HC Deb 23 June 1972 vol 839 cc927-58
Mr. Alex Eadie (Midlothian)

I beg to move Amendment No. 3, in page 2, line 5, leave out 'the desirability of having members who are familiar with'. We regard this as a very important Amendment. To some extent, we return we will advise hon. Members to divide because we believe that the Government will appreciate our concern if we do so. We believe that they should think much more seriously about this than they have done in preparing for this debate. We believe that they ought not only to be concerned with the prevention of these accidents but that they ought to inquire very seriously into individual hardship caused by explosions, which will occur whatever standards of safety are followed by the gas industry.

For this reason we propose to divide on this issue.

Question put, That the Clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 30, Noes 48

Division No. 242.] AYES [2.5 p.m.
Atkinson, Norman Kaufman, Gerald Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Lestor, Miss Joan Grimond, Rt. Hon. J
Booth, Albert Marshall, Dr. Edmund Richard, Ivor
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Meacher, Michael Rose, Paul B.
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Spearing, Nigel
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Molloy, William Stallard, A. W.
Dormand, J. D. Moyle, Roland Varley, Eric G.
Eadie, Alex O'Halloran, Michael
Faulds, Andrew Palmer, Arthur TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Fisher, Mrs. Doris(B'ham,Ladywood) Pardoe, John Mr. J. D. Concannon and
Foot, Michael Rankin, John Mr. Tom Pendry
Golding, John
Atkins, Humphrey Havers, Michael Rost, Peter
Batsford, Brian Hawkins, Paul Skeet, T. H. H.
Bell, Ronald Iremonger, T. L Soref, Harold
Benyon, W. Kinsey, J. R. Speed, Keith
Boscawen, Robert Knox, David Spence, John
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Luce, R. N. Stanbrook, Ivor
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) McNair-Wilson, Michael Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Mather, Carol Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Cordle, John Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Meyer, Sir Anthony Weatherill, Bernard
Cormack, Patrick Moate, Roger Wilkinson, John
Emery, Peter Monks, Mrs. Connie Winterton, Nicholas
Fenner, Mrs. Peggy Murton, Oscar Worsley, Marcus
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Normanton, Tom
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Pink, R. Bonner TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Fowler, Norman Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Mr. Victor Goodhew and
Green, Alan Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.) Mr. Marcus Fox.
Gummer, Selwyn Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)

to the long debates and arguments that we had in Committee about the consequences of abolishing the 12 regions. We on this side of the House are extremely concerned about the Government's proposal to set up a Gas Corporation and to abolish the autonomy of the regions.

In the course of the Committee's second sitting the then Minister, the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) told us: Indeed, the Bill goes out of its way to ensure that any such management entity shall be confined to the territories of Scotland or Wales, however the Gas Corporation may decide to organise it.

2.15 p.m.

The words that the Amendment seeks to delete from the Clause might be described as "permissive" rather than mandatory. We believe that if all the regional councils are to be abolished, what is required in their place is not a form of permissive legislation but something positive. In suggesting the deletion of the words the desirability of having members who are familiar with…",

we are trying to strengthen the Bill. The words of the Minister in Committee to which I have referred, …however the Gas Corporation may decide to organise it

contain an element of permissiveness, and clearly we cannot approve of permissive legislation of that sort.

During the same sitting of the Committee we pressed the Minister about this permissive element in the proposed legislation, and he said: Surely we can trust the leaders of the gas industry to find the correct solutions.

However, we on this side of the House suggest that Parliament has a responsibility. When we are legislating, we are entitled at least to signpost the direction that we wish to take.

Mr. Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Ardwick)

Is not this a running sore throughout current Government legislation in this Session? There must be some fault in the parliamentary draftsmen whom the Government employ at the moment. We had precisely the same problem in the Sound Broadcasting Bill, where honest sentiments were expressed but nothing was imposed upon the Independent Broadcasting Authority. Now it appears that the same is happening here. It is a trend which ought strongly to be deplored.

Mr. Eadie

My hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Ardwick (Mr. Kaufman) is on to a very good point. When legislation comes before this House there is an increasing tendency, rather than to spell out precisely what we mean, to insert permissive Clauses which cause no end of difficulty.

We must try to be more specific. The Government's proposal to abolish the regions and to put in their place a gigantic corporation has aroused a great deal of emotion and anxiety, and the reason for it was expressed a great deal better than I could do it by the Minister himself in Committee. The hon. Gentleman said: By abolishing the area boards and creating the British Gas Corporation the Bill can be superficially alleged to concentrate all power at the centre. To that extent there is substance in the suggestion that this is a centralising Measure. But the extent to which that power is devolved down the line, and the extent to which the management of the British Gas Corporation decides to delegate and set up subsidiary management structures, is by no means yet clear. That will be a matter for the Corporation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B; 15th February, 1972, c. 68–70.] The Amendment will make the whole section relating to that particular Clause more positive.

