HC Deb 17 April 1972 vol 835 cc46-93

4.0 p.m.

Mr. Speaker

Before calling Amendment No. 1, I wish to say that the Chair has been in difficulty about the selection of Amendments to be called on Report. I have provisionally selected a great many in the belief that it is reasonable that hon. Members should have the opportunity of putting to the whole House matters which only a limited number were able to develop in Standing Committee. But this is only a provisional selection and it is very much dependent on hon. and right hon. Members exercising proper restraint on the length of their speeches. I hope that arguments will be put succintly, for that will enable me to continue this policy of selecting as many Amendments as I can.

We are now to discuss Amendment No. 1 and the following Amendments:

No. 12, in page 193, line 41, at end insert—


District (a)

The administrative county of Isle of Wight.

District (b)

The county borough of Portsmouth.

In the administrative county of Hampshire—

the borough of Go sport;

the urban districts of Fareham, and Havant and Waterloo;

in the rural district of Droxford, the parishes of Bishops Waltham, Boarhunt, Curdridge, Denmead, Droxford, Durley, Hambledon, Shedfield, Soberton, Southwick and Widley, Swan more, Upham and Wickham;

in the rural district of Petersfield the parishes of Clanfield, Horndean and Rowlands Castle.

District (c)

the county borough of Southampton.

In the administrative county of Hampshire—

the boroughs of Eastleigh, Romsey and Lymington;

the rural district of New Forest;

in the rural district of Ringwood and Fordingbridge the parishes of Breamore, Burley, Damerham, Ellingham, Fordingbridge, Hale, Harbridge and Ibsley, Martin, Rockbourne, Whitsbury and Woodgreen;

in the rural district of Winchester the parishes of Botley, Bursledon, Fair Oak, Hamble. Hedge End, Hound and West End;

District (d)

The boroughs of Aldershot, Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester;

the urban districts of Alton, Farnborough, Fleet and Peters field;

the rural districts of Alton, Andover, Basing stoke, Hartley Wintney and Kingsclere and Whitchurch;

in the rural district of Droxford the parishes of Corhampton and Meonstoke, Exton, Warnford and West Meon;

the rural district of Petersfield except the parishes of Clanfield, Horndean and Rowlands Castle;

the rural district of Romsey and Stockbridge except the parishes of Ampfield, Chilworth, North Baddesley, Nursling and Rownhams and Romsey Extra;

the rural district of Winchester except the parishes of Botley, Bursledon, Fair Oak, Hamble, Hedge End, Hound and West End.

No. 72, in page 200, leave out lines 27 to 30.

No. 279, in page 200, leave out line 28.

No. 280, in page 201, line 12, at end insert: Isle of Wight The administrative county of Isle of Wight.

Mr. Mark Woodnutt (Isle of Wight)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are we to be allowed to have Divisions on Amendments Nos. 279 and 280?

Mr. Speaker

I am not deciding that at this stage. I shall have to see how things go. I want to select as many Amendments as possible and give the maximum number of hon. Members an opportunity to have Divisions, but we shall have to see how we get on. I will do my best to meet the requests of hon. Members, but I cannot go any further in promising Divisions other than for the Amendments actually selected. I have now selected Amendment No. 1, and other Amendments are to be discussed with it. The issue of having Divisions will arise later.

Mr. R. Bonner Pink (Portsmouth, South)

I beg to move Amendment No. 1, in page 2, line 5, at end insert: (5A) Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, in any order made under paragraph 1 of the said Schedule 3relating to one or more districts in the new County of Hampshire, the Secretary of State may designate any such district to be a metropolitan district for all purposes other than the purposes of sections 196 and 197 below and, where he does so, shall in the Order provide that in relation to that district the said county shall for the purposes aforesaid be taken to be a metropolitan county. (5B) Any such order may contain such incidental, consequential and supplementary provisions as appear necessary or proper for bringing the order into operation and giving full effect thereto. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for including Amendment Nos. 12, 279 and 280, for these are alternative proposals and alternative solutions for Hampshire's problem. I thank the Minister for his patience and courtesy in receiving our deputation and our representations.

I ought to make it clear straight away that the cities are not opposing the Government on the whole Bill. They are opposing, in effect, the allocation of functions in Hampshire. They accept that two tiers are desirable for some functions, particularly for planning. It will be recalled that nearly 10 years ago the cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, together with Hampshire County Council and the Minister, initiated the Buchanan Study. Following that, they set up a joint planning Committee to decide the structure plan for South Hampshire. So we have already accepted to some extent a two-tier system in Hampshire.

Hampshire is about 50 miles square and nearly 1½ million people live in it. It is accepted that the population will touch the 2 million mark within 20 years. It is the first or second largest non-metropolitan county in the country and it is the fastest growing county. The population is not evenly distributed. One million people live in the densely populated and industrial belt along the South Coast, about 40 miles wide. It extends from the Sussex border to the New Forest and is about 10 miles deep—I include the Isle of Wight in the figure. Two-thirds of the population live in about one-sixth of the total area.

The coastal belt is based on the great ports of Southampton and Portsmouth. There is a definite community of interest based on each port. The area is divided by the River Hamble: on the west people look to Southampton; on the east to Portsmouth. The community of interest is centred on the docks in Southampton and the Royal Dockyard and the Navy in Portsmouth.

In Portsmouth there are some 20,000 jobs in the dockyards and more in naval establishments, store yards and repair yards, which are dependent on the Navy and which are spread throughout the area. Not all the people employed in those establishments live in Portsmouth and many of them do not want to do so, preferring to commute daily to and from their work. There is heavy rush hour traffic at Ports bridge and Eastern Road, which are the only two roads in and out of Portsmouth. Large numbers commute daily.

The situation is even worse in Southampton. The same heavy traffic occurs at rush hours on the Go sport Ferry. The surrounding area is largely dependent on the two cities for shopping, entertainment, sport, amenities and services, and further education. People come in to do their important shopping which they cannot do in the smaller towns and villages around the cities. They come for their theatre, Bingo, dance halls and their sport on Saturdays. They come in in their thousands to see "Pompey" play at home. They also come in for swimming baths and golf. We also provide the large general hospitals that serve the whole area.

Perhaps the most important feature is further education. In Portsmouth we have a polytechnic with 4,000 students, a number which will increase to 7,000. The technical college has 4,000 students. There is a college of art and architecture and a teachers' training college. In Southampton there is the university and similar colleges of further education.

Each city has a population of about 200,000. The areas around them have a population of some 200,000 or 300,000, all with the same community interest. These areas form the dormitory areas of the cities. They also have a considerable amount of light industry, largely supporting the industries in the cities.

In the north of the county there are other fast-expanding areas round Andover, Basingstoke and Aldershot These are dormitory areas with light industry. There is also the Army town of Aldershot. In between the area is largely rural. There are considerable towns in this area: Lymington, Lyndhurst, Winchester, Alton, Farnham, Petersfield, Ringwood and Fordingbridge The problem is to provide a satisfactory form of local government for these different areas of the county.

A number of solutions have been proposed. For example, Maud proposed two all-purpose authorities, dividing the county down the centre, basing them on two cities. The Labour Government proposed a metropolitan county. The present Government have proposed a non-metropolitan county. None of these solutions is entirely satisfactory. But I think that all would agree that the Isle of Wight, physically separated from the mainland and only connected with it by boat and hovercraft, must be administered separately, however the overall organisation of local government is settled. The Amendment proposes, in effect, a metropolitan district for the Isle of Wight. My hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) in his Amendments proposes a separate county. I will leave him to develop the arguments.

The coastal belt is, without doubt, a textbook case for two metropolitan districts. It is densely populated, industrialised, clearly defined and has also a clearly defined community of interest. I am confident that my hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Development will agree with that. In Committee my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of Slate made great play with the opposition from surrounding areas. He stressed that the councils representing only 400,000 people in the cities which were in favour of a metropolitan county and metropolitan districts were opposed by councils representing 1 million people, which either opposed these proposals or remained silent.

That, of course, is perfectly true. But in a case like this I doubt whether the councils really represent the views of their electorates. I believe that they are not considering the real interests of their ratepayers but are trying to maintain the status quo. I do not, for example, think that they considered how much easier it is to get to Portsmouth than to Winchester—10 miles instead of 30, with plenty of trains and buses to Portsmouth but with no direct train or bus to Winchester. It may be all right for those with cars, even though it takes an hour or one and a half hours instead of half an hour, but what of those who have no cars?

Havant has consistently opposed Portsmouth's housing. It complains of the consequent cost for schools, drainage and other services, and is now complaining that Portsmouth has made no provision for the overspill from Leigh Park. Would it not be better for Havant and Portsmouth to be in the same metropolitan district so that these became common problems? Havant complains, too, that it will no longer be responsible for education and that the county will take over again these duties. Would it not also be better if it were part of a local metropolitan district?

What does the opposition of these surrounding areas really amount to? It is principally fear of domination by the cities. This, of course, is nonsense because the areas outside would on a population basis have three councillors for every two city councillors. I think the truth is that these areas are simply taking a parochial view and preferring to be big fish in little pools rather than little fish in a big pool.

As to the remainder of the county, I would think it is at present perhaps not really suitable for a metropolitan district because it is too spread out and too rural. But it is changing rapidly and probably will have become suitable for a metropolitan district within the next 10 or 15 years. The present proposals of the Government mean, of course, that this area with a population of 500,000 is not suitable. Thus, an area with twice as many people will have to suffer accordingly and many of the most important functions will be administered remotely, particularly education, social services and libraries I am convinced that these services are far better administered more locally. This Amendment proposes a compromise, in effect giving the Minister power to make orders accordingly to form a hybrid county with two metropolitan districts for the coastal belt, and one for the Isle of Wight, and non-metropolitan districts for the remainder. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State in Committee agreed that Hampshire is a special case. I would go further and say that it is a unique case and needs a unique solution. That is why the suggested powers in the Amendment are limited to Hampshire. We do not feel that they are needed elsewhere.

