HC Deb 23 February 1971 vol 812 cc323-91

3.54 p.m.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool Walton)

I beg to move Amendment No. 854, in page 80, line 41, at end insert: 'nor shall an employee be fined, have his earnings attached or his property distrained or seized nor be imprisoned for failure to do any work or attend at any place for the purpose of doing any work'.

The chairman

I think it will be for the convenience of the Committee if we take also Amendment No.856, in page 81, line 4, at end insert: () No court shall commit a person to prison for breach of any order made in proceedings brought under this Act.

Mr. Heffer

In the process of moving the Amendment may I be forgiven for making two comments which are of some importance? First, during last Thursday's debate the Prime Minister in his winding up speech made a comment to the effect that he thought that the Opposition should be have been more responsible and should have been more responsible and should not be tramping through the night voting against various Clauses. He then said that he should be discussing the Bill in greater detail. That is precisely what we asked to do. I am assuming that we shall now get from the Prime Minister or the Leader of the House an assurance that from now on every Clause will be properly debated and that sufficient time will be given for this. I trust that there will be a statement today to that effect.

Secondly, last week—

Captain Walter Elliot (Carshalton)

On a point of order. I do not know if it is known, but proposals were made by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House to give extra time for debating the Bill if the Opposition would also give extra time. The Opposition refused to accept that offer and, as a result, the time has been curtailed. It was in that respect that my right hon. Friend —

The Chairman

Order. I am afraid the hon. and gallant Gentleman is not in order. This is not a point of order and has nothing to do with the Chair. The business of the House is arranged by the Government, in consultation with the Opposition, and the Chair has nothing to do with it.

Mr. Heffer

If I may comment on that without holding up the business of the Committee, what was being offered to my hon. Friends on this side of the House was nothing at all. We were being asked to give up far more days which would otherwise be available to us to debate other topics than the Government, who were not prepared to give up anything. We went out of our way to seek the fullest possible debate, and this was not allowed.

Captain W. Elliot

Mr. Chairman, you will recall that you said that I was out of order in raising this, but the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heifer) is raising just this issue.

The Chairman

It is customary for the spokesman for the Opposition to make certain brief comments. I have been well used to this practice in Standing Committee. The Chair must alone be the judge of whether those comments are brief. The hon. and gallant Member for Carshalton (Captain W. Elliot) sought to address me on a point of order, and that is what I ruled on as being strictly speaking out of order. Nevertheless, the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller) is entitled to do what he is doing provided he is brief, and I am sure I can rely on him being so.

Mr. Heffer

Thank you, Sir Robert. I shall be very brief. I have completed my first comment. My second brief comment is that during last week's debates one or two hon. Members on the Government benches suggested that trade unionists were not behind the Opposition to the Bill but were behind the Government.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

4.0 p.m.

Mr. Heffer

Hon. Members opposite say "Hear, hear". I should like to draw their attention to the fact that at least 140,000 workers marched on Sunday against this Bill. Many other workers and their various representatives in the big cities and towns could mount a tremendous number of demonstrations in their areas, and will do as time goes on.

Mr. David Mitchell (Basingstoke)


Mr. Heifer

Of course I do not accept hon. Members opposite to agree with me. I know that they are not—

The Chairman

Order. I feel that we have reached a stage when the hon. Gentleman should take my advice, and I am sure that he will.

Mr. Heffer

I was just going to move on, Sir Robert. The object of the Amendment is simple—

Mr. David Mitchell

On a point of order. I do not wish to question the right of the Chair to choose a particular Amendment, but the situation here is unusual in that this Amendment seeks to delete a power which the Bill does not in fact contain. Is it in order for the Committee to waste time discussing an Amendment which cannot apply to this Bill?

The Chairman

That is a matter of argument, and in any case I have deemed the Amendment to be in order, which is a matter for me.

Mr. Heffer

It does not seek to delete anything. In fact it adds something. Obviously the hon. Gentleman has not read the Amendment, otherwise he would not have made such a ridiculous statement.

The Solicitor-General has said in Committee from time to time that no criminal proceedings will arise from the Bill when enacted. This is disputed. We have argued throughout that although criminal proceedings may not be brought civil proceedings could ultimately lead to criminal proceedings. We want it written into the Bill so that it will be absolutely clear that no employee should be fined, or should have his earnings attached, or should have his property distrained or seized, or should be imprisoned for failing to do any work or attend at any place for the purpose of doing any work. As the Clause stands workers can go on strike, and undoubtedly will, though under certain circumstances they could be forced back to work. They have a right to go on strike but may be forced to pay compensation for taking strike action.

It is recognised, in spite of what the Secretary of State for Employment has said, that workers will take strike action. Whether they do so individually or collectively, this is bound to happen. We know this from experience at Betteshanger Colliery where, despite the fact that the law said workers should not take strike action, they in fact did so. What happened was that, in order to get a settlement of the dispute, negotiations had to take place with branch officials who were in prison. Therefore, there must be a recognition that when workers take action they will not be forced back to work.

Clause 114 is basically fraudulent. Workers who take strike action can be caught because they induce or aid and abet, or seek to finance action or indulge in all sorts of unfair industrial practices which may amount to an illegal strike. Therefore, the provision gives the trade union movement nothing. It does not amount to a row of beans. It is included in the Bill to give the impression that the Government are being fair to the trade union movement and to the workers at large.

The provision is also fraudulent because, although action can be taken in other parts of the Bill against workers for unfair industrial practices, it will be seen from Clauses 124 to 126 that the Secretary of State may apply to the Industrial Court for an order which can either defer or discontinue a strike for 60 days. If that is not ordering workers back to work, I do not know what is. That is doing precisely what the Clause says cannot be done. This is the situation the whole way through the Bill. One part of the Bill says one thing and another part of the Bill says something totally different. We do not have to be Philadelphia lawyers to understand the Bill. We need to be magicians. Certainly shop stewards will never understand it, nor indeed will most lawyers. To understand the Bill we shall all need to take magicians' courses.

We believe that in order to make sense of the provision and to ensure that no action is taken against workers, the Government should accept our Amendment. I will not go into it further at this stage. We believe that it is a sensible, intelligent, brief Amendment which any sensible Government would accept. I only hope that on this occasion the Solicitor-General will show some semblance of sense and accept it.

Mr. Barney Hayhoe (Heston and Isleworth)

Although I did not agree with the earlier remarks of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller), I was in considerable sympathy with him once he got on to his substantive points on the Amendment. I would agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) that this Amendment is unnecessary since the Bill does not seek to do the things that the Amendment wishes to make impossible. In other words, if I have any objection to the hon. Gentleman's Amendment it is because it is tautologous and not because it puts forward a basic argument with which I disagree.

Having expressed by general sympathy with the point of view of the hon. Gentleman, I must go on to say that I do not believe that the provisions of the Bill make it possible for any employee to be fined or be subjected to any of the other penalties outlined in the Amendment merely because he has failed to do any work or attend at any place for the purpose of doing any work. But if anyone induces others to take unfair action, it is possible under other provisions of the Bill for action to be taken against him. Obviously the hon. Gentleman and I may disagree about that but, dealing with the Amendment —[Interruption.] Possibly the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) does not want the Committee to deal with it, but I intend to do just that and say that, while I have great sympathy with the point of view expressed by the hon. Member for Walton, I hope very much that my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General will be able to tell the Committee whether the Government see any problems arising from the Amendment which I do not see. I shall be very pleased to hear my hon. and learned Friend's advice on the matter.

Mr. John Mendelson (Penistone)

True to form, the hon. Member for Heston and Isleworth (Mr. Hayhoe) is again acting as the Government's liberal figleaf. He offers my right hon. and hon. Friends tea and sympathy, and then votes with the Government.

Mr. Hayhoe

I am merely seeking the advice of my hon. and learned Friend the Solicitor-General. And looking back over the voting record of the hon. Member for Penistone in past years, I seem to remember that the hon. Gentleman was one of that army of paper tigers who often shouted against the actions of their Government but did not stand up for their principles in the Division Lobby.

Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)

As a result of this Bill, an employer and in certain circumstances the Secretary of State can adopt any one of a multiplicity of courses which ultimately will take the form of injunctions against workers not to commit certain acts. It is not disputed that the only way in which an injunction can be enforced is by means of the deterrent of imprisonment for contempt of court or, in certain circumstances, by means of fines.

No one can tell whether or not the effect of the Bill will be nugatory. It may be that few employers will take proceedings under the legislation. But if the Government intend to commit people to prison for contempt of court on orders made under this Measure, they will miss an enormous opportunity which was available and was taken by the previous Government to move towards a constructive improvement of our industrial relations. Perhaps the greatest absurdity lies in the fact that it will probably be argued that, in the last resort, people should be sent to prison in an attempt to get better industrial relations.

As the Bill stands at the moment, a person can be sent to prison without his having had the benefit of legal aid in the proceedings brought against him. I raised this matter on Second Reading. and I was promised a reply. I raised the matter again as a point of order last week, and I have now received a note about it. I make no complaint about that. It underlines the difficulty in which the Government find themselves. They have truncated our discussions on the Bill to the point where it is not even possible to announce to the Committee decisions which should be announced in public. The fact remains, however, that, as the Bill stands at the moment, a person can be committed to prison without the advantage of being represented in the court proceedings leading up to his committal.

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)

Two sides of the Committee are very close in their approaches to this matter. But I would suggest to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller) that he underestimates the importance of this Clause. It raises no simple or unnecessary matter, and certainly it is not to be treated with scorn.

The Clause puts forward an assertion which has not appeared in previous legislation that no court shall compel anyone by an order or an injunction to take certain actions. Neither can it compel him not to strike. The hon. Gentleman suggest that the provision is whittled down in other parts of the Bill. The fact remains, however, that its inclusion in the legislaiton is significant. and I hope that he will not disparage its importance in what I trust will be an Act of Parliament.

It is a provision which is quite different from any that we have had before in legislation, and it goes beyond any provisions intended for inclusion in any similar legislation projected by the prevous Government.

Despite what the hon. Gentleman said, nothing in this legislation creates a crime in any sense. He implied that, although the word "crime" is not used, there is created some sort of middle world. It is not merely a civil offence but some kind of pseudo-crime.

The Bill contains no criminal provision and, in view of that, the inclusion of the words proposed in the Amendment would be inappropriate in the context of this Clause. The hon. Gentleman suggests that we should add words to the effect that no employee shall be fined. I cannot see how the penalties referred to in the Bill could result in a fine.

As the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser) rightly said, there is another territory which is neither civil nor criminal where a flagrant disregard would amount to contempt of court. However, that does not arise from any of these provisions. The Bill is not a criminal one. It includes no criminal provisions. In that, it is markedly different from the legislation contemplated by the previous Government, who were prepared to introduce criminal provisions and sanctions against the individual to which they now object.

We do not contemplate those kinds of sanctions and, while I, like my hon. Friend the Member for Heston and Isle-worth (Mr. Hayhoe), sympathise with the idea behind the Amendment, it is not appropriate in the setting of this Clause and the context of the Bill. I repeat that it is not a criminal Measure. There can be a flagrant disregard amounting to contempt of court, but that has nothing to do with anything contained in the Bill.

Mr. Stanley Orme (Salford, West)

The concluding words of the subsection read: … compel an employee to do any work or to attend at any place for the purpose of doing any work. In my view, it should go on to the possibility of his being brought before an industrial court and fined and, if necessary, imprisoned, because that is exactly what can happen.

It is extraordinary that we have arrived at the stage where it is necessary to write into the Bill words which in effect say that there can be no direction of labour. It should not be necessary to try to offset the provisions contained in previous Clauses. As my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heifer) pointed out, numerous Clauses are relevant to this matter. I have in mind Clauses 5,124,125 and 126, to cite but a few of them.

The Solicitor-General should recognise, having had the guillotine the other night, that we are now coming on to the industrial court. This Clause flows from Clause 89 onwards with the setting up of the legal paraphernalia. The constraints upon trade unionists will be evident from reading these Clauses. We could have a situation—I think that the Solicitor-General should inform the Committee about this—where a shop steward, for instance, instructed to use his best endeavours and refusing to do so, could be brought before the court and fined, refuse to pay the fine, have his goods or property distrained, damages, and, in the final analysis, imprisonment.

This situation arises from equating trade unionists with criminals. A court procedure is being set up to discipline industrial workers not for breaking the common law, not for taking part in larceny or any other common crime for which anyone is liable, but to say to a certain section of workers—it is only a certain section—"You are liable under the terms of the law and of the High Court which has been set up to certain fines and constraints which are not applicable to every citizen in this country."

