one iota from the nationalisation of our port. My hon. Friends and I are focusing attention on these problems in an effort to stir up some humane consideration for the plight and decline which we on Tyneside face. Something must be done to make our future more certain and more happy.

The Government have their desires stabilised in the concept of nationalisation. They are irritated when I speak for the people who live on Tyneside. Fortunately, I have managed to survive in this House for 34 years, so that hon. Gentlemen opposite may be assured that I know a little of what the Tynesiders want. Even at the last election, when my majority was reduced, there were members of the Left wing of the Labour Party who voted for me rather than for the Labour candidate.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite always think that they are so clever that they can interpret people's views. Bat sometimes there is so much victimisation, agitation and unpleasantness that the ordinary workers will not for a moment tell their trade unionists, shop stewards and others what they really believe about the party for which they are supposed to work.

It is fortuitous that my hon. Friends have moved an Amendment which indicates what is in people's minds about the future of the port of Tyne and other ports. I know what people are thinking now. When it was announced that Palmer's shipyard would be closed down people's thoughts went back to the horrors of 1931 and to what happened at Jarrow and Hebburn. I represented Walls-end for about 14 years. In part of that constituency at that time about 84 per cent. of the employable population was unemployed. I do not relish with any freat certainty the future of Tyneside with the present Government in power.

I hope that the Minister will give consideration to the anxiety which is being expressed now on Tyneside and elsewhere over this matter. I refer to those who support not only my party but the Labour Party—not forgetting the middle-of-the-road side of the House, though the middle of any road is not much good in present circumstances—because they all demand that action be taken now.

We want our people to be happy, or at least happier. We might even get some of the £7 million that was given to the Clyde to help us on our way. There will be a lot of happy hearts on Tyneside if the Amendment is accepted. Whatever hon. Gentlemen opposite think, the people of Tyneside do not contemplate with pleasure their future under a Labour Administration.

Several Hon. Membersrose

Mr. Speaker

Order. I remind the House that we are under the Guillotine. I have appealed, so far successfully, for brief speeches. I make that appeal again. Mr. Ellis.

Mr. Ellis

I will obey your appeal, Mr. Speaker, and be brief.

I hope that the hon. Lady the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) will forgive me if I do not follow her into the by-ways of Palmer's shipyard. I would find it difficult to remain in order in so doing. In view of the hon. Lady's remarks about the difficulties being experienced on Tyneside, I do not know for certain what she wants the Government to do. Does she want us to nationalise the lot?

Reference has been made to Bristol, and that leads me to intervene. The Amendment would ensure that public inquiries took place before the Bill is enacted. I must be critical of the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) and the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor), because in recent times the Tory-controlled City Council of Bristol has been busy co-ordinating its policies. There has been much to-ing and fro-ing in the area. Indeed, the hon. Member for Tavistock has even been to my constituency where, I am told, he got a bit of a rough ride.

I received representations from Bristol City Council, but there was no mention of hon. Gentlemen opposite seeking public inquiries in the way requested by the Amendment. Nothing of that kind was mentioned in the missive which I received. If the hon. Member for Tavistock be-lives that the Amendment would be to the advantage of Bristol, then I assure him that the Citizen Party there—they call themselves that, but they are really just Tories—has not co-ordinated its policy because I have not been so instructed in the missive I received.

The only missive I received from the Tory-controlled council pointed out—the hon. Gentleman got this point over—that they opposed the Bill, that they were not in favour of the nationalisation of the Port of Bristol and urged that the pre-emption Clause should be extended. We did something about that in Committee. They also raised with me—I found this a rather wry one—the point that if there was to be a set-up in connection with nationalisation and appointments made as a result of the Bill, their nominees should be appointed. In other words, they were telling me that if there were some jobs going, they wanted them.

I thought this a bit thick in view of the vociferous indignation that they had vouchsafed about the Bill. For this reason I ask my right hon. Friend if he had received any representations from Bristol in connection with appointments to be made under the Bill, and if he had received any nominations from Bristol for such appointments. Today I received a reply from the Minister saying that he had received no such representations from the City of Bristol.

In other words, they wrote to me not to ask for a public inquiry to be held into this matter, but on the other aspect to which I have referred. Presumably they were too shy to do it themselves. Perhaps it would have put them in an embarrassing position. I hope that they will now come across because it is no good asking my hon. Friends and me to see that Bristol representatives are selected, so that they may get any jobs that are going, unless they are prepared to come forward with nominations. I wish to make it clear to the hon. Member for Tavistock that I have received no representations from them urging that in Bristol there should be tribunals of the sort proposed in the Amendment. I have given some indication of the representations we have had and I have made some comments on them.

Mr. Geoffrey Wilson

The hon. Member has misread the Amendment. It is asking for an inquiry only if the authority says that the prosperity of the area will be threatened by the Bill. The representations would not be to ask for an inquiry but to say that the Bill was a bad one and would adversely affect Bristol.

Mr. Ellis

I took it that the contention was that there should be inquiries. Certainly the hon. Lady wanted an inquiry with reference to the port of Tyne. I have not been approached for an inquiry and I do not think my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, South (Mr. Wilkins) has been approached. If there is a difference in what the Amendment seeks, I assure the hon. Member for Truro (Mr. Geoffrey Wilson) that I have not been approached in that way either.

Mr. Ray Mawby (Totnes)

The hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis) was a little unfair when he said that presumably the Bristol Council appeared to be taking two different stands. Many people take two different stands when a Bill of this sort comes forward. First, they either agree or disagree with the principle. If they disagree with it they take steps to make certain that that is known. Secondly, if it is known that they will be overruled they have the right to say that in those circumstances they should have the right to representation on any governing board. I have heard this put in a shorter way in the phrase, " If you can't beat 'em join 'em ". This is a proper attitude for any elected body to take. First, it takes the view that the basic legislation is good or bad, and, secondly, if overruled, it contends that it should have a right to representation.

Mr. Ellis

If that is the analysis, the council was a little shy of taking up a stand on principle and now it is shy about coming forward and giving names.

Mr. Mawby

Obviously the hon. Member knows Bristol better than I do. Therefore, I cannot indulge in argument on that, but one should point out the fairness of the situation.

The hon. Member for Preston, North (Mr. Ronald Atkins) was very certain that this was a wrecking Amendment. He said it as if he believed it, but, obviously, he had not read either the Clause or the Amendment. Clause I lays down the basis for bringing a port under the National Ports Authority. Once that Clause has been passed unamended, the Minister's hands will have been tied. In vesting he will be able to make very few decisions.

The Clause lays down clearly in subsection (3): On and after the vesting date there shall be placed under the charge of the National Ports Authority—

  1. (a) all harbours which at the passing of this Act are owned or managed by the British Transport Docks Board."
Under subsection (3)(b) it is laid down all harbours in Great Britain at which in any period of twelve months beginning with 1st July, 1966 or with any subsequent day not later than 1st July, 1967 the aggregate quantity of the goods loaded in ships and goods unloaded from ships exceeded five million tons ". If this Clause is passed unamended, on vesting day any port which has handled more than that aggregate of tonnage will automatically become part of the N.P.A. Then the Minister can do nothing about it whatever representations are made to him.

7.15 p.m.