Surely the area boards will need a specific direct voice. I have had long experience in local government and can remember the difficulties about whether a thing is desirable or needed. That shows to some extent the defectiveness of the wording of the Clause. Many things are desirable, but not everything is needed. In the Amendment we suggest that things are needed which are not necessarily desirable. I should not be prepared to give any Minister complete discretionary power to decide what he thought to be desirable. Parliament is entitled to spell out and to ensure the kind of representatives who will be appointed to the Gas Corporation.

Mr. Emery

I should like to clear up one point. The hon. Gentleman said that he would not want to leave the discretion of what was desirable either to me or any Minister. I can understand that argument. I might use it in exactly the same way if I were sitting on the benches opposite. However, the desirability is spelled out in the Bill. It is not left to the Minister. The following sentences specifically state what is desirable. Therefore the desirability is not a judgment of the Minister, but of the Act.

Mr. Eadie

Yes. The Minister and I have no quarrel on that. We are talking about the Act. Perhaps I should read what we are talking about in clear terms. The Clause states: in making appointments to the Corporation, the Secretary of State shall have regard to"— this is what we want to strike out, of course— the desirability of having members who are familiar with the special requirements and circumstances of particular regions and areas. The hon. Gentleman will be appraised right away that I was trying to illustrate the great concern we had because the Minister was conferring that there would be a lot of discretion left to the Corporation as to how these areas which will be wiped out shall be administered in future. The Minister will see the difference in our wording. I am not trying to make a debating point; it is a real point. If the Amendment were accepted, the Clause would read: in making appointments to the Corporation, the Secretary of State shall have regard to the special requirements and circumstances of particular regions and areas. That is specific. There is no permissive aspect in that. It is mandatory on the Secretary of State to do precisely that. I am glad that the Minister is appraised of that point. The Amendment would have the effect of strengthening the Bill in that respect.

We were surprised to learn that the 12 areas should be abolished. We were surprised in the sense that the Government have never made any disguise of their philosophy that they believe in competition. There were 12 areas which, to some extent, were competing against each other. Each area had its own individuality. The Minister will recall that some hon. Members objected to the description of Scotland as an area. Scotland is not an area; it is a country.

In attempting to strike out the question of desirability, we are trying to make what I should describe as a second-best job. I know that the people of Scotland have had great strictures about the Bill, and the creation of the Corporation. However, if the Amendment were accepted something mandatory would be placed on the shoulders of the Minister concerning the selection of members for the Corporation.

In substantiation of that point, it must be realised that in proposing the Amendment I am not on my own; there is ample documentation about the concern that is felt.

The Daily Telegraph, which is hardly what I would describe as a paper which subscribes to the political philosophy which I hold, way back in 1971 published an article on this matter which illustrates the point I am making: that people believe we are creating a gigantic gas monopoly and that Parliament has a particular responsibility in the wording of the Bill.

Mr. Kelf-Cohen in the Daily Telegraph wrote of the threat to consumers of the latest reorganisation plans". That is why it is important that we get right the direction we give to the Secretary of State as to who should comprise that Corporation. Mr. Kelf-Cohen, under the heading, "The great gas monopoly," said: The Government tells us that it is determined to foster competition and to reduce the power of monopoly. We are promised an important pronouncement on this subject next session. It was the determination of the Prime Minister which brought the end of restrictive practices, which stifled competition and bore heavily on the consumer. It is strange that his Government should now be promoting a Bill which will strengthen monopoly and will make 13 million consumers more helpless than ever. That illustrates why it is so important that we get this whole matter right.

In further supplementation to the argument in favour of the Amendment, in case it is suggested that we are trying to trivialise something of great importance that has already been voiced outside Parliament, we have the "Gas Journal" which I presume has knowledge of the industry we are discussing and of the Bill which we are trying to bring into legislation. We on this side of the House are often accused of being emotive in language when putting forward some of our propositions, but there is nothing more emotive in language than this caption, "Enter Big Daddy."

The "Gas Journal" is concerned about the monopoly, who should comprise the Corporation, and the power which would be vested in the Minister. Its concern about who should comprise the members of the Corporation is shown in the first sentence of this article: On the very day the wizards of Oz ran out of magic, the wizards of Whitehall succeeded in turning 12 princes into frogs, some of whom may well find themselves without a lily pond. That is much more emotive language than that of my hon. Friends and myself. It shows that there is a depth of feeling outside about the composition of the Corporation and how it should act. Under the title, "Enter Big Daddy", we read: The British Gas Corporation, likely to be established in early 1973, will have a profound effect on many people within the industry and some effect on many outside it. That is a very good point. It shows that this is not a discussion merely of administrative expediency. When we discuss the structure of this great industry, we are talking of something which has more connection with consumers than most things that we discuss.

We are talking about how people will be affected by this Bill. If we were to allow the Government to get away with such permissive wording, we would be failing in our democratic duty. It is important to get the method of appointment of members of the Corporation right.

Advertising is important in such a highly intensive consumer organisation. The 12 area boards at present advertise on their own and employ people full time on this work. Of course consumers have to be told what products and services they can buy and what protests they can make if the services are not adequate. Something will be lost in future, because the 12 boards provided cross-fertilisation of ideas and were autonomous in deciding their advertising policy.