4.15 p.m.

I sum up. The Isle of Wight must have a separate administration of some kind. The coastal belt is ideal for division into two metropolitan districts. The remainder of the county is more suitable for division into non-metropolitan districts. The Amendment provides a satisfactory compromise. It would provide good local government for Hampshire, and, unless there is some obscure financial consideration of which I know nothing, the only other objection that I can see is that it does not propose a nice clean tidy set-up dear to the heart of officialdom.

But this is no real objection. The Ministry will have to deal with both metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties. Hampshire County Council can perfectly well deal with metropolitan and non-metropolitan districts. I am sure that my Amendment would enable local government reorganisation in Hampshire to be of genuine benefit and service to the people of Hampshire, not just to the people who live in the cities. I am sure that this commends itself to my hon. Friend.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell (Southampton, Itchen)

We have all read "A Tale of Two Cities". If the Government's proposals go through as they are in the Bill, most people in our area will regard them not as a tale of two cities but as the rape of two cities. These proposals would destroy completely the character of the two great cities. Amendment No. 12 was the main Amendment on this matter put forward in Committee. It was withdrawn after Government opposition. Amendment No. 1 is a fall-back Amendment—a second best for which we have to settle if nothing better can be achieved.

I believe that the solution to the problem in Hampshire is to make Hampshire a metropolitan county and to divide it into four metropolitan districts, one based on Southampton, one on Portsmouth, one on the Isle of Wight and one on the remainder of Hampshire. The originalMaud proposals advocated two autonomous areas for Hampshire, one based on Southampton and the other on Portsmouth. This had advantages and disadvantages. For example, it was a pity that as an after-thought the Isle of Wight was tacked on to the Portsmouth area, about which the Isle of Wight was not pleased. But there were also advantages. as I have said.

Then came the Labour Government's White Paper, Command 4276, which would have made South Hampshire a two-tier, metropolitan system. The Bill concentrates all effective power in the hands of the county and virtually turns Southampton and Portsmouth into parish councils. These great cities as they are at the moment, administering all their functions as county boroughs, will have little left to do as city councils if the Government's proposals go through.

Why is there a special case for making Hampshire a metropolitan county? First, its population of 1.4 million is such that it is the biggest non-metropolitan county of all. Not only that, but its population is growing rapidly. The White Paper issued in February 1970 by the previous Government said: Population and industry in the area have been expanding exceptionally fast; this growth is likely to continue and even accelerate. We all know that South Hampshire is probably the most rapidly expanding area in the country.

I am certain that in, say, 10 years' time, when this is looked at again, everyone will see that there is a case for a metropolitan county. All we are asking is that this should be anticipated and that it should be made a metropolitan county now so that we do not have to reorganise everything in 10 years' time. As things stand, Southampton will have 16 seats and Portsmouth 15 out of a total of 106. We shall be completely lost in this great new county.

The Government's White Paper of February, 1971, said: Local authority areas should be related to areas within which people have a common interest—through living in a recognisable community, through the links of employment, shopping or social activities, or through history and tradition…above all else, a genuine local democracy implies that decisions should be taken—and should be seen to be taken—as locally as possible. Let us look at the first part of this, that local authority areas should be related to areas within which people have a common interest. The new county will be based on Winchester, which is a great city with a long history and fine tradition. But it is very much a county town. On the other hand. Southampton—and I speak for Southampton because others will speak for Portsmouth—is a bustling commercial centre. A few years ago we even won the Daily Mirror award for the most go-ahead town in the country. It is based on an expanding port with a great variety of interests. We are essentially an urban community with all the problems of an urban community, education, social services, housing and so on. I submit that a county in which decisions will be made in the county town of Winchester and in which the two cities will have 31 seats out of 106 will not be devoted to the future development of Southampton and Portsmouth.

Secondly it is said that decisions should be seen to be made locally. Given the proposed system, nearly all the essential decisions affecting the daily lives of people in Southampton—whether elderly, working people or children—will be made in Winchester, 12 miles away. We recognise that major planning decisions involving road networks and so on have to be taken in a wider context. We accept that these matters should be part of a metropolitan county responsibility. Already there is the South Hampshire Study Group which is doing this sort of job with Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth represented.

When it comes to things such as personal services, welfare and education, I submit strongly, having had long experience in local government before entering this House, that decisions on these matters should be made as locally as possible. I would not claim that we have a better education service in Southampton than in Hampshire. I taught in Hampshire for 12 years and I know the tremendous advances that have been made. But essentially the educational problems in Southampton are different from those of the county because it is an urban community. The same applies to decisions affecting other personal services such as the elderly and the handicapped.

It is terribly important that the centre of authority should be easily accessible. What happens at the moment if an old person ora parent in Southampton has a problem which cannot easily be solved is that he goes along to the local town hall which we call the civic centre. It is in the centre of the town and bus services run near to it. What will happen under the new system is that people will have to go to Winchester, and many will not be able to do so. It will be a long journey for them.

There is, too, the importance of a councillor knowing his area. I can go round Southampton now, look at something and say, "I thought of that; it is something which is working". I can look at something else which is not working and think, "Why on earth did I think of that?" Imagine an education Committee serving a county of 1.4 million people. Suppose I served on the education Committee and a problem arose concerning Aldershot. At present if a problem arises about a school, I can go and look at it, for I know where it is. I will not go to Aldershot. I know nothing about it. We have just had a communication from Aldershot which is unhappy that the Aldershot and Farnborough Divisional Executive is to be split and the whole thing is to be put under Winchester. It is not only the big towns which are unhappy.

The important point here is remoteness of administration. I taught in Hampshire for 12 years. We used to refer to Winchester as "the office". In my 12 years of teaching I saw the chief education officer only three times and the man in charge of secondary education at Hampshire twice. There is a different situation, with closer contact between parents, schools and administration in Southampton and I am sure in Portsmouth, too.

Our proposal for a metropolitan county with four metropolitan districts would ensure that decisions about personal services were made locally. Obviously the metropolitan districts have greater power than the ordinary county district. We have laid out certain boundaries in the Amendment. We put down what we think is the most logical but I would not stand by them 100 per cent. For example, if the New Forest decided that it would rather be administered from Winchester than from Southampton, I would be only too happy to concede that. I do not want the boundaries to be rigid. This is something that can be brought about by agreement. It is the principle which I ask the Minister to consider.

This proposal has the support of nearly all the major organisations in Southampton. I have letters on my files from many of them and perhaps I may quote a paragraph from the letter sent by the Health Executive Council. It says: The Executive Council wish to support strongly the contentions of the Southampton and Portsmouth City Councils that important public services such as education, social services and health should remain under a more localised control by area authorities which already have the experience and understanding of the needs of their areas. In the opinion of the Southampton Executive Council this will not be possible if one large local authority for the whole of Hampshire takes over sole control of the services, and will in fact lead to deterioration in the efficiency of local personal services. I emphasise that last sentence. It is sometimes argued that size makes for greater efficiency but there are certain areas where this is not necessarily so and social and personal services represent one of them. The local branch of NALGO strongly supports this, as do many trade unions and the Trades Council. I noticed an interesting letter from Baroness Sharp in The Times today giving full support for our proposals.

4.30 p.m.

I have had over 1,500 letters—and I know that the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. James Hill) has had an equal number—from people in Southampton supporting this proposal. This shows the strength of feeling in the city. Both political parties on the council support it. Both Members of Parliament for Southampton—one Labour, one Conservative—support it. The only fly in the ointment is a small group known as the Itchen Conservative Association, which feels that it is its duty to support the Government even though it is against the interests of the people of Southampton. That is its affair, not mine.

My main criticism of the Bill is that it is county-orientated and disregards the problems of the cities. I have spoken mainly of Southampton and Portsmouth, but places like Plymouth, South end and Blackpool are also adversely affected by the Bill for much the same reasons as I have given, and I hope that their representatives will join me in asking the Government to think again about their proposals for these areas.

In conclusion, I wish to quote a comment made by the Prime Minister at a local government conference in March, 1971: We are determined to maintain so far as possible the deep-rooted loyalties on which our Local Government was founded in the past.…No one in their right senses is in favour of change for change's sake.

The people of Southampton and Portsmouth have shown that they want their areas to be metropolitan districts, retaining their responsibility for education and social services. I ask hon. Members to support the Amendment.

Mr. Woodnutt

The most important thing that the hon. Member for Southampton. Itchen (Mr. R. C. Mitchell) said was that bigness did not necessarily lead to greater efficiency. I hope that the Minister will remember that when he is considering the position of the Isle of Wight which, if I succeed in my efforts, will be the second smallest county, next to Powys, in the country. The hon. Gentleman referred to the Itchen Conservative Association. I wish that he had not said that, because I can assure him that that association, in all its deliberations and decisions, acts in the best interests of Itchen and it would most certainly oppose the Government, as I will if necessary, if it did not get what it thought was best for its constituency.

I wish to direct my observations mainly to the Amendments in my name, Nos. 279 and 280, the effect of which would be to remove the Isle of Wight from the County of Hampshire and to introduce it as a separate county in the Schedule of the Bill between Humberside and Kent. If the Minister would prefer me to put it among the W's, between West Sussex and Wiltshire, instead of the I's, I should have no objection if we could confine our argument to that narrow point.

I have discussed at length Amendment No. 1, in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Pink), and Amendment No. 12, in the name of the hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen, with hon. Gentlemen and hon. Members opposite and with friends in the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, Southampton and other parts of Hampshire. I very much wish that I could support both of them, and especially the Amendment of the hon. Member for Itchen, which would give metropolitan district status to the Isle of Wight. That would be far better than what is proposed in the Bill. Since the right hon. Member for Deptford (Mr. John Silkin) has signed that Amendment, it seems that it has the full weight of the Opposition behind it, however weighty that opposition may be, and the idea of a quid pro quo deal has its attractions for me.

