§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Mr. Robert Cooke
(Bristol, West): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Bill which we are to discuss this afternoon substantially amends and depends upon the Television Act, 1964. Despite the efforts of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications to make that Act available in the Vote Office for Members, a rule of the House apparently prevents the Vote Office providing these papers, but it can accept orders from hon. Members individually so that copies can appear but with some delay. This is not a new problem. Ministers have in the past been blamed for not providing relevant documents, but my right hon. Friend is in no way to blame on this occasion.
I raised this matter with your Private Secretary last night, Mr. Speaker, but, despite his most generous help, nothing has resulted at the Vote Office. May I ask you to give the House guidance or to pronounce upon this difficulty?
§ Mr. Speaker
I will certainly look into the matter. I was given some notice of it. I do not think it is a matter on which I have necessarily the power to rule. If I have that power I will do so. I thought it was the custom of the House, previously established and acknowledged. But certainly I will do what I can to see that on future occasions the convenience of hon. Members is met in matters like this.
§ 4.18 p.m.
§ The Minister of Posts and Telecommunications(Mr. Christopher Chataway)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.
I hope it may be for the convenience of the House if I concentrate today largely upon the major provisions of the Bill and the arrangements to be made under them. I hope I shall be forgiven if I do not spend much time in justifying the principle of an alternative radio service financed by advertising, because, although I believe there is plenty of room for argument about means, that principle 1251 is to reality very widely accepted. There has certainly been very little serious argument against it.
In the debate on the White Paper we had from the benches opposite some denunciation of private enterprise which was affectionately known in some quarters as private greed, and I appreciate that there are some hon. Members opposite who are opposed to the profit motive wherever they find it. whether it be in publishing, manufacturing, broadcasting or sweet shops. But it seems fairly clear that the Opposition are not opposed to commercial broadcasting. The Leader of the Opposition has frequently proclaimed his admiration for commercial television and his faith in our dual system of television broadcasting. As I understand it, there is no general argument from the Opposition that commercial television ought to be abolished. Throughout a whole day's debate here and a day's debate in another place nobody was able to think of any reason why commercial radio was wrong in principle if commercial television was right.
I agree—as I suspect most people do —with the conclusion of The Guardian leader last week that B.B.C. radio could do with some competition, not because I think that B.B.C. radio is bad—I do not—but because I am sure that it will benefit from having a competitor by which to measure some part at least of its performance.
There are still some who argue that if listeners are given a choice it will necessarily lower standards, but nobody has succeeded in clothing this generalised charge with any very credible argument. What, in practice, are the fears about radio? It is difficult seriously to imagine that the B.B.C. would be tempted by commercial radio to alter the nature of its programme on Radio 3, to which on average 2 per cent. of the existing radio audience now listens. It is difficult, too, to envisage what threat the existence of I.B.A. stations would be likely to pose to the standards of Radio 1, which concentrates almost exclusively on pop music and to which about 45 per cent. of the audience now listens, or Radio 2, which is the purveyor of sweet music and to which about 35 per cent. listen.
1252 I cannot think, either, that many people seriously believe that it is right to have a monopoly in the area of Radio 4—talks, comment and news—to which, on average, about 18 per cent. of today's audience listens. Few would deny that competition in news and current affairs has been beneficial in television. Most people would regard any attempt to abolish I.T.N. as a disaster. By the same token, it is highly desirable that in radio there should be an alternative and a competing source of news and current affairs coverage.
§ Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)
Is the right hon. Gentleman telling us that there will be radio news like I.T.N.—that is to say, not a commercial service but a basically public one?
§ Mr. Chataway
I shall come to that point in a moment. Independent Television News is owned by all the commercial television companies. That is one way of organising it.
§ Mr. Chataway
So much for the principle. Once the principle is accepted there are many different ways in which it may be implemented. Choices must be made, and some hon. Members are less than persuaded that all the choices that we have made are the right ones. Therefore, in examining the provisions of the Bill I want to attempt to deal with as many of the choices as I can, and give the reasons for them.
Clauses 1 and 2 in the first place simply change the name of the I.T.A. to the Independent Broadcasting Authority, and confer upon the Authority duties in relation to sound broadcasting services similar to those in the Television Act. Clause 2(2) provides that, subject to specific duties, the provisions of the Television Act will apply to the new services. The Authority therefore has the same responsibility in relation to radio for ensuring balance, impartiality, decency and good taste. It has the same powers of control over advertising and programme content, and a substantial armoury of weapons for enforcing its wishes. In addition, the three-year rolling contracts which it is proposed to give to companies—a matter that was discussed in our previous debate—will provide the Authority with the opportunity 1253 to assess annually the performance of a company before renewing its contract for a further year.
The Bill does not attempt to bind the Authority on such matters as the number of minutes of advertising to be allowed in the hour.
§ Mr. Chataway
The hon. Member says, "Of course not!" We will consider in a moment whether his career in television would have been so fruitful if the Television Act had made some kind of attempt like that in relation to television.
§ Mr. Chataway
What we are concerned with is the question whether in this legislation we should seek so to deny the Authority freedom of movement as actually to limit advertising to a set number of minutes. That was not done in relation to television. In fact, over the years the Independent Television Authority experimented to see what level of incidence of advertising would be acceptable. I believe that over the years it arrived at a satisfactory answer.
§ Mr. Chataway
To the hon. Member it has not, but the number of complaints today about the volume of advertising and its obtrusiveness is very small when we remember that there was a period when that was not so. At the moment the Authority lays down that the maximum in any one hour shall be seven minutes, and the average shall be six minutes. On previous occasions it has experimented, going considerably beyond that point. I have no doubt that in radio, also, the Authority will have to experiment. It would be totally unreasonable to attempt, in advance of any experience, to lay down in a statute the number of minutes that should be allowed.
§ Mr. Whitehead
Would it not nevertheless have been a good idea to learn something from the mistakes of the I.T.A. in the past few years by inserting in this legislation specific provisions regarding the public hearing of contracts? There is no mention of that.
§ Mr. Chataway
I have been dealing with advertising. I am glad that the hon. Member has not pursued the objection that he seemed to be making on the point of trying to stipulate in the Bill the number of minutes of advertising that there should be. Clearly, if we have a responsible Authority and we give it the substantial powers that we do give it under the Bill, it is a matter for the Authority to experiment. We cannot know in advance what levels will prove right. It must be for the Authority to determine what incidence of advertising is acceptable to British listeners.
The Authority, which has been giving preliminary consideration to the responsibility which will come its way if the Bill is passed, accepts the White Paper figure of up to 60 stations. I know that some of my hon. Friends would like to see more stations than that, because they wish to have a variety of different commercial stations competing against each other in many areas. There are others, on the other hand, who doubt whether —particularly in the early years—there will be sufficient advertising revenue to sustain that number of stations.
It would not be possible much to exceed the figure that has been set as a maximum in the White Paper without closing down B.B.C. local stations, and in our last debate it was convincingly argued by many on behalf of the B.B.C. that its stations are now catering for a wide variety of minorities in a way that commercial radio could not afford to do. The Government therefore believe that it would be right to retain the B.B.C. local stations.
§ Mr. Buchan
Will the right hon. Gentleman make it clear that after bringing forward this Bill it is his intention to prevent the development in Scotland of three regional stations which were being proposed? Has that proposal been blocked because of this commercial development?
§ Mr. Chataway
So far as I know, there have been no proposals for regional stations in Scotland. What Scotland is retaining, and what I understand is thought to be the preference for Scot-land as between B.B.C. local stations and regional opt-outs, is its Radio 4 opt-out. In England there are B.B.C. local stations; in Scotland there is a B.B.C. 1255 regional opt-out. The B.B.C. proceeded with its plans in the first place for local stations on the basis that they would supplant the regional opt-outs in England.
It was never suggested that it would be possible for Scotland to have both. There were advantages to be gained, and, as I understand it, it has always been considered to be Scotland's preference that there should be a Scottish version of Radio 4. But if the situation were to change and it were to be felt that, in place of a Scottish version of Radio 4, Scotland would prefer to have local stations, the choice which has been made in England, I have no doubt that the B.B.C. would reconsider its plans.
§ Sir Gerald Nabarro (Worcestershire, South)
My right hon. Friend will be aware that in some rural areas there are widespread and sparsely populated districts, as I have pointed out to him— in the Welsh Border areas or even in Worcestershire. How do we reconcile the fact that,—with commercial radio, commercial viability will be an essential for these privately-owned stations, and the fact that certain areas of the country, due to their sparse population, cannot match that commercial viability? How shall we deal with that situation?
§ Mr. Chataway
The nature of local radio, whether it is financed by the licence fee or by advertising, is that there are small communities which it is too expensive to finance. If there is a national service, it is possible for it to be very widespread. If, however, there are local stations—it does not matter in this regard by what system they are financed—it is a question of cost per head of population. There comes a point at which one cannot provide it. But I hope that the Authority will, as the White Paper suggested, experiment with a number of ways of providing for the smallest stations with the smallest populations.
§ Sir G. Nabarro
May I press my right hon. Friend on this? Would he take note of this point about rural areas? Would he, during the passage of the Bill, consult the National Farmers' Unions, which are very concerned about the fact that wide-spread rural areas may find themselves 1256 with no local radio coverage—either B.B.C. or from this Authority—at all?
§ Mr. Chataway
No, but as I explained to my hon. Friend, whether it is only commercial or only B.B.C. or a mixture of the two, I am afraid that there there will be areas of relatively light population which may not have a local radio station. But I will certainly take note of the views of the National Farmers' Union—
§ Mr. John Gorst (Hendon, North)
Before my right hon. Friend leaves Clause 2, could he clear up one point? Clause 2 specifically says that it will be only local sound broadcasting services for which the Authority will be responsible. Does that mean that a further Act would be necessary if it were to be responsible for either regional or national commercial services?
§ Mr. Chataway
It certainly means that an Act would be necessary if the Authority were to run a national service. I am coming to the point about the definition of "local".
The Authority's view—it has, of course, to be a tentative view at present— is that the first stations should open in Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and London. The Authority would try as soon as possible after the passage of the legislation to place contracts to serve those places—and they may in favourable circumstances be on the air some time in 1973.
Another five stations might come into operation a few months later, and that group might well include one relatively small town, but would otherwise again consist of the major cities and conurbations. Beyond that, the Authority's plans will necessarily depend very heavily on the progress achieved with the first stations and, at particular places, on the availability of suitable sites for transmitters.
I understand that the Authority is hopeful of being able to provide about 20 stations within 12 months or so of the first group. The second 10 of those 20 1257 would be intended to include one or two of the relatively small cities. In general, though, the Authority would still at that stage be concentrating on larger cities with populations not much smaller than !hat of Sheffield.
As a result of the provisions of Clause 2, the Authority will own and operate the transmitters. I know that this is a proposal about which some have reservations, but there are two very good reasons for it. In negotiating the use of frequencies allocated to other countries, we shall be much helped if it is known that the transmitting is firmly in the hands of the engineers of the B.B.C. and the I.T.A.. who have a high international reputation. There could be greater fears of inadvertent interference and occasional transmission at excessive powers if the transmitters were in other hands.
The other consideration is time. If one waits until the radio companies have been selected and have been able to appoint engineers and other staff before ordering equipment, looking for sites and, where necessary, seeking planning permission, the introduction of the new service will be greatly delayed. There is a fund of relevant experience in the I.T.A. and a field force which is keen to tackle the new work and capable of doing it quickly.
How local should the stations be—the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, North (Mr. Gorst)? Clause 2(3) gives a technical definition and in Schedule 1 on page 12, under "Section 3", a new paragraph (dd) will impose upon the Authority a duty to ensure that the programmes are not "identical or similar" to an extent inconsistent with the local character of the services. So there is in one part a purely technical definition and then a duty to ensure that the character of the service is consistent with its local obligation.
§ Mr. Whitehead
Could the Minister tell us to what extent syndication, as clearly envisaged in Clause 2(4)(a) and (b), will be permitted and what degree of syndication there will be? That will surely determine the local nature of the station.
§ Mr. Chataway
That is one of the factors, clearly, and also what kind of local material is originated. If at the point of origin it is only material of national 1258 appeal which is originated, that equally would be a breach. But this gives the Authority the power to determine and the power to ensure that the stations meet the local obligations which the Authority considers necessary. Many of the television companies have developed very strong regional personalities which are very much valued. I suspect that the Authority will have little need to pressure the radio contractors into acquiring a local personality, because in order to attract support in their areas they will need to be firmly rooted in the locality
The size of these localities will, of course, vary greatly. In London two stations will each cover the yield area. There would be little attraction in trying artificially to divide London for purposes of broadcasting into three or four segments. At the other extreme, the smallest I.B.A. stations might cater for populations of under—perhaps well under—150,000.
In determining the catchment areas of stations in between these extremes, the Authority will attempt to draw these boundaries to cover all homogeneous communities. This could mean that in a number of places the Authority will provide more than one station in areas now covered by one B.B.C. local station.
§ Mr. Ivor Richard (Barons Court)
Is is not a fact, therefore, that what a locality is depends on the discretion of the I.B.A.? In other words, the I.B.A. will have power to determine a matter on which the Bill is silent.
§ Mr. Chataway
If the hon. and learned Gentleman believes that it would be possible to go around the British Isles determining in this Measure what was a homogenous community, I would not care to accompany him on such a tour. This is clearly a matter which must be for the Authority in radio, as it is in television.
I come now to the provision of news. The I.B.A. will have the same obligation in radio as it has in television to devote sufficient time to accurate and impartial news. I have considered with the I.T.A. reactions to the three possibilities for news provision outlined in the White Paper. The Authority is of the view— and I agree with it—that the best arrangement will be to have from the outset a second station in London which specialises in news. This station, which 1259 may collaborate closely with I.T.N., will also provide national and international news to other stations.
In every area the local station will, of course, be responsible for the collection of its own local news. There is no doubt, however, that a successful local station must have access also to a good source of national and international radio news. It will need it to hold its listeners, particularly at times when some major event is unfolding.
The London news station will earn part of its revenue from the advertising it attracts on its London programmes and part from the service it provides to other stations. It is not intended, though, that these stations would necessarily have to present the product of the central news service in the way that I.T.N.'s programmes are carried in television. The greater flexibility of radio will require a more flexible approach. The local stations, it is envisaged, will use the material they get from the central news service as they think best in their own bulletins, editing and adding in those cases where the news item is centred around their own locality.
The principal advantages of this arrangement for the central news service are, first, that a potentially valuable service can be provided for London; second, that the news organisation will have a regular and substantial outlet for its programmes; and, third, that other stations will be provided with a good news service more economically than by any other system.
§ Sir John Rodgers (Sevenoaks)
Will my right hon. Friend clarify a point about the second London station which will broadcast news? Will this be a continuous broadcast of news hour after hour with fill-up material, or news broadcasts at stated times?
§ Mr. Chataway
My hon. Friend is no doubt aware that there are all-news stations in North America which have earned high reputations for themselves and which do nothing but broadcast news. They offer a service to those who want to hear news at any time of the day. While, naturally, one may not be able to tune in at any given moment to a major news bulletin, such bulletins being scheduled on the network one will know that from 1260 an all-news station one can hear news and comment. It obviously would be wrong to try to commit in total detail the format of such broadcasts, which will specialise in news and talk.
§ Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)
Would my right hon. Friend care to indicate how this pattern of news presentation and provision fits into the statutory framework? Do we find the necessary provisions in this Measure or by reference to the Television Act?
§ Mr. Chataway
I am afraid that I am not able to point to the precise Section in the 1964 Act. I will do so later. There is an obligation on the Authority to ensure that sufficient time is devoted to news and that such news is impartial. My right hon. and learned Friend will know of the other requirements laid down in the Act.
There is not in the 1964 Act any provision that lays down the operations of I.T.N. in this context, and equally there will not in this legislation be a detailed prescription for the way in which the news service should be provided. [Interruption.] It is exactly on all fours with television. Exactly the same obligation is laid on radio as on television, but the information that I have given relates to the Authority's intentions as to the means for providing that service, for which it has a statutory obligation.
Clause 3 requires the Authority to appoint advisory committees. This allows for one committee to cover a number of stations. Local authorities, some of which have, of course, been urging the cause of local commercial radio for some time, will be invited to propose members for these committees; and the Authority will choose a third from their proposals.
Clause 4 ensures that the finances of the sound and television services of the I.B.A. are kept separate. They will in some measure be competing services and cross-subsidisation is thought not to be appropriate.
Clauses 5 and 8 contain financial provisions. An advance can be made to the Authority of up to £2 million with which to launch the new service, and, as with similar launching aid to I.T.V. at its start, these sums are repayable. The larger stations should quite quickly generate a revenue in excess of their needs 1261 for local programming and reasonable profits.
But the Authority will, following its practice in television, of course expect them to carry the lion's share of the cost of common services: the Authority's own expenses, news, and perhaps the provision of additional opportunities for the employment of musicians, a matter to which the Musicians' Union quite reasonably attaches considerable importance. It is not expected that the income of the service as a whole will exceed the reasonable requirements of the service during the period between now and 1976.
Clause 5 is, therefore, a fall-back provision which is unlikely to be invoked in the early years. If, however, revenue rises to such a point that it seems fair for the companies to pay extra sums in return for the use of the scarce frequencies allocated to them, Clause 5 would enable the Minister to set a target figure for the Authority to pay to the Consolidated Fund.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
It is on occasions such as this that I wonder whether we have a Conservative Government in power. I urge my right hon. Friend to accept that neither in words from him nor in any Bill need we apologise for the profit system. This is a system which, if it is allowed to work properly, ensures that the people of this country get quality and value.
It seems clear that my right hon. Friend will have to look at this provision again. I note that there is nothing in the Bill to say that if a company makes a loss, it will be recompensed. Why should it contain a provision saying that if it makes a profit someone who knows nothing about the day-to-day running of its business will set a target? This is not good enough.
I declare my interest at once as a director, and I have been for some years, of Radio Luxembourg. [Interruption.] That has nothing whatever to do with this Measure. If commercial concerns of this type must fix their profits according to targets set by someone else, they will not be able to offer the sort of excellent service that such companies are capable of providing.
§ Mr. Chataway
My hon. Friend, who has followed broadcasting matters for 1262 some time, will know that there is a long history to this, and that there is no particularly easy solution. In the early 'sixties when commercial television started to earn very substantial profits, it was the Public Accounts Committee which argued that the television companies ought to pay in respect of the use of the scarce frequencies they had, the franchise they had been given, and pay something extra to the community. We are here not talking about a free market situation, and it is on those grounds that I would argue with my hon. Friend.
The levy as an instrument has proved to have some enormous disadvantages, and as a mechanism there is no doubt that it is believed by many to have worked at times against good programming. Therefore, at the moment, in relation to television, we are looking as the possibility of finding an alternative to the levy, but the fact of the matter is that if at some stage in the future commercial radio were suddenly to start to earn the very large profits that television earned in the 'sixties there would be a similar demand by the House and by the Public Accounts Committee. We can look again at the matter in Committee, but I believe that it is reasonable that there should be some such provision as this. It is certainly not the Government's intention to set any target contributions for the first two years. nor would anybody expect that the Clause would be likely to be activated before commercial radio had firmly established itself.
§ Mr. Julian Critchley (Aldershot)
In circumstances of excess profit, would it not be wiser to license more stations in order to introduce more competition?
§ Mr. Chataway
That is a possibility, but it might be that at that moment we were confronted with a situation in which there were no frequencies for introducing competition, and it might be reasonable for the community to look for some extra payment from those in a duopoly situation as well as from those in a monopoly situation. I consider this provision to be reasonable, and it relies on past experience.
Clause 6 gives effect to the proposals in the White Paper in relation to television contractors, and also disqualifies the music publisher or the record manufacturer from becoming a programme contractor.
1263 The only other Clause to which I need draw the attention of the House is Clause 7, which deals with the position of news-papers. I know that some people believe it wrong to give a privileged position to local newspapers in the way the Bill proposes. They argue, and there is force in the argument, that commercial radio and commercial newspapers are complementary, and that there is little evidence that newspapers suffer from the advent of commercial radio.
None the less, the Government believe it right to give the local newspapers the opportunity of participating in local radio. It seems reasonable to put them in this privileged position, since they make, as most of us would agree, a unique contribution at the local level to the democratic process, and since a competitor is being introduced by the Bill which may have an effect upon their revenues. It is certainly a competitor which a fair number of them had no expectation would be introduced. In those circumstances, I hope that it will be accepted that this is a reasonable proposition. I have no doubt, too, that the local Press should be able to contribute to the health and vigour of independent radio.
No doubt the provisions of Clause 7 will equally need to be looked at in detail in Committee, but the salient points are as follows. No newspaper has a prescriptive right to run a station. The I.B.A. chooses the best programme contractor, who, before accepting the contract, will know what part of his equity he must make available to newspapers. A newspaper will have the right to take up a share of the equity if its circulation represents a substantial proportion of the population. If the Authority decides that the newspaper's circulation is not large enough to qualify, the newspaper may still represent to the Authority that it is likely to suffer financially from the introduction of commercial radio, and, if satisfied that that is the case, the Authority will then grant the opportunity of a share in the equity.
This, again, in commercial broadcasting is not a new principle. One can point to the example of Yorkshire Television where the winning contractor did not include the Yorkshire Post. The Authority felt that the contractor for the 1264 area should include the Yorkshire Post, and it was, rather as the Bill suggests, required to offer part of the equity to that newspaper.
§ Mr. Gregor Mackenzie (Rutherglen)
A great many local newspapers operating at present are owned by national news-papers as part of a chain. The Minister will realise that this is very true of my part of the world, where a certain national newspaper owns almost every local newspaper in the west of Scotland. What about that position?
§ Mr. Chataway
The local newspaper, whoever owns it, will have the opportunity to participate, but there is no provision that would require the Authority to give control to any such newspaper.
One further proviso is that if the Authority considers for some reason that it is against the public interest that a newspaper should have a shareholding it will have the duty under the proposed new Section 12B of the Principal Act to consult the Minister, and, if the Minister concurs, it need not apply the general provisions relating to newspaper shareholdings. The essential point here is that in the final analysis the Authority must decide what constitutes an acceptable programme contractor, and nothing here proposed breaches that provision.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins (Putney)
Does the the right hon. Gentleman agree that the general proposition he is now advancing, which is the closing down of sources of information and introducing an element of monopoly or concentration of ownership in an area, is in itself a bad thing? If he agrees with that in principle, and if the end he seeks can can be achieved by other means whereby the interest of local newspapers can be preserved without increasing concentration of ownership, is his mind open to consider that alternative?
§ Mr. Chataway
I will certainly be very willing to look at any modifications or alternatives which the hon. Gentleman may put forward, but I do not accept that what is proposed in the Bill is a closing down of outlets. It is exactly the opposite. Where we now have a monopoly in radio we are providing an alternative source, and the minority provisions 1265 allowed to newspapers m the circumstances which I have described will certainly not in any way upset that fact.
The new service will not in my view have any easy road. It will be up against considerable competition. It will be up against two mass appeal national radio programmes—B.B.C.l and B.B.C.2— and the B.B.C. local radio stations, which have already won some faithful adherents, and it will be competing against the very experienced and farflung news organisation of the B.B.C. So the new entrants to the radio scene will have to be good to win a place for themselves.
But there are considerable opportunities. We do not seem to be a country in which the radio listening figures are as yet particularly high. In some other countries radio has staged quite a recovery over the past decade. Its immediacy and flexibility still give it great advantages as a medium of communication. Therefore, there are probably new audiences to be won, and I have no doubt that this new service can be a stimulus to the B.B.C. to add yet further to its achievements and that, given enterprise and imagination, it can provide choice and give a service that will be widely welcomed.
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. Ivor Richard (Barons Court)
If I may speak briefly as a lawyer at the outset, having read the Bill I thought it incomprehensible and muddled and that that was the fault of the draftsmen. Having heard the Minister attempt to explain the Bill for three-quarters of an hour. my sympathy is now more with the draftsmen than it was before the Minister rose.
This is one of the worst pieces of legislative nonsense that I have seen for a long time. The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) will doubtless agree with me in that, because on many occasions he has said in the House that particularly in "legislation by reference" it is very important to be absolutely precise about the way in which the main Act is being amended.
The Minister referred to Clause 2(3). I have gone through that subsection with a slightly jaundiced eye and considered what it says about "local sound broadcast". It seems to amount to this: 1266In this Act 'local sound broadcast' means a programme which is broadcast from a station so constructed and operated as to have a range of transmission limited to that which is sufficient, in normal circumstances, to ensure adequate reception throughout a particular locality.which, being interpreted, means that a local sound broadcast is to be a sound broadcast which is local. That does not seem greatly to advance either the law of the land or the edification of the House of Commons.