The legal aspects within the terms of the Bill are a complete departure from British law as we understand it. It is applicable to a certain section of the electorate, the industrial working force, not to the whole population. These are the kind of things which face us. The more we get into the legal involvements, the more we see the constraints which will be inflicted on industrial workers.

Mr. Gower

May I ask the hon. Gentleman to consider this point? If I run my car into his, does the hon. Gentleman appreciate that I could be brought before two courts: one for the criminal or pseudo-criminal action of driving badly or without due care, and the other, the civil court, to which I could be brought by the hon. Gentleman for causing damage to his car? Does the hon. Gentleman see no distinction between the two?

Mr. Orme

Being surrounded by distinguished lawyers, I shall not try to interpret the British law. I heard three Q.C.s at the beginning of the debate try to define two words—

Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, North)

Five Q.C.s.

Mr. Orme

My hon. Friend says "Five Q.C.s". However, each one arrived at a different definition, including the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D.Walker-Smith).

We on this side feel that any form of criminal proceedings against trade union- ists through the setting up of these industrial courts by way of fines is completely obnoxious. We are completely opposed to it. I should like to hear the Solicitor-General justify his case on this matter.

Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)

I had not intended to intervene in the debate. I do so only in the hope of contributing my widow's mite to clearing up certain misapprehensions or misconceptions which seem to exist in some of the speeches which have been made.

The hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme), who has been a diligent and useful contributor to debates in Committee, said that the objection here was that trade unionists were being treated as criminals. That is not so. There are no criminal provisions or sanctions in the Bill.

The Committee will appreciate that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) has usefully reminded us, there are two different sections of our law—criminal and civil.

The criminal code works by way of imposition of fines or prison sentences. The civil code works by the award of damages for breach of contract, for civil wrong suffered, for a declaration of rights, or for an injunction to restrain the committing of a civil wrong. There is, therefore, a clear dichotomy between the criminal and the civil law.

Mr. Orme

I understand the definition which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has just given. However, is it not a fact that a trade unionist at the end of the day could still be imprisoned for not operating under the terms of the Bill.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

I am coming to that in the pattern of the submission which I am putting to the Committee.

There being that dichotomy between the two branches of the law, the Bill follows, as I have observed in more detail on previous occasions in Committee, the civil pattern.

We find it best and most clearly set out in Clause 90(3) where three forms of civil remedy are prescribed as within the jurisdiction of the court on a complaint having been made. With a certain difference of nomenclature, those remedies follow the civil pattern as I have just described it.

Mr. Heffer

What the right hon. and learned Gentleman is saying is absolutely correct. But in Schedule 2, paragraph 25 deals with enforcement. Paragraph 25 then points out, … the Industrial Court shall have the like powers, rights, privileges and authority— (a) in England and Wales, as the High Court". It can therefore impose a fine for contempt of court. Paragraph 26 states: In relation to any fine imposed by the Industrial Court for contempt of that court, section 14 of the Criminal Justice Act 1945 and section 47 of the Criminal Justice Act 1967… shall have effect". Whilst it is true that the principle within the Bill is based upon civil proceedings, at a certain point such proceedings can be transformed into criminal proceedings. That is the point which we are making.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

The hon. Gentleman ought to follow the matter through. The remedies given in the Bill are analogous to civil remedies, as we see from Clause 90(3) which states, an order determining the rights"— which is the same as a declaration given by the High Court as part of its civil jurisdiction—" … an award of compensation "—which is analogous to damages given by the High Court in its civil jurisdiction, and … an order directing the respondent to refrain from continuing to take that action— which is analogous to an injunction given by the High Court.

So we start from the proposition that there are no criminal provisions as such in the Bill. They are purely civil provisions designed to give remedies for breaches of contract—for example, breaches of contract of legally enforceable collective agreements which may be agreed to be under the new law.

We then come to the point which seems to be worrying hon. Gentlemen—namely, a defiance of the law. Suppose a man says, "You may whistle for your damages",or, "Despite the injunction, I propose to disobey it". We then come to the branch of the law which has been referred to by my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Mr. Gower), the branch known as contempt. Contempt is not part of the criminal jurisdiction. Contempt is the necessary residual power that any court must have if it is to be effective.

4.30 p.m.

Mr. Paul B. Rose (Manchester, Blackley)

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman not aware—it is interesting—that as recently as 1969 Lord Denning, in Re Bramblevale Ltd., said: A contempt of court is an offence of a criminal character. There is a great deal of judicial authority to support the view that a contempt of court is either criminal or quasi-criminal. Whether it is quasi-criminal, criminal or even civil, the result is the same—gaol.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

The hon. Gentleman is to some extent bandying words, and when he refers to judgments of Lord Denning that is rather like where we came in, because it was another judgment of Lord Denning which we were debating the other night, and the hon. Gentleman and I must resist every temptation to turn this Committee stage into a moot, otherwise we shall become very unpopular with those hon. Members who are not lawyers.

We need not be semantic about it. It is clearly not criminal. I can see the force of what the hon. Gentleman says in his reference to quasi-criminal, though he will not find that that is a term of art within English law. It might be said to be quasi-criminal in that it is, in a sense, coercive, but every residual power which a court has to enforce its jurisdiction must of its nature be coercive to some extent.

Mr. Orme

That is the point.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

This is where was pass the argument to the other side. We are dealing with Clause 114. We have passed Clause 90. Whether hon. Gentlemen opposite like it or not—I appreciate that they do not—at this stage of the Bill we have to go on the assumption, the Committee having passed it by a majority, that Clause 90 will be good law.

Mr. Sidney Bidwell (Southall)

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that it is a very sad set of circumstances? Who is responsible for the fact that we have not discussed the intervening circumstances and the position of the courts?

Sir D. Walker-Smith

We have had many references to Clause 90 in our debates, as the hon. Gentleman, who has been reasonably assiduous in his attendances during the Committee stage, will recall. It is not one of the Clauses which unfortunately has been omitted from all discussion under the Bill. [Interruption.] —I have given way many times to hon. Gentlemen who have risen in their places. Perhaps I might be excused from sedentary interventions.

Mr. Harold Walker (Doncaster)

As the right hon. and learned Gentleman in that way invites me to make a standing interruption, I would ask him to point out to the Committee that it is no fault of this side but entirely a consequence of the Government's slapping on the guillotine that we have not exposed the iniquities of Clause 90.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

I understand the hon. Gentleman's feelings, but I wonder whether that intervention was worth taking up the time of the Committee. Whether or not that Clause received as much discussion as it should, it has been adopted by the Committee; and the hon. Gentleman must face the facts of life. After all, we are practical people. There is a strong presumption that, however long it had been debated, when it was divided upon it would have been carried, and by this time, therefore, that Clause is part of the Bill.

We have to proceed at this stage on the assumption that there is a power in the Industrial Court to make the orders. Having reached that stage, I must pass the argument back to the other side. I ask them, that being the case, how they would propose that the court would enforce its orders, supposing that there is a refusal to abide by them. Surely hon. Gentlemen are not contemplating a situation in which a court is set up and it has no power of enforcement for its orders. If they are proposing that, the position is clear and different. They are proposing an entire departure from the rule of law under the shadow of which this country has dwelt so long. This is the logic of it. They would be proposing a system of anarchy in which, if a person refuses to obey the order of the court, there is nothing that the court can do about it, and that if an order for compensation is made those in whose favour the order is made can whistle for the compensation to be paid.

Mr. Orme

It is not a semantic argument. We have gone through this matter on this side previously, and, like the right hon. and learned Gentleman, we have arrived at the same position. We cannot impose the law without having some sanction, and ultimately that must be prison. Why does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman admit that at the end of the day, be the law criminal or otherwise, the result would be gaol if the law is defied?

Sir D. Walker-Smith

If one defies the law there must be a sanction, and the ultimate sanction is committal, as part of the law on contempt. On the other hand, it differs from an ordinary sentence of imprisonment passed as part of the criminal jurisdiction in a very important respect. If a person is awarded a criminal sentence, that is a fixed term which he must serve. But a person committed as a last resort for defiance of an order of a court under its inherent jurisdiction of contempt is committed only for so long as his contempt endures. When he purges his contempt, he comes out. [Laughter.]

Hon. Gentlemen laugh, but that shows how little thought they have given to the matter. If they gave half as much time to thinking about the Bill as they have done to speaking, they would not laugh but would realise what a bad point they are on.

Mr. John Prescott (Kingston upon Hull, East)

The right hon. and learned Gentleman is putting points about the logic of the legal situation, and the use of a sanction by the court against those who openly breach its decision. That brings to mind a situation which I was involved in in 1960, the Seamen's strike, in which my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) was also very much involved, when a seaman came before the court for contempt of court arising out of a case in which an injunction has been sought. He could have been released from the court if he had apologised to it and agreed not to continue the action of asking men to stay on strike. But the man stayed in gaol. A whole new issue now arose because a striker had been sent to gaol. It was no longer a simple issue of the seamen's dispute, or whether it was a contempt of court, be it criminal or civil, but the fact that a man in a dispute had been sent to gaol and the men would refuse to go back until that man had been brought out of the court's jurisdiction. What we are concerned about is not necessarily the legal logic involved, but what will happen in industrial disputes.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

It is not a question of what will happen in industrial disputes qua industrial disputes. Nobody goes to gaol or went to gaol because of participation in an industrial dispute. He goes to there for contempt of court—that is, for defiance of an order of the court—pending such time as he purges his contempt, which is legal language for obeying the order of the court. If a person prefers, as John Hampden did, to defy the order of the court, he wears the martyr's crown and gets a place in history. But you cannot have it all ways. John Hampden got the martyr's crown because he went inside.

Mr. Dan Jones (Burnley)

I accept the right hon. and learned Gentleman's legal argument, but can he believe that the ordinary man in the street can ever hope to understand this?

Sir D. Walker-Smith

That is a good question. I will answer it as best I may. The ordinary man in the street can understand the basic proposition that if we are to have—as we have—the privilege of living under the rule of law there must be a means of enforcement in the last resort of the orders of the properly constituted courts, because that is the essential and indispensable prerequisite of the rule of law.

Many men may say that in their view a particular law is not as they wish it to be. In a democratic society—this is the other aspect of our free institutions—they are free to say so and to agitate for the reform of that law. Once this law is on the Statute Book hon. Members opposite will be entitled to continue to agitate for the reform and revision of this law. However, while the law is on the Statute Book it must be obeyed; and it can be obeyed only if in the last resort there is a sanction to uphold the rule of law.

That is all that is happening. Nobody wants anybody to be committed for contempt of court. It is a long stop. It is the last residual power. It operates only while the order of the court is being held in defiance.

I must pass the argument to the other side and invite them to cite any single instance known to them of any form of law in Britain which does not have the sanction of enforcement in the last resort by proceedings for contempt of court. If that be so, they must show why and how there can be any difference here.

I had a great deal of sympathy for what was said by the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser) on an Amendment which has not been selected. Perhaps I can say something now on the same point rather than wait until the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill. It would be a happy thing if there could be some provision for the extension of legal aid, more particularly as some of these cases affect individuals. So far as I am concerned this is a new application of a point I have previously made as to the desirability of legal aid in many of the sorts of proceedings which have grown up in a modern society and which are just as important to the individual taking part as the ordinary, orthodox, traditional proceedings for which legal aid is right. It is very right that the consideration should be given to this point.

The Solicitor-General (Sir Geoffrey Howe)

Perhaps I may be allowed to say this to my right hon. and learned Friend on that last point. I speak subject to your own ruling, Sir Robert. If the opportunity arises in the debate on the Question, That the Clause stand part of the Bill, I hope to deal with the point about legal aid which has been raised by my right hon. and learned Friend and by the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser). I had understood that to discuss the point on this Amendment without the selection of the intervening one would have been tempting fate perhaps too far.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

I am obliged to my hon. and learned Friend and I shall certainly look forward with great interest to hearing what he has to say.

[Miss HARVIE ANDERSON in the Chair]

4.45 p.m.

Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)

I suppose it is cold comfort to a person lying in prison to know that he is lying there for contempt of court and not because he has committed a criminal offence. The prison is still as unpleasant and as cold or as hot as the case may be.

The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) is absolutely right in saying that there is no criminal sanction in the Bill. Nevertheless, he touched on the nub of the matter. The matter that is under dispute on a principle is whether there should be this long stop—this eventual sanction—and whether it is apt for the matters which are the subject matter of the Bill.

The Amendment would not remove the provision about imprisoning or fining for contempt of court. The Amendment is concerned only with an employee, and not with a trade union official. I should have thought that in this context the trade union official might require more protection than the employee.