A relevant quotation here is the little ditty that I repeated in Committee: The codfish lays a million eggs, The hen lays only one; But the codfish does not cackle When its little stunt is done. The artful hen we praise, The codfish we despise; But every thinking man agrees— It pays to advertise. I talked extensively on the regional problem in Committee and I do not want to delay too long now, because I think that I have persuaded the Minister that he does not want to be associated with permissive legislation. He may have been impressed by my point that we need more mandatory provisions.

Every area is concerned about the abolition of the regional boards. Another paper which is hardly an admirer of this party is the Spectator. For a long time, its views and mine coincided on such issues as the Common Market—on which I understand that it has changed its view—but on the broad political issues, its philosophy is hardly the same as ours.

An article by Mervyn Jones under the emotional heading, "The Centralising Tyranny of London" is important with regard to the appointment of the members of the Corporation. People in Yorkshire and Humberside are concerned about about this centralised tyranny, and I know that Scotland is concerned too. It puzzles people that, when decentralisation is going on all over the world, the mother of Parliaments, who is supposed to have given ideas to other nations, is centralising.

This article said: The public industries account for so great a part of the economy, particularly in Scotland and Wales, that the Secretaries of State and permanent advisers should be involved clearly. At the moment, they seem to be warned off the nationalised industries field. That was said on 7th November, 1970. I wonder whether the same comment would be made in 1972. I think that it would, in view of our serious regional unemployment problems and the fear that the Corporation might make employment in this industry more difficult.

I said that when we question the Minister, we are told that these matters are for the discretion of the Corporation. On one of my points, he did not know what would happen. This Amendment is an attempt to remove many of the permissive aspects in the appointment of members of the Corporation. We are trying to make its composition mandatory. This is second best, but even at this stage of the debate, we have a responsibility to try to strengthen the Bill. I hope that I have pursuaded the Minister to accept the Amendment and thereby to improve the Clause and strengthen the Bill.

Mr. Kaufman

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Midlothian (Mr. Eadie) both on his Amendment and on the manner in which he moved it. If I imply that there is territory that he has not covered, I know that it is not because he did not have it in mind but that he knew that some of his hon. Friends wished to deal with other areas and thus he wanted to limit his remarks so as to help us make progress.

My hon. Friend pointed to the slackness of the phraseology of the Bill. In an intervention, I referred to the general slackness of the drafting of legislation throughout this Parliament. It is necessary to put it right. It is a somewhat ironic reflection upon the Government that, so far as I can see from studying the Bills they have introduced this Session, the only Bill which was drafted precisely was the Housing Finance Bill, a Bill which we should have preferred to be drafted slackly. Here, on the wording to which my hon. Friend rightly objects, we enter the realm not of fact but of notions, taking into account people's thoughts.

The Minister, who has as always been very accommodating today, may well give assurances about which he will be sincere, and we shall totally respect his sincerity. But Ministers come and go. The hon. Gentleman may be promoted, or at any rate move out of the Department, and when he goes his assurance is forgotten. It is buried in either the brown Committee volume or the blue bound volume of the OFFICIAL REPORT for postgraduate students of politics to study. It is forgotten by everyone else. That is why, although I do not question the Minister's sincerity, assurances are no substitute for what is stated in an Act which lays obligations on those who are subject to it, and that is why the principle behind the Amendment is very important. What my hon. Friend is concerned about is not just the wording which says that the Secretary of State shall have regard to the desirability of having members who are familiar with special requirements, with all the subjectivity allowed to the Secretary of State by that, but the lack of obligation imposed upon the Secretary of State.

I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever) has arrived, because I shall deal with problems which greatly trouble both him and me, the problems of the Manchester travel-to-work area. No doubt he will join me in voicing them.

Once the Secretary of State has had regard to "the desirability", that is the end of the story. If he then does what he likes, he has fulfilled his statutory fuction. The Government should accept the Amendment so that there is imposed upon him the requirement to have regard to the special requirements and circumstances of the regions and areas.

It will come as no surprise to the House that the particular region and area to which I wish the Government to have particular regard is the North West, and most of all the Manchester travel-to-work area. It is significant that the Bill excludes Northern Ireland. There are many reasons why it should do so. That Northern Ireland is an area with its own special problems, no one will deny, but it is much smaller than the North West and much smaller than Scotland. I do not quarrel with its having its own specific legislation, but Scotland is part of the Bill and is just subsumed within it.

My hon. Friend will not take it amiss when I say that, for all Scotland's many problems which I should be the last to minimise, the North West is a larger area than Scotland and has a larger population. Because it is not a separate country but is simply a region of England, it is that much less likely to have its own problems considered, and therefore it is all the more important that the Bill should impose upon the Secretary of State the necessity to consider our special requirements and circumstances. At no time more than today have they been more important and more necessitous of consideration. The scope for the Bill to help in dealing with its problems is considerable and will be even more considerable if the House compels the Government to accept Amendment Nos. 6 and 8, under which the scope of the Bill and of the Corporation to provide employment would be widened, because the Corporation would be able to go in for independent manufacture. 2.45 p.m.