The Minister says that reference to the principal Act will show that there is an obligation on the part of the Independent Television Authority to consider locality when allotting contracts. I ask only one question on that: where is it in the Television Act, 1964? I have looked for it, and it is not there.
§ Mr. Chataway
During the course of my speech I referred the hon. Gentleman to page 12 of the Bill, Schedule I, the Amendment to Section 3, the new paragraph (dd), which imposes a duty to have programmes that are local in nature. That is the point.
§ Mr. Richard
It is not. I do not want to get bogged down in a legal argument at this stage, but the Minister is utterly wrong. All that the new paragraph (dd), does is to try to ensure that, in the case of local sound broadcasting, programme broadcasts from different stations for reception in different localities do not consist of identical material. In other words, all that that paragraph is trying to prevent is excessive national networking.
§ Mr. Richard
That is what the words say. It is in the Bill. If the Bill is not meant to say that, perhaps in due course the Minister would care to table Amendments to this Bill and to the parent Act
§ Mr. Richard
I will willingly give way later, but not, please, at this stage.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to the obligations of the I.B.A. in relation to television contractors and said how he had been very careful to separate the television contractors from the sound broadcasting contractors in the way in which he has framed the Bill. But is it not right that, if Granada Television wanted to buy 1267 a share, or even a controlling interest, in a local broadcasting station on the Solent, say, it would be perfectly entitled under the Bill to do so?
§ Mr. Chataway
I am sure that the hon. and learned Gentleman will eventually want to make his own speech. He must have some argument of principle. I have no doubt that we shall have a great deal of amusement in Committee dealing with every small item. The answer is that, if the Authority thought that Granada Television were the best body to run a station on the Solent, it would be so entitled.
§ Mr. Richard
I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman. So I am absolutely right. There is nothing in the Bill or in the framework which is to be set up under the Bill, if it ever gets through, to prevent a television contractor either from purchasing shares in a local sound radio station outside its immediate locality or from having a controlling interest in such a station outside its locality. The idea that there is to be a great separation when the structure is established between the broadcasting services and the television services provided by the Independent Broadcasting Authority is eyewash. It will not happen in that way.
§ Mr. Richard
No, I will not give way to the right hon. Gentleman again yet. What the Bill does in essence, and this is one of my major criticisms of it, is to provide a legislative and legal framework within which the Independent Broadcasting Authority will exercise its discretions. Its discretions are wide; and its discretions are virtually unlimited.
What the Bill does not do is tell the House and the country the answers to the very questions which were asked at the time of the debate on the White Paper and which most people are interested in receiving. The questions are these. How is it proposed under this structure that the I.B.A. will run a commercial radio service? Who is to get the contracts? On which criteria are contracts to be awarded? The Minister may sit there smiling at that as if it is a shocking question to ask. Surely he has had discussions with those who are to run this structure as to the criteria which are to be adopted 1268 by the I.B.A. in awarding contracts. If he has not had discussions, I shall be extremely surprised. If he has not by now, as the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, got a clear idea of the criteria which he wishes the I.B.A. to adopt, he should not be the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications.
There are many other points about the way in which the I.B.A. will exercise its discretion. Again, I suspect that the Minister has a clear idea as to how he wishes the Authority to behave. But he has not set them out in the Bill, nor has he told the House of Commons how he wishes it to be done.
Therefore, my first criticism of the Bill is that all that it does is to provide a discretionary legal framework for the I.B.A. without telling the House of Commons how those powers are to be exercised. That is not right. For that reason, if for no other, we on this side propose to divide the House against the Bill tonight.
There are three main points about the Bill and the structure proposed under it. First, I should like to say a few words about the timing of the Bill, because in this matter timing is extremely important. Secondly, I should like to return to the point I made a few moments ago about how the structure will operate in practice. Thirdly, I shall have a brief look at the question whether a commercial radio system is desirable per se in the United Kingdom at this time and for the immediate future.
As to timing, we are now at the end of 1971. We all know that in 1976 the Charters of the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. must be renewed. We also assume— at least, those of us on this side who are interested in this matter assume—that between now and then there will have to be a major and a far-reaching look at the future structure of broadcasting in Britain post-1976. Approximately every 10 or 15 years for some years past, there has been a major public discussion of the future of the broadcasting services.
If there is to be a Royal Commission or inquiry of that status, what will it have to consider? First, it will have to consider whether the existing structure of broadcasting in this country is to continue after 1976. It will have to consider such questions as whether the B.B.C. 1269 should continue to be an independent. licence-fee-financed corporation. Is that the way in which we wish a public corporation like the B.B.C. to be financed at the end of the 1970s into the 1980s? It will have to consider whether the B.B.C. should accept advertisements on its own programmes as an addition to the revenue it gets from the licence fee.
It will have to consider whether there should be three or four television channels. I am by no means convinced that I.T.V.2 is the right way of providing a fourth channel, if there is evidence that a fourth channel is desirable. It will have to consider the future relationship between the I.T.A., if it is continued, and various programme contractors, and it will clearly have to consider whether the I.T.A. has in the past used in the right way the powers that it has under the Television Act.
All those matters will have to be considered if a Commission is established. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, we on this side of the House feel strongly that before 1976 there should be a Royal Commission having a general and far-reaching look at the structure of broadcasting, in both television and sound, into the 1970s and beyond. It will also have to consider any new large-scale technological developments which might take place, such as T.V. cassettes, and so on, and the inter-reaction of such developments on the future structure of broadcasting services.
Another thing that the commission will certainly have to consider is whether commercial radio should or should not be one of the forms of broadcasting into the 1970s and 1980s. Should we have it? if so, in what form should we have it? Who should run it? Which areas should it cover? Who should own the transmitters? All those issues will have to be considered by a commission between now and 1975 or 1976.
In many ways, television and broadcasting are a peculiarly public concern. It may be that that is because everybody is a consumer. Most people have television, or access to it, and most people listen to the radio almost every day. We are all consumers in the context of these media, and a tradition has evolved over the years of obvious public examination and discussion of these prob- 1270 lems outside the normal political channels.
I do not think that the House of Commons is the right forum in which, initially at any rate, to discuss the structure of broadcasting in the future. I should want an independent public examination, by an independent body of all the issues involved. If what I have said is right about the need for public involvement, I think that the Minister should realise he is under a particular duty to justify his decisions in as public a way as possible. He cannot discharge his duty by bringing a Bill before the House, the only effect of which is to give massive unspecified discretionary powers to a broadcasting authority.
I do not think that presenting a Bill to the House of Commons is necessarily the best way of dealing with this issue. Once the Whips are put on, we know that occasionally there are strange results. I wonder how many hon. Gentlemen opposite find this an acceptable structure? I doubt very much whether the hon. Members for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls), and Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) do. I assume that because the Minister has chosen to introduce a Bill on the Floor of the House rather than, as we asked earlier this year, issue a Green Paper and have a general public discussion of all the issues hon. Gentlemen opposite will support him. If he had done what we had asked for there would have been a more rational and sensible debate. I suspect that the vote tonight will not reflect the real views of hon. Gentlemen opposite.
The argument for not proceeding to establish commercial radio now is that if we do so we shall close one of the options which the Royal Commission ought to be considering when it sits between now and 1976. It seems to me quite futile that in 1972 we should close an option which will have to be opened again by a Royal Commission in perhaps 1973 or 1974. I do not see the point, the purpose or indeed the rationality of such a suggestion. It is not a sensible way to proceed.
§ Mr. Richard Hornby (Tonbridge)
I do not see how this closes an option. If the whole show comes up for review in 1976, all that is being done now is to 1271 produce an additional pilot scheme in certain areas, which may or may not go after we review the performance of commercial and other radio and television in 1976.
§ Mr. Richard
It closes an option, first, because the principle of advertising in radio will have been accepted, and second, because £2 million will have been spent in establishing it, and I do not see the point of spending that amount of money to set up this structure if it is to be reconsidered within 18 months to two years. The third reason why I say it will close an option is that the commission will not be looking at the status quo, in the position it is now, but will be looking at the position as it will be at a time, when something new and innovatory will have occurred.
If the hon. Gentleman is with me in my argument that there has to be a major review of the structure of broadcasting— whether a public service or a commercial service, and however it is to be done— between now and the time when the franchises come up for renewal, then surely it would be much more sensible not to spend £2 million and to refrain from setting up a commercial radio service now. We should have that as one of the matters which the Royal Commission clearly should consider and which I think it would have to consider in a most serious way.
§ Mr. Hornby
If there is to be a review in 1976 of both the I.T.A. and the B.B.C., it follows that there must be careful scrutiny of both. All I am saying is that whatever the form of that inquiry, it will be looking at the status quo, but that does not mean that we have to freeze everything for three, four or five years before that. The status quo is always the status quo the moment a commission is appointed.
§ Mr. Richard
The timing of the whole review is crucial, and it is the time-scale that is crucial to the argument. We are now at the end of 1971. Even on the most conservative estimate this cannot be operative before the beginning of 1973, and it will then be a pilot scheme. The franchise has to be renewed in 1976. Any commission that is set up will have to be set up in 1974. If the hon. Gentleman agrees with me on the necessity for 1272 such a review, surely he will also agree that it is ludicrous to set up a structure of this sort in 1973, and then have it reviewed in 1974?
I want to make our attitude crystal clear. There may be a case for an alternative radio system to that provided by the B.B.C., but that case has not been made out either in the White Paper or in the Bill. It has not been shown that there is a demand for such an alternative service, or that if there is a demand for it, this is the best way of meeting it.
We do not regard ourselves as being necessarily bound to the structure proposed in the Bill, even if it becomes law. If, prior to 1976, there is, as we say there must be, a major and far-reaching inquiry into the post-1976 position, we would wish to have the continuation of commercial radio, in whatever form it is at that date, included in the terms of reference of that commission.
If at the time of taking office, a future Labour Government are faced with the situation that this Measure has been partially implemented and the structure of commercial radio is still in the process of being fully established, then we would wish to delay the implementation of the further provisions of the Bill and the structure proposed under it until after the Royal Commission had reported. That is not made as a partisan point, and I hope it will not be bandied across the Floor of the House for party political reasons.
As Pilkington is now nearly a decade old it seems to me that the House could, and should, have accepted the principle of a full-scale review between now and 1976. Had it not been for the rather foolish pledge given in the Conservative Party's election manifesto, I cannot imagine that the Minister would have come to the House passionately arguing for the introduction of commercial radio prior to the setting up of a pre-1976 commission. That is the second ground on which we would divide the House, because the timing of the Bill is utterly wrong.
§ Mr. Richard
The hon. Member shakes his head. I can understand that. No time would be wrong for the introduction of commercial radio for him. 1273 This is not true of the whole country. If we are to have such an innovation, it is important that it should be publicly justified. The Minister has not done this in respect of either principle or structure. How will the Bill, if it ever becomes law, work?
I would now like to look at three point again. The first is the Television Act, 1964, provisions as amended in this appalling way by the Bill. Secondly, I want to look at the relationship of commercial contractors with the Press, and thirdly, at the relationship between one radio contractor and another.
The Minister talked about the great safeguards contained in the Television Act. It was clear that he had never read them. In the Act itself, which for accuracy I happen to have with me, the provisions are set out in Section 3(1). It is a very pious Section. It is a splendid declaration of aim and principle which says:It shall the duty of the Authority to satisfy themselves that, so far as possible, the programmes broadcast by the Authority comply with the following requirements.…
- (a) that nothing is included in the programmes which offends against good taste or decency or is likely to encourage or incite to crime.…
- (b)"—and this is importantthat a sufficient amount of time in the programmes is given to news and news features and that all news given in the programmes (in whatever form) is presented with due accuracy and impartiality;(c) that proper proportions of the recorded and other matter included in the programmes are of British origin and of British performance;(d)that the programmes broadcast from any station or stations contain a suitable proportion of matter calculated to appeal specially to the tastes and outlook of persons served by the station or stations.…I need not read any more to give the House the flavour of that Section of the Act.
In this respect I would draw the attention of hon. Members and the Minister to four words in subsection (1), which describes the duty of the Authority to satisfy itself "so far as possible". What precisely does that mean in respect of commercial local radio? "So far as possible" give a massive discretion to the I.B.A. Let us assume, if the good town 1274 in Lincolnshire will forgive me, that Radio Scunthorpe finds, after being set up and having begun to operate, that it is not in a position to give sufficient amount of time in its programmes to news and news features. Radio Scunthorpe then says that because of the I.B.A.'s insistence upon a certain amount of time being given over to news and news features, it must sadly and painfully go out of business and the good burgesses of Scunthorpe can no longer be served by their splendid station.
What happens in that situation? What does the discretion mean when there is a clash between maintaining the standards of broadcasting, on the one hand, and the commercial viability of the station, on the other hand? I ask the Minister this seriously. I know what the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot) will say. He is in no doubt of the answer judging by the certainty of his voice. "Do not bother with news" he says; "give them what they want to hear" he says. We have heard all the arguments before. But I pose this as a serious question. There will he, inevitably, a clash between the commercial interests of the contractors, on the one hand, and the need to maintain standards, on the other hand. I ask again, what will happen then?
One can take it further. Take, for example, the situation when a station is not yet operating. Suppose that in the awarding of contracts there appears from the applications to be an obvious clash between those principles of maintaining standards and commercial viability. What then is to happen?
If, looking at the two applicants, or however many there are, it may be obvious that if the contract were to go to X, then we would get programmes of a higher standard than would be provided by Y, although Y looks as if it will be more successful at making money, what will the I.B.A. do about that? There is nothing in the Bill to say that in these circumstances the award should come down on the side of maintaining standards rather than on the side of commercial viability.
The Minister must have had thoughts about this. I assume he has had discussions with the Chairman of the I.B.A. I do not believe that Lord Aylestone has 1275 been incommunicado during the last few months. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman has had opportunities to speak to him to see how he could resolve those particular difficulties. Perhaps he would take the House into his confidence and tell us what the results of these discussions were. Unless we know the way in which the Minister intends that the I.B.A. should operate the Bill, we cannot be expected as a House of Commons to pass it.
We are not prepared to give a blank cheque to the Independent Broadcasting Authority in whatever form it takes. The relationship between the I.B.A. programme contractors, the demands on which the I.B.A. will insist, and the number of minutes per hour in which advertisements should be acceptable are matters about which we have not heard. Criteria and standards must be laid down and an attempt made to set out the ways in which advertisements will be acceptable. We can talk in bracket terms if not in terms of absolute decision. The Minister, in opening the debate, spoke in grandiose terms about the Authority having the powers contained in the Television Act. It will not. If the right hon. Gentleman will read his own Bill, he will see that one of the most important of its present powers is specifically taken away from the I.B.A. in the Bill.
§ Mr. Richard
The hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Sir J. Rodgers) shakes his head. Perhaps we had better look at this Statute.
§ Mr. Richard
No, though I think that in illegitimacy law it might be called putative. The right hon. Gentleman should look at Section 5 as contained in the First Schedule. There, he will see that the duty on the I.B.A. as regards television is narrowed down very considerably in relation to sound broadcasting, and in a very important particular. Section 5 puts into the main Act a new subsection which states:In the case of programmes other than advertisements, the methods by which the Authority discharge their duties…in relation to television broadcasts shall, and in relation to local sound broadcasts…may, include the consideration of programme schedules sub- 1276 mitted by programme contractors to the Authority for approval in accordance with this section.As I understand it, there is nothing in the Bill or in the Television Act which will now make it obligatory for programme contractors operating sound broadcasting stations even to bother to submit programme schedules to the I.B.A. The I.B.A. can insist; I accept that. There is discretion in the I.B.A. Again, however, will not the right hon. Gentleman take us over slightly into his confidence? Cannot he be more trusting with the House and tell us how he wishes to see this operated?
§ Mr. Chataway
If the hon. and learned Gentleman is suggesting that with either the B.B.C. or commercial radio every local station should be bound by a schedule which it has previously submitted to either the B.B.C. or the I.B.A., he mistakes the nature of radio and does not recognise it as a totally different animal from television.
§ Mr. Richard
If I was saying that, the right hon. Gentleman would be quite right, but I am not saying that. I am pointing out that one of the major safeguards which the I.T.A. has is being removed in its obligatory form from the I.B.A. That is all. He cannot at one and the same time give discretion to the I.B.A. and then come along and say that it has exactly the same powers, obligations and duties as under the Television Act. It does not and that is the whole point.
What I want to know from the right hon. Gentleman—and I am more than a little surprised at his reticence in not taking the House more into his confidence —is more about the way in which he wishes to see the Bill operated if it ever becomes law and if the stucture is ever established. How does he expect the I.B.A. will control the local sound broadcasting contractors? How is it to be done since no programme schedules need be submitted? What criteria, for example, are the I.B.A. to lay down for programme standards? I do not know. I do not find them in any of this legislation, and that is where they ought to be.
The Minister said one thing which quite shocked me during his opening speech, and, as hon. Members who know me will know, I am perhaps not over-easily shocked. In discussing the amount 1277 of advertising that might or might not be permissible under the Bill the Minister said, "We cannot know in advance what levels of advertising will be right." He was using that phrase in connection with the number of minutes of advertising to be permitted per hour. But why cannot he know in advance? Why cannot we tell which levels of advertising might be right? Why are we not now in a position to say in relation to sound broadcasting that a maximum of 62 to 7 minutes per hour would be quite sufficient and that if anything goes over that, up to 10 minutes, any of us would find it intolerable, whether we live in Scunthorpe or Mayfair? It is absurd for the right hon. Gentleman to try to pretend that there can be different levels of advertising and that different criteria can be applied to the level of advertising which may be right, depending on the area in which we live.
§ Mr. Richard
If the right hon. Gentleman does not mean that, he must then have in mind some level of advertising which he thinks is right. He must have thought about this, and if he has not thought about it he should have, and if he has thought about it and has come to some conclusion about what level of advertising would be on radio why does he not tell us? That is the point. It is the extraordinary reticence of the right hon. Gentleman which we deplore.
§ Mr. Chataway
I do not want to keep popping up like this, but if the hon. and learned Gentleman continues to pose these questions I have little option. I hope later to have the opportunity to reply, if I catch Mr. Speaker's eye. I have tried, over the number of advertising minutes per hour, to explain that there would have been no means before the advent of commercial television of knowing what would be an acceptable limit and there is no experience of commercial radio in this country. I was not suggesting that in different places in the country there would be different levels. It is perfectly reasonable to suppose that for different kinds of programme it may well be found that different levels of advertising are appropriate and that in some kinds of programme they are more instrusive than others. Really the hon. 1278 and learned Gentleman is on very thin ice indeed.
§ Mr. Richard
With respect, I do not need the right hon. Gentleman to tell me whether my weight is insufficient to be supported by the ice which may or may not be beneath me. I must return to what the right hon. Gentleman has said. It is clear that he has an idea as to what he considers to be the right level of advertising. He may say there should be different advertisement levels from one type of programme to another, but clearly he has ideas on this and I would have thought he was under a duty to come to the House and give us the benefit of his ideas.
§ Mr. Mayhew
Does my hon. and learned Friend recall the speech of Sir David Maxwell-Fyfe in introducing the Television Bill into the House when he said that what the Government had in mind was five or six minutes of advertising an hour? I would have thought that the Minister could at least give us some general impression about what he thinks.
§ Mr. Richard
I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. That is absolutely right. When the Minister comes to the House and, in effect, asks us to give the I.B.A. in its new form a blank cheque as to how it should operate, the least he could do would be to give us the benefit of his ideas on this point.
I would far rather have no commercial radio than bad commercial radio. If I am faced with the choice of having 60 solely pop stations up and down the country as opposed to perhaps 10 or 12 which would be commercially viable and of a high standard, then, if .I am forced into a choice, I would rather have none than have them bad.
I turn now to the relationship with the Press. As I see it, the original safe-guards in the Act against excessive newspaper holdings still apply. If this is right we shall be in an extraordinarily anomalous situation for the great conurbations. I do not want to keep referring to the Television Act but if the right hon. Gentleman would do us the courtesy of reading it before he next comes to the House he will find that in the Act there are specific provisions, giving the I.T.A. the power to intervene in circumstances 1279 in which it feels that a newspaper's shareholding in a programme contracting company has become excessive or contrary to the public interest. If we pass this Bill in its present form, as it relates to the Press, it seems that in conurbations we shall end up in an extraordinary position.
We could have this Measure giving newspapers the virtual right to buy in and the original Television Act giving the I.T.A. the power to shut them out. This may not matter in view of one of the subsections which is a saving subsection but I am concerned about the position in London. What are the Evening Standard and the Evening News? Are they local newspapers, national news papers, are they papers which are part of the group? Do we take into account the fact that one is perhaps the offspring of the Daily Express or do we merely look at the fact that they are circulating in a locality in which there may or may not be a sound broadcasting station? I do not know the answer. If we look at the provisions of the Bill and hear what the right hon. Gentleman says, it is clear that the relationship between broadcasting stations and the Press has not been thought out. Presumably the object of the exercise is to prevent a monopoly of the news media, and therefore, in the case of large-scale television holding companies the idea was that in those circumstances, if it looked as if there was a tendency towards monopoly the I.B.A. would step in and prevent it.
With local newspapers, however, the argument is presumably that the broadcasting station may affect the revenue of the newspapers and, therefore, in an endeavour to bolster up the position of the local newspapers they should have the right to buy in. Those are two inconsistent principles, particular in relation to the conurbations and to local news papers which are part of a larger group. My hon. Friend the Member for Rutherglen (Mr. Gregor Mackenzie) has raised this before and will have something to say about it tonight, I hope.
§ Mr. Gorst
Would the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that part of the newspaper provisions which allows those who reckon to be affected by the commencement of local radio programmes to buy in and thereby give them the 1280 opportunity to invest in this would be even more anomalous in the London area? I take up his point about the Evening Standard and the Evening News because if we have an all-news station in London they will automatically be in a carte blanche situation to be able to say that they are affected by the station.
§ Mr. Richard
The anomalies of this proposed relationship between the Press and the local commercial radio stations are highlighted when we consider them in relation to the big conurbations. If we go back to Scunthorpe and consider the position of the Scunthorpe Echo or the Scunthorpe News or whatever, and find that it is being sadly hit by Radio Scunthorpe, there is an argument which is at least tenable for saying that it should be entitled to some say in the way in which Radio Scunthorpe is being run. But this cannot apply to the large conurbations such as London, Manchester and Birmingham which are the very areas that the right hon. Gentleman is naming in his pilot scheme. They are the very areas in which commercial radio is first to operate.
Finally, one word about the relationship of one commercial station to another. There is nothing in the Bill to prevent a number of commercial radio stations being run by one company. If the I.B.A. were prepared to grant the franchises, there is nothing to prevent one individual or company controlling the 60 commercial radio stations throughout the country. There is no obligation of independence imposed on the I.B.A. In our view, that sort of grouping would be wrong and could be dangerous.
In the White Paper, the right hon. Gentleman was a little more forthcoming. This is what he said in paragraph 15:The same company will not necessarily be precluded from providing service at more than one place. Equally, there will be no bar on the minority participation by an investor in a number of local companies; but no individual or company will be allowed an excessive aggregate interest. The Authority will be expected to turn at a wide diversity of ownership.If that was the Government's view at the time, why is it not spelled out here? Why cannot these obligations be put into legislative form and included in the Bill? There is no reason why the discretion should not be spelled out and be examined by the House.
1281 On the social aspects of commercial radio, I made my position clear, I hope, in the debate on the White Paper. I regard this whole proposed structure as unnecessary and wasteful. First, it is a waste of money. Second, it is a waste of something even more precious, perhaps, than the £2 million which the Minister proposes to lend: it is a waste of wavelengths. The result for Great Britain. I believe, will be a trivialisation of the broadcasting media. I am against it.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)
I draw the attention of right hon. and hon. Members to the time. It may still be possible for many hon. Members to be called in the debate, but this will depend upon the restriction as regards time which those taking part exercise.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Stratton Mills (Belfast, North)
It is certainly my wish, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to set an example of brevity. Listening to the hon. and learned Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard), one had the clear impression that he was not an enthusiast for commercial radio or for the Bill, but he was careful in what he said about the attitude of a possible future Labour Government. Obviously, he recognises that there is wide potential interest in commercial radio among the people of this country. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that if he had to choose between 60 "pop" stations and 12 viable stations he would prefer the 12 viable stations. I think he is wrong on both counts. First, I do not believe that they will be "pop" stations; they must be much broader than that. Second, he is wrong in suggesting that 60 stations will not be viable.
I come to the Bill today after having had an opportunity, since the debate on the White Paper earlier this year, to visit Canada and see a little of how Canadian commercial radio is operated. I found that experience very useful as a basis for one's consideration of the Bill.
Broadly, I welcome the Bill, and, in particular, I welcome its introduction early in this Session, for I regard it as something which should be got on with promptly. There is much in the pipeline.
