HC Deb 01 February 1971 vol 810 cc1355-96
Mr. Harold Walker (Doncaster)

I beg to move, Amendment No. 664, in page 23, line 45, leave out subsection (2).

Throughout the debates so far today the presumptions seem to have been that the agreements which we have been discussing are national agreements, the major agreements entered into by trade unionists negotiating nationally, and by employers negotiating likewise, and it seems to me that, as a consequence, Clause 32 has overshadowed this Clause which we are now considering. In spite of its standing in the shadows, however, it seems to me that this Clause is pregnant with sinister potential, and the words of the Solicitor-General in reply to a question put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mr. McBride) confirm this.

Subsection (1) applies the Clause to any body consisting of representatives of one or more trade unions or other organisations of workers and representatives of one or more employers … for the purpose of regulating the terms and conditions of employment … I might say that that is the exact description of, for example, a joint works committee in the engineering industry, or a site committee in the building industry. I could emunerate many other examples of local and plant bargaining bodies throughout the whole of industry.

Subsection (2) conclusively presumes that these local bargaining agencies shall be authorised to make legally binding agreements. Subsection (3) provides that any decision made by such a body and recorded in writing but without a written proviso that it shall not be legally binding shall be conclusively presumed to be a legally enforceable contract.

I thought that the provisions of Clause 32 were sufficiently iniquitous, but this Clause seems to be intended to place a minefield before every shop steward—and, indeed, many employers—and then sends them into it blindfold. After the Bill is enacted unions as such will approach the negotiating table not only with multiplied caution but also with a lawyer as a train bearer. The Clause carries its legal presumptions into every little nook and cranny of industry. Every day of the working week shop stewards and other shop-floor workers' representatives are engaged in negotiating local agreements, factory agreements, site agreements, local productivity bargains, and so on. The Clause provides that all these will be legally enforceable, in the absence of a stipulation to the contrary. These are agreements and decisions that almost certainly will be arrived at without the benefit of any legal guidance for the workers. With equal certainty, such agreements will be arrived at in blind ignorance of the legal consequences, because I greatly doubt if one steward in a thousand will either read or understand the Bill when enacted, certainly not at 18s. a time.

Every time the works committee meets in the little firm down the road the minutes of that committee are likely to become legally enforceable documents—that is what the Bill says. We will help the Government to ensure that every shop steward is aware of the requirements of the Bill, but even if I am wrong about the awareness of shop stewards I greatly doubt if in future any shop steward can have any meaningful dialogue with management. If a steward has any sense he will become completely inhibited, at the very least. Indeed, if he has any sense he will not have any on-record dialogue. No minutes will be the order of the day.

Let me hypothesise the type of situation I have been in as a shop steward in a former incarnation. I do this on the assumption that what is here in black and white is the correct interpretation of the Clause. Let us suppose that at its monthly meeting in January the works committee—a joint committee composed of shop stewards and management, as provided for under the engineering procedure agreement—has a solemn but informal discussion about matters of mutual concern and comes to a sensible arrangement about a piecework price that has been in dispute. That is solemnly recorded in the minutes, which at the February meeting are confirmed as a true and correct record. By June the part to which the piecework price applies is worked on and the price is found to be unsuitable. That is an every year occurrence in thousands of factories. But presumably under the Clause, when enacted, the employer will be able to say "You entered into a solemn and legally binding agreement that that piecework price shall be x number of hours or x number of shillings."

What happens in that kind of situation? I know that had I been the shop steward who negotiated that sort of arrangement I would have been kicked out, but that is another matter. If this is true, what price local productivity bargaining in the future? As the right hon. Gentleman knows, my right hon. Friend and I had some responsibility at his Department in the last couple of years in helping to give productivity bargaining a big push forward. We believed that this was one of the many ways in which to make our industry more efficient and more competitive and at the same time would make an effective contribution to industrial relations by bringing workers more into the every day decisions of management and industry. But in future, because of the character of legally enforceable contracts, shop stewards must inevitably hesitate before even contemplating entering into productivity bargaining.

I would add that one of the realities of the workshop, of which Government seem to be unaware, is that things do not remain static in industry, least of all in the work force and in workers' representation. They are constantly changing. The circumstances and conditions continually change. Decisions made last month which were relevant then may be irrelevant and illogical this month because of changed circumstances and conditions. But under the Secretary of State's provisions if management has been able to get a decision which is recorded as solemnly entered into and which is favourable to management then despite any changed circumstances they will fight to adhere to it. I mentioned a short while ago piecework prices, which are an outstanding example of this problem. Are lists of piecework prices to be legally enforceable?

There is one other matter which seems to permeate the Bill—the idea that management and workers meet freely as equals. Every time I hear the words "collective agreement" something way down in me jumps up to scream out to tell the right hon. Gentleman that this flies in the face of the reality that I experienced year after year in industry. In fact they are anything but "agreements". They are invariably imposed by one side of industry on the other at the time of an imbalance between relative bargaining strengths. The workers' representative is always, or invariably, in the position not of a free equal bargaining agent, but of a supplicant. At best he is required to acquiesce in what are still essentially managerial decisions. My point is that to buttress this situation with the judicial machinery of the Bill will consolidate enormously the inequity which I have described.

Although I do not wish to trespass on the debate that we shall have on Clause 34, it is interesting to speculate that the obligations in Clause 34(2) place on the parties the policing of such agreements. I have said sufficient to show, I assume —I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will tell me if I have it wrong—that what is set out here in black and white is correct.

9.0 p.m.

The proposal is impracticable to the point of absurdity. Furthermore, it will have a harmful effect on industrial relations at shop floor level, and it is inequitable in the extreme.

The right hon. Gentleman has been compelled to include this provision in the Bill because it follows logically from Clause 32. Clearly, the unions have already shown their distaste for the proposal that collective agreements shall be legally enforceable. They see as a way of evading its requirements entering into or allowing their members to enter into agreements other than those which were being referred to in the debate on Clause 32, namely, to resort to plant bargaining. The right hon. Gentleman has presumably been compelled to bring them within his legal net by the provisions of this Clause. In so doing he has let himself into what seems an absurdity. He is trying to build bricks of straw in Clause 32 on the foundations of sand which he has set out in Clause 33.


Mr. Frederick Lee

Being a non-legal hon. Member, may I ask what the words "conclusively presumed" mean? We seem to go on from that peculiar expression to decide whether the body concerned is then authorised and so on.

On an earlier Amendment I said that one of the great virtues of workshop organisation is the speed with which otherwise very difficult disputes can be resolved. This is one of the most vital elements in industrial negotiation. If it is to be that the words "conclusively presumed" mean that unless the trade unions, who are one side of the works committee arrangements, say to the employers, "We are not authorising our side of the works committee to agree to matters which are then deemed to be legally binding", I take it that the Clause means that they will at law be deemed to have given them that power.

That would make a nonsense of a great deal of internal factory negotiating machinery, which would be a pity. Let me give some examples of the most important part of works committee work. If we have an organisation really functioning, meetings of the works committee are merely a clearance stage, more or less, for work which has already been done. In other words, on piecework agreements and so on, there could be a difference in one department between the workmen concerned and the rate fixer or the foreman, and unless an immediate decision is taken, that results in strike action. The chairman of the works committee would immediately call together a sort of existing sub-committee, the shop steward of the department, the foreman, and the superintendent of the aisle or the bigger department, and he would have the works committee man with him, and they would make a decision as to whether they would accept the suggested agreement between, say, the shop steward and the foreman. When the full works committee met a report would be made by the secretary or the chairman of the committee that on Monday morning, in a certain part of the factory, an agreement had been made between so-and-so and so-and-so, and that would be the end of the matter.

If we are now to have the situation that if a sub-committee makes a decision which permits men to go on working, and thereby obviates the danger of strike action, that decision is to be interpreted as meaning that it is a legally binding contract, the whole concept of how to run a huge factory on a works committee basis will be at stake, because trade unions—and I should have thought the employers, too—will almost be compelled to nominate a legal adviser to the works committee. Instead of there being a two-minute report of what took place in a certain part of a factory, those concerned will have to give chapter and verse for the agreement, or the suggested agreement, and the legal advisers on both sides will there and then have to decide whether what was supposed to be in the agreement is in fact legally contained in it.

