The Temporary Chairman
With this Amendment it will be convenient if we also discuss Amendment No. 867, in page 445 83, line 3, leave out 'in tort'. Amendment No. 868, in line 9, leave out 'in tort', and Amendment No. 869, in line 12, leave out 'in tort'.
§ Mr. Rose
The first, second and third of these Amendments have the intention of reinstating in substance protection of a type similar to that extended by Section 3 of the 1906 Trade Disputes Act. Earlier we debated rather exhaustively Clauses 85 and 87. This Amendment underlines what has happened during the passage of the Bill, namely, that we have by back-door stealth, brought about the destruction of such protection as remained under the 1906 Act simply by the introduction of this alien new concept of an unfair industrial practice and the provisions of Clauses 85 and 87.
These provisions virtually take away the right to strike in a large number of cases, for example, the secondary boycott and the sympathy strike, where the original strike was called without the sanction of the union even if it was subsequently endorsed by the union. At the same time as this new concept has been introduced, the Solicitor-General says that he is keeping the law of tort as an additional weapon in his armoury against the trade unions. My hon. Friend the Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser) and I have drawn attention to the problems which will arise as a result of overlapping jurisdiction as between torts, on the one hand, and unfair industrial practices, on the other.
Clauses 6 and 85 deal with individuals inducing a breach and virtually take away protection from those individuals, be they trade union leaders, people commenting on television or political commentators. Because the Solicitor-General refused to answer this question at about a minute to midnight last Wednesday, there is a strong suspicion that Clause 87 overrules Thompson v. Deakin. The decision in Rookes v. Barnard has been reinstated through Clause 6 and Clauses 85 to 87 and the Trade Disputes Act, 1965, has been swept away.
The purpose of the Amendment is merely to underline that by this backdoor method we have not only the refusal of the protection offered by Section 3 of the Trade Disputes Act, but additional hazards for the trade union 446 movement for those involved in trade disputes. By leaving out the words "in tort", those facing an action would face an action only in one court and for one offence, whereas by retaining both concepts the Solicitor-General has the trade union movement both ways: either it goes before the court as defendants because of an unfair industrial action, or it goes before the other court because it is guilty, or allegedly guilty, by reason of a tort.
We wish to extend the protection which can be given under the Clause in only a very modest way to get back to something like the position of 1906. We do not think that this is a particularly large or difficult demand to meet. This is a very modest Amendment to reinstate a certain degree of protection, in tort, bearing in mind that under Clauses 85 to 87 an intolerable burden has been imposed upon the trade union movement by virtually outlawing in a large area of industrial action the right to strike.
§ The Solicitor-General
There may be a misunderstanding about the object of the Amendment, but the intention of Clause 118, including the words which the Amendment seeks to leave out, is to preserve the exclusion from the ordinary courts of actions which were excluded from them by Section 3 of the 1906 Act and other statutory provisions. The intention is to make it clear that proceedings in respect of industrial relations complaints about unfair industrial practices can be brought only before the Industrial Relations Court. That is the object of the exercise. The Bill identifies a number of unfair industrial practices and provides remedies for them which are to be granted and considered in the Industrial Relations Court. The object of the exercise is to give the Industrial Relations Court exclusive jurisdiction over such matters.
The purpose of Clause 118 is not to expose people concerned with industrial relations to an alternative or additional liability in tort but expressly to provide that matters which could be actionable in the Industrial Relations Court shall not be actionable in tort in the ordinary courts. It is to make plain that the exclusion of the ordinary courts is to be effective over a wider field than it has 447 been under the 1906 Act up to now. That is why, for example, Clause 118(1)(a) drops the familiar words "of employment" from Section 3 of the 1906 Act.
The Clause as now formulated achieves the object of protecting people concerned with industrial relations from proceedings in the ordinary courts rather further than has been the case up to now, and preserves our intention, with which there is disagreement on the other side of the Committee, to give to Industrial Courts exclusive jurisdiction in respect of these industrial matters.
§ The Solicitor-General
The Taff Vale judgment involved two concepts. One was the basis of liability and the other was the extent to which the trade union could be found liable. Possible liability is dealt with by the extent to which a trade union can be liable in respect of compensation up to the limit specified in Clause 103. Speaking from instant memory, I think that the exact foundation of liability in the Taff Vale case was in respect of inducing breaches of contracts of employment.
§ The Solicitor-General
To reverse that aspect, it would have been necessary to repeal, lock, stock and barrel, Section 3 of the 1906 Act. We have not done that. What we have done is to preserve the extent of Section 3 of the 1906 Act in the ordinary courts but, to a limited extent, to repeal it in the Industrial Relations Court. To make plain the nature of the limit, it is still open to a registered union or its officials acting on its behalf to induce breaches of contract of employment, just as they could under Section 3 of the 1906 Act. It is only the unregistered, unofficial organisation which has had withdrawn from it the Section 3 privileges. In accordance with the recommendations of the Donovan Commission, these Clauses are preserving the exclusion of industrial relations cases from the ordinary court.