The Amendment says: nor shall an employee be fined, have his earnings attached or his property distrained or seized nor be imprisoned for failure to do any work or attend at any place for the purpose of doing any work". The matter on which the vote will be taken, as I understand it, would not in any way remove the sanction of imprisonment or fine for contempt of court.

Ronald King Murray (Edinburgh, Leith)

indicated assent.

Mr. Hooson

I am glad to see that the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Leith (Mr. Murray) is in agreement.

Though the debate has ranged over the principle of the matter, it has been misconceived, because the matter that is objected to, namely contempt, is not covered by the Amendment. Amendment No. 856 would remove the sanction of imprisonment or contempt of court, but it would not remove the sanction of a fine.

To appreciate the position fully it is necessary to look at what the Clause is intended to achieve. The Clause seeks to put it beyond a peraventure that the traditional common law attitude that a man cannot be forced by an order for specific performance to carry out a contract of service cannot be changed; and nothing in the Bill enables a court to enforce a contract of service, nor indeed to grant an injunction to restrain a breach of a contract of service. This has been the common law tradition in Britain. Over the years the judges have always taken this view.

As I understand the proposal—this is where the Solicitor-General's explanation can be of great value—it is not intended that in future any man shall be forced, by specific performance or otherwise, to carry out a contract of service; and it is not the Government's intention to force him by means of a fine or imprisonment to do so either.

Therefore, I see no reason why the Government should not accept Amendment No. 854, because no question of principle arises. A question of principle certainly arises on Amendment No. 856, because the principle is brought into question there.

On this matter there is a plain difference between the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East, who very succinctly argued that there must be a long stop and an eventual sanction for the law, and those who have spoken from this side and who do not think that there should be any sanction in the way of action for contempt.

Mr. Orme

That is not what he said. In fact, we say that the whole thing is ludicrous, that we do not want it but that there must be a long stop if it is going to operate, which can mean prison.


I understand that the hon. Gentleman is saying, "If the Bill is passed I accept that a long stop is necessary, but because I object to the Bill, I object also to this, because it illustrates the ludicrous position to which the Bill is leading us. Therefore, the debate goes to the heart of the Bill, the principle of the matter." But I am not sure that it does. Many judges and legal writers in recent years have attacked the very idea of contempt of court and have said that it is not necessary to have this eventual sanction. It is very sparingly used these days. Perhaps the Solicitor-General can tell us the figures, but very few people every year are sent to prison or fined for contempt of court.

One must ask, even if the Bill is passed, is this blunt instrument necessary at the end, or is it, for the purposes of a Bill dealing with industrial relations, much better to do without it? The British, whatever is said in the House and whatever heat may be engendered on both sides, are a very law-abiding people.

Mr. Orme

This is bringing the law into disrespect.

Mr. Hooson

In my view, an eventual long stop sanction is not necessary and adds nothing to the eventual value of the Bill, whatever that may be.

Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)

Before the hon. and learned Gentleman sits down, would he confirm that the long stop exists in our present law, including trade union law, of committal for contempt? Does it apply therefore to the enactments to be repealed in Schedule 8?

Mr. Hooson

Of course it does. Contempt applies in the divorce court as well. If a person goes to prison for contempt, no criminal conviction is recorded against him. Some of our great martyrs have been imprisoned for contempt of court. They may be right: this is one way of challenging the principle—[Interruption.] I know that the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme) is anxious to be the first martyr in this cause; what I am anxious to do is save the country from his martyrdom. We have reached the stage of society at which I do not believe that the long stop is necessary in proceedings like this.

Mr. David Mitchell

Clause 114 is designed primarily as protection for workers and to ensure that a court cannot force them to return to work. It therefore seems extraordinary that we should have had this afternoon speeches of this sort—speeches which were no doubt made in constituencies, to trades council meetings and to union meetings in preparation for that great rally in Trafalgar Square when I per cent. of the trade union movement came to register their protest. I am not surprised that they should do so, in view of the wild distortions with which they have been fed.

When I heard the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heifer) talking about equating the trade unionists with criminals—

Mr. Dan Jones

Of course they are, if they can go to jail.

Mr. Mitchell

I see nowhere in the whole Bill a provision to invoke the criminal law—certainly not in a Clause which specifically says that a court cannot order a man to go back to work. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) said, there are none so blind as those who will not see—

Mr. Jones

That is obvious.

Mr. Mitchell

That also applies to the hon. Member, who obviously does not want to read the Clause. But he went on to talk about the imposing of fines, which the Bill does not, and constraints, which it does, on the unions and a section of the working force, but not the rest of our people. I would ask where in any other activity of life—in commercial life, in one's daily life or in driving—there are not in the end constraints if one defies the accepted standards of society. It seems reasonable when bargains are made between a union and an employer that there should be the same constraints to see that those bargains are kept.

I should have thought that the Government would accept Amendment No. 854. This is not the first time, to my great surprise, that I have found myself nodding in agreement with much that the hon. Member for Walton has had to say. But to accept the Amendment would breach Donovan and existing legislation. This must be the argument which prevents by hon. and learned Friend from accepting the Amendment. It has no bearing on the Bill at all, as I tried to suggest earlier, but I understand that there is in law at this time a liability upon an individual to comply with his personal contract of service. If he fails to do so, he is liable under the existing law.

I am aware that that existing law is not used, that employers, although they have the right, do not use it, but this matter does not arise simply on this Bill.

Mr. Hooson

Surely, at present, under a contract of service a man is liable for damages only if he breaches it.

Mr. Mitchell

I am grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman for confirmation of my point, that under existing legislation, which the Labour Party never sought to repeal, this Amendment would interfere in that field. It does not apply within the context of the Bill.

The Amendment refers to … failure to do any work or attend at any place for doing any work. But there is nothing in the Bill to force a man to do any work or attend at any place to do any work, so in terms of this Bill, the Amendment is completely unnecessary.

But I am not surprised that it was the hon. Member for Walton who moved this Amendment rather than his right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle). It would have been very difficult for her, in view of what she said should be the situation in "In Place of Strife". Paragraph 62 of that document said that a new industrial board —will have power to impose financial penalties on an employer, union or individual striker —". No such penalities appear in the Bill. [Interruption.] I think that I have the agreement of the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson), without embarrassing him—that he, too, would find what his right hon. Friend proposed when in office wholly unacceptable. Therefore, I understand her not being present to lead the attack on this part of the Bill.

That extract from "In Place of Strife" went on: … financial penalities on an employer, union or individual striker as it found appropriate; and those penalties would be recoverable in England and Wales only in the appropriate County Court by attachment of earnings and other civil remedies for the collection of debts, and procedures with similar effect will apply in Scotland. In view of that blockbuster which the right hon. Lady wanted embodied in our legislation, I fail to see how hon. Members opposite can have the effrontery to walk into the Division Lobby.

Mr. Heifer

We are getting tired in the Committee of hon. Members constantly reading out chunks of "In Place of Strife"—[An HON. MEMBER: "Because it is embarrassing."] It is not a bit embarrassing, for this reason—that "In Place of Strife" never became a Bill. It was a document which was discussed in the House, with the T.U.C., with the Parliamentary Labour Party and with the Labour Party generally. Arising out of those discussions, which hon. Gentlemen opposite were not prepared to enter into with the T.U.C., the Bill which was before the House contained none of the provisions which the hon. Gentleman is saying it did contain.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Mitchell

I am fascinated by that comment, which I anticipated would come from the hon. Member or one of his hon. Friends because they were the means by which the "In Place of Strife" proposals were shot down. However, to say that the right hon. Member for Blackburn or the then Under-Secretary did not take that view is to twist the facts.

The central theme of the Budget statement made by the then Chancellor in the spring of 1969 was that there would be legislation on industrial relations along the lines of "In Place of Strife". It passes all imagination how hon. Gentlemen opposite now have the gall to put forward an Amendment of this kind when the Labour Government of those days proposed financial penalties, recoverable through the courts, allowing for the attachment of earnings and for smaller penalties which do not apply to the individual under this Measure. It is against this background that one can describe the speeches that have been made by hon. Gentlemen opposite today as extraordinary and exaggerated.

Mr. John Mendelson

The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson), who I am glad to see in his place, graces our debates when he can-that is, when the other activities in which he engages are concluded. Then he comes here, and today, being the only representative of the Liberal Party in attendance, we welcome him.

The other day his hon. Friend the Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) moved an Amendment which was designed to protect people who argued for those who are rather far removed from these shores and I supported him in this. He is not here today to try to support those who argue that his constituents and British working people generally should not have to go to prison by whatever process-I will come to the various processes — I will come to the various processes shortly —finally emerges from the Bill. This notable absence of Liberal hon. Members should not escape the notice of the Committee. We must, accordingly, take the remarks of the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery with a pinch of salt.

Mr. Hooson

I trust that the hon. Gentleman appreciates that there is present today a higher proportion of my party than of the Labour Party.

Mr. Mendelson

That is not novel. I have heard the hon. and learned Gentleman whisper it several times during these proceedings. He cannot deny, however, that if a party votes for a Bill, it has a duty to support the various arguments that are adduced in its favour.

The hypocrisy of Liberal hon. Members is that, because they thought they were in the midst of a favourable wind, they wanted to be seen to be sailing with the Tories in clobbering the trade unions. They are now running away from defending the penalties which the Tories are proposing to impose on working people. My hon. Friends and I shall remind the Committee and the country at every stage of the line that the Liberals took on this Measure. I have done that for today.

Leaving aside the crocodile tears that have been wept by some hon. Gentlemen opposite, like the hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower), who wish to be heard as friends of the trade union movement when the occasion arises and when it suits them, I come immediately to the charge that my hon. Friends never did anything about these issues when we felt that certain proposals of the Labour Government were not in the best interests of the trade union movement. We certainly did do something. and that is why, when our Bill came before the House in April, May and June of last year, minus any penal Clauses, it was a first-class Measure which contained provisions which were designed solely to strengthen the trade union movement and ensure industrial peace.

We are today discussing not merely the incidence of this legislation on our constituents but what is purported to be the purpose of the Government, which is to establish a simple and efficient way of working in British industry. The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), to whom we always listen with great respect and welcome to our debates, did not say anything about that because he claims to want to discuss these provisions against the background of real life.

We agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman in that these matters must be considered in real life terms. However, we cannot go with him when he says that this legislation will mean good law and that we should not be bothering ourselves with the consequences of what will be good law. Indeed, this point of it being good law is one of the main issues that we face and is a primary factor to these debates.

The Government are misleading the country by pretending that there will be better and more efficient industrial relations as a result of the Bill. This is the fraud that they are committing on public opinion, and if hon. Gentlemen opposite had been in the march with us over the weekend, instead of hiding their prejudices at home by the fireside, they would know precisely what my hon. Friends and I have in mind.

Had they been with us they would have known what the audience in Trafalgar Square were saying and they would not have made some of the ignorant remarks that we have heard from hon. Gentlemen opposite about that demonstration. For example, I do not agree with the suggestion that the average man will not understand what the lawyers were saying in this context. The workers understand only too well what this Bill is designed to do, and the Government should not kid themselves about that.

Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)

The hon. Gentleman says that people generally know what the Bill is about. He will be aware of the pamphlets and propaganda that have been issued on this subject. Would he say that the pamphlet issued by, for example, S.O.G.A.T. was an accurate representation of the Bill?

Mr. Mendelson

I was talking about the people who were surrounding me at the Trafalgar Square demonstration. They understand what the Bill is designed to do and the Government should not underestimate their understanding of it. Indeed, Peter Jenkins ended his article on Monday by warning the Government not to underestimate the sense of fair play which exists among the people. That is precisely the point I am making.

The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery is correct to say that even the passing of this Amendment would not remove the obnoxious and unfair industrial practices and consequences that would flow from these provisions. Nor does it matter whether the courts are applying these legal sanctions frequently or infrequently. We and the T.U.C. are asking that the ordinary activities of working people at their places of work should not be made subject to these provisions. We are not concerned with the number of cases that may or may not arise.

Indeed, I can imagine many employers who will never wish to implement whole parts of the Bill, who already regard it as an idiot's paradise and who have no sympathy for the speeches that we have heard from the Solicitor-General. We are here to make law and it is the duty of this Committee, which is supposed to be comprised of responsible people, to make good and fair law.

Neither we on this side nor the trade union movement recognise as unfair industrial practices the activities so described in the various provisions of the Bill, but, by those provisions, and under the guise of not invoking the criminal law, the Government are trying to slip in further provisions the consequence of which will be that, after actions for damages have been brought, there will in the end be a number of people sent to prison.

