HC Deb 16 February 1972 vol 831 cc431-42

4.2 p.m.

Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, West)

I beg to move, That leave he given to bring in a Bill to take into public ownership without compensation the Crown lands, the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall and all the revenues there-from for the public good. The purpose of this Bill is to end a scandalous confidence trick which has been perpetrated on the British people for far too long. The assertion that the Crown Estate and the two Duchies are private estates which really belong to the Monarch is unadulterated rubbish.

The Crown Estate was established in its present form in fairly recent legislation. When that legislation was introduced in July, 1956, Mr. Henry Brooke stated during the Second Reading debate that the capital value was estimated at at least £50 million. By this time it is probably double that sum. It has about as much to do with the Royal Family as the Prime Minister has to do with the miners' strike.

The story started with plunder, when William the Conqueror decided to take over all the land in this country and distribute it to his own chums according to his own whims and fancies. It is "jobs for the boys" now. In those days it was "acres for the lads". From then on successive Monarchs have used the proceeds from these lands to run the country. They have bought and sold like any modern Stock Exchange speculator or any second-hand car salesman.

The memorandum presented to the Select Committee from the Crown Estate Commissioners tells another story—but not all of it. James I, for instance, gave land to some of his favourites in Scotland. Charles I flogged off many of the estates to avoid coming to Parliament for cash, and on the security of the estate he borrowed £320,000 from the City of London to enable him to carry on a war with Scotland—[HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."]—and he got what was coming to him. William III used the revenues to reward those who brought him to the Throne after the revolution. There were constant struggles between the Crown and Parliament about these property rights and the revenues arising therefrom.

In the debate in the House in 1956 to which I referred, Mr. Henry Brooke recalled that at least 17 Acts of Parliament have been passed on Crown lands. It was eventually agreed in 1760 that the revenues from Crown lands would be handed over in return for a Civil List, but on condition that this House would assume responsibility for running the Government of the day as distinct from the Crown. That was the bargain. The Crown got a wonderful bargain, though at that time total revenues from the Crown Estate and the two Duchies together would not cover the cost of one week of the Concorde. That was the bargain made in 1760.

Little detail is known about the 1760 bargain, but if anybody is interested he can go to the House of Commons Library.

Mr. Norman St. John-Stevas (Chelmsford)

Nobody is interested.

Mr. Hamilton

Anybody interested can see in the Library the Commons Journal for 25th May, 1792, at pages 833 to 846, the details of what happened in 1760.

At the moment the Crown Estate consists of extremely valuable properties in the heart of London: Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, New Oxford Street and Soho, Regents Park, Victoria Park, St. James's, Trafalgar Square and the Strand, Whitehall and Victoria, Hyde Park Corner, Pall Mall; and way out to Eltham; Hampton and Brentford in Middlesex; Egham and Richmond in Surrey; even some shops in Doncaster, and Ascot racecourse. In addition there are 180,000 acres in England, 29,000 in Lincolnshire, 24.000 in Yorkshire, 21,000 in Somerset, 19,000 in Wiltshire, 70,000 in Scotland with valuable shooting and fishing rights thrown in.

The Estate includes most of the foreshore, the bed of the sea in territorial waters, and the whole show is run by Commissioners appointed by the Government. The Chancellor of the Exchequer can dismiss them. I talked to one Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer who was on the point of getting rid of the top lad. The Commissioners present an annual report, and the Estate has nothing whatever to do with the Monarchy.

In answer to Q 462 in the Civil List Report, Mr. Wood, the 2nd Commissioner—the second flunkey in command—said that it was a public estate. When the Monarch dies, no estate duty is pa id on the value of the estate. This is partly why it has grown in value. The Crown lands would have been decimated if such duty had been paid in the last 70 years.

I turn to the Duchy of Lancaster. The origin of these estates was theft—expropriation of the estates of Simon de Montfort and the Earl of Ferrers for rebellion against the Crown in 1265. The fellow who spoke about the Duchy of Lancaster said that Simon de Montfort was a bad man; he said he had not put this in his memo because he did not feel it would stand up to cross-examination.