The hon. Member also suggested that public inquiries would have to be held all over the country if this Amendment were passed. The Amendment does not say that. It says that before the Minister makes an Order for vesting, he shall arrange for public inquiries to be held in areas where substantial representations are made by local authorities or organisations representing workers or port users to the effect that the consequences of transfer of the ports concerned to the Authority could affect adversely the prosperity of the area in question ".

They cannot just object; they have to show evidence that as a consequence of the transfer the prosperity of the area in question could be adversely affected. If this is not inserted, the Minister will have no power to take account of what could be very solid representation.

The hon. Member was very certain and said that we all know that the workers want nationalisation. A little earlier today there was a lot of evidence to show that that is not so. Representations made in Committee were all from ports which are already nationalised. They did not come from the ports which will be brought within the ambit of the new N.P.A.

However certain the hon. Member is, I am certain on this point. Surely it would be wrong to preclude the right of an organisation or organisations representing employees in a particular area from putting forward a point of view when they believe that the action would adversely damage the prosperity of the area in question. If the hon. Member is right and all the workers are hell-bent on the ports becoming nationalised there will be no representations from workers' organisations. In those circumstances the Minister would not have to apply the terms of this Amendment, but there should at least be the opportunity.

The second group, port users, cannot be ignored. The Minister and those who drafted the Bill have tended to treat these as the least important persons to be considered, yet they are the most important. My hon. Friend the Member for Tyne-mouth (Dame Irene Ward) showed graphically what can happen when port users do not make full use of a port and when certain changes take place. I know nothing about Tynemouth, but my hon. Friend gave an example of what can happen to what is perhaps at present a prosperous area when, because of nationalisation, the port users seek some other way in which to transport their goods out and raw materials into the country.

Earlier hon. Members opposite suggested that a very good way of dealing with this problem was to nationalise all ports. Then no one would have any choice and the port user could not choose between different forms of transport. We do not take that view. Neither does the Minister, judging from his reply. He obviously believes that there is room for private enterprise in the dock industry. Any dock which handles an aggregate of less than the 5 million tons will be outside.

It may well be that those who use and live near a port may believe that nationalisation will damage their area. We have only to take the inhabitants of Manchester as an example. They could be adversely affected by Manchester and Liverpool coming under a central authority if it was then decided that more business would be done in the Liverpool docks, thus reducing the use of the Manchester docks. This would be a legitimate matter for those concerned to make representations to the Minister about.

They would have to make their case. Before they got to the hurdle of a public inquiry, they would have to satisfy the Minister that their representations were " substantial ". It would not be a case of the Minister receiving a letter from a manufacturer saying that he used Bristol docks, Manchester docks or whatever the case might be, and that in his opinion action taken under the Bill would adversely affect the interests of the area as a whole. The Minister would say, that that was just a single representation and throw it out. But if a body of port users put forward that point he would rightly have to say that their views must be considered and that they must be given an opportunity to prove their case.

Unless the Amendment is accepted, the Minister has his hands tied. He must by Statutory Instrument name a vesting day and then, whatever he may feel at the time and whatever representations have been made to him, under subsection (3)(a) and (b) and the various docks automatically either stay outside the N.P.A., because they deal with too little traffic, or they come within it.

That is too sweeping a change to make. We have been discussing the Bill in the House and in Committee for a long time. We all have the impression that we know something about the dock industry. But, however expert any of us may be, we do not know exactly what will be the effect upon the area around a dock as a result of a major change in its management.

The Minister would be well advised, even if he does not accept the terms of the Amendment, at least to accept the principle, because it gives him a second chance. If he does not accept it, there is no more chance left, and he or his successor will be called upon just to carry out a rubber-stamp operation, and all that he will be able to decide is the vesting date.

Mr. Tilney

I am delighted to follow my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby), who referred to the Manchester Ship Canal Company, which I shall mention a little later.

It is as well for the House to remember the resolution passed by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board when the Bill was mooted. It said: The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board regret the Minister of Transport's proposals for ports reorganisation, which will end the Board's autonomy as a public trust port, believing that the efficiency of the port cannot be improved by merging the port into a regional and national organisation. I see no reason for the board to have changed its mind since then.

It is very difficult for Liverpool, Manchester, or the towns along the Manchester Ship Canal to know what will happen. We have no details of any devolution scheme. We do not know how much autonomy will be given to the provinces. We very much regret that we are passing what is really only an enabling Bill without any of the details which will greatly affect the lives of many people for good or ill—and I suspect that in some cases it will be for ill.

We must also remember the fierce competition not only between the ports of this country but between our ports and those of Europe. Many shipowners do not have to come to Britain. They can perfectly well go to Rotterdam and have their goods trans-shipped. It is very important that all the ports in this country should be as efficient as possible, and I do not believe that nationalisation spells efficiency.

We cannot nationalise businesses at a stroke of the pen. Seven or eight companies employing over 10,000 men on Merseyside may be integrated with the existing Mersey Docks and Harbour Board in one unit. This all takes a great deal of time, and it will affect many people. There is much to be said for them and the local authorities in the area, which are equally concerned, having a chance to state their point of view.

The most difficult problems facing our ports are finance and labour relations. The first could be dealt with without nationalisation, and there is nothing in the Bill that will make the unions control the wildcat strikes that we have had. Until we know all the powers the local boards are intended to have, it is very difficult to make a sensible decision about the Bill. That is all the more reason why local people should have a chance to put forward their point of view.

The oil and seed crushers on Merseyside wrote to me not long ago objecting to the prices they were being charged and pointing out that it was virtually as cheap to import through Avonmouth, then bringing their produce up to Merseyside, as it was to bring it direct into the port of Liverpool. How much more expensive it may be when the port is nationalised! Liverpool already, to my regret, is an expensive port.

I turn to the Manchester Ship Canal. Many people seem to think that Manchester is a single port, but it is not. There is the great Queen Elizabeth II dock, built for what were then considered to be large oil tankers. They now go to the oil terminal at Tranmere, and may in the future anchor out in Liverpool Bay. It was once thought that the Queen Elizabeth II dock would have no trade, but all sorts of ancillary trades have come to it.

From there we move up the canal to Ellesmere Port, which is a little port all on its own in Wirral; from there to the great oil port of Stanlow; then on to Runcorn and a series of little ports, at present all controlled by the Manchester Ship Canal Company. So we move up to Salford, past other ports.

What is to prevent the National Ports Authority closing down some of those little ports, possibly because they happen to be more efficient, or even threaten trade in one of the major ports by their efficiency, just as the Coal Board has decided to close certain coalmines?

I hope that the Minister will comment on these proposals and will give us some idea whether we are to have an estuarial port for the whole of the Mersey or whether it is to be divided. That is all the more reason why we should have inquiries from the public and from local authorities.

7.30 p.m.

Dr. Winstanley

As my right hon. and hon. Friends and I will be supporting the Amendment, and as our thinking on these matters is not wholly identical with that of the Conservative Party, perhaps I should say why we support it.

We do not have the blind faith in the ability of private enterprise to administer everything effectively that the Conservative Party appears to have, nor do we believe, as do some hon. Gentlemen opposite, that nationalisation is automatically humane, receptive, sensitive, accountable, and so on. However, we accept that in many circumstances the proper way to administer a port is through public ownership.