Alas, I cannot support either Amendment No. 1 or Amendment No. 12. First, Amendment No. 1 is not sufficiently definite. It says that the Secretary of State "may" decide to make a metropolitan district. That decision would be optional rather than mandatory. I wish to be absolutely definite about the matter. Secondly, it would hybridise the County of Hampshire if some districts were metropolitan districts and others were not. That would put Hampshire in appalling difficulty. It might even hybridise the Bill, which would put us in even greater difficulty. Thirdly, if Hampshire is treated in this way, why not everywhere else? The Minister would be placed in this difficulty if the Amendment were passed. Making the Isle of Wight a metropolitan district is far short of our requirements. It would not solve the question of our isolation.

Another argument against the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Itchen is that it would create considerable difficulty in northern Hampshire—a district of 900,000 people which is easily the biggest in population of all the four proposed metropolitan district councils. I cannot claim to have studied the matter in detail, but I should be very doubtful about whether the natural resources per head of population would be adequate.

Therefore, I have decided to go it alone and to concentrate on my Amendment, which asks for full county status for the Isle of Wight, because nothing less will meet the island's unique geographical situation. I appreciate all that was said in Committee by hon. Members on both sides, including the right hon. Member for Deptford, in support of the Isle of Wight's case. It was apparent to me when I spoke on Second Reading that the whole House sympathised with and recognised the unique situation of the Isle of Wight as a land mass—the only land mass in the United Kingdom separated from the mainland by five miles of water. I was impressed when I read the report of the debate in Committee when an Amendment similar to Amendment No. 12 was being debated. The situation of the island was recognised by every Member who spoke, including the Minister.

I remind my right hon. Friend of two things in support of my Amendment. The first is an historical fact, namely, that in 1888, when county councils were established, in spite of massive protests from the Isle of Wight, including those of a famous predecessor of mine, Sir Richard Webster, who later became Attorney-General, and in spite of the conclusive argument presented to the Minister and the Government against merging the Isle of Wight with Hampshire, the Government made the Isle of Wight part of the County of Hampshire. But this uneasy and unhappy marriage ended in divorce a year later, in 1889,because Isle of Wight representatives just would not make this long and tedious journey, including a boat journey—and nor would Hampshire members from Winchester to the Isle of Wight. There was a story current at the time of one Isle of Wight farmer, the only Isle of Wight representative who used to turn up at the Castle in Winchester to council and Committee meetings, being stopped by a Hampshire member who did not recognise him and asked, "Be ye Hampshire?" The Isle of Wight farmer said, "Be oi?", then he used a vulgar term with which I would not embarrass the House, "Oi be Isle of Wight". This is again the most popular after-dinner story in the Isle of Wight. Today, although communications have marginally improved, the hazards of this sea crossing are much greater, since there is much more traffic in the Solent, including hovercraft.

My second point is that immediately after my right hon. Friend published his White Paper, he had the courtesy and kindness to see me when I made representations to him. Within 48 hours he agreed and stated publicly that he recognised the Isle of Wight's position as unique and that in its exceptional circumstances he would give it exceptional treatment. Furthermore, he kindly received a deputation of local government heads from the Isle of Wight and set up a working party of his officials and Isle of Wight officials. They spent no less than 20 hours in discussions, at the end of which the Isle of Wight officers were left with the impression, although it was not expressed in so many words, that it was the opinion of all that nothing short of county status would provide efficient local government, under local control in the Island.

4.45 p.m.

I know that it was my right hon. Friend's intention—I am sure that it still is; he would not make a promise without implementing it—to hive off various county functions of Hampshire to the Island under some special arrangement. But Clause 101does not meet this need, because education and social services, which are the main services, cannot be delegated. Anyway, I do not believe that it is right to delegate any powers to a local authority without giving it the right of, and the responsibility for, raising the finance. If there were a way to hive off certain county functions to the Isle of Wight, Hampshire would be left with so few functions that representation on that authority would be a complete farce.

We are assured that a population of 250,000 is the minimum requirement to provide the resources for county functions, and that therefore an island with 109,000 is too small. It is nonsense to pick an arbitrary figure from the air and to say that no authority can work efficiently unless it has 250,000. I say this with experience of more than 20 years in local government, seven of them as Chairman of my county's Finance Committee.

When Lord Redcliffe-Maud produced his report, I entered into correspondence with him immediately, contesting the idea of a minimum figure, After a good deal of correspondence, he conceded in a letter to me that the Isle of Wight was a case on which reasonable men could be expected to differ.

I cannot accept that Powys in Wales, with a smaller population than the Isle of Wight and a rateable value of £2½ million, compared with the Island's £5 million, can manage on its own as a county while the Isle of Wight cannot.

What do we mean when we talk of "resources"? They have to be related to the needs of the area. It is not only total resources which are important but the resources per head. I can prove the adequacy in the Isle of Wight by applying the Government's own formula for assessing rate deficiency grant. This shows that, of 58 counties in England and Wales, the Isle of Wight receives less grant per head of population than 53 other counties. In other words, only four counties receive less grant per head than the Isle of Wight.

This surely means that, on the Government's own formula, the resources of the Isle of Wight are very high per head of population and that its needs, compared with those of other counties, are relatively low. To prove this, one has only to look at the past record. We in the Island were one of the first counties to achieve education for all. We have only one secondary school which has not been rebuilt since the war, and our change to comprehensive education was among the smoothest and quickest in the country.

Our development of social services on the Seebohm basis was equally rapid. We were the first authority to complete with the aid of Birmingham's computer, a complete survey of the need and the requirements of the chronically sick and handicapped. Our provision to meet the new legislation in terms of aid for the chronically sick and handicapped in 1972–73 is greater than that of the whole of the County of Hampshire.

If it is argued that there are doubts about future resources being adequate for future needs, I remind the House that the population of the Isle of Wight and its rateable value are growing at a far faster rate than the rest of Hampshire and the rest of the country. There is no doubt about the adequacy of resources, but another factor transcends every argument, and that is the Island's isolation from the mainland.

Undoubtedly this is the major argument against absorption by a mainland authority because the democratic principles cherished by us all would no longer apply in the Isle of Wight. We should have to travel to and from the Island to Winchester, a difficult journey taking at best seven hours, including an allowance for one hour's Committee meeting, and at worst in excess of 11 hours.

Does my right hon. Friend believe that it would be possible to persuade elected representatives of the calibre we need in local government to undertake this enormous amount of travelling. Would a young chartered accountant, surveyor or artisan be prepared to spend eight or nine hours a day travelling from Back of the Wight to Winchester for a Committee meeting which might last one hour? No one worthy of his salt would give up this amount of time for such a short period of effort.

I asked the Isle of Wight Council to produce—and I have deposited it with the Minister today—a 14-page brochure setting out these transport difficulties. It gives the Minister details of the various parts of the Island and the best methods of reaching and returning from Winchester. This aspect is the greatest weapon in our armoury. I trust that he will study this brochure carefully because it is clear that if we become part of Hampshire we shall lose the franchise. I give only one example. An active member of our County Council represents Niton, Back of Wight, and lives there. For him to get to a Committee meeting in Winchester by the best possible methods of travel would involve an outward journey of three-and-a-half-hours and a journey back of another three-and-a-half, allowing for waiting time. With a one-hour Committee meeting, he would be involved in a time loss of eight-and-a-half hours. This cannot be expected of anybody. We shall finish up with layabouts representing us, people prepared to give up a whole day to enjoy the attendance allowance and collect the expenses.

The Minister has said that he wishes to encourage community life between town and country. There will be no community life shared by Winchester and the Isle of Wight because in the winter the last boat leaves so early that nobody can spend an evening in Winchester without staying overnight.

Can one imagine an Isle of Wight representative being offered or prepared to accept the chairmanship or vice-chairmanship of a mainland authority, an appointment requiring constant attendance at county hall, calling there in the morning for informal discussions and taking a prominent part in the social events of the county?

I remind the House that the Isle of Wight is the only major local authority in England and Wales which is based on one island. There are no road links and it is not infrequently cut off in the winter and always during the night. To join it with Hampshire is the geographical equivalent of joining Somerset with Monmouth, and there is no equivalent of the Severn Bridge across the Solent.

If the Isle of Wight does not secure special treatment, it will be the only island to be treated in this way. The Bill excludes the Scilly Isles and I understand that the Orkney and Shetland Isles are likely to be treated in a special way. The Channel Isles and the Isle of Man are independent—yet the Isle of Wight has more resources per head of population than any of them.

The Minister may be afraid of creating a precedent by giving the Isle of Wight county status. I assure him that he would not be doing that. The Isle of Wight is unique as a separate island, divided from England by five miles of water.

I appeal to him at least to promise to consider all the new figures I have put before him in the 14-page brochure showing our transport difficulties. I urge him not simply to say "No" emphatically today. I have inquired about the possibility of dividing the House on this issue. I would not wish to do that and I would do it only if I did not receive an assurance from the Minister of his intention at least to keep an open mind.

Mr. Frank Judd (Portsmouth, West)

I admired the gesture of brave independence on the part of the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt), and I found myself in a good deal of agreement with many of his arguments. However, I know I speak for hon. Members on both sides when I say that we were disappointed that he felt unable to throw himself in with our campaign.

We must ask ourselves at this stage in the debate whether we really want to achieve results in terms of last-minute changes in the proposed legislation or whether we simply wish to get on the record our innocence in these affairs. I suggest with great respect to the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight that he opted for the second course rather than the chance of achieving a really effective change.

My hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. R. C. Mitchell) referred to the fundamentally important point that we are dealing not only with the largest non-metropolitan county, with its great metropolitan content, but also with an area of inevitable dynamic, economic and social growth.

It behoves the House to take this opportunity of introducing a structure of local government which will be ideally suited for dealing with progress in the area in advance of this situation, rather than trying in 10 to 15 years to face what occurs and finding ourselves involved in an agonising debate as to how to devise a method to catch up with events which by then will have overtaken us. It is extraordinary that so far the Government have refused to see that here is a great opportunity to plan in advance of events and to create an almost ideal form of local government for this area.

5.0 p.m.

Naturally, I welcome the fact that the Portsmouth City Council has belatedly seen the good sense of the previous Labour Government's proposals for the reorganisation of local government: would that it had seen it earlier, but I do not complain about that. But, even if we have been a little late under local leadership in bringing this campaign to a head, the lateness of the last important approaches to the Government should not lead Ministers to underestimate the strength of local feeling. This is brought home very forcefully to any hon. Member who cares to look at the situation.

In Portsmouth I have seen trade unions, individually and collectively, speaking out against the proposition contained in this legislation and arguing those points which we are nowputting forward. I have seen businessmen, individually and collectively, arguing equally strongly. Professional organisations, amenity societies and the main political parties are agreed. Even more important, an overwhelming number of individuals are making their views known to their Members of Parliament.

I suggest that whatever the Bill is intended to achieve it will certainly not achieve a qualitative improvement in the nature of local democracy. It is not good enough to talk of improved and rationalised local government administration. Are we talking about democracy, or are we talking about the interest of bureaucrats? If we are talking about democracy, and if we take democracy seriously, it is clear that the present proposals are marching firmly in the wrong direction.

Few people in a large, inevitably relatively impersonal city like Portsmouth feel as it is that the centres of decision-making are as near to them as they would like. The Guildhall could almost be described as being in the moon for many of the citizens, but if the Guildhall is in the moon, Winchester will be in another galaxy altogether.

There is no direct public transport between Portsmouth and the proposed new administrative centre at Winchester. One can imagine the difficulties confronting a less agile senior citizen or a harassed mother with her children who wanted to consult the oracle at Winchester. It might be asked why should such citizens want to go to Winchester as there will be a perfectly adequate area office in Portsmouth which they can approach; but this is an extraordinarily patronising and arrogant approach to be taken by people claiming to be democrats, because if we want genuine democracy in local government it is the centre of decision-making that should be accessible and not the office with delegated powers from the imperial headquarters in the country capital.

The hon. Member for the Isle of Wight referred to the acute worry he has about finding the right calibre of, particularly, younger people coming into local government, if they are to be expected to devote time in travelling back and forth to Winchester, with all the difficulties that involves. The Isle of Wight has special difficulties, but they are bad enough in Portsmouth. This is not vague theory. I have talked in Portsmouth with some of our younger dedicated councillors, who have said to me in words of one syllable that, while they are willing and anxious to service the community in local government, it is quite out of the question for them to consider giving up the time that would be involved in trying to provide a useful service for the community as far away as Winchester. This, therefore, is not a problem of the future, but a problem that is already with us. It is not a party political point, because I known from conversations with members of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party that exactly the same consideration would apply to their own younger people anxious to serve.

More serious even than that, we have to look at the problem in the context of an overall crisis in local democracy; the paradox, in some senses, which is there, because on the one hand we have unrivalled expertise available amongst the administrators, yet, on the other hand, the real truth of local government as it stands today is that, increasingly, the ordinary citizens feel no involvement in or connection with this theoretical expertise which is there to assist them in overcoming their frustrations.

Very often I find that the very people who complain articulately of the inadequacy of the environment in which they live are those who just do not see what could be done if they were prepared to mobilise support in terms of resources for the implementation of relevant programmes. If this is already true in large cities such as Southampton and Portsmouth, how much more true will it be for citizens of Portsmouth and Southampton in the proposed new context. The hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Pink) referred to the theoretical expertise away in the county capital of Winchester.

I am convinced that the only basis for the future of healthy democracy in local government is decentralisation, involvement and a rekindling of real grass-roots democracy. The alternative, and there are no halfway houses here, is the increasingly authoritarian coercive approach to local government which I am sure all hon. Members will want to reject.

When I look at my own city, the thought often strikes me that, while there may be a certain degree of identification by people with the concept of being citizens of Portsmouth, the communities with which they really identify are the immediate communities in which they live —places like Paulsgrove, Cosham, Landport, Stamshaw, Sonerstown, Portsea, Northend and Farlington. Communities such as those are what we should really be discussing. If we want to make a success of the future of local government, what we should be discussing is how to give communities of this kind real powers to assert themselves as communities collectively; yet when we look at what is proposed in the Bill we find that it is in exactly the opposite direction that we are being asked to move.

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen, I strongly recommend support for Amendment No. 12, but if we have to fall back on Amendment No. 1it will certainly be better than nothing. I realise that it may be argued that administrative problems would be created because the county would be the education and social services authority for part of and not for all the county. This would put the county education and county social services Committees into a special position, and their expenses would be chargeable against only part of the county. But I cannot believe that these administrative problems are insurmountable.

The hon. Member for Portsmouth, South has already referred to the strength of local opposition, and certainly it has been vociferous. This is an understandable phenomenon and not uncommon in such circumstances, but it should be made clear that the proposals for a metropolitan county and metropolitan districts would not be an extension of the cities but the creation of new authorities in which the cities' representatives would be playing a useful but not a dominant part. The cities are ready to sink their identiy in more sensible and coherent metropolitan districts.

I hesitate to say so, but I believe that there is a rather more grave charge to be answered by Ministers. I have heard it suggested in Portsmouth by people not necessarily themselves intimately involved in party political activity that this legislation is a gigantic plot by the Government; that for the health of local democracy there must be a possibility, wherever this can be seen, of a change of political administration from time to time. This helps to shake up the system and ensure that everything functions as well as it should. The current administration is kept on its toes by the thought that there may be another administration waiting to step into its shoes, and the opposition is kept on its toes by the hope that one day it may be in control.

In Portsmouth and Southampton this is so at present. In Portsmouth we have not seen enough changes in administration, but we have seen some changes. What some are now saying is that the Government have deliberately contrived a system which will sink any hope of meaningful political change within Portsmouth and Southampton in a diluted county in which there may be an inbuilt, ongoing assured Conservative majority for years to come.

Ministers ought to take this on board and demonstrate how they believe that they are advancing proposals objectively considered with a real commitment to democracy as distinct from a rather sordid commitment to the perpetuation of Conservative majorities.

Mr. James Hill (Southampton, Test)

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Pink) on the very cogent way in which he moved the Amendment. I support him fully. I also support the forcible way in which my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) put the case for his constituency. All of us on both sides of the House know how charming and considerate my right hon. Friend has been throughout the months of dealing with the Bill. He has clearly realised the strength of feeling involved. The hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. R. C. Mitchell) and myself have been inundated with letters, postcards and requests from practically every association within the city. They have pointed out their fears, particularly the fear that they will lose their identity under this huge Bill.

My right hon. Friend may be able to look at Amendment No. 1and see some slight relief for its proposers. But if he does not, even at this late moment, surely he will realise that Hampshire is an area in which growth will outdistance that of all other areas in the United Kingdom.

The key issue is whether the responsibility for effective government of an expanding urban economy and society can be shouldered by the type of organisation proposed in the Bill. Perhaps I, too, realise that Amendment No. 12 will not, at this late stage, stand much chance of consideration. But we in Hampshire are asking for a metropolitan county, not because we wish to be insular but to leave the county authority free to devote its energies and resources to the strategies for development of the whole area. The district authorities would be effective local government units with ample resources to discharge at local level responsibilities for major services, particularly the personal services such as education, social services and housing, in a coherent and integrated personal structure accessible and understandable by all the local ratepayers.

If my right hon. Friend cannot be persuaded to full metropolitan status—surely a point of view that he must have considered many times—Amendment No. 1may be a happy compromise. It proposes a district council, at the discretion of the Minister and in the interests of the Government, which could have the powers of a metropolitan district council.

In Committee on 14th December, 1971, the right hon. Member for Deptford (Mr. John Silkin) said of the Southern Evening Echo: That newspaper is normally very friendly to the Government and the party it represents. On the whole, as one would expect, it tends to sympathise with the work of the Government, and with the Local Government Bill. The right hon. Gentleman made the very powerful point that the newspaper had said: The Government are on the verge of a major mistake with their otherwise commendable efforts to modernise and reform local Government. Their new Hampshire is too big for one county authority to handle…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 14th December, 1971; c. 441.] The right hon. Gentleman used a very neat phrase when he described the South of England as "the Texas of England." I rather like that description—although we have not sufficient pull to compete.

5.15 p.m.

On the same day, 14th December, my hon. Friend the then Under-Secretary said that it was the largest and fastest growing of all the non-metropolitan areas. That is true. We in Hampshire are fully aware of the problems of the Isle of Wight but, most of all, we are aware of our constituents' complaints. We feel that the Minister made a very great impression on the combined Southampton and Portsmouth Action Committee. The Committee came away with the thought that the Minister was perhaps thinking on similar lines to the Committee. I have no such optimism. Today, charming though my hon. Friend will be when he winds up the debate, we shall have the same inflexible statement.

At a meeting of representativs of the churches in Southampton, a body whose opinion should be taken into account, the representatives said: The central point of our consideration was the achievement of a balance between human concern and administrative and economic realities in the creation of a new system of local government."— no one can argue against that. Against the background of contemporary trends in society, it was agreed that human concern was a matter of urgent importance, and should be positively strengthened by any future local government administration. After a careful survey of the alternatives, it was agreed that the Metropolitan County solution offered the best chance of keeping decision-making as near as possible to the people affected by the decisions. So much for the representatives of the churches in Southampton.