The Duchy of Lancaster was enlarged by further theft at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries. The Monarch clawed back something from the Church—that should interest the hon. and genuflecting Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas). That was not mentioned in the memorandum either. In the 17th century the Stuarts, and later William of Orange, gave away large parts of the estates to reward friends and raise cash. In 1760 there was an agreement with George III, and the Duchy of Lancaster was hardly worth giving up. Profits in that year were £16 18s. 4d.—hardly enough to keep a miner for a week. Today the Duchy consists of about 52,000 acres, the bulk of it in Yorkshire and Lancashire, but also in 10 other counties. There are also properties in London, the Strand and the City, Aldershot, Bedford, Bristol, Kettering, Leeds, Leicester and Lewes in Sussex.

Until the 1938 Coal Act the Duchy owned coalmines in Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Glamorgan, and drew royalties from them. It owned all the Lancashire foreshores, including half of the bed of the Mersey from which sand is dredged and used in glass-making in St. Helen's. It is run as a public estate. Annual reports are presented to the House, and the Chancellor of the Duchy can be asked questions in this House, and, indeed, I have done so. I will tell the story in a moment of what happened to a certain individual who was directly concerned with the Duchy. The present net income is £800,000 or thereabouts. From 1953 to 1970 a total of £2,895,000 was paid to the Privy purse—that is, the Queen—from this estate completely tax-free. One can try to work out what taxable income one would require to get nearly £3 million tax-free income in those years.

The estates of certain individuals who die intestate in the Duchy of Lancaster go direct to the Duchy revenues and hence direct to the purse of the Queen. The figure amounted to over £90,000 in the year ended September, 1969. I now quote the case of Miss E. F. Wilson of 136, Adams Gardens, London, S.E.16, who has given me authority to do so. She was the common law wife of a Mr. Docherty and had a child by him, who died intestate in the Duchy in 1951 leaving over £5,000. She tried to get that from the Duchy. The Duchy reluctantly gave her £250 after she had engaged a solicitor. She wrote to me. Normally I would have sent the case to the hon. Member concerned. I wrote to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hex-ham (Mr. Rippon) and as a result of my representation he instructed the Duchy to send that woman a cheque for £2,000. That is what is going on in this private estate.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I hope the hon. Member will forgive me if I remind him that this is a Ten-Minute Rule Bill. He has now been speaking for 10 minutes.

Mr. Hamilton

I do not think the rule states specifically 10 minutes. I believe it says, "a short speech", and I shall be as short as I can. [Interruption.] I do not regard this as a frivolous matter at all. I regard it as very important, and I shall continue to fight on this kind of issue until we get a Government which will bring some sense of order and fairness into it.

I turn very quickly to the Duchy of Cornwall, which is an even bigger scandal than the Duchy of Lancaster. Again, it is based on theft, and goes back to 1066 when lands belonging to the Earls of Cornwall were taken. When I asked how these lands were taken away from the Earls of Cornwall, nobody knew or would tell us. They were just taken, pinched; and witnesses at the Crown Lands Committee have never yet given me, either in writing or in any other way, information as to how those lands were acquired. The Duchy was created by a Charter dating back to 1337 which granted these estates to Teddie, the elder son of Edward III. That is the origin of these estates. Now they are run by well-heeled flunkeys of whom I find the most objectionable Sir Patrick Kingsley, the Secretary and Keeper of the Records, who will not reply in civil terms to the kind of letter I write or to the kind of query I ask our Library Research Department to make.

The present position is quite simple. There are about 129.000 acres stretching from flower and bulb farms in the Scilly Isles to the Oval cricket ground at Kennington. The total gross revenue in 1970 was close on £1 million—£928,627, £600,000 of that in rents from properties in Kennington. Only after a twisting of arms could I get the number of tenancies in that area-905 in all, of which 777 are flats, some of them occupied by hon. Members on this and that side of the House.

All the net revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall go to the Prince of Wales, and he in his goodness decided at a stroke that he would take only half; so he is now jogging along on £105,000 a year, tax-free. In answer to a Question I asked in the House a few months ago, I was told that that is equivalent to a taxable income of about £1¼ million a year. Why? Why is it not taxed?—because the Law Officers in 1913 gave an opinion. We do not know on what that opinion was based. We have asked the Treasury and the Inland Revenue people on what it was based in the Civil List Report. They were unable to give us that information.