Here I come to the employment problems of Manchester and the North-West, which the Secretary of State would be required to take into account under the Amendment. Exactly two years ago, when the present Government came to power, the North-West was a relatively prosperous area. It is no longer so. Two year ago, of the regions and countries of Great Britain, which excludes Northern Ireland, the North-West was fifth in terms of unemployment. Scotland, the North, Yorkshire and Humberside, and Wales, all had greater unemployment problems. Today, we have reached such a sorry pass that not only did we long ago overtake Yorkshire and Humberside with regard to unemployment problems but yesterday's unemployment figures gave the staggering information that the North West now has worse unemployment than the unemployment black spot of Wales. That is a concern of the Department of Trade and Industry, which under the Industry Bill would have the obligation to provide employment. If the Amendment were accepted the Bill before us could be used for promoting employment, and the Secretary of State would have an obligation to consider those employment problems in a way which is not now provided for.

When we consider the disastrous announcement yesterday that Irlam is doomed, with 2,400 redundancies within the next two years; when we take into account that the Gas Corporation will represent a growth industry, and, if the Bill is amended as we wish, will be able to expand that growth industry further; when we take into account that it could provide the employment so sorely needed in an area once prosperous and now in a state of dismal decline; we see that it is very important that the Government accept the Amendment.

We have many other problems in the North West which the Government should take into account, and to which the Secretary of State should have regard as the subsection will require if amended. We do not simply have unemployment, grave though that is. We have also our housing problems, the problems of inter-urban stress.

The fact that the Secretary of State would be required to have regard to these problems would inevitably impose upon him, too, the requirement of manning the Corporation in a way which would include people who could deal with these problems and have them in mind. Some of my hon. Friends, with whom I greatly sympathise, have a suspicion that public corporations, both large and small, are far too much manned by allegedly non-political people—and we know what non-political people are when there is a Conservative Government in power.

The North West is an industrial area but it has a rural hinterland. It is a Labour area, although it has some Con- servatives who sneak in here and there when a General Election takes place. It will be necessary in my view that, in considering representatives of the North West, the Secretary of State should consider trade union representation and also lay representation of a kind which would take into account the demographical make-up of the area. Acceptance of Amendment No. 3 would ensure that all these matters would be taken into account, above all our increasingly serious unemployment problem. I therefore have great pleasure in supporting the Amendment.

Mr. Bob Brown

I support my hon. Friend the Member for Midlothian (Mr. Eadie) and compliment him on the succinct way in which he moved the Amendment, which would lay down the point of view that …in making appointments to the Corporation, the Secretary of State shall have regard… to the special requirements and circumstances of particular regions and areas.

I do not think that it will surprise hon. Members when I say that the needs of the area I have in mind are manifold. I am referring, of course, to the northern region in general, in particular to the North-East, and even more specifically to my constituency of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West. I am extremely concerned about the concentration of power at the centre. I speak with some knowledge of the gas industry, having spent 30 years of my working life in it, both under private and public ownership. The nationalised gas industry has been very successful in its diversification. That was done by the establishment of the 12 area boards.

Whatever may be said about the noble Lord, Lord Robens—and plenty has been said about him both here and outside, some of it not very complimentary—he at least deserves the credit for setting the pattern of the very successful nationalised gas industry. I well remember discussing the proposed nationalisation' Bill with AIf Robens. I recall his insistence that we should not have a centralised organisation. He drew on his experience of other nationalised undertakings and said that he wanted a diversified gas industry. I am grateful to him for that if for nothing else.

In Standing Committee on 15th February, the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley), then Under-Secretary of State, said: That brings me to the main argument which I should like to advance in favour of the Bill. It is that this is not a centralising Bill. By abolishing the area boards and creating the British Gas Corporation the Bill can be superficially alleged to concentrate all power at the centre."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B: 15th February, 1972, c. 68.] The words which concern me— …concentrate all power at the centre…" suggest to me that at least the hon. Gentleman had in mind headquarters in London or the South-East. I have no reason to suppose that in the short time in which his successor has been in office—and the present Under-Secretary of State is a much more affable person, if I may say so—he has had any cause to change that point of view. The indication was clear that the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury had in mind that, like all the other headquarters of nationalised industries and Civil Service departments, the headquarters of the gas industry should be concentrated in London or the South-East.

We have already had far too much of such concentration in London and the South-East. The Prime Minister has been criticised for his "at a stroke" speech, but the Government deserve credit for doing something at a stroke after 18th June, 1970. For purely doctrinaire political reasons, they abolished the Land Commission, whose headquarters were in my constituency, thereby depriving my constituents of several hundred jobs in one fell swoop. As a result of that diabolical decision, which we are all now paying for in the land speculation going on all over the country, we have a purpose-built building standing idle in Newcastle. It is situated on the trunk road to Scotland and is five minutes from Newcastle Airport and 10 minutes from Newcastle city centre. It would make an ideal centre for the National Gas Corporation.