Does anyone think that good industrial relations can come out of that? We must give the most careful attention to the way in which we conduct our public business. Nothing could be better calculated to put this country into turmoil and growing industrial strife than for just one person, let alone a number, to be condemned and sent to prison as a result of his not fulfilling an order of the court because of something which he regards as the normal activity of a trade unionist.

Mr. Orme

Does my hon. Friend recall that in this country—we have had reference to the Betteshanger case—in Southern Ireland in 1967, and in Australia in 1968, the imprisonment of trade unionists led to virtual national stoppages? Would not the same thing happen again in this country?

Mr. Mendelson

I am obliged to my hon. Friend for his apposite intervention.

I turn to just one part of Clause 90, a Clause which the Committee was prevented from discussing but to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman rightly referred in passing during his speech. Subsection (3)(c) reads: an order directing the respondent to refrain from continuing to take that action, and to refrain from taking any other action of a like nature in relation to the complainant. This is an indication of the coercion to be exercised against, say, a group of men who have come out on strike in solidarity with one of their fellow workers who has been wrongly dismissed. What will the consequence be? Either there will be large-scale contempt for the law, or one will have to use legal sanctions against, say, 3,000 people, ordering them back to work when they do not want to be at work. This is in plain contradiction of Clause 114, which provides that no one should be forced to work where and when he does not want to work. It is utter nonsense.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman, with his experience of Government, is failing in his duty to the Committee, I submit, if he ignores all these realities of life and makes things easy for himself, as he did this afternoon—he does not usually do it—in giving us a short dissertation, as though we were a first-term audience at law school, on the distinction between the criminal and the civil law. The right hon. and learned Gentleman failed in his duty to the Committee because, while we are accustomed to confusion and bad law from the Treasury Bench, at least we look to him for a reasonable attempt to meet the requirements of the occasion. But that he has failed to do.

We on this side know full well that we cannot by an Amendment of this kind remove at one sweep the obnoxious legal implications of the Bill, but we do right to move the Amendment so as to highlight to our party, to the Conservative Party, to the trade union movement, to Parliament and to the country that we are not prepared to accept, under the guise of simple provisions, the destruction of established trade union rights. This is what the 100,000 demonstrated about on Sunday, and it is what we are protesting about now.

Mr. David Waddington (Nelson and Colne)

I associate myself with the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell). I, too, consider that we are entitled to ask whether the posture adopted by the Opposition Front Bench is genuine, and we are entitled to remind the country of the long history behind this Measure.

We look somewhat askance at the names appearing in support of the Amendment. I note with some amazement that the name of the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) heads the list, and the second name, along with the rest, is that of her lieutenant, the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker).

5.15 p.m.

This is an odd state of affairs. Whereas nowhere in the Bill can one find any provision which would allow the Industrial Court or the National Industrial Relations Court to fine strikers or union officials, not very long ago the right hon. Lady was proposing that strikers should be fined. My hon. Friend quoted one passage from "In Place of Strife", and I shall shortly quote another, but before coming to that I shall reply to the point made—

Mr. Heller


Mr. Waddington

I wish to reply to the totally false point made by the hon. Member for Walton (Mr. Heifer) a few minutes ago. He said that the White Paper—these were his words—did not contain a Bill. That is an extraordinary assertion. The White Paper contained the framework of a Bill.

Mr. Heffer


Mr. Waddington

The hon. Gentleman need not get so excited. I shall give way in a moment. The White Paper contained the framework of a Bill. At the beginning of paragraph 93, there appear these words: It is for this reason that the Government will seek to reinforce, through the Industrial Relations Bill, the machinery of consultation which already exists".

Mr. Heffer

It is important to put these things in perspective, and it is important that the country should know the truth, because hon. Members opposite are trying to create confusion. Certainly, there was the White Paper, "In Place of Strife", but there was no Bill based upon the White Paper. There were discussions, both on detail and on principle—discussions which the Government have refused to accept here—and on the basis of those discussions the Bill which did come before the House, although it related to a good deal in "In Place of Strife", did not contain many of the proposals in "In Place of Strife". Hon. Members opposite must know that. It is a sign of their bankruptcy of argument that, instead of defending their own Bill, on each occasion they bring in "In Place of Strife", having nothing to say for their own Bill because they cannot defend it.

Mr. David Mitchell

May I intervene? I wonder whether the hon. Member for Walton—

The Deputy Chairman

Order. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Waddington) gave way to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heifer). We cannot have an intervention upon an intervention.

Mr. Waddington

If my hon. Friend will allow me to proceed, I wish to take up the point made by the hon. Member for Walton, who, apparently, does not want to confuse the Committee by reference to the real facts. The whole course of this debate shows how hon. Members opposite, wittingly or unwittingly, are confusing the country. All this continual repetition about the Bill providing for the fining of strikers can only confuse the ordinary man in the street. No doubt, that is the reason why so many people paraded in London on Sunday.

It is pathetic that hon. Members opposite—

Mr. Harold Walker

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Waddington

No; I shall give way in a moment, but I wish to develop this part of my argument. It is pathetic for hon. Members opposite to say that there is no longer any relevance in the fact that the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn at one time wanted to fine strikers. We are talking about an Amendment which seeks to write into the Bill a provision which would prevent the fining of strikers. I cannot for the life of me see how it can be irrelevant to the debate to recall that two short years ago the right hon. Member for Blackburn and the hon. Member for Doncaster both wanted to fine strikers. I do not want to bore the Committee with too much chapter and verse, but it is relevant—

Mr. Harold Walker


Mr. Waddington

I wish the hon. Gentleman would restrain his impatience for a moment, because it is important to get on the record what the right hon. Lady was trying to do two years ago. What she is now trying to tell the country she so dislikes, by putting her name to the Amendment, is the very thing she wanted to see as a part of our law on industrial relations two short years ago. Paragraph 94 of "In Place of Strife" says: If, despite these steps and despite the setting up by the D.E.P. of an inquiry or other appropriate machinery, the strike went ahead. the Secretary of State would, after warning the two sides, be able to issue an Order requiring those involved to return to work and to desist from industrial action for a period of twenty-eight days, and at the same time requiring the employer to observe specified conditions or terms during the pause, the conditions normally being those that existed before the dispute. If either side failed to comply with this Order the Industrial Board at its discretion could impose financial penalties. It is odd that the right hon. Lady should now be putting her name to an Amendment which seeks to prevent happening under the Bill what we are not trying to do but what she was trying to do two years ago. It is not surprising that people are becoming very confused about the purpose of the Bill and what it contains.

Hon. Members opposite have quoted more than once this afternoon what happened on Sunday. I remind the Committee of certain advertisements—

Mr. Harold Walker

On a point of order, Miss Harvie Anderson. I thought that it was a long-established convention of the House that if an hon. Member attacked another hon. Member he subsequently gave way if the hon. Member thus attacked wanted to defend himself.

Mr. Waddington

I have every intention of giving way, but if I sat down every time I heard a baaing or bleating noise from the other side I should never be able to complete a sentence. I hope that the Committee will wish me to proceed for a little while and then give way at an appropriate moment.

Mr. William Hamling (Woolwich, West)

On a point of order, Miss Harvie Anderson. The hon. Gentleman has attacked a member of the Opposition Front Bench specifically and by name, and now refuses to give way.

The Deputy Chairman

Order. That is not a matter for the Chair.

Mr. Waddington

I made it clear that I intended to give way in a moment, but I should like to finish the passage with which I am dealing.

We have continually been told this afternoon about the glorious march in London on Sunday. We have been told time and again by Labour hon. Members, what is not correct, that there is power in the Bill to fine strikers. It is open to us to say that one of the reasons why many people turned up on Sunday was that they were told for weeks and weeks by Labour hon. Members that there was power in the Bill to fine strikers, when we know that there is no such power. Chapter and verse for that is to be found in some of the advertisements sponsored recently by the T.U.C. Only the other day there appeared in the Daily Mirror an advertisement which it may startle some trade unionists to know must have cost the T.U.C. between £2,000 and £3,000. In the middle of that advertisement we find a statement that there is power in the Bill to fine strikers. In fact, there is not.

Mr. Harold Walker

The hon. Gentleman accuses the Labour Party of spreading confusion. Is not he guilty of the same offence when he goes up and down the country doing what he did in my constituency of Doncaster only a week or so ago, when he had an audience of 20? He tells audiences and the Press that there is no provision whatsoever in the Bill that could lead to imprisonment, while his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) this afternoon has exposed that as a falsehood by explaining how it can happen.

Mr. Waddington

I was most grateful for the courtesy of those who did turn up and listen to me in Doncaster. Of the 20 who turned up about 10 were trade unionists, who gave me a most courteous hearing and then exposed me to a rigorous cross-examination, and I am glad to say at the end gave me quite a nice ovation. I did not say at any time during that speech that in no circumstances could a man find himself in prison as a result of the provisions of the Bill. If anyone got that impression, I am sorry, but I certainly did not say so and I did not mean to convey that impression.

Mr. Harold Walker

Then will the hon. Gentleman ask the Doncaster Evening Post to print a correction of its report of his speech, which said that he did say that? May I add that every single one of the trade unionists present at his meeting marched with the demonstration on Sunday.

Mr. Waddington

I am amazed by that intervention, because no representative of the Doncaster paper was present. We were rather disappointed that no one from the Press was there to report what I said, so I do not know where the information came from which led to that report.

We all know that under the law of the land in certain cases a court can call upon a person to desist from a course of conduct, and that in the last resort if he does not desist he can land up in prison. I am involved in a constituency case concerning a woman who is complaining bitterly that her next-door neighbour has erected a large shed in his back yard, as a result of which she says that some of the light is being cut out of her back room. She is to take that other person to court. If that court finds that her grievance is genuine and that her right to light has been taken away by her neighbour, it can order him to remove the shed. If he does not, he could find himself in prison for refusing to obey an order of the court.

I mention that only because the hon. Member for Burnley (Mr. Dan Jones) said that the ordinary man in the street could not understand the distinction between the civil courts and the criminal courts. I have a great respect for the intelligence of the ordinary individual. I am sure that if the hon. Gentleman, whose opinions in this matter I greatly respect, thinks about the case I have mentioned he will agree that any citizen reading about it in the newspapers will not say to himself that the man who has refused to remove the shed is a criminal; nobody would say that that man was liable to criminal penalties as a result of refusing to obey a court order.

Mr. Dan Jones

Surely the hon. Gentleman has enough practical knowledge to realise that once we begin to introduce the law into industrial relations we compound the difficulties?

Mr. Waddington

There the hon. Gentleman and I may never agree. In fairness, he will concede that at one time he supported his right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn when she was Secretary of State. I think that I am right in saying that he did then think that there was room for a legal framework of industrial relations.

Mr. Dan Jones

That statement has been trotted out repeatedly, and I have said in this Chamber time and time again that at the point when we were informed that our Measure implied legal sanctions I was one of the first to say, "For heavens sake, drop it." I hope that that point is clearly understood. I am as much for industrial peace as any hon. Member opposite—indeed more.

Mr. Waddington

Perhaps I was being led astray. I was merely disagreeing with the hon. Gentleman when he said that there was no room for the law in industrial relations. We must remember that the law has always played a part in industrial relations. In so far as the Bill extends the scope of the law into industrial relations, it does not create a new type of law, because the law has always played its part.

If we accept that there should be power in the hands of the courts in certain cases to restrain certain types of conduct in industry then we must, as my right hon. and learned Friend said, provide them with the same power which they have to enforce their orders in other fields of the law. If we were to make an exception in this case, we should be making the Bill unenforceable, but we are now past those parts of the Bill which establish the legal framework and are dealing with those parts which provide for enforcement of that framework. I cannot see how one could have a legal framework for the enforcement of the provisions of the Bill different from that which exists throughout the rest of the law for the enforcement of legal obligations.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)

I shall not detain the Committee for long. The hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Waddington) made a typically arrogant speech. It is not the first time he has treated the Committee in that way. In view of his attitude, it is surprising that he should be in a Committee dealing with industrial relations, since the Bill introduces new legal procedures. Indeed, the Secretary of State and the Solicitor-General have been boasting about their proposals and how they introduce new legal or criminal procedures.

Mr. Waddington

If the hon. Gentleman is now leaving me, perhaps I can intervene.

Mr. Loughlin

I had not even agreed that I would allow the hon. Gentleman to intervene. I will sit down if and when I decide to let him intervene. So many hon. Members have been allowed to intervene that we have had speeches lasting 20 minutes which could well have been got through in about five minutes.It is not right that there should be so many interventions during the Committee stage.

