HC Deb 23 November 1970 vol 807 cc165-93

10.14 p.m.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. William Whitelaw)

I beg to move, That Standing Order No. 13 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of select committees at commencement of public business) be amended as follows:— Leave out lines 13 to 18 and add— (2) With respect to a Private Member's motion for leave to bring in a Bill under this Order—

  1. (a) notice shall be given in the Public Bill Office, by the Member in person or by another Member on his behalf, but on any one day not more than one notice shall be accepted from any one Member;
  2. (b) no notice shall be given for a day on which a notice of motion under this order already stands on the paper;
  3. (c)no notice shall be given for a day earlier than the fifth or later than the fifteenth sitting day after the day on which it is given;
  4. (d)not more than one such notice shall stand on the paper in the name of any one Member for a day within any period of fifteen sitting days.

Mr. Speaker

It has been suggested to me that if the House approves we should take at the same time the next Motion: That Standing Order No. 13 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of select committees at commencement of public business) be amended as follows:— Line 5, leave out 'for consideration'. Line 6, after 'business', insert Any such motion shall stand over and may not be moved until after a member of the Government shall have signified to the Chair his intention to move, That this House do now adjourn, for the purpose of bringing the sitting to a conclusion; whereupon Mr. Speaker shall immediately call upon the Member who has given notice of the Motion to move that Motion, and any proceedings thereon, though opposed, may be decided after the expiration of the time for opposed business, and the motion for the adjournment of the House shall not be moved until after the conclusion of those proceedings'. I imagine that the first one is not very contentious. There may be a debate on the second one.

Mr. Fred Peart (Workington)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. To help the House—

Mr. T. L. Iremonger (Ilford, North)

On a point of order.

Mr. Speaker

Order The right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) is addressing me on a point of order.

Mr. Peart

Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House accept your view about taking the two Motions together. There is no controversy about the first one. It is the second one about which there is some controversy.

Mr. Iremonger

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. If the two Motions are debated together, will there be an opportunity to divide on them separately?

Mr. Speaker

There can be a Division on each Motion if necessary.

Mr. Whitelaw

These Motions concerning Ten Minute Rule Bills are put down in my name. If I move them together, I understand that it will be for the convenience of the House if they are voted on separately.

Mr. Speaker

The right hon. Gentleman should move the first Motion but talk about them both, and then the House can divide if necessary.

Mr. Whitelaw

Very well, Sir. The right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) says that the first Motion is non-controversial and that there will be no Division upon it but that the second Motion may be controversial. I do not have his knowledge. As there is a free vote I cannot say whether there will be a Division on the first Motion. If there is a free vote I cannot tell whether the first Motion will be controversial. It is very important that both should be offered fairly for the House.

Both Motions are proposed by the First Report of the Select Committee on Procedure in Session 1969–70. The first Motion concerns the notice to be given of Ten Minute Rule Bills. This proposal seeks to deal with the aspect of the problem highlighted by the activities of my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) last year. I feel that my hon. Friend and any other hon. Members are absolutely entitled to take whatever advantage they can of our procedures as they stand. At the same time, I doubt whether a repetition of last year's events would be fair to all hon. Members or, indeed, would be conducive to the dignified conduct of our affairs.

Having considered this situation, the Select Committee on Procedure recommends the procedure outlined in the first Motion on the Order Paper. Whatever view hon. Members may take about the time at which Ten Minute Rule Bills are moved, some limitation of notice, as proposed, seems desirable; indeed, if the House does not approve of this method, I feel that some change will be necessary and ought to be urgently considered.

The second Motion concerns the time at which Ten Minute Rule Bills should be moved. I know that this proposal is controversial and in accordance with my undertaking last Thursday I will not enter into the merits or the history of this case. I will merely read out paragraph 4 of the Report of the Select Committee on Procedure. It says: Your Committee appreciate that the opportunity to make a brief explanatory statement in favour of a bill at half-past three o'clock is much valued by some Members and has probably led in the past to subsequent changes being made in the law. Against this advantage must be set the fact that this motion is moved at the 'peak' period of the day's business, when the House is frequently about to enter upon a major debate, and the resultant delay in embarking upon the main business of the day reduces the time available for speeches from back benchers. For these reasons, Your Committee repeat the recommendation of the Select Committee on Procedure of 1964–65 that ten minute rule motions 'should be moved at the end of business, immediately before the half-hour adjournment debate'. Personally, and influencing only my own vote if Tellers are put on, I must tell the House that I agree with the Select Committee's view and I shall vote for it.

10.20 p.m.

Mr. Fred Peart (Workington)

I was only trying to be helpful earlier in saying that the first Motion had the appearance of being uncontroversial. If there is controversy, no doubt hon. Members will take a different line. I think that our experience in the last Session concerning the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) shows that something had to be done. I agree with the Leader of the House that an hon. Member is entitled to take advantage of procedure. When that incident occurred in the last Session I did not dissent from that view. I always compliment an hon. Member who takes advantage, but sometimes by taking advantage an hon. Member can bring procedures into disrepute. There are conventions in the House. Whilst we could condemn the hon. Gentleman, in the end probably what he did has enabled us to take another line of action. I welcome the Motion, and hope that it will be carried.

I know that there will be controversy about the second Motion, which concerns the time at which a Ten Minute Rule Bill should be moved. It will be argued that the hon. Gentleman's Motion is the sort of Motion that any Leader of the House would put forward. It helps the Government. There will be those who argue that having the Ten Minute Rule Bill early in the day enables a backbencher to publicise his cause, to engage in controversy if necessary, and to focus public opinion on a worthy object. That is stated very clearly in paragraph 4 of the First Report from the Select Committee on Procedure. No doubt hon. Members have carefully read the Report and all the evidence which was before the Committee.