If we are to have a national organisation, then Newcastle, West, in relation to Northern Scotland, South-West England and Wales, which the new organisation will have to cover, is as central a spot for communications as one could find for a national organisation. If the new organisation follows the familiar pattern of national corporations, clearly we shall have a retrenchment in the regions. Obviously, the area boards will not maintain the same form they have now.

3.0 p.m.

I should have thought that the set up in the future, with this retrenchment I have spoken of, might well be as follows—though, of course, I am only guessing. Wales and Scotland would be autonomous areas, for political purposes if for no other, but also, perhaps, because of the national needs of Scotland and Wales. I do not think this Government would like to face any head on clash with nationalism in either Scotland or Wales, although the Government are not quite so fussy about regions in England. However, it would seem to me that we would have those two, as it were, regional organisations. Then the Southern and South Western Gas Board areas would automatically merge into a regional organisation with headquarters at, say, Bristol.

Mr. Michael Cocks (Bristol, South)

Hear, hear.

Mr. Brown

I rather thought I might well have at least two friends in the House straight away on that.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu)

Order. In seeking to have Friends in the House I hope the hon. Member will not neglect the Chair and will tie to the Amendment what he is saying.

Mr. Brown

I most certainly will, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I am going up the coast as I pursue my argument.

I should have thought, equally, that the East and West Midlands would possibly become a region and that the Northern Gas Board area and the area of the North Eastern Gas Board would form a natural unit. If this were to happen then clearly the headquarters of that region would be in Leeds. I am coming to a valid point, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Member is dealing with siting, not with appointments to the Corporation.

Mr. Brown

With respect, Mr. Deputy Speaker, we are dealing with appointments by the Secretary of State to the Corporation having regard to 'the special requirements and circumstances of particular regions and areas. It is the particular requirements and circumstances of my own region that I am now coming to. If what I suspect might happen were to happen we would have the Northern and North Eastern Gas Boards merged and they would have their headquarters in Leeds. We have in the City of Newcastle a very fine building, Norgas House, at present used as the headquarters of the Northern Gas Board, and which will become surplus to requirements, and which has received, as the Minister knows, national and international acclaim for its design. We also have in a purpose-built block wonderful training facilities at Norgas House. If the former headquarters of the Land Commission at Kenton Bar in my constituency were not suitable then Norgas House would be ideally situated—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Member is dealing with the question of siting, while the Amendment is about appointments to the corporation.

Mr. Brown

I was only saying that the new board's headquarters could be sited in the North-East and, as I would hope, on Tyneside, but this is linked with the appointments to the Corporation—to the type of people whom the Minister will appoint to the Corporation. I have in mind another board in the hinterland, so to speak, of my constituency, although it is a few miles away. I mean the Lake District Planning Board. I sincerely hope the Minister will give serious thought to this Amendment and to the thought we are trying to get across about the personnel to be appointed. By way of illustration I would point out that on the Lake District Planning Board there are all sorts of odds and sods—though I say that in the kindest fashion; but they are people from London, the South-East and the South-West, and I believe that there is even one from Manchester, and I do not know of anyone from the Lake District on that planning board. I am making a valid point relevant to the Amendment when I suggest that it is most important to appoint to the Corporation people who will have regard to the special requirements and circumstances of particular regions and areas".

Mr. Harold Lever (Manchester, Cheetham)

The main purpose of my intervention will be to try to make a little progress. The Under-Secretary has been complimented by my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Bob Brown) on being more affable than his predecessor. I am not sure whether that is so. We know that both of them have good qualities, but both have some negative aspects, however, and I shall try to encourage the Under-Secretary to bring the positive aspects of his qualities to the fore.

I know that his predecessor had positive qualities. The hon. Gentleman's predecessor may or may not have been more affable than he is, but we know that he was an extremely good water colour painter and we do not know anything about the present Under-Secretary, outside his functioning in relation to the Bill so far; he still has to prove himself, either as a water colourist or as a Minister who facilitates the progress of Bills.

Ordinary common sense and little æsthetic appreciation of language should make it entirely unobjectionable, even if the Under-Secretary does not feel passion positively for my hon. Friend's Amendment, and he has been invited to feel that passion by considerable cogent argument. What possible hurt could it do to meet the manifest and unanimous desire of the Opposition to leave out the words: the desirability of having members who are familiar with and thus throw upon the Minister the obligation to have regard to the special requirements and circumstances of particular regions and areas when making his appointments?

I ask him a simple question: if he accepts the Amendment, what would be offensive in the obligation which my hon. Friend seeks in unmistakable terms to place upon him? Surely he intends to have regard to the special requirements and circumstances of particular regions and areas when he makes appointments to the Corporation. We may assume that in his favour, unless he immediately says that he will make the appointments in disregard of those special requirements. The Amendment would not impose upon him any burden which he should find objectionable.

The wording that he has chosen is not sufficiently convincing to satisfy my hon. Friends that he is obliged to have proper regard to these special requirements, because it is far too fudgily phrased. It refers to the desirability of having members familiar with the special requirements of the regions rather than throwing a direct obligation on the Minister to have regard to those special requirements. Ordinary common sense should show the Minister that he should stop wasting the time of the House by resisting Amendments so plainly desirable.