The representatives of the trade unions in Southampton said: The new proposals, if put into effect, will very largely destroy the benefits. As you are aware many of the services in which our members are employed will come under the control of the County Authority which is bound to introduce a remoteness which in turn will cause delays and frustration and will certainly be damaging to the present standard of industrial relations. Of course, that was written before the rail go-slow occurred.

The National Association of Local Government Officers said in a statement that it agreed with the contents of a leaflet which stated: Decisions shall be made, and be seen to be made, locally. Local authority areas should be related to the area in which people have a common interest. Local Government should take account of patterns of development and travel. I appreciate that all this has been said before in the debate, but it is worth repeating.

Finally, if in the light of this further debate the Minister fails to measure up to the strong case and views of Southampton and Portsmouth and completely ignores the possibility of doubling of population and growth in the next 20 years, he must make it plain that in all probability the 10-year review Clause in the Bill will correct the matter and give metropolitan status to Hampshire in 1982.

Mr. David Mitchell (Basingstoke)

Amendment No. 12 proposes the creation of a metropolitan county in Hampshire and the linking for administrative purposes of local government of such diverse areas as Aldershot, Andover, Basingstoke, Winchester, Alton, Petersfield and Romsey. I suspect that the hon. Member who propounded the Amendment had no consultations with the representatives of the local authorities in, for example, Basingstoke, Andover, and Aldershot. My hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price) says that there have been no consultations. I do not know if hon. Members who have spoken in support of the Amendment have had such consultations. I assure the House that no representations or approaches have been made to the hon. Member for Basingstoke.

A glance at a map will show how vast is the area under consideration, how wholly unlike is the area in the south of the county for which metropolitan status is sought from the northern area, how much more scattered it is, how much greatest the distance is, and how much smaller the villages are. In view of this, it is incomprehensible that hon. Members have made this proposal without even consulting those in the area concerned.

My guiding principle in the matter of the reform of local government is that we should seek to get decision making as close as possible to the people. Provided that the service can be administered reasonably economically, the nearer to the people it is, and the smaller the units are, the more I shall like it. I greatly support the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt), who represents an area where this principle is put into effect.

We are legislating for the benefit of the electorate. We must consider how the electorate reacts to its nearness to or remoteness from the point of decision making. There is a low turn-out at county council elections, whereas at borough council elections there is a much higher turn-out. In other words, people at borough council level feel that they are participating in decision making in their locality.

I speak as a "channel" through which many constituents raise problems. My experience is that borough and rural district councils are flexible, are always helpful, and are prepared to reconsider a case if new circumstances are brought to light or if requested to do so. Such councils are always prepared to heed the human factor. With the best will in the world I cannot say that these are the predominant characteristics of a county council.

It is therefore vital that we should keep as much decision making as possible to local authorities at local district level. It would be intolerable to link Andover, Aldershot, Basingstoke and Winchester in one lower-tier authority. I am determined to speak up for the independence of Basingstoke and its area and, therefore, to oppose Amendment No. 12.

Mr. R. C. Mitchell rose

Mr. David Mitchell

The hon. Gentleman will find that there is a certain amount of help coming from me if he is prepared to wait for a few moments.

Amendment No. 1 seeks to leave the north of the county, with its local district councils, administering its local functions, and it seeks to delegate in the south of the county education, social services, libraries, and youth services to the local people. I do not believe that this would do any harm to those in the north, and it could do much good to those in the south.

I seek the assurance of my hon. Friend the Minister that this will avoid the error of the past, where the county borough did not have any financial contribution to make to the county council but incurred expenditure for the county council in having to provide roads to Southampton and Portsmouth. We must be clear that that major problem does not arise. Assuming that it does not, there is much to be said for delegating these services in the south of the county.

Flexibility and a preparedness to reconsider are not generally characteristics of county councils. Far too often the automatic reaction of county councils is to defend the initial decision and to stick by it come hell or high water. The size of the organisation at county level means that the taking of decisions is very much in the hands of officers, which accounts for the complaints there have been by those involved at county council level that they have little opportunity to influence decision taking. I therefore support Amendment No. 1.

The Minister's advisers will tell him, "Amendment No. 1is a hybrid one. The area it would produce would be part metropolitan and part ordinary county. That would be a strange animal. There is nothing in the book to fit that. The Amendment asks for something strange and unusual".

We are all in Parliament—this includes my hon. Friend the Minister—to fit patterns to people and not to try to fit people to neat blueprints. For that reason, I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will see his way to accepting Amendment No. 1 and advising the House to reject Amendment No. 12.

Mr. David Price (Eastleigh)

My justification for intervening in this debate is simply one of longevity. Of hon. Members present I am the longest serving Member from either the county or the two cities under discussion.

I have listened with interest and not without sympathy to the case deployed by my colleagues from the Cities of Portsmouth and Southampton. However, I cannot support the concluding remarks of the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd), when he attributed what I might call the conspiratorial view of local government reorganisation to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. On the Hampshire County Council there is no such thing as a Conservative group, although there is a Labour group. Some of us think that the county council is the worse for that. Therefore, the hon. Gentleman's remarks bear no relation to the facts.

The kernel of the argument of the supporters of these Amendments lies in the proposition that new Hampshire should be a metropolitan county rather than a non-metropolitan county; this is spelt out in Amendment No. 12. I well understand why the two cities have put forward the Amendment. They are two county boroughs which are naturally upset at losing their county borough status. They also have a good record as local authorities under the old local government dispensation. Naturally they are anxious to preserve as many of their old powers as they can under reorganisation, and metropolitan status would enable them to do so.

Further, speaking as a county Member, I do not believe that this proposal is simply a last-ditch stand by the councillors and officials in the two cities who wish to preserve as much as they can of their former power. I am convinced that what hon. Members have said generally reflects the views of many of the citizens of Hampshire and Portsmouth. I therefore hope that the House, and in particular my colleagues from the two cities, will not think me unsympathetic to their case. Nevertheless, I must advise the House to reject it.

5.30 p.m.

I speak for the old administrative county of Hampshire, and particularly for my own constituency which circumnavigates the great city and port of Southampton. All the representations that I have received, contrary to that received by the hon. Members for the two cities, has been bitterly opposed to the proposition before us this evening. Even in terms of new non-metropolitan district councils all the representations that I have received and continue to receive are totally opposed to any incorporation in the City of Southampton. In truth I have received one letter in favour of incorporation in the City of Southampton, and that has come from a very clear constituent of mine who is a Southampton city councillor and resides in the county.

I ask the Minister to consider the population, and here I take up my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mr. David Mitchell). We are talking of a current population of 423,000 people in the two cities. The population of the Isle of Wight is 105,000.

Mr. Woodnutt


Mr. Price

These are the Registrar General's figures for 1970. In the administrative county of Hampshire we are talking of 993,000 according to the 1970 census. In the pamphlet, "The Two Cities Case", Portsmouth and Southampton claim that the two cities and southern Hampshire are socially and economically distinct from central and northern Hampshire. Their case has been fortified in a letter in The Times today from Lady Sharp, who is no person to be taken lightly. Therefore, one must concede that there is some substance in such a distinction.

However, I submit that the distinction is relative and not absolute. In the years 1961–70 the population of the administrative county of Hampshire grew by 30 per cent., while in the same period the combined population of the two cities grew by barely 1 per cent. That suggests that the Hampshire County Council, and indeed the second tier authorities in the county, are not without experience of urban growth or of industrialisation. Indeed, I would argue that in the constituencies of Basingstoke. New Forest and Eastleigh there has been more technological development than there has been in either of the two cities.

So far as one can talk today about a Solent industrial area, it is based on the Fawley oil refinery and the whole complex of petro-chemicals which lies in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest (Mr. Patrick McNair-Wilson) rather than in the port and city of Southampton. This is reflected in my own constituency surrounding Southampton. My electorate has grown by 35 per cent. since 1955, whereas the electorate in Itchen and Test has grown by barely 3.5 per cent. in those years.

Mr. James Hill

Would my hon. Friend not agree that the reason for the growth in his area is that the majority of the building has taken place just outside the cities?

Mr. Price

My hon. Friend is virtually conceding my case. The basis of his argument is that we in the county are simple country bumpkins who do not understand these problems.

If we take education, the whole weight and burden of the expansion of South Hampshire has been carried by the Hampshire Education Authority rather than by those in the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth. I say this in no disparaging way. They are very good authorities. But it is necessary to get this right. The idea that Southampton and Portsmouth dominate South Hampshire and, therefore, should have all the power does not recognise what has been done in the last 20 years both by the administrative County of Hampshire and more particuarly by the subordinate local authorities which have had to deal with the heat and burden of the day.

Mr. Woodnutt

Would my hon. Friend not agree that a lot of technical work has been done in the Isle of Wight—for example, Black Knight and the hovercraft?

Mr. Price

My hon. Friend never misses a point. I shall conclude my remarks with something which will be of comfort to him. Suffice it to say that I regard the Isle of Wight as a special case.

The missing link in our discussion—I am sure that my hon. Friends from the cities will agree—is that we do not know the final proposition for the structure plan for South Hampshire. Therefore, we can only speculate. This important information is not available to us on the back benches. The geography of the proposed Southampton metropolitan district illustrates the fallacy of a simple north and south division of Hampshire. If my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest catches the eye of the Chair, I am sure that he will say that the proposed metropolitan district of Southampton is frankly a nonsense. To go from the old county borough of Southampton and include the whole of the New Forest right out to the Dorset and Wiltshire borders and say that there is an identity of interest between Burley and Bitterne is a nonsense.