It is right that we should have a free debate tonight. The Leader of the House has indicated his position, and I must indicate mine. My hon. Friends must not necessarily take my advice on the matter. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am committed. In the First Report of the Select Committee reference is made to my evidence and that of the Government Chief Whip in paragraph 3, which says: … the Leader of the House and the Government Chief Whip, and the Opposition Chief Whip"— now Leader of the House— suggested that Motions under the ten-minute rule should be taken at the end of business of the day, immediately before the half-hour adjournment debate". It is important to note that the Opposition, too, made that suggestion. I submitted a memorandum which was discussed by the Select Committee on 17th December. There I said: … the experiment of taking these Motions immediately before the daily half-hour adjournment should be renewed. I shall not go into the history of the matter. The issue is clear. If hon. Members feel that it is right to have the Ten Minute Rule Bills introduced early in the day, I can understand their point of view, but I took a contrary view, and therefore I am committed. I cannot, in all honour, alter my position. This is not a party issue or even an issue of government, because the Leader of the House when in Opposition took exactly the same view as he takes tonight.

Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)

Has not the right hon. Gentleman a duty to the House to justify by argument the memorandum he submitted and the general point of view he has just expressed, and not pass the matter off like that? As recent Leader of the House, he is entitled to give us a reasoned explanation.

Mr. Peart

I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman, being an assiduous Member, would have read my evidence in that memorandum. The document is available. The Leader of the House, rightly, made a short, concise speech indicating his view and I am merely following precedent. This is a matter for the House and it should not be left to Front Bench speakers to decide an issue of this kind.

Mr. Speaker

I remind the House that this debate will conclude at 11.30 p.m. Brief speeches on the Ten Minute Rule will help.

10.25 p.m.

Mr. John Boyd-Carpenter (Kingston-upon-Thames)

I agree with the right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart) that the first Motion seems to be not only wholly uncontroversial but wholly admirable. I will, therefore, address my remarks to the Second Motion and, unlike the two right hon. Members who preceded me, I hope that hon. Members will take the advice which I offer them.

The point under discussion is a clear cut and relatively simple one to understand, though it may be more difficult to make up one's mind about it. It is simply this: is it right to ask that the right of a backbencher to raise, if he is fortunate in obtaining permission to introduce a Bill, a topic of his own and make a speech on it at 3.30 in the afternoon should be taken away and have substituted for it a debate later at night?

I accept entirely the argument of the Select Committee that sometimes a major debate is held up because a backbencher, having been fortunate in obtaining the right to do so, introduces a relatively trivial matter. This is true. On the other hand, I wonder whether the Select Committee fully appreciated—there is nothing in the evidence before it to suggest this—that it would be taking away one of the relatively few opportunities of a backbencher to make a speech at a time when it is reasonably likely to be reported.

Both right hon. Members who have spoken referred to the advice of the Select Committee and I am the last person to suggest that the advice of any Select Committee should be taken anything other than seriously. However, there are a few facts about these proceedings which are worth mentioning.

First, the Select Committee took evidence from both the right hon. Members who have spoken in this debate, the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Opposition Chief Whip and from two Clerks. They did not take the evidence of any backbencher. I make this point particularly, because a careless reading of the Report might suggest that I gave evidence. I have confirmed with the Clerk of the Committee this morning that the reference to myself in the Committee's Report relates to my giving evidence on a totally different matter, and that was about the arrangements for Parliamentary Questions.

Faced with the Report of the Select Committee—and I agree that majorities must prevail—if one looks at paragraph 4 of the Report, which is the decisive one, one sees that it rests on an amendment of the Chairman's draft report and was carried by a majority of three to two in a Committee of ten. Therefore, with respect to the members of the Select Committee, this must be a somewhat marginal Report.

I do not know that we really need to worry too much about that because this is a matter which all of us can consider on its merits. It is true that if this Order is accepted there will be no actual loss of time to backbenchers and that there will be a change of the hour at which that right is exercised. While all parliamentary time is valuable, some is more valuable than other and, quite obviously, the peak hour of the afternoon—3.30—is a great deal more valuable than, not merely, perhaps, 10 o'clock at night but, if there is a Prayer or a suspension of the Rule, a great deal later, which is the alternative.

Mr. R. J. Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

My right hon. Friend mentioned how the Clerk of Public Bills. Mr. Mackenzie, pulled a fast one over him. Is he aware that the Clerk of Public Bills also pulled a fast one over me, in that he complained to the Committee—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—yes—of my conduct, without having the elementary courtesy to inform me—[Interruption.]—that he had done so—[Interruption.]—so that I could not reply to the complaint which he had made against me.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I did not say, and I am in the recollection of the House, that the very distinguished Officer—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—who performs the duties of Clerk of Public Bills pulled anything on me, although he is so able a man that, if he wanted to, I am sure he could. But I did not say that he did and, in fact, he did not do so. All I made was that one reference, and that reference, again, is not by name but only by office to the fact that he did what one would expect any Officer of the House to do when called upon by a Select Committee to give evidence, which was to give it the benefit of his evidence.

There is no complaint or criticism of him; there is no complaint or criticism of the Select Committee. I am simply pointing out that the Select Committee relied on its own back-bench knowledge, and did not decide to call any backbench Members. I merely mention it, not to go to the sincerity and integrity of any of the proceedings but simply as to the weight we give to the recommendation of the Select Committee when we now consider it.

I have made the point, and it is the only point I want to make, as to the different value of 3.30 and 10 o'clock. I am unhappy about the idea, standing by itself, of simply to transfer the more valuable time to Government business—[Interruption]—or to Opposition business, as I am rightly reminded by my right hon. Friend; but business chosen by the or to Opposition business, as I am rightly reminded; but business chosen by the Opposition Front Bench and not by back benchers opposite, any more than Government business necessarily is by back benchers on this side. But I accept the correction.