We believe that it is right that there should be provision whereby the circumstances, methods, and so on, can be inquired into. Therefore, we shall support the Amendment. But we are not wholly happy about the precise details. I am not sure that the criteria laid down, namely, whether the proposal could affect adversely the prosperity of the area in question ". should be the sole ground. We should also consider the rights of the people working in the ports, the way that they are run, and so on.

Although I have some doubts about the details, broadly speaking, I support the scheme. Whilst the formula may be too restrictive, it is an ideal solution for the kind of situation to which reference has been made by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney); namely, that of the Manchester Ship Canal Company, in which intense local patriotism is involved. I do not dispute that it may be necessary to administer the ports regionally in certain circumstances, but hon. Members will be wise not to ignore local needs and to realise that local patriotism of this kind ought to be effectively considered.

Mr. Orme

The hon. Gentleman talks about local patriotism, particularly concerning the Manchester Ship Canal Company. is he aware that many of the directors of that company have little, if any connection with the indu4try? I hope that with public ownership there will be more direct say by people involved in the industry.

Dr. Winstanley

I am in favour of people having a say in almost everything. I should like all the people involved to have an effective say. I agree there with the hon. Gentleman.

People in the Manchester area are intensely proud of the Manchester Ship Canal Company and of the contribution that it makes to the city. We could argue about how the business is run, whether it could be run better, or how it would fare under public ownership. But surely this is what a public inquiry is for—to enable these arguments to be canvassed and gone into publicly to ensure that local interests are effectively represented.

There is no doubt that there is a considerable degree of competition between Manchester and Liverpool as ports. Having said that there should be some regional integration, I think, nevertheless, that there are advantages in preserving separate organisations so that competition can continue. These fears and anxieties could be ventilated at a public inquiry which could go into the way that things are to be done. Will they be done in such a way that Manchester can operate separately from Liverpool so that competition can continue? Anxieties about the terms of the take-over could be ventilated. Anxieties about the position of employees and their degree of participation in management, control, and so on, could also be ventilated. These are matters which we consider could be gone into at a public inquiry. Merely allowing the Bill to go through in its present form without pro- vision for something of this kind would be a mistake.

We support the Amendment, not because we wish a system of public inquiries to be used to frustrate any move towards nationalization—it is not our intention to support a purely capricious kind of negative measure—but because we believe that the provision of a public inquiry could be valuable in certain hypothetical cases and would be extremely valuable in the specific case of the Manchester Ship Canal Company.

Mr. J. H. Osborn

In Committee, at the second and third sittings, when we discussed Clause 1, I moved an Amendment relating to subsection (7). The one point that we did not elucidate and which did not come from the Parliamentary Secretary was how the procedure will operate under subsection (7).

I understand that an Order will be placed before the House which we may be able to pray against, if we so wish. I should appreciate confirmation that that will be so. It would be vital in that case for hon. Members to know the facts—not only the reason why we should pray against the Order, but also the Minister's reason for putting forward a Statutory Instrument recommending vesting dates to this effect.

The Clause has been well thought out, but one or two aspects that have arisen in the debate cause me to ask what the ultimate effect of political interventionism in this sphere will be.

The hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis), who has just left his seat, talked about discussions with the local authority in Bristol. I have a note that he also referred to the appointment which would come on the local estuarial port board, or whatever structure was set up by the Minister. My hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby) intervened and said: " If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

This is the procedure of nationalisation. One difficulty is that those running and associated with the ports on the management side, when they realise that the axe is going to fall and that there will be a new employer, get to the stage of thinking, as my hon. Friend the Member for Totnes said, " If you can't heat 'em, join 'em. This brings me to the interesting point about who the port users are—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must link what he has to say with the Amendment, which is about the need for public inquiries before vesting date.

Mr. Osborn

I am coming to who the port users are. The Amendment says the Minister shall arrange for public inquiries to be held in areas where substantial representations are made by local authorities or organisations representing workers or port users ". I am now coming to the people who can make representations at an inquiry. I cannot over-emphasise the importance of those who are working in the industry and who live in the local areas. As my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) said, if as the result of this Measure Liverpool and Manchester are brought together, the future employment of many people will be at stake, and they should have an opportunity of making representations to a public inquiry.

The health of our ports affects everybody. Ultimately, every man, woman and child in this country is a port user. It is difficult to see how their views can he represented in a public inquiry. If the cost of importing food goes up because of high wages and low productivity or inefficiency in the docks, for whatever reason, the housewife will have to pay more for her food. If the cost of bringing grain to this country rises, or if the cost of handling delicate tropical foodstuffs and fruits increases, the housewife will have to pay. The housewife is affected by the very process of nationalising the docks. Every wage-earner is affected by the efficiency with which raw material is brought into our factories; so are the products of our factories which are sent overseas.

There has been considerable discussion about the steel industry being a user of the ports. My hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) has reminded me that the steel industry is making a decision about ore carriers and the ore terminal being switched from the Tyne to the Tees. Not only the interests of users but the interests of the people in the locality are affected. The port users are those whose livelihood depends on the efficient import of goods and raw materials and the efficient export of finished manufactured products.

Port users include not only the warehouse men, those who handle goods in the ports, those who store them, the stevedoring companies and the shipping companies, but industry as a whole. Every aspect of our life is affected, and all those concerned will have to be satisfied that the process of vesting the industry will improve rather than hold back the service that British industry can give to the community and the ease with which British industry can export its goods overseas.

The House of Commons will be able to pray against the decision reached by the Minister and query the authority which the Minister is taking upon himself. The public inquiry which would result from the Amendment would enlighten the country, and make certain that the Minister has looked at the facts before exerting his final authority and that the House of Commons knows what is going on. I have pleasure in supporting the Amendment.

Mr. George Younger (Ayr)

I also strongly support the Amendment, which would go far to allay the fears of people concerned with the port industry in Scotland about the effects that might follow the proposals contained in the Bill. I hope that the Minister will not reject out of hand the sensible suggestion in the Amendment. If he does, he and his successors will have to make many difficult decisions without the benefit of the full information and assistance which could be provided by a public inquiry.

7.45 p.m.

By way of illustration, may I mention the River Clyde which has a series of ports, all under one authority. It is a most enlightened and far-seeing authority which is still relatively young. In the few years during which the Clyde Port Authority has been in existence it has made a notable contribution to bringing to public awareness the future port possibilities of the River Clyde. The authority in the last two years has drawn to public attention the tremendous possibilities of the unique deep water of the Clyde, and I use the word " unique " in its proper sense. There is not another deep stretch of water of the same quality and suitability waiting to be exploited throughout Western Europe.

If the Amendment is rejected the Minister may bring forward an order to implement the Bill as it affects the whole Clyde area without first getting the views of the local people and those concerned with local industry. It is not enough for people to know that there is a marvellous deep water river suitable for development. Before development takes place enthusiasm and backing, the focusing of public attention and the lobbying of users, local authorities and planning organisations are required. This is what has been done by the Clyde Port Authority. It has stimulated an interest in the deep waters of the Clyde. If the Bill goes through without the Amendment, the local interest and involvement will lose its cutting edge and this could adversely affect the prosperity of the area.