If one realises that hundreds of these agreements are made every week, one appreciates that the proposed procedure will make a mockery of the whole working of the works committee. I said earlier, and I repeat, that if the kind of thing to which I have referred happens the result will be to increase the number of working days lost by industrial action by any multiple that one likes to think of.

I always resent the suggestion made by hon. Gentlemen opposite—and one hon. Gentleman referred to the motor car industry—that when there is a dispute it must necessarily be due to the bloody-mindedness of shop stewards, and so on. It was rightly pointed out by this side of the Committee that thousands of arrangements are made every working day which prevent disputes which would otherwise occur from taking place.

I hope that instead of this awfully stultified legalistic approach to these things the Government will try to look at the way in which industry ticks over. If they apply this subsection in the way that I have suggested it might be applied, they will do terrible damage to works committee negotiating machinery, much of which has been in existence for 30 or 40 years. They will put the clock back to long before the time when, in the general run of industry, works committee arrangements were made at all.

I have tried to show that it will be utterly impossible to function with speed if those concerned have to go through the whole gamut of the procedures to which I have referred. If the Solicitor-General tells me that I am wrong, I shall be happy to accept that, but until he does so I shall insist, with some knowledge of these things, that thousands of working hours which are saved now will be lost if sub-committees of works committees cannot function and make sensible arrangements with employers without these being deemed to be legally binding arrangements.

Mr. McBride

My right hon. Friend speaks with great knowledge of the procedure that we both know so well but he has been referring mainly to written agreements. Oral agreements are also to be considered legally binding. How does he view the situation of workers trying to get witnesses to substantiate the terms of an oral agreement, and the advantages enjoyed by employers over workers in that respect?

Mr. Lee

I am not confining myself only to written agreements. The majority of arrangements which I have instanced in a section or a department are never written. We know that there is a dispute, we get the machinery functioning, and we make a verbal arrangement. On the basis of that verbal arrangement work is resumed.

If the works committee meets every Monday afternoon, then, on the following Monday afternoon, the chairman and secretary merely report to the committee that there was a dispute in a certain section and that it was resolved by a meeting of whoever it was. That is the way that these things function now, as my hon. Friend knows.

I am not stipulating that there must be anything in writing. It could be in writing or verbally. I am suggesting that when whatever arrangement was made comes for ratification before the full works committee legal advisers, certainly on the trade union side and, I think, on the employer's side would the need to be present. The Employers' Federation would no doubt be very worried if, within one of the factories of a member of the federation, arrangements were made which were above agreements made by the federation.

I do not wish to go further into this matter. I hope that the Government will see that they really are starting something which, instead of creating new machinery, will render existing machinery unable to function in the way that it has functioned in the past. I hope that the Amendment will be accepted.

Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)

Clauses 32, 33 and 34 are in many ways the weakest part of the Bill. As I said on Second Reading, they lack practicality, because it seems to me that contracts of employment will be virtually unenforceable. I believe that the time lag between a contract being broken and the cause of the breaking coming before the court—whether an industrial or any other type of court—will be so great as to make a nonsense of the whole thing when we remember that the union and the employer have, so to speak, to live together.

As a lawyer perhaps I can help the right hon. Member for Newton (Mr. Frederick Lee). It seems to me that "conclusively presumed" means that in law the presumption cannot be rebutted. Whatever the evidence that the voluntary body never intended to enter into legally binding decisions, it is a presumption which cannot be rebutted. Is that what is intended?

Is it necessary to have this Clause? There must be great doubt about an award or decision of such a body when many such decisions are arrived at by informal negotiation. Is it intended to cover such matters by the provisions of the Clause?

There is a quaint provision in subsection (3): Any award or decision made by any such body … as so recorded, does not contain a provision which (however expressed) states that the award or decision is intended not to be legally enforceable. This will give shop stewards great scope to express the view that the award or decision is intended not to be legally enforceable and to use any expletives they like in venting their feelings. It can be argued from the Government's side that the trade unions have a "let out"—that if they do not intend it to be legally binding they simply state it in some form of words in the written agreement or decision. But what happens where there is an oral decision which is perhaps not recorded in the minutes? In many small shops steps are not taken to record such things. I suggest that the Government will get themselves into a frightful mess on this part of the Bill. I support the Government on many aspects of the Bill, but on legal enforceability it seems that they are getting into an absolute mire. Should these matters ever come before the courts we would have a lawyer's paradise. Coaches and horses could be driven through these provisions.

Is it really necessary for the Government to continue with such a wide-ranging Clause? Would it not be better to allow the normal day-to-day shop floor arrangements to continue unaffected by this part of the Bill?

9.15 p.m.

Mr. Dan Jones

I will not delay the Committee because, having previously raised the question of the practice of piece-work activities in industry, I do not want to repeat myself. Piece-working in the engineering industry is rife. Having failed to get a satisfactory reply to an earlier question that I asked about the legal enforceability of agreements of this kind, I support what has been said by hon. Members on this side of the Committee on this issue.

My fear is that if the Bill becomes law and this provision applies throughout industry, one of the first results will be difficulty in obtaining shop stewards. Who would be prepared to get involved in a legal Clause of this character? Very few shop stewards would be so prepared, and I would not blame them.

I also fear that the promoters of the Bill have been so blinkered by a legal approach that they have completely overlooked the practical problems that are involved. These are so apparent to some of us that we wonder why the Government have overlooked them.

For example, consider the difficulties that arise when a new job arrives on the shop floor. Certain conditions are laid down. The manning must be worked out; how much skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled labour is required. An agreement may be reached. If there is gang working, there may be absenteeism. How is the right labour to be obtained and deployed at the right place and at the right time? These questions place a great strain on supervisors, particularly in engineering, and they are all matters that must be considered in this context.

How many disputes occur in industry as a result of the breaking of piece-rate agreements? The answer is very few, if any. These matters are handled, usually by general agreement, by the rate fixer. Why the Government have introduced a provision of this nature when there is ample evidence to show that the existing practice works very well I fail to understand.

I have previously said that the whole Bill is unimaginative and will never produce industrial peace. This Clause will cause disruption in areas where now there exists reasonable harmony. I therefore add my plea to the hon. and learned Gentleman to withdraw this part of the Bill.

The Solicitor-General

I rise at this point not to curtail the discussion but because it might be useful if I answered some of the points that have been raised.

I emphasise again that it is not the intention here to legalise a range of activities and institutions which have hitherto not been covered by legal obligations. I have several times pointed out that the heart of the limits in this context appears in Clause 33(3). In the first place, it applies only to decisions taken after the commencement of the Bill. It applies only to such decisions duly recorded in writing which do not contain a provision excluding the idea of enforceability. It is, therefore, not something which will automatically attach, for example—I appreciate the concern which is felt about it—to day-to-day decisions which might be taken between foreman and shop steward as to how manning should be altered for a piece of work on a particular day. That is not a decision of a body of the kind with which we are here concerned which would be recorded in writing by or on behalf of that body. It would not, therefore, attract these provisions. The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) spoke of the possibility of a non-written agreement of that kind attracting these implications. It is clear that, if a decision is not recorded in writing on behalf of the joint body, then—if I may be forgiven the phrase—the concept does not reach first base in the context of the Clause.

Mr. Hooson

But is not the Clause too widely drawn nevertheless? Let us suppose that an informal agreement is entered into and as a matter of procedure it is minuted, but the minute does not happen to follow the exclusion provision. It is, therefore, legally binding. According to the Solicitor-General, the Government do not intend that it should be legally binding, but under the Clause it would be if it were minuted.

The Solicitor-General

I have said that there is no intention that it should be automatically, irretrievably, irrebuttably legally binding. I accept the point as the hon. and learned Gentleman puts it, that if a joint body of this kind arrives at a decision which is minuted, in other words, duly recorded in writing by or on behalf of that body", without a disclaimer clause it would have legal effect. I am not seeking to conceal anything, and I hope that the Committee will accept that I am being frank about it. What I am saying is that it is excludable, and it attaches only to those decisions taken in writing.

It is to be noticed that many decisions recorded in this way would be decisions to the advantage of those negotiating for the workpeople in the workplace.