It has been suggested that the Bill is a rather meagre skeleton, that there are 1282 many issues which have not been dealt with and many questions left unanswered at this stage. I regard that as broadly true. But it is true, also, that many of these issues, because of the very nature of radio today and the diversity of the areas to be covered by the 60 stations, are issues probably better left to a body like the proposed Independent Broadcasting Authority than treated as matters to be written into a Statute. I regard this as a point of considerable importance.
§ Mr. Richard
The hon. Gentleman may be right—I do not agree, but I see the argument—in saying that it would be unwise to try to frame the discretion given to the I.B.A. in strict legislative form. But would it not be essentially right for the Minister at least to tell the House how he would like to see that discretion exercised?
§ Mr. Stratton Mills
I take the point, but the difficulty here is that there will be 60 different types of station covering greatly varying areas, for example, on the one hand, the London area with a population of 8 million, and, on the other, strictly rural areas with, perhaps, a population of 100,000. It is difficult, therefore, to lay down in specific terms many of the points which the hon. and learned Gentleman raised. As regards the news service, my right hon. Friend indicated the sort of lines on which he would like to see it advance. I see that, broadly, as the kind of mix, but I shall come in a moment or two to several points in the Bill about which I am not quite so happy.
One of the biggest questions is: How much advertising will commercial radio have? What will be the buoyancy of advertising for commercial radio? The total advertising budget in this country is £529 million a year. The experience of other countries with commercial radio is that about 10 per cent. of advertising revenue goes into commercial radio. I do not suggest that the share in this country would be as high as £50 million or so, at least for some time ahead, but even at 5 per cent. it would be £25 million. The Government's estimate is that something like £10 million, or 2 per cent., of advertising revenue would go to commercial radio. I regard that as a little on the low side. One would certainly hope for greater buoyancy than that.
1283 Now, the question of the number of stations. The White Paper speaks of 60 stations covering 65 to 70 per cent. of the population. This means that about 15 million people, on the basis of those plans, will not receive commercial radio. I entirely accept that it is important to reach a fairly broad coverage effectively and at an early date, but I ask that nothing be done in the allocation of frequencies or in the preparation of the plans for these 60 stations which would inhibit the growth of further stations to compete and to cover wider areas of the country. I hope that that door will be left very much open.
Now, the question of the news service. If we are to have local radio, it is vital to have local news and information about matters of local community interest. But I greatly welcome my right hon. Friend's decision to have a good spread of national and international news. If the local stations do not have that, at peak times of the day they will lose their audience to the B.B.C. Although—I differ here from many hon. Members—I enjoy the type of programme associated with Mr. William Hardcastle. But I think it much better that there should be competitors and that there should be several programmes of that kind. It seems to me that the type of system proposed will give opportunities for just that.
How do people use the radio today? They do not, as they did some years ago, sit down to an evening's listening to a concert, a play, and so forth. They do not spend a complete evening listening to the radio. Either one has it on as—I think that this was the phrase of a former Postmaster-General—a kind of "audible wallpaper" or one uses it "on tap", as it were, turning it on for different items from time to time during the day. I find that I use five radio sets, and I think that I could, perhaps, use more if I were a little better organised.
People are listening to news broadcasts at various hours. I like the idea of a London station with a first-class news bulletin perhaps on the hour, followed by talks, discussions and so on, so that people know that on the hour they can receive such a service. I think that the operation of that news service will be a goldmine. I have no doubt that it will be a financially very success- 1284 ful venture for the programme contractors in the London area—[Interruption.] I have not finished my sentence yet—and that is why I am particularly keen that my right hon. Friend and the Independent Broadcasting Authority should make it clear that those contractors should provide a news service to the other commercial radio stations, which will be having a much more difficult time, at a nominal cost. That will help them to get their stations off the ground and provide a wider service.
I hope that my right hon. Friend will also be able to give us some idea of the costs involved in a London national news programme.
I should also like some information on the question of networking generally. It appears from the Bill that there are opportunities for other types of networking as well as a news service but there are also restrictions. May we have more details on how it is intended that such networking should operate?
I like the idea of "prime stations", which has been mentioned in the Press. The idea is that commercial stations operating in the big towns, such as Birmingham and Manchester, should be able to make some of their services available on a feed basis for part of the day to the small stations operating in their area. That has many attractions.
There is another point which may be intended to be left to the I.B.A. but which I believe is a matter of higher policy. The B.B.C. is operating about 20 local stations. Is it intended that in certain areas some of the 60 commercial stations will operate in competition with the B.B.C. or that those areas should be left entirely to the B.B.C.?
I have said that there are two items in the Bill that I am not happy about. One of them concerns the Press. My right hon. Friend is right to include an opportunity for the Press to take an interest in commercial radio. It has much to contribute, and on broader social grounds it is right that it should have the opportunity. But the scheme is, of its nature, extremely arbitrary and will probably produce some pretty odd results. Is it really workable in the present form? I think that the hon. and learned Member for Barons Court asked about the 1285 position of the national groups, such as the Thomson-type group in evening newspapers or the Beaverbrook type of group. I believe that there is a provision enabling the I.B.A. to impose some restriction on these groups, but I should welcome more details from my right hon. Friend on that point.
§ Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)
Can my hon. Friend tell us from his experience of Canada whether the public sector and commercial stations compete there? I do not know the Canadian system at all myself.
§ Mr. Stratton Mills
In any number of areas there are two or three stations competing in the bigger towns.
§ Mr. Stratton Mills
Certainly there is substantial competition between various stations.
The final point that I am unhappy about is the question of what has been called excess profits. I have no fundamental objection to some method of payments to be made to the I.B.A., because the stations are, at least initially, operating a public monopoly. Perhaps when there is greater competition between stations that may not be so relevant, but to get the scheme off the ground they will be operating on a monopoly basis. But I wonder whether the scheme in the Bill is too arbitrary. What is an excess level of profits? At what level does the scheme begin to bite? Should it be on turnover or on profits? A blank cheque is given to the Government of the day; the matter is left to the executive decision of the Minister. I should be happier if we could consider in Committee a scheme under which the Minister of the day had to introduce a statutory order before invoking these provisions, and I should prefer a system based on turnover, in the light of experience after the working of commercial radio. I should also prefer something written into the Bill to say that the provisions will not be operated within, say, a couple of years of any station commencing, so that the people operating it can plan for at least a minimum period.
Those are points of detail. I believe that the Bill is a very interesting Measure, widely welcomed in the country. I join in welcoming it this afternoon.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hills-borough)
Leaving aside the suggestion of the hon. Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills) that the Bill will produce a profitable commercial local radio system, with which I am not entirely in agreement, I think he should be congratulated on supporting the view expressed by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) that we need a review commission before we go any further. I am sure that the Minister will not answer the hon. Gentleman's list of questions, certainly not adequately. I am equally sure that the right hon. Gentleman will not adequately answer the further questions that will be put to him during the debate.
The Minister has two choices. At the end of the day, when we see that he has not answered our questions adequately, the Second Reading of the Bill should be postponed until he is in a position to do so. It would be much better to accept my hon. and learned Friend's view, which we fully support. Let us have the review commission, so that any proposals to provide competition for B.B.C. radio will have been properly considered and so that we know precisely the advantages and disadvantages of the various schemes about which the right hon. Gentleman spoke.
This is a thoroughly bad Bill, for the reasons which my hon. and learned Friend expressed. It is badly drafted and is doubtful, vague and confusing where it should be clear and precise, particularly in regard to the criteria for the handing out of franchises and the rules to be laid down for the conduct of commercial radio.
I also oppose the Bill to register my disapproval of the Government's contemptible sense of priorities. To bring forward this Measure before all the other urgent legislative Measures that we require is disgraceful.
I intend to be brief because many of my hon. Friends wish to speak, but there are three issues which I want to raise. One of them was touched upon by my hon. and learned Friend. It concerns Clause 6—the injection, as it were, of 1287 television interests into commercial radio. The explanatiory memorandum says:Clause 6 provides that a television contractor may not be awarded a contract to provide local radio programmes within the area served by his television transmitting station or stations to which his contract relates…".But that is not what Clause 6 says, unless we are departing from the old rule in our legislation that the word "may" means "shall". Clause 6 says:In the performance of their duty under subsection (2)(b) of this section the Authority shall do all that they can to secure…".that television interests will not be allowed to operate commercial radio stations in the areas in which they have their television contracts.
So we can get a situation where, for various reasons, the Authority hands out a commercial radio franchise to a television company in the area where it operates. I take Sheffield as an example. It may be that Yorkshire Television would be handed a shareholding—not, of course, complete control—in a Sheffield radio company, although the Bill suggests that the Authority should try to avoid that situation. What the Authority apparently is being asked to do is to give special consideration in the handing out of the franchise to a radio company that may have television associations but whose television associations are in a different part of the country.
I believe in competition, and I must make that clear in case the right hon. Gentleman says that all hon. Members on this side are opposed to competition in radio and broadcasting. I joined with some associates of mine in 1948 in putting proposals to the Beveridge Commission. At that time I was employed by the B.B.C. We suggested that the B.B.C. monopoly should be broken and that there should be four independent competing public service corporations, two for television and two for radio, all of them taking, if they wished, advertising revenue but all of them working on a public service basis, having no private share. holders and not distributing any profits. I still think that that would have been the most satisfactory set-up to have had in this country for the beginning of television. I still think that it would be worth while looking at if we wished for any reason at all to begin to break up the present system.
1288 I therefore believe in competition in broadcasting—very much so—but not the kind of competition which the right hon. Gentleman is proposing. I think that television should be kept out of commercial radio for these competitive reasons. I think that we are going to get the worst of every possible world if we allow a television contractor to go in to a local radio company when he has no association with the area where the radio company is to operate, no interest in its people and no interest in the community, but is there for one purpose only, the purpose given by the hon. Member for Belfast, North—that this is a gold mine and he wants to put his fingers in the till.
§ Mr. Darling
I shall not give way because so many people want to speak.
Look at what is going to happen to the stations which will not be very profitable, as the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) mentioned and as the Minister agreed. There are parts of the country where commercial radio will not be profitable. What will happen? These will be not necessarily the rural areas but what one might call the "middle profitability areas". A television contractor concerned only with the profits in that area and the public image he has in his television area will be very cost-conscious about the radio programmes because if that radio station in which he has an interest puts out expensive programmes his profits will not be as high as if it puts out cheap programmes.
If we are to have 60 radio stations and the television interests come in to the system in the way I have described, I can see this form of injection of television having a very retrogressive effect on the quality of radio programmes. I may be wrong, but I think these dangers should be examined. Certainly, if the right hon. Gentleman really believes in competition he should keep television companies out. I do not want to see television interests getting into commercial radio unless we know precisely how those interests are to be operated, and we have no indication of that in the Bill. The way in which the right hon. Gentleman skated over Clause 6 rather indicates that he has some doubts about the way it is 1289 going to work and the way in which television interests are going to be infused. I do not think that he should reply tonight. He should think these things over and let us have another Second Reading debate on some kind of Bill, say in three years' time.
Secondly, there is the question of newspapers. I know that many of my hon. Friends, if not all of them, consider that bringing newspaper interests into ownership—into the shareholding and the exercising of an element of control— of local commercial radio stations in their circulation areas is not desirable. I do not want to discuss that side of it. I want to discuss the advertising aspect. Many provincial and local newspapers are working on a very narrow margin of profit and loss. I have been told by some of them that the difference of 5 per cent. in their advertising revenue at the moment, with costs going up, would decide whether they stayed in business or were forced out. If local radio took away 5 or 6 or 10 per cent. of their advertising revenue, they would be in grave difficulties.
I believe that a local newspaper is far more important, far more useful and far more desirable to the community it serves than is local commercial radio. But this raises another problem which obviously the right hon. Gentleman has not considered. Supposing he is wrong in the view he expressed in the White Paper in suggesting that newspapers would not be adversely affected by local radio and that local newspapers would not have to close down. The responsibility rests here if they do close—on Government and Parliament for passing the legislation which has put them out of business. That is not free competition. We shall have legislated to put them out of business. The right hon. Gentleman must think carefully—another reason for postponing the debate—about what the Government propose to do to help those newspapers which they may put out of business.
My third point comes back to the question of priorities. Advertising on commercial radio will obviously be very different from the advertising put out on television. Of course, some advertisements will be the same on both media, but in general it will be national advertising on television and local advertising 1290 on local commercial stations. Therefore, local radio will not take much, if any, advertising revenue from television. That is a point which we must bear in mind when dealing with local newspapers. If the newspapers get into difficulties, they will not be compensated for the loss of their advertising revenue by having a bit of the net profit of a station in which they have a minority shareholding.
Let us consider what the local stations must do about advertising control. What the Minister said was utterly inadequate. The Broadcasting Authority will have a tremendously difficult job in working out a code of advertising conduct for local radio. Obviously it will consult bodies like the Advertising Standards Authority. which could help it very much. But there is one body missing which used to look after the consumers' interests, and that is the Consumer Council. To abolish the Consumer Council was one of the most stupid actions—I was about to call it jiggery-pokery, but I do not know whether that is parliamentary language— of this stupid Government because now the voice of the consumer is not heard. Something must be done to remedy that situation.
How the local broadcasting stations will make sure that all the advertisements are true, and correctly describe the advertised goods, will be a problem. If the advertisements mislead potential customers. I suppose the television station, the manufacturer or the advertiser may be prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act. But we want something more than a prosecution after the event. It will be extremely difficult to ensure that all the goods advertised on commercial radio are examined beforehand, but something must be done. I have ideas about this matter which I shall put forward between now and whenever we have the postponed Second Reading debate to which I have referred. I ask the Minister to consider this matter. We must have a code of advertising practice which makes sense. and we must ensure that advertisements on commercial radio do not mislead customers and that they are properly supervised.
On the whole, this is such a bad Bill and so many questions will be raised about it that I hope that the Minister will accept my advice and take it away and 1291 come back with something different in about three years' time.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Sir John Rodgers (Sevenoaks)
I welcome the introduction of the Bill. It is something for which I have worked for the last 20 years. Any Member who has his constituents' interests in mind must vote for it because it provides further channels of information, views and entertainment without imposing further burdens on the taxpayer and without detracting from any of the existing channels. People value very much a choice of programmes.
I was interested to hear the hon. and learned Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) keep referring to Scunthorpe. I hope that it does not mean that he is a little doubtful about whether he can hold Barons Court at the next election and is beginning to woo Scunthorpe. The people of Scunthorpe will look forward to an extra channel for which they do not have to pay any extra money
. I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Minister on introducing the Bill. I agree that there are several places where it should be amended, and no doubt the Committee stage will be lengthy. However, the Bill is long overdue. We have demonstrated that commercial television is acceptable and is liked. We shall quickly see that commercial radio is equally acceptable and equally liked.
There are one or two features which must be very carefully considered in Committee. Like one or two of my hon. Friends, I am very surprised that a Conservative Administration should introduce a Bill which provides that excess profits, whatever they may be, should be clawed back by the new Authority. I should have thought that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whatever his political comlexion, was competent enough to claw back through corporation tax and other taxes any excess profits which a firm may make.
I am worried about the references in the Bill to rental payments. Clause 5(1) proposes that the Authority shall decide what percentage on capital employed is allowable and that anything in excess may, by direction of the Minister and after consultation with the Authority and after the consent of the Treasury, be paid 1292 into a consolidated account. Presumably the money in the consolidated account would be used to subsidise the smaller stations which are not very profitable or provide common services at lower prices. I do not believe that this is good Tory policy. This is Socialism in action.
I see many great snags in this. The first is a change of Government to one which might be hostile to commercial radio—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] If we go ahead with the Clause, we shall provide a hostile Government with a very simple remedy to get rid of commercial radio because it could put up the radio rental to make it uneconomic for the local stations to operate. More over, there is no mention in the Bill of a warning period; apparently the Minister's directive will come into force immediately. How can a commercial radio station which is working to a budget prepared in advance have all its operating figures invalidated because the rental payment to the Authority has been set at a new and higher level? I am not an expert in the law, but I feel that the effects of this provision might be mitigated if Section 13(6) of the Television Act, 1964, were read into the Bill. I hope that the Minister will comment on that point.
There is another aspect of the Bill which worries me. I do not see how an argument can be made out for saying that the commercial radio stations should not be allowed to own their own transmitters. There was a technical argument in favour of this in respect of television, but commercial radio transmitters are cheap and easy to operate. I do not think that it is necessary for the Independent Broadcasting Authority to own them. I recognise that my right hon. Friend the Minister does not wish to see great profits made. He does not wish to see a repetition of the situation which we all deplored in the past when Lord Thomson said that he had been given a licence to print his own money.
However, we should not be under the illusion that the Bill will provide a goldmine for many people. I speak with some experience here. Operations in cities like London, Manchester and Liverpool will be profitable, but I do not think it will be easy to run many of the smaller stations at a profit and get adequate revenue. 1293 This is a point about which I should like to hear more and which we should consider in Committee. Are there provisions for national hook-ups, not only of programmes but, much more important, of national advertising through the 60 or so stations? That would attract more advertising revenue.
I should like to say a word about disqualified persons and I would like the Minister to say something about this, too. This has caused great puzzlement to a lot of people, not least to television companies. Presumably, a television company which has subsidiaries engaged in music publishing or records could not itself apply for a licence. Could the Minister say whether other subsidiary companies of a parent company which do not include disqualified persons would be allowed to apply for a sound broad-casting licence? I would be grateful to have his views on that.
I would also like the Minister to say a word about the share owners. I have always believed that local newspapers should be closely associated with commercial sound broadcasting, and for this reason I felt that the restrictions on news paper holdings in television companies should not be used as a precedent in local sound broadcasting. They have not been so used, and I am glad of that. Obviously, papers like the Evening Standard and Evening News will be seriously affected when we get not one but two radio stations operating in London and one of them is engaged solely with news. Therefore, it is right and proper that they should have some participation, some sort of holding, against possible loss. The right hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) referred to this. He did not say that this would be one way in which a possible 5 per cent. loss could be compensated, by having an interest in a station itself and getting some profits that way. However, that is one of the ways, and I would hope that local newspapers will be permitted to participate in the operation of the local radio stations.
However, in Clause 7, with the new Section 12A, and subsection (4)(a) of that new Section, I wonder whether the Minister has not gone a little too far. This lays down that a sound broadcasting applicant shall not be granted a licence unless he has offered a local news- 1294 paper participation. Surely this goes rather far? Are a Tory Government going to bring in a Bill which will say that Lord Thomson cannot start a new newspaper unless he offers the local radio station a share in it before starting to co-operate? I think this is a situation in which my right hon. Friend has got himself into rather a mess. While I favour participation by local newspapers, I think we shall have to look closely at the wording of that part of the Bill.
I should like to know what machinery there is for divesting oneself of a share holding. If a local newspaper, for example, finds that it is not profitable to continue a holding which has been offered and accepted, does the proprietor sell the shareholding back to the Authority? Does he sell it to the remaining shareholders in proportion to their shareholdings so that it is divided up that way? Or is he allowed to find another and higher bidder, perhaps outside the existing consortium, and sell at a good price, always subject to the negative approval of the Authority? I should like to hear a word on that, too.
The final point I want to make is about monitoring. The right hon. Member for Hillsborough mentioned this. There is no mention in the Bill at the moment of this, but there should be provision for it, in advance but not post hoc. If people feel that they have been libelled, slandered or disadvantaged in any way by a broadcast, they should be allowed to ask for the record of what was said in that broadcast. I should like it to be mandatory in the Bill that tapes, which are cheap, should record broadcasts and should be kept for at least six months so that a record may be preserved for a reasonable period. I should like to know what my right hon. Friend thinks about that.
As I say, I welcome the Bill. There are in it many points which, I think, will have to be seriously considered in Committee and altered, but I do not want to sound carping because I think that the Bill is a great step forward and will be welcomed by the public at large. I hope that the Minister will—to use a phrase I have heard from the opposite benches—take a long, cool look at some of the criticisms of the Bill, because I think they are of a serious nature.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Brian O'Malley (Rotherham)
If I were not already opposed to the introduction of commercial radio the speech of the hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Sir J. Rodgers) would convince me that I ought to be. It was interesting that throughout his speech there was absolutely no mention of social responsibility, of public standards. The things which concerned him, almost to the exclusion of anything else, were, first of all, profit, and secondly—if I may use the elegant language of my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) some time ago—that some interests should be able to get their snouts into the gravy bowl. That sums up in total the speech of the hon. Gentleman.
During the debate on the White Paper in May this year, I set out my reasons for being opposed to the introduction of commercial radio. Those reasons to a large extent represented the views of the musical profession. I shall not repeat those reasons tonight, but what can be said is that, having looked at the Bill, and having heard the Minister make his contribution to the debate this evening, I see no reason to change my opposition to the introduction of commercial radio on the pattern which the Minister is proposing. My opposition is strengthened by what I have read in the Bill and what I have heard tonight.
We are told by a recent report in one of the national newspapers that the Minister has not been anxious to talk about this Bill all the summer; he has in his Ministry been prepared to listen to representations and views from all kinds of organisations. I am bound to say to him, certainly so far as the musical profession is concerned, that in this Bill and in his speech this evening there is absolutely no sign that he has taken any notice at all of what was said to him. Indeed, judging by the Minister's performance this evening, there is not much evidence that he has even listened to his civil servants, because he was, quite clearly, incapable of answering the questions which were put to him by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard). As I say, the interests of the musical profession have been completely ignored, and any conversations the Minister may have had with representatives of 1296 that profession may as well not have taken place.
One is driven to the conclusion that the only result of the Minister's summer of listening has been that he has come to two conclusions on two important matters, first, that the postal services of this country are too good and too cheap and that he will do his best to make them less good and more expensive, and second, that his responsibility, as a Minister of the Crown in a British Government, should be to provide what is virtually a rigged market for commercial radio operators. I can only say to him that it is a pity that he and the Government do not show the same tender regard for the interests, for example, of the steel industry and the shipbuilding industry, where the jobs of thousands of men are at stake today, as he is showing for the lobbyists who want to move into commercial radio and who were making contributions to the Tory Party funds at the time of the General Election. Even his hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) in his intervention earlier seemed to agree that we were providing favourable conditions for a rigged market for commercial radio speculators.
It is said, and, of course, it is true, that there is a very special relationship between music and sound radio. Of course, radio is very largely dependent on music, and could hardly operate without it. That is more the case with radio than it is with television, and yet the Minister has introduced a Bill which makes no acknowledgment of this fact and in which there is no recognition of the potentially adverse consequences to the musical profession. Yet, on the other hand, he makes specific inclusion of the interests of the newspaper proprietors, who are likely to be affected much more indirectly than are members of the music profession.
My distinct impression of the Minister's attitude is that the I.B.A. is being told to make commercial radio work, whatever the consequences for public standards and for the livelihood of the people affected. One clue to the Minister's unwillingness to talk about the amount of advertising time that should be allowed per hour is that he is prepared to distort the market and allow I.B.A. to distort the market because he says that normal commercial criteria are not to apply and, whatever the 1297 consequences, we must make commercial radio a success. This is clear from the rag tag and bare bones of the Bill. The Minister expects the I.B.A. to become the guardian of the shareholders in commercial radio rather than the guardian of the public purse and the public interest, and this is disgraceful.
I want to say a word about needle time. We are concerned not only about needle time but about many other effects of commercial radio on the musical profession. It has been pointed out to me by people who would like to move into commercial radio that the tribunal which considered the amount of needle time for Manx Radio allowed needle time of 50 per cent. of the total broadcasting hours. The Local Radio Association wants more than this. I respect the Association for saying honestly exactly what it wants, but it should be borne in mind that when the tribunal gave Manx Radio 50 per cent. needle time it said in summing up that the only reason why Manx Radio was given so much was that there were special circumstances and that this should in no sense be taken as a precedent for any other application for needle time.
I hope that the Minister will write into the Bill, and ensure, that negotiations on needle time for commercial radio are between the I.B.A. and Photographic Performance Ltd. rather than individual contractors.
§ Mr. O'Malley
Because I should expect the I.B.A., as a public body, to take into account the public interest, and I should not expect commercial radio operators to have the same sense of responsibility.
§ Mr. O'Malley
I am saying no such thing. Lord Denham, speaking from the Government Front Bench in the other place, speculated on the possibilities. I am replying to that speculation and saying that in my view the negotiation 1298 should be between I.B.A. and the P.P.L. rather than the contractors.
The musical profession would expect that any needle time agreement with commercial radio operators should be not more favourable to them than the agreement with the B.B.C. I would oppose any undermining of the B.B.C. and any endangering of employment levels for the musical profession within the B.B.C. The Musicians Union, to which I belong, does not object to any extension of the amount of time devoted to music on the air. Rather the reverse. The profession is concerned that there should be a proper balance between music which is specially produced for broadcasting and recorded music.