The ports to which I am referring are all publicly owned. Many people are perfectly prepared to accept public ownership, but are deeply concerned that the impetus for new development will lose its cutting edge if the decision is taken away from the people in the area who are closely concerned with it. This is the point of the Amendment. If the Minister were considering making an order, he would have the benefit of a public inquiry to tell him what the people in the area felt about it. Be under no illusions; this could have a tremendous effect on the economy of the area in question. If any future organisation of the ports led to any diminution in the enthusiasm by the Clyde Port Authority in developing facilities in the Clyde, it would not merely be a matter of losing an aspect of port development but would endanger the future development of an important part of industry in central Scotland.

I know that the Minister, or indeed any future Minister, would not deliberately take a decision that seemed wrong to him, but does he feel that from his ivory tower in his Ministry office he will be able to obtain all the information he requires about the situation on the ground? He would be a remarkable man if he claimed to do that. Therefore, he should look favourably on this Amendment which will give him the benefit of information from the grass roots in making future decisions.

The Minister might well feel that if he gives way on this matter there will be inquiries galore all over the place. I do not accept that view. I do not believe that people will expect inquiries, involving a great deal of money, time and trouble, to take place for spurious purposes. If this Amendment is accepted, it will give an opportunity for a sensible and well-needed inquiry to go forward and will warn the Minister if he seeks to do something which will affect prosperity in an area. Nothing will be lost and everything will be gained by accepting the Amendment.

I have no doubt that once the Bill goes through the Minister's intention is to help port development. But if he rejects this Amendment he will cut himself off from direct contact with the people on the ground. There is concern in Scotland about the likely effects of the Bill on the ability of people to make their own decisions and to put forward their plans with enthusiasm and knowledge of local circumstances. The Minister could go 90 per cent. of the way towards allaying those fears if he would agree to accept this Amendment. He will have the thanks of hon. Members on all sides of the House if he brings more public participation into the future decisions in this vital industry.

Mr. Will Griffiths (Manchester, Exchange)

I did not have the advantage of hearing the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) and I had not intended to intervene on this Amendment. But since reference has been made to the Manchester Ship Canal and since I represent a district of Manchester, I am provoked to take part in this debate.

I am sure that the hon. Member for Cathcart would not have put down this Amendment unless he was convinced that there was a widespread demand in Britain for inquiries of this sort, but I have had no representations on this matter. I have, however, received a vast number of duplicated letters all complaining about the compensation terms.

I was in the House in the 1945–50 Parliament when many nationalization Measures were passed. The Government of the day persuaded the House, and indeed for a while persuaded me, that there should be limits on public accountability. It did not take me long to come to the conclusion that there should be a greater degree of public accountability after the event than exists in the nationalised industries today. I have never believed it to be improper that the day-to-day conduct of the nationalised industries should be scrutinised by the House of Commons, and I recently referred to this matter on the Post Office Bill. But I cannot see that this Amendment is justified.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Would the hon. Member not agree that it is only by such an Amendment as this that Manchester and its population could obtain an assurance that the National Ports Authority would not run down the port of Manchester with all its employees?

Mr. Griffiths

The hon. Gentleman will not be surprised to learn that I am very concerned about the future prosperity of the City of Manchester. I have a vested interest in the matter, but I am not sure that what the Opposition are seeking to do in this Amendment will preserve the prosperity of Manchester. We have recently in Manchester been facing a redundancy problem in the engineering industry in the private sector in A.E.I. The House is also aware of redundancies in other industries and of pit closures, and that the changing pattern of industry in Lancashire has brought about great changes in, for example, the textile industry.

Are the Opposition saying that there should be public inquiries in the private sector before any changes are made in the pattern of industry? I have never known them to be very strong in their calls for inquiries in the private sector. Therefore, there is a degree of hypocrisy and obstructionism, and indeed a doctrinaire approach, in the Amendment.

Dr. Winstanley

Would the hon. Member acknowledge that the Liberal Party has recommended public inquiries for example in the case of mergers in order to inquire into the interest of employees and the public interest in general. But is this not possible with regard to a merger of Manchester with Liverpool, and should it not be considered in the same light?

Mr. Griffiths

I was referring to the changing pattern of industry in Britain. Many of my hon. Friends represent coal-mining areas. Will any hon. Member argue that, because it is impossible to carry on this particular industry in one part of Great Britain, at all costs it should be preserved. What the House of Commons, the Executive and a responsible Opposition should do is see how they can shield our citizens from the consequences of changing industrial patterns. In fact, this Government have done a great deal in that direction since 1964.

To return to the strict terms of the Amendment, what we all need to do in the future is look more closely than we have in the past at the best way of controlling the performances of our nationalised industries. There is no doubt about that. They are different from the private sector in that they belong to the nation and are accountable to the nation. However, I am not prepared to accept an Amendment in these terms. It is doctrinaire and obstructive, and I cannot see how it can be consistent with the philosophy of the party opposite.

I notice that the hon. Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney) has returned to the Chamber. He was discussing the ports along the Ship Canal and about what is to happen to Ellesmere Port, and so on. If the existing pattern of organisation on the canal remains unchanged, is it conceivable that economic and social changes in the future may not produce the very circumstances of which he is apprehensive? Of course that may happen. It has happened in the past in Lancashire. It is happening in the textile industry and in coal mining.

It is our responsibility to see that people are insulated against the social consequences of industrial change, but we cannot do that before the event by tying the Minister's hands in the way envisaged in this Amendment.

In my view, the House will be well advised to reject this wrecking Amendment.

8.0 p.m.

Mr. Stainton

It does not call for much inspiration to guess that the Minister's view is tilted in the direction of rejecting this Amendment, and I expect that his argument will be more or less as follows. First, he will say that this is a wrecking Amendment, in the sort of terms that the hon. Member for Manchester, Exchange (Mr. Will Griffiths) has just employed. Secondly, the right hon. Gentleman will say that the Amendment would make the whole procedure extremely long-winded. Thirdly, he will say that it could add to the uncertainty surrounding the whole situation which has been made much of from our side of the House. There would be some virtue in that argument in the context of the Bill. Fourthly, he will say that the areas affected are referred to in the Amendment. I am not altogether happy about that, because the prosperity of a dock and the services that it gives extend not merely to the hinterland. Goods having their origin in Chesterfield, say, may be shipped from Avonmouth, which is a considerable distance away. The, Amendment does not strike the right note in that regard. Then there is the old chestnut about inadequate drafting, and one could have a field day with the words " substantial representations ". I hope that the Minister will not over-indulge himself with that argument.

There is another side to this coin, and it does not require a great deal of argument from me. It was put forward eloquently this afternoon by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller). The underlying argument in favour of reducing the 5 million tons limit to 100,000 was that the proposal had very substantial support from the dockers—an element of the public. That was the theme running throughout the deliveries from hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite. Despite the difficulties in the Amendment as it now stands—and there is plenty of time to alter it—the virtues of consultation in this context have been argued for us by hon. Gentlemen opposite. We are only too pleased to accede to those arguments in the context of this Amendment, as I am sure my hon. Friends will agree.

If the Minister has the self-confidence and assurance of what he has in hand, what has he to fear as a result of a public inquiry?