My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition suggested we might get a modern opinion from today's Law Officers. I asked that specific Question of the Chancellor of the Exchequer last week, and he said, "No, you are not going to get it." So on an opinion based on no firm foundation, made in 1913, that young man is getting a tax-free income of £105,000 a year. Looking at that, if we take two miners—[Interruption.]—this is very important—earning £20 a week each, they are making £2,000 a year between them, and they will have to work 50 years, both of them, before they will make in a full working life, digging in the bowels of the earth, as much as we give to this young twerp in a year.

Dr. Alan Glyn (Windsor)


Mr. Speaker

I would ask the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) to help me. I have to administer the Standing Orders. I believe the Standing Order says …the Speaker, after permitting, if he thinks fit, a brief explanatory statement…". I think it is a matter for my discretion. The hon. Member has now been speaking for 15 minutes. I must ask him to make his Motion.

Mr. Hamilton

I am just winding up.

Dr. Glyn


Mr. Hamilton

I understood, Mr. Speaker, that no intervention was allowed in a Ten-Minute Rule Bill speech.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order in this House, under the rules of the House, to refer to the Heir to the Throne in that manner? I must ask you, Mr. Speaker, to exercise your authority and ask that that remark be withdrawn.

Mr. Speaker

I was studying the Standing Order at the time. Will the hon. Gentleman repeat the remark he made?

Mr. Hamilton

I cannot put it in the exact words, but I can quote the word I used. I said, in effect, that it was indefensible that two miners should work for 50 years for £20 a week before they could earn as much in 50 years underground as we paid that young twerp in a year. That is what I said and, that is what I stand by. I end by saying—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

I am advised that the hon. Gentleman is not allowed to say that. I must ask him to withdraw his final words.

Mr. Hamilton

I withdraw.

The last point I wish to make is that if this young man seeks, as constitutionalists say he seeks, to unite the nation, to understand what the country is doing and what the people are thinking, he has been training in the Royal Air Force and is now training in the Navy and he ought to spend his next three months in a coal mine, and then we shall believe this constitutional doctrine that the Monarchy is a uniting force of our people. It is very relevant that this debate should take place at this time, on this occasion.

4.20 p.m.

Mr. Peter Mills (Torrington)

Naturally, I am opposing the proposals that the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) has brought forward for a wide variety of reasons, none more than the unpleasant way he did so. But I believe this House ought first to consider the motives behind this Bill.

Why has the hon. Member brought this forward? I may be wrong, but it seems to me that he has a very strange fixation about the Royal Family. It is, if I may say so, an unhealthy one. One has only to read the Report of the Select Committee on the Civil List to see that he has this fixation.

We may ask ourselves, before voting on the hon. Gentleman's Motion, why he is doing this. Is it one more chance to prove his dislike, to show his unpleasant attitude and to keep the publicity going, or is it, as I believe, to show his constituents, with the very special background of the constituency, how he can flex his muscles, how he can be radical and how he can prove his political manhood?

I believe that that is what it is all about. However, in spite of it, the hon. Gentleman has developed this fixation. I believe that he is being driven by this attitude and that he cannot stop now. This is an embarrassment to the hon. Gentleman's party and even to some of his constituents. Certainly other problems are more urgent today. Perhaps even in his own constituency these need attention. If I were in the hon. Gentleman's constituency, I should be asking how much time and how much research and energy the hon. Gentleman is giving to the fixation that he has.

I hope that the House will consider this point when we come to vote on this matter.

The hon. Gentleman is concerned with the Duchy of Lancaster, the Duchy of Cornwall and the Crown Estates. He seeks to nationalise them. To suggest that the Duchies should be nationalised seems to be both inappropriate and irrelevant, not to say unfair and unjustified. Clearly, ownership lies with the Sovereign of the day. They perform an appropriate and valuable service. In view of their ownership and the destination of their net incomes, any suggestion of nationalisation is unthinkable. Nationalisation would create many problems and solve none. It could hardly be shown that anyone would benefit.