Mr. Waddington

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. I would like him to tell the Committee in what way I was arrogant. I did not intend to be arrogant.

Mr. Loughlin

I cannot tell the hon. Gentleman. All I can suggest to him is that he thinks about Robbie Burns: O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us! What we are dealing with is industrial relations. What the Committee should be concerned with is the nature of these regulations in relation to industry. In Part IV of the Bill two fines are specifically referred to. Trade union officials and others can be fined under the Bill.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis (Rutland and Stamford)

They are not fines.

Mr. Loughlin

I cannot quite appreciate myself what the difference is between a fine and compensation in this sense. Whether it is termed compensation or anything else, it is a sanction. if I cannot quite see the difference, I am sure that, out of the 9½ million trade unionists, there must be at least 500,000 who will not be able to see the difference either. Once a person is put in gaol, as in the case of the Betteshanger strike—

Mr. Rose

Throughout the debate it has been said that there is no provision in the Bill with regard to fines. My hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) is absolutely right in saying that, however one terms compensation, in many cases it is a fine. I ask the Committee to look at Clause 55, under which a person guilty of an offence is liable to a fine on summary conviction. It is wrong for hon. Members opposite to say that there is no question of a fine. But even accepting that a fine is not specifically laid down, my hon. Friend is right in saying that "compensation" is a euphemism for a fine.

Mr. Loughlin

I will go further. I draw the Committee's attention to Clause 84, which refers to a fine of £100 in one case and a fine of £400 in another. This is what I was referring to. I refer hon. Members to Part IV to correct their erroneous impression about fines.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis


Mr. Loughlin

No, please.

Mr. Lewis

They are not new fines. They exist now. They are not new fines.

Mr. Loughlin

I do not know whether I am in "Alice in Wonderland". All I am saying is that the Bill contains provisions for fines to be incurred.

Mr. Lewis


Mr. Loughlin

No. I am not giving way. I have given way on two or three occasions. I want to come back to the Betteshanger case. We can have all our wranglings in this Committee but in the end we have to ask ourselves what effect the Bill will have on industrial relations. If it will not have any effect, it will not have been worth while and there was no purpose in introducing it. If it will have an injurious effect, we should resist it—and by "we" I mean honourable Members on both sides of the Committee. I am seeking to show how, if the Amendment is not accepted, there is the possibility of substantial and harmful effects on industrial relations. That is the issue. I have been too long in industry not to want to see harmonious relations.

Hon. Members may call these fines "compensation" or anything else they like, but on the first occasion that a man goes to gaol for being in breach of these regulations, there will be a worsening of industrial relations not only in the unit in which he was employed but throughout the rest of industry.

It is claimed that the Bill is necessary because we lose too many days in industry through strikes. We must be very careful about including provisions which will increase the number of days lost. [Laughter.] I do not know whether the hon. Member for Paddington, South (Mr. Scott) was listening, but he is giggling. If he wants to make a comment I will give way to him. For all the hilarity, we have to be conversant with what will be the effect of the Bill.

I do not want someone to go to prison for contempt of court, or in consequence of not being able to pay compensation, and it is therefore doubly important to me that he should not go to prison if the result is that many people come out on strike. This is the nub of the issue, as was clearly stated by the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith). We believe that it is not only wrong that men should be exposed to the possibility of prison sentences, but that it does no good to industrial relations.

By resisting the Amendment the Government are clearly telling the country that they are prepared to gaol men because they are in breach of the Bill. We say that that is wrong, whatever may have been said in "In Place of Strife" or anywhere else. This is the difference between us—the Tories want to put people in prison; we do not.

The Solicitor-General

I want later to devote some time to destroying the grotesquely misleading over-simplification best contained in the last sentence of the speech of the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin).

One is here dealing with matters of importance which need to be expounded with some care. I feel that the Commit- tee will support me when I say that it is not appropriate for the Bill or those of us who speak in support of it to be denounced for fraud and things of that kind when we hear the quality, and I choose my words carefully, of the intervention of the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) in support of the point being made by his hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West.

There are certain legitimate things for us to argue about, legitimate things about the scale and so on of the sanctions and remedies which we are proposing. But the hon. Member for Blackley did not help the Committee or anybody else when he intervened in support of his hon. Friend to suggest that Clause 55 contained a reference to the wicked—

Mr. Rose

No, I did not.

The Solicitor-General

I leave out the emotional adjective. He referred to the fact that the Bill was proposing fines and said that it would advance the attack on the Bill by the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West that the Clause contained provision for fines. What for? They are fines upon employers for refusing to disclose procedure agreements to the third parties, fines upon employers for including false information in the procedure agreements when they disclose them and lodge them with the Secretary of State. What is more, that provision advanced by the hon. Member for Blackley in support of the general denunciation of the Bill is taken directly from Clause 28 of the Bill introduced by the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) and described by the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson), or perhaps it was the hon. Member for Salford, West (Mr. Orme), as admirable and superb.

I do not want to make too much of the debating point, but for heaven's sake let us stick to understandable arguments related to the merits of the case. It is simply misleading the Committtee and the country to suggest that the Bill is criminal because it has criminal penalties in Clause 55, when they are a mirror image of the penalties of that Clause 28. There are genuine matters about which we can argue, but if that is the quality of the arguments being advanced in support of the Opposition's case, no wonder the case is being misunderstood.

Mr. Rose

Is the Solicitor-General aware that I made two points? One was in answer to one of his hon. Friends who said that the word "fine" did not occur in the Bill. I pointed out that it did. The second and more important point was that for employees instead of the word "fine", the word "compensation" was used, which in this context is a euphemism for "fine". The Solicitor-General has introduced into English law what is an entirely new and alien concept, the concept of unfair industrial practice. Use the word "compensation" as he may, it is still a euphemism for "fine".

I should like him to tell me anywhere in the English civil law where there is a limit to compensation in the way that he is introducing a limit for the fining of trade unions up to £100,000 in every case when they may be in breach of one of these alien, unfair industrial practices.

5.45 p.m.

The Solicitor-General

There is no misleading presentation. From beginning to end of the Bill, there is an assessment of awards in favour of anyone who claims to have been affected by an unfair industrial practice, be it worker unfairly dismissed by his employer, be it worker denied by his employer the right to join a trade union, be it any person in any of the situations who makes a claim founded upon compensation for a loss which he can prove. That is the foundation underlying the word "compensation". It is wholly wrong and misleading to suggest that by sleight of hand this is some kind of fine. The Committee and the country must understand precisely what we are talking about.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Heston and Isleworth (Mr. Hayhoe) and the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) that as a matter of principle the Amendment is unnecessary, because there is nothing in the Bill which proposes any new remedies against individuals in respect of the failure to work. There is, therefore, no case for introducing any of the exceptions contained in the Amendment.

If the Amendment were accepted as it stands, the Bill would be moving into different fields, as the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery will appreciate. The words nor shall an employee be fined, have his earnings attached… for failure to do any work… would be invading the existing law whereby a person, who in breach of contract does not perform his work, may do something quite wrong and be liable for damages for breach of contract in the ordinary way. That is a branch of the existing law which is seldom used except in cases where clear damage is legitimately recoverable in the ordinary sense, but which neither the Donovan Report nor the last Government sought to disturb.

The Amendment is tilting at windmills which are not set up by the Bill. The important point about the Clause has been made by several hon. Members, particularly my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell) and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith)—that it states beyond doubt so that it can never be challenged, that no court in the country shall have the right to make an order of any kind to compel a person to go to work, to stay at work, to return to work.

This is relevant when Opposition Members begin talking about the Betteshanger case. The whole foundation of the Betteshanger case was the wartime disputes Order which could require people to be sent back to work under the threat of penal sanctions. It is in order to underline the contrast between the ineptitude of that approach and what we are proposing that the Clause is so important. What the Bill makes plain beyond doubt is that there is no provision against anybody for going on strike. No sanction is proposed against anybody for declining to work and this is a sharp distinction from provisions shown not to have worked. It is in sharp distinction with the penalties imposed on people failing to comply with the conciliation pause order in "In Place of Strife".

Mr. Dan Jones

That is dead. This Bill is alive, there is the difference.

The Solicitor-General

What I am trying to show, and what is relevant, is that hon. Members opposite became so concerned with tilting at that which they succeeded in killing in the right hon. Lady's Bill that they believe it is still necessary to go on tilting at such things now even though they find no place in the Bill. We are not proposing any remedy in respect of individual work-people refraining from work or going on strike. There is nothing there and that is why it is in sharp contrast to Betteshanger and to the proposals in "In Place of Strife".

Clause 114 is there to make that clear. This goes back to the misapprehensions underlying this and it is important that they should be understood. The hon. Member for Salford, West suggested that the Bill was equating trade unionists with criminals. This is not so. The fact that the civil law is being varied so as to apply in different ways to different people does not equate them with criminals.

The point has been made by several of my hon. Friends that in a thousand different ways we all have to conform to the obligations of civil law. Any one of us in the last resort, if we persist either in infringing the civil rights of our fellow citizens or persist in inciting others to infringe those rights, can be exposed to civil remedies. This is proposing the application of the same kind of civil remedies. The only astonishing thing is the novelty with which it strikes some hon. Members opposite.

Mr. Dan Jones

Of course we all agree that all citizens must be amenable to law but why force this into industrial relations when what we are seeking to do is to make such industrial relations more stable?

The Solicitor-General

Because the law is already present in industrial relations. It is the very shape and fabric of our law that has shaped the pattern of our industrial relations, even in terms of the law asserting and enforcing damages in industrial relations now. This question is of central importance to the debate.

In a series of cases in recent years the courts have ordered trade union leaders in person to refrain from taking certain action. The chronicle is familiar to the Committee—Stratford and Lindley, the Torquay Hotel case. In such cases orders have been made upholding civil rights and saying that any further attempts by those trade union leaders to challenge and incite people to challenge and infringe civil rights will be contrary to the law. This is the strength of the point made by the opposite side of the Committee—we are a law-abiding country. When a court makes a declaration or determination of rights experience has shown, even in the industrial area, that that determination is respected. It is quite unrealistic to suggest that there is something wholly revolutionary in introducing a new concept here.

Mr. Orme

Would not the Solicitor-General admit that what he is setting up is not common civil law but a special law which will be applicable only to trade unionists? Would he not agree that a shop steward who takes part in an official action and is instructed to use his best endeavours, refuses to do so, is fined and refuses to pay can be cast into prison? Does he not think that this will be interpreted by trade unionists as an application of the criminal law?

The Solicitor-General

The hon. Member makes two points and I will answer the first one first. Of course these institutions are special institutions to handle special problems in industrial relations. This is a central and important part of the case. It is for that reason that the Industrial Relations Court and the Commission and the industrial tribunals are composed in the way we suggest. It is because, if we go back to Donovan and "In Place of Strife" it will be seen that proposals were made there for the establishment of special, tailor-made bodies.

We believe, and this has been the heart of our case since we started, that if we are to have tribunals and courts determining rights in industrial relations, they must be specially designed to meet the purposes of industrial sophistication and should be manned and established with that end in view. The speciality of the law that we are proposing for industrial relations is a recognition of the case for it and the exclusion of industrial relations problems from the ordinary courts. It is because we do not regard the ordinary courts as the best place for achieving a solution that we have set up this special code of law. It is certainly not designed to make the world more difficult for those concerned with industrial relations. It is designed to give them informal situations, informal courts that can understand their problems with greater sensitivity than the ordinary courts. I will return to the second point made by the hon. Member in a moment.

If we look at the framework for the future of civil law and its penalties it will be seen that we are seeking to restrict the scope of the criminal law. That is why we propose the repeal of one part of the 1875 Act. We are seeking to ensure, as this Clause does, that individuals cannot be coerced by court orders requiring them to go to work. We are seeking to make it plain that whereas at present injunctions must be sought against trade union officials, in future the remedies will be sought against the organisation not against the individual acting on behalf of it.

We are not whittling away this principle even when it comes to the national emergency provisions in Clause 125, because there again we make it plain that a national emergency order cannot be made against someone doing no more than taking part in a strike.

Mr. Heffer

Is that not precisely the point? The hon. and learned Gentleman constantly says that under Clause 114 there will be no orders which will force individuals back, but under the special emergency procedures, particularly in Clause 124(3) it says that an application will be made: where it relates to a strike … and the persons so specified shall, together with the Secretary of State, be the parties to any proceedings on that application. The hon. and learned Gentleman is trying to mislead the Committee and the country by putting a gloss on this situation and leading them to think that there will be no orders. Yet we find that there will be orders. It is not good enough for him to say this.