§ Mr. O'Malley
The hon. Gentleman would do better to discuss that subject with would-be commercial radio operators and the Musicians Union. It is not helpful to this debate.
The musical profession would not object to the extension of time devoted to music on the air, but asks the Minister to ensure that there are criteria to be implemented by the I.B.A. Due regard should be paid to the interests of the musical profession, and the best way of doing that is to ensure that a defined proportion of programme content is specially produced material, and that there is a defined relationship between the total amount of music broadcast and the specially produced musical material.
If this is to be responsible broadcasting, it should not only provide employment for musicians but should ensure that there is a proper spread of employment throughout the local radio stations.
Under Clause 4(4) and (6) the I.B.A. will have a fund which, subject to certain directions from the Minister, can be used for several purposes determined by the Authority and the Minister. It might be possible for the I.B.A. to sponsor an orchestra or orchestras in London and in the provinces where major local radio stations are set up.
I sum up by saying that most of the prospective contractors who have expressed opinions in the last 12 months 1299 have made it clear, implicitly and explicitly, that they are primarily concerned about the massive exploitation of gramophone records. That is the nature of commerical radio all over the world, and it is one reason why I am strongly opposed to the proposals. Even if I approved of the principle of commercial radio, which I do not, the framework of local radio envisaged by the White Paper and the Bill provides the wrong structure to serve the public interest and the interests of the professions concerned with broadcasting. So I oppose the Bill, root and branch. It is a bad Bill. But, since the Government are determined to push it through, we must try to improve it wherever we can. I have given early notice to the Minister of the lines along which the Bill might be improved. I hope that the Minister will consider writing specifically into the Bill a regard for the professions concerned with broadcasting, including the musical profession, in the same way as he has shown in the Bill concern for the newspaper proprietors.
§ 6.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Julian Critchley (Aldershot)
I shall be very brief indeed. In the debate on the White Paper some months ago I said that my support for commercial radio was lukewarm. Nothing that has happened in the intervening months has served to heat my enthusiasm. I fear that commercial radio will be a massive vulgarity rivalled only by the first and second channels of the B.B.C. It is only as a motorist that I shall be induced to enter the Lobby on the same side as my hon. Friends.
I wish to raise three points: news, excess profits and the rÔle of newspapers in the formulation of this Bill. I am still not convinced it is a good idea in a local radio service to oblige local radio operators to interrupt their programmes at frequent intervals with national and international news. Were I passing through Scunthorpe—I say Scunthorpe since the hon. and learned Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) opposite seems to have a thing about Scunthorpe—I would not want to hear national or international news. I would want to know who were behind in their rent. If there is to be local radio, the news should be local. The argument for having a news service 1300 in London boils down to this: that two Hardcastles are better than one. This is not a thesis I would go along with.
Nor am I convinced that the local newspapers should be granted this curious status which this Bill would allow them. I do not think there is a single interest in this country that should be shored up in this way. When I am led to believe on very good authority that the example in the United States of the effect of commercial radio on newspapers is to increase the profitability of commercial newspapers, I suspect that my hon. Friend has surrendered to the pressures of the Newspaper Society in making this special arrangement for this one interest. This is not something I could support were I fortunate enough to be on the Committee on this Bill.
It is extremely difficult to decide how to define "excess profits", but surely the preferred solution in the hypothetical circumstances of hard-faced men making a great deal of money is to inject into the structure more competition and to increase the number of stations. I have been told that 60 stations is the limit, but for years we have been told by the B.B.C. that five stations, then 15, then 25 and finally 60 stations are the limit. Even if it is true that 60 stations are the limit—and I doubt that that is true— there is nothing to stop new stations on VHF, and surely this is the only way to meet the whole problem of excess profits.
I should like to ask my right hon. Friend to say in his reply what is the maximum number of stations in which one company may have an interest or a controlling interest.
I am not certain whether my right hon. Friend has discussed the hours of broadcasting and to what extent commercial radio will be allowed to broadcast over a period of time. This again is something on which I should like clarification.
My final point concerns watchdogs; namely, a broadcasting council. I have advocated outside the House the setting up of a broadcasting council. I will not rehearse the arguments I could deploy in favour of a broadcasting council, save to say that the idea has widespread support on both sides of the House as well as in the country as a whole. If we are now introducing legislation to 1301 increase the area of broadcasting, surely the argument for a watchdog broadcasting council is strengthened. If my right hon. Friend—who has been moderately inflexible in his attitude to setting up a broadcasting council, since he has been shifting his weight from one foot to the other—is now suggesting that it might be possible in 1975, 1976 or 1977 for a broadcasting council to be considered along with all the other recommendations at that period for the revised structure of broadcasting, it is strange that he will not apply that argument to this Bill. He will not wait until 1975 or 1976 before introducing a Bill in favour of commercial broadcasting, but he uses as an argument against a broadcasting council that he will not move now, but will wait for four or five years before giving any consideration to this matter. Therefore, my support for his Bill will be a reluctant support.
§ 6.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)
Listening to this debate, an idea occurs to me regarding the number of stations, which I feel might be of value to the Minister. It seems to me that the natural number of sound broadcasting stations should be equivalent to the number of Government back-bench Members of Parliament. I say this because a whole number of Government back benchers are not here in the Chamber. Are they to he excluded from the pork barrel if the Bill becomes law? It would be monstrously unfair. I hope the Minister will consider this suggestion since he might find this a convenient course at a later date.
I agree with what was said by my right hon. Friend about the main weakness of the Bill being that it entrusts to the I.T.A. powers which the I.T.A. from its present record has shown no capacity to exercise properly. Nobody who has studied the record of the I.T.A. can doubt that from first to last it has handled its responsibilities with lamentable weakness and a lack of influence and power in regard to programme companies.
We have had long arguments about the amount of advertising that should be allowed, and the Minister is to leave this entirely to the I.B.A. I ask him to study the record of the amount of advertising allowed on commercial television. He 1302 will find the early controversy in which the then Minister, unlike the present Minister, who was in charge of the Television Bill, exercised his judgment and said to the House that he had in mind a period of five or six minutes to the hour. It was notable that this formula was taken by the I.T.A. and interpreted in a way that was wholly inconsistent with the then intentions of the House; it was interpreted as meaning five or six minutes in the hour averaged over the day.
This meant that at lunchtime, for example, when there were virtually no viewers and when advertising rates were low, two or three minutes of advertising were allowed; and then at peak hours, when advertising rates were high and everybody was watching, up to 10 minutes in the hour were allowed and the whole exercise worked out at six minutes an hour average. That is how the I.T.A. handled the matter when the Television Bill went through. We shall want a lot more convincing over this Bill before handing over to the I.T.A. the same powers on sound broadcasting.
I wish now to deal with the question of contracts. We are told that we can trust the I.B.A. to handle the contracts for the sound broadcasting companies. I suppose the evidence the Minister wants us to consider is the way in which I.T.A. handled contracts for the existing programme companies. Why should we assume that the T.B.A., in view of the record of I.T.A. on the Thames Television and the London Weekend contracts, will be qualified to judge in the public interest which programme company is or is not capable of running these stations? Why should we trust the I.T.A. to carry out this duty in relation to sound broadcasting in the light of its record on television programme companies?
I confess that my opposition to this Bill is fundamental. I oppose the whole conception of broadcast advertising. I consider it has not proved itself, and I believe that long before 1976 arrives there will be a tide of opinion against it. I shall come on to my reasons for saying that a little later, and I shall indicate that I believe will be a very lively subject of controversy before 1976; namely, a wholly new form of financing broadcasting in this country.
1303 I shall not weary the House by repeating the arguments which I hope are now accepted on both sides and by public opinion about the weaknesses of broadcast advertising. All the surveys show that the commercials in themselves, especially those which interrupt programmes, are not liked by viewers or listeners. It is true that a certain amount of steamrollering has hardened our skins to commercial advertising on television, but there is still a dislike of commercials. I have not heard any hon. Member opposite say that, other things being equal, he prefers his broadcasting with advertising rather than without it. No one takes that view, and I do not think anyone's constituents take that view.
There are still occasions when commercial advertising causes great offence and is monstrously intrusive. I cannot help reminding hon. Members of a most extraordinary broadcasting event which took place recently. Some hon. Members may have seen it. It was a performance on I.T.V. of Hamlet. As an old critic of I.T.V., naturally I felt in duty bound to watch. It was a shortened and souped-up version. One sequence, lasting a minute, was wholly memorable. The first part showed the Danish king at prayer:My words fly up, my thoughts remain below…".The second half of the sequence showed a bottle of Danish lager being poured into a glass. One should not knock I.T.V. After all, this was its great cultural event of the year. But I could not help thinking what a splendid description it was of the propaganda of the commercial broadcasting lobby: "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below." In their prospectus, the commercial companies show the wonderful standards of broadcasting that they will observe. But their thoughts are on the bank balance. They stay downstairs. That is the secret of a great deal of the propaganda for commercial broadcasting.
Advertising is wholly wrong because— I think that it is agreed on both sides— since it is motivated to maximise advertising revenue, it is motivated to ignore the interests of minorities. This has been proved over and over again. The Minister has indicated it. He should know better. In the debate on the White Paper he said: 1304If people do not want to listen, people will not advertise, and no one gets any money. The person who has invested in the station loses his money."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th May, 1971; Vol. 818, c. 502-3.]Of course that is right. The converse is also true. The more people listen, the more people advertise, the more money comes in, and the more profit is made by the station.
What the Minister fails to understand is that to try to maximise one's audience is not the way to produce those programmes which are most keenly enjoyed by those who see or hear them. That can be proved. There are two audience research indices by the B.B.C. One registers how many people see a programme. The other registers how keenly enjoyed it is by those who see it. There is no relation between the two. One might think that the larger the audience, the more keenly enjoyed the programme. That is disproved. What is proved is that a programme designed for a specific interest, a programme of a particular type or for a particular audience, is more keenly enjoyed, just as we prefer a tailor-made suit to one off the peg. I think that the I.T.A. has conceded that. It is what we meant when we talk about "balance". To maximise advertising revenue is to maximise one's audience. To maximise one's audience is to ignore minorities, local interests and local issues.
Moreover, all this is based on the illusion, of course, that if we allow advertising, we are getting something for nothing. Many people believe that advertising is a miraculous provider of free television, cheap newspapers, and so on. To believe that is to ignore that normally we pay part of the cost of advertising when we buy the advertised product. That is another reason why the case against broadcast advertising is so strong.
I suppose that the Bill will pass, albeit with some difficulty. But I do not think it will survive much beyond 1976. It gives the wrong motivation to broadcasting, it is based on the illusion that we are getting something for nothing, and the commercials themselves are disliked by viewers and listeners. I sense among young people a growing disillusionment with commercial advertising and its intrusions. I have been cheered to see that outdoor advertising is now virtually banned. People see an advertisement 1305 which interrupts their view of the countryside as a form of environmental pollution. In due course they will see that an advertisement which interrupts their broadcasting is also a form of environmental pollution. The first is a form of the pollution of the physical environment. The second, which is more pervasive and damaging, is a form of pollution of the cultural environment.
It is strange that the Minister, who before he got his present post was active in campaigning against environmental pollution, is now leading the race for what might be called cultural pollution. This will become increasingly evident as the years go by, because it is intrusive and is alien to the conception of broadcasting.
As 1976 approaches, I believe that there will be more discussion of a radically different means of financing our broadcasting. I am not wedded to the B.B.C. monopoly, but a different means of financing broadcasting can help create a form of public service competition.
The time is over when the licence fee was a suitable instrument for financing the B.B.C. It was suitable at a time when only a proportion of the public had radio or television sets. Then it was logical and fair that those who had them should pay licence fees and that those who had not should not. But always it was a clumsy method. Always there was evasion. There is now £9 million a year worth of evasion, as a result of our sticking to the licence system. Licence money is also a nuisance and rather expensive to collect. But now that over 90 per cent. of the people have sets it is becoming quite inappropriate as a means of financing the B.B.C.
The argument used against financing it from general taxation is that the licence gives the B.B.C. independence from the Government. That is a false argument, for two reasons. In the first place, from 1947 to 1960 the Treasury raided the licence money. For all that period of 13 years the B.B.C. was directly dependent on Government good will for its financing. We did not hear any complaint about that situation. In the second place, we finance our universities, our theatres and our music out of the general fund of taxation without compromising their independence. We have learned how to do it. We have learned that it is pos- 1306 sible to finance an independent body through an independent channel from the general fund of taxation. That is how we should look at it in the future. Enormous savings will be made on the fees which are at present evaded and on the cost of collection.
What about I.T.V.'s financing in this context, because that comes into this? In 1976, with a Labour Government, we shall have legislation to reform I.T.V. in the direction recommended by the Pilkington Committee some years ago. That will mean that the I.T.A. becomes the recipient of all the advertising revenue and purchases the programmes from the programme companies for networking. That will be the first stage.
The second stage thereafter will be the transformation of I.T.V.'s advertising revenue into a grant from general taxation in the same way as we now grant money for the universities, for theatres and for music, which are subsidised by the Treasury. Then we shall have a much more civilised and infinitely cheaper method of financing our broadcasting. For I.T.V. the economies would be enormous. There is first the 15 per cent. which the advertising agents take from advertising revenue. That is a vast sum. This is one of the biggest rackets in broadcasting. Then we should save all the money wasted by all the different advertising departments of all the companies.
As the years go by and as we come to 1978 broadcast advertising will be seen for what it is—a phoney, and an unacceptable form of environmental pollution.
§ Mr. Speaker
I hope that the House will allow me to explain the position of the Chair at the moment. We have about 135 minutes before the Front Bench speakers will wish to speak. I know of about a dozen hon. Members who still want to speak. That will guide hon. Members who catch my eye as to the length of their speeches.
§ 7.1 p.m.
§ Mr. Wilfred Proudfoot (Brighouse and Spenborough)
I shall not attempt to follow the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew)—I almost said, in my off-the-peg suit. He wants to take us into a grey, miserable world. I have only been in such a place once. I was 1307 in Moscow for 36 hours. If that is the sort of world he wants, he can keep it because it is a depressing place.
I shall try to stick to the 10 minutes suggested. I have here a several-years-old newspaper cutting. I am glad that the hon. Member for Doncaster (Mr. Harold Walker) is on the bench opposite because he may remember it. I shall take poetic licence with it:It is a healthy sign in an informed democracy when new radio stations are founded, and it is particularly encouraging to find this taking place at a time when other media of communication are competing strongly. I welcome the new station as yet another sign that local communities are demanding their own voice. I wish the enterprise every success.That could apply to every radio station opened in this country, but it did not. It applied to a newspaper, the Doncaster Evening Post, and the man who wrote that diatribe is the present Leader of the Opposition, and he has there the perfect argument for local radio.
I am very disappointed with the Bill, which will not surprise many hon. Members. It is a piece of market rigging. The Bill looks to me like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle, and the shape of the Bill reminds me of that exactly. It has been created for various vested interests, the Musicians Union, and advertising agencies which, if there is really local radio, will not be able to get their 15 per cent. from the advertising revenue.
The whole debate is taking place on a completely false base. The House is assuming that there can be only 60 radio stations. In my opinion and the opinion of technicians around the world—one of my hon. Friends has made the point— there could be very many more radio stations, and some people think there could be up to 600 on V.H.F. with limited power. If we take the attitude that we could have very many more stations, we can see that the market is really rigged.
I ask the Minister: if we have 60 stations created, with that group of vested interests, how shall we get station No. 61? A lot of people who are not in the large conurbations obviously will not get commercial radio. There will be only one city with competition between commercial stations, and that is London. The rest of them will almost be C.C.B.B.C.— 1308 carbon copy B.B.C. We shall not have true commercial radio as I understand it.
Looking at the powers granted to the I.B.A., the body which will dish out the licences, we ought to know how it will dish them out. Applicants will reach for "Who's Who", look up the local bigwigs and then swap two generals for a bishop. or try, if possible, to find the best looking or the most affable member of the public or politician—from either side of the House—to get a spectrum of people who they think will be the ones who should win this kind of raffle for a licence.
We should lay down a criterion for granting a licence when there are competing bodies of almost the same quality —the same as we do in the House. We should have a ballot for the station. If we can do this in the House for Private Members' Bills and Notices of Motion. I do not see why competing companies with approximately the same qualifications for operating the station should not take part in a ballot.
Another thing that disappoints me about the Bill is that only last week the Government were pleased to welcome the Bolton Committee Report on small businesses. If ever there was a Bill which was going to cut out the small man in communications, it is this Bill. I make a plea to the Minister to lean on the I.B.A. to make sure that there are several small stations. I should like to see two small stations in one small area just to see how they developed. I am sure this is the only way we shall ever get community radio in Britain. We have never experienced it here yet.
The B.B.C. could never have afforded to go into local radio and never wanted to. It did not want to do it because of competition from television. When the hon. Member for Woolwich, East suggested other methods of paying for radio he must have been alluding to subscription radio. But the world is a moving place and we have to realise that this type of subscription radio would not necessarily work here.
I seek another assurance from the Minister. For the first time in my life I read the paper City Press. It contained an article about what the shape of commercial radio will be.
§ Mr. Buchan
What does the hon. Gentleman mean by "radio"? He has 1309 talked about true commercial radio and the concession being given by ballot. On the second one, by definition, he does not care what is put out by the radio, because if it were done by ballot one would have no idea what the contractors intended to put out. Is he saying that all he is concerned with is small business, an element of the market, or has he any sense of true commercial radio in the sense of output?
§ Mr. Proudfoot
By true commercial radio I mean commercial radio stations in competition with each other. I worry about what goes out. I have my ego to contend with, and I should want to put out something which satisfied me. This would be what will be put out by every local radio station.
§ Mr. Whitehead
Was the hon. Member satisfied with the output of Radio 270 when he was connected with it—the Top 40 three times a day? Was that a community service?
§ Mr. Proudfoot
No, but I enjoyed doing it. It was a service.
When the hon. Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Buchan) was saying that his taste was the one that mattered, I do not believe that the House of Commons has the right to dictate taste. That has nothing to do with this Chamber. After reading the City Press this morning and finding that there is a rumour that the commercial stations will have to go off the air at 2 a.m. and come on at the same time as the B.B.C., I consider that this is only another bit of market rigging. I make the plea to the Minister that they should be on the air for 24 hours a day if they so desire. The B.B.C. would still be the major competitor. In most areas there will be four or five B.B.C. stations to one commercial station.
I believe the stations should own their own hardware. This afternoon I rang up a company which sells radio transmitters. They are not esoteric objects; one can buy them off the shelf. A 1 kilowatt transmitter can be purchased, built, tested and be ready to go on the air in 45 days. I therefore ask my right hon. Friend to reconsider the question of the I.B.A., because under this system it will be years before 60 stations are operating.
1310 It is easy to get round this question of profit. I should love to know how many gallons of whisky and gin are consumed each day in the B.B.C. green rooms, or even per hour of broadcasting. The I.T.A. has had to copy all that.
I can imagine no worse set-up than having local advisory committees. Marks and Spencer Ltd. and J. Sainsbury Ltd. do not need local advisory committees, yet they satisfy their customers' demands. I do not see why local radio stations need local worthies to tell them what to put out.
It staggers me that the religious lobby is now starting to ask for free time on commercial radio stations. They do not get free space in local newspapers to advertise their sermons. Local news papers charge for notices of births, deaths and marriages. Anyone who wishes to advertise his religious wares in a news paper is charged. This is one respect where we should have sponsored time. If I had my way, the stations would be selling time to any religion which desired to go out over the air, and the religion would have to pay the going rate.
§ Mr. Proudfoot
The going rate. It is always the same answer. I do not see wiry religion should be in a separate category. I do not see why political parties should not be asked to pay for their broadcasts, as they pay elsewhere in the world. All three parties buy advertising space in newspapers. I do not see why they should not be allowed to do this on the air.
§ 7.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Jenkins (Putney)
It is always refreshing to listen to the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot), because he said out loud what many hon. Members opposite only dare to think to themselves. Many of us on this side dislike the Bill as it has been presented, but if it were to turn out as the hon. Member for Brig-house and Spenborough would like, we should like it even less.
The Bill is not wholly objectionable, for this reason, I believe that an alternative radio service to the B.B.C. is desirable in principle. In so far as the 1311 Bill produces an alternative to the B.B.C., I welcome it. But I do not like it, because it is riot the type of alternative to the B.B.C. which I should like to see. I am therefore bound to vote against the Bill tonight, because it contains so many objectionable features.
I do not go along with my hon. Friends who think that advertising in itself is evil. Tribune and Morning Star could do with much more advertising and would be more viable if they had it. I wholeheartedly agree, however, that the interruption of radio and T.V. programmes by advertising is objectionable. I would confine advertising to between programmes so that there would be no interruption; there would be a section between each programme when advertising was allowed. That would be a welcome opportunity for people to do their cooking or make a cup of tea.
I hope that in Committee we shall strengthen the Bill by writing into it a provision to ensure that advertising does not become a nuisance but can be used by the programme contractor without destroying the listener's pleasure in the programme. It is undoubtedly correct that people tolerate advertising but do not like it. Sometimes viewers have a reluctant admiration for a particularly clever commercial, but it is a distraction from the purpose for which they look at television.
We on this side get a pretty raw deal from the communications media generally. We have very few friends over the whole range of the media. We do not get a very good deal from either I.T.A. or B.B.C. However, an analysis undertaken by the Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians of the treatment of the Industrial Relations Bill by I.T.A. and B.B.C. showed that we got a much squarer deal from I.T.A. than from B.B.C. Therefore, nobody should imagine that because the B.B.C. is a public corporation and does not take advertising revenue, we have some sort of Socialist trend in the B.B.C. No one who has worked for the B.B.C. will labour under that delusion.
On the question of bias, although the Press has been very pro-Market the B.B.C. has been much more biassed in that direction than has I.T.A. This 1312 applies particularly to B.B.C. sound radio. At 8 a.m. on the "Today" programme there is a solid mass of pro-Market propaganda every morning under the guise of questions on the subject of the Market. Therefore, the view that the B.B.C. is an admirable corporation which is always impartial, which must be left alone and to which there must be no alternative is not in accordance with the facts.
I hope to be fortunate enough to join the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough in the deliberations in Committee on the Bill. Incidentally, I hope that we shall decide to take the Committee stage of the Bill on the Floor of the House. This is an important subject which should be debated in the open with people available to listen to the arguments.
If in Committee there is sufficient support on either side, I hope that hon. Members will join me in amending the Bill to create a third broadcasting authority instead of putting the new venture under the wing of the Independent Television Authority. The more spread there is in media of communication the better. If we were to create a third broadcasting authority we should have ready-made an authority which could get channel 4 when it comes. We should not then be faced with the almost inevitable outcome of channel 4 becoming I.T.V.2.
The existence of a third broadcasting authority would not necessarily close down the options. If it were responsible for general supervisory control over local commercial radio, it would be an authority which we might think of in connection with channel 4 of television in due course.
Whether we do that or not and whether the authority is the I.B.A. or a third broadcasting authority, I hope that the Bill will be amended so as to give the Authority powers to take a percentage of the revenue of local broadcasting stations. That would be a very desirable form of revenue which would give the Authority a good guide to the profitability of stations. It would keep the Authority in close touch with the various stations. The Authority would know the stations which were prospering, because its return from those stations would be 1313 large. The Authority would be able, if it chose—it should be empowered to do this—to support a station which was failing to prosper out of funds it acquired from more prosperous stations.
That would not be at all in accordance with the strict business ethics of the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough, but it would solve the problem of providing local radio to areas where it would not otherwise be profitable. I shall not spread the point now because of the time factor, but I think that here there is something which, on examination, may commend itself to hon. Gentlemen opposite, and perhaps in Committee we can put down an Amendment to this effect. I wish to give the Authority other powers to use the revenue that it would receive.
Contrary to what is proposed in the Bill, I believe that newspaper and television holdings in local radio should be prohibited. It is wrong that newspapers, television organisations, music publishers, gramophone recording companies, film producing organisations, theatre owners, producers, and entertainment or literary agents should be allowed to have an interest in local radio, because they could utilise it for their own purposes instead of for the purposes of local radio.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to have forgotten that the object of the exercise is to produce something to which people want to listen. The object is not to produce something which will make a profit for those who put money into it. It is not even for the purpose of employing actors or journalists. We ought to provide listeners with a reasonable range of entertainment, and one of the things that we shall have to do is to strengthen the Bill so that the Authority is required to make sure, to a greater degree than is now the case, that the range of programmes available covers the whole spectrum of broadcasting, both minority and majority tastes. It must make sure that there is a genuine and real alternative to the B.B.C. which will do something to add to, to expand and to provide a medium to which people can listen and not merely use as background music or "audible wallpaper". Those are some of the things for which I hope we shall provide.