These estates are concerned with property and with agriculture. Certainly I am concerned with agriculture. Being a West Country Member, I am especially proud to think that we have such a large and efficient estate as that of the Duchy of Cornwall. The Duchy has 50,000 acres under farming, excluding Dartmoor, and I have heard no criticism of its activities. To my knowledge, it performs a real and useful service to the community of the South-West.

The hon. Gentleman has always sought to show that the Duchies and the Crown are not good landlords. He is wrong. They seek to adhere to the traditional landlord-tenant arrangement of a partnership, which is more than can be said of other landlords. They have skilled staff to help farmers and to give technical advice and assistance so that they can make the best use of their land. On the whole, they are good landlords.

To illustrate what I say, perhaps I might read a letter which has been received by my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) quite out of the blue. It says: Mr. Hamilton is against the Duchy, but from a tenant's point of view they are very good landlords. They took me on with very little money. They charged me a low rent to begin with, and since then they have put up good buildings. Now my wife and family make a good living. That is what I consider a good landlord-tenant relationship should be.

The hon. Gentleman is wrong. He has this peculiar fixation. We on this side of the House dismiss his charges. I hope that right hon. and hon. Members will oppose the hon. Gentleman's Motion. It may be that the hon. Gentleman feels much better, and that he has derived some satisfaction from raising this matter once again. He has got the publicity that he desires. But my advice to him is to watch this fixation. It will do him a lot of harm.

Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 13 (Motions for leave to bring

in Bills and nomination of Select Committees at commencement of Public Business):—

The House divided: Ayes 104, Noes 233.