Mr. Harold Walker

Will the Solicitor-General point out how, under the Clause as it stands, such a minuted decision can be excludable?

The Solicitor-General

Under the provisions of subsection (3)(b), as so recorded, does not contain a provision which … states that the award or decision is intended not to be legally enforceable". May I suggest ways in which these matters may well be dealt with in practice? A substantial body, perhaps even a national body such as a J.I.C., takes formal decisions on behalf of an industry. It may well be that such a body would be the body effectively making the collective agreement for the industry or for a substantial section of it. In our view, it is right that in that kind of setting there should be the initial presumption set out in Clause 32 attached to that kind of setting. It has been said that this is consistent—in other words, that it follows logically from Clause 32—and in a sense that is right, because agreements can be made either by the formal making of an agreement between two parties at arm's length in national, industry or plant negotiations, or by the conclusion of a collective agreement by the decision of such a joint body. They are creatures of the same kind, and it is right that the same sort of presumption should apply to them.

As regards the very informal works committee kind of decision at the bottom of the scale, many of the most informal decisions will not be recorded in writing, and this will not bite.

In the middle category, there may well be a number of works committees which have a degree of formality attached to them in which the parties might decide that in the ordinary course of events—it might appear at the beginning and end of every set of their minutes—they are not, so to speak, legally binding agreement manufacturers.

Mr. Frederick Lee

I have said that the works committee itself becomes merely a clearance house for work done by shop stewards, foremen and so on. Just as Ministers may attend only that Cabinet when their business is due for discussion, so the shop stewards who are not members of the full works committee will attend it when their business is for discussion. In that sense, the local arrangements about which I spoke are made as a section of the works committee. Therefore, they would be covered by the legally-binding status, I take it.

The Solicitor-General

I am not gainsaying the point the right hon. Gentleman made in his speech. If a local decision is brought up to the works committee for confirmation or ratification in that way, then, dependent on the way in which the works committee has agreed to conduct its business, it may be regarded as legally binding. We would expect the works committee to say to itself at the outset of the new system, "Shall we be the kind of committee whose decisions are automatically regarded as binding under Section 33(3)?". It may well agree that it will not be making legally binding decisions, with exceptions on which it agrees. The only function of the provision is to require any such joint body to be clear with itself as to whether it is making a legally binding agreement in respect of its decisions generally or separately, starting off with the proposition—here I agree with the right hon. Gentleman—that the larger national, industry-wide ones we would expect to be those most likely to begin by maintaining the presumption.

Mr. J. T. Price (Westhoughton)

Without wishing to debate the merits of this metaphysical argument in an intervention, may I ask the Solicitor-General a simple question? How does he suppose that all these erudite and subtle arguments, which may seem clear to him and some of his colleagues who are solicitors, barristers or senior wranglers, can ever be conveyed successfully to the man on the shop floor, the shop stewards, the people handling human beings at the point of contact? That is what worries us. Is it not strange when Britain has no written constitution, that the Government are here trying to institutionalise and formalise even the most remote contingencies that are not understood by ordinary people?

The Solicitor-General

Our not having a written Constitution is a different debate that we might join in on some other occasion.

The provisions of the Bill, like those of any major legislation, will be embodied in explanatory pamphlets and documents in simple terms to make them quite intelligible when the Bill becomes an Act. [Interruption.] It does not lie very easily in the mouths of hon. Members opposite to repudiate the idea of explanatory documents about legislation. I do not want to weary the Committee with examples of this not unfamiliar technique.

The central proposition here is not difficult. It is that any joint body of the kind we have been discussing, from the greatest to the smallest, must decide at the outset of its first proceedings after the Bill becomes law what kind of decisions it will take. In many cases it will be a once-and-for-all decision; for example, that "The decisions recorded in writing here shall all contain a provision that they are not intended to be legally binding." At least that is some thing of which such bodies are put in mind. Those of a larger or more formal kind dealing with larger matters and hammering out collective agreements in the true sense will take a different decision.

The effect of this kind of provision, if it impels people to say, "We do not want to attach legal force in this kind of way", may well be to encourage voluntary arbitration procedures for the resolution of disputes.

9.30 p.m.

Mr. John Hall (Wycombe)

In part, my hon. and learned Friend has already answered my query. With some experience of works councils, I understand the anxieties expressed by hon. Members opposite. I understand my hon. and learned Friend to say that it is the intention to issue some simple instructions which will give guidance to works councils and similar organisations. This, I take it, will make it clear that it will be possible for a works council to opt out of that legal obligation at the beginning of a period. The secretaries of many of these organisations are people without experience who may well forget this important wording when recording the decisions.

The Solicitor-General

That is correct. The decision of the works council, or whatever it may be, could be recorded to the effect that awards or decisions made by the council are not intended to be legally enforceable.

Mr. Harold Walker

If they are projected into the future?

The Solicitor-General

If that is what is intended.

Mrs. Castle

Surely it is not possible under the wording of the Bill. Surely one cannot make a sort of generalised disclaimer of that kind. Surely the whole point of making it a conclusive presumption that they can conclude legally binding agreements is in order to ensure that every agreement they make in writing will be legally binding unless it contains a disclaimer.

The Solicitor-General

The conclusive presumption in subsection (2) is in respect of the authority of the joint committee, and the effect on a particular decision is contained in subsection (3), which says that decisions shall be conclusively presumed to be binding except where they contain a provision, however expressed … that the award or decision is intended not to he legally enforceable. That intention can be expressed in relation to awards or decisions of the committee. It can decide for itself, on the quality and the nature of the decision it has arrived at. The only intention of this is to put the balance in the direction of intention to make legally binding agreements at the level I have indicated —that the view of the committee or the council can be set out in that way.

Sir Arthur Irvine (Liverpool, Edgehill)

If the only intention is as the hon. and learned Gentleman has described it, what is gained by making the presumption conclusive? Might there not be rebuttal?

The Solicitor-General

The presumption is rebuttable in the way I have indicated.

Mrs. Castle

This is inconsistent.

The Solicitor-General

It is consistent. We are not suggesting that any decision is binding presumptively. A decision recorded in writing is prima facie enforceable, but that presumption is rebuttable by a further record saying that it is not intended to be binding. The balance is the same. It only becomes possibly binding if it is in writing, and if that is accompanied or preceded by a statement that it is not meant to be binding, the presumption is rebutted.

Mr. Dan Jones

With the best will in the world, I believe, the hon. and learned Gentleman is straining our patience. Will he tell us what precise advantages he hopes to get from this Clause? At this moment, we have got legal arguments, and I believe that those arguments indicate clearly that this Clause is placing an intolerable burden on shop stewards.

The Solicitor-General

The advantage I have tried to explain is really twofold. It is consistently a general presumption in relation to collective agreements of a substantial kind formally arrived at. Some of these can be arrived at through this kind of a joint body, some through the hammering out of a new agreement.

Mr. Jones

Then what benefit are the parties getting in addition to what they are getting now?

The Solicitor-General

We start from the presumption that both parties intended to mean what they said and that what they said was effective to that purpose. The other presumption is that many decisions of councils and committees of this kind are arrived at quite frequently on behalf of a union or work people and can also clearly be regarded as binding as long as they are not rebutted and where this is clearly the intention unless the parties disagree.

Mr. Neil Kinnock (Bedwellty)

I am sure that the Solicitor-General will be mortally offended if I say that he would not get my vote as district secretary after his explanation of the presumptions of the Clause.

I was intrigued by his promise that there will be an explanatory leaflet about the details of the Bill. He drew an analogy with publications explaining detailed legislation in similar Bills. Will he not distinguish between the leaflets which accompanied Bills on social security, industrial and factory and similar legislation and the leaflets which will accompany this Bill, when the people intended to be most affected, shop stewards and the workpeople in factories, will become subject to binding agreements on the basis of very informal documents and not even on the basis of the Bill which he has found it difficult to explain to the relatively sophisticated audience of Parliament?

The Solicitor-General

I do not quite follow that. As I understand it, the hon. Gentleman is complaining that the explanatory document will not be clear enough. I repeat, much legislation passed by successive Governments, not only social security legislation but legislation on rents and on race relations, has been accompanied and supported by explanatory literature and explanatory leaflets. That is our intention with this Bill, save that we shall also have a code.