I hope, too, that we shall provide that amateur performances will be limited to 1314 organisations already in existence, and that local radio companies will not be allowed to create amateur organisations for the purpose of employing cheap labour. Local radio companies ought to be allowed to use existing amateur organisations to provide a cross-section of what is happening in the areas they cover.
We shall try to make substantial improvements to the Bill in Committee, but for tonight, as the Bill seems to be unsound in principle, and wrong in the way it sets about dealing with the problems, we on this side of the House, followed possibly by one or two hon. Gentlemen opposite, will vote against the Bill. I hope to see the hon. Member for Peter-borough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) in our Lobby tonight.
§ 7.23 p.m.
§ Mr. John Gorst (Hendon, North)
I shall not follow any of the interesting arguments produced by the hon. Member for Putney (Mr. Hugh Jenkins) except to refer to what he said about newspapers, and I shall do that in due course.
First, as is customary, I should like to declare the interest which I have as the secretary of the Local Radio Association, a post which hon. Gentlemen opposite will be delighted to hear I am giving up at the end of the year.
It is difficult, from the speeches that we have heard today, to find anyone, on either side of the House, who is totally in favour of the Bill, other than my right hon. Friend the Minister. Therefore I should like to draw attention to certain merits of the Bill before following everybody else's example.
First, I am delighted that we are to have an alternative service financed by advertising. Second, I am delighted that there is provision for the separation of radio and television finances. Radio being such an essentially different medium from television, I hope this provision means not only that its finance will be different but that it will in every respect be treated as a different medium.
Third, I am delighted with the reference in Clause 2 to local sound broadcasting meaning a broadcast from one or more stations covering a particular area. I take comfort from the fact that even though "particular locality" is not defined, it will mean that we shall have 1315 a chance of having a few stations which are truly local.
The advantage of cutting up big areas and serving them with more than one frequency—which I hope will be the way in which this is done—will be threefold. First, it will give the 15 million or 16 million listeners who will not receive any form of commercial local radio service, even when the 60 stations are transmitting—because only up to 70 per cent. of the country is to be covered—an opportunity to be included if we use transmitters on low power.
Second, it will give flexibility, which is essential if, at a later stage, the Authority wishes to change the contracts because areas are either too large or too profitable. It will be able to split them without changes of a technical nature. Third, although under common control, an area can be fragmented at various times of the day to provide truly local advertising, as well as local news and information, in a way that a regional station could not.
I now cone to my reservations about the Bill. First and foremost, I do not believe—and here I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, North (Mr. Stratton Mills)—that 60 stations will be adequate. At best, 60 stations will mean covering areas of about 300 square miles each. To my mind that is regional radio and not local radio. Indeed, I am certain that with only 60 stations it will be very difficult to have any competition in places other than London, Manchester and Birmingham. If there is not to be competition in those places, one wonders what will happen to places such as Merseyside, Tyneside, Glasgow, West Yorkshire. Bristol. Edinburgh, Belfast, the Solent, Teesside and Sheffield, all of which are large enough to cope with an additional station. Of those 13 places which I have mentioned, clearly very few are intended to have competition at the stage when they really ought to have it.
If, on the other hand, the Minister ensures that the transmitters operating on medium frequencies are operating at a realy low power, the frequencies can be made available. I hope very much that my right hon. Friend will look very care-fully at what I have put forward and see what can be done.
1316 My main objection to the Bill—and here I echo what has been said by many hon. Members, on both sides of the House—centres on the special rights to be accorded to newspapers.
§ Mr. Gorst
The hon. Gentleman asks me how I am going to vote. Perhaps I am excluding myself from the Standing Committee in saying this but I shall, nevertheless, find it very difficult to support the Clause in question, and in that respect I join my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley). If the Government believe in the policy that lame ducks which cannot face competition should go to the wall, it is arguable that they ought to go to the wall; and if a local newspaper cannot face competition it is arguable, if the Government are to be consistent with his policy, that it ought to be allowed to close down. If, on the other hand, newspapers should not go to the wall, because the media of communications are too important, it is arguable that the right way to ensure their continued existence is by providing a subsidy. This is the way we do it when we deal with the Post Office and when we deal with uneconomic services. Perhaps they ought to be subsidised as a social service which is required by the nation; but to hand them a special privilege seems to me to be totally unjustified.
The only justification for the inclusion of newspapers—and here I do not necessarily go along with those hon. Members, on both sides, who have expressed concern about the involvement of commercial television companies and newspapers—is where they have merit for the medium. If they have that, let them be judged on their merit; but they should not receive shares as of right. If, however, the argument for involving them is that this is a way of buying their silence, I feel, quite honestly. that this will meet with no acceptance in the country or elsewhere.
Moving on from the role of newspapers to other matters and, in particular, the central news organisation, here again I have reservations. My reservations are based on two grounds. The role of local radio is to provide local news and in-formation in the locality. If it is to succeed commercially, it must be local 1317 news and information. Admittedly it will require supplementing with the head lines of what is happening in the country at large, but it is not a medium for national and international news.
If my right hon. Friend wishes to set up a medium to compete with the B.B.C., it ought to be a national commercial station, not a local commercial station. It is just as if the Government were to turn to the local Dundee newspaper and ask it to tell its readers about the visit to Birmingham of President Tito. This is Birmingham news. It is of little interest to Dundee, and it would be unthinkable to expect the Dundee newspaper to publish the matter in detail. It is just as unthinkable that local radio should be saddled in this way.
My second objection to the central news organisation is a matter of principle. It is utterly wrong for any Government to dictate to a medium of communication where it will go for its news. For these two reasons, I hope that it may be possible to think again about that aspect of the Bill.
As has been said on both sides of the House, there are many unanswered questions raised by the Bill. It highlights how little Parliament will have to say in the matter. I take the point made by the hon. and learned Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) in this respect. I believe that Parliament should be concerned in the structure of how commercial radio is set up; but I certainly do not believe that it should be involved in either the selection or the judgment of the programme contractors, once these have been appointed. I hope that, at some stage, the Minister will consider obtaining more powers so that Parliament may have a more direct say in some of the structural arrangements made.
Many questions have not been answered. Applicants will want to know not merely what is meant by the objectionable phrase "excessive profits" but also what "reasonable profits" are. My hon. Friend the Member for Belfast, North talked about a blank cheque. I would say this. Anybody may talk about a blank cheque. But the Government are asking contractors to accept that they will have blank invoices. Whether or not we shall have a central news organisation, people will want to know, not merely how much it will cost, whether 1318 it be £¾ million or £2 million, to support this organisation, but also will want to know what will be the cost of getting news from the central London source to the outlying stations selected. This is a considerable overhead in the viability of the operation. Will it be done by landline or by microwave? What sort of fee will the I.B.A. demand as a licence fee? What sort of imposition will be negotiated, if the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. O'Malley) has his way, between the Musicians Union and the I.B.A. in terms of royalties and copyright fees?
What will be the cost of the news? So heavy are likely to be the overheads borne by local stations that they will cease to be local and become national. They will not be able to continue to produce programmes of quality at a local level because they must do so much that is national. Quite apart from the degree to which the programme will be of a local nature, how local does the Minister expect the ownership to be? An hon. Member suggested that Granada would go to the Solent. I wonder how much of the Solent, if Granada went there, would be in the hands of anyone from the Solent. The Bill must give some giudance to the I.B.A. as to the degree of local ownership.
The question of frequencies is a complicated one, but I hope that the Minister will ensure that when the V.H.F. transmitters are set up they will transmit not merely on V.H.F. but also in stereo so that, in this country, we can start, as the United States started, using a system of first-class quality. I hope that when the Minister replies he will indicate whether the I.B.A. itself will be composed of the same people as at present serve on I.T.A. or whether he intends to strengthen I.B.A. with additional people. If the additional people were adequate to deal with the television problems, surely more people will be needed when it comes to considering radio and television.
I wonder how it will be possible for the I.B.A. to identify on radio the natural break which has become a familiar thing on television. Yet the words are still retained in the Television Act of 1964, saying that the advertisements must be clearly distinguishable and separate from the rest of the programmes.
1319 I refer now to a somewhat anomalous matter in Clause 10 in which it is stated that the Act will extend to the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man already has a commercial station, which is owned by the Isle of Man Government. Is it the intention of the British Government to install the Independent Broadcasting Authority as a senior authority over and above the Isle of Man Government? If the local newspapers in the Isle of Man should wish to acquire an interest in the Government-owned station, will they, in order to be consistent with the Act be granted their request? This seems to me to be one of the anomalies to be looked at.
I end by quoting what an executive of Thomson Newspapers said in evidence to a Canadian Government inquiry on the subject of the freedom of the Press. It is particularly relevant not only to the local radio station as a medium of communication but also as an argument against the special rights of newspapers. This is what the executive said:Any attempt to legislate separately for the Press as against industry in general would be deplored in that it would strike at the whole principle of an independent Press free from special administrative or judicial interference. We believe this to be the case "—and I emphasise this—whether the legislation is intended to provide a special benefit to the Press, or to regulate or restrict the Press or the ownership thereof in any way.If Thomson Newspapers in Canada can survive without special benefit, I suggest that the newspapers in this country can do likewise.
§ 7.42 p.m.
§ Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, West)
The hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. Gorst) might be surprised if I were to say that I agree with a large part of what he had to say. He is right about the Bill—from his point of view it must be a disappointing one. It was disappointing to the hon. Member for Brig-house and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot) for precisely the same reasons. The gravy train is not running as fast as they would like; it is not as heavily loaded as they would like. They are to get only 60 stations when the hon. Member for Brig-house and Spenborough thought that he would get 600 and that he would charge the going rate for the Sermon on the Mount. That is the significant "Quote 1320 of the week" from the House of Commons. I wonder what the going rate would be for Psalm 119!
The people in the country must wonder about our priorities in this House. We had a slight exhibition of that from the Strangers' Gallery a few moments ago. My right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) referred to this earlier. Here we are, spending a whole day on the first Bill to be produced in this new Session —dealing with commercial radio! This is at a time when we have 7 million old-age pensioners who do not know how they will survive in the next two years. It is at a time when we have 1 million people on the dole, when housewives do not know how they will make ends meet week after week because of the roaring inflation.
We have such problems and yet the House chooses to spend an entire day on giving to commercial sources, to vested interests, a little bit more profit, not because the people desperately need commercial radio but because for years there has been a lobby in the country and in the House aiming to get their fingers into this gravy bowl.
A good part of the legislation produced by this Government since June, 1970, has been designed precisely to pay back their paymasters. I sat on the Committee which examined the Bill designed to give back to the brewers all the State-owned pubs in Carlisle, Cromarty Firth and the other State-controlled areas—despite the fact that the local populace was either indifferent, or wished to retain the pubs. We have a Bill to be debated next week giving private landlords freedom to charge what rents they like. I have a list here of all the contributors to the Tory Party, the big industries which will provide the equipment for commercial radio. One such industry is the Rank Organisation, which was one of the biggest contributors to Tory Party funds at the last General Election. It will be providing a large part of the equipment for commercial radio if the Bill goes through.
In subsequent legislation we are to have the hiving-off from the public sector of industry of most of the profitable parts, with the same purpose. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Barons 1321 Court (Mr. Richard) was right when he said that one of our big problems is how to control and finance the mass media of communications, whether television, radio or newspapers. I am no uncritical adherent of the B.B.C. but we would generally agree in this House that, although it might be suspect sometimes in leaning too much to the Right and too much to the Left, what is undeniable—and every visitor from overseas will say this—is that it is the envy of the world in its objectivity, comprehensive appeal and attempt to cater for minor and major interests and parties in the country.
The whole purpose of this Bill is not to provide a public service. The public service is being served by the B.B.C., the minority and majority interests by B.B.C.1 and 2. The Bill has one purpose and one only—to provide some profits for some people. The squalid record of commercial television has been documented. It is one of the most squalid stories of how a commercial interest can impose its will on an elected Government. That elected Government is invariably Tory, because it represents in large part and almost exclusively outside vested interests.
A short while ago we had a Report from a Select Committee on Members' outside financial interests. It was printed on 4th December, 1969. I submitted a paper to that Select Committee. I wanted, and I still want, a compulsory register of Members of Parliament who are paid by outside financial interests to further those interests in the form of legislation in the House, because they are Members, principally on the other side of the House, who are being paid by outside interests to further the Bill.
Only one of them up to now has declared his interest, the hon. Member for Hendon, North. There are provisions in Eskine May for declaring invalid the votes of Members who have a direct pecuniary interest in a Bill and who will profit from having a Bill on the Statute Book.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
Is the hon. Gentleman saying that an hon. Member has taken part in the debate and has a pecuniary interest in the subject of the debate but has not declared his interest? If he is, he ought to name the Member, but if he has no such name in his mind, he should withdraw that frivolous and objectionable charge.
§ Mr. Hamilton
if the hon. Member had been listening to the debate, he would have heard his hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough, who is known to be a Member who will benefit—
§ Mr. Hamilton
No, he said nothing. That is the point I am making. He did not at any time declare his interest. It is an outrage that we get Members here, whom we have to call honourable Members, who engage in that kind of activity not to serve the public interest but to serve their own private financial interests.
§ Mr. Chataway
The hon. Gentleman is making a very serious allegation about an hon. Member who is not here. I should like to tell him for his information, because I know—my hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot) has told me— that my hon. Friend has no interest at all in commercial radio. I hope that the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) will withdraw his remarks.
§ Mr. Hamilton
Of course I withdraw, but it is well known that the hon. Member ran one of the pirate radio stations, and he said so himself in his speech. It would have been as well if he and other Members had said whether it was their intention to seek to get control of one of these stations, and that is the clear inference. If it is not his intention to seek to get a financial interest out of the Bill, of course I withdraw.
The whole point is that there are hon. Members on that side who are known to have a financial interest in furthering commercial radio, and that is the whole point of the exercise. They have had this lobby, as there was a similar lobby for the introduction of the I.T.A.
§ Mr. Gorst
Before the hon. Gentleman goes too far in suggesting that hon. Members on this side of the House are alone in having an interest in commercial radio, it may interest him to know that there are some on his side who are interested, some to a similar extent as some hon. Members on this side.
§ Mr. Hamilton
I make no distinction between hon. Members on this and hon. 1323 Members on that side. If the hon. Gentleman will do me the favour of reading my memorandum, he will see that I put this to the Select Committee. Everyone knows who are the trade union sponsored Members on this side of the House. Everybody knows what they get out of it in terms of services and finance, and it is right and proper that the public outside should know that and should know the outside financial interests of every hon. Member. The Bill indicates the importance of such a register. If hon. Members opposite particularly—I do not exclude hon. Members on this side of the House—were registered, these things would be known, and it is right that the public should know whether and where hon. Members are directly concerned.
I come now to the broad issues. We shall have great difficulty in Committee. I am a simple-minded layman. Going through the Bill at random, I found that on page 7 it said:In subsection (2)(a) of this section 'disqualified person', in relation to contracts for the provision of local sound broadcasts, means a person who either falls within paragraph (a), paragraph (b) or paragraph (c) of subsection (3) of this section or, being an individual or a body corporate, carries on (whether alone or in partnership) a business which consists (either wholly, or to an extent which in the opinion of the Authority is substantial) of the manufacture of records or of the publication of musical works, or has control over any body corporate which carries on such a business, or is a director or officer of any such body corporate, or is employed by any person who carries on such a business.That is all one sentence. Is there anyone here who is any the wiser after reading that?
§ Mr. Hamilton
I am glad. It is probably the substance of 50 Amendments, for I am anxious to know exactly what that provision means. There are 16 pages of that kind of rubbish. Never has there been such an enormous amount of verbiage to create simply a gravy bowl for such a small number of people.
§ Mr. Hamilton
No, I will not give way to the hon. Gentleman; he flits in and out like a grasshopper.
1324 In view of the very lukewarm reception which the Bill has had from both sides of the House and as the right hon. Gentleman clearly displays gross ignorance of his own Bill, he had better think again and withdraw it and then set up his Royal Commission so that we may have a good look at the way in which after 1976 we shall set about controlling and financing the mass media of radio and television. Meanwhile, let the right hon. Gentleman take his horrible little Bill behind the scenes and wring its neck.
§ 7.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Richard Hornby (Tonbridge)
The speech of the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) contained a large proportion of the malice but very little of the good sense which we associate with his contributions from time to time. Its most significant phrase was when he referred to controlling and financing the mass media of communications as being one of our major problems. I agree about the size of the problem, but too many of his hon. Friends put the emphasis on "control" and how they mean to set about that. It is a serious word to use about the communications industries.
If the hon. Member had not got so excited about it, I should have told him that I rather agreed with him about the need for a register of the interests of hon. Members. However, I should need to study his memorandum carefully before saying that I agreed with its wording. On the subject of this debate, I should like the House to know my two interests in it. The first is as a member of the General Advisory Council of the B.B.C. The second is as someone who for 20 years has worked in an advertising agency part time. I hasten to add that I do not regard those two interests as conflicting one with the other or with a speech on this subject in the House.
In this vexed and difficult question of broadcasting on television and sound there are three principles which guide my thinking. The first is the primacy of the public broadcasting corporation, the B.B.C., for whose initial establishment we have good cause to be thankful, something which the world at large recognises and envies. The second is the principle that holding a monopoly in communications is very dangerous. While urging the 1325 first principle of the primacy of the B.B.C., I urge that it is not in the interests of the nation or of the B.B.C. that it should have an exclusive rÔle.
Third, if one accepts the second principle—the non-exclusivity of the B.B.C.'s position in broadcasting—and if one goes on from there to consider the possibility of a commercially financed alternative, it is important in the interests of standards in the commercial channel that that channel should be allowed and be able to be viable. If we squeeze it commercially too hard, our chances of having high standards become virtually nil, as the operation of the television levy showed only too well.
I come now to what is said by the critics of the Bill, and in particular, the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard). I must say at the outset, having heard the whole of the debate so far, that I consider that we have made rather heavy weather of a Bill on only an arguably important subject. I do not regard this as a major Measure. It is a useful little Bill. Contrary to what many have said, I think that it is probably a quite popular Bill, but it is not a major step forward.
The Bill has been criticised on a number of counts. It is regarded by some as a threat to the B.B.C.'s position. Let us remind ourselves in this context of what we are talking about. The B.B.C. retains four main national radio channels and 20 local stations which have been able to establish themselves in the field before any rivals appeared. The B.B.C. has publicly said that it welcomes fair competition. I do not believe that it could regard as unfair competition 60 stations, or thereabouts, and no national rival in competition with its own four national channels and 20 local stations.
In passing, I must express my personal regret that the scheme which my right hon. Friend has adopted will not provide for rather fairer competition than is envisaged here. For my part, I should have preferred—I know that there are technical problems, but I believe that they could have been solved—a national commercial channel and supporting local stations. But that, apparently, is not to be.
Incidentally, again on the question of the B.B.C., contrary to what some have said—including my right hon. Friend the 1326 Prime Minister, I think—I take the view that the B.B.C. is right to insist that it should regard itself as having a comprehensive rÔle, not a "minority groups only" rÔle, to perform. The two must be seen as one by any major broadcasting interest, and there must be an attempt in programming to balance the needs of the two groups. I do not support the view that the B.B.C.'s role should be one of serving minority groups only.
The next line of criticism has been, broadly, what one may describe as fear of the commercial interests. Here, let us remind ourselves of the financial scale of the proposed exercise. It is by no means large. The forecasts have been many and varied, but probably the best guess is that it will be 4 to 5 per cent. of the total national advertising revenue. That is the sort of measure we are talking about in relation to commercial radio. It may add up to £15 million or thereabouts —I think that that is as good a guess as any— in a full year of operation, spread across all the stations. There is no picture here comparable with what we saw in the early years of commercial television.
My hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot) said that this was a scheme commercially rigged by the advertising agencies themselves, or words to that effect. I greatly doubt that they have, in fact, any major interest in the Bill at all. The bulk of the advertising, I believe, will be local rather than national, anyhow in the early stages.
The next criticism is fear of triviality. Again, let us remember that the B.B.C.'s position remains undisturbed, and, what is more, the B.B.C. itself is sometimes trivial—and quite rightly so. Certainly, we want serious programmes both in the spoken word and in music, but not all the time. There is a variety of tastes to be catered for, and we do not want solid stuff the whole time.
I return now to the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Barons Court. It was a mixture of the authoritarian politician and over-cautious lawyer, and the trouble was that where he ought to be cautious he was authoritarian and where he ought to be a little more authoritative he was cautious. The hon. and learned Gentleman was authoritarian in criticising the Bill's silence on the criteria regarding 1327 the appointment of the contractors and the way in which they will operate. If there is anything in which, above all, one should beware of leaving it to a Minister to decide who can come in and exactly how they should do it, it is the communications field, be it Press, television or radio. Yet there was the hon. and learned Gentleman saying that he wanted the Minister to say who would run the programmes, how the programmes would be run, and so on—precisely the sort of thing that any liberal democrat ought to avoid.
Then, after being so bold in that respect, the hon. and learned Gentleman turned cautious on the question of the timing of the Bill. "Let us do nothing until 1976", he said. "Let us wait and see." Why should we wait and see? Certainly, 1976 is an important year—I see that the hon. Member for Fife, West agrees—and it is right that the Charter of the B.B.C. and the position of the I.T.A. should be reviewed simultaneously; but, as I said in an intervention earlier, I do not accept that it is all that unwise or that it is in any way damaging to the pre-1976 review, whatever form it may take, to allow an additional type of broadcasting to go forward in about 60 areas, while at the same time leaving undisturbed the already existing alternatives run by the B.B.C. It is simply injecting one additional method which can be examined. We shall have had the opportunity to see what the public thinks of it and how the stations are run before we have cause to make up our minds on the subject in 1976.
I come now to the question of news papers and their relationship with commercial radio. I have no worries about the national Press. It seems to me that the national newspapers are but minimally affected, and, even if they were affected, I should shed no tears for them as their serious financial troubles, where they exist, are substantially, or overwhelmingly, the result of their own mismanagement.
On the question of the local Press, I take a different view. The local Press is a special and important institution, certainly at its best, in most recognisable local communities. Economically, the Bill is shoring up something which, some 1328 would argue, should stand wholly on its own feet. In this case, however, I should be more careful, believing that the local newspapers have an important role in the community, and I feel that my right hon. Friend has got the answer just about right; that is, broadly speaking, to ensure. if there seems to be damage to their interests, that they have an opportunity for a compensating but not a controlling role in the broadcasting station which affects them.
Moreover, interest by the local Press can be extremely useful to the new broadcasting stations. The local newspapers have experience of gathering news—this is what they have been about—and they have experience of dealing with advertisers in the business sense of collecting revenues and so on. In my view, the experience which they can inject into some of the local radio companies will be useful.
The I.B.A. is criticised by the hon. and learned Gentleman on the ground that we do not know how it will make judgments as between standards and viability. We shall have a pretty good idea as time goes on, because, with the review of the contractors' three-year per formance, we shall begin to see the picture, and, if we do not like the way they are behaving, we shall be able to make our views felt. Doubtless, they will read in some measure to such criticism
I share the view of my hon. Friend the Member for Brighouse and Spenborough when he says that there is no reason why there should be limits to the hours of broadcasting. In my view, this is a matter on which the individual stations can make up their own mind on straight commercial popular-interest criteria. I hope that the stations will give the maximum place in their programmes to genuinely local interests, and that, I very much hope, will be one of the criteria adopted by the I.B.A.
In conclusion, I revert to what I said earlier. I feel that we have been making rather a meal of what is a sensible though not very large step forward in a field of broadcasting which will come up for review in three years. By bringing this Measure forward now and, one hopes, taking it through quickly, we shall gain some useful information to go on in three years' time.
§ 8.10 p.m.
§ Mr. John Golding (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
I must declare my interest as a full-time official of the Post Office Engineering Union.
In this debate on the introduction of local commercial broadcasting it has been clear from the speeches of Conservative hon. Members that they see the Bill as one to give us commercial broadcasting. All the emphasis has been on commerce, accounts and profitability, and we have heard far too little about the local nature of the proposals.
I oppose the Bill because I support B.B.C. local radio very strongly. It has been a great success. The proposals in the Bill will restrict the expansion of public service B.B.C. local radio. I think that the commercial stations will fall short of the high standards established by the B.B.C. local stations.
Radio Stoke, the local broadcasting station serving Newcastle-under-Lyme, my constituency, has made its impact partly because it is heard by many, partly because it has met the needs of a community which sees itself as having a separate identity, and partly because it has catered for the serious needs of its working-class audience. Neither Birmingham nor London, the regional or national network can provide a service so suited to our community. Local radio in Stoke is not wholly dependent upon V.H.F. It is piped by Rediffusion to large council estates, and because of this a third of the population listen to Radio Stoke. They listen becasue it provides 7½ hours a day of local programmes, which are more relevant to their experience than the programmes produced with the south-eastern car commuter in mind.