He has been delaying the passage of the Bill. Whatever its faults and whatever criticisms we may have, we do not want it to be delayed unduly by an obdurate Minister who is prepared to have regard to the desirability of having members familiar with the special circumstances of an area but who is not prepared himself to have regard to those circumstances. I challenge him to tell the Committee what possible objection he can have to the obligation that would be thrown upon him by the Amendment.

Without being too far fetched, I will tell him why the vagueness of the Clause is not to be preferred and why, on the contrary, it is less attractive than the Clause as amended. As the Clause stands, the Minister is not to have regard to the special requirements of an area in making his appointments, but he is to have regard to the need to have people familiar with the special requirements of an area. If there is a difference it can be only that the Clause would entitle the Minister to disregard the requirements and circumstances of a region in making the appointments provided that he appointed someone familiar with those requirements. That means that if he discovers a professor in Hong Kong who is familiar with the requirements, who has shown by his immense erudition in the subject that he is familiar with the requirements of the North-Eastern constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West, for instance, the Minister could appoint him. That is not what is wanted. We want the Minister to appoint people because he has had regard to special requirements. This provision gives him a latitude to appoint anybody as long as the Minister satisfies himself that the man he is appointing knows of our difficulties in Manchester—though, as the provision stands, whether he will do anything about them is beside the point.

Mr. Emery

So it would be otherwise.

Mr. Lever

No; the Minister would have a statutory obligation to have regard to the actual requirements of the area. He must follow this point. I take time here in order to save time.

Let us take the present provision and set it against the Amendment. In the present provision the Minister can say, "I will appoint to the board Sir George Jones, an amiable gentleman who spends most of his time visiting local race meetings and hostelries in the South-East, because I know that he is familiar with the needs of Manchester and Newcastle-on-Tyne". As long as he satisfies the Minister that he is familiar with the needs of these areas, the Minister in all conscience can say, "I have complied with the burden imposed on me by the Statute." The fact that Sir George is unlikely to show up very often in the area in question, apart from attendance at board meetings, will not be a breach of the Minister's obligation.

If, however, these words are deleted, the Minister must appoint somebody having regard to the needs of the area. If the Minister says, "When I appoint Sir George Jones, I have in mind the needs of the area", clearly Sir George Jones's familiarity with the needs of the area is not decisive. If Sir George will spend most of his time going to race meetings in the South-East of England and in attending zealously committee meetings of local Conservative Associations and in other similar relaxations in the South-East, this appointment will be no consolation to the unemployed in Newcastle-upon-Tyne or in Cheetham or in the North East generally who will know that Sir George, this notional character, is familiar with their needs but does not intend to do much about them.

We are saying that we want the Minister, in appointing these men, to say, "I appoint Sir George Jones because I, the Minister, have regard to the needs of these areas". He could not say that in the notional case I have advanced today. I do not understand why the hon. Gentleman persists in delaying the work of the House by obdurately refusing to accept this sensible Amendment to which there can be no conceivable objection.

Mr. Kaufman

May I, in my inexperience of these matters compared with that of my right hon. Friend the Member for Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever), try to warn him of the sort of reply we shall be given by the hon. Gentleman? I am pretty sure the Minister will say that what my right hon. Friend is saying is so preeminently sensible that there-is no need to have it in the Bill, that what my right hon. Friend is saying is so inarguably correct that it would be absurd to have it in the Bill.

Mr. Lever

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. I am afraid that that was the type of argument frequently advanced in Committee.

Mr. Emery

The right hon. Gentleman was never there.

Mr. Lever

The Minister says that I was never there. He forgets that for part of the time I led for the Opposition; and, though I was not able to be present physically all the time thereafter, I was spiritually present. My hon. Friends know that I was very much on their side and I followed closely and with great interest the records of the debates.

We expect the Minister to help us by getting a move on with the Bill. He will know that I have been in charge of similar Bills and, unfortunately, I was faced by a fractious party-political type of argument instead of by the constructive, reasoned, moderate Amendment which we have been trying to persuade the hon. Gentleman to accept. Had I been in charge of the Bill, I would have readily accepted the Amendment. I mean that. It is harmless by any standards. It throws a responsibility on the Minister, which he should welcome. We should not have the fudgily designed drafting which appears in the Clause.

3.15 p.m.

I wish to make a few final comments to give the Minister time to reflect before he charges on with his departmental brief. I know that it is tempting to do that, but this is his last chance to earn himself a positive score. It is not enough for my hon. Friends to say that the hon. Gentleman is affable. Affability without any substance or substantive effort will not get him far. I hope that he will show flexibility and the ability to ignore the watchful officials sitting in the box hoping that he will stand firm for the sake of standing firm. He will meet admittedly belated and dissimulated admiration from the officials briefing him if he stands up like a man and says, "I cannot see one good reason why this Amendment, which is sensible, should not be accepted merely because it has been put forward by the Opposition or merely because the parliamentary draftsmen did not think of it first". The hon. Gentleman should earn himself a credit mark by showing responsibility.