The Solicitor-General

I am glad that the hon. Member has raised that point and I will be dealing with it more fully. If he looks carefully at Clause 124(3) he will see it says: the persons … workers, officials of such organisations or other persons) appearing to the Secretary of State to be responsible for calling, organising, procuring or financing the strike. If we go on to look at Clause 125(3) it will be seen that that makes it plain that the person specified in an order relating to a strike: … shall not include any person who in the opinion of the Industrial Court … would have, no responsibility for the strike … in question beyond that of being included among the persons taking part in it. That is precisely the point. The order may not include anyone who has only taken part in the strike. This is the clear purpose of the legislation. It is the organisation, calling or procuring of the strike that matters. The Betteshanger provision involves trying to proceed against individuals taking part in the strike. The conciliation pause provisions in "In Place of Strife" involved trying to proceed against individuals who were taking part in the strike. We have confined ourselves to remedies against organisations or individuals calling, procuring or organising.

[Mr. J. C. JENNINGS in the Chair]

6.0 p.m.

I come back to the point made by hon. Members opposite—[Interruption.] Hon. Members opposite keep on saying "shop stewards", as though this is the answer. We have established that strikers or workers taking part in a strike are outside the remedies proposed in the Bill. Shop stewards are outside the remedies proposed in the Bill as long as they are acting as trade union officials within the scope of their authority. Under existing legislation the only way in which one can get a remedy in respect of the inducing of an unfair strike is by seeking an injunction against trade union officials. They too are outside the scope of the Bill as long as they are acting within the scope of their authority.

Mr. McNamara

The Solicitor-General has admitted that if the unofficial shop stewards committee in Hull docks organises or procures a strike in breach of this section or perhaps some other section of the Bill they are severally and individually liable and, as a consequence of the procedures outlined by the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), they could be gaoled.

The Solicitor-General

In the very narrow category which I have identified—namely, someone who is not merely participating in a strike but is organising or procuring a strike outside the scope of any authority from any registered union —remedies can be sought against such a person or organisation or group of people if the strike is unfair. Even those people are outside the scope of any remedies proposed in the Bill for an unofficial strike if they take care to give notice within the terms of the ordinary contract. It is astonishing to denounce such a proposition as tyrannous when that is the limit of the remedy proposed.

Mrs. Barbara Castle (Blackburn)

The Solicitor-General says that certain people will not be caught by the Bill if they give notice. Is he referring to Clause 133? That is a vital Clause, but, unfortunately, as a result of the guillotine, we shall not have a chance to probe it. There are many people of legal standing who believe that Clause 133 does not mean what the Solicitor-General says it means.

The Solicitor-General

Clause 85, which is the only new remedy in respect of calling strikes without notice, does not create a wrong or a remedy if due notice is given. Clause 133 is designed entirely as a benevolent provision to set beyond doubt the majority judgment of the Court of Appeal in Morgan v. Fry. Clause 133 makes no difference to the legality of the unofficial unregistered organisation or leader calling a strike as long as it or he gives due notice. Clause 133 is intended merely to make plain that the decision in Morgan v. Fry stands.

The unofficial unregistered organisation is in difficulty only in the circumstances which I have described. It can have made against it, like anybody else in any comparable situation, an order determining the rights of the parties. If it has wrongly called and organised an unfair strike, it can have an order for compensation made against it. If it has wrongly procured or induced an unfair strike, it can have an order to restrain it from continuing to do so made against it.

In those situations, one can ask how the order for compensation can be enforced and how the order to refrain from unfair action can be enforced. An order for compensation against anyone, be it an employer, an organisation or an individual, can be enforced in the same way as any other civil debt can be enforced. As the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn pointed out in the context of her proposals, once the provisions of the Administration of Justice Act come into force, as they do in a very few months, the ordinary remedy against the individual for compensation he is liable to pay will be by way of application to the county court. To quote the right hon. Lady, he will then, when faced with the same question—

Mrs. Castle

Does not the hon. and learned Gentleman think it his duty to explain his Bill in his own terms and not in somebody else's? This is getting grotesque.

The Solicitor-General

It is grotesque, but the right hon. Lady should not be unduly embarrassed if I choose to explain the point about the way in which compensation can be recovered from individuals in the language, so telling in its lucidity, which the right hon. Lady addressed to her hon. Friends in two debates last year. There is no escaping from the dilemma about this, but the principles of the recovery of compensation as set out in the Bill were supported by 224 right hon. and hon. Members opposite and rejected by 62 of them. The 62 Members opposite are entitled to claim their purity, but the right hon. Lady and the hon. Member—

Mr. McNamara

Why did not the hon. and learned Gentleman vote with us?

The Solicitor-General

I was not a Member at the time. My right hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham (Mr. R. Carr), in response to the right hon. Lady's speech in support of "In Place of Strife" as a basis for legislation, said that it was all right so far as it went. It is in that context that I quote what the right hon. Lady said. She pointed out that if an order for compensation was made against anyone under her Bill—not, be it noted, an order for a penalty— The choice will, therefore, be with the worker. There are genuine options open to him. He can enter into voluntary arrangements to pay what is due over an appropriate period. He can stipulate that, if he is in default, he would prefer to be subject to the normal process of collection for civil debts, other than attachment".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th April, 1969; Vol. 781, c. 1186.] The right hon. Lady said "other than attachment" because attachment did not then exist in that form. If he refused to pay an order for compensation. the Administration of Justice Act, 1970, foreshadowed by the right hon. Lady and introduced last year, abolishes committal to prison as a remedy for failure to meet the terms of an order for compensation. There is therefore no possibility of imprisonment in respect of an award of compensation—

Mr. John Mendelson

The hon. and learned Gentleman knows very well that I was referring to the Bill which was presented after the normal process of democratic discussion in what was then—[Interruption.] I wish that some hon. Members opposite would allow the same democratic discussion on the question of arms for South Africa.

The Temporary Chairman

Order. The reference to arms for South Africa is completely out of order in this context.

Mr. Mendelson

I agree, Mr. Jennings. It would be as well if there were the same free discussion among the ranks of right hon. and hon. Members opposite on the supply of arms to South Africa as there was on our Bill. What is not under discussion now are definitions which were never part of the Bill presented to Parliament by the Labour Government. I refer to the provision to which the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) referred, namely, Clause 90(3)(c) on page 64 of the Bill which provides for an order directing the respondent to refrain from continuing to take that action, and to refrain from taking any other action of a like nature in relation to the complainant". The heart of the matter is that it does not matter much how at the end the process is enforced—

The Temporary Chairman

Order. I wish that hon. Members would make brief interventions and not speeches.

Mr. Mendelson

The Government are trying to remove the established rights of working people and to enforce that removal. That is the argument.

The Solicitor-General

The argument is being reduced as we go along. I have explained to the Committee that an order for compensation or damages, since the passing of the Administration of Justice Act, cannot be enforced by imprisonment and can be enforced by the ordinary remedies of a civil creditor for civil debt. An award for compensation is what I am talking about now, and one comes back to the attachment of earnings order.

I take the point made by the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson). It is the only remaining point, namely, the extent of the remedy which ought to exist for contempt of court when somebody has failed to comply with an order made by the Industrial Court. That is the narrow area with which we are concerned.

Let this be plain. Such an order can be made only by the Industrial Court itself. It will be an alternative to an order for the determination of rights, which will often be regarded as sufficient, and respected. It cannot be made by any court within this field but that court, and it will be of the same quality as orders that have been and are still being made even in the sensitive area of industrial relations. It will be an order telling someone not to interfere with the rights defined by Parliament of other citizens. That kind of order being made now in industrial disputes, where a plaintiff is able to steer himself through the maze, is supportable on exactly the same sanctions and is complied with and obeyed. In this country courts of the standing of the Industrial Court deal with this kind of matter expertly and would normally experience little or no difficulty in securing compliance with their orders and decisions. This is what has happened so far.

Mr. Dan Jones

Will the Solicitor-General help the Committee by telling us precisely when this last happened and under what precise circumstances, and how frequently this has happened?

The Solicitor-General

There were several cases last year—

Mr. Jones

That is too vague. Let us have precise details.

The Solicitor-General

There was at least one case last year where a series of would-be recognition strikes was being called in the road haulage industry and the employer or employers affected by these recognition strikes, threatening shutdown, commenced proceedings which would in the end have led to an injunction in the ordinary court. The trade union leaders gave undertakings to comply with the order that had been granted. In the Johnson Matthey case last year, in a comparable situation, an order was made and complied with last year.

Mr. Jones

Is this in the ordinary run of industrial procedure?

The Solicitor-General

Certainly these are happening all the time, particularly and principally in the present state of the law on recognition issues. The point is that the orders are being observed and complied with. There is almost no prospect of such orders being defied When they are defied, no court will move lightly to the possibility of imprisonment for continued and wilful defiance of an order made in this kind of situation.

Again, as in other situations, an undertaking can be sought. The person against whom the order has been made can be required to justify why he has not complied with the order. He will be given a further opportunity of doing so but if, in the last resort—and this point has been made time without number—someone is determined to continue defying an order made in the situations defined in the Bill, he cannot be kept out of prison. But that is an exceptional "end of the road" situation. There has been no concealment of this. It has been said clearly and openly from the outset.

I am concerned that the Committee should understand the narrow and unexceptional nature of these proposals. They are an extension over a small and clearly defined field of industrial relations of remedies ordinarily available in every other situation in the country. That is the scale of the matter. What we resent and seek to challenge is the extent to which this defined proposal is being represented, and misrepresented, as a proposal to fine and imprison strikers in the mass or in the round. It is a total misrepresentation.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Rose

One advantage of having a three-line whip for the debate is that we have the presence—and it is always a pleasure to have him—of the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, South-East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) who appears to be the shadow Solicitor-General on the back benches of the Conservative Party—

Sir D. Walker-Smith

In the short space of 30 seconds the hon. Member for Manchester, Blackley (Mr. Rose) has made three factual errors. I am not the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, South-East. My constituency is Hertfordshire, East. Hertfordshire, South-West is a different constituency. I am not the shadow Solicitor-General on the back bench or any other bench. We have not got a three-line whip on this Clause. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving us a foretaste so quickly in his speech of the standard of accuracy of its contents.

Mr. Rose

The right hon. and learned Gentleman has entirely underlined the point—

Sir D. Walker-Smith


Mr. Rose

It is always a pleasure to have the right hon. and learned Gentleman with us because of his legalistic way of taking up points of that nature, which makes me regard him as the shadow Solicitor-General on the back benches. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to something which I intended to refer to later in the debate—the position of John Hampden and his refusal to pay a forced loan. It was not a fine or compensation but, although the terms may vary, the facts and the principle remain the same. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, whether or not he is the shadow Solicitor-General, will remember what was said about John Hampden. He will remember these immortal words: Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast The little tyrant of his fields withstood". The "little tyrant of his fields" this time comes from Bexley. Whether it be ship money, compensation or a fine, many people will follow the honourable tradition of refusing to pay if they feel that the law is unjust and bears unjustly on one section of the community. John Hampden went on to be a Member of Parliament and was ultimately killed in the Civil War. I hope that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are not intentionally trying to stir up a civil war in industry, because this is what we are witnessing.

The Bill is already having an interesting effect. The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East complained about my accuracy, but he told us last week that there was no feeling about the Bill. Then the hon. Member for Yarmouth (Mr. Fell) told us about the paltry demonstration in his constituency, as did the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. Waddington). Yet there was the largest demonstration in the history of this country on a political issue on this Bill, and that is only the beginning—and it was a very peaceful demonstration at that.

The people of this country are law-abiding. It does not lie in the mouth of the Solicitor-General to say that the remarks of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller) were grotesquely misleading and that he was oversimplifying the situation. All the way through the Bill it is the Solicitor-General who has been grotesquely misleading and over-simplifying. It is the same sort of distorted logic as we get from the Prime Minister, who tells us that we would do better to spend our time debating the Bill than by walking through the Lobbies, quite forgetting that he himself imposed the guillotine on the Bill. It is the same sort of logic as that used by the Minister of State in an article not very long ago when dealing with the extent to which this legislation will affect industrial behaviour. He thought that trade unionists in the country at large accept the provisions as being fair and reasonable. It is because we do not accept these provisions as fair and reasonable that 140,000 people demonstrated on Sunday—which is only the beginning—and this is why these provisions will not work in practice.