Mr. Bruce Campbell (Oldham, West)

I support the Amendment. As I understand it, it is only if the Amendment is accepted that constituents of mine who have shares in the Manchester Ship Canal can have any prospect of being adequately compensated for their shares. As I understand the situation, shares in the Manchester Ship Canal Company have a true value of more than £6. It is proposed to compensate shareholders at a price of 32s. 6d. Only if the Amendment is accepted will shareholders have any possibility of making representations against their shares being taken from them at that deflated price.

I have received no less than 60 letters from constituents, all of which I have forwarded to the Minister. What has struck me is that they do not come from millionaires or great capitalists who have shares in all sorts of concerns. I know the addresses from which the letters have come. I have knocked at those doors. They come from humble people who live in tiny terraced houses and who have a few shares in the Manchester Ship Canal Company. In many cases, those shares have been passed down from generation to generation, and they represent the very small assets of poor people. Those same people are to be relieved of their shares at a price of 32s. 6d., when everyone knows that their true value is something over £6.

I do not know how this Government can do it. Some of us regard their action as confiscation and think that another word for confiscation is robbery. There is no other way of describing it when shares which are worth £6 are being taken from people in return for 32s. 6d. I do not know how the Government can do it, but I gather that they propose to do it, and I hope that this Amendment will be accepted if only because it will enable the Minister to reconsider the matter.

Mr. Ellis

The hon. and learned Gentleman should say a little more on this point. The share value quoted by my right hon. Friend is related, in the time-honoured formula which has operated before, to the value quoted by the stock market. If these poor people are being robbed, they have also been robbed over the years because the true value has not been put on their shares by the stock market.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Sydney Irving)

The hon. and learned Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campbell) is going into too much detail on this issue, as distinct from the matter of inquiries, which is the subject of the Amendment.

Mr. Campbell

In that event I will say no more, except that I do not accept the hon. Member's comments. He knows very well that there are valid reasons for the low Stock Exchange price. These shares do have a true value of over £6. This does come within the terms of the Amendment because it refers to the prosperity of the area. If these shares are taken from these poor shareholders at this deflated price it must affect the prosperity of the area. If they were adequately compensated they could invest the proceeds in other industries in the area, making it more prosperous.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport (Mr. Albert Murray)

The hon. Member for Sudbury and Woodbridge (Mr. Stainton) tried to make some of my speech for me, but I hope that he will not mind if I go over some of the points he thought I would make. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Edward M. Taylor) started off with the " electionitis " that most of his colleagues seem to have. It should be pointed out that whenever a General Election takes place it will not change the position of the parties in the House. The hon. Member introduced a very interesting constitutional doctrine in the Amendment. It looked as though he is suggesting that every time the Government introduced an Act of Parliament they should hold public inquiries all over the place dealing with its effect.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

I think that my hon. Friend was suggesting that the Government do what the Labour Party did in the 1940's when it nationalised the bus industry and used the public inquiry procedure.

Mr. Murray

I am about to point out why we do not think that is necessary. If at some point in the dim and distant future a Conservative Government were returned, I am certain that they would not have had in their election manifesto the promise that they would hold public inquiries every time they passed an Act of Parliament.

The hon. Member spoke of the word " substantial ". What does it mean? To someone who has nothing, " substantial " can be £1. To someone with quite a lot it would have to be a lot more. The same applies to the word " prosperity ". What does that mean within the terms of the Amendment? The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart knows that this is a wrecking Amendment. The hon. Member for Harwich (Mr. Ridsdale) mentioned the sword of Damocles hanging over various parts of the country. If a public inquiry is held at which " substantial representations ", whatever that may mean, can be made, this can go on for weeks, months or years. The uncertainty mentioned by hon. Members would be increased.

The hon. Member for Cheadle (Dr. Winstanley) took his usual middle of the road position and at the end, as has been the case so far on Report, he veered to the right, contrary to the tradition of driving in this country. He veers to the right every time he take his middle of the road position.

Dr. Winstanley

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will accept that the right place on the road in the Manchester Ship Canal is on the right.

Mr. Murray

I have no doubt about it, but being in the middle of the Manchester Ship Canal is worse than being in the middle of the road.

The hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) seemed to think that the N.P.A. and the people working in the docks and ports would not want success, but that is far from the truth. My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Exchange (Mr. Will Griffiths) made a valid point when he said that he had not received any representations or demands for a public inquiry into the areas in which the Ports Bill will operate. Neither have I.

Clause 1(7) empowers the Minister to appoint the vesting day by order made under statutory instrument. It does not allow him to vary in any way the criteria governing which harbours are to be taken over under Clause 1(3). The Bill determines which ports are to be taken over and provides for arbitration under Clause 25 when the N.P.A. and the relevant harbour authority fail to agree. In that sense the Amendment is misguided since the order to which it relates only affects the date of take-over and not the question of whether a particular port does or does not fall within Clause 1(3)(b) of the Bill. If the Amendment were accepted it would mean indefinite delay, cumbersome public inquiries yet would add absolutely nothing to the Bill. Accordingly I ask the House to reject it.

Mr. Norman Miscampbell (Blackpool, North)

I want to support my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oldham, West (Mr. Bruce Campbell) and deal with the point raised by the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis), who said that he could not understand why the price for the shares in the Manchester Ship Canal was wrong because those who controlled the company did not disclose to their shareholders over the years what the company was worth and thus the shares ought to have stood higher on the Stock Exchange. The simple answer is that under the law at the time, because the Canal Company came under certain accounting procedures it was not possible to disclose what the company was worth.

Mr. Stainton

I am following my hon. Friend's argument with great interest, but surely there is another point. Whatever may be the law, have the Government no conscience? Have they not a process of valuation? If the directors have been doing this, are they determined to take advantage of it?

Mr. Miscampbell

That is exactly the point I was about to make.

I understand that the Labour Party went through the 1930s and 1940s deciding that nationalisation was its great aim and object and why it chose the formula that it did at that time. I believe it to be an unfair formula, and it should not be carried into the future simply because of precedent. I cannot understand why the formula is used today, because it immediately imposes -on my constituents a considerable economic disadvantage. I have had more representations on this aspect of the Bill than I have received about any other Bill before the House. When we consider the number of Bills affecting animals that we deal with this is a remarkable statement. But Blackpool is full of people who own a small packet of shares in this company and on any basis on which one can look at it, and on any calculation one can make, they are being cheated of their money.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I am afraid the hon. Gentleman is getting out of order on this Amendment. All we can discuss is whether there should be a public inquiry before an order is made under subsection (7). We are not discussing the affairs of a company or the affairs of his constituency, unless related to the Amendment.

Mr. Miscampbell

I appreciate that, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Because so many people are affected by this in my constituency and my area I am saying that we should have a public inquiry because the economic effects are likely to be serious. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Oldham, West made the point that the addresses from which the letters we are all receiving come are not those of the wealthy or well to do. These letters are from those who in many cases are the successors of the people who put their money into this company in the North-West. It was something which attracted a great deal of local loyalty. Money was put in many years ago. The scrip has remained in the attics through the years. Now these people find they are to be recompensed by only a tiny amount of what their shares are really worth.

Mr. Ellis

The hon. Gentleman has been very ingenious in talking of the affairs of Manchester. I hope that after this debate in the House nobody is going to say we never came to the problems of Manchester or of compensation because, as I hope the hon. Gentleman agrees, he has been able correctly, within the rules of order, to make this important point.