As I have already indicated, in my own constituency the feeling in the parishes—and I should tell the House that my parishes are not nice little rural parishes; they are expanding communities—against incorporation in Southampton is so bitter that I hesitate to mention it. It is extremely strong. When the City Fathers of Southampton came on a good will mission to the parish of Hamble they confirmed this fact to any who may have been doubtful about the opposition to incorporation.

Therefore, I do not believe that there is any case for Amendment No. 12. Indeed, we who surround Southampton know that that city has always had imperialist ambitions in the county, and especially on the western side of Southampton Water lying partly in my constituency and partly in the constituency of New Forest. The Fawley oil refinery and the industrial areas is a wonderful prize in terms of rateable value for any authority. I do not blame them for wanting it. The fact is, it has been there for a long time. Amendment No. 12 would play havoc with local government reorganisation in the County of Hampshire.

Like my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke, I have rather more sympathy for Amendment No. 1. Clearly, it will be argued that it would be administratively inconvenient to allow Portsmouth and Southampton to be treated separately and given metropolitan district status while all the other new district councils had not got metropolitan district status. The Minister will probably point out that it is a bad precedent for two former county boroughs in a non-metropolitan county to be so treated. Nevertheless I am convinced that some concession which would be appropriate and helpful ought to be made to the two cities.

I have in the past, speaking on local government reorganisation, argued strongly, as did my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke, for getting as many functions down to second-tier authorities as possible. Although I am certain that my hon. Friend will not be able to concede Amendment No. 1 fully—I could almost write the brief for him containing the grounds why it should be rejected—I suggest that between now and a later stage he should consider whether education might not be an appropriate concession to give to Southampton and Portsmouth. These two cities have a good record as education authorities. It is not necessary to the successful functioning of Hampshire because Hampshire has coped in the last decade with probably the greatest growth in child population of any county in England. Between 1959 and 1969, whereas the school population of England and Wales rose by 12.3 per cent., in the administrative county of Hampshire it rose by 45.3 per cent. So no one can argue that the incorporation of Southampton and Portsmouth education authorities is necessary to the success of Hampshire as a local education authority.

I hope, therefore, that my hon. Friend the Minister will think again about that, just as I very much hope that he will give further thought to the eloquent plea of my hon. Friend the Member for the Isle of Wight for separate treatment for the island.

We have these three different interests—the administrative county of Hampshire, the two cities, and the Isle of Wight. I do not know what the House will finally determine, but that we shall have to work more closely together is absolutely obvious. I hope that any further debates we have, though there is little time left, will be conducted, as this has been, in a spirit of good will, and that we do not grizzle at one another, let alone fight one another. We shall have to work together.

Perhaps the House will forgive me if I end on this somewhat platitudinous note. Many years ago, in a factory in Texas, a place with something of the spirit native to all of us in the three areas, I saw a small notice. Hats off to the past. Coats off to the future.

Mr. John Silkin (Deptford)

In his very moderate opening speech, the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South (Mr. Pink) said that Amendment No. 1 was exceptional because the situation was exceptional, and that he and the majority of his supporters had no quarrel with the Local Government Bill. That is practically the only sentence on which I disagree with the hon. Gentleman, for my right hon. and hon. Friends and I have many quarrels with the Bill.

I suppose that our deepest quarrel is that there is no thread of logic or principle lying behind the Bill. It is a collection of provisions for special circumstances. Almost every hon. Member who has spoken in the debate, and a valuable debate it has been, has talked about this as an exceptional circumstance. Even the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price), in a learned and brilliant exposition of his point of view, said that this was an exceptional area.

The truth of the matter, Mr. Speaker, is that out of one knows not how many Amendments you have today selected 167, all of which say that the areas affected are exceptional; and 28 of those are Government Amendments. This is the trouble. One can fit no principle whatever into the Bill. One has to deal with everything on its merits.

It would be absurd not to pretend that we are in a difficulty regarding Hampshire. I should like to be able to say that our Amendment No. 12 gave the perfect solution to the problem of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. I cannot say that. I can only say that, on balance, I think that it offers a rather better situation than that which exists at the moment. It is the best we can suggest. It is something. So long as we have this patchwork-quilt system of local government reorganisation, so long shall we have these difficulties.

The Minister claims that the old warfare between town and country disappeared with the Local Government Bill. I can only say that in the speeches of the hon. Members for Eastleigh and for Basing-stoke (Mr. David Mitchell) I seemed to hear the distant thunder of battles long ago. The hon. Member for Eastleigh gave us the text, Hats off to the past. Coats off to the future. I wondered whether the coats were being taken off in preparation for further battles. This is not as easy a problem as it appears, and that is why the noble Lady, Baroness Sharp wrote as she did to The Times.

Since no one else has done so, I shall quote those words of the noble Lady which put the position at its clearest: The inappropriateness of the Government's proposals for the two cities stems from the decision to keep the present county of Hampshire virtually intact despite the fact that it simply is not a social entity. What it does is to combine what is essentially a south-facing metropolitan county (south Hampshire) with what is essentially a north-facing non-metropolitan county (mid and north Hampshire). The two have very little connection; and, again, the new county council cannot be expected to give to the metropolitan problems of Portsmouth and Southampton the concentrated attention they need. 5.45 p.m.

As the hon. Member for Eastleigh pointed out, the writer of that letter is someone to be taken seriously. Obviously, we do not have to agree with everything she says, but the first woman permanent secretary in Britain is not a person to be lightly disregarded. Those are her views. Moreover, I think I am right in saying that she does not come from either Southampton or Portsmouth or from the other interesting areas which form the new proposed county, so I think that her view must be taken as that of an independent broker. The House need not take the view of a simple Londoner like myself. But we must take very carefully the opinion of the former permanent secretary at what was the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

My hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. R. C. Mitchell) said that this might be called a tale of two cities. If Dickens had ever written such a book, it might be called a tale of two ports, for that also lies at the back of the discussion. Portsmouth and Southampton are the two greatest ports on the South Coast, with the possible exception of Plymouth. I shall not go into that now. They are certainly the two greatest ports on the South Coast that we are discussing at present.

These two cities have great traditions and a great history, and, above all, a great social tradition. It is no secret to the House that I have always believed that education should be set on a greater scale than is proposed in the Bill. I make no apology for holding that view, though the House has decided otherwise. But, if I were minded to take the other view, and if I were selecting examples of education authorities which deserved to remain, those would be the two which I should choose above all others, because they have a fine history and reputation.

Portsmouth has 1,000 trainee teachers, it has its 4,000 full-time students, it is, apparently, still developing its technical college, its college of design and art. Southampton has its university and its technical college. Portsmouth has its fine social services, with a staff of 1,200, and a budget of £2 million. These are not matters lightly to be set aside.

What the Minister has to prove to us is that, if they are lumped into the new Hampshire, their experience and expertise will overflow into that county. I doubt it. I do not think that it can happen that way. The problems are so different.

It is a little unusual for one hand to have three sore thumbs, but this one has—Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight. Everyone has been sympathetic towards the Isle of Wight. The Minister will be sympathetic, too. He will say, "No" to the whole thing, but I promise that he will be most sympathetic.

The Isle of Wight's position is worth considering. I do not entirely agree with the reasoning of the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) that, because Powys is a county under the new proposals, the Isle of Wight should be, too. Powys has a larger population. In fact, there are no metropolitan districts in the Welsh proposals, and, if one can produce a rather neater arrangement, I think that that is better. But the Isle of Wight certainly ought to be an independent authority on its own, and I do not quarrel with the hon. Gentleman if, out of local patriotism, he wants county status. He would have everything he wanted from metropolitan district status, but that is by the way. Certainly, that would fit much better into Amendment No. 12.

I agree with much that was said by the hon. Member for Basingstoke, and the hon. Member for Eastleigh, too, very subtly and cleverly wooed me on the subject of district (d). There is a great deal of technology there and a great deal more urban land than one would imagine by looking at the map. I accept all this and I also agree that it is a bit straggling. But short of Amendment No. 1 it is the only possible division which could be made if Hampshire was a metropolitan county.

I have said that I do not regard Amendment No. 12 as being the best possible solution in the best of all possible worlds. But it is the only solution that can deal with the particular problem of Hampshire at the moment. That is not to say that if it started in this way it would not be changed. There is, after all, the Boundary Commission. As this vast metropolitan area grew in population as it will—I believe it is growing in population as in other resources at a greater rate than anywhere else in the country—the Boundary Commission would make new divisions for the future but at least they would have something to divide.

If the Minister says "No" to the Amendment, as I suspect he will, he is still faced with an exceptional case. I come to my fall-back position, and the main suggestion of the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South that we make a dif- ference here and that we introduce the concept of the metropolitan district into the concept of the non-metropolitan county. But the hon. Member must not be so selfish. This is an interesting suggestion and an interesting Amendment. I know that he dos not want to annoy the Minister or to worry him with precedents because of the difficulties. But the Bill is so illogical that precedents should not worry him. It is riddled with precedents righting precedents from one Clause to another. He need not be so selfish about it because what applies to Hampshire might apply in other areas. Why not go the whole hog? We might use one ear to make a silk purse. It is a splendid suggestion which would overcome a lot of difficulties in other areas where there clearly ought to be a metropolitan district organisation in what from any other point of view ought to be a non-metropolitan county.

The Minister may want to go that far and say, "I will consider this because it is something new". I wish I had thought of it, but I did not and neither did the Minister. If he would agree to consider it I would certainly urge my hon. Friends not to go into the Division Lobbies. But one way or another the question of Hampshire is far too important just to be left in abeyance.

I will close with some further words from Baroness Sharp. She says: It is surely worth some trouble to ensure that these two great cities, each with immense problems to contend with, have the form of local government, within the Government's framework, which best suits their needs—and which the present proposals certainly do not give them.