§ Mr. John Mendelson
The Solicitor-General should add, should he not, that, to the extent that the Bill is shot through with other provisions removing the protection of Section 3 of the 1906 Act, he is effectively abolishing the protection of Section 3 over a wide range of industrial practice?
§ The Solicitor-General
Not so. I am redefining the extent of the immunities conferred by it, as advertised in "Fair Deal at Work" three years ago. I am certainly identifying some unfair practices in respect of which the inducing of industrial action is unfair. To that extent for specific purposes it is being done. In the context of this Clause the protection of the ordinary court remains, and it is the Industrial Court which will be seized of the new jurisdiction.
It is unnecessary to contemplate acceptance of this group of Amendments, although it has been useful for the Committee to have this explanation of the object of the exercise.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The Committee proceeded to a Division:—
§ Mr. William Rodgers (Stockton-on-Tees) (seated and covered)
On a point of order, Mr. Mallalieu. Can you, in the first place, assure us that the doors were closed six minutes after the Division was called? In the second place, will you take note of the fact that a number of hon. Members were seeking to enter the Chamber but were prevented by an exodus of other hon. Members? In the circumstances, will you consider calling the Division again?
The Temporary Chairman
The correct time of six minutes was allowed. I have taken note of what the hon. Gentleman has said.
§ Mr. Rodgers
You say that you have taken note of what I have said. What significance are we to attach to that? May we be assured that, in future Divisions, the entrance to the Chamber will not be blocked? Or are we to take it that you now propose to call the Division again?
The Temporary Chairman
Since the full time for the Division was allowed, it is not for me to take any further action.
§ Mr. Rodgers
Will you be good enough to say in what circumstances action will be taken to ensure that hon. Members leaving the Chamber do not prevent other hon. Members entering in order to vote? With the greatest respect, it is not satisfactory simply to say that you have taken note of my point. What action will be taken to enable hon. Members to record their votes?
|Division No. 192.]||AYES||[9.44 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Driberg, Tom||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Duffy, A. E. P.||Jones,Rt.Hn.SirElwyn(W.Ham,S.)|
|Ashley, Jack||Dunn, James A.||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)|
|Ashton, Joe||Dunnett, Jack||Judd, Frank|
|Atkinson, Norman||Eadie, Alex||Kaufman, Gerald|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Kelley, Richard|
|Barnett, Joel||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Kerr, Russell|
|Beaney, Alan||Ellis, Tom||Kinnock, Neil|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||English, Michael||Lambie, David|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Evans, Fred||Latham, Arthur|
|Bishop, E. S.||Fernyhough, E.||Lawson, George|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Fisher, Mrs. Doris(B'ham,Ladwood)||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Booth, Albert||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Leonard, Dick|
|Bradley, Tom||Foley, Maurice||Lestor, Miss Joan|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Ford, Ben||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham N.)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Forrester, John||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Lipton, Marcus|
|Buchan, Norman||Freeson, Reginald||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Galpern, Sir Myer||Loughlin, Charles|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Gilbert, Dr. John||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Ginsburg, David||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Cant, R. B.||Golding, John||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Carmichael, Neil||Gourlay, Harry||McBride, Neil|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Grant, George (Morpeth)||McCartney, Hugh|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||McElhone, Frank|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||McGuire, Michael|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Mackenzie, Gregor|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mackie, John|
|Cohen, Stanley||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Coleman, Donald||Hamling, William||Maclennan, Robert|
|Concannon, J. D.||Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Hardy, Peter||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Harper, Joseph||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Cronin, John||Heffer, Eric S.||Marquand, David|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Hilton, W. S.||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Horam, John||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Meacher, Michael|
|Dalyell, Tam||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Huckfield, Leslie||Mendelson, John|
|Davidson, Arthur||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Millan, Bruce|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Hunter, Adam||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)||Molloy, William|
|Deakins, Eric||Janner, Greville||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Dempsey, James||John, Brynmor||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)|
|Doig, Peter||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Moyle, Roland|
|Dormand, J. D.||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Malley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
§ observed. That should enable hon. Members to record their votes correctly.
§ Mr. Rodgers
Will you confirm that there are precedents for Divisions being cancelled and called again in cases where hon. Members are prevented from voting because the entrance to the Chamber is blocked by an exodus of other hon. Members? That being the case, will you ensure by your action that we are not prevented from entering the Chamber in the course of the next Division?
The Temporary Chairman
I shall of course do my best to see that no hon. Member is obstructed wilfully.