I am doubtful about this proposition as it stands. The question is how the Government would use the time. Would they use it simply for Government—or Opposition—business? I hope that I am not out of order in saying that the same Select Committee on Procedure also recommended that more time earlier in the day should be given to Parliamentary Questions. If one had to weigh the use of the time round about 3.30 as between Ten Minute Rule Bills and additional time for Parliamentary Questions, I must say that I would feel tempted to prefer Parliamentary Questions, because whereas the 15 minutes or so, allowing for a speech in reply or a Division on a Ten Minute Rule Bill, only gives an opportunity for one or, at the best, two Members, that extra quarter of an hour given to Parliamentary Questions would give perhaps a dozen Members a chance to put questions to the Government.

If, therefore, there were some concept that the time gained in this respect should be put at the disposal of back-bench Members in another way—which, in my own personal opinion, rightly or wrongly, is perhaps an even more useful way—by carrying out the recommendation of the Select Committee on Procedure that more time should be given for Parliamentary Questions, I should take a different view.

But my point—and I am advised always by my hon. and wise Friend sitting below me—is that it is not a proposition at the moment—

Sir Gerald Nabarro (Worcestershire, South)

To which of his hon. Friends seated below him does my right hon. Friend refer?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I said "my honourable and wise Friend".

Sir G. Nabarro

I interjected so that my right hon. Friend should not fall into the error of identifying me with his own perverted views as a Privy Councillor in this context.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

My hon. Friend interrupted me for once prematurely, because if I had wanted to refer to him I should have said "my hon. and very wise Friend".

I was trying to conclude when my hon. Friend—without adjective—tried to assist me. If we are faced with simply the choice of a transfer of better time into worse time for back benchers, I am against the proposition. The back bencher has comparatively little time at effective times reserved to him. I do not think that this moment—early in a Parliament, with a Leader of the House who really understands the House, who cares for the House and who feels for the House—is the right moment to diminish even marginally the privileges of back benchers unless something is put in its place.

Mr. Whitelaw

I think that it would be fair to the House if I made one point clear, because I should not like the debate to proceed on a wrong basis. I have undertaken that the whole matter of the time of Questions and how much time should be allowed for Questions will be very carefully considered in the light of the Select Committee's Report. I cannot give an answer on that today. Therefore, it would be quite wrong for me to try to ride off this debate with any promise of that sort. I will look carefully into the whole question of the timing of Questions. This debate must proceed on its own.

10.37 p.m.

Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, West)

The debate is essentially one between the Government and backbenchers, whether they be Opposition backbenchers or Government backbenchers. Both Front Benches are equally guilty in this matter of seeking to deprive back benchers of one of the few rights they have left them.

I strongly agree with the right hon. Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter). The fact that a Select Committee made a recommendation is neither here nor there. This is a matter for the House itself to decide.

The Leader of the House was commendably brief but rather less than forth-right. He is on record as having said in the 1964–65 Session that he was very strongly in favour of changing the time for these debates. One can understand that attitude from Governments. Back benchers are a nuisance to Governments. Some backbenchers are a bigger nuisance than others. Governments see their back benchers as Lobby fodder; they want them to go passively into the Lobby at 10 o'clock at night and keep their mouths shut for the rest of the time.

This is a classic example. The evidence which was given to the Select Committee was that the Ten Minute Rule procedure was being abused. The procedures of the House are abused every day of the week by one Member or another. Some Members are expert at it. That is no reason for depriving ordinary backbenchers of what I call a fundamental and important right.

The argument was put to the Select Committee that rarely does a Ten Minute Rule Bill get on to the Statute Book. That is true. They are largely propaganda exercises. I can imagine arms going up in horror at the thought that anyone should dare to engage in propaganda in this Chamber—what a disgraceful thing to engage in. Of course it is a propaganda exercise. I intend to engage in it as soon as I can. I guess there are other hon. Members on both sides who intend to do just that. I am not interested in getting a Bill on to the Statute Book. I am interested in getting a lot of grievances off my chest. The Chamber is nothing if it is not a place to voice one's grievances. The Ten Minute Rule procedure is one of the ways of doing it.

The present Leader of the House, the former Leader of the House, the right hon. and learned Member the Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)—an ex-Leader of the House, and a very good Leader of the House who wanted to get his Government's business through—and Lord Aylestone, now head of the I.T.V. crowd—all these Establishment figures wanted to push the backbencher back to 10 o'clock. Lord Aylestone went so far as to say that it sometimes took as long as 40 minutes for a Ten Minute Rule Bill. Suppose it did. Forty minutes on a Tuesday and a Wednesday amount to one hour and 20 minutes out of a 30-hour week, sitting from half-past 2 till 10 p.m. from Monday to Thursday. The then Leader of the House thought that this was a terrible thing and that we ought to be put in our places at 10 o'clock at night.

I have always been in favour of morning sittings. The Ten Minute Rule Bills could well be taken in the mornings without disadvantage, and the same applies to the Adjournment debates; it would be an advantage to the hon. Member who has got the Adjournment as well as to the Minister who has to reply to the debate. I imagine that there is no greater chore than being a junior Minister and having to answer an Adjournment debate, sitting wondering when he will have to reply. If we had morning sittings for Ten Minute Rule Bills and for Adjournment debates, it would meet the Government's case of private Members taking up time at half-past three, and would also safeguard the rights of the backbench Member in that he would be heard by the Press at an early part of the day when he would get maximum coverage.

I hope that backbench Members on both sides of the House will unite against the Government. It is a very unhealthy trend that we are witnessing, thrusting back benchers further into impotence. I hope hon. Members in all quarters of the House will feel free to reject this proposition of the right hon. Gentleman's.