Let me tell the hon. Gentleman why he should do that. His predecessor said, in effect, in the quotation which has been read out and which we heard over and over again in Committee, "The Bill looks like a piece of democratic centralism"—as the phrase used to be in another part of the world—"centralising the gas industry. That impression is misleading. Nothing is further from our thoughts. We are abolishing the area boards—all those separate pools of democratic decentralised decision-making constituted by the area boards. There is nothing centralising about the Bill. On the contrary, we are showing tremendous respect for local and regional feelings".

I should have thought that if the Under-Secretary wanted the public and those who work in the industry to take seriously the view which his predecessor adopted and which presumably he adopts that the Government are not centralising the industry but are keeping it within a democratic and decentralised framework where the regional boards, although not in name, retain the concept of regional decision-making, let him show an earnest by responding to the arguments of my hon. Friends who wish, not any harm to the Minister or to the industry, but to retain some of the local feeling of decision and some of the sense of local responsibility which was shown by area boards.

If he does that, the Under-Secretary will gain, because by now he is familiar enough with the industry to know what a tremendous advantage it has been to the gas industry that, by retaining the structure of decentralised decision-making, it was able to retain a higher level of management in the areas than otherwise would have been the case. The hon. Gentleman will be well rewarded if he heeds the general pressure of my hon. Friends and gives weight to the question of local feeling and needs. One of the rewards will be that he will maintain the remarkably high standard among public servants in the area boards. I can tell him that from personal experience.

I am not perhaps as prejudiced a nationaliser as some of my hon. Friends who have a strong bias in favour of nationalisation. But my experience in the Department was that the area board chairmen and deputy chairmen and their leading staff would have been a credit to any industry, private or public, in terms of enterprise and initiative. It was reassuring to meet so many of these local pools of decision-makers—the chairmen, deputy chairmen and senior members.

I beg the Minister to heed the words of my hon. Friends. By doing so, he can come to no harm. I ask him to delete these fudgy words about "desirability" and "familiarity". He must see the logic of my argument. We do not care whether the persons appointed are familiar with our problems. Familiarity with our problems is not what is wanted. We want the Minister to have regard to our problems when making appointments, and that is a different matter.

I am not saying that there is no substance in the Minister's argument that he will achieve our purpose with the present wording. Unless he wants to show haughty, ministerial arrogance and indifference to our wishes, he should accede to our request. We want to get a move on with the Bill and to remove this obstacle to going on to discuss the interesting points of substance which await us. We wish to get on as quickly as possible, although it seems that the Minister's obduracy will not allow us to finish this stage of the Bill today. I express my gratitude to the Minister for his courtesy in giving way to me so that he could have the opportunity of hearing my argument before coming to a final decision.

Mr. Ronald Brown (Shoreditch and Finsbury)

I expected the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mr. Normanton) to be present. Last week in discussing a Private Member's Bill the hon. Gentleman was verbose in arguing the meaning of "familiarity". On that occasion we were dealing with the simple problem of setting up a safety committee to which could be elected someone interested in saving lives. The hon. Gentleman on the first and second Wednesday sittings could not contain himself in explaining how impossible were the words used. I have not given him notice that I should be referring to him because I expected him to be here.

The hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mr. Redmond), a knowledgeable guide on the meaning of "familiarity" and "desirability", tried to push the Committee into refusing to give workers in industry the opportunity of electing one of their number to act as a safety representative, unpaid, to try to prevent accidents and death in industry. The hon. Gentleman would not have this loose terminology which enabled any group of workers to elect a safety representative.

The hon. Member for Carlton (Mr. Holland)—the wicked man of the piece—is not here today, although he was here last Friday. When we had the one chance of getting through a Bill to reduce the accidents and the lives lost in industry the hon. Member for Carlton was in his place to stop it. This great mouthpiece who knew so much about "familiarity" and "desirability" indulged in nitpicking. We heard about the women in his life, and he was grossly rude to his own Minister. He behaved in an abominable fashion, but he is not here today. He succeeded, according to the Tory diktat, in stopping the workers from electing one of their number as a safety representative. He cottoned on to "familiarity" because that was a phrase which had been inserted by my hon. Friends in an attempt to ensure that a person selected by his colleagues to act as safety representative should be "familiar with" the conditions.

To my astonishment I see all this in the Bill, and the hon. Gentlemen are not here—none of them. The hon. Member for Carlton has made a mistake because, having stopped workers in industry being able to help reduce disablement and deaths in their midst, he was quite clearly warned before the end of that afternoon that if he went ahead and blocked the Bill I would be dedicated to stop every Tory Bill going through this House from now on. I was quite clear about that.

When a man does what he did it is outrageous and scandalous and yet here is a Government Bill with exactly the same phrase, saying exactly the same things, and the hon. Gentleman is not here. He ought to resign his seat. He is a disgrace to the House.