Radio Stoke has made a considerable contribution to local education. I wonder what contribution commercial radio will be expected to make to education in the localities it serves. Radio Stoke also provides 2¼ hours a day of local news and current affairs. It makes possible a greater participation in local affairs and an independence from London which we should encourage. It provides an opportunity for all types of groups to communicate directly with the community. Both councillors and Members of Parliament can speak directly to their electorates. That is invaluable when most 1330 of the mass media are dominated by the national party leaders or the extremists in both parties. The local station gives both councillors and Members of Parliament a platform. There is a two-way process of communication with the people they represent.
B.B.C. local radio is an experiment which has succeeded. Commercial local radio will hinder the development of that very good experiment. Having listened to the Minister and his supporters, I think that commercial radio will not be able to provide the same type of local news service and current affairs coverage as B.B.C. local radio gives us. I cannot see the commercial stations giving us each day 7½ hours of local programmes, 2¼ hours of which are local news and current affairs.
I also oppose the Bill because it provides for the participation of local news papers in their local radio station, although, unlike the two Conservative hon. Members who made that point, I shall not disqualify myself from sitting on the Committee. Most local newspapers have a Conservative bias. Their proprietors owe an allegiance to the Conservative Party. One of the great civic benefits of local radio is that it provides an alternative, neutral platform. Many local newspapers are fair in their presentation of news, but we have only to read their leader articles as we sit in the tearoom of the House to see that they are heavily biassed in favour of the Conservative Party. If we tell the local newspapers, "You can play a part in the running of the local radio station", we are telling the wider audience outside that they cannot expect impartiality from the station concerned.
If the Minister wants to protect the newspapers from competition, it would be much more reasonable to adopt the principle he has adopted for television, and say that local newspapers can have an interest in local radio, but it must be outside the area in which they operate.
I oppose the Bill on those general grounds. But one aspect of it pleases me, and that is the part which makes it clear that the transmitters are to be owned not by the contractors but by the Independent Broadcasting Authority. However, pleased as I was to see that the transmitters were not being handed over 1331 to the contractors, I should have preferred the Minister to take this opportunity to rationalise broadcasting transmission and hand the responsibility over to the Post Office.
It is a pity that one of the Minister's first acts on coming into office was to sack the Annan inquiry into the future of broadcasting. I wonder when we shall receive the report of the depart-mental committee which the right hon. Gentleman established in its place to inquire into the future technical aspects of broadcasting. When the committee was appointed the Minister told us that he hoped that its report would be made available at the beginning of this year. It would have been better for us to have a discussion on the future technical aspects of broadcasting before the right hon. Gentleman introduced this Bill.
We on this side will oppose the Bill very strongly. We shall do so for the reasons given by some of my hon. Friends. We believe that the Bill is similar to the immigration Act. It has been introduced only because of pressure within the Conservative Party. Political and commercial pressures have been brought to bear. As was the case with the Immigration Act, we have seen tonight that the only person satisfied with the Bill is the Minister himself. Not one speaker in the debate apart from the right hon. Gentleman has given wholehearted commendation to the Bill. We have heard hon. Members opposite telling him that if the were to dare to put them on the Standing Committee which will give the Bill detailed examination they will vote against most important parts of it. That may be because those individuals do not want to be on the Committee, but it is a serious matter when a Minister presents to the House a Bill which finds no support from his hon. Friends behind him and receives general condemnation from the Opposition in front of him.
§ Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)
I apologise to my hon. Friend for just entering the Chamber. Can he tell me why, in opposing the Bill, he is supporting the monopoly of the B.B.C., which to my mind has abused the whole system of democratic reporting, particularly on political issues?
§ Mr. Golding
It is very difficult to reply to an intervention when one has 1332 made clear earlier in one's speech just what one is supporting. I commended B.B.C. local radio, which many individuals who have been concerned with it have appreciated as a much more worthy B.B.C. venture than its national or regional broadcasting. My hon. Friend will just have to take my word for it that the common experience of many of us is that local radio has been preferable to both national and regional broadcasting.
We on this side who are fortunate enough to be on the Standing Committee will table a considerable number of Amendments to the Bill. This we must do because we believe that its drafting is very faulty. It is clear, having listened to the criticisms not only from the Opposition but from hon. Members opposite, that the Bill is riddled with inconsistencies. When I read that the Minister had been given the job by the Prime Minister of converting the people to a pro-Common Market stance, I concluded that he would not have time during the summer to prepare this Bill properly. He has failed lamentably to change public opinion on the Common Market and at the same time he has failed completely to produce a Bill which does him any credit whatever.
§ 8.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg (Hampstead):
I first declare my interest in this subject, which is nil, and secondly I say to the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton), who appears to have left the Chamber and who made a wholly unfounded attack on hon. Members on this side of the House, that he has no need to declare an interest because I doubt whether anyone would wish to be represented by his sort of argument.
I welcome the Bill, which may give some satisfaction to the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding). I find that we are sailing somewhat between the twin rocks of Scylla and Charybdis. We have had the assertions of hon. Members opposite that everything commercial is evil and the assertion from one or two of my hon. Friends that the more commercial things there are, the better. I think that the Bill tries to steer a middle course, and for that reason it is to be welcomed. It is a logical extension to commercial 1333 television. At the time of the introduction of commercial television, HANSARD recorded the diatribes of the Opposition about how terrible it would be, but when it came to the point they never had the courage to repeal the Act because they knew that the public wanted competition of the sort which commercial television provided.
It is also right to say that there is danger in monopoly. Many people will remember the comedian who was unable to be on B.B.C. radio because he had said something that offended the B.B.C. It is precisely when one breaks a monopoly and gives an opportunity of freedom of choice to the consumer to listen to more services that one also gives choice and freedom to workers in broadcasting to have more than one place where they can sell and use their talents.
I want to ask my right hon. Friend the Minister a specific question. Clause 3(6)(a) refers to the "appropriate local authority". After the reorganisation of local government, is this reference to be taken as meaning the new district councils or the new county councils, since county boroughs will have disappeared? I am not certain whether "county districts" is meant to be the new terminology. I hope at any rate that these powers will be given to the new district councils outside the metropolian counties.
I believe that the freedom of choice that this small Bill, as my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby) called it, will give us will provide something which the younger generation wants. It is sick and tired of the bromides and cheap and foolish jokes which are churned out daily and to which we listen on our car radios all too frequently. It will be nice to be able to switch to an alternative programme and to listen to something different and on which the jokes might be less corny. It is incomprehensible how hon. Members opposite can disregard the clearly understood wishes of the vast number of young people who want commercial radio—and there is no argument about that.
I come to a controversial part of the Bill, namely, that dealing with local news papers. I firmly believe that local newspapers play a very important part in the community and that they should be able to have a stake in local commercial radio. 1334 In London, newspapers like those which circulate in my constituency, such as the Hampstead and Highgate Express and the Kilburn Times, are sufficiently important that although they may not suffer financially from commercial radio, they should have an opportunity of participating in commercial radio as a link between the written word and the spoken word. I hope that my right hon. Friend will say that the powers in the Bill enabling local newspapers to make representations and, in certain circumstances, to have an equity interest will be used flexibly and, wherever possible, to help rather than hinder local newspapers.
I do not like some of the pompous and priggish remarks of hon. Members, on both sides of the House, about what people should and should not listen to. The tone was set by the hon. and learned Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) and was followed by my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley). With great respect to both of them, I do not think they are particularly good arbiters of public taste. They are being quite arrogant in reserving for themselves the right to say, "We think we know what the public wants".
My right hon. Friend the Minister has done us a service in presenting the Bill. About a year ago I had the opportunity of looking at some commercial radio stations in North America. I broadcast on the small commercial station in Niagara, on the American side, and I was interested to see how in what was clearly a very commercial atmosphere it was possible to combine commercial advertisements and public service advertisements. Interspersed with records and with what must have been to my audience a fascinating talk on the procedures of this Parliament—I do not know how many people in Niagara were interested, but they had to listen to it—there was an advertisement for "Aunt Jemima's pancakes" and a notice that the following day the mobile library would be at the corner of such-and-such a street and that two days later the local scouts were to hold a bazaar in aid of the spastics. This is the sort of mixture of commercial and public service interest which can be provided in radio stations if they are sufficiently local and if the incentive is right.
1335 It is, therefore, correct that the Minister should have given Parliament and the country the opportunity of choosing an alternative. People who listen to radio on the Isle of Man will know that that is a very good system which can be adapted for use in this country.
For years there was a campaign in official circles to the effect that no further wavelengths were available. It was run by certain faceless individuals in the B.B.C. or in the Post Office. I am glad that the Minister has made it clear that this is not a feasible argument. It never stood up if one examined expert evidence which was produced. The battle by the faceless officials has been lost. I am glad about that and I think that the public benefits as a result.
Will my right hon. Friend the Minister say a little more about the news broadcasts? I am not clear whether he is saying that all the stations will have to have national news produced, as it were, by the I.T.N. of commercial radio or whether it would be possible for it to be known that at, say, midday, 6 o'clock and 9 o'clock all the stations would carry five minutes of national news, not comment, and the rest of the time the local radio station would carry news items applicable only to the locality or the region, which is what the hon. Member for Newcastle- under-Lyme said is done by Radio Stoke, Radio Brighton, and so on. I should not welcome something which merely gave us a second B.B.C. programme of news and comment all over the country on the 60, 90 or whatever number of stations we have.
We should welcome the proposal for advisory committees. I hope that their membership will be flexible. I hope we shall not just have the statutory woman on a committee. I hope we shall be able to have more than one woman on it. I hope that we shall go somewhat wider than having—in saying this, I hope that I do not offend anybody, at least anybody present in this Chamber— committees filled simply with the local grocer and the superannuated trade union official and that we shall be able to get people much more representative of public opinion, and particularly some people under the age of 25. These are the people who, after all, will be particularly interested. It is important that 1336 the advisory committees should be drawn as widely as possible.
There is one thing which has not been said about the Bill, although a lot has been said about it. In the diatribe which we heard from the hon. Member for Fife, West—whether relevant or not, it was still a diatribe—the one thing which he did not say was that the Bill fulfilled yet another election promise. I submit that it is none the worse for that.
§ 8.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Caerwyn E. Roderick (Brecon and Radnor)
Since the habit has begun, I want to declare an interest; that is, as a consumer of radio, rather than as having a financial interest.
Let me deal first with my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin) just in case he is thinking of intervening in the course of my speech. I want to make it perfectly clear to him that my opposition to the Bill is based on the fact that it is a commercial local radio Bill, not because it provides an alternative service. I support the idea of an alternative service, but I see no reason why it should be a commercial local radio service. I hope that my hon. Friend will agree with me on that.
The word "competition" has been bandied around during talk about this Bill and as a consequence of the White Paper. We are well accustomed to hon. Members opposite worshipping at the shrine of the god competition. They declare that an alternative service will of necessity improve choice. I will agree that competition would strengthen the search for more popular programmes— that is, programmes having a wider appeal—but it does not necessarily follow that choice will improve under the Bill. It may mean that another channel is drawn to a type of programme similar to that being broadcast on another channel. In any case, it would be competition not between one local station against another; it would be a local station against the national network of the B.B.C. The local station would simply be complementary to the B.B.C., because its aims would be different.
Whilst acknowledging that an alternative service of this kind has its uses, I would submit that it does not follow that it has to be a commercial service or one financed by advertising. I contend that 1337 the strongest supporters of commercial radio are not concerned with providing a service. Rather are they more concerned with the financial rewards which accrue to thorn and their friends. I do not agree with this method of financing the service in any way.
I do not want to go into all the effects of having programmes which are interrupted by advertisements, but the question of finance has to be faced. If the new local stations were to be financed by the B.B.C. or a new corporation set up for the purpose, we are told, there would have to be an increase in the licence fee. I would accept that, provided that I accepted the need for a licence fee, but I do not feel that it is necessary to have a licence fee, for I would like to see television and radio financed by the Exchequer. It would be much simpler and less expensive, but the Minister seems to think that it would result in the B.B.C. losing its independence. I do not follow the reasoning behind this, but we should be less than worthy if we could not devise safeguards for the independence of the B.B.C. if it were financed directly by the Exchequer. We produce safeguards for the I.T.V.; why not the same for the B.B.C.?
It may be argued that the licence fee should be retained so that the viewer paid directly for the service and the burden was not spread throughout the community. But this would not happen under the Bill, People are given the impression that they will be receiving something for nothing. On the contrary, the payments would be spread throughout the community in that we should pay for the advertising in the extra cost of the goods and services which we buy. Everyone throughout the country would be paying, and not simply those who are able to receive the local radio programmes. A person living in rural Wales, where there is not likely to be a local radio station, would be paying for listeners in other parts of the country. If the Minister considers that this is fair in this context, it should be equally fair for the B.B.C. to be financed from the Exchequer.
The effects on local newspapers are twofold. They may suffer a loss of advertising revenue and a loss of custom. The Minister suggests that the newspapers 1338 should be allowed to invest in radio companies. This is not in the interests of local newspapers but simply to make good their losses, which is absurd. They might just as well invest in bingo halls or other profitable activities.
The Minister, in introducing the White Paper, said:As for the right hon. Gentleman's idea of, so to speak, transferring Radio-1 to the commercial side of the road, there is, of course, much to he said for having a national commercial channel in addition to the network of local stations. We decided against it principally because the national channel, which would probably have attracted more revenue than the local stations, would have been a direct competitor for advertising with the national Press. It might, at a difficult time in Fleet Street, have had a harmful effect on national newspapers.The effect of the local network alone on the provincial and local Press is likely to be much more slight."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th May, 1971; Vol. 818, c. 401.]It may be much more slight but, in comparative terms and proportionately, the effect might be just as disastrous, and the Minister should face this.
The hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro) mentioned the plight of the rural areas. These areas could most usefully be served by local radio, but what hope have they under the Bill? Many hon. Members have said that rural areas have no hope of ever receiving local radio. It could be argued that they do not receive it from the B.B.C. and will not for some time, but, had the B.B.C. been allowed to expand local radio, the B.B.C. would have seen to it that the rural areas were covered. The commercial station set-up under the Bill could never be viable in the rural areas.
There are no B.B.C. local radio stations in Wales. That means that Wales will have to rely on commercial local radio if it is to have any. The Minister will realise if he follows the news that there is a language problem in Wales. There is no provision in the Bill requiring that there shall be any local broadcasting in the Welsh language.
In the debate on the White Paper the hon. Member for Conway (Mr. Wyn Roberts) said:I end by stressing the importance of radio and television to Wales in connection with the suvival of the Welsh language. I pay tribute to the work already done by B.B.C. radio and 1339 television, and by I.T.V., in the promotion of the language. We very much hope.Note the word "hope"—…too, that the new alternative service for radio will make its contribution to the survival of the most ancient spoken language of this land."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th May. 1971; Vol. 818, c. 422.]I suggest that "hope" is not a strong enough word in this context. Hope will not safeguard the language and will not ensure that we shall have Welsh language broadcasting on local radio. Admittedly, this is a minority interest, but it involves a substantial minority and ought to be catered for. However, the Bill says nothing whatever about it.
Finally, I wish to mention the effects of advertising in sound broadcasting. Some would like us to believe that introducing advertising into sound broadcasting would be no different from introducing advertising into television. I am not an expert on this subject, but I suggest that advertising on radio is dangerous since it will have a subliminal effect. Millions of people keep their radios on when working or performing various tasks and the occasional advertisement thrown in could register on their sub-conscious. This is not so true of television since people tend to watch television consciously and can thus resist advertising. I have confined my remarks so that other hon. Members can take part in the debate; I contend that hon. Members have been making the case for local radio but not for commercial local radio.
§ 8.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Robert Cooke (Bristol, West)
I, too, shall be brief in my remarks. I should declare an interest since I am a director of an independent television company, a small company in the South-West called Westward Television. So far as I know. my company has not as yet expressed any interest in commercial radio, and, therefore, it is not for that reason that I seek to intervene in the debate.
I wish to support my right hon. Friend in the difficult job of producing a Bill which will introduce an alternative public service. I believe the Bill is the art of the possible since the Labour Government licensed the B.B.C. to enter this field of activity. If the B.B.C. was not already in on this, then a different situation would exist. The slate would be 1340 clean and all sorts of other possibilities would flow from it. However, I believe the Bill is a vehicle to which other things can be added. It is an opportunity for further improvement and choice.
The Labour Party has said it is in favour of alternative choices but has also said that the commercial undertakings are not the bodies to provide them. Therefore, in its view we shall need to have another B..C. at more cost to the taxpayer, who will be obliged to pay an increased licence fee to the B.B.C. for a further service.
As we see the situation, the public will be able to have another service paid for by advertising. Such advertising may take revenue from other forms of advertising, but this may be no bad thing when one sees some of the offensive forms of outside advertising which some of us as environmentalists do not like.
The standards to be pursued by the companies have been attacked. The I.T.A. exercises a strong hand over television companies, and I see no reason why the new Authority, the I.B.A., should not, in its strengthened form, tackle the job adequately.
One of the things we complain about is that the B.B.C. tends to editorialise— something it is not allowed to do under the Charter. I have been associated in Press comment and articles with those who are anxious about political bias in the B.B.C. However, I have said no such thing. Political bias one way or the other is inevitable in life and, because politics is part of life, politicians must look after themselves. What we object to in the B.B.C. is that it editorialises. Surely an alternative form of news and views which will be provided by the new private enterprise will be very helpful.
Most of the complaints from the public about the mass media are rooted in the fact that there appears to be a monopoly or near-monopoly. However, we do not seem to find this problem so marked in respect of the newspapers. There are plenty of newspapers, and they cancel each other out in their more extreme views, and the public can form a judgment. That is what we want to see in broadcasting, and this Bill takes us a step further along that road. It will provide a further element of public choice.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Phillip Whitehead (Derby, North)
In view of the lateness of the hour, I hope that the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Mr. Robert Cooke) will forgive me if I do not take up his remarks in detail. I join him in declaring my connection with commercial television. It is not to the illustrious extent of a directorship, which I am never likely to be offered, but it represents a period in which I was employed by Thames Television, as indeed I might be again some day.
The hon. Gentleman, like the Minister, must understand that those of us who criticise these proposals do not do it from a position of outright defence of the B.B.C. monopoly as it stands at present. What we say and what we have said throughout is that there must be an alternative system whereby one gets competition rather than the cosseted way in which the companies are brought into being. By that, I mean competition with the B.B.C. in the way of alternative public services.
Most of us hoped that the Minister would amplify the somewhat confusing small print in the Bill. I was sad that he had failed even to read it. That was shown clearly when he was interrogated about some of the subsections by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard). The right hon. Gentleman also said nothing about the technical provisions which will be necessary for the introduction of the commercial system. What, for example, will be the situation with regard to wavelengths and with regard to mediumave broadcasting? Are we to have the series of low-powered medium-wave transmitters which Hughie Green and others tell us is feasible but which the B.B.C. tells us will he limited to a range of one mile or less from the transmission point? Such matters very much affect the viability and financial sense of the system, about which hon. Members like the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot) are so concerned and have expressed themselves so forcefully.
It would be possible for any hon. Member on this side of the House to make a speech in favour of competition, in favour of the widening of the area of choice and in favour of that degree of experiment to which those who have for- 1342 mululated the Bill have paid lip service. However, we should ask ourselves whether the Bill does anything of the kind. Has it produced a third form of public authority? Has it produced an alternative public authority capable of guiding and producing a new form of broadcasting communications, using the exciting potential of broadcasting in a new way? It has not. It has merely revamped the old discredited I.T.A. in a new form.
The Bill also resurrects the Television Act, 1964. I should remind the hon. Member for Hampstead (Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg) that when he says that we on this side do not have the courage to criticise the I.T.A. system as we did when it was instituted in 1954, it was his Government in 1964 who had to rewrite the 1954 Act precisely because it had not worked properly to ensure the proper output and quality amongst the television companies.
The I.B.A. is given wide powers under the Bill. They are left deliberately vague, and this is one of the most deplorable features of the proposed legislation. It does not produce a new form of public service with real competition to existing media in the localities that it is designed to serve.
We have heard from the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Mr. Gorst) and the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) about the way in which the buying-in of Iocal newspapers and the subsidising of these limp putative lame ducks will take place. We have heard from the hon. Member for Aldershot that he does not think that it will be a success. He was typical of hon. Gentlemen opposite in his lack of enthusiasm and tepid welcome for the Bill. The lack of enthusiasm among hon. Gentlemen opposite stems from the fact that they realise that anomalies will prevent it from operating in the way the Government wish.
Clause 7(5) gives carte blanche to every local newspaper in the country to buy its way into local radio if it wishes. I have with me a list of the main conurbations and towns in Britain with a population over 80,000. Looking at it quickly, one sees that there are only 12 without a local dominant newspaper which, under Clause 7(5), would be able 1343 to buy its way into its local radio station, precisely as outlined under the Bill. To my mind, that is not competition between alternative media. It is not giving us the best possible alternative source of news and information in a particular locality, whatever is said in the Bill about the holding of the local newspaper concerned not being dominant.
At last today the Minister has stripped off the veils from his news stations. At last we are told which of the three alternatives touted around over the months of debate on this proposal is to be the one favoured. What does it turn out to be? Not the I.T.N., oh no, but a separate company, which indeed can make money in London—it would be surprising if it did not, with news around the clock in a great metropolis like this—buying news from I.T.N. and other sources and then selling, or trying to sell, and making a profit from the other local radio stations throughout the country. A number of hon. Gentlemen opposite would welcome this.
The hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough thinks that is a waste of money. Indeed, in the debate on the White Paper he told us that he was absolutely scared by this waste of money. He said:The £3 million is sold down the Swanee. It is unnecessary. The rip-and-read method and local news gathering are there for all to have. The phone-in to the local station will be one of the most listened-to techniques of broadcasting on the local stations. Frankly, I am quite prepared to trust the people with the news".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th May, 1971; Vol. 818, c. 479.]We may want to give the people what they want. We may think that what they want is the phone-in and rip-and-read.
The reasons why I.T.N. is of such a high reputation in Britain—it is widely acknowledged to be a valid alternative to the B.B.C. and to have pepped up the standards of the B.B.C.—are, first, our central non-profit-making agency, which I know perfectly well was imposed on the overlords of independent television companies largely against their wishes, and, second, the fact that it is carried in mandatory fashion by all companies of the LT.A. network. There is nothing mandatory whatever about the proposed system and nothing at all to revive the 1344 interest of the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough in broadcasting the Sermon on the Mount at the going rate once all this comes up. There is nothing whatever to make him carry the news sold by the central news station.
The B.B.C. employs 150 journalists among its 20 stations and a number of freelances at the N.U.J. rate. Nothing like that proportion of news staff and journalists will be employed by these new stations. On the contrary, the new stations will be on the breadline and will make things as tight as they can, on the old basis of the disc jockey with a pile of records, a national agency service, or, where it can be done, some sort of pool service from the local newspaper which has an interest in the local station concerned and does not want to have competition from an alternative source of news in the locality.
Does the Bill provide competition among 60 independent commercial stations? It does nothing of the kind. It provides a kind of sustaining fluid of syndicated material written in under Clause 2(4). How much of thisnews, information, music or other materialwill be supplied to other contractors, and to how many companies? Will it be possible for one contractor on the Hughie Green model to supply this material to 60 companies and, if so, for how much of the time? Local stations of the B.B.C. put out about seven hours a day of originally sponsored material. There is nothing in this material, and the I.B.A. is left to decide how much sponsored material should come from the local stations.
What does the phrase "other material" mean? I think it hides the kind of mass-produced, syndicated material appealing to the largest possible audience and to the lowest possible taste which can be put together by those who wish to make a killing out of this. I do not believe this is the sort of local service which the Minister has suggested that commercial radio and its ideology will provide.
We know that it costs the E.B.C. about £100,000 a year to run each of its local stations. I bet that none of the local stations which are envisaged under the Bill, given the means by which they will be operated and the necessary 1345 revenue, will be able to carry anything like the necessary staff or will have anything like the required operating outlet. I am afraid that what is being created now, in the time the Minister has bought for himself by the cancellation of the Annan Committee, is a kind of shadow colossus opposite to but equal in power to the B.B.C.
We have seen the enormous, wellfinanced lobby for I.T.V.2. Who wants it? It is wanted by the five programme controllers who run the network of I.T.V. The people who want this system of commercial radio are essentially those who will make a killing out of it, and the largest killing will be made by the largest concern which can get itself in, wearing some kind of little local cap for the occasion. I am sorry that Clause 6(2) provides that commercial television organisations shall be allowed to go to other areas and does not say that they will be cut out altogether. Local television stations have 14 other opportunities. Each one has 14 other areas to which it can go. Each of these companies is an enormous mass media conglomerate: it controls music companies, record companies, hardware, software, television, radio, the lot. All of these companies want to get into local radio if they can, and most of them will try to do so.