Mr. Miscampbell

Because we are under the guillotine we are forced to look at the Amendments to see if we can get in rather earlier than we might. It is no thanks to the Government that I am able to make this speech. I did not intend to make it on this Amendment, but I realised that I would not be able to do so unless I made it now. I do not think my constituents will mind if I make it on this Amendment rather than wait till later and perhaps not get called. On behalf of those who are being penalised at this moment, I must say that we really should accept this, because if it was a private company that was being taken over those who owned the shares would be able to say, " No, 32s. 6d. is not enough ". There are 1,800 undeveloped acres of prime land, worth millions of pounds which has never been represented in the balance sheet; it could not be, because of the law.

Mr. Will Griffiths

On a point of order. Surely it is out of order to discuss compensation terms. They ought not to be discussed. With respect, it is really bringing the House into the wrong alignment if the debate is to be solely on compensation matters.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I have already indicated to the House that comment must be related only to the Amendment. The hon. Gentleman is going a little wider.

Mr. Miscampbell

Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am well aware that I must relate what I say to the economic detriment of the area I represent; and I do so, because if they do not get adequate compensation terms, undoubtedly that is something on which there should be an inquiry.

Mr. Mulley

I am very happy that the hon. Gentleman should make this speech. He will realise that a reply on the details of the case may not be given; but if he will look at the proceedings of the Standing Committee, beginning at column 507, he will see a reply dealing with all the points he is bringing up. In theEconomistlast October—some six months before the White Paper announcing the terms—that newspaper told the world all about these acres and securities; and they were clearly within the knowledge of the Stock Exchange for six months, which is the six months period on which valuation is based.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I must remind hon. Gentlemen that this is very wide of the Amendment. These are matters which could well be argued in an inquiry but not in detail on this Amendment.

Mr. Miscampbell

I am neither going to try the patience of the House nor, more importantly, your patience, Mr. Deputy Speaker, a moment longer. I have made my point on behalf of my constituency. It is one which has been made endlessly to the Government.

Dr. Winstanley

The hon. Gentleman has said he has made his point, and I agree that he has. Would it be right to make clear that there are other hon. Members who might like to have made precisely the same point but did not do so because they felt that had they done so they would thereby have been out of order?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Gentleman commenced his speech by saying he was going to be very brief. I hope he will conclude very shortly.

Mr. Miscampbell

Had it not been for interruptions, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I should have sat down long ago. I am quite sure that nobody in this House, if he was not Whipped, could not but agree with me.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

I am sure my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North (Mr. Miscampbell) has highlighted the grave dilemma of everybody who wishes to make the case of Manchester Ship Canal shareholders. He will concede that he is seeking an opportunity to do so, and trying your indulgence, because he knows first of all that the hon. Member for Manchester, Exchange (Mr. W. Griffiths) is trying to draw your attention to points of order to stop him from doing so. He knows that the fact that we have used two hours and 10 minutes—[Interruption]

Mr. Will Griffiths

I do not at all mind the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. Michael Heseltine) commenting on my speech in any respect. What he must not do is misrepresent what I have said in the House of Commons. I am very much in favour of his hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, North saying what he likes, so long as he is within the rules of order.

Mr. Heseltine

The hon. Member for Manchester, Exchange has been drawing attention to the fact that, in his opinion, my hon. Friend was out of order. I am not complaining of that. I am merely saying that it was the hon. Gentleman opposite who sought to draw your attention, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to rules of the House which would have had the effect of precluding further discussion on compensation terms for Manchester Ship Canal shareholders. The hon. Gentleman opposite realises the dilemma that we on this side of the House are confronted with in that because we have used two hours and 10 minutes this afternoon debating an Amendment which was never voted on we are, because of the Guillotine, not to get a chance to discuss this matter properly. That is our difficulty.

Mr. Ellis

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that he has throughout this afternoon encouraged every one of his hon. Friends to speak in order that he may be able to say that on the issue of Manchester, "The guillotine fell and we were never able to discuss it "? His hon. Friend managed to do it and he is very niggledy because it is what he said and said to the press.

Mr. Heseltine

When it comes to accusations flung back and forth across the Floor of the House, accusing people of putting words into other people's mouths, the hon. Gentleman must rank pretty high.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I must remind hon. Members that it is the Amendment on the Order Paper that we are to discuss, and not the tactics of the Government or the Opposition.

8.30 p.m.

Mr. Heseltine

I do not want to pursue that. If I have taught the hon. Gentleman anything, that must be something for gratitude.

This is a most reasonable Amendment. In view of the anxiety that is felt in the regions which will be affected by the Bill, it was our intention to give responsible bodies representing major interests in the community one last opportunity when specifically local issues and anxieties could be explored in detail. This was done by the Labour Party when it nationalised the buses.

Mr. Murray

Did the Conservative Party support that Measure?

Mr. Heseltine

Of course we did not support it. I am talking about the procedure within that Measure. We could have supported isolated items within it, but we were against the principle, and there is no point in having public inquiries to establish that one is against the principle of a Bill. When hon. Gentlemen opposite first embarked on this nationalisation spree in 1940 they provided for public inquiries, but they discovered with the bus industry that there was such an outcry against what they wanted to do that they could not bear to go through the difficulty again. They did it on the major issue of principle, but they found that local regions did not conform to the euphoric pattern of Amendment No. 5. In practice local people did not like the proposals when it came to applying them in their areas.

I should not want to introduce what could be considered a wrecking Amendment. We are not seeking to introduce a long period of delay. We all know that there will be some delay between the enactment of the Bill and vesting date. The Minister could get on with these public inquiries in the meantime. There is no reason why they should not be over before the Minister can reasonably expect to vest the ports in the authority.

If the Minister is suggesting that his timetable is so critical that even a week is so serious that he cannot adopt even that suggestion, one has to consider what has exerted such pressure at the tail end of this six-year period of Government by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I do not think that there is any great opportunity to suggest that we are trying to wreck the Bill. We would be prepared to accept an Amendment to curtail the period within which the public inquiries should take place.

If I need to plead the case further, I mention the people who can ask for a public inquiry, and the sort of reasons which they can advance. There are only three groups of people—local authorities, organised representative workers, and port users. I do not think that anybody will seriously suggest that organisations representing any of those three responsible groups will exploit the situation in the way that has been suggested by hon. Gentlemen opposite. If I had suggested that anybody, or any irresponsible group of people, or any well-defined group of people could call for a public inquiry, I could understand the Minister's case, but I have not done that. I have asked that a narrow group of responsible people should have this opportunity. That seems to be a complete answer to the suggestion that we can be accused of trying to wreck the Bill.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary found another reason for opposing the Amendment. He suggested that the word " substantial " made a nonsense of the whole policy because it is impossible to define. He said that £1 is a lot of money if someone has nothing, but not a great deal if he has £10. He says that " substantial " is difficult to define, and therefore we should not use it in the drafting of legislation especially when it would have a significant effect.

I invite the hon. Gentleman's attention to Clause 5(2). The entire capital budget of the National Ports Authority could be £30 million to £40 million. That subsection refers to the Minister's power in relation to proposals involving substantial outlay on capital account ". This is a question, as so often happens with the hon. Gentleman, of his taking a bad argument and flogging it to death. It does not stand up to any examination.