The intention of this provision is clear —that a decision taken by a body of this kind, a joint works committee or a joint industrial council, when recorded in writing will be presumed to bind the parties, unless they say that they do not intend so to be bound, and they can make that disclaimer in the ways which I have indicated.

Mr. Murray

I appreciate what the Solicitor-General has said about what the subsection is intended to do, but I strongly urge him to look again at the actual wording, for I do not think that there is any escape from the dilemma.

Subsection (3) begins: Any award or decision … if the award or decision"— There is no ambiguity and the reference is to "the" award or decision— (a) is duly recorded in writing"— This is still a reference to the award or decision— (b) as so recorded, does not contain a provision which (however expressed) states that the award or decision is intended not to be legally enforceable, shall be conclusively presumed … I do not think that the Solicitor-General intended to mislead, but his use of "presumption" was not legally accurate.

It is no use talking about presumptions which may be rebutted if they are preceded by paragraphs such as paragraph (b), which have an effect in an opposite way, because the plain effect of the language of paragraph (b) is that once an award or decision is so recorded, unless it contains a provision excluding legal enforceability, it will be legally enforceable. "Conclusively presumed" must mean what it says, that is, that there is no room for any kind of rebuttal.

For these reasons, it seems clear that the words "award or decision" govern the whole of paragraphs (a) and (b) and that there is no escape from this dilemma. If the Solicitor-General means what he says, may I implore him to look at these words again?

The Solicitor-General

The hon. and learned Member for Leith has advanced a legitimate argument. I do not want in any sense to mislead the Committee or appear to be saying that something means other than it does. He suggested that it would not be sufficient to include a general disclaimer, because, as so recorded, such a disclaimer would have to be included each time. If that is the proper interpretation in the Clause, that is not the intention of the Government and I certainly undertake to make it plain that that is not the intention. It is an important point and I recognise that there is room for doubt.

Mr. Dan Jones

Then accept our Amendment.

The Solicitor-General

No, I would not be so conciliatory as that. There are limits to my accommodation, even at this hour. I appreciate the anxieties expressed by hon. Members. The intention is to go no farther than I have explained and we will see that it does not do so.

Mrs. Castle

The Solicitor-General's strange retraction at this stage shows the kind of legal nonsense that we are getting into. He has now been bowled out completely by my hon. Friends on the wording of subsection (3). What he is doing in subsection (2) is starting us on the merry-go-round which ends in subsection (3). The situation which he has now told us he does not want to obtain under subsection (3) is the very situation that he intends to create in subsection (2). Otherwise why have it?

This is not only a practical nonsense, it is something deeply offensive in principle. What he is saying is something which was never indicated in the Consultative Document, and that must be made clear. The legal status of the collective agreement section of the Consultative Document gave an entirely different impression from the realities that have now emerged as a result of our examination of the Clause. It said that it was time that the legal status of the great collective agreements, negotiated at the top, sophisticated, level between both sides of industry be made binding. There was never any indication that what the Government were to do, as they are doing in this Clause, was to carry the conclusive presumption of legal enforceability right down the chain of collective bargaining in industry.

The Solicitor-General has admitted that any works council, not any medium-sized joint industrial council, but any works council negotiating any matter, if it puts its decisions in writing will be covered by this. He must have known he was doing that when he introduced subsection (2). When we pointed out to him what legal nonsense this is he turns round and says—it is rather like prescription charges, a person can buy himself cut by a manual lump sum—"Ah", he says, "there is nothing in subsection (3) that will prevent these bodies from deciding on a once-for-all disclaimer". If that is so why have this nonsense? Why bother?

The simple fact is that the Solicitor-General only thought that up when he was so effectively challenged by some of my hon. Friends and some of his own hon. Friends. It is the fastest piece of thinking on his feet that I have ever seen from the hon. and learned Gentleman who found himself in a first-rate legal and practical mess. Of course he will come along on Report with his Amendments. I do not claim to be a lawyer, but I hope that I have average common-sense. Anyone reading subsection (3) knows that the hon. and learned Gentleman's explanation will not hold water and that he has landed us with a Clause which got us into the kind of situation which even this legally obsessed Government could not justify.

9.45 p.m.

If the Solicitor-General is big enough to recognise that he is in that legal mess, he should be big enough to recognise that it is the result, first and foremost, o C subsection (2) from which subsection (3) flows. In terms of industrial relations and the Government's approach, it is an offensive principle to say what the Solicitor-General is saying in subsection (2), namely, that there shall be no outlet for anyone, however humble or however far down the negotiating chain he may be, from his legal net. That is what subsection (2) says. It detracts from the good relationship between employer and unions who between them have decided that they do not want anything to do with this nonsense about making agreements legally enforceable. They have decided that at the top level.

Earlier the Solicitor-General said, "What are we worrying about? Any two parties who decide that a collective agreement shall not be legally enforceable have only to put in a disclaimer". But that is not what subsection (2) provides, because it limits the parties' freedom to decide that they do not wish, when delegating power down the line, to delegate the power to make any agreement legally enforceable.

Why should not the parties have the right to say that they do not intend to authorise someone further down the line to make a legally enforceable agreement? Why should they not have that freedom? I thought that we were talking about a voluntary system of collective bargaining and how we shall merely underpin it as certain key points by the minimal legal requirements. It is a monstrous principle involved in subsection (2) which says there can be no outlet, even by agreement between both sides at the top, from the conclusive presumption that somebody not authorised by his superiors on either side of the negotiating table can make legally enforceable contracts and that it shall be conclusively presumed that they had intended to give authorisation? Who intended to authorise?—the people delegating to them or the Government?

I beg right hon. and hon. Members opposite to realise the kind of society into which we shall drift if these legal maniacs are not restrained by the common sense of Members of the House of Commons. The Government strike a theoretical pose, as they have done in Clause 32, that collective agreements should be legally enforceable just like any other contract. The moment they use those words—" as any other contract"—they give the whole game away because they say that they should be legally enforceable only if the parties want it; and then everybody says, "Thank you very much for nothing", because the parties do not want it. But the Government have struck a great theoretical pose, telling the country, "This will transform industrial relations". They have been telling them that for years, so they have to make a bit of a meal of it.

Having struck that theoretical pose, it is said—and the Solicitor-General said it—"The real collective bargaining decision is taken lower down the line, so we must stop up that one." What the parties at the top may do is say, "We do not want any nonsense about legally enforceable agreements", and the real decision goes down the line.

What does the Solicitor-General have to do to try to retrieve some of the damaged credibility of the Government on this part of the Bill? He has to follow them all the way down the line, trotting after them and saying, "You cannot escape, but we are going to make it a conclusive presumption in subsection (2) that whatever anybody intended to authorise or not, we will say that they intended to do something which they themselves may say they never intended." That is the situation.

From that flows the nonsense of subsection (3). Having made that conclusive presumption in subsection (2), it follows that every agreement in writing by any of these humbler bodies down the line shall be a legally enforceable contract unless, as so recorded —this is what is said—it contains a disclaimer in every case. We all know that this will make a total nonsense of industrial relations.

Therefore, we suggest that the Solicitor-General should go back and look at the wording of subsection (3). I am ready to lay any odds that it will be proved that what he gave to the Committee a few minutes ago was totally misleading legal advice, whether deliberately or not. He will be told by his draftsmen that he has placed upon subsection (3) an interpretation which the wording will not sustain. I suggest, therefore, that the hon. and learned Gentleman will come back on Report with an Amendment to subsection (3). I repeat, however, that that will still be meaningless—we have just been landed with a lot of legal farrago about this—unless he also takes back subsection (2).

The Solicitor-General has the nerve to come to us and say that it will all be all right on the night because the Government will issue an explanatory leaflet. I would love to see the explanatory leaflet which is issued about subsections (2) and (3). It would have been better had the Government issued that simple layman's explanatory leaflet before they introduced the Bill—that was what we asked them to do—telling us how these Clauses would work before the House of Commons had the duty of voting on them. It is too late to explain a mess when it has been put on the Statute Book. Are we to spend the next five years on amending Clauses because the Government have not had the decency to give us a layman's explanation of what is intended?