§ The Committee having divided: Ayes 240, Noes 286.
|Murray, Ronald King||Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon)||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Ogden, Eric||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|O'Halloran, Michael||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)||Tinn, James|
|O'Malley, Brian||Roper, John||Tomney, Frank|
|Oram, Bert||Rose, Paul B.||Tuck, Raphael|
|Orme, Stanley||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Oswald, Thomas||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Paget, R. T.||Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Wallace, George|
|Palmer, Arthur||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)||Watkins, David|
|Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)||Weitzman, David|
|Parker, John (Dagenham)||Sillars, James||Wellbeloved, James|
|Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)||Silverman, Julius||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Pavitt, Laurie||Skinner, Dennis||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Small, William||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Pendry, Tom||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)||Whitlock, William|
|Pentland, Norman||Spearing, Nigel||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Perry, Ernest G.||Spriggs, Leslie||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.||Stallard, A. W.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Prescott, John||Stoddart, David (Swindon)||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Probert, Arthur||Strang, Gavin||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Rankin, John||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Reed, D. (Sedgefield)||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)||Swain, Thomas||Mr Kenneth Marks and|
|Rhodes, Geoffrey||Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)||Mr. Ernest Armstrong.|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Crowder, F. P.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Curran, Charles||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Astor, John||Dalkeith, Earl of||Havers, Michael|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Hawkins, Paul|
|Awdry, Daniel||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hayhoe, Barney|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen, Jack||Heseltine, Michael|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Dean, Paul||Hicks, Robert|
|Balniel, Lord||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Higgins, Terence L.|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Dixon, Piers||Hiley, Joseph|
|Batsford, Brian||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)|
|Bell, Ronald||Drayson, G. B.||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Holland, Phillip|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Dykes, Hugh||Holt, Miss Mary|
|Benyon, W.||Eden, Sir John||Hooson, Emlyn|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Hordern, Peter|
|Biffen, John||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Hornby, Richard|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia|
|Blaker, Peter||Emery, Peter||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Eyre, Reginald||Howell, David (Guildford)|
|Body, Richard||Farr, John||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)|
|Boscawen, Robert||Fell, Anthony||Hunt, John|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Bowden, Andrew||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Braine, Bernard||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||James, David|
|Bray, Ronald||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Brewis, John||Fookes, Miss Janet||Jessel, Toby|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Fox, Marcus||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Fry, Peter||Jopling, Michael|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Bryan, Paul||Gardner, Edward||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Gibson-Watt, David||Kellett, Mrs. Elaine|
|Buck, Antony||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Kilfedder, James|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Glyn, Dr. Alan||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn)||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||King, Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Goodhart, Philip||Kinsey, J. R.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Goodhew, Victor||Kirk, Peter|
|Channon, Paul||Gorst, John||Kitson, Timothy|
|Chapman, Sydney||Gower, Raymond||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Knox, David|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Gray, Hamish||Lambton, Antony|
|Churchill, W. S.||Green, Alan||Lane, David|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Grieve, Percy||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Griffiths. Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Clegg, Walter||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Cockeram, Eric||Grylls, Micha[...]||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)|
|Cooke, Robert||Gummer, Selwyn||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Coombs, Derek||Gurden, Harold||Longden, Gilbert|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Loveridge, John|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Hall, John (Wycombe)||MacArthur, Ian|
|Cormack, Patrick||Hall-Davis, A. G. F||McCrindle, R. A.|
|Costain, A. P.||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||McLaren, Martin|
|Critchley, Julian||Hannam, John (Exeter)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Crouch, David||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||McMaster, Stanley|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Percival, Ian||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|McNair-Wilson, Michael||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForcest)||Pink, R. Bonner||Stokes, John|
|Maddan, Martin||Pounder, Rafton||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Madel, David||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Sutcliffe, John|
|Maginnis, John E.||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Marten, Neil||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Mather, Carol||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Maude, Angus||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Tebbit, Norman|
|Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Raison, Timothy||Temple, John M.|
|Mawby, Ray||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Redmond, Robert||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Rees, Peter (Dover)||Trew, Peter|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Moate, Roger||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Waddington, David|
|Molyneaux, James||Ridadale, Julian||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Money, Ernie||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Monks, Mrs. Connie||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Wall, Patrick|
|More, Jasper||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Walters, Dennis|
|Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Rost, Peter||Warren, Kenneth|
|Mudd, David||Royle, Anthony||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Murton, Oscar||Russell, Sir Ronald||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Nabarro, Sir Gerald||St. John-Stevas, Norman||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Neave, Airey||Scott-Hopkins, James||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Sharples, Richard||Wilkinson, John|
|Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Normanton, Tom||Shelton, William (Clapham)||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Nott, John||Simeons, Charles||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Onslow, Cranley||Skeet, T. H. H.||Worsley, Marcus|
|Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Soref, Harold||Younger, Hn. George|
|Osborn, John||Spence, John|
|Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Sproat, Iain||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Stainton, Keith||Mr. Tim Fortescue and|
|Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Stanbrook, Ivor||Mr. Keith Speed.|
|Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.)||Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)|
§ Mr. John Prescott (Kingston upon Hull, East)
I beg to move Amendment No. 862, in page 82, line 38, leave out `only'.