Lastly, if this is all precast in the image of mammon by 1976 and it is all there so that we cannot do much about it and cannot shift it because we shall be told, "These compaies have made this enormous outlay and must be kept there", what will regulate these companies in the intervening period? The poor old I.T.A. is very eager to take on 150 new men and accept this new role.
It is ironic that at this very time Lord Aylestone has departed to Australia to look at the Australian radio system. Australia is widely acknowledged to have one of the most rotten commercial radio systems in the world. The Prime Minister is known to think that Australia is a terrific place and that the whole world should be one great version of the Sydney-Hobart race. It is not good enough to take the Australian model and to say that we want it for commercial radio here. I.T.A. has not been told how many franchises there should be. It has not been told, in accordance with the 1346 squalid policies followed in commercial television, that these franchises should be submitted in public. Of course not. Keep them out of the spotlight !
How should the I.T.A. intervene? Why should we believe that the I.T.A., which has failed again and again in exercising its powers under the 1964 Act, will do any better with the vague provisions which are written into the Bill? The Bill says, not "shall exercise control over schedules" but "may exercise control over schedules". It is that control over schedules, inadequately exercised so far by the television companies, which is to be dropped altogether for the 60 commercial radio stations.
The I.T.A. has not worked in the way that it should. This is just a pallid echo of the 1954 debates. We should have learned something from the history of independent television since then. What we are being given by the Bill is not a widening of choice, but a foreclosure of choice. The Bill has preempted public debate about a public asset. The Bill will hand over that public asset to a small greedy group who want to make a killing and to whom communications are a commodity just like any other commodity.
To me communications are more than that. They relate man to his environment. That is what the trinity of education, information and entertainment is all about. What kind of environment will these radio stations relate to? What kind of environment does the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough want them to relate to? They will have the artificial catchpenny vulgarity of the pirate radios and all the moral concern of a one-armed bandit. Broadcasting deserves better than this.
§ 9.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Wyn Roberts (Conway)
I shall not follow directly what was said by the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead), but I should like to make it clear to the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) that I have no interest to declare other than that of a former employee of the B.B.C. and the I.T.A. I am no longer connected with either.
I have only just about enough time to make my main points, but I am grateful for this opportunity to do so. I welcome 1347 the Bill in so far as it provides yet another channel of communication. I have long been of the opinion that the safety of the public from domination in this sphere of communication depends to a large extent on the diversity of the means of communicating. My criticism of the Bill therefore concentrates on those limitations within it which, to my mind, will detract from the independence and freedom of the new system in communicating.
The first fact which we have to consider is that the new system is to be under the auspices of the Independent Broadcasting Authority; namely, the pre- sent I.T.A. writ large. I should like to make one or two points in this connection. I hope that the I.B.A. will be more assidious and insistent on the execution of its directives than the I.T.A. has been in the matter of E.M.I. ridding itself of its stake in Thames Television. How can we be sure that the new commercial radio companies will be independent as to finance and control unless such directives are obeyed and seen to be obeyed?
Second, if Press reports are correct, we know that the I.T.A.'s view is that the projected second I.T.V. channel should be given to the existing I.T.V. contractors. If the allocation of that channel is delayed, as I understand it may be, I hope that the local radio stations will not be regarded as compensation to I.T.V.'s Socialist tycoons for their disappointment.
I have put these matters somewhat crudely because the new I.B.A. will have a great deal of power—perhaps too much power—under the Bill. It will be a temptation for it to turn to those whom it knows best; namely, the existing television contractors who will claim to have all the know-how and the ability to set up the new radio service. Let the I.B.A. remember that know-how is very soon acquired, and that the easiest course is not necessarily the best.
I am sorry that the Minister has seen fit to allow the I.T.V. contractors a financial stake in local radio stations in their areas. This is bound to result in deals for local news, programmes and talent.
Having said all that, the I.T.A. is not such a bad organisation after all, and 1348 I feel that the I.B.A. will discharge its duties as best it can, which is what the Television Act and this Bill require.
The Bill does not guarantee that the new service will be local to the extent which I personally would require it to be, and I hope that when the Minister replies to the debate he will say something about Wales. He has mentioned Scotland, but there has been no mention of Wales, apart from a reference to it by the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Roderick). I assure the hon. Gentleman that local stations using the Welsh language are feasible under not this Bill but the Television Act, 1964. which also applies in this case.
§ 9.09 p.m.
§ Mr. Gregor Mackenzie (Rutherglen)
I suppose all debates are significant for something. The significant thing about this debate is that not one speaker has been wholeheartedly in favour of the Bill, and it has received only mild approval from the hon. Members for Hampstead (Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg) and Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby). Had the hon. Member for Tonbridge been here, I should have told him that even in the wildest depths of my imagination I could not see him being a devotee of the kind of local radio station which may emerge as a result of the Bill—if it ever sees the light of day and gets on the Statute Book.
This is the second time we have discussed broadcasting this year. We have had the White Paper, the Bill we are discussing today, and I think I have heard all the speeches. Like everyone else, I have read the massive amount of material sent to us by the various interested organisations. At the end of the day. there seem to be dozens of questions unanswered on the whole question of broadcasting. There is so much uncertainty. There are so many contradictions in attitude. I hope that the Minister will think again about the question of an inquiry not just into the technique but into the whole question of broadcasting. As I understand it, there are many of his hon. Friends, many friends outside, and other people who, to their credit have given the matter a lot of thought and who are asking him to do precisely this. They realise that the decisions we shall take in the next few years, be it on commercial radio, or about a fourth channel on 1349 television, or about the most sensible use of frequencies, all act upon one another it would seem sensible and fair for us to examine the whole question in depth.
I must confess that, like the majority of lion. Members. I am a layman. I do not have the professional expertise on broadcasting of some of my colleagues. Therefore, I would welcome a lot of the kind of advice that we had from Pilkington a few years ago. With no disrespect to the Minister and his colleagues, after the speeches we have heard today they, too, could do with advice. All we are discussing is this piecemeal approach to the structure of broadcasting, loosely called local commercial radio. This is, to many of us, a description which is in itself a contradiction.
What has surprised me in the course of this debate has been the unwillingness of the Minister and some of his hon. Friends, in putting their points, to discuss the principles lying behind the Bill. They were anxious to talk about some of the technicalities, about some of the problems, but they were not anxious to talk about the commercial principles. Neither were they anxious to talk about local radio, as many of us understand it.
It is worth while recalling that the Bill is before us because, no matter what the attitude of hon. Members who have made speeches from the other side of the House today, they all came here on the same General Election ticket. That ticket was a pledge by the Prime Minister that he would break the monopoly of the B.B.C. and provide an alternative form of broadcasting. What is before us today, in the shape of this Bill, does not seem to bear any resemblance to that pledge. We are getting something quite different.
The right hon. Gentleman was, by this pledge, put in something of a dilemma. To use a phrase often employed, it has been said of him that he inherited a slogan and not a policy. Having heard his description of the White Paper and the Bill, this is certainly true. No matter that he did not spell it out in great detail, there are many people in this country who thought there was much more to this Bill commercially than the 1350 right hon. Gentleman would like us to believe.
When the Prime Minister some years ago said that he was thinking in terms of commercial radio, this information caused a number of companies to put a spurt on in registering for commercial purposes. There are now 400 companies hoping to get in on the act, 400 companies which see it in a different way from the way in which the right hon. Gentleman sees it. They do not see it as simply an alternative form of radio, a high quality service; they think it is about making money, about getting a dividend, a purely commercial operation and nothing to do with an alternative service. Not everyone shares the lofty approach that we have had from Lord Eccles who is responsible for the arts. The noble Lord was telling us in another place what he thought local commercial radio would do. I went along to hear him, as no doubt other hon. Friends did.
§ Mr. Mackenzie
At one point he told us that commercial radio on a local basis would be used to advertise events of an artistic and cultural character.
In fairness to Lord Eccles, he gave us a view of local broadcasting which many of us found acceptable and to our liking. He said—and I hope that the Minister will bear this in mind throughout discussions in Committee—that he would champion local radio because it could do so much to illustrate and enliven the character of the places in which we make our homes and to involve people in community activity. That is a fair and useful definition. It was a little unfortunate that two sentences later he let the cat out of the bag when he said that he was all for having this kind of local radio but not for himself, that he would not be listening to it. He told us that this was for the "plebs"; it was for the lower classes. He would be listening to the middle-class news on one programme while they were listening to the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough (Mr. Proudfoot) on another. This is what we do not understand. We do not understand how the noble Lord and the hon. Member for Tonbridge could find themselves in the same Lobby as the 1351 hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough.
I have a confession to make which some of my colleagues will not like. I have a sneaking regard for the hon. Member.
§ Mr. Mackenzie
Yes, I have. He is the one fellow on that side whom I understand on this subject. He does not try to dress it up. He tells us when he makes his speech that he does not want local radio fostering community interests. We shall not have Lord Eccles' advertisements about symphony concerts, and so forth, on Radio Brighouse and Spenborough. The hon. Member wants the 40 top records, and he wants them played three times a day.
§ Mr. Proudfoot
The only way to make a profit with local radio is to give a service to the community in which the station operates. It is as simple as that. I was describing the programmes on a particular radio show of which I was managing director.
§ Mr. Mackenzie
That is what the hon. Gentleman is always telling us—give the people what he thinks they want. What he thinks they want is the 40 top records, played three times a day. He also told us in our last debate that "There's a bob or two in this, boys; there's money in this." He made that statement without apology.
§ Mr. Mackenzie
The hon. Gentleman said, "If there is any money in it, the lads want their share; they are looking for their loot." He shakes his head, but I can quote HANSARD. He must look at that speech again. He will find that he said that there was profit in local radio for many people.
§ Mr. Ernie Money (Ipswich)
The hon. Member has made a swingeing attack on what he said were 400 companies concerned with this subject. I declare an interest at once in that I am a director of one of the 400 concerned. On what basis is The prepared to attack all the individuals concerned as acting on a purely commercial basis and without 1352 being as concerned for the areas which they seek to serve as any hon. Member on his side?
§ Mr. Mackenzie
I am sure that the Minister will be delighted with that. There is one vote which he will have in support. I was dealing with the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough, who was talking about his 40 top records three times a day. He may be right and there may be money in that.
But what one has to emphasis is that it is not local radio; and that is what the argument is about. It bears out what many of us have said from time to time: that there can be good local radio and there can be commercial local radio, but it is exceedingly difficult to get good commercial local radio, especially on the basis laid down by the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough.
§ Mr. Loughlin
There is often a difference of opinion about what is good radio and what is bad. Would my hon. Friend like to tell the House what radio programmes he listens to?
§ Mr. Mackenzie
I was saying that it was exceedingly difficult to combine commercial and local radio.
Mr. Green, the high priest of commercial radio, puts it very well. He says, "All this backyard stuff may be O.K., but it will not get the audiences as mass entertainment will." In a nutshell, both Mr. Green and the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough, who undoubtedly have much experience, say that local radio will not be a good investment for them unless they can drop what most of us would regard as good local radio.
The Minister may say, and no doubt he will, that he can ignore Mr. Green and reject his plea. No doubt he can reject the attitude of the hon. Member for Brighouse and Spenborough, for the Whips can be put on and the hon. Member will vote as he voted last time. But these are only the tiddlers in the pool and there are some people about whom some of us are genuinely worried. Some 1353 big fish are involved, and these are the people who see local radio as a good investment.
My hon. Friend the Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton), who chose to use some elegant language which I could never hope to match, indicated that there were bigger fish than Mr. Hugh Green. He told us about the Rank Organisation.
§ Mr. Mackenzie
The Minister says "Oh." Many of us find it objectionable that an organisation like the Rank Organisation will even be in the running for one of these stations. It gave £25,000, directly or indirectly to the Conservative cause at the last General Election. The Rank Organisation made an investment and now, perhaps, it is waiting for its dividend. After all, the biggest contributors to Conservative Party Funds were the brewers, and they got their Bill last year. Rank came very close to the top of the list,and now it says, "The brewers have got their bit; it is time we had ours." That is what the whole thing is about.
Of the 400 companies registered for local commercial radio, about 30, in one guise or another, are tied up with the Rank Organisation. I hope that, when he replies, the Minister will think about that and consider whether it is wise that these people should be favourably considered by the I.B.A.
In the last debate, and again today, though in fewer words, the Minister told us that he understands the fears which some of us have about standards. and he said that by putting the Authority at the top he will ensure that we do not have the sort of thing which many of us have been worried about—we shall not have all Radio Manx, or, with respect to the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls), we shall not have a sort of Radio Luxembourg, and we shall not have the "pop" pirates pouring out 40 records three times a day.
The Minister assures us that we shall have real local radio with properly controlled high standards. Neither the Bill nor the 1964 Act, if amended, indicates that the I.B.A. will have an easy task. I read the Bill with great care, but, after a long time, I still could not understand a word of it, and I was fortunate that my 1354 colleague in this matter, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) was able, with his professional expertise, to give me a little advice. Without it, I could only think, as so many of us had thought, that the Bill was something of a legal mess.
We still wonder how the I.B.A. will manage to exercise the sort of controls which the Minister envisages. Over a number of years, the Independent Television Authority has had its difficulties. Its members have tried to do their job well, the staff in the regions have tried to do their job well, and some of the companies have tried to co-operate with the I.T.A.; but the Authority has no teeth, and the Bill will not give it any in its new form. As my hon. and learned Friend pointed out, it all turns on the four words "so far as possible". So far as it is able to do so, the Authority may do this or that. But it will not have an easy task. The task has been difficult with television. Radio will be even more difficult, as the Minister well knows.
As I understand him, the Minister envisages a system of inspection after presentation. This will not be an easy objective to achieve. My right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) clearly established that when he spoke about advertisements. The Minister and the I.B.A. will have the further difficulty of having to deal with impromptu announcements, and so on.
If we are to have 60 radio stations, not just 14 or 15 as we have in television, how will the Authority cope unless it employs a vast number of people to look after the inspection? What is said in the Explanatory Memorandum on the question of manpower in no way corresponds with what I have always understood to be Conservative Government policy. Many Conservative hon. Members fought the last General Election on the basis that they would reduce manpower throughout the public service. Whatever the Bill does, it will not do that, nor will it spell out for the taxpayer the cost of the extra manpower the Minister needs for a properly-constituted form of control.
How do the potential contractors, the 400 people who have registered companies for commercial local radio, see themselves fitting into the structure? I understand 1355 that the Minister saw many people during the summer. There would be no point in discussing these matters with them unless he can tell us that in his view the structure he is setting up will be sought after by potential contractors. If the right hon. Gentleman is putting radio space on the market, it is up to him to explain precisely what sort of market surveys he has carried out.
The same applies to finance. The Minister has made provision in the financial Clauses for the returns, and has clearly seen that when we have local radio there will not be a licence to print money. We agree with him on that. But at some time it must be a return for the taxpayers' outlay on the venture. If the contractors are to be allowed to sell radio space, and we are selling them, through the I.B.A., the precious frequencies so scarce in this country, we are entitled also to ask what sort of return there will be for the taxpayer. We are spending £2 million to set up the venture. If there is to be a profit for the contractors, what is there in it for the public as a whole? I ask this because there have been wide variations in the amount of money that it is said will be spent on advertising in the medium. Some say that it will be £10 million and others say that it will be £25 million a year. If the Minister proposes commercial arrangements of the kind before us, it is his duty to explain them in commercial terms that we all understand. It is a commercial venture from his point of view, and therefore he should spell out in detail what sort of return we are getting for the people's money and the frequencies we shall virtually sell to the contractors.
I have several points on finance. First, if local radio were run on a shoestring, like Radio Manx, with poor programmes and poor wages, it would be a disaster.
Second, if the Minister is anxious to ensure viability, what limits will he set on the number of stations owned by any group? I do not mean holding companies, but how many actual people are to be involved and how are they to be allowed to carry the venture on? It is important to keep ownership of this important means of communication as 1356 wide as possible and not to have it fall into very few hands, as with the newspapers.
My hon. Friend the Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Roderick) and the hon. Member for Conway (Mr. Wyn Roberts) were concerned about the fairness of competition in Scotland, Wales and some parts of England. I raise the question not in any parochial sense because I am from Scotland but because I remember the Prime Minister's statement that where there were B.B.C. local radio stations there should also be commercial radio stations. We say to him that the reverse is also true—that if we are to have commercial stations in Scotland, Wales and the rural parts of England we should also have the opportunity of B.B.C. local radio. That would seem to be fair and to be genuine competition.
I am not here to apologise for the B.B.C. Nor am I its greatest advocate. But I will say that the young people, talented and enthusiastic, who run its local radio do an exceedingly good job in most of the stations presently set up and, in my view, completely justify the confidence which we placed in them a few years ago. I hope, therefore, that the Minister will think again about this problem of Scotland, Wales and the rural parts of England, and ensure that if we in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff have commercial stations we also have the opportunity of B.B.C. local stations
The last time we raised this matter with the Minister he said that the B.B.C. was just not interested in doing anything of the kind. I hope that he will re-read the report of the Advisory Council of the B.B.C. in England and Wales and will talk to the people involved in management. I read recently in the Glasgow Herald a report by the Controller of the B.B.C. in Scotland, who said:All the signs indicate that by 1973 there will be commercial local radio stations in Scotland. We welcome competition on equal terms—but Radio 4, Scotland (the old Scottish Home Service), is not in our view, or in the view of the Broadcasting Council for Scotland on equal terms with commercial stations in Glasgow and Edinburgh.Having heard that, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will think again about this question of broadcasting in the communities in this way.
1357 I know that the Government do not give a lot of thought to and do not think much of Scotland and Wales. Of course, truth to tell, we in Scotland and Wales do not think much of the Government. Nevertheless, I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will think about this and other apects of the Bill. If he does not, it will prove what we have thought for a long time—that the Bill has nothing to do with choice or an alternative service but is simply about business and about advertising and is not about local radio.
We think that this Bill is a sham, a legal mess and a waste of frequencies. We think also that to introduce it as the first major Bill of this Session is an affront to the many people in the country who are concerned about unemployment, about social questions and about education. If this is the best the Government can do for their first major Bill of the Session, it does not deserve a Second Reading.
§ 9.38 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I understand that it is the procedure of the House that if an hon. Member or a Minister wishes to speak a second time in a debate, he has to ask leave of the House. Hon. Members on this side have decided that we do not wish to hear the Minister twice on this occasion. We have heard him once already today and we do not want to hear the same case put again. In these circumstances, since there is an objection to the Minister's speaking twice, will you now inform the House what situation now arises from the objections we on this side have made?
§ Mr. Robert Cooke
Further to the point of order. You will be aware, Mr. Speaker, that the debate has been comparatively good-humoured and hon. Members have endeavoured to explore the mind of my right hon. Friend the Minister on this subject. The speech with which my right hon. Friend introduced the Bill has resulted in a number of questions being asked by Members, on both sides of the House, which they are genuinely anxious to have answered in another speech by my right hon. Friend. 1358 As there are Members on the benches opposite who have asked to hear a reply from the Minister, who have been here throughout the debate and who are opposed to those who now object—it is quite obvious that the whole thing is contrived—will you, Mr. Speaker, protect the interests of hon. Members on both sides who are very anxious to hear the Government's reply?
§ Mr. Darling
Further to the point of order. During my observations I suggested that the Minister should not reply tonight but should consider our questions that we should postpone the Second Reading debate and that he should later reply to our questions after he has considered them. Therefore, I am wholly in support of my hon. Friends.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
Further to the point of order. I wonder, Mr. Speaker, whether you can accent the point of order from the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heifer) when, as I believe— I cannot say this for certain—he was not in the House when my right hon. Friend the Minister opened the debate. If the hon. Gentleman who has raised the point of order was not in the House at that time, he is deliberately twisting the procedures in order to make a narrow party point. However, those of us who have heard most of the debate know that nearly all the time has been taken up by hon. Members on both sides asking intricate and technical questions.
It is a well-known fact that on a Bill about which technical and intricate questions have been asked a compliment is paid to the House by the Minister responsible being prepared to reply. Far from allowing the situation to degenerate to a level at which the procedures of the House are brought into ridicule, we should be prepared to congratulate the Minister on being willing to open and close the debate, because by so doing he is paying tribute to the House.
Is it in order for the hon. Member for Walton to make the protest which he has made when he was not present to hear the opening speech by the Minister to whom he has objected?
§ Mr. William Hamilton
Further to the point of order. I am relatively innocent about the procedures of the House, Mr. Speaker, but I have always understood that no Member can speak twice in any 1359 debate, other than during a committee stage, unless he has the leave of the House. One of our objections to commercial radio is the repetitive nature of the trash we are served up.
It is obvious to us that the Minister does not know his own Bill and that we shall not get answers to the many questions which my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) and others have asked. It is equally obvious that we shall have a very long Committee stage on the Bill. Therefore, the Minister cannot contribute anything more in the quarter of an hour which remains and, moreover it would be against the procedures of the House for him to speak again. I should like you, Mr. Speaker, to explain whether the Minister can speak again unless he has the permission of the whole House—and it is clear that he does not have it.
§ Mr. Chataway
Further to the point of order. An enormous number of detailed questions have been directed towards me today. In fact, most hon. Members opposite who have spoken have put questions to me. There is a large number of questions for the Minister, both in opening and in replying to the debate, to answer, and I would hope that out of consideration for those who have been here all day, who have spoken from both sides of the House and who have asked questions, I might be allowed to reply.
§ Mr. Speaker
If I may intervene for a moment, the question whether a Minister or anybody else may speak a second time without the unanimous leave of the House is a fairly narrow point of order.
§ Mr. O'Malley
Further to the point of order. As I understand the situation, when a Minister, or any right hon. or hon. Member of the House, seeks to speak a second time in one and the same debate, he can speak only by leave of the House. The point raised by the hon. Member for Peterborough (Sir Harmar Nicholls) may not be correct; my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller) was present during the debate. Whatever may be the answer to the question by the hon. Member for 1360 Peterborough, it is the case that I was present during the debate and I saw what happened. It seems to me that we are faced with two problems in deciding as a House whether the Minister should have the leave of the House to speak a second time.
§ Mr. Speaker
I think that this is broadening out the issue considerably. It is not whether the Minister should or should not have the leave of the House, but whether he needs it. The point is, therefore, a very narrow one.
§ Mr. O'Malley
Precisely. I was coming to the point whether the Minister needs the permission of the House to speak a second time. There are two points we ought to bear in mind as a House before coming to a decision on this matter. First, it is undoubtedly the case that a number of hon. Members who wished to speak have not yet been called, but the second, and much more relevant, point is that on the evidence of the speech which the Minister made earlier, he was completely unable to answer any of the questions that were put to him then. Surely, therefore, we should postpone the Second Reading of the Bill and the debate until the Minister is able to get a proper briefing from his Department to be able to answer the questions.
§ Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas (Chelmsford)
Is not the convention that a Minister may speak twice with the leave of the House a convention which is designed not for the convenience of Ministers but for the benefit of the House as a whole? Surely this convention exists so that when points have been raised by Members in the course of a debate, there will be an opportunity for those points to be answered. Is it not the case that if these conventions are challeneged, the only result is that the House will be lowered in the eyes of the public? Is it not strange that the very people who objected most strongly because of a certain amount of light-heartedness should now, by raising these points and this objection, be abusing the procedures of the House?
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)
May I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that the reason for the convention which has been referred to by the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas) is that 1361 it has been found convenient for the House that sometimes a Minister who has spoken at the beginning of a debate should reply at the end of the debate when the rest of the House has accepted that that would be the best way of disposing of the matter? It is entirely up to the House whether that should occur. It is clear that no such concession— because it is a concession—from the House is tonight available to the Minister.
I suggest to the Minister that the only way for him to escape from his embarrassment, particularly since he says that he needs a great deal of time to answer all the points, is for the matter to be set down for debate tomorrow or on another day.
This is the only way of dealing with the matter properly. According to the rules of the House, there is no way by which the debate can proceed if the Minister has not won the will of the House thus to proceed. As he has not done so, the only proper and orderly way is for the Government to move the adjournment of the debate and to set down the debate for, let us say, next Monday. Many of us would prefer to discuss—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I must insist on a hearing for the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot).
§ Mr. Foot
That is an old custom which has not been quite understood. I thank you for your intervention, Mr. Speaker. Many of us would agree that it would be better to proceed with this Bill, dislike it though we may, rather than the Bill which is set down for discussion on Monday. Since it is clear that the House of Commons is not prepared to hear the Minister, I suggest that the matter should be set down for Business on Monday or Tuesday of next week and that the only orderly way in which this could be done is for the Leader of the House—I do not know where he is—[HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"]—to move such a Motion.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I have never known such a disposition of the House to help the Speaker on a simple and narrow point. The question is whether the Minister can proceed without the leave 1362 of the House. He cannot. But the hon. Member is quite wrong; the debate can continue.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I thought the hon. Member for Rotherham (Mr. O'Malley) had already risen on a point of order. Mr. O'Malley.