Division No. 58.] AYES [4.25 p.m.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Foot, Michael Marsden, F.
Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis) Galpern, Sir Myer Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Ashton, Joe Garrett, W. E. Mendelson, John
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Gilbert, Dr. John Milne, Edward
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Golding, John Murray, Ronald King
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Grant, George (Morpeth) Oakes, Gordon
Beaney, Alan Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) O'Halloran, Michael
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Grimond, Rt. Hn. J. Orme, Stanley
Bidwell, Sydney Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Oswald, Thomas
Bishop, E. S. Hamilton, William (Fife, W) Pardoe, John
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill) Pavitt, Laurie
Booth, Albert Hardy, Peter Pentland, Norman
Bradley, Tom Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Rankin, John
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Heffer, Eric S. Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Horam, John Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Huckfield, Leslie Roper, John
Carmichael, Neil Hughes, Roy (Newport) Sandeln, Neville
Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Hunter, Adam Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Jeger, Mrs. Lena Short, Mrs. Renée (W' hampton, N E.)
Clark, David (Colne Valley) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Sillars, James
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Small, William
Coleman, Donald Johnson, Walter (Derby, S) Spearing, Nigel
Dalyell, Tam Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, Denzil (Llanelly) Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Stallard, A. W.
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Kelley, Richard Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)
De Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey Kerr, Russell Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Delargy. H. J. Kinnock, Neil Strang, Gavin
Dempsey, James Lambie, David Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Doig, Peter Lamond, James Urwin, T. W.
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Lawson, George Wainwright, Edwin
Duffy, A. E. P. Leonard, Dick Watkins, David
Dunn, James A. Lestor, Miss Joan Woof, Robert
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Evans, Fred McBride, Neil TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Ewing, Henry McElhone, Frank Mr. William Hamling and Mr. J. D. Dormand.
Fletcher. Raymond (Ilkeston) Marks, Kenneth
Adley, Robert Carlisle, Mark Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Cary, Sir Robert Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Channon, Paul Fookes, Miss Janet
Archer, Jeffrey (Louth) Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher Fortescue, Tim
Astor, John Churchill, W. S. Foster, Sir John
Atkins, Humphrey Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Fox, Marcus
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fry, Peter
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Clegg, Walter Gardner, Edward
Batsford, Brian Cockeram, Eric Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Cooke, Robert Glyn, Dr. Alan
Bell, Ronald Coombs, Derek Goodhew, Victor
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Cooper, A. E. Gower, Raymond
Berry, Hn. Anthony Cormack, Patrick Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Costain, A. P. Gray, Hamish
Biffen, John Crouch, David Green, Alan
Biggs-Davison, John Curran, Charles Grieve, Percy
Blaker, Peter d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Grylls, Michael
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)
Boscawen, Robert d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj. -Gen. James Gummer, Selwyn
Bossom, Sir Clive Digby, Simon Wingfield Gurden, Harold
Bossom, Sir Clive Dodds-Parker, Douglas Hall, John (Wycombe)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John Drayson, G. B. Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Bray, Ronald Dykes, Hugh Hannam, John (Exeter)
Brewis, John Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Haselhurst, Alan
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.) Hastings, Stephen
Bryan, Paul Emery, Peter Havers, Michael
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M) Eyre, Reginald Hawkins, Paul
Buck, Antony Farr, John Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward
Bullus, Sir Eric Fell, Anthony Heseltine, Michael
Burden, F. A. Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Hicks, Robert
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Fidler, Michael Higgins, Terence L.
Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray &Nairn) Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)
Holland, Philip Meyer, Sir Anthony Skeet, T. H. H.
Holt, Miss Mary Mills, Peter (Torrington) Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Hornsby-Smith. Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Soref, Harold
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W) Spence, John
Howell, David (Guildford) Moate, Roger Sproat, Iain
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Molyneaux, James Stanbrook, Ivor
Hunt, John Monks, Mrs. Connie Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)
Hutchison, Michael Clark More, Jasper Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Mudd, David Stokes, John
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Murton, Oscar Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Nabarro, Sir Gerald Sutcliffe, John
Jessel, Toby Nicholls, Sir Harmar Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Normanton, Tom Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Nott, John Tebbit, Norman
Jopling, Michael Onslow, Cranley Temple, John M.
Kaberry, Sir Donald Osborn, John Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Kershaw, Anthony Page, Graham (Crosby) Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Kimball, Marcus Page, John (Harrow, W.) Tilney, John
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Parkinson, Cecil Trew, Peter
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Peel, John Tugendhat, Christopher
Kinsey, J. R. Percival, Ian Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Kitson, Timothy Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Knight, Mrs. Jill Pike, Miss Mervyn Vickers, Dame Joan
Knox, David Pink, R. Bonner Waddington, David
Lambton, Antony Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Langford-Holt, Sir John Price, David (Eastleigh) Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Wall, Patrick
Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (SutnC' dfield) Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James Walters, Dennis
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Redmond, Robert Ward, Dame Irene
Longden, Gilbert Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Weatherill, Bernard
Loveridge, John Rees, Peter (Dover) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Luce, R. N. Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David White, Roger (Gravesend)
McAdden, Sir Stephen Ridley, Hn. Nicholas Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
MacArthur, Ian Ridsdale, Julian Wiggin, Jerry
McCrindle, R. A. Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Wilkinson, John
McLaren, Martin Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Winterton, Nicholas
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
McMaster, Stanley Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
McNair-Wilson, Michael Rost, Peter Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Madel, David Royle, Anthony Woodnutt, Mark
Maginnis, John E. Russell, Sir Ronald Worsley, Marcus
Marten, Neil St. John Stevas, Norman
Mather, Carol Scott-Hopkins, James TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Maude, Angus Sharpies, Richard Mr. Hugh Rossi and
Mawby, Ray Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby) Mr. Keith Speed.
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Shelton, William (Clapham)

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. Heffer

The official Whips were on.

Mr. Speaker

It is intolerable that the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) should constantly speak from a seated position.

Mr. Heffer

I am very sorry, Mr. Speaker, if you did not like my remark. I am always prepared to be pulled up when I am in the wrong, but I do not expect to be pulled up for speaking from a seated position. As far as I am con-

cerned, I never abuse my position. I pointed out that in fact on this vote the official Whips were on—that on a free vote in this House the official Whips were on.

Mr. Speaker

As a matter of order, any Member who shouts or interrupts or speaks from a seated position—

Mr. Heffer

I do not shout.

Mr. Speaker

I have noted what the hon. Member has said, and I hope we shall get on better from now on.