The Consultative Document was no substitute. It only made legal obscurities more obscure. Everyone knows that the legal experts are still arguing about what the different Clauses mean. We are arguing even more about the Bill in the limited time that is allowed to us. The reason why we have the guillotine is that the Government dare not dare submit the wording of the Bill to the scrutiny of the House. [Interruption.] Oh, yes. Hon. Members opposite have kept on making the same shocked discoveries as we have done. They are legislating on a serious matter on which their individual reputations as Members of the House of Commons depend. If they let this go through, they cannot hide behind the Front Bench because they know what they are doing.

Therefore, I ask the Solicitor-General in all seriousness to tell us that he will take back subsection (2) for reconsideration. if not, we shall have to divide the Committee.

Mr. Erie Ogden (Liverpool, West Derby)

The Solicitor-General ought to give us a little more explanation than he gave earlier, at least to try to clarify the information which he gave. He has had time to try to get these two points together between what he first said that he believed the Clause and the subsection to mean and the later occasion in the debate when he accepted the interpretation placed upon the Clause and the subsection by my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle). I am certainly at a loss to know whether the hon. and learned Gentleman intends that the new revised version will have the meaning which he attributed to it or the meaning given to it by my right hon. Friend. It would certainly help me if the Solicitor-General would answer me on certain specific cases. I am not talking of the general application of the Clause and the general difficulties. I want to put to him a series of cases in particular, specific examples of a sort we have had from the engineering industry, for instance. I would ask him to consider agreements made between the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Coal Board. I hope I may have the hon. and learned Gentleman's attention.

There are face agreements between chargehands—30 to 50, perhaps—at the coal face and the mine manager, written agreements about prices and conditions. They will be, I take it, legally binding contracts unless they are stamped saying that they are not to be taken as legally binding or enforceable. That is one case. Then there is the agreement between a number of faces within one coal mine—an area agreement, a district agreement—a written agreement. I take it that unless those price list agreements are stamped, in one at least of the clauses of the agreements, saying that nothing in them is to be taken as legally binding and enforceable, they are binding. That kind of agreement is referred to a branch committee and the minutes of the branch committee confirm acceptance by the whole branch. Will the minutes also have to be stamped and sealed?

Then we come to an area agreement affecting one coal seam worked by several pits. Will an exemption clause have to be rubber-stamped on such an agreement? The rubber stamp industry must be something of an investment these days; it is probably the greatest growth industry in the country. Will area minutes have to contain exemption clauses? We come to national agreements between different parts of the coalfield. Will agreements in each of those four different instances have to be stamped saying they are not binding? Will each price list have to have an exemption clause saying it is not binding? Will there have to be notice to the mine manager that charge hands are not empowered by the branch to make any legally binding agreement?

Mr. McBride

Having seen the mental gymnastics indulged in by the Solicitor-General to save himself from legal embarrassment, can we not draw the conclusion that the coal industry, with the rest of industry, will, if this Clause is passed, and the rest of the Bill, face tremendous difficulties?

Mr. Ogden

Yes, very great difficulties, arid unnecessary difficulties. All I am asking is that the hon. and learned Gentleman should at least try to tell the Committee what he intends, whether it is in the Bill or not. He has had some time to think about this. I am sorry to see someone originally from Merseyside in such difficulties, but it is not my duty to help him out.

Can anyone in a colliery or a factory or any place where they make agreements of this kind have disclaimers placed upon him to the effect that he is not authorised to make any agreement which is legally binding on anybody? Can a branch or district or area of a union? Can a union nationally write into its constitution that it will not empower its executive or anybody else to make any legally binding contract with anybody? Would this kind of overall disclaimer say, whether at the bottom or right at the beginning, that it is impossible for anyone to make a legally binding agreement for it?

These are concrete, practical examples of the difficulties. I think some explanation is due from the Solicitor-General about this kind of difficulty, because if from this comparatively small Clause all these considerations can arise with all these doubts and difficulties I wonder how many there are in all the other Clauses which have been passed and not debated, and I wonder whether we were right to pass them.

The Chairman (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)

The Question is—

Hon. Members


Mr. James Hamilton (Bothwell)

On a point of order. Is it not in order for the Solicitor-General to give us a reply to the very many questions which have been put to him by people with practical experience?

The Chairman

I see that the hon. and learned Gentleman is seeking to rise to give a reply.

10.0 p.m.

The Solicitor-General

I was not in any sense seeking to escape from my responsibilities to answer the questions I have been asked.

Mr. Ogden

Not too keen to rise, anyhow.

The Solicitor-General

I had not realised that the hon. Gentleman had so swiftly reached the end of his questions. I shall not try to answer them all in detail. I will deal with them in a general sense. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman asked me the questions for the benefit of the Committee. I wish to meet both points by giving the answer in principle for the benefit of the Committee. Then if there is anything left I will write to the hon. Gentleman afterwards. The agreements the hon. Gentleman mentioned appeared to change character as he went up the scale. For example, the face agreement would be made between the management and representatives of the union in respect of that face and would probably be an agreement hammered out for that purpose. Under Clause 32 such an agreement would be binding unless disclaimed.

Likewise with an area or district face agreement arrived at in such a way. If any such agreement was reached at a joint committee, which I think is unlikely —because it is not there that that kind of agreement is hammered out—there would be need for a disclaimer in respect of it.

The minutes of the branch committee or the lodge committee would be the union committee approving or disapproving that which its representatives had negotiated and would have no effect, because that would not be part of the agreement: it would be part of the internal working of the union.

It was at this point that I was not sure where the hon. Gentleman was going. He talked about area minutes and national agreements. If the area minutes are of the union, likewise they are of no consequence. If the area minutes are of an area joint industrial council or committee, the disclaimer would have to be applied.

That takes it as far by way of illustration as I can go in response to the points that the hon. Gentleman put to me. The intention within that framework is that there should be this power to make the general disclaimer for a joint council or joint committee type of exercise and the need to make a separate disclaimer for an agreement negotiated between union and management at a given level. That is the intention. I commend that intention and the Clause as it stands to the Committee and invite the Committee to reject the Amendment.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 264, Noes 304.