§ Mr. O'Malley
On a point of order Mr. Speaker. Since many hon. Members apparently are unwilling to listen to the Minister, not because they do not want to listen to him but because they feel he is not properly briefed and prepared to answer the questions which have been put to him, and since, unfortunately we do not have the Leader of the House with us at the moment——
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I must insist that, since the House has refused permission to the Minister to reply the debate must continue.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury(Mr. Francis Pym)
rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put; but Mr. SPEAKER withheld his assent and declined then to put that Question.
§ Mr. Richard
On a point of order Mr. Speaker. This debate concludes at ten o'clock and not at five minutes to ten. Since all that has happened is that the House, for what it regards as good reason, refuses to give the Minister the right to speak again, should we not now hear somebody who wishes to continue the debate?
§ Mr. O'Malley
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Since it is clear that the debate has not been concluded on the Bill this evening, and since we have the Patronage Secretary, if not the Leader of the House, present, would it not be for the convenience of the House to give the Minister an opportunity to 1363 receive the briefing he needs? Would it not be right for the Patronage Secretary, acting in the absence of the Leader of the House, to move that this debate be adjourned until the House has a suitable opportunity to conclude the debate?
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
If, Mr. Speaker, you are not accepting the Motion, "That the Question be now put", could I, since I have not yet spoken, continue the debate?
§ Mr. Whitehead
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker. I am grateful that, on the second time of asking, you have not con- fused me with the present Leader of the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where is he?"] I wish to address myself to the very simple point that, while hon. Members on this side of the House have sat through this entire debate and are not prepared to allow the customary courtesies to the Minister to reply to the debate, it should be pointed out that there is another convention of this House; namely, the convention that when in the course of a speech by a right hon. Gentleman in introducing——
§ Question put, That the Question be now put:—
§ The House proceeded to a Division—
§ Mr. O'Malley (seated and covered)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It was the case that one of my hon. Friends was speaking on a point of order when the Chair put the Question, "That the Question be now put". Surely, when an hon. Member is putting forward a point of order, he should not be interrupted by the Chair putting the Question.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I ask the House to take this situation a little more calmly. The Patronage Secretary moved the Closure — [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]
There is no point in hon. Members shouting "No" at me. The Patronage Secretary moved the Closure—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] If hon. Members do not want me to rule, I will not.
§ Mr. Darling (seated and covered)
On a point of order. You, Mr. Speaker, invited hon. Members to continue the debate. I rose in an attempt to continue the debate.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. What happened was that the Patronage Secretary moved the Closure at five minutes to Ten o'clock. I did not immediately accept that Motion. Then there were so many points of order that I was not able to call an hon. Member to continue the debate. In any event, if I had called the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Hills- borough (Mr. Darling), he would have needed the leave of the House to speak again, which I doubt that he would have got. I was willing to hear any hon. Member. Then the Patronage Secretary moved the Closure a second time, and I accepted it.
§ The House divided: Ayes 289, Noes 254.1365
|Division No. 4.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)|
|Allason. James (Hemel Hempstead)||Benyon, W.||Bryan, Paul|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Berry, Hn. Anthony||Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus, N&M)|
|Astor, John||Biffen, John||Buck, Antony|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Biggs-Davison, John||Bullus, Sir Eric|
|Awdry, Daniel||Blaker, Peter||Burden, F. A.|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Butler, Adam (Bosworth)|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Body, Richard||Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn)|
|Balniel, Lord||Boscawen, Robert||Carlisle, Mark|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Bossom, Sir Clive||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Batsford, Brian||Bowden, Andrew||Channon, Paul|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Chapman, Sydney|
|Bell, Ronald||Brinton, Sir Tatton||Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Churchill, W. S.||Iremonger, T. L.||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||James, David||Raison, Timothy|
|Clegg, Walter||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Cockeram, Eric||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Cooke, Robert||Jessel, Toby||Redmond, Robert|
|Coombs, Derek||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Cooper, A. E.||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Jopling, Michael||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Cormack, Patrick||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Costain, A. P.||Kaberry. Sir Donald||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Critchley, Julian||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Crouch, David||Kilfedder, James||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Crowder, F. P.||Kimball, Marcus||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff,N.)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmith,Maj.-Gen.James||Kinsey, J. R.||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Dean, Paul||Kirk, Peter||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Kitson, Timothy||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Rost, Peter|
|Dixon, Piers||Knox, David||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Lambton, Antony||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lane, David||Scott, Nicholas|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Dykes, Hugh||Le Merchant, Spencer||Sharples, Richard|
|Eden, Sir John||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Lloyd, Rt.Hn.Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Simeons, Charles|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Longden, Gilbert||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Farr, John||Loveridge, John||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Fell, Anthony||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Soref, Harold|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||MacArthur, Ian||Speed, Keith|
|Fidler, Michael||McCrindle, R. A.||Spence, John|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Sproat, lain|
|Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||McMaster, Stanley||Stainton, Keith|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|Fortescue, Tim||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Foster, Sir John||Madden, Martin||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Fowler, Norman||Madel, David||Stokes, John|
|Fox, Marcus||Maginnis, John E.||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Marten, Neil||Sutcliffe, John|
|Fry, Peter||Mather, Carol||Tapsell, Peter|
|Gardner. Edward||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Tebbit, Norman|
|Goodhart, Philip||Miscampbell, Norman||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Goodhew. Victor||Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Gorst, John||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Gower, Raymond||Moate, Roger||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Molyneaux, James||Tilney, John|
|Grav. Hamish||Money, Ernle||Trew, Peter|
|Green, Alan||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Grieve, Percy||Monro, Hector||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Grylls, Michael||Montgomery, Fergus||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Gummer. Selwyn||More, Jasper||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Gurden, Harold||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Waddington, David|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Morrison, Charles||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Mudd, David||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Murton, Oscar||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Hannam, John (Exeter)||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Wall, Patrick|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Neave, Airey||Walters, Dennis|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Haselhurst. Alan||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Warren, Kenneth|
|Hastings. Stephen||Normanton, Tom||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Havers, Michael||Nott, John||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Hawkins, Paul||Onslow, Cranley||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Hay, John||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Hayhoe, Barney||Orr, Capt. L. P. S||Wilkinson, John|
|Heseltine, Michael||Osborn, John||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Hicks, Robert||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Higgins. Terence L.||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Hiley, Joseph||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Parkinson, Cecil||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Hill. John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Peel, John||Woof, Robert|
|Holland, Philip||Percival, Ian||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Holt. Miss Mary||Pink, R. Bonner||Younger, Hn. George|
|Hornby, Richard||Pounder, Rafton|
|Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Mr. Reginald Eyre and|
|Howell, David (Guildford)||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Mr. Bernard Weatherill.|
|Howell. Ralph (Norfolk, N.)|
|Abse, Leo||Garrett, W. E.||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Albu, Austen||Gilbert, Dr. John||Mendelson, John|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)||Mikardo, Ian|
|Allen, Scholefield||Golding, John||Milian, Bruce|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Milne, Edward|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Gourley, Harry||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)|
|Ashley, Jack||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Molloy, William|
|Atkinson, Norman||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)|
|Baxter, William||Hamling, William||Moyle, Roland|
|Beaney, Alan||Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Murray, Ronald King|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Hardy, Peter||Oakes, Gordon|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Harper, Joseph||Ogden, Eric|
|Bishop, E. S.||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Hattersley, Roy||O'Malley, Brian|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Orbach, Maurice|
|Booth, Albert||Heffer, Eric S.||Orme, Stanley|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Hilton, W. S.||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Horam, John||Padley, Walter|
|Bradley, Tom||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Paget, R. T.|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Huckfield. Leslie||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Buchan, Norman||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Pendry, Tom|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Pentland, Norman|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hughes. Roy (Newport)||Perry, Ernest G|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Hunter, Adam||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Cant, R. B.||Irvine, Rt. Hn. SirArthur(Edge Hill)||Prescott, John|
|Carmichael, Neil||Janner, Greville||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Jeger, Mrs. I ena||Probert, Arthur|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Rankin, John|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Cohen, Stanley||John, Brynmor||Richard, Ivor|
|Concannon, J. D.||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Cronin, John||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W.Ham.S.)||Rodgers. William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Roper, John|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda. W.)||Rose, Paul B.|
|Davidson, Arthur||Judd, Frank||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Kaufman. Gerald||Sandelson, Neville|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Kelley. Richard||Sheldon. Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Kerr, Russell||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Kinnock, Neil||Short, Mrs. RenÉe (W'hampton, N.E.)|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Lambie, David||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Lamond, James||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Deakins, Eric||Latham, Arthur||Sillars, James|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Lawson, George||Silverman, Julius|
|Delargy, H. J.||Leadbitter. Ted||Skinner, Dennis|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Leonard. Dick||Small, William|
|Dempsey, James||Lestor, Miss Joan||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Doig, Peter||Lever, Rt Hn. Harold||Spearing, Nigel|
|Dormand, J. D.||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshlre, E.)||Lipton. Marcus||Stallard, A. W.|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Lomas. Kenneth||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Driberg, Tom||Lyon. Alexander W. (York)||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lyons. Edward (Bradford. E.)||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Dunn, James A.||Mahon. Dr. J. Dickson||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Dunnett, Jack||McBride, Neil||Strang, Gavin|
|Eadie, Alex||McCann, John||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Edelman, Maurice||McCartney, Hugh||Swain, Thomas|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||McElhone, Frank||Taverne, Dick|
|Ellis, Tom||McGuire. Michael||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|English. Michael||Mackenzie. Gregor||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Evans, Fred||Mackie. John||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Ewing, Harry||Mackintosh. John P.||Tinn, James|
|Faulds, Andrew||Maclennan. Robert||Tomney, Frank|
|Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.||McMillan. Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Torney, Tom|
|Fisher, Mrs. Doris(B'ham, Ladywood)||McNamara. J. Kevin||Tuck, Raphael|
|Fitch. Alan (Wigan)||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ileston)||Mallalleu, E. L. (Brigg)||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Fletcher. Ted (Darlington)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Wallace, George|
|Foley, Maurice||Marks, Kenneth||Watkins, David|
|Foot, Michael||Marquand, David||Weitzman, David|
|Ford, Ben||Marsden, F.||Wellbeloved, James|
|Forrester, John||Marshal. Dr. Edmund||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Fraser. John (Norwood)||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Freeson, Reginald||Mayhew, Christopher||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Meacher, Michael|
|Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)||Mr. James Hamilton and|
|Williams, W. T. (Warrington)||Woof, Robert||Mr Donald Coleman|
§ Question put accordingly, That the Bill be now read a Second time:—
|Division No. 5.]||AYES||10.11 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Fidler, Michael||Knox, David|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Lambton, Antony|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Lane, David|
|Astor, John||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Fookes, Miss Janet||Le Marchant, Spencer|
|Awdry, Daniel||Fortescue, Tim||Lewis. Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Foster, Sir John||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfleld)|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Fowler, Norman||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Balniel, Lord||Fox, Marcus||Longden, Gilbert|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Loveridge, John|
|Batsford, Brian||Fry, Peter||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Beamirh, Col. Sir Tufton||Gardner, Edward||MacArthur, Ian|
|Bell, Ronald||Gibson-Watt, David||McCrindle, R. A.|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Glyn, Dr. Alan||McMaster, Stanley|
|Benyon, W.||Goodhart, Philip||Macmillan, Maurice (Famham)|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Goodhew, Victor||McNair-Wilson, Michael|
|Biffen, John||Gorst, John||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Gower, Raymond||Madden, Martin|
|Blaker, Peter||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Madel, David|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Gray, Hamish||Maginnis, John E.|
|Body. Richard||Green, Alan||Marten, Neil|
|Boscawen, Robert||Grieve, Percy||Mather, Carol|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Grylls, Michael||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginalo|
|Bowden, Andrew||Gummer, Selwyn||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Gurden, Harold||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire, W)|
|Bryan, Paul||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus, N&M)||Hannam, John (Exeter)||Moate, Roger|
|Buck, Antony||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Molyneaux, James|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Money, Ernie|
|Burden, F. A.||Haselhurst, Alan||Monks, Mrs. Connie|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Hastings, Stephen||Monro, Hector|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. G.(Moray & Nairn)||Havers, Michael||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hawkins, Paul||More, Jasper|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hay, John||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Channon, Paul||Hayhoe, Barney||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Chapman, Sydney||Heseltine, Michael||Morrison, Charles|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Hicks, Robert||Mudd, David|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Higgins, Terence L.||Murton, Oscar|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hiley, Joseph||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Neave, Airey|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Hill, James (Southampton Test)||Nicholls, Sir Harmer|
|Clegg, Walter||Holland, Philip||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Cockeram, Eric||Holt, Miss Mary||Normanton, Tom|
|Cooke, Robert||Hornby, Richard||Nott, John|
|Coombs, Derek||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia||Onslow, Cranley|
|Cooper, A. E.||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Howell, David (Guildford)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Cormack, Patrick||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Osborn, John|
|Costain, A. P.||Hunt, John||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Critchley, Julian||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Crouch, David||Iremonger, T. L.||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Parkinson, Cecil|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsm'd, Sir Henry||James, David||Peel, John|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jemes||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Percival, Ian|
|Dean, Paul||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Jessel, Toby||Pounder, Rafton|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Dixon, Piers||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Price, (David (Eastleigh)|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Jopling, Michael||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.|
|Drayson, G. B.||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Dykes, Hugh||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Eden, Sir John||Kilfedder, James||Ralson, Timothy|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Kimhall. Marcus||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Kinsey, J. R.||Redmond, Robert|
|Farr, John||Kirk, Peter||Reed, Laurance (Bolton. E.)|
|Fell. Anthony||Kitson, Timothy||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
§ The House divided: Ayes 289, 257.1371
|Rees-Davies, W. R.||Stainton, Keith||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Stanbrook, Ivor||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)||Wall, Patrick|
|Ridsdale, Julian||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.||Walters, Dennis|
|Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||Stokes, John||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom||Warren, Kenneth|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Sutcliffe, John||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Tapsell, Peter||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Rost, Peter||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Russell, Sir Ronald||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)||Wilkinson, John|
|St. John-Stevas, Norman||Tebbit, Norman||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Scott, Nicholas||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Scott-Hopkins, James||Thomas, John Stradling(Monmouth)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Sharples, Richard||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Shelton, William (Clapham)||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Simeons, Charles||Tilney, John||Worsley, Marcus|
|Sinclair. Sir George||Trew, Peter||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Tugendhat, Christopher||Younger. Hn. George|
|Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Soref, Harold||van Straubenzee, W. R.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Speed, Keith||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard||Mr. Reginald Eyre and|
|Spence, John||Vickers, Dame Joan||Mr. Bernard Weatherill.|
|Sproat, lain||Waddington, David|
|Abse, Leo||Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Hughes, Mark (Durham)|
|Albu, Austen||Dempsey, James||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Doig, Peter||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Dormand, J. D.||Hunter, Adam|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur(Edge Hill)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Janner, Greville|
|Ashley, Jack||Driberg, Tom||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Atkinson, Norman||Duffy, A. E. P.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena|
|Bagler, Gordon A. T.||Dunn, James A.||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)|
|Barnes, Michael||Dunnett, Jack||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Eadie, Alex||John, Brynmor|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Edelman, Maurice||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)|
|Baxtez, William||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)|
|Beaney, Alan||Ellis, Tom||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||English, Michael||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Evans, Fred||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn(W.Ham, S.)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Ewing, Harry||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Faulds, Andrew||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.||Judd, Frank|
|Booth, Albert||Fisher, Mrs. Doris(B'ham, Ladywood)||Kaufman, Geraid|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Kelley, Richard|
|Boyden, James (Bishod Auckland)||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Kerr, Russell|
|Bradley, Tom||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Kinnock, Neil|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Foley, Maurice||Lambie, David|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Foot, Michael||Lamond, James|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Ford, Ben||Lawson, George|
|Buchan, Norman||Forrester, John||Leadbitter Ted|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Leonard. Dick|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Freeson, Reginald||Lester, Miss Joan|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbarionshire, W.)||Galpern, Sir Myer||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold|
|Cant, R. B.||Garrett, W. E.||Lewis. Arthur (W. Ham, N.)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Gilbert, Dr. John||Lipton, Marcus|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Golding, John||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Lyons. Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Gourlay, Harry||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Cohen, Stanley||Grant, Geoge (Morpeth)||McBride. Neil|
|Concannon, J. D.||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||McCann, John|
|Corbel, Mrs. Freda||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||McCartney, Hugh|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||McElhone, Frank|
|Cronin, John||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||McGuire, Michael|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Hamling, William||Mackenzie, Gregor|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Mackie, John|
|Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Hardy, Peter||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Harper, Joseph||Maclennan, Robert|
|Davidson, Arthur||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Hattersley, Roy||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Davies, G. Elfed (Ehondda, E.)||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Heffer, Eric S.||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tyd il)||Hilton, W. S.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Horam, John||Marks, Kenneth|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Marquand, David|
|Deakins, Eric||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Marsden, F.|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Huckfleld. Leslie||Marshall, Dr. Edmund|
|Delargy, H. J.||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Meacher, Michael||Price, William (Rugby)||Strang, Gavin|
|Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Probert, Arthur||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R|
|Mendelson, John||Rankin, John||Swain, Thomas|
|Mikardo, Ian||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)||Taverne, Dick|
|Millan, Bruce||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Milne, Edward||Richard, Ivor||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, ltchen)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Molloy, William||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Tinn, James|
|Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Tomney, Frank|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)||Torney, Tom|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Roper, John||Urwin, T. W|
|Moyle, Roland||Rose, Paul B.||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Murray, Ronald King||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)||Wallace, George|
|Oakes, Gordon||Sandelson, Neville||Watkins, David|
|Ogden, Eric||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Weitzman, David|
|O'Halloran, Michael||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Well beloved, James|
|O'Malley, Brian||Short, Mrs. RenÉe (W'hampton, N.E.)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Orbach, Maurice||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Orme, Stanley||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Sillars, James||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Padley, Walter||Silverman, Julius||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Paget, R. T.||Skinner, Dennis||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Palmer, Arthur||Small, William||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Parker, John (Dagenham)||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Pavitt, Laurie||Spearing, Nigel||Woof, Robert|
|Pendry, Tom||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Pentland, Norman||Stallard, A. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Perry, Ernest G.||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)||Mr. James Hamilton and|
|Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)||Mr. Donald Coleman|
|Prescott, John||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
§ Bill accordingly read a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question put, That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. Mellish.]
|Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Mendelson, John||Short, Mrs. RenÉe (W'hampton, N.E.)|
|Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Mikardo, Ian||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Jones, Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham, S.)||Millan, Bruce||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Milne, Edward||Sillars, James|
|Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||Silverman, Julius|
|Judd, Frank||Molloy, William||Skinner, Dennis|
|Kaufman, Gerald||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Small, William|
|Kelley, Richard||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Kerr, Russell||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Kinnock, Neil||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Lambie, David||Moyle, Roland||Stallard, A. W.|
|Lamond, James||Murray, Ronald King||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Latham, Arthur||Oakes, Gordon||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Lawson, George||Ogden, Eric||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Leadbitter, Ted||O'Halloran, Michael||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Leonard, Dick||O'Malley, Brian||Strang, Gavin|
|Lestor, Miss Joan||Orbach, Maurice||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Orme, Stanley||Swain, Thomas|
|Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Taverne, Dick|
|Lipton, Marcus||Padley, Walter||Thomas, Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Paget, R. T.||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Loughlin, Charles||Palmer, Arthur||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Tinn, James|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Pavitt, Laurie||Tomney, Frank|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Pendry, Tom||Torney, Tom|
|McBride, Neil||Pentland, Norman||Tuck, Raphael|
|McCann, John||Perry, Ernest G.||Urwin, T. W.|
|McCartney, Hugh||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|McElhone, Frank||Prescott, John||Wallace, George|
|McGuire, Michael||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Watkins, David|
|Mackenzie, Gregor||Price, William (Rugby)||Weitzman, David|
|Mackie, John||Probert, Arthur||Wellbeloved, James|
|Mackintosh, John P.||Rankin, John||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Maclennan, Robert||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Whitehead, Phillip|
|McNamara, J. Kevin||Richard, Ivor||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Roberts, Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Marks, Kenneth||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Marquand, David||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)||Woof, Robert|
|Marsden, F.||Roper, John|
|Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Rose, Paul B.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)||Mr. Ernest Armstrong and|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Sandelson, Neville||Mr. Donald Coleman.|
|Meacher, Michael||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Adley, Robert||Buck, Antony||Dykes, Hugh|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Bullus, Sir Eric||Eden, Sir John|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Burden, F. A.||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray&Na[...]rn)||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)|
|Astor, John||Carlis[...]e, Mark||Eyre, Reginald|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Farr, John|
|Awdry, Dan[...]el||Channon, Paul||Fell, Anthony|
|Baker, Kenne[...]h (St. Marylebone)||Chapman, Sydney||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Chataway, Rt. Hn. Chr[...]stopher||Fidler, Michael|
|Balniel, Lord||Chichester-Clark, R.||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Churchill, W. S.||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)|
|Batsford, Brian||Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tuf[...]on||Clarke, Kenne[...]h (Rushcliffe)||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Bell, Ronald||Cockeram, Eric||Fortescue, Tim|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Cooke, Robert||Fowler, Norman|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Coombs, Derek||Fox, Marcus|
|Benyon, W.||Cooper, A. E.||Fraser Rt.Hn.Hugh (St'fford & Stone|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Fry, Peter|
|Biffen, John||Cormack, Patrick||Gardner, Edward|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Costain, A. P.||Gibson-watt, David|
|Blaker, Peter||Critchley, Julian||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)|
|Boardman, Tom (Le[...]cester, S.W.)||Crouch, David||Glyn, Dr. Alan|
|Body, Richard||Crowder, F. P.||Goodhart, Philip|
|Boscawen, Robert||d'Avigdor-Goldsm[...]d, Sir Henry||Gorst, John|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||d'Avigdor-Goldsm[...]d,Maj.-Gen.James||Gower, Raymond|
|Bowden, Andrew||Dean, Paul||Grant, Anthony (Harrow. C.)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Gray, Hamish|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Green, Alan|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Dixon, Piers||Grieve, Percy|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Ba[...]h)||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Grylls, M[...]hael|
|Bryan, Paul||Drayson, G. B.||Gummer, Selwyn|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Gurden, Harold|
|Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Madel, David||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Maginnis, John E.||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Marten, Neil||Scott, Nicholas|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Mather, Carol||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Hannam, John (Exeter)||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Sharples, Richard|
|Harrison, Brian (Malden)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Simeons, Charles|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Hastings, Stephen||Miscampbell, Norman||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Havers, Michael||Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Hawkins, Paul||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Soref, Harold|
|Hay, John||Moate, Roger||Speed, Keith|
|Hayhoe, Barney||Molyneaux, James||Spence, John|
|Heseltine, Michael||Money, Ernie||Sproat, Iain|
|Hicks, Robert||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Stanton, Keith|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Monro, Hector||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Hiley, Joseph||Montgomery, Fergus||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||More, Jasper||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Holland, Philip||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Stokes, John|
|Holt. Miss Mary||Morrison, Charles||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Hornby, Richard||Mudd, David||Sutcliffe, John|
|Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Murton, Oscar||Tapsell, Peter|
|Howell, David (Guildford)||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Neave, Airey||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Hunt, John||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Tebbit, Norman|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Normanton, Tom||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Nott, John||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|James, David||Onslow, Cranley||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Tilney, John|
|Jessel, Toby||Osborn, John||Trew, Peter|
|Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Jopling, Michael||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Parkinson, Cecil||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Peel, John||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Percival, Ian||Waddington, David|
|Kilfedder, James||Pink, R. Bonner||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Kimball, Marcus||Pounder, Rafton||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Kinsey, J. R.||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Wall, Patrick|
|Kirk, Peter||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Walters, Dennis|
|Kitson, Timothy||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Knight, Mrs. Jill||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Warren, Kenneth|
|Knox, David||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Lambton, Antony||Raison. Timothy||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Lane, David||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Le Marchant, Spencer||Redmond, Robert||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)||Wilkinson, John|
|Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)||Rees, Peter (Dover)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Longden, Gilbert||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Loveridge, John||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|MacArthur, Ian||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Woodnutt, Mark|
|McCrindle, R. A.||Ridsdale, Julian||Worsley, Marcus|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|McMaster, Stanley||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|McNair-Wilson, Michael||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Mr. Walter Clegg and|
|Maddan, Martin||Rost, Peter||Mr. Victor Goodhew.|
§ Bill committed to a Standing Committee pursuant to Standing Order No. 40 (Committal of Bills).