The second area of restriction which we have imposed upon ourselves is that people can ask for a public inquiry only if they believe that the prosperity of the area is at stake. My hon. Friends were under pressure to show that compensation to the shareholders of this company affected the prosperity of the area. It is arguable whether it would, but only in a relatively narrow sense. We have put in this proviso so that people cannot come along with a doctrinaire approach and ask for an inquiry. They have to argue within the terms of the prosperity of the area, and this highlights the difficulties and anxieties which confront us in dealing with the Bill.

The fact is that in every area at which one looks in considering the application of the Bill one finds real local problems which are not applicable to other parts of the country. Everyone who has looked at the proposals in the Bill knows that the Minister does not have the answers to the crucial questions which local people will want answered before deciding whether they are in favour of the Bill. The essence of the problem confronting people working in Manchester and in the shipping company is whether there will be a Manchester dock if there is to be a rationalisation of Mersey Docks and Harbour Board all over the Mersey. Nobody knows. The Minister does not know, and he says that it is not his job to know.

It is the National Ports Authority's job to make up its mind; but is that a satisfactory argument for all those employed in the Manchester docks when at some subsequent date, when Parliament has already divested itself of the power to make decisions, the National Ports Authority, which is as yet unconstituted, will decide whether there is to be a future for the Manchester docker or the Manchester manager or the people in any way dependent upon that port? Is that really something that the National Ports Authority should make up its mind about? Is not something that should worry the hon. Member for Manchester, Exchange (Mr. Will Griffiths), or the other hon. Members for that area? They have not asked the question and they do not know the answer to the question.

Mr. Mulley

The hon. Member should perhaps explain to the House who is responsible for this kind of decision. This is a private company accountable to its shareholders. The N.P.A. is accountable to the House.

Mr. Heseltine

The Minister has made a most helpful intervention, because he has shown the essence of the problem. It is the Manchester Ship Canal, which is, of essence, a local Mersey-based, Manchester-based, Manchester-run, and Manchester-managed organisation, which, at a number of crucial moments in its history, has had to fight against the odds for its existence. It is inconceivable that a group of managers appointed to the National Ports Authority would ever have dug the Manchester Ship Canal or would ever had thought to keep it in existence. It is a triumph of local ingenuity. It will always be easier to rationalise it out of existence because the trade can go to Liverpool, which has problems of its own.

Therefore, the national interests will supersede the present interest, which is the interest of the Manchester people. That is why it is important that there should be public inquiries to establish these problems before one goes further in any way and moves on from Manchester—which, goodness knows, has problems enough. I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to clarify the position. How many years' guarantee of life are expected, which will be backed by the Government, for the Manchester Ship Canal? How many years will he guarantee it its continued existence under the National Ports Authority? It is important that the Parliamentary Secretary should either say " No answer ", or tell us how many years are guaranteed.

Mr. Mulleyrose

Mr. Heseltine

I said " the Parliamentary Secretary ".

Mr. Mulley

I am the Minister and I am quite capable of answering the hon. Member. I have been in the House too long to answer questions of the kind " When did you stop beating your wife?", so if the hon. Member has any more he had better save them. Then he will waste less time complaining. He and his hon. Friends have eaten up the time under the Guillotine, and we have not got down to discussing Manchester on the Manchester Clause.

Mr. Heseltine

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for the intervention he has made. What is the guarantee for the Manchester Ship Canal? That was the question. It is no use the Minister getting indignant or trying to change the subject. There is no guarantee, and there will be no local people in charge to make the decisions and fight for its continued existence. Let us understand that before we move on to Bristol.

The hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Ellis) will understand the problems. He has seen a Government who have turned down the Portbury scheme and the Bristol West Dock scheme, and are now, presumably, considering the West Dock Mark II scheme, which might be crucial to the continued existence and development of the Bristol employees. So let me make clear the attitude of the Opposition—and of the Government of the future—to the West Dock Mark II scheme.

We make it clear to the people of Bristol, as we have on earlier occasions, that we would allow the West Dock Mark II scheme to go ahead if Bristol wants to go ahead with it, as it is free to do. We make it clear that—[Interruption] The statements in this House are widely reported and the hon. Member knows it. If the hon. Member wishes to make an issue of this he has only to make sure the remarks I make are widely reported. We have never believed that the South Wales ports are threatened by Bristol, so we support the West Dock Mark II scheme.

Mr. Ellis

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that financing it will follow the general pattern of the rest of the country, that there will be no inhibitions about this as there were with the other scheme?

Mr. Heseltine

The hon. Gentleman knows procedure as well as I do. The Bristol Municipal Port has gone to the National Ports Council and asked for Government intervention. The decision must await the findings of the council. The council recommended both Portbury and the West Dock Mark II, and both were turned down by the Labour Government for reasons best known to themselves. The same applies to the Tees and Hartlepools Authority—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is arguing wider issues than are dealt with in the Amendment, which is concerned with the question whether there should be public inquiries.

Mr. Heseltine

I do not want to trespass on your tolerance, Mr. Deputy Speaker, but I am giving the reasons why different local areas will want local inquiries. There is a solid reason in each area for local people to plead their case. But time does not permit me to argue this case under a Guillotine. My hon. Friends have referred to these authorities—for example, the Tees and Hartlepools and the Clyde—all of whom have strong reasons for taking advantage of this situation.

Another precedent was set, again in Manchester, by the former Labour Government. They wanted to nationalise the airports, but, under great pressure from the people of Manchester, were persuaded to leave out the Ringway Airport. One of the reasons was that this change would provide an objective standard of comparison for the other airports as they develop. The Ringway Airport contributes to the rates and makes a profit of £200,000 a year—a very successful local airport developed by local ingenuity and pride. It is a classic case of pressure from a city persuading a Government to keep their hands off a major asset. This is exactly the same as our argument, which is crucial.

Some hon. Members have argued that the workers are solidly in favour of the Bill. I believe that the overwhelming majority of workers have not had the Bill clearly explained to them. They will be eager for these inquiries when they understand that the Minister is taking over 90 per cent. of the tonnage capacity. Three ports are losing £4 million a year. The right hon. Gentleman has given the N.P.A. the financial discipline of breaking even, so it will be looking for a surplus of £4 million with which to do it. The profits of all the ports which are to be taken over, apart from these three, add up to an aggregate of £4 million. In other words, all the successful ports will be used to subsidise the three loss-makers —London, the Forth and Liverpool. It is a direct form of cross-subsidy, however it is defined. It means that the workers in Manchester, the British Transport Docks Board, Milford, Bristol or Tees and Hartlepools will be working to keep

Liverpool, London and the Forth in their present situation.

The pressure, therefore, will always be for men who are successful in the ports which are now successful to go on being successful—not to achieve more investment for their own ports, but to maintain the losses of the three ports which are already losing money. When this message gets across, followed by the other temptation—to divert traffic from the successful ports to the unsuccessful—the organisations of workers will be alive to the grave dangers of centralising these decisions and not letting local people exercise their own discretion.

For all those reasons I believe that this would be a very appropriate time for the Minister to find out what local opinion in the areas really thinks and will give him the opportunity to think once again.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 177, Noes 234.