The Solicitor-General has drafted a Clause to provide an alibi. He says that no one will be compelled to do any work or to attend any place for the purpose of doing any work; but he does not say what will happen if they do not. What will happen under Clauses 85 to 87? Clause 87(1)(b) says that it shall be an unfair industrial practice for any person to interfere with the performance by another person of a contract … to which, that other person is a party". The Solicitor-General will see that Clause 87 applies to any person who takes action in contemplation or furtherance of an industrial dispute". That will apply to individuals although there may not be imprisonment en masse. There is an intention to pick off those who are speaking to their fellow trade unionists, whether they be trade union officials or commentators from outside. Those people will be subject to remedies which, whether they are termed civil or criminal, are ultimately criminal.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman who talks so much about accuracy was not accurate when he said that there was no world of quasi-criminal law. Perhaps he should read the Modern Law Review, 1962, Vol. 25, page 181 and look at the quotation about the oft-expressed view that contempt proceedings are quasi-criminal or even that all con-tempts of court are criminal in nature". Therefore, the right hon. and learned Gentleman's accuracy is a little in doubt there. Perhaps he will also look at the decision of Lord Denning, to which I referred earlier, that where a man is sent to prison for contempt of court it must be satisfactorily proved. Lord Denning was saying that contempt of court is an offence of a criminal nature. I do not want to weary the Committee with two pages in a similar vein, but there is adequate authority for saying that this is a quasi-criminal or criminal concept.

A trade unionist or shop steward or, indeed, one of my hon. Friends who contributes to a strike in terms of finance under Clause 86 will find himself behind bars, and it will not matter whether he is there for criminal or for civil reasons. We all know that today a third of offenders in prison are there for civil debt. This is one of the problems we face. Under Clause 6 if one strikes to avoid the provisions of Clause 5(1)(b) and thereby breaches a fair industrial practice, one does not need to force people to go back to work in so many words by a provision in the Bill. It is enough to fine them for not going to work. This point needs to be underlined.

If they refuse to obey a procedure agreement made against their will under Clause 39(2)(b), if they have been deemed to have broken an agreement under Clauses 32 to 34, in every one of those cases there will be some kind of coercion. There is no need for a provision to say that they must go back to work rather than strike. They are fined, and, although the Government may use the word "compensation" as much as they like, it is still a fine for being in breach of any one of these things in regard to something that they did not even agree to do.

The fallacy of the provision is that hon. Members opposite know that they may be able to get Jack Jones or Alf Allen or Tom Jackson to the trough of the Industrial Relations Bill, but they cannot be made to drink its waters. They know that when it comes to it there will be many more village Hampdens. They know that one cannot enforce the machinery of industrial relations through fines, compensation or imprisonment, nor can one force a trade union to police the set-up under Clause 34(2).

For example, a trade union official will be expected to go into work to show that he is doing everything reasonably practicable to get others back to work. That is the logic of the provision, and we have had one example of it. Hon. Members opposite know that they cannot do this. They cannot force people to go back to their place of work. But this is enshrined in the Bill as a monument of virtue, when at the same time they are providing numerous examples of this alien concept of unfair industrial practices and are to fine people who fail to abide by the code. They then come back and say that those people are not being forced to go to work. They are not. They are just being fined or punished for not going to work because they are in breach of one of these Clauses. This is why we have put down this Amendment.

Let us hear no more of this nonsense about "In Place Of Strife", about which we heard a great deal from the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne. There was one difference between "In Place Of Strife" and the Consultative Document put forward by the Government. My right hon. Friend consulted on "In Place Of Strife", but on the so-called Consultative Document not only did no consultation take place but within a week the Bill was published. That is the difference. Therefore, let us compare like with like. Let us compare the Bill that was produced by my right hon. Friend with this Bill. Let us not look at a Consultative Document produced by the Government, on which no consultation has taken place.

The Solicitor-General

Would the hon. Gentleman not acknowledge that the vigour with which the proposals contained in "In Place of Strife" were first put forward, the urgency with which they were first urged on the country and as they finally emerged 18 months later when a Bill first saw the light of day should not be represented as a process of consultation so much as a capitulation, and that this led to the result at the last General Election, which is why we are here now?

Mr. Rose

The Solicitor-General does not understand that when we on this side of the Committee pursue something, we pursue it with vigour and we argue and debate the matter. If only the Prime Minister would have the same degree of consultation with some of his hon. Friends and would consult the trade union movement about the Bill, we might get something in place of strife instead of the prescription for industrial civil war set out in the Bill. This is why the Bill is a nonsense. We all know of Betteshanger and the Irish case, where the employer had to go to the gaol to pay the fines of his employees, and even provide taxis to take them back. One does not want strikers imprisoned and paying compensation. We want strikers working. That is the fallacy that the hon. and learned Gentleman will not understand. We shall not get them working if we provoke them into actions in the way that this Bill does.

I ask the Solicitor-General to look at the Payne Report on the Enforcement of Judgment Debts (Cmnd. 3909), which showed that 34 per cent. of civil debtors were maintenance defaulters. If people are willing to default over maintenance, clearly a lot of us will be willing on a matter of principle to default and refuse to pay fines imposed for practices which hitherto have been regarded as fair in industry.

We see that the ultimate enforcement must be of a criminal nature through contempt; it must be through the attachment of earnings or distraint upon people's property. What good for industrial relations does the hon. and learned Gentleman think it will do if under Clause 86, bailiffs can take away the property of strikers who happen to be striking in sympathy with other strikers? The Solicitor-General has told us that it will be an unfair industrial practice under Clause 85 if an unofficial strike is called even though it is legitimised subsequently by the leadership of the trade union concerned. The people involved in and who induce that strike will find themselves at the wrong end of the law, even though it is a perfectly legitimate strike subsequently endorsed by the union leadership.

The position is, "You pays your fine and you takes your choice. You can either go to gaol and be a Hampden, or you cannot". I believe that trade unionists will not stand for it. They are very stubborn people. The people of this country have always been stubborn when they have seen their fundamental rights being undermined. That is what the Solicitor-General is doing here. I believe that they will refuse to pay fines that they regard as unjust. I should certainly do the same if I came under the inducement provisions which are put into so many parts of the Bill. These are the kinds of provision which one expects to find in a totalitarian country. We do not expect them to be introduced wthin the framework of industrial relations here.

The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East, with his great accuracy, underlined a point which was made by other hon. Members, that if we

Division No. 185.] AYES [6.33 p.m.
Abse, Leo Cronin, John Galpern, Sir Myer
Albu, Austen Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Garrett, W. E.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.) Gilbert, Dr. John
Allen, Scholefield Darling, Rt. Hn. George Ginsburg, David
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Davidson, Arthur Golding, John
Armstrong, Ernest Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Gourlay, Harry
Ashley, Jack Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Grant, George (Morpeth)
Ashton, Joe Davies, Ifor (Gower) Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)
Atkinson, Norman Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil) Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.) Griffiths, Will (Exchange)
Barnett, Joel Deakins, Eric Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.
Beaney, Alan de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Delargy, H. J. Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)
Bidwell, Sydney Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)
Bishop, E. S. Dempsey, James Hardy, Peter
Blenkinsop, Arthur Doig, Peter Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Dormand, J. D. Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith
Booth, Albert Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Hattersley, Roy
Bradley, Tom Douglas-Mann, Bruce Heffer, Eric S.
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Driberg, Tom Hilton, W. S.
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Duffy, A. E. P. Hooson, Emlyn
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Dunn, James A. Horam, John
Buchan, Norman Dunnett, Jack Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Eadie, Alex Howell, Denis (Small Heath)
Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Edelman, Maurice Huckfield,Leslie
Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Cant, R. B. Edwards, William (Merioneth) Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Carmichael, Neil Ellis, Tom Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) English, Michael Hunter, Adam
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Evans, Fred Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Janner, Greville
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Fisher, Mrs.Doris(B'ham,Ladywood) Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&St.P'cras,S.)
Cohen, Stanley Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Coleman, Donald Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) John, Brynmor
Concannon, J. D. Foley, Maurice Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)
Conlan, Bernard Foot, Michael Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Ford, Ben Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)
Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Forrester, John Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)
Crawshaw, Richard Fraser, John (Norwood) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Freeson, Reginald Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn (W.Ham,S.)

take away the ultimate sanction there can be no enforcement. That is precisely what we have argued throughout. The Commission on Industrial Relations did not need enforcement. It was based on voluntary co-operation. The purpose of these two Amendments is to expose the fact that, far from voluntary co-operation, the Government are intent upon industrial relations by force of law and by sanction against individuals as well as against trade unions, be they by fines, compensation or imprisonment for debt.

The Government cannot say that this is not a criminal law. Not only are there those authorities about the quasi-criminal or criminal concept for contempt. There is also the fact that once a trade unionist is in gaol and once his property has been distrained, industrial relations will not be improved. This provision will cause the utmost bitterness amongst ordinary working people.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 256, Noes 290.

Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Molloy, William Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Judd, Frank Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Sillars, James
Kaufman, Gerald Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Silverman, Julius
Kelley, Richard Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Skinner, Dennis
Kerr, Russell Moyle, Roland Small, William
Kinnock, Neil Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Lambie, David Murray, Ronald King Spearing, Nigel
Lamond, James Ogden, Eric Spriggs, Leslie
Latham, Arthur O'Halloran, Michael Stallard, A. W.
Lawson, George O'Malley, Brian Steel, David
Leadbitter, Ted Oram, Bert Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Orme, Stanley Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Leonard, Dick Oswald, Thomas Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Lestor, Miss Joan Paget, R. T. stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Palmer, Arthur Strang, Gavin
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Lipton, Marcus Pardoe, John Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Lomas, Kenneth Parker, John (Dagenham) Swain, Thomas
Loughlin, Charles Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)
Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Pavitt, Laurie Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)
Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Pendry, Tom Tinn, James
McBride, Neil Pentland, Norman Tuck, Raphael
McCartney, Hugh Perry, Ernest G. Urwin, T. W.
McElhone, Frank Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg. Varley, Eric G.
McGuire, Michael Prescott, John Wainwright, Edwin
Mackenzie, Gregor Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Mackie, John Price, William (Rugby) Wallace, George
Mackintosh, John P. Probert, Arthur Watkins, David
Maclennan, Robert Rankin, John Weitzman, David
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Reed, D. (Sedgefield) Wellbeloved, James
McNamara, J. Kevin Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
MacPherson, Malcolm Rhodes, Geoffrey White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Richard, Ivor Whitehead, Phillip
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield,E). Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Whitlock, William
Marks, Kenneth Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Marquand, David Robertson, John (Paisley) Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor) Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Mayhew, Christopher Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Meacher, Michael Roper, John Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Rose, Paul B. Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Mendelson, John Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock) Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Mikardo, Ian Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Millan, Bruce Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Miller, Dr. M. S. Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne) Mr. Joseph Harper and
Milne, Edward (Blyth) Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.) Mr. William Hamling.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Campbell, Rt. Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn) Emery, Peter
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Carlisle, Mark Eyre, Reginald
Astor, John Cary, Sir Robert Farr, John
Atkins, Humphrey Channon, Paul Fell, Anthony
Awdry, Daniel Chapman, Sydney Fenner, Mrs. Peggy
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Chichester-Clark, R. Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Balniel, Lord Churchill, W. S. Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Fortescue, Tim
Batsford, Brian Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Foster, Sir John
Bell, Ronald Cockeram, Eric Fox, Marcus
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Cooke, Robert Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Coombs, Derek Fry, Peter
Benyon, W. Cooper, A. E. Galbraith, Hn. T. G.
Berry, Hn. Anthony Cordle, John Gardner, Edward
Biffen, John Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Gibson-Watt, David
Biggs-Davison, John Cormack, Patrick Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Blaker, Peter Costain, A. P. Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Critchley, Julian Glyn, Dr. Alan
Body, Richard Crouch, David Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Boscawen, Robert Curran, Charles Goodhart, Philip
Bossom, Sir Clive Dalkeith, Earl of Goodhew, Victor
Bowden, Andrew Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Gorst, John
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Gower, Raymond
Braine, Bernard d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Bray, Ronald Dean, Paul Gray, Hamish
Brewis, John Digby, Simon Wingfield Green, Alan
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Dixon, Piers Grieve, Percy
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Dodds-Parker, Douglas Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Drayson, G. B. Grylls, Michael
Bryan, Paul du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Gummer, Selwyn
Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M) Dykes, Hugh Gurden, Harold
Buck, Antony Eden, Sir John Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)
Bullus, Sir Eric Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hall, John (Wycombe)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Mather, Carol Russell, Sir Ronald
Hannam, John (Exeter) Maude, Angus St. John-Stevas, Norman
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald Scott, Nicholas
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere Mawby, Ray Scott-Hopkins, James
Haselhurst, Alan Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Sharples, Richard
Havers, Michael Meyer, Sir Anthony Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Hay, John Mills, Peter (Torrington) Shelton, William (Clapham)
Hayhoe, Barney Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Simeons, Charles
Heseltine, Michael Miscampbell, Norman Skeet, T. H. H.
Hicks, Robert Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Higgins, Terence L. Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Soref, Harold
Hiley, Joseph Moate, Roger Speed, Keith
Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.) Molyneaux, James Spence, John
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Money, Ernie Sproat, Iain
Holland, Philip Monks, Mrs. Connie Stainton, Keith
Holt, Miss Mary Montgomery, Fergus Stanbrook, Ivor
Hordern, Peter More, Jasper Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)
Hornby, Richard Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Hornsby-Smith,Rt. Hn.Dame Patricia Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Mudd, David Stokes, John
Howell, David (Guildford) Murton, Oscar Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Nabarro, Sir Gerald Sutcliffe, John
Hunt, John Neave, Airey Tapsell, Peter
Hutchison, Michael Clark Nicholls, Sir Harmar Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Iremonger, T. L. Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
James, David Normanton, Tom Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Nott, John Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Jessel, Toby Onslow, Cranley Tebbit, Norman
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Temple, John M.
Jopling, Michael Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Osborn, John Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Kaberry, Sir Donald Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Kellett, Mrs. Elaine Page, Graham (Crosby) Thomason, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Kershaw, Anthony Page, John (Harrow, W.) Tilney, John
Kilfedder, James Parkinson, Cecil (Enfield, W.) Trafford, Dr. Anthony
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Percival, Ian Trew, Peter
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Pike, Miss Mervyn Tugendhat, Christopher
Kinsey, J. R. Pink, R. Bonner Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Kirk, Peter Pounder, Rafton van Straubenzee, W. R.
Kitson, Timothy Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Vickers, Dame Joan
Knight, Mrs. Jill Price, David (Eastleigh) Waddington, David
Knox, David Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Lambton, Antony Proudfoot, Wilfred Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Lane, David Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Langford-Holt, Sir John Quennell, Miss J. M. Wall, Patrick
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Raison, Timothy Walters, Dennis
Le Marchant, Spencer Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Ward, Dame Irene
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Warren, Kenneth
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Redmond, Robert Weatherill, Bernard
Longden, Gilbert Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Loveridge, John Rees, Peter (Dover) White, Roger (Gravesand)
MacArthur, Ian Rees-Davies, W. R. Wiggin, Jerry
McCrindle, R. A. Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Wilkinson, John
McLaren, Martin Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
McMaster, Stanley Ridsdale, Julian Woodnutt, Mark
Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
McNair-Wilson, Michael Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Younger, Hn, George
McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Maddan, Martin Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Madel, David Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Maginnis, John E. Rost, Peter Mr. Paul Hawkins and
Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Royle, Anthony Mr. Walter Clegg.
Marten, Neil