I wanted to intervene because I cannot understand why the Minister or the Government are being so obdurate in refusing to accept the Amendment. It says clearly what we mean. Everything is wrapped up in the phrase without the words: the desirability of having members who are familiar with". If as I understand it, hon. Gentlemen want that spelled out, and that is what I understood they did want, they had better spell it out here. It is no good having "desirability". It should be mandatory not desirable. It is specific that any person appointed by the Secretary of State must have a knowledge of the special requirements of the areas. If the Minister is to be obdurate in sticking to this then there must be some sinister motive. We have seen this happening before over appointments, when the Government's friends have been appointed and we have resented it. If these words are left in, there must be more to it than meets the eye.

The only interpretation is that there are certain chaps floating around the area who presumably could not qualify for appointments because they do not understand and appreciate the "special requirements and circumstances" of a particular region or area. The Secretary of State does not have to appoint anyone with special knowledge and an understanding of the special requirements and circumstances of areas. He could claim that under the Clause all he had to bear in mind was that it was desirable. If this Bill means anything, if we are to give the people working in the gas industry the knowledge that we are attempting to provide them with a structure which has men of calibre at the top, men who are, above all else, dedicated to the problems of the industry, we must accept the Amendment. Otherwise it would indicate that there is a real possibility that the Minister, whoever he may be, could well decide to bring in one of his placemen who qualifies only in the sense that he may live somewhere in the area—although even that does not follow. Certainly the possibility is there in terms of the words the desirability of having members who are familiar with".

Mr. Harold Lever

My hon. Friend is being more than generous to the Minister in supposing that there is any kind of hint that the man has to live in the area. Under the Clause he could appoint the President of the United States, assuming he were willing to go there, once the President had satisfied him in conversation that he was familiar with the special requirements of these areas. If we delete these words he could not appoint the President of the United States. He could not pretend that he was having regard to the special requirements and circumstances of the area in appointing, for example, the President of the United States.

Mr. Brown

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. The Minister has a particular feeling for the United States, which is rather significant. My right hon. Friend was looking for virtues in the Minister and one of his virtues is that he knows perhaps more about the United States than he knows about us here. It may be that if, as rumour suggests, the US Ambassador to Britain Mr.Walter Annenberg, is to be withdrawn, the hon. Gentleman is thinking of appointing him to the Gas Corporation. He has a flair, and certainly he has plenty of money.

3.30 p.m.

However I do not attribute such unworthy thoughts to the Minister. But while I accept that he is satisfied that the words the desirability of having members who are familiar with are necessary, and while I have no doubt that he will claim to interpret them correctly, I assume that he will tell us that he would not think of appointing anyone who was not familiar with the special requirements and circumstances of an area. But that is not the purpose of our objection. We cannot understand why the Government persist in having words in a Clause which have no real meaning when so little else is there.

It was my right hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever) who asked why the Bill did not say specifically that people must live in the area or must have lived in the area for a number of years. That is not an unusual requirement. Certainly it is one of the qualities for which one would look when appointing a member in a particular region. For example, one would be hard pushed to justify the appointment of someone from Newcastle as a person competent to judge matters in London. Those of us who have been involved in dealing with social services problems since they were transferred to Newcastle know the difficulties that can arise, first, in understanding what they are saying to us and, second, because they appear not to interpret correctly the problems of our constituents in London.

Under this Bill the Corporation is entitled to have persons serving on it who not only have the knowledge and understanding of the problems, special requirements and circumstances of particular areas. They should be from those areas. Only in that way will it be possible to have people working on the Corporation who know their job.

It will be interesting to hear the Minister's reply, though I fear that I have heard the story before. While we shall listen to him with interest, no argument that he advances is likely to convince us that the meaning of the words that we seek to delete is other than we have suggested. We believe that the words are intended to provide the means for bringing in people who are not fully committed to the special requirements and circumstances of the regions and areas.

I ask the Minister to consider the situation. We feel that the new Gas Corporation is going in the wrong direction. However there are some of my right hon. and hon Friends who would go along with the hon. Gentleman if only he showed a better understanding of the position. If he could assure us that those serving on the Corporation will be dedicated people with an expert knowledge of the regions and areas, we might consider that a grace-saving factor.

This is an extremely modest Amendment. It is not shaking the foundations of the Bill. When I came into the Chamber, I was appalled to discover how little progress had been made. When we dis- cussed the Employed Persons (Safety) Bill, right hon. and hon. Members opposite wanted to change it completely—even its Title. It was a very modest Bill, but that did not stop right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite going on about it hour after hour. This Amendment is nothing like that. It is a very modest Amendment, and I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will have to say that he accepts that it does not defeat the whole object of the Bill and in no way qualifies its provisions. On the contrary, I believe that the hon. Gentleman will have to say that he accepts that persons to be appointed should be familiar with the work in any event and, therefore, that the words "special requirements" supersede the words the desirability of having members who are familiar with… The hon. Gentleman is showing a great deal of reluctance. One would think that he was a possible candidate for Mr. Speaker's job. He could have indicated hours ago that he was willing to accept the spirit of the Amendment. It may be that he does not like the words being deleted and that he wants to