Division No. 112.] AYES [10.3 p.m.
Abse, Leo Concannon, J. D. Forrester, John
Albu, Austen Conlan, Beranard Fraser, John (Norwood)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Corbet, Mrs. Freda Freeson, Reginald
Allen, Scholefield Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Galpern, Sir Myer
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Crawshaw, Richard Garrett, W. E.
Armstrong, Ernest Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Gilbert, Dr. John
Ashley, Jack Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Ginsburg, David
Ashton, Joe Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Golding, John
Atkinson, Norman Darling, Rt. Hn. George Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Davidson, Arthur Gourlay, Harry
Barnes, Michael Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Grant, George (Morpeth)
Barnett, Joel Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)
Beaney, Alan Davies, Ifor (Gower) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Deakins, Eric Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.
Bidwell, Sydney de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Bishop, E. S. Delargy, H. J. Hamling, William
Blenkinsop, Arthur Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Dempsey, James Hardy, Peter
Booth, Albert Doig, Peter Harper, Joseph
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Dormand, J. D. Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Bradley, Tom Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hattersley, Roy
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Driberg, Tom Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Duffy, A. E. P. Heffer, Eric S.
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Dunn, James A. Hilton, W. S.
Buchan, Norman Dunnett, Jack Hooson, Emlyn
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Eadie, Alex Horam, John
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Edelman, Maurice Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Huckfield, Leslie
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Edwards, William (Merioneth) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Cant, R. B. Ellis, Tom Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Carmichael, Neil English, Michael Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Evans, Fred Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Fernyhough, E. Hunter, Adam
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Fisher, Mrs.Doris(B'ham,Ladywood) Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Janner, Greville
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Cohen, Stanley Foley, Maurice Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)
Coleman, Donald Foot, Michael Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Mendelson, John Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
John, Brynmor Mikardo, Ian Short,Mrs.Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Millan, Bruce Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Miller, Dr. M. S. Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Milne, Edward (Blyth) Sillars, James
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Molloy, William Silverman, Julius
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Skinner, Dennis
Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Small, William
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Morris, Charles R. (Openshawe) Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Spearing, Nigel
Judd, Frank Moyle, Roland Spriggs, Leslie
Kaufman, Gerald Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Stallard, A. W.
Kelley, Richard Murray, Ronald King Steel, David
Kinnock, Neil Ogden, Eric Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Lambie, David O'Halloran, Michael Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Lamond, James Oram, Bert Strang, Gavin
Latham, Arthur Orbach, Maurice Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Lawson, George Orme, Stanley Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Leadbitter, Ted Oswald, Thomas Swain, Thomas
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Taverns, Dick
Leonard, Dick Padley, Walter Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Lestor, Miss Joan Palmer, Arthur Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Parker, John (Dagenham) Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Tinn, James
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Pavitt, Laurie Tomney, Frank
Lipton, Marcus Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Torney, Tom
Lomas, Kenneth Pendry, Tom Urwin, T. W.
Loughlin, Charles Pentland, Norman Varley, Eric G.
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Perry, Ernest G. Wainwright, Edwin
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Prescott, John Wallace, George
McBride, Neil Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Watkins, David
McCartney, Hugh Price, William (Rugby) Weitzman, David
McElhone, Frank Probert, Arthur Wellbeloved, James
McGuire, Michael Rankin, John Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Mackenzie, Gregor Reed, D. (Sedgefield) White, James (Gasgow, Pollok)
Mackie, John Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Whitehead, Phillip
Mackintosh, John P. Rhodes, Geoffrey Whitlock, William
Maclennan, Robert Richard, Ivor Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
McNamara, J. Kevin Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
MacPherson, Malcolm Robertson, John (Paisley) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Marks, Kenneth Roper, John Woof, Robert
Marquand, David Rose, Paul B.
Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne) Mr. Alan Fitch and
Meacher, Michael Shore, Rt. Hn, Peter (Stepney) Mr. James Hamilton.
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Adley, Robert Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Bruce-Gardyne, J. d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Bryan, Paul d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack
Amery, Rt, Hn. Julian Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M) Dean, Paul
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Buck, Antony Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.
Astor, John Bullus, Sir Eric Digby, Simon Wingfield
Atkins, Humphrey Burden, F. A. Dixon, Piers
Awdry, Daniel Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Dodds-Parker, Douglas
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Drayson, G. B.
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Carlisle, Mark du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward
Balniel, Lord Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Dykes, Hugh
Batsford, Brian Cary, Sir Robert Eden, Sir John
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Channon, Paul Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Bell, Ronald Chapman, Sydney Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)
Benyon, W. Chichester-Clark, R. Emery, Peter
Berry, Hn. Anthony Churchill, W. S. Eyre, Reginald
Biffen, John Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Farr, John
Biggs-Davison, John Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fell, Anthony
Blaker, Peter Cockeram, Eric Fenner, Mrs. Peggy
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Cooke, Robert Fidler, Michael
Body, Richard Coombs, Derek Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Boscawen, Robert Cooper, A. E. Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Bossom, Sir Clive Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Bowden, Andrew Cormack, Patrick Fookes, Miss Janet
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Costain, A. P. Foster, Sir John
Braine, Bernard Critchley, Julian Fowler, Norman
Bray, Ronald Crouch, David Fox, Marcus
Brewis, John Crowder, F. P. Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Curran, Charles Fry, Peter
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Dalkeith, Earl of Galbraith, Hn. T. G.
Gardner, Edward McLaren, Martin Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Gibson-Watt, David Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Rost, Peter
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Royle, Anthony
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) McNair-Wilson, Michael Russell, Sir Ronald
Glyn, Dr. Alan McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) St. John-Stevas, Norman
Goodhart, Philip Maddan, Martin Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Goodhew, Victor Madel, David Scott, Nicholas
Gorst, John Maginnis, John E. Scott-Hopkins, James
Gower, Raymond Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Sharples, Richard
Gray, Hamish Marten, Neil Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Green, Alan Mather, Carol Shelton, William (Clapham)
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Maude, Angus Simeons, Charles
Grylls, Michael Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Sinclair, Sir George
Gummer, Selwyn Mawby, Ray Skeet, T. H. H.
Gurden, Harold Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Meyer, Sir Anthony Soref, Harold
Hall, John (Wycombe) Mills, Peter (Torrington) Speed, Keith
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Spence, John
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Miscampbell, Norman Sproat, Iain
Hannam, John (Exeter) Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W) Stainton, Keith
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Stanbrook, Ivor
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Moate, Roger Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)
Haselhurst, Alan Molyneaux, James Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Hastings, Stephen Money, Ernle Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Havers, Michael Monks, Mrs. Connle Stokes, John
Hawkins, Paul Monro, Hector Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Hay, John Montgomery, Fergus Sutcliffe, John
Hayhoe, Barney More, Jasper Tapsell, Peter
Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Heseltine, Michael Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)
Hicks, Robert Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Higgins, Terence L. Mudd, David Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Hiley, Joseph Murton, Oscar Tebbit, Norman
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Nabarro, Sir Gerald Temple, John M.
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Neave, Airey Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Holland, Philip Nicholls, Sir Harmar Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Holt, Miss Mary Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Hordern, Peter Normanton, Tom Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Hornby, Richard Nott, John Tilney, John
Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Onslow, Cranley Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Trew, Peter
Howell, David (Guildford) Osborn, John Tugendhat, Christopher
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Hunt, John Page, Graham (Crosby) Van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hutchison, Michael Clark Page, John (Harrow, W.) Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Iremonger, T. L. Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Vickers, Dame Joan
James, David Peel, John Waddington, David
Jenkin, (Woodford) Percival, Ian Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Jessel, Toby Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Pike, Miss Mervyn Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Pink, R. Bonner Wall, Patrick
Jopling, Michael Pounder, Rafton Walters, Dennis
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Ward, Dame Irene
Kaberry, Sir Donald Price, David (Eastleigh) Warren, Kenneth
Kellett, Mrs. Elaine Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Warren, Kenneth
Kilfedder, James Proudfoot, Wilfred Weatherill, Bernard
Kimball, Marcus Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Wells, John (Maidstone)
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Quennell, Miss J. M. White, Roger (Gravesend)
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Raison, Timothy Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Kinsey, J. R. Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Wiggin, Jerry
Kitson, Timothy Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Wilkinson, John
Knight, Mrs. Jill Redmond, Robert Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Knox, David Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Lane, David Rees, Peter (Dover) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Langford-Holt, Sir John Rees-Davies, W. R. Woodnutt, Mark
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Worsley, Marcus
Le Marchant, Spencer Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Younger, Hn. George
Longden, Gilbert Ridsdale, Julian
Loveridge, John Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
MacArthur, Ian Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Mr. Walter Clegg and
McCrindle, R. A. Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Mr. Tim Fortescue.

[Mr. J. P. W. MALLALIEU in the chair]

Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Heffer

I have no intention of keeping the Committee for very long, but during the debate on the previous Amend- ment we were given an extremely confused explanation by the Minister. Had I been sitting in the Gallery, and had I not had this Clause before me, I should not have had the faintest idea precisely what the Government were talking about, and I am certain that when the Solicitor-General looks at his three contradictory explanations in HANSARD he will be somewhat ashamed of the incredibly silly situation which the Government have got into this evening.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. J. T. Price

My hon. Friend has told the Committee that if he had been sitting in a certain position in the precincts of the Chamber he would have had no idea what Ministers were talking about. The difficulty in which my hon. Friend finds himself is precisely the difficulty in which Her Majesty's Ministers find themselves. They do not know, either. They do not know what they are talking about. If they did, they would not talk such rubbish.

Mr. Heffer

I think that the point is well made by my hon. Friend.

The hon. and learned Gentleman said that subsection (2) was different from subsection (3), and that one did not follow from the other. If one examines the wording of the two subsections, one sees that one follows logically from the other, and I therefore put it to the Committee that we must have a better explanation of this issue from the hon. and learned Gentleman.

We are opposed to this whole principle, and I should like the Committee to consider exactly what is involved. There could be a joint committee in the mining industry—or the building industry, or the engineering industry, it matters not—or perhaps a welfare committee, a safety committee or a consultative committee. The right hon. Gentleman said that all these committees would need to have a disclaimer. What an utterly ridiculous situation to be in! But that is precisely what the Clause means. We consider that this is ridiculous, and that it should be opposed in principle, quite apart from the fact that it should be opposed because of the utterly confused situation which the Minister has got himself into in subsections (2) and (3).