Many hon. Members who are not trained in the legal profession may think that missing out one word does not mean a great deal. But, after the debates about "may", "shall" and "will" and the connotations which they can have in a Bill of this nature, one wonders how important a single word can be. Certainly the word "only" takes on a tremendous significance.
I tread with some trepidation into this legal sphere, particularly as I am surrounded by many lawyers on both sides. I have spent considerable time listening to the Solicitor-General say that in many cases it is difficult to give a proper answer to the situation and the court will decide. I wonder in that situation whether we may reach the position in Australia where the Solicitor-General, introducing similar laws, was eventually promoted to the court as a judge and had to interpret and define what was meant.
454 I enjoy one advantage, because I wish to draw the attention of the Committee to the Merchant Shipping Acts and the relevance of the Clause to merchant seamen.
Clause 118 deals with Section 3 of the 1906 Act and also rectifies the 1965 Act which was brought in to deal with the situation brought about by the Rookes v. Barnard decision.
As I understand, and as was pointed out on an earlier Clause, certain difficulties will arise regarding actions in tort out of the mere narrowing of the definition from "trade dispute" to "industrial dispute". I think that other hon. Members may wish to develop that point in regard to the trade unions ashore concerning their activities and liability for actions in tort for what has been considered to this day a normal industrial practice. For example, in the Torquay hotel case the definition of "trade dispute" and "industrial dispute" came clearly to the fore.
455 The point which I wish to develop concerns the word "only" in Clause 118 which states:An act done by a person in contemplation or furtherance of an industrial dispute shall not be actionable in tort on the ground only—It is important to draw to the attention of the Committee that there is a separate penal provision in the Merchant Shipping Act, 1970, in which certain acts ranging from wilful disobedience to certain lawful commands to being absent without leave at the time of sailing can constitute criminal offences.
- (a) that it induces another person to break a contract or
- (b) that it consists in his threatening that a contract … will be broken".
Section 31 of the Merchant Shipping Act, which deals with being absent without leave at the time of sailing, is pertinent to this point about the word "only" in that if a man who has signed on a ship and signed separate articles, that being his contract of employment, fails to join the ship when it sails, he will be absent without leave and in breach of his contract. Under the Merchant Shipping Act, he will be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £100.
One can imagine the industrial problems which can arise in that situation. For example, if seamen in the course of their employment on a ship find that the captain wishes to dismiss a man in a situation where they feel that something wrong has been done and they do not wish to sail on the ship, but the captain wants to put to sea within 24 hours so that they are not able to give sufficient notice to end their contracts and they walk off, yet the reason is sufficiently strong for the trade union official to say, "Yes, I think you are right to come off the vessel", he will be inducing a breach of contract. In inducing a breach of contract that official, like most other trade union officials in this situation, will be covered, except that he also induces the men to commit a criminal offence—the offence laid down in the Merchant Shipping Act to which I have just referred. This is where the protection becomes important. The Clause states:… shall not be actionable in tort on the ground only—(a) that it induces another person to break a contract, or …threatening that contract.
456 In this case I am led to believe that the very inducing a person to commit a criminal act in breach of contract would also lead to the possibility of an action in tort against the official and the men concerned, and the trade union.
Clause 117 refers toAvoidance of encroachment on jurisdiction of Industrial Court or of industrial tribunalsin such matters, but it would offer no protection in this case because the act itself is a criminal act and would be dealt with by another court.
To make my point I refer to other Clauses. Clause 85 is clearly designed to offer protection to the trade union official or those acting on behalf of the union who induce others to breach their contract. This would not be guaranteed to the seaman, again, because of the suggestion that he would be getting them to commit an unlawful act. Therefore, the third parties would have an action in damages against the owners, against the union, and possibly against the officials and the men also. In inducing a breach of contract they commit an unlawful act.
The Cunard v. Stacey case is one of a number in law where this has been brought up. I do not have the necessary confidence in the law to develop the points arising out of that. I seek the Solicitor-General's views on this matter. Does this mean that the trade union official performing his normal industrial function would be made liable to an action in tort against which other trade union officials in their normal affairs are protected?
Other difficulties would arise if this interpretation were accepted, especially regarding Clause 87 and extraneous parties. I do not feel able to develop that legal point. I hope that the Solicitor-General will give guidance as to the role of the trade union official, in regard to shipping, where he commits not only an inducement to breach a contract but also a criminal act.
§ [Sir ROBERT GRANT-FERRIS in the Chair]
§ The Solicitor-General
The point has been raised again in a narow compass by the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) obviously in the context of the particular difficulties which 457 he visualises in the merchant shipping industry, because the inclusion of the word "only" from every other point of view—and as I shall show, from his point of view—repeats the corresponding provisions in existing statute law.
The provisions of the 1871 Act, Section 2, are reproduced in Clause 122(a). The provisions of Section 3 of that Act are reproduced in Clause 122(b). The provisions of the 1906 Act, Section 1, are reproduced in Clause 118(3), and those of the 1906 Act, Section 3, first limb, in Clause 118(1) and of the 1906 Act, Section 3, second limb, Clause 118(2).
There is no change in the substantial provision against the background of which the Merchant Navy's problems have to be considered. The particular part relevant to its problems arises in the context of the Cunard v. Stacey case to some extent from the 1875 Act and to some extent from uncertainty about the effect of that on their position.
As the hon. Gentleman will know better than I, the Merchant Shipping Act, 1970, made changes in that. Indeed, the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker), replied to the Standing Committee debate on this Clause in relation to the corresponding provisions in the Merchant Shipping Act, 1970. The effect of the 1970 Act provisions was twofold. They are in Section 42. The effect was to make plain that, notwithstanding any agreement, a merchant seaman can give 48 hours' notice of termination of his contract; so he is able to terminate his contract on that notice, provided that the ship is securely moored in a safe berth in the United Kingdom.
The beneficial effects of that were extended by saying that the 1875 Act would apply to seamen, contrary to the original exception from the 1875 Act. So to that extent the doubts raised by Cunard v. Stacey were removed by the 1970 Act.
The Bill does nothing to disturb that balance. I appreciate that the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues were not altogether happy that the last Government had gone as far as they would have liked in the context of the 1970 Act. I appreciate that the hon. Gentleman, again with others, has suggested that this would be an opportunity for us to march further down the road away from the 1896 Act. 458 However, as the 1970 Act has been on the Statute Book for only a few months—indeed, I am not sure that all of it has been in force for even that long—we do not consider that this is the time or place in which to begin disturbing the uneasy settlement which the hon. Member for Doncaster defended in Standing Committee on the 1970 Bill.
The point about which the hon. Gentleman is anxious is whether anything has been done in the Bill to disturb that balance adversely.
§ Mr. Prescott
I appreciate fully that the Bill does not change the position under the Merchant Shipping Act, 1906, the previous Merchant Shipping Acts, or the 1970 Act. My case is that a trade union official, be he an official of the seamen's union or an official of a trade union ashore, should have the right to call upon people in a dispute situation to come out on strike, which would be an inducement of a breach of contract. By so doing he would render himself liable to an action in tort for damages, something which would not apply to any other trade union official in a similar situation. The Consultative Documents says that the Government wish to remove the aspect of criminality from industrial relations. Indeed, they do this, by means of a later Clause, in respect of gas and electricity workers and the 1875 Act. Is it fair to leave an official of the seamen's union who is performing his normal trade union function liable to a action in court?
§ The Solicitor-General
The fact that the criminal law is involved to the extent specified in the 1970 Act is something which was the subject of an uneasy compromise last year, and we do not propose to alter that balance. The criminal nature of the provisions in the 1970 Act are those which represent an advance from the 1894 Act. That is a different argument, not in the context of this debate.
The hon. Gentleman raises the separate point that, because merchant seamen can in certain circumstances commit a criminal offence under the 1970 Act by breaking their contracts of employment or by doing other things, therefore the trade union organiser of merchant seamen is unusually exposed to a certain type of action because he would be inducing, 459 not breaches of contract of employment, but the commission of criminal offences.
It is doubtful whether that gives rise to a separate cause of action in conspiracy against such an official. Cunard v. Stacey was only an interim decision. It was given in circumstances when the 1875 Act plainly did not apply to seamen; and, if anything, it is even less likely that a decision would be given adverse to the trade union official now than it was then. This Bill does not change that provision. We have not thought it right to do so. I am not prepared to tell the hon. Gentleman that we will take this opportunity to change that part of the law specially designed to affect merchant seamen.
§ Mr. Prescott
Except that the Government have said that the Bill is to strengthen trade unionism. This is a classical example of how they can do it.
§ The Solicitor-General
We are doing great things in the Bill, but we are not necessarily undertaking to redress, restore or rewrite all the positions of balance so recently reached by the previous Administration on this topic. I know that the general application of the criminal law to the contracts of merchant seamen has been long debated and will continue to be debated, but this is not for this Bill.
The narrower point of the hazards has been diminished by the 1970 Act and has not been increased by this Bill. It is right for the hon. Gentleman to ventilate again the case he has ventilated so often before, but it is not necessary to change this Bill to deal with that case.
§ Mr. Loughlin
Is not part of my hon. Friend's case the fact that a trade union official dealing with merchant seamen will be exposed under the Bill to a further sanction—a liability to actions in tort? This means that it is a double-ended weapon. Could the hon. and learned Gentleman look into this to see whether some assistance could be given?
§ The Solicitor-General
The hon. Gentleman misunderstands. The Bill does not expose the union official dealing with seamen to actions in tort any more than he is already. It is maintaining the 460 immunity from such actions to the existing extent. There is no change on that. It is doubtful whether there is any special liability to an action for the tort of conspiracy for those organising merchant seamen, even as the law stands.
The Bill does not change that—
§ The Solicitor-General
No, we are improving many things but we have not taken that on board, and this does not seem to be the right time or place to do it.
§ Mr. Harold Walker
I hope that the Solicitor-General was not taking refuge in what I said when the Merchant Shipping Bill was going through the House in 1970. I would remind him of two things that I said on Report dealing with the penal provisions of the Bill. The first was the important principle that no Government can govern without the consent of those to whom their laws apply, and that, if it was the wish of the industry to pursue the path being proposed to the House by my hon. Friends, we, the then Government, would be all too ready sympathetically to respond.
The second important point which we expressed then—I do not want to rely too much on memory here or to over-commit myself—was that we gave in that situation, which is changed by this Bill, a pledge to the National Union of Seamen to review the situation in a short time to see whether the new machinery being created in the industry necessitated the perpetuation of the penal provisions.
§ 10.15 p.m.
§ Mr. McNamara
I rise simply to underline the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) because it was my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) and I, when we pressed the then Government on the question of penal sanctions, were given the impression that this matter would be reviewed in about two years' time. As about one year has passed and as the then Opposition did not dissent from what was said, we are looking forward to the time when the present Government will review the situation.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:—
|Division No. 193.]||AYES||[10.15 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Galpern, Sir Myer||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Albu, Austen||Gilbert, Dr. John||Mendelson, John|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Ginsburg, David||Mikardo, Ian|
|Allen, Scholefield||Golding, John||Millan, Bruce|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Gourlay, Harry||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Ashley, Jack||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Molloy, William|
|Ashton, Joe||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Atkinson, Norman||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Barnett, Joel||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)|
|Beaney, Alan||Hamling, William||Moyle, Roland|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Hardy, Peter||Murray, Ronald King|
|Bishop, E. S.||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Ogden, Eric|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Hattersley, Roy||O'Malley, Brian|
|Booth, Albert||Heffer, Eric S.||Oram, Bert|
|Bradley, Tom||Hilton, W. S.||Orme, Stanley|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)||Horam, John||Oswald, Thomas|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F' bury)||Huckfield, Leslie||Paget, R. T.|
|Buchan, Norman||Hughes, Rt.Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Hunter, Adam||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Cant, R. B.||Irvine, Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Carmichael, Neil||Janner, Greville||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Pendry, Tom|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)||Pentland, Norman|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||John, Brynmor||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Prescott, John|
|Cohen, Stanley||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Price, J T. (Westhoughton)|
|Concannon, J. D.||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Conlan, Bernard||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Probert, Arthur|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Rankin, John|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W. Ham,S.)||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Judd, Frank||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Kaufman, Gerald||Richard, Ivor|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Kelley, Richard||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Kerr, Russell||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy(Caernarvon)|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Kinnock, Neil||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Davidson, Arthur||Lambie, David||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dno)|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Latham, Arthur||Rogers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Lawson, George||Roper, John|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Leadbitter, Ted||Rose, Paul B.|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Deakins, Eric||Leonard, Dick||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Lestor, Miss Joan||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Delargy, Hn. J.||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Short,Rt.Hn,Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Dempsey, James||Lipton, Marcus||Sillars, James|
|Doig, Peter||Lomas, Kenneth||Silverman, Julius|
|Dormand, J. D.||Loughlin, Charles||Skinner, Dennis|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Small, William|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Driberg, Tom||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Spearing, Nigel|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||McBride, Neil||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Dunn, James A.||McCartney, Hugh||Stallard, A. W.|
|Dunnett, James||McElhone, Frank||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Eadie, Alex||McGuire, Michael||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mackenzie, Gregor||Storehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Mackie, John||Strang, Gavin|
|Ellis, Tom||Mackintosh, John P.||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|English, Michael||Maclennan, Robert||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Evans, Fred||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Swain, Thomas|
|Fernyhough, E.||McNamara, J. Kevin||Tavern, Dick|
|Fisher, Mrs.Doris(B'ham,Ladywood)||MacPherson, Malcolm||Thomas, Rt.Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Foley, Maurice||Marks, Kenneth||Tinn, James|
|Ford, Benn||Marquand, David||Tomney, Frank|
|Forrester, John||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Tuck, Raphael|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mayhew, Christopher||Urwin, T. W.|
|Freeson, Reginald||Meacher, Michael||Variey, Eric G.|
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 247, Noes 276.
|Wainwright, Edwin||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Walker, Harold (Doncaster)||Whitehead, Phillip||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Wallace, George||Whitlock, William||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Watkins, David||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Weitzman, David||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Wellbeloved, James||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)||Mr. Donald Coleman and|
|Wells, William (Walsall, N.)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)||Mr. Joseph Harper.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Fookes, Miss Janet||Le Marchant, Spencer|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Fortescue, Tim||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Astor, John||Fox, Marcus||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Fry, Peter||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Awdry, Daniel||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Longden, Gilbert|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Gardner, Edward||Loveridge, John|
|Balniel, Lord||Gibson-Watt, David||MacArthur, Ian|
|Batsford, Brian||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||McCrindle, R. A.|
|Bell, Ronald||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||McLaren, Martin|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Glyn, Dr. Alan||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Goodhart, Philip||McMaster, Stanley|
|Benyon, W.||Goodhew, Victor||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Gorst, John||McNair-Wilson, Michael|
|Biffen, John||Gower, Raymond||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Maddan, Martin|
|Blaker, Peter||Gray, Hamish||Madel, David|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Green, Alan||Maginnis, John E.|
|Body, Richard||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest|
|Boscawen, Robert||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Marten, Neil|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Grylls, Michael||Mather, Carol|
|Bowden, Andrew||Gummer, Selwyn||Maude, Angus|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Gurden, Harold||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Braine, Bernard||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Mawby, Ray|
|Bray, Ronald||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Brewis, John||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hannam, John (Exeter)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Bryan, Paul||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus,N&M)||Haselhurst, Alan||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Buck, Antony||Havers, Michael||Moate, Roger|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hawkins, Paul||Molyneaux, James|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Hay, John||Money, Ernie|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hayhoe, Barney||Monks, Mrs. Connie|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Heseltine, Michael||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Channon, Paul||Hicks, Robert||More, Jasper|
|Chapman, Sydney||Higgins, Terenece L.||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hiley, Joseph||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Mudd, David|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Murton, Oscar|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Holland, Philip||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Cockeram, Eric||Holt, Miss Mary||Neave, Airey|
|Cooke, Robert||Hooson, Emlyn||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Coombs, Derek||Hordern, Peter||Normanton, Tom|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hornby, Richard||Nott, John|
|Cormack, Patrick||Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia||Onslow, Cranley|
|Costain, A. P.||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally|
|Critchley, Julian||Howell, David (Guildford)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Crouch, David||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Osborn, John|
|Crowder, F. P.||Hunt, John||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Curran, Charles||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Iremonger, T. L.||Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||James, David||Percival, Ian|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Dean, Paul||Jessel, Toby||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Dighy, Simon Wingfield||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Pounder, Rafton|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Jopling, Michael||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Kellett, Mrs. Elaine||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Dykes, Hugh||Kershaw, Anthony||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Eden, Sir John||Kilfedder, James||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Raison, Timothy|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Kinsey, J. R.||Redmond, Robert|
|Emery, Peter||Kirk, Peter||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Eyre, Reginald||Kitson, Timothy||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|Farr, John||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Fell, Anthony||Knox, David||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Lambton, Antony||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Lane, David||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)||Walder David (Clitheroe)|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.||Walker Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Stokes, John||Walker-Smith Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom||Wall, Patrick|
|Rost, Peter||Sutcliffe, John||Walters, Dennis|
|Royle, Anthony||Tapsell, Peter||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Russell, Sir Ronald||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Warren, Kenneth|
|St. John-Stevas, Norman||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Scott-Hopkins, James||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Sharples, Richard||Tebbit, Norman||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Temple, John M.||Wilkinson, John|
|Shelton, William (Clapham)||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Simeons, Charles||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Tilney, John||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Trafford, Dr. Anthony||Worsley, Marcus|
|Soref, Harold||Trew, Peter||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Speed, Keith||Tugendhat, Christopher||Younger, Hn. George|
|Spence, John||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Sproat, Ian||van Straubenzee, W. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Stainton, Keith||Vickers, Dame Joan||Mr. Bernard Wetherill and|
|Stanbrook, Ivor||Waddington, David||Mr. Walter Clegg.|
|Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)|
§ [MISS HARVIE ANDERSON in the Chair]
§ Mr. James A. Dunn (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
I beg to move Amendment No. 864, in page 82, line 39, after 'break', insert:or otherwise interfere with'.
The Deputy Chairman
Order. I think that it would be for the convenience of the Committee to take at the same time Amendment No. 865, in line 41, after 'broken', insert:or otherwise interfered with'.
§ Mr. Dunn
The Clause, like Clause 117, has its problems for those who are not specialists in legal jargon, who can find the going very difficult.
I wish to bring to the notice of the Solicitor-General and his colleagues certain points and to ask for special consideration to be given to the issues I shall raise now. My remarks will relate to both Amendments.
The Clause says that any intervention in an industrial dispute will be in violation of some of its principles. Many problems flow from that. Any interruption, any intervention, any sympathetic support could be classified as tort.
Dealing with Amendment No. 866, the Solicitor-General indicated with some clarity that the provisions of the Clause still make such tort actionable under certain circumstances. I take it that this would cover words, whether written or oral, or any action that could be classified as inducing, persuading or causing in any manner not only a breach of contract but an interruption of the contract acts which, while not specifically being interpreted as breaking the contract or interrupting it temporarily, constitute an offence by the very fact that persuasion is used.
I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman did not mean that this provision should be incorporated in the Bill. I have known him for some time. I often disagree with him, but I never doubt that his wish for good law has always been sacrosanct to him and that he would not wish to leave any dubiety resulting from words for which he may be held to be responsible.
468 I recall some of the things said about Clause 86, when we were trying to consider sympathetic action, secondary sympathetic action, embargoes, picketing and even protests. There was a clear answer from the hon. and learned Gentleman then that secondary actions were an offence unless the trade union concerned had decided to take action which could be classified as not unfair. But if the trade union or group of workers took any action which was not sanctioned by, or at the direction of, a registered trade union, they would be in default under the Bill.
Under Clause 118, any expression of opinion in relation to secondary action, any boycott, any picketing, any combined action or even any individual action could be interpreted as sympathy and support. In these circumstances, I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman to look at the matter again. My judgment is based upon the Torquay hotel decision by Lord Denning. The advice given to me by people who know more about the matter than I is that anyone in breach in the way I have indicated would be held responsible under the law of tort. I know that this is not the intention and the Amendment would clarify the situation.
§ The Solicitor-General
I thank the hon. Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. James A. Dunn) for the way in which he moved the Amendment. He has identified a point on which there may be room for reconsideration. The same point is made by Professor Wedderburn in his book, "The Worker and the Law", when he draws attention to the potential for extension of the law of tort deriving from Lord Denning's judgment.
The objective of Clause 118 is to exclude from the ordinary court proceedings in respect of inducing breach of contract or comparable things in the context of a trade dispute. If there are to be any remedies in respect of such matters, they are to be found under this Bill, under Clauses 85 to 87. That is where the Government intend the remedies to arise. We do not intend a fresh crop of unforeseeable remedies to arise in the ordinary courts in the law of tort, and that is what Clause 118 is designed to prevent.
469 In so far as it reproduces Section 3 of the 1906 Act, it would have been all right for that purpose, but the hon. Gentleman suggests—and this is the extent to which his point has force—that it may no longer be all right if interference with the performance of the provisions of a contract is to be the foundation of a new series of actions in the ordinary courts.
The Amendment might not present the right way of preventing a growth of that kind, but the hon. Gentleman has identified a problem which the Government want to look at again, the intention being to ensure that the Clause is a secure frontier in the ordinary courts in that the remedies, right or wrong, which the Goernment are putting forward in respect of unfair industrial actions should arise in the N.I.R.C. only.
In view of my statement that we shall look at the wording again with these two Amendments in mind but without any commitment to accepting any particular form of words in trying to improve the Clause to meet the point which could arise from the Torquay judgment, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will feel that his Amendment need not be pressed to a Division.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
The Deputy Chairman
It may be for the convenience of the Committee if we also discuss Amendment No. 871, in page 83, line 4, after 'business', insert 'contract'.
§ Mr. Rose
As the Solicitor-General has understood the argument of my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Kirkdale (Mr. Dunn) about "otherwise interfered with", I hope that he will also understand the problem posed here by the words "for the avoidance of doubt" because of recent decision in Stratford v. Lindley and Rookes v. Barnard.
As we want to make progress tonight, I will not now go into detail, but the Solicitor-General will know that there 470 are 33 pages in the latest text book on the law in this regard. There is much doubt about the state of the law with regard to Section 3 and the protection offered. I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will be able to undertake that by Report he will have considered the implications of these two cases. I say no more than that now in view of his response to my hon. Friend.
§ The Solicitor-General
I cannot adopt such an immediately forthcoming attitude to these Amendments because, so far as I have been able to analyse their effect, they would go beyond merely preventing the development of new heads of tort liability and would go further than would be justified. The hon. Member has moved the Amendment very briefly and I make no complaint of that. but he has not fully expounded the effect and I may not fully appreciate it. I shall certainly look at it, but I cannot show anything like the same kind of implied willingness to make any change on these lines, because the argument may not be as valid as the hon. Member thinks.
Certainly I will consider his suggestion, but at the moment I do not think that it is likely to lead to any change in the position. However, he may feel satisfied that he has drawn my attention to it and it will deserve scrutiny on that ground alone.
§ Mr. Rose
I am obliged to the hon. and learned Gentleman. I have drawn his attention to the matter. I am sure that he will look at the decisions and some of the dicta in these two cases and draw certain conclusions about the uncertainty in the law. As the Report stage will give us an opportunity to debate the matter, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 118 ordered to stand part of the Bill.