10.42 p.m.

Mr. R. H. Turton (Thirsk and Malton)

I want to clear up one point. My hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) made an allegation against the Clerk who gave evidence. The Clerk made no attack. He was extremely discreet in the way in which he handled the whole way in which my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton had got round the rules of the House. There was no criticism made of him by the Clerk or by anybody on the Committee. In fact, older Members of the House will recollect that this matter was referred to us by the House after my hon. Friend had been so eminently successful in getting up early in the morning.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

How my right hon. Friend imagines that something can be referred to as an abuse without implying criticism I do not understand.

Mr. Turton

Because it was referred to us as an abuse, we had to look into it. The word was used, but not by the Clerk. I ask my hon. Friend to do what is customary in this House and withdraw his allegation against a servant of the House.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

If my right hon. Friend will look at the printed report of the memorandum by the Clerk, he will see that the word "abuse" was there used and he will see that the Clerk was taken to task for it later on by my hon. Friend the Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward).

Mr. Turton

I have already explained that this matter was referred to us as an abuse and that is why the Clerk used the word. But it is customary not to make allegations against servants of the House, and I hope that when my hon. Friend addresses the House, as no doubt he will, he will withdraw that allegation. It was quite improper.

I think the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) has put the matter a little crudely. If we take Ten Minute Rule Bills at the peak hour of the day, true we are giving one hon. Member a good advertisement, but let us remember that we are depriving one other backbench Member of taking part in a debate. In our view, there was a balance of advantage, and we thought that another consideration came into it. The House is not merely for the enjoyment of backbenchers and Front Benchers. It is the sounding board of the nation.

It is important that those who listen to our debates may understand what is happening. I take, for example, what has happened only recently. On Budget day, everyone comes expecting to hear the Budget speech. On that day, after Prime Minister's Questions, an hon. Member on the back benches moves for leave to bring in a Private Member's Bill and makes his speech. How can the Gallery understand what he is doing? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] This is the peak moment of the day, yet we have some hon. Member pursuing his own problem which he wants advertised at that time.

In my view, that is the way the question should be looked at now. Many of the old customs of the House are archaic in the present day. We ought to try to proceed here as other Chambers do, bringing ourselves up to date. That is the point of the recommendation.

This is not the first time that the Select Committee on Procedure has made this recommendation. It was made before. It was tried as an experiment. It was tried in the Session 1965–66, and, when the time was 10 o'clock, out of the 15 occasions it could have been used it was used on 14 occasions. That is a higher proportion than its use has been on other occasions in other Parliaments. We said—rightly, I think—that that experiment was too short to be of value, and we considered that it ought to be prolonged. It was stopped because the hon. Member for Fife, West had his way and we took Private Members' Bills in the morning. Then we found that it was not used much; on 25 out of the 60 or so occasions, no one wanted to use that opportunity in the morning which the hon. Gentleman favours.

I feel that we ought to allow the experiment, which we made in 1965–66, to go on for this Session to see how it works. I believe that the balance of advantage to the back bencher lies in his having opportunity to take part in important debates in the House. In major debates on the Floor, the proportion as between Front Benches and back benches is wrong. There is far too much monopoly of the time of the House by the Front Bench. This would bring the balance up a bit, making possible one more speech by a backbencher, or, if a Division be taken into account as well, perhaps two or three more.

10.47 p.m.

Mr. Raphael Tuck (Watford)

Why do we have to go to extremes? If a private Member introduces a Bill at 3.30 in the afternoon, he takes up valuable time which could otherwise be used by backbenchers. Time is lost, but he can have his Bill reported in the papers and he receives publicity. If, on the other hand, we shuffle him off till just before Adjournment, he cannot get his Bill mentioned in the papers. Most hon. Members will have left the House anyway, so they will not hear him—as many do at 3.30 in the afternoon—leaving the Chamber noisily so that he cannot be readily heard.

Why cannot the Leader of the House and the Select Committee take the middle course and make 10 o'clock in the evening the time when a private Member may present his Bill? I cannot vote one way or the other on this Motion, but I should vote for 10 o'clock. I ask the Leader of the House seriously to consider 10 o'clock as the time.

10.50 p.m.

Mr. T. L. Iremonger (Ilford, North)

We do not want to take more time than absolutely necessary on this matter, because hon. Members want to vote, and they may drift off. I merely want to make it clear that I am against the second Motion. The virtue which was adduced in its favour by the right hon. Member for Workington (Mr. Peart), the former Leader of the House, that the two Front Benches were in agreement about it, seems to me the strongest argument we could possibly have against it. The last time we had the bipartisan Front Bench conspiracy was in the matter of the House of Lords.

Mr. Peart

The recommendation was for a backbench report, not the Government Front Benches.

Mr. Iremonger

I ask the right hon. Gentleman not to trifle with me. He does not fool his hon. Friends. I hope that on this occasion the backbenchers will teach the Front Benches a lesson, as we did on that previous occasion, without having to stay up all night for many nights.

The rights of the private Member are steadily being eroded by the Government lobby on both sides. This is an issue upon which we should make our will clear. I hope that hon. Members on both sides, including, if I may say so without seeming presumptuous, hon. Members who may not have had quite a long experience as others, will take note that we should not lightly surrender a very valuable right and privilege of backbenchers. That right is to use a part of the time of the House, which is our time just as much as that of anyone on the Front Bench, in the middle of the day to put forward what may not be strictly legislative exercises but declamatory exercises.

I hope that we may move swiftly to a Division and get the private Members into the Lobby.

Mr. Whitelaw

My hon. Friend has suggested that there is a conspiracy between the Front Benches. He has suggested, as have other hon. Members, that there is an effort by the Government to push the proposal through. If I had wished to push it through, would I have said that I wished the House to decide, without making any effort to have a Whip on, and giving the whole House a free vote? I do not think that my hon. Friend is being quite fair.