Division No. [108.] AYES [8.45] p.m.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Elliott,R.W.(N'c'tie-upon-Tyne, N.) King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Emery, Peter King, Tom
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Errington, Sir Eric Kirk, Peter
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Eyre, Reginald Knight, Mrs. Jill
Awdry, Daniel Farr, John Lambton, Antony
Baker, Kenneth (Acton) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Fortescue, Tim Lane, David
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Fry, Peter Langford-Holt, Sir John
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Galbraith, Hn. T. C. Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Bell, Ronald Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Glover, Sir Douglas Lubbock, Eric
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm) Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B. Mackenzie, Alasdair(Ross & Crom'ty)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Goodhart, Philip McMaster, Stanley
Biffen, John Gower, Raymond Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)
Blaker, Peter Grant, Anthony McNair-Wilson, Michael
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Grieve, Percy Maginnis, John E.
Bossom, Sir Clive Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Marten, Nell
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Curden, Harold Maude, Angus
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward Hall, John (Wycombe) Mawby, Ray
Brewis, John Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Maxwell-Hyslop R. J.
Brinton, Sir Tatton Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) May don, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Mills Peter (Torrington)
Bryan, Paul Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Miscampbell, Norman
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus, N & M) Hawkins, Paul Monro, Hector
Burden, F. A. Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel Montgomery, Fergus
Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.) Heseltine Michael More, Jasper
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hiley, Joseph Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Chichester-Clark, R. Hill, J. E. B. Morrison Charles (Devizes)
Clark, Henry Hirst, Geoffrey Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Cooke, Robert Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Cooper-Key, Sir Neil[...] Holland, Philip Murton, Oscar
Cordle, John Hordern, Peter Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Costain, A. P. Hornby, Richard Neave, Airey
Crouch, David Hunt, John Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Crowder, F. P. Hutchison, Michael Clark Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Cunningham, Sir Knox Iremonger, T. L. Nott, John
Dalkeith, Earl of Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Onslow, Cranley
Dance, James Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Pardoe, John
Davidson, James(Aberdeenshire, W.) Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Dean, Paul Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Peel, John
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Peyton, John
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Jopling, Michael Pike, Miss Mervyn
Doughty, Charles Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Pounder, Rafton
Drayson, G. B. Kaberry, Sir Donald Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward
Price, David (Eastleigh) Speed, Keith Ward, Christopher (Swindon)
Pym, Francis Stainton, Keith Ward, Dame Irene
Rees-Davies, W. R Stodart, Anthony Wells, John (Maidstone)
Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Tapsell, Peter Williams, Donald (Dudley)
Ridsdale, Julian Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Robson Brown, Sir William Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart) Winstanley, Dr. M. P.
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Temple, John M. Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
St. John-Stevas, Norman Tilney, John Woodnutt, Mark
Scott, Nicholas van Straubenzee, W. R. Worsley, Marcus
Scott-Hopkins, James Victors, Dame Joan Wright, Esmond
Sharples, Richard Waddington, David Younger, Hn. George
Shaw, Michael (Sc'h'gh & Whitby) Walnwright, Richard (Coine Valley)
Sinclair, Sir George Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Smith, Dudley(W'wlck & L'mington) Wall, Patrick Mr. Timothy Kitson and
Smith, John (London & W'minster) Walters, Dennis Mr. Walter Clegg.
Albu, Austen Finch, Harold McBride, Neil
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) McCann, John
Alldritt, Walter Foley, Maurice MacColl, James
Allen, Scholefield Ford, Ben Macdonald, A. H.
Anderson, Donald Forrester, John McElhone, Frank
Archer, Peter (R'wley Regis & Tipt'n) Fowler, Gerry McGuire, Michael
Armstrong, Ernest Fraser, John (Norwood) McKay, Mrs. Margaret
Ashley, Jack Galpern, Sir Myer Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Garrett, W. E. Mackic, John
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Ginsburg, David Maclennan, Robert
Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice Golding, John McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Bagier, Cordon A. T. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. MacPherson, Malcolm
Barnett, Joel Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth) Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)
Baxter, William Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Beaney, Alan Gregory, Arnold Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Bence, Cyril Grey, Charles (Durham) Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Mapp, Charles
Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton) Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Marquand, David
Bidwell, Sydney Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J. Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Binns, John Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Melllsh, Rt. Hn. Robert
Bishop, E. S. Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mendelson, John
Blackburn, F. Hannan, William Milkardo, Ian
Booth, Albert; Harper, Joseph Millan, Bruce
Boston, Terence; Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Miller, Dr M S
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Mitchell, R C (s'th'pton, Test)
Boyden, James Haseldine, Norman Moonman, Eric
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Hattersley, Roy Moonman, Eric
Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper) Hazell, Bert Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Heffer, Eric S. Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Brown, Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Herblson, Rt. Hn. Margaret Morris, John (Aberavon)
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Hilton, W. S. Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Buchan, Norman Hobden, Dennis Murray, Albert
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Horner, John Neal, Harold
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Newens, Stan
Cant, R. B. Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough) Oakes, Gordon
Carmichael, Neil Howie, W. Ogden, Eric
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Hoy, Rt. Hn. James O'Halloran, Michael
Chapman, Donald Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) O'Malley, Brian
Coleman, Donald Hughes, Roy (Newport) Oram, Bert
Concannon, J. D. Hunter, Adam Orbach, Maurice
Conlan, Bernard Hynd, John Orme, Stanley
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Irvine. Rt. Hn Sir Arthur Oswald, Thomas
Crawshaw, Richard Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh) Page, Derek (King's Lynn)
Cronin, John Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak) Paget, R. T.
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Janner, Sir Barnett Palmer, Arthur
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Jeger, Mrs Lena (H'b'n & St.P'cras, S.) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Dalyell, Tarn Jenkins, Hugh(Putney) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Johnson. Carol (Lewisham, s.) Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, w.) Pavitt, Laurence
Davies, Dr. Ernest (stretford) Jones. Dan {Burnley) Pearson. Arthur (Pontypridd)
Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek) Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Davies, I for (Gower) Judd, Frank Pentland, Norman
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Kenyon, Clifford Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)
Delargy, H. J. Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Latham, Arthur Price, William (Rugby)
Dewar, Donald Lawson, George Probert, Arthur
Diamond, Rt. Hn. John Leadbitter, Ted Randall, Harry
Doig, Peter Lee, Rt. Kn. Frederick (Newton) Rankin, John
Dunn, James A. Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Rees, Merlyn
Eadie, Alex Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Edelman, Maurice Lomas, Kenneth Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Loughlin, Charles Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy
Ellis, John Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
English, Michael Mabon Dr. J. Dickson Robertson, John (Paisley)
Ennals, David
Robinson, Rt.Hn.Kenneth(St.P'c'as) Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley Whitlock, William
Rodgers, William (Stockton) Swain, Thomas Wilkins, W. A.
Rose, Paul Taverne, Dick Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Ross, Rt. Hn. William Thornton, Ernest Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Rowlands, E. Tinn, James Willis, Rt. Hn. George
Sheldon, Robert Tomney, Frank Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Tuck, Raphael Winnick, David
Sillars, J. Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Silverman, Julius Wallace, George Woof, Robert
Slater, Joseph Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor) Wyatt, Woodrow
Small, William Weitzman, David
Snow, Julian Wellbeloved, James TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Spriggs, Leslie Whitaker, Ben Mr. R. F. H. Dobson and
Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.) White, Mrs. Eirene Mr. loan L. Evans.
Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
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