The reference to "any body" not only means the type of committee to which I have referred, a welfare committee, a consultative committee, a safety committee, and so on, but, as we interpret it, can mean that if a trade union which is part of a national joint industrial council has an agreement at a lower level—for instance, one made by the shop stewards committee—this will be presumed to be authorised by the trade union side.

Mr. Orme

A works committee.

Mr. Heffer

A works committee agreement could be covered by the Clause. The Minister may say that that is not so. The right hon. and learned Gentleman may argue that the Clause has been misinterpreted, but it reads as though that could be the position. In those circumstances—I have no intention of making a lengthy speech because this matter has been well debated in our previous discussions—we are convinced that the Clause should be taken out of the Bill. We ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to take it out of the Bill. If he refuses, we shall express our view by voting against the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

The Solicitor-General

The Clause retains and deserves to retain its place in the Bill, because it is plain that substantial and important collective agreements are arrived at in certain cases by substantial national joint bodies. The Government's view is clear: that those bodies in that kind of negotiation should be subject to the same alteration in bias, so that normally the parties in such negotiations are regarded, unless they provide to the contrary, as intending to set up obligations by which they intend to be bound. That is the primary objective of the Clause.

The Clause has no application to the example given by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer)—namely, a shop stewards committee. That would be a self-contained committee consisting of representatives of trade unions to the exclusion of others—[Interruption.] I thought that the hon. Gentleman was asserting it by reference to a shop stewards committee. The Clause applies presumptively to a joint works committee, but, as I explained earlier, that works committee is capable of making disclaimers in the pattern visualised in subsection (3).

Certainly it is not intended to place any difficulty in the way of such disclaimers being made. It is not intended to catch every small, humble, albeit important, body of that kind so that it cannot make its own decisions about the extent to which it will be bound. Given the importance of the intention to apply this presumption to the large national body hammering out the important national agreement, my right hon. Friend and I will certainly look at this again to see whether there is any possibility of it extending too far, too widely, or too obstrusively. The central intention, as part of the general alteration in the bias, is one which I must ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to support.

Mr. Hooson

It seems to me that the Government are in an extraordinary mess on this Clause. If the Government's intention is as was stated by the right hon. and learned Gentleman—I accept that it is—then the Clause does not carry out that intention. If the intention is to catch the important voluntary body which enters into national agreements, it is far too widely drawn because it catches everybody. If an agreement is recorded in writing and there is no disclaimer—which has to be specific, not general—then the most informal agreement, if minuted, has the effect of being a legally binding contract.

I concede that it is an extraordinarily difficult exercise to make collective bargaining legally enforceable. But, as I have said before, I consider Clauses 32 to 34 as the weakest parts of the Bill. The Government are in an extraordinary difficulty. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman amends the Clause to carry out his intention he is in danger of achieving nothing because, if a general disclaimer is allowed, every trade union will insist on a general disclaimer whenever there is a negotiation. Therefore, the whole thing will be lacking in legal effect. The Government must think a great deal more about this and the surrounding Clauses. This part of the Bill has had more attention from the Press than almost any other; yet it is the least effective. I shall certainly vote against the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. J. T. Price

I am content at this stage to leave the refinements of the legal argument to those who are best qualified to argue them.

I support what my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) said, primarily because I was astonished to hear a Law Officer of the Crown try to persuade the Committee to accept an intention when he was endeavouring to explain what is likely to become the law of the land.

This point has been debated on hundreds of occasions and it is clear that one cannot express an intention in legislation. If or when this part of the Bill becomes law, it will be up to the professionals to endeavour to gain the ear of some arbitrator or magistrate in an effort to get the point decided. For this reason alone we are entitled to protest over the Solicitor-General getting the Committee into such a terrible tangle.

However, the most important aspect of the Clause arises if one considers the matter philosophically and not in the way in which the legal maniacs consider it, to borrow a phrase from my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle). [Interruption.] My right hon. Friend used that phrase and it will be found in tomorrow's OFFICIAL REPORT. It was a strong expression, but I have never been against the use of strong expressions in Parliament. We are usually opposed to mealy-mouthed statements, especially those which try to substitute intentions for realities in a Measure which may be destructive of many of our social patterns of behaviour.

I am glad to see the Prime Minister on the Front Bench opposite. I do not often catch his ear, apart from the occasional Question time. He has expressed his philosophy about these matters in public. He believes in this provision, which is part of a Measure to give legal enforceability to contracts, to bring them within the general sphere of contract law and make them legally enforceable in the courts.

We are told by no less a luminary than the Solicitor-General that there can be a disclaimer. Certainly there can be a disclaimer at the top end of the eschelon; and lower down the hon. and learned Gentleman considers that there can be a disclaimer, too. Considering his legal distinction, he is entitled to speak with authority, but suppose at the top, middle and lower echelons there are disclaimers, right down to the shop floor level? Where will be the legal enforceability of contracts then? What will happen to what the Government now pronounce so loudly should that happen?

If we have a situation which mechanically transfers power away from the leaders of industry, be they trade union or industrial leaders representing great and small companies alike, and if that power is transferred to the bottom eschelon, where it is difficult to deal with, will that not be entirely against the social needs of the nation? Order in industry is always being called for and we are constantly told that the leadership should lead. Here the Government are deliberately, by this type of legislation, which is construed on a narrow legalistic basis, doing the opposite. They are encouraging a situation in which leadership will be on the shop floor and not where it ought to be, and where I should prefer it to be.

That is a serious matter. [Interruption.] Of course it is. Does it not worry hon. Members opposite? There are many hon. Members opposite closely connected with industry, who come here with a special knowledge of industry. I am told by some of the younger hon. Gentlemen who have recently joined us—I have not the pleasure of knowing them personally yet, and I hope to make their acquaintance later on—that they are consumed with good will and a desire to bring a better and more harmonious atmosphere into industry.

This Clause is not the way to do it. We shall enmesh ourselves in a net of legal jargon, a seine net of legal jargon, a net with a small mesh which catches not only the large fish but the small stuff as well. I am sure that hon. Members opposite never expected or intended that.

I do not like to hear the Government trying to sell me a piece of bogus legisla

tion on the basis of proclaimed good intentions. Intentions cannot be construed when matters come before the courts.

10.30 p.m.

Mr. Ogden

The Solicitor-General agreed to write to me in a few days giving his explanation of what the Clause means. I hope soon to receive that letter, which will, no doubt, start, "Without prejudice. Nothing in this letter is to be taken as legally binding as regards the explanation hereunder", and so on. But in the meantime we are to go through the Lobbies.

What concerns me at this point is the procedure which has meant that the matter has to be dealt with in this way. Because the Bill is being taken on the Floor of the House, the Solicitor-General is unable to say, on a Measure of this size and complexity, "There is the possibility of some doubt here. We shall withdraw the words as they stand now, and we shall come back with a considered view at a later stage". At some point, on every Bill in a Standing Committee, the Government make concessions of that kind. If we were in Standing Committee instead of on the Floor, the hon. and learned Gentleman would, no doubt, accept the points which have been made. However, because of the place where our business is being conducted, and, perhaps, because of the stubborness and stupidity of the Government, he is not able to do that.

Question put, That the Clause stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 304, Noes 267.

Division No. 113. AYES [10.34 p.m.
Adley, Robert Bossom, Sir Clive Chichester-Clark, R.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Bowden, Andrew Churchill, W. S.
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Clark, William (Surrey, E.)
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Braine, Bernard Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Bray, Ronald Clegg, Walter
Astor, John Brewis, John Cockeram, Eric
Atkins, Humphrey Brinton, Sir Tatton Cooke, Robert
Awdry, Daniel Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Coombs, Derek
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Cooper, A. E.
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Bruce-Gardyne, J. Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Balniel, Lord Bryan, Paul Cormack, Patrick
Batsford, Brian Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus,N&M) Costain, A. P.
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Buck, Antony Critchley, Julian
Bell, Ronald Bulls, Sir Eric Crouch, David
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Burden, F. A. Crowder, F. P.
Benyon, W. Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Curran, Charles
Berry, Hn. Anthony Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Dalkeith, Earl of
Bitten, John Carlisle, Mark Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)
Biggs-Davison, John Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Blaker, Peter Cary, Sir Robert d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Channon, Paul Dean, Paul
Body, Richard Chapman, Sydney Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.
Boscawen, Robert Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Digby, Simon Wingfield
Dixon, Piers Kimball, Marcus Rees, Peter (Dover)
Dodds-Parker, Douglas King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Rees-Davies, W. R,
Drayson, G. B. King, Tom (Bridgwater) Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Kinsey, J. R. Rhys William, Sir Brandon
Dykes, Hugh Kitson, Timothy Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Eden, Sir John Knight, Mrs. Jill Ridsdale, Julian
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Knox, David Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Lane, David Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Langford-Holt, Sir John Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Emery, Peter Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Eyre, Reginald Le Marchant, Spencer Rost, Peter
Farr, John Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Royle, Anthony
Fell, Anthony Longden, Gilbert Russell, Sir Ronald
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Loveridge, John St. John-Stevas, Norman
Fidler, Michael MacArthur, Ian Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) McCrindle, R. A. Scott, Nicholas
Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton) McLaren, Martin Scott-Hopkins, James
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Sharples, Richard
Fookes, Miss Janet McMaster, Stanley Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Fortescue, Tim Macmillan, Maurce (Farnham) Shelton, William (Clapham)
Foster, Sir John McNair-Wilson, Michael Simeons, Charles
Fowler, Norman McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest) Sinclair, Sir George
Fox, Marcus Maddan, Martin Skeet, T. H. H.
Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford&Stone) Madel, David Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Fry, Peter Maginnis, John E. Soref, Harold
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Spence, John
Gardner, Edward Marten, Neil Sproat, Iain
Gibson-Watt, David Mather, Carol Stainton, Keith
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Maude, Angus Stanbrook, Ivor
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Stewart-Smith, D. C. (Belper)
Glyn, Dr. Alan Mawby, Ray Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Goodhart, Philip Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Goodhew, Victor Meyer, Sir Anthony Stokes, John
Gorst, John Mills, Peter (Torrington) Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Gower, Raymond Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Sutcliffe, John
Gray, Hamish Miscampbell, Norman Tapsell, Peter
Green, Alan Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Taylor,Edward M. (G'gow,Cathcart)
Grylls, Michael Moate, Roger Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Gummer, Selwyn Molyneaux, James Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Gurden, Harold Money, Ernie Tebbit, Norman
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Monks, Mrs. Connie Temple, John M.
Hall, John (Wycombe)
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Monro, Hector Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Montgomery, Fergus Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Hannam, John (Exeter) More, Jasper Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Morgan, Geraint(Denbigh) Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Morgan,-Giles, Rear-Adm. Tilney, John
Haselhurst, Alan Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Hastings, Stephen Mudd, David Trew, Peter
Havers, Michael Murton, Oscar Tugendhat, Christopher
Hay, John Nabarro, Sir Gerald Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Hayhoe, Barney Neave, Airey van Straubenzee, W. R.
Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Nicholls, Sir Harmar Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Heseltine, Michael Normanton, Tom Vickers, Dame Joan
Hicks, Robert Nott, John Waddington, David
Higgins, Terence L. Onslow, Cranley Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Hiley, Joseph Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Osborn, John Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn, Sir Derek
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Wall, Patrick
Holland, Philip Page, Graham (Crosby) Walters, Dennis
Holt, Miss Mary Page, John (Harrow, W.) Ward, Dame Irene
Hordern, Peter Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Warren, Kenneth
Hornby, Richard Peel, John Weatherill, Bernard
Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia Percival, Ian Wells, John (Maidstone)
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Peyton, Rt. Hn. John White, Roger (Gravesend)
Howell, David (Guildford) Pike, Miss Mervyn Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Pink, R. Bonner Wiggin, Jerry
Hunt, John Pounder, Rafton Wilkinson, John
Hutchison, Michael Clark Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Iremonger, T. L. Price, David (Eastleigh) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
James, David Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Proudfoot, Wilfred Woodnutt, Mark
Jessel, Toby Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Worsley, Marcus
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Quennell, Miss J. M. Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Raison, Timothy Younger, Hn. George
Jopling, Michael Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Kaberry, Sir Donald Redmond, Robert Mr. Keith Speed and
Kellett, Mrs. Elaine Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Mr. Paul Hawkins.
Kilfedder, James
Abse, Leo Ford, Ben Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Albu, Austen Forrester, John Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E)
Alaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Fraser, John (Norwood) Marks, Kenneth
Allen, Scholefield Freeson, Reginald Marquand, David
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Galpern, Sir Myer Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard
Armstrong, Ernest Garrett, W. E. Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Ashley, Jack Gilbert, Dr. John Meacher, Michael
Ashton, Joe Ginsburg, David Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Atkinson, Norman Golding, John Mendelson, John
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Mikardo, Ian
Barnes, Michael Gourlay, Harry Millan, Bruce
Barnett, Joel Grant, George (Morpeth) Miller, Dr. M. S.
Beaney, Alan Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Milne, Edward (Blyth)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Molloy, William
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Griffiths, Will (Exchange) Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Bidwell, Sydney Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Bishop, E. S. Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Hardy, Peter Moyle, Roland
Booth, Albert Harper, Joseph Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Murray, Ronald King
Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Ogden, Eric
Bradley, Tom Hattersley, Roy O'Halloran, Michael
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W,) Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Oram, Bert
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Heffer, Eric S. Orbach, Maurice
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Hilton, W. S. Orme, Stanley
Buchan, Norman Hopson, Emlyn Oswald, Thomas
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Horam, John Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Padley, Walter
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Huckfield, Leslie Palmer, Arthur
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Cant, R. B. Hughes, Mark (Durham) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)
Carmichael, Neil Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Pavitt, Laurie
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Hunter, Adam
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill) Pendry, Tom
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Janner, Greville Pentland, Norman
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Perry, Ernest G.
Cohen, Stanley Jeger,Mre.Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S,) Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg
Coleman, Donald Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Prescott, John
Concannon, J. D. Jenkins, Rt. Ho. Roy (Stechford) Price, J. T. (Wosthoughton)
Conlan, Bernard John, Brynmor Price, William (Rugby)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Probert, Arthur
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Rankin, John
Crawshaw, Richard Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.) Richard, Ivor
Dalyell, Tam Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Davidson, Arthur Judd, Frank Robertson, John (Paisley)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Kaufman, Gerald Roderick, Caerwyn E,(Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Kelley, Richard Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Kinnock, Neil Roper, John
Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Lambie, David Rose, Paul B.
Deakins, Eric Lamond, James Ross, Rt, Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Latham, Arthur Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Delargy, H. J. Lawson, George Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Leadbitter, Ted Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Dempsey, James Lee, Rt.Hn. Frederick Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)
Doig, Peter Leonard, Dick Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Dormand, J. D. Lestor, Miss Joan Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Sillars, James
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham N.) Silverman, Julius
Driberg, Tom Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Skinner, Dennis
Duffy, A. E. P. Lipton, Marcus Small, William
Dunn, James A. Lomas, Kenneth Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Dunnett, Jack Loughlin, Charles Spearing, Nigel
Eadie, Alex Lyon, Alexander W, (York) Spriggs, Leslie
Edelman, Maurice Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Stallard, A. W.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Mabon, Dr. J, Dickson Steel, David
Edwards, William (Merioneth) McBride Neil Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Ellis, Tom McCartney, Hugh Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
English, Michael McElhone, Frank Strang, Gavin
Evans, Fred McGuire, Michael Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Fernyhough, E. Mackenzie, Gregor Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Fisher, Mrs.Doris(B'ham,Ladywood) Mackie, John Swain, Thomas
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Mackintosh, John P. Taverne, Dick
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Maclennan, Robert Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Foley, Maurice McNamara, J. Kevin Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Foot, Michael MacPherson, Malcolm Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Tinn, James Weitzman, David Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Tomney, Frank Wellbeloved, James Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Torney, Tom Wells, William (Walsall, N.) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Urwin, T. W. White, James (Glasgow, Pollok) Woof, Robert
Varley, Eric G. Whitehead, Phillip
Wainwright, Edwin Whitlock, William TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick Mr. James Hamilton and
Wallace, George Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.) Mr. William Hamling.
Watkins, David Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)

Clause 33 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

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