Amendment proposed: No. 856, in page 81, line 4, at end insert: () No court shall commit a person to prison for breach of any order made in proceedings brought under this Act.—[Mr. Heffer.]

Division No. 186.] AYES [6.45 p.m.
Abse, Leo Bagier, Gordon A. T. Bradley, Tom
Albu, Austen Barnett, Joel Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Beaney, Alan Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)
Allen, Scholefield Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Bidwell, Sydney Buchan, Norman
Armstrong, Ernest Bishop, E. S. Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)
Ashley, Jack Blenkinsop, Arthur Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James
Ashton, Joe Boardman, H. (Leigh) Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Atkinson, Norman Booth, Albert Cant, R. B.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 254, Noes 284.

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

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

Mr. John Fraser

During the course of an intervention in the discussion on the first Amendment to the Clause, the Solicitor-General indicated that he would say something to the Committee about legal aid. I raised the matter on Second Reading, in the course of a point of order, and on the last Amendment, and I have not had an answer. This shows the incredible difficulty in which the Government find themselves, in that they cannot make appropriate announcements to the Committee, about matters which are germane and important to the Bill, because of the Guillotine.

In advocating that there ought to be legal aid, if legal aid is given in the National Industrial Relations Court we on this side of the Committee do not regard it as in any way mitigating or excusing the existence of that court and the legal apparatus suggested. The main point is that there should be legal aid for a number of other proceedings, such as redundancy payments, applications to tribunals, and claims for damages for unfair dismissals, matters with which we on this side of the Committee agree, and on which we believe that people ought to have the right kind of legal assistance. We advocate legal aid for that purpose and that alone.

Mr. John Loveridge (Hornchurch)

I welcome the Clause. It is right that there should not be powers for the court to compel directly a man either to work or not to work. Although there are restrictions on direct legal proceedings by the court itself under the Clause, very large powers are retained where a person is in breach of an agreement and is brought before a court with a view to obtaining compensation. It is important that such major powers should be restricted to the higher court in their application. The Industrial Court has very real powers. It can award substantial damages. It can enforce its orders through contempt pro- ceedings, with all that that means as a consequence. It must have the powers to be effective as a court. But the possible damages against individuals could be large, even ruinous. The savings of a man's life could be at risk. There is no limit to the civil damages which might be awarded. In these circumstances I hope that the Government will consider extending the provisions of legal aid, which is available in civil courts, to proceedings before the Industrial Court.

Big organisations can and should pay their own way, but the small man, a shop steward out on a limb on his own without union support, or a very small employer, should be able to apply for legal aid. What is sauce for the goose should also be sauce for the gander. Any party to a dispute, not only the defendants but the complainants as well, ought to be able to apply for legal aid.

The belief that there should be provision for legal aid commands widespread support on both sides of the Committee. I first put down a new Clause advocating that on 19th January, and I quickly gained the welcome support of many hon. Members on this side of the Committee. I had no trouble in obtaining signatures because the essential justness and fairness of the proposal was easily seen. The aim was that individuals should not be penalised for lack of funds. Fifty names were put down on 5th February, and I was not surprised—indeed, I was pleased and honoured—when this was supported on 11th February by the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle), who is also asking for the provision of legal aid, though her proposals were on a wider basis than my own.

There is wide support on both sides for this proposal. I therefore hope that the Government will agree to ask the Lord Chancellor in due course to take the necessary action to secure that legal aid is available before the Industrial Court when the Bill becomes law. Many of us will be grateful and satisfied if the Government can see their way to doing this. We do not wish this for a lawyers' paradise. We wish it as a simple Measure to ensure fair play when so much new law is being made.

The Solicitor-General


Dame Irene Ward (Tynemouth)


The Temporary Chairman

The Solicitor-General—I am sorry. Dame Irene Ward. [Interruption.] Is the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) protesting at the fact that I have called the hon. Lady for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward)?

Mr. Harold Walker

No, certainly not, Mr. Jennings. I am protesting at the fact that we have to suffer the imposition of a guillotine and then the Government take up the time which is available.

The Temporary Chairman

There is no restriction of speech in the Chamber, even under the guillotine.

Mr. Michael Jopling (Westmorland)

Further to that point of order—

The Temporary Chairman

It was not a point of order. I asked the hon. Member for Doncaster what lie meant.

7.0 p.m.

Dame Irene Ward

As I was one of the original signatories to the new Clause dealing with the very important matter of legal aid, I want to give encouragement to the Solicitor-General to accept the argument which has been adduced on both sides. This is an important matter, because I often think that when Government legislation is being considered the small man does not have his case put as adequately as cases are argued by, for instance, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith).

I am interested in protecting the rights of the individual. It is important that adequate legal aid, when it is required, should be available to help the ordinary man through the intricacies of this complicated Bill.

I shall not take up too much of the Committee's time, but as a speech was made from the other side in support of the case for legal aid I thought that for once the Opposition might be pleased to know that both sides agree. [Interruption.] Be quiet! Hon. Members opposite are only wasting the Committee's time, and I shall stay here until I have my say.

Mrs. Castle

The hon. Lady is wasting our time.

Dame Irene Ward

I shall not be put out by the right hon. Lady in any circumstances.

I hope that, in spite of the right hon. Lady's opposition, the Solicitor-General will agree to this. I know full well that the right hon. Lady does not like my speaking, any more than I like her speaking. If out of this controversy the decision is taken that legal aid shall be available in response to the case which has been so admirably argued on both sides, those on the Government front bench will be able to say, "Thank goodness that for once we have agreed. We are under a duty to see that the small man and the small woman have legal protection if they want it".

Mr. Jopling

On a point of order, Mr. Jennings. Can you tell us how the Committee can be protected from the sort of barracking which has been coming from the other side, particularly as hon. Members opposite have made such a fuss about the number of people who took part in demonstrations in London on Sunday and when, until the last two minutes, there have been fewer than 20 Opposition Members present?

The Temporary Chairman

Order. Barracking is not a monopoly of either side.

The Solicitor-General

I rise now to answer the point which has been made in this short debate and which was put to me by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) in the debate on Amendment No. 854.

It is the Government's intention that legal aid should be available in proceedings before the National Industrial Relations Court. No provisions are necessary in the Bill to secure that, because regulations can be made by the Lord Chancellor under the existing legislation to achieve that end.

The intention is that legal aid will be available in the National Industrial Relations Court on the same terms and conditions as in other courts, and available, therefore, to individuals and not to trade unions or organisations or bodies corporate, as is the current position. Legal aid in other courts has always been confined to individuals, and the same procedure follows through here. Individuals, be they employees or employers, are less well placed than any corporate body, and qualify on that principle for legal aid before that court.

The hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser), in contrast to my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Loveridge), has also argued that legal aid should be available for industrial tribunals. The position of industrial tribunals is that the principal jurisdictions they will be dealing with will be, first, on behalf of a union member against an organisation or union against which he has a complaint, and in many such cases his case will be put for him by the Registrar. Alternatively, it will be the individual—again, in most cases—making a claim in respect of unfair dismissal, comparable to that which he can now make in respect of redundancy payments.

The essence of the jurisdiction will be exactly the same, although over a wider field, for the benefit of the individual, as that which is now being exercised by the industrial tribunals. In 1968 the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the operation of the Legal Aid and Advice Act considered the question whether legal aid should be extended to industrial tribunals and then came to the conclusion that it should not be so extended.

In the view of the Government the same kind of issues and the same kind of questions will be being handled by industrial tribunals under the extended jurisdiction—claims by individuals against organisations comparable to those already heard by the tribunals.

The tribunals are meant to, and do in fact, provide a simple informal justice in which the ordinary individual is made to feel and does feel at home, where he is able to represent himself, and often does, save in the cases where he has a trade union or association to represent him.

That set of considerations has led the Government to the conclusion that in respect of industrial tribunals we should not be justified in departing from the view expressed by the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee in 1968 in respect of these industrial tribunals.

Mr. Murray

Will the Solicitor-General bear in mind that under Clause 99 power to confer jurisdiction on the industrial tribunals in respect of damages for breach of a contract is contemplated? Is not this a matter in which legal aid would be most desirable? Will he not reconsider the matter?

The Solicitor-General

The hon. and learned Gentleman takes the point about Clause 99. That power is a power deriving from recommendations of Donovan and included in the last Government's Bill and designed to confer upon tribunals a jurisdiction previously exercisable by county courts. It is not a power which is being implemented by the Bill. It is a power to take power, and the question the hon. and learned Gentleman raises on that is something which would have to be considered when and if that power came to be exercised. The Government have included the provision there, and it is plain that we shall have to see how extensively the jurisdiction of the industrial tribunals is invoked, principally in respect of unfair dismissals as well as redundancy payments, before we can say whether that jurisdiction can be exercised soon or late. The question will then be considered.

As for the provisions of the Bill on industrial tribunals, the Government do not take the view that it is justifiable to depart from the current principle, but they have acceded to the arguments advanced by several hon. Members in favour of making it plain that legal aid will be available on the usual terms and in the usual way before the National Industrial Relations Court.

Mr. John Fraser

That reply is extremely disappointing. We want to express our dissatisfaction at the fact that legal aid will not be available at the tribunals. It will be available in the county court for damages for wrongful dismissal, and the damages or compensation in the tribunals would be much higher. That reply is very disappointing to a large body of opinion in the country and the Committee.

The Solicitor-General

The industrial tribunals are being given jurisdiction and new rights, in respect of unfair dismissal and the rest. So we are advancing the frontiers of what people may claim, in the same way as was done in respect of redundancy payments.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Would I be right in assuming that under Clause 100, when there was an appeal from a tribunal to the National Industrial Relations Court, legal aid would then be available?

The Solicitor-General

Yes, legal aid would be available in respect of appeal, in the same way as in respect of initial hearings in the court.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 114 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

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