The Minister for Local Government and Development (Mr. Graham Page)

Before going into the merits of the case I wish to deny the allegation which was made by the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd) that there was some form of gerrymandering in the Bill as it relates to Hampshire. I am supported by the fact that four of my hon. Friends spoke against the Bill and only three hon. Members from the Opposition side spoke against it. If the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West had been on the Committee he would have seen that I turned my bullet-proof waistcoat back to front throughout the Committee stage because there was just as much opposition from behind as from in front. It made the Committee stage more entertaining than it might otherwise have been.

The right hon. Member for Deptford (Mr. John Silkin) said that there were no principles in the Bill. I thought we had set out the principles fairly clearly in the White Paper which preceded the Bill, the principles upon which we were dividing the country into metropolitan counties and non-metropolitan counties.

In the White Paper at paragraph 30 we said about metropolitan counties: In the Government's view a metropolitan type of structure would be appropriate then we set out the six areas which do not include South Hampshire and continue: These six areas need to be treated as entities for purposes of planning, transportation and certain other services; at the same time the districts into which they divide would all be big enough in population and resources, and sufficiently compact in size to be responsible for education and the personal services, as well as the more local functions. No one can say that Hampshire fits that as a whole. It is not compact in area. In the next paragraph of the White Paper we said: In other parts of the country there are big towns, now county boroughs, with distinguished records of service to the community in the fields of education, child care, welfare and the other personal social services.…The metropolitan pattern is suitable only where a county is divisible into districts all of which are populous and compact. On that principle I must advise the House that Amendment No. 12, which suggests that we should have a metropolitan county for the whole of Hampshire, could not fit in with the reorganisation of local government which we envisage and which has, whatever the right hon. Member for Deptford says, some principle behind it.

This kind of local government reorganisation, the metropolitan county, varies from the West Midlands where it is essentially one built-up area split from another by a valuable and jealously guarded but narrow green belt, to West Yorkshire where there is a pattern of substantial towns separated by a whole network of open space. But although it varies from these extremes still one could not fit Hampshire into that kind of structure. All the six we suggested as metropolitan counties have the characteristics in common that they can be divided into areas which are compact enough and make sensible districts which are not too remote and are populous enough to sustain education and the personal welfare services in modern conditions at the district level.

One thing about all the six areas we have suggested is that in spite of the considerable problems about the precise extent of the metropolitan county, in each case there is a wide measure of agreement that these areas are apt for metropolitan treatment. It was certainly shown by the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price) and others that there is no unanimity of desire for the County of Hampshire to be a metropolitan county. I have received many representations from urban districts which might be included in any one of the groupings of Southampton or Portsmouth expressing their opposition to being so included.

We recognise that there are two great county boroughs which have had the greatest success in developing. Their growth has been rapid over the past years but the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West exaggerated the point about growth a little. I think it was he who said that the population of the area would double in the next 20 years. My figures do not go as far as that. In the South-East Strategy it is said that this area of South Hampshire will not double in the next 20 years but will grow by one-third. Undoubtedly, it will grow and develop, but we must not exaggerate that.

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Judd

I do not think that the Minister will find when he reads Hansard that I used the word "double". My point was that already the size and pressures were great enough to warrant the sort of proposals we put forward in the Amendments. By the time the growth is of the order the Minister himself suggests, the problems will have overtaken the structure to which he is Committed.

Mr. Page

If we had any other metropolitan county consisting of two big and populous districts, the hon. Gentleman would have a good argument, but here we have two, and only two, areas that could be metropolitan districts. If we make them metropolitan districts, we leave a whole county outside.

May I consider what we are discussing from two aspects, beginning with the structure and size of district which would have to be formed from Southampton and Portsmouth if we accepted them as metropolitan districts. Each would have to be in the 400,000 population range. The grouping of Southampton and the areas round it would be about 429,000 and the grouping of Portsmouth and the areas around it would be 498,000. That would leave the rest of Hampshire, apart from the Isle of Wight, as 431,000. So we have roughly a grouping of three thirds, each comprising about a third of the population—Portsmouth, Southampton and the rest of Hampshire respectively.

This sort of division shows that both Portsmouth and Southampton in the groups in which they like to think of themselves, or at least in which they have been put in the Amendments, would have a substantial representation in the county. There is no question of being governed at a distance by Winchester. They will form one-third each—again,I am disregarding the 100,000 population of the Isle of Wight—of the new Hampshire county. So it cannot be said, as Lady Sharp suggested in her letter, that Winchester would not pay attention to South Hampshire. It would have to. South Hampshire would be represented by two-thirds of the council.

Mr. Judd

I am grateful to the Minister for giving way again, and I apologise for interrupting his chain of thought. But what he has just said means that two-thirds of those taking policy decisions about the intimate personal services of the City of Portsmouth may well never have set foot in the city except for a shopping expedition or a ritual visit to "H.M.S. Victory".

Mr. Page

It might be said that South Hampshire was taking the same sort of decisions about Winchester, Aldershot, Basingstoke and the north. The hon. Gentleman has a wrong idea of the functions which would be allocated to the metropolitan districts or the non-metropolitan districts.

The size of the districts will differ very much from one to another, whether they are non-metropolitan or metropolitan districts. If they are metropolitan districts, we shall have districts—Southampton and Portsmouth—of 400,000-odd people. Many of the existing urban district councils will have to be merged within those districts. If they are non-metropolitan districts within the County of Hampshire they will be much smaller districts.

The existing county boroughs of Southampton and Portsmouth will no doubt form separate districts themselves. Portsmouth's population is about 197,000 and Southampton's about 215,000. But the urban districts around will form themselves into non-metropolitan districts of 75,000 plus, the sort of figures mentioned in the guidelines to the Boundary Commission. I cannot tell what may come out of the Boundary Commission, but undoubtedly the government of those areas will be in the hands of councils nearer to the people than it would be if the existing urban districts were merged in the 400.000-population metropolitan districts of Portsmouth and Southampton.

Mr. Woodnutt

I noticed with interest that my hon. Friend has twice said "disregarding the Isle of Wight". May I conclude from that that he is giving me my point, and that we are to be separate?

Mr. Page

My hon. Friend should not conclude too much. I was leaving the Isle of Wight, because it is an exceptional case. Even bringing the 109,000 population of the Isle of Wight into the picture does not alter very much the proportions of the representation on the county, certainly as between the three major groupings—Portsmouth, Southampton and the rest.

The second main point of the argument, after the question of size of district, is the functions. The whole debate is about whether Portsmouth or Southampton should be metropolitan districts or non-metropolitan districts—that is, whether they shall have, if they are metropolitan districts, the functions of education, social services and libraries as the Bill stands, or whether they shall be non-metropolitan districts without those functions. The whole debate is about whether those functions should be exercised by an area with a population of about 400,000 in Portsmouth or a similar area in and around Southampton.

The Amendments would make no difference to functions. If they are rejected. all the other functions of a district will be exercised by smaller areas, and to that extent satisfy a great number of people in South Hampshire.

What we have tried to do in constructing the new counties, particularly those which have strong county boroughs within them, is to bring the strength of those county boroughs into the new county structure. I am convinced that if we extracted a population of about 800,000 from Hampshire we should be leaving a rump in Hampshire which would not be nearly such a satisfactory kind of administration as the whole of Hampshire which we are suggesting, including Winchester and the north of Hampshire plus Portsmouth and Southampton in the south.

I have deliberately left the Isle of Wight to the end, because it was evident from the reception for the points made by my hon. Friend the Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Woodnutt) that the House felt sympathy with the case he put for it. I am rather more than sympathetic. My hon. Friend knows that we have endeavoured to see whether there are circumstances in which we might break all the rules we have laid down in the principles. Despite the fact that the right hon. Member for Deptford (Mr. John Silkin) says that we have no principles in this, I like to think that we have pretty sound principles but will break them if necessary when it really is practicable to do so.

My hon. Friend reminds us that the Secretary of State said in the early stages that the Isle of Wight deserved exceptional treatment. Our difficulty has been to decide what exceptional treatment it should get. A great deal depended on how the House dealt with the Amendments relating to the rest of Hampshire. It was difficult to reach any conclusion before this debate. What has impressed me today in the case put by my hon. Friend is the stress he laid on the isolation of the Isle of Wight from the mainland.

It is not as if we did not know that the Isle of Wight is divided by five miles of water from the mainland. But he told us that he had deposited with us today a 14-page document. It is an impressive document. It deals with the difficulties of travel and time of travel. and so on, from the Isle of Wight to the mainland. I should like to consider the document much more fully and decide, on the basis of the result of this debate on the rest of Hampshire and on the question particularly of travel and difficulties relating to the Isle of Wight, what is the best special treatment we could give it.

I appreciate that my hon. Friend said that Clause 100—now Clause 101—does not necessarily meet the case of the Isle of Wight fully. He has put forward the adequacy of its resources, and so on, and I am clear as to the facts about that. I should like to consider further the points he has raised about the distance and difficulties of travel. As he said—and this is obviously a very strong point—with these difficulties it might be impossible to persuade the kind of people we want to serve in this new local government structure to spend time representing the Isle of Wight on the county. I ask him, therefore, to let us look at this matter again, but I must recommend the House to reject the other Amendments.

Mr. Judd

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way again. With the greatest respect to him, while we are delighted at the tactical success of the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight, the Minister must appreciate that he is revealing his total lack of intimate knowledge of the geography of South Hampshire. I would not dispute with the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight about the difficulties of getting from the Island to Winchester. But if one takes a boat to Southampton, one can go direct from Southampton to Winchester. It is impossible to go by public transport from Portsmouth to Winchester. I do not understand the Minister's position. If he is prepared to look again at the travel problems of the Isle of Wight, why not look again at the travel problems of young people from Portsmouth wanting to serve as councillors?