Mr. Iremonger

I do not want to prolong the debate. My right hon. Friend will know that the last thing I want to do is to be unfair to him. To be perfectly fair to both of us, he certainly has not asked my right hon. Friend the Chief Whip to give guidance to me and my hon. Friends. But my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has said, with all the authority of his personal and official position, that he favours the proposal, and his predecessor has said that he favours it. That alliance strikes me as very sinister. That is all that I was saying.

10.53 p.m.

Sir Geoffrey de Freitas (Kettering)

I seldom find myself in such agreement as I do tonight with the hon. Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Iremonger)—not complete agreement, but general agreement.

Twice in the past few years it has been my pleasure to oppose the right hon Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) in a debate on a Ten Minutes Rule Bill on capital punishment. I am not arguing the merits, but I point out that on both occasions there was a full Chamber. On both occasions we had a vote by a very large number of hon. Members. On both occasions, it so happened that the right hon. Gentleman's Motion was defeated. But the point is that there was a large vote. Why? Why was there a large attendance? It was because it was at the peak time of the House.

For that reason I am completely in agreement with those who seek to retain the right of backbenchers to debate such matters after Questions in those 20 minutes.

10.54 p.m.

Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)

In theory the case has been made out for retaining the Ten Minute Rule Bill at half-past three. But in practice I do not think that it has.

If it is that we go by our experience over recent years, then the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) let the cat out of the bag. For the most part the Ten Minute Rule Bill in the middle of the day has been used merely as a propaganda exercise on matters which would have been discussed in the general debate. Advantage has been taken of that because it is the publicity hour of the day.

I have always argued, with all due humility—[Laughter.]—the House should let me be humble on at least one occasion—the rights of backbenchers and the necessity of their being able to raise matters which normally do not come into debates organised by the usual channels. I believe that, if it is that we move the Ten Minute Rule, which is a definite part of the procedures of the House for getting legislation on the Statute Book, and if it is that we put it at an hour which has less publicity, then it is more likely that the procedure will be used upon matters which are mainly of back benchers' concern.

I believe that experience in recent years—and again I produce the hon. Member for Fife, West—[Interruption.] I am always delighted to bandy words with the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr) on other occasions but now I am arguing for a privilege which he will enjoy—has shown that publicity in our national life has become so acute and so deep-seated that it really has perverted the proper usage of the House. I believe that the 3.30 hour as it is at present worked is not worked upon the merits of getting worth-while legislation on to the Statute Book but is often argued on the merits of certain hon. Members hitting the headlines. If it is that we are to use this place properly, I believe that we have to try to retreat to some extent from the headline hunting and get down to sound legislating. I believe that by accepting the advice of my right hon. Friend we should be doing just that.

The right hon. Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas) quoted the exception which proves the rule—capital punishment. On emotive questions of that sort, where people have deep-rooted feelings, at whatever hour of the day the matter arose he would have a full house. I do not believe that his evidence in support of the 3.30 hour carries weight because such an issue as capital punishment always fills the House. One remembers the late Sydney Silverman and his battle for abolition of capital punishment over the years. At whatever hour he raised the matter, the House was full. It was always interested and keen.

I beg the House on this occasion to forgo the chance of hitting the headlines and really get down to use what backbenchers' time is given to us on doing serious matters which all add to the worthy legislation of the country.

10.58 p.m.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

I oppose the Motion because it seems to me that one of the few remaining rights of backbenchers in the House is again under attack. Since I have been in the House, in the last six years, I have seen stage by stage the rights of backbenchers gradually being eroded. We have had to fight on a number of occasions to keep this particular right and it seems to me that we are going to have to wage that fight periodically, perhaps every two or three years.

The hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) made a telling point when he said, on the question of capital punishment, that we may well have had the same vote at 10 o'clock or at one o'clock in the morning as we had at 3.30 in the afternoon. That may be so, but the point is that by that evening and by the next morning the whole country knows about the decision taken by the House. It is all very well to say that these debates on important issues can take place at one o'clock in the morning, but the facts are that much of what is said at that time is never reported or properly understood in the country. This factor, apart from anything else, is of the utmost importance for backbenchers.

I can well understand right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Government Front Bench—and I suppose I now have a slight foot in the door—finding backbenchers a bit of a nuisance. I suppose the Parliament (No. 2) Bill was possibly the biggest nuisance any Government could possibly have had to face. But on that occasion we united to make certain that Parliament expressed its opinion without necessarily accepting the opinions of either Front Bench.

We must look closely at the whole question of how we are governed, and even a small matter like that which is now before the House raises fundamental questions of the rights and opportunities—and also the responsibilities—of backbench Members. For example, I have always been a great believer in having fixed periods for elections. If this system were instituted, the Government would have to come along and convince us that what they were putting into operation was something we ought to vote for.

At present there is always the great threat hanging over our heads—and hon. Gentlemen opposite who have just come to the House will soon learn this—that from time to time the Prime Minister can say, "I will dissolve Parliament and go to the country." And the more timid Members will think, "Well, I do not want that to happen. I want to hang on to my seat for a bit longer."

Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, West)

What has all this got to do with Ten Minute Bills?

Mr. Heffer

It has got this to do with Ten Minute Bills, that if we had fixed parliamentary periods we would have to be convinced. When a matter is brought before the House hon. Members must make up their own minds without being cajoled and whipped into taking decisions. We have had, for example, the question of hare coursing—and we may well have fox hunting and other issues—brought before the House. I hope that when these issues come before us hon. Members will have sufficient courage, on one side or the other, to express their opinions by their votes. It is important that the country should know precisely where Members of Parliament stand on such issues.

Why should we have the debates on these matters at 3.30 rather than late at night? The answer is simple. Because at 3.30 the House and the Public and Press Galleries are full and the nation knows what a Member is bringing before the House. Let us also appreciate that a matter may not come before the House at ten. It might be at one o'clock in the morning, or three o'clock, or seven o'clock, or even ten o'clock next morning—in fact that might be better than one o'clock in the morning.

It is right that hon. Members should have the right from time to time to explain fully to the whole country precisely what they are interested in bringing into law. They are raising important questions which ultimately they hope will become the law of the land. That is a right we must cling to.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

Order. Before calling the next speaker, may I again remind the House that this debate has a time limit? Without the help of the House, many hon. Members will be disappointed. Mr. Kenneth Baker.

11.5 p.m.

Mr. Kenneth Baker (St. Marylebone)

I rise to make only a brief intervention as a backbench hon. Member who has introduced two Ten Minute Bills.

The procedure is of great advantage to an hon. Member who wants to make a propaganda point if he can speak early in the afternoon. As the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) said, an hon. Member speaking at half-past three or four o'clock in the afternoon has a large audience, and the Gallery above Mr. Speaker's Chair is well attended. The result is that the Ten Minute Measure is likely to be reported widely in the morning papers the following day and even in the later editions of the London evening papers.

I, too, recall the debate which the right hon. Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas) mentioned, but he was not alone, since we had a number of interesting debates. In the last Parliament, under the Ten Minutes Rule procedure, we debated capital punishment. Then there was a debate on the freedom of the Press, initiated by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot). We debated ritual Jewish slaughter, and the reform of our abortion law. In each case, hon. Members were able to express a measured opinion on their feelings. That would not have been possible at one, two or three o'clock in the morning.

The arguments adduced by those who support this Measure have been a little thin. My right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) said that there might be a Ten Minute Bill on Budget day. In fact, that never happens—[Interruption.] It may have happened once, but it was an exception. This year on Budget day, a Ten Minute Bill was moved to another day.

In any event, what do we lose if a major debate is delayed for 10 minutes? When half-past three comes, all Governments like to go into a jog-trot, but that is not always to the advantage of backbench hon. Members.

This is a right which hon. Members on the back benches treasure. It enables them to gain publicity for the causes which interest them. I shall oppose any measure to push this right into obscurity, and that might well happen if such Measures were debated after ten o'clock.

11.8 p.m.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)

There are two arguments against this Motion, both of which have been advanced already. The first is that the existing procedure comes at a time in the day when the House is more likely to be full than late at night. The second is that an hon. Member is more likely to be given decent Press coverage for the point that he wishes to raise in his Ten Minute Rule Bill.

I hope that the House will not depreciate the importance of the Ten Minute Rule procedure. It is not only a valuable means of spreading propaganda, and in some senses the word "propaganda" is depreciatory; it is frequently concerned with a cause which is too little considered in the House, and the Ten Minute Bill is the beginning of consideration.

No one pretends that it provides for the clear and exhaustive consideration of an issue. All that one hopes to do is raise it and interest other hon. Members and the Press and, in that way, gradually build up the lobby.

One can only judge from experience. I have taken part in the procedure on three occasions. The first time was on a Bill about privacy. At the time, I think, the issue had not been raised before. In view of the public comment that there has been since, no one can now say that it was a matter which should not have been raised in the House. It helped that it could be raised at a time when it received decent Press publicity and attracted the attention of hon. Members.

The second issue in which I took a part was to do with absolute liability, when there was a question of the owners of premises being found guilty of allowing people on those premises who were consuming drugs. That was the Sweet case. What I tried to do was to show the House that this was a problem not confined to drugs but extending over a wider area. To my surprise, within a few weeks, on the proceedings on the Criminal Justice Bill I found the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) raising it as a Front Bench spokesman and trying to argue against a Government proposal in the Bill which would have extended the area of absolute liability. I was happy to say that on that occasion he was successful in defeating the Government and the result was that we did not extend the area of absolute liability.

The third occasion was when I spoke against a Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Lambton), I think, who raised the question of a Bill of Rights. No matter what view is taken about this, it is an issue which needs raising and it caused a good deal of discussion in the Press as a result of that debate, which I agree, took a little more than ten minutes on that occasion. But no one would say that that was an issue which ought to have been swept to the end of the day because there were more important things like Scottish fisheries and other major Government business to be considered.

What we are saying is, "Yes we can abuse the procedure, as we can abuse any procedure of this House." But when one looks at the history of the Ten Minute Rule Bill and the kind of issues that have been raised one can only say that, if all the procedures of the House had been used as well, a great deal more good would have been done by this House.

11.12 p.m.

Mr. Gilbert Longden (Hertfordshire, South-West)

I find myself in the unusual and rather embarrassing position of being entirely in support of both Front Benches. My amour propre is restored only because I am still in opposition to the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) whose chestful of grievances must be as large as Pandora's Box. I am wholly in agreement with everything the Father of the House, my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton), had to say. I also agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls), albeit in the somewhat ineffectual disguise of Uriah Heap.

The reason I support this proposal of the Select Committee is that I believe that the rights of backbenchers are thereby enhanced. I would remind the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) that nothing in the proposals will stop backbenchers getting together, as they did on the Parliament (No. 2) Bill and nothing in the proposals will prevent any hon. Member from carrying a Ten Minute Rule Bill through to the Statute Book.

All that it will prevent will be the publicity received by the hon. Member in the evening newspapers. If there is sufficient substance in the issue he will get all the publicity he needs the next day, and thereafter. The most frustrating part of a backbencher's life is to come to the House with a carefully prepared speech for a big debate and not be able to deliver it. If the Ten Minutes Rule Bill is at half-past three, as it is now, it may take half an hour to debate and that is enough for three or four speeches. I respectfully recommend my hon. Friend's to vote in favour of the Select Committee's proposals.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

Apart from the more recondite and weighty considerations, is there not an argument for an interval between Question Time and statements and the beginning of the main debate?

11.15 p.m.

Sir Gerald Nabarro (Worcestershire, South)

I am on the side of the angels in this matter. I strongly support my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, for two reasons which I believe to be good. First, the majority of participants in this short debate seem to take the view of the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) that "it is very rare for a Ten Minute Rule Motion to result in subsequent legislation". It is not very rare. There are countless examples of Ten Minute Rule Bills, with all-party support, reaching the Statute Book very rapidly.

I have used this procedure on nine different occasions. I failed to get my Motion through, and the legislation on to the Statute Book on seven occasions. I have taken through to the Statute Book the legislation on two occasions. That is not a bad record in this context, and there are many other hon. Members who have taken Ten Minute Rule Bills through.

The essence of a Ten Minute Rule Motion is preparatory propaganda and publicity before the Motion, all-party support for the Motion, and at the various stages of the Bill full publicity by every medium available to the hon. Member. I say that with the utmost sincerity. No private Member's Bill can succeed unless it is accompanied by publicity through all the media that are available—television, radio, the Press and the remainder.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter) spoke about the "diminished opportunities of backbenchers". That is rather less than my right hon. Friend's characteristic and customary logic in these matters. There are no diminished opportunities at all. The opportunities are exactly the same. It is only a question of transferring the timing from half-past three in the afternoon to ten or eleven o'clock or to the early hours of the morning.

I remind my right hon. Friend that if the cause is sound, if the Government are interested in the cause, as they often are, and as I hope they will be in my cause in opposition to smoking, and if there is general support among the two major parties, it is not a question of diminished opportunities at all. It is merely a matter of timing, and I believe that the time at the end of the major business of the day would be every bit as good to the Member moving the Motion as it is at half-past three in the afternoon.

My third and last point, and I want to make it briefly in view of the time limit, is this: on 21st January last I endeavoured to initiate legislation under the Ten Minute Rule on cigarettes and health hazards associated with them. The debate immediately following was a very important two-day debate, led by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition today, on the acceptance of the White Paper on public expenditure.

It so happened that there was not a Division on my Motion but, had there been one, there would have been a ten-minute speech from me, a ten-minute speech from an opposer, and about ten minutes to carry through the Division. If my hon. Friends from all parties and I had won on the Division, the total, including bringing the Bill down the Floor of the House and going through the customary procedures, would have occupied no less than 32 minutes. Those 32 minutes, in the context of that debate, and I believe that it was not an unusual debate, were equivalent to three speeches from backbenchers.

Mr. Kenneth Baker


Sir G. Nabarro

My hon. Friend who is shouting "two" might bear in mind that the average might be two, but in the context of that debate it was three, and as only about one-third of all the backbenchers who had sent their names in to you, Mr. Speaker, and asked to participate in the debate were called, I believe that the deprivation of those backbenchers in delivering three speeches was extremely important.

It is for those reasons that I support my right hon. Friend in both his Motions.

Mr. Speaker

Order. We must get on to the second Motion just before half past Eleven o'clock.

11.20 p.m.

Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, West)

The issue before the House is not those Measures that back benchers are agreed upon; it is the irritants that are important in politics. In the last Session many of us were exeremely irritated by some of the Measures introduced, but on reflection we appreciated that they were important to the House. We debate the issue of capital punishment. Many of us who had supported its abolition were not pleased to see the matter back on the Floor of the House, but if Members felt it important that it should be brought back it was right that it should come back, so as to allow the House to express its opinion on it. There were many Measures, some social and some political, that neither Front Bench wanted to see debated at the time, but it is the prerogative of Members, if they win the Ballot, to bring such subjects back.

It is not merely a matter of trivia. Some of these matters are of the utmost importance. Capital punishment, the question of trade union reform, abortion —all are important issues. I remember a debate on an issue that many hon. Members felt very uncomfortable about—the Ten Minute Rule Bill debate on euthenasia. Two points of view were put. The mover of the Motion did not feel that he wanted to take the matter to a Division at the time. Nevertheless, these matters were discussed in the House.

Many of us might have felt at the time, "We have to make a decision." It makes us feel uncomfortable, but politics is about real issues. It is not a question whether we decide, or the Government decide, or the Opposition decide, whether it is right to discuss these matters. Often they come at the most unfortunate times, but we must make up our minds on them.

When these matters are discussed, more than ten minutes is taken up only if there is opposition to the Bill. The matter is fully debated before a packed House and only then, if Members feel that it is a matter of the utmost importance, do they force it to a Division. In the last Session about eight or nine Divisions occurred on Ten Minute Rule Bills, on matters of the utmost importance to the nation. We expressed an opinion and had to stand up and be counted, whatever our views, on either side of the House. It is there on the record.

I do not believe that back benchers are getting pushed aside. I believe—as witnessed by the attendance tonight—that backbenchers are prepared to fight for their rights, and I hope that tonight backbenchers will fight for their rights, one of which is maintaining the privilege that we have at half-past three in the afternoon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

11.24 p.m.

Dame Irene Ward (Tynemouth)

I want to make only one point. The debate seems to have taken place on the assumption that the Select Committee on Procedure was totally in favour of moving the debate on Ten Minute Rule Bills from half-past three to ten o'clock. I want to make it clear that—as is often the case with me—I was in the minority on the Select Committee. I did not wish to see the alteration made.

It is true that when the actual vote was taken in the Select Committee I could not be present, but if anybody had read my evidence in the Report they would not be surprised that every speech and intervention that I made was against the Select Committee's recommendation. I want to put that fact very clearly on the record today.

I remember very well the Father of the House, after the final vote had been taken—which was a vote of very few Members—telling me that he knew very well that if I had been in the Committee he would not have got support for the alteration. Those who take my view will probably enjoy seeing me, a member of the Select Committee, in the Division Lobby with them.

11.25 p.m.

Mr. Whitelaw

I intervene only to make one point clear. I suspended the Rule for one and a half hours because I thought that that would give the House reasonable time within which to discuss this matter. In accordance with the procedure, I understand, in view of the way the debate has gone on the second Motion, that the first Motion should be got out of the way before 11.30 p.m. or there will be a danger of the matter being talked out, which would vitiate the whole of the debate. It is up to the House to decide the course to take.

Hon. Members


Question put and agreed to.

Ordered, That Standing Order No. 13 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of select committees at commencement of public business) be amended as follows:— Leave out lines 13 to 18 and add— (2) With respect to a Private Member's motion for leave to bring in a Bill under this Order—

  1. (a) notice shall he given in the Public Bill Office, by the Member in person or by another Member on his behalf, but on any one day not more than one notice shall be accepted from any one Member;
  2. (b) no notice shall be given for a day on which a notice of motion under this order already stands on the paper;
  3. (c) no notice shall he given for a day earlier than the fifth or later than the fifteenth sitting day after the day on which it is given;
  4. (d) not more than one such notice shall stand on the paper in the name of any one Member for a day within any period of fifteen sitting days.

Motion made, and Question put, That Standing Order No. 13 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of select committees at commencement of public business) be amended as follows:— Line 5, leave out 'for consideration'. Line 6, after 'business', insert 'Any such motion shall stand over and may not be moved until after a member of the Government shall have signified to the Chair his intention to move, That this House do now adjourn, for the purpose of bringing the sitting to a conclusion; whereupon Mr. Speaker shall immediately

call upon the Member who has given notice of the Motion to move that Motion, and any proceedings thereon, though opposed, may be decided after the expiration of the time for opposed business, and the motion for the adjournment of the House shall not be moved until after the conclusion of those proceedings':—[Mr. Whitelaw.]

The House divided: Ayes 52, Noes 167.

Division No. 34.] AYES [11.28 p.m.
Barnett, Joel Hunt, John Osborn, John
Biffen, John Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Owen, Idris (Stockport, North)
Bray, Ronald James, David Page, Graham (Crosby)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Kinsey, J. R. Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Cant, R. B. Knox, David Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Chichester-Clark, R. Le Merchant, Spencer Sharples, Richard
Churchill, W. S. Longden, Gilbert Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Dalkeith, Earl of Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Mawby, Ray Waddington, David
Emery, Peter Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Weatherill, Bernard
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Moate, Roger Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Glyn, Dr. Alan Monro, Hector Worsley, Marcus
Goodhart, Philip Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Gummer, Selwyn Mudd, David TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Nicholls, Sir Harmar Sir Gerald Nabarro and
Havers, Michael Ogden, Eric Mr. David Crouch.
Hicks, Robert Oram, Bert
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Lipton, Marcus
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lomas, Kenneth
Ashton, Joe Ellis, Tom Loughlin, Charles
Atkins, Humphrey English, Michael Loveridge, John
Atkinson, Norman Evans, Fred Lyon, Alexander W. (York)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Farr, John Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)
Berry, Hon. Anthony Faulds, Andrew McCartney, Hugh
Bidwell, Sydney Fidler, Michael McElhone, Frank
Blaker, Peter Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) McGuire, Michael
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Mackie, John
Bowden, Andrew Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Fookes, Miss Janet Maclennan, Robert
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Forrester, John McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Brown, Bob (N'c'stle-upon-Tyne, W.) Gilbert, Dr. John McNamara, J. Kevin
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Maddan, Martin
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Golding, John Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Carlisle, Mark Gorst, John Marks, Kenneth
Carmichael, Neil Grant, John D. (Islington, East) Marquand, David
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J. Marten, Neil
Clark William (Surrey, E.) Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Clegg, Walter Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Meacher, Michael
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Mendelson, John
Cohen, Stanley Hardy, Peter Montgomery, Fergus
Concannon, J. D. Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith More, Jasper
Conlan, Bernard Heffer, Eric S. Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Cooke, Robert Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Cordle, John Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Cormack, Patrick Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Murray, Ronald King
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Nott, John
Crawshaw, Richard Hughes, Dr. Mark (Durham) Orme, Stanley
Crowder, F. P. Iremonger, T. L. Palmer, Arthur
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S. W.) John, Brynmor Pardoe, John
Dalyell, Tam Johnson Walter (Derby, S.) Pavitt, Laurie
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Pendry, Tom
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Perry, Ernest G.
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Deakins, Eric Judd, Frank Prescott, John
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. Kaufman, Gerald Price, William (Rugby)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Kerr, Russell Probert, Arthur
Doig, Peter Kinnock, Neil Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Lambie, David Rees, Hn. Peter (Dover)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lane, David Rhodes, Geoffrey
Dunn, James A. Latham, Arthur Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Dunnett, Jack Lawson, George Richard, Ivor
Eadie, Alex
Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, North) Steel, David Wells, John (Maidstone)
Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Stoddart, David (Swindon) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n & R'dnor) Strang, Gavin White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Sutcliffe, John White, Roger (Gravesend)
Shone, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy Whitehead, Phillip
Sillars, James Trafford, Dr. Anthony Wiggin, Jerry
Skinner, Dennis Trew, Peter Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.) Urwin, T. W. Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Spearing, Nigel Varley, Eric G.
Speed, Keith Vaughan, Dr. Gerard TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Spriggs, Leslie Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Mr. William Hamilton and
Stainton, Keith Ward, Dame Irene Mr. Kenneth Baker.
Stanbrook, Ivor Watkins, David