Mr. Page

The hon. Gentleman is wrong in saying that I do not know much about South Hampshire. I have a fairly intimate knowledge, having lived in the area for 30 or 40 years. One can travel, by changing, on public transport between Portsmouth and Winchester. There is not the same sort of difficulty in travelling between Portsmouth and Winchester as between the Isle of Wight and Winchester.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. The House has been debating this group of Amendments for over two hours. I hope that it will come quickly to a decision.

6.15 p.m.

Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles (Winchester)

My hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Development summed it up well when he said that there is no unanimity of support for the Amendments. Many constituents, local authorities and parish councils have written to me against these suggestions. One case put from this side of the House must be refuted. This is the suggestion that the job would be too big for the county to handle. Hampshire County Council is an extremely efficient body and would be more than able to handle its business under the new arrangement.

It would not be a case of Portsmouth and Southampton being governed by Winchester—although this sorry fate has been suffered by the whole of England in the past. On Amendment No. 12, the charming but politically ill-assorted group sponsoring it have decided to advocate a formula which, in the alleged interests of Portsmouth and Southampton, would put the rest of Hampshire into an unsatisfactory and artificial grouping. I for one will have none of it.

Mr. Pink

My hon. Friend the Member for Eastleigh (Mr. David Price) argued that there is not a case for metropolitan status for the two city areas because the county districts round them are growing faster than the cities themselves. He must know that both cities have very

tightly drawn boundaries and obviously the people who, to a very large extent, make up this expansion of the county areas are Portsmouth and Southampton people.

I thank the right hon. Member for Deptford (Mr. John Silkin) for his support. He says that what applies to Hampshire might apply to other areas. I said that Hampshire is a unique case and I should have thought that if other areas thought similarly about themselves they would have put forward similar Amendments or an Amendment to make Amendment No. 1 much more general.

The pity of it is that so far the opposition to Amendment No. 1 seems to be really just the defence of the status quo. I am afraid that the opposition for the county districts has been a parish pump attitude. My hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Development stated that it could not be said that Portsmouth and Southampton would be controlled from Winchester, but under the Government's proposals they will be controlled from Winchester for the major services such as education, social services and libraries, because the administrative headquarters for them will be in Winchester. If anyone wants to discuss these matters, they will have to go to Winchester to do so. This is really an argument about where the administration of education, social services and libraries is to take place. I have listened carefully to what my hon. Friend has said, but I fail completely to find any reasonable argument against Amendment No. 1.

Question put, That the Amendment be made: —

The House divided: Ayes 198. Noes 223.

Division No. 125.] AYES [6.20 p.m.
Abse, Leo Buchan, Norman Darling, Rt. Hn. George
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Davidson, Arthur
Allen, Scholefield Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)
Ashley, Jack Carter, Ray (Birmingham, Northfield Davies, Ifor (Gower)
Atkinson, Norman Clark, David (Colne Valley) Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Cocks, Michael (Bristol. S.) Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)
Barnes, Michael Cohen, Stanley Deakins, Eric
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Coleman, Donald Delargy, H. J.
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Concannon, J. D. Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund
Bishop, E. S. Corbet, Mrs. Freda Dempsey, James
Blenkinsop, Arthur Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.) Doig, Peter
Booth, Albert Crawshaw, Richard Dormand, J. D.
Bradley, Tom Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Driberg, Tom
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.) Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard Duffy, A. E. P.
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven) Dunn, James A.
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Dalyell, Tam Dunnett, Jack
Eadie, Alex Leadbitter, Ted Perry, Ernest G.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Pink, R. Bonner
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Leonard, Dick Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Evans, Fred Lestor, Miss Joan Prescott, John
Faulds, Andrew Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Fisher, Mrs. Doris(B'ham,Ladywood) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Price, William (Rugby)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Lomas, Kenneth Probert, Arthur
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Loughlin, Charles Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Foley, Maurice McBride, Neil Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Foot, Michael McCartney, Hugh Richard, Ivor
Ford, Ben McGuire, Michael Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Forrester, John Mackie, John Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)
Galpern, Sir Myer Mackintosh, John P. Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Garrett, W. E. Maclennan, Robert Roper, John
Gilbert, Dr. John McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Rose, Paul B.
Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) McNamara, J. Kevin Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Golding, John Mahon, Simon (Bootle) Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield,E.) Short, Rt.Hn.Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Grant, George (Morpeth) Marks, Kenneth Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Marquand, David Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Marsden, F. Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Marshall, Dr. Edmund Sillars, James
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Sinclair, Sir George
Hardy, Peter Mayhew, Christopher Skinner, Dennis
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Meacher, Michael Small, William
Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Spearing, Nigel
Heffer, Eric S. Mendelson, John Spriggs, Leslie
Hill, James (Southampton, Test) Mikardo, Ian Steel, David
Horam, John Millan, Bruce Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Miller, Dr. M. S. Stonehouse. Rt. Hn. John
Huckfield, Leslie Milne, Edward Strang, Gavin
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Taverne, Dick
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Hunter, Adam Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Tinn, James
Janner, Greville Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Tuck, Raphael
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Moyle, Roland Urwin, T. W.
John, Brynmor Murray, Ronald King Vickers, Dame Joan
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Oakes, Gordon Wainwright, Edwin
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Ogden, Eric Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) O'Halloran, Michael Wallace, George
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) O'Malley, Brian Watkins, David
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Oram, Bert Weitzman, David
Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Orbach, Maurice Wellbeloved, James
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Orme, Stanley White, James (Glasgow. Pollok)
Judd, Frank Oswald, Thomas Whitlock, William
Kaufman, Gerald Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Kelley, Richard Palmer, Arthur Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Kerr, Russell Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Woof, Robert
Kinnock, Neil Pavitt, Laurie TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Latham, Arthur Pendry, Tom Mr. Ernest Armstrong and
Lawson, George Pentland, Norman Mr. Joseph Harper
Adley, Robert Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Fenner, Mrs. Peggy
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Chichester-Clark, R. Fidler, Michael
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Churchill, W. S. Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Astor, John Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Atkins, Humphrey Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fookes, Miss Janet
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Cockeram, Eric Fortescue, Tim
Batsford, Brian Cooke, Robert Fowler, Norman
Bell, Ronald Cooper, A. E. Fry, Peter
Benyon, W. Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick Gardner, Edward
Berry, Hn. Anthony Cormack, Patrick Gibson-Watt, David
Biffen, John Costain, A. P. Goodhart, Philip
Biggs-Davison, John Crouch, David Goodhew, Victor
Blaker, Peter Crowder, F. P. Gower, Raymond
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Body, Richard d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Gray, Hamish
Boscawen, Robert d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.James Green, Alan
Bossom, Sir Clive Dean, Paul Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)
Bowden, Andrew Digby, Simon Wingfield Grylls, Michael
Braine, Sir Bernard Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec Gummer, J. Selwyn
Bray, Ronald Drayson, G. B. Gurden, Harold
Brinton, Sir Tatton du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Hannam, John (Exeter)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Dykes, Hugh Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Burden, F. A. Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Haselhurst, Alan
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Emery, Peter Havers, Michael
Carlisle, Mark Eyre, Reginald Hawkins, Paul
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Farr, John Hay, John
Chapman, Sydney Fell, Anthony Hayhoe, Barney
Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Moate, Roger Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Hicks, Robert Money, Ernle Shelton, William (Clapham)
Hiley, Joseph Monks, Mrs. Connie Skeet, T. H. H.
Holland, Philip Monro, Hector Soref, Harold
Hordern, Peter Montgomery, Fergus Speed, Keith
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) More, Jasper Spence, John
Hunt, John Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Sproat, Iain
Hutchison, Michael Clark Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Stainton, Keith
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Mudd, David Stanbrook, Ivor
James, David Murton, Oscar Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Nabarro, Sir Gerald Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Jessel, Toby Neave, Alrey Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Normanton, Tom Stokes, John
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Onslow, Cranley Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Sutcliffe, John
Kaberry, Sir Donald Osborne, John Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Kershaw, Anthony Page, Graham (Crosby) Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Kimball, Marcus Page, John (Harrow, W.) Tebbit, Norman
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Parkinson, Cecil Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Peel, John Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Kinsey, J. R. Percival, Ian Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Kirk, Peter Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Tilney, John
Kitson, Timothy Pike, Miss Mervyn Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Knight, Mrs. Jill Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Trew, Peter
Knox, David Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Tugendhat, Christopher
Lane, David Proudfoot, Wilfred Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Langford-Holt, Sir John Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis van Straubenzee, W. R.
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Quennell, Miss J. M. Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Le Marchant, Spencer Ralson, Timothy Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Lloyd, Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield) Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Walker-Smith,Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Loveridge, John Redmond, Robert Ward, Dame Irene
Luce, R. N. Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Warren, Kenneth
McAdden, Sir Stephen Rees, Peter (Dover) Weatherill, Bernard
MacArthur, Ian Rees-Davies, W. R. Wells, John (Maidstone)
McCrindle, R. A. Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon White, Roger (Gravesend)
McLaren, Martin Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Wiggin, Jerry
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Ridsdale, Julian Wilkinson, John
McNair-Wilson, Michael Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Winterton, Nicholas
Maddan, Martin Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Marten, Neil Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Mather, Carol Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Woodnutt, Mark
Maude, Angus Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Worsley, Marcus
Mawby, Ray Rost, Peter
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Royle, Anthony TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mills, Peter (Torrington) Scott, Nicholas Mr. Michael Jopling and
Miscampbell, Norman Scott-Hopkins, James Mr. Marcus Fox.
Mitchell,Lt.Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W) Sharples, Richard

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. Graham Page

I beg to move Amendment No. 2, in page 2, line 13, at end insert— (7A) Part V of Schedule 1 to this Act shall have effect for the purpose of constituting parishes the areas of which are co-extensive with those of certain existing boroughs and urban districts.

Mr. Speaker

With this Amendment we are to discuss the following:

As an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out 'co-extensive with those of certain' and insert 'within'.

No. 133, in Schedule 1, page 205, line 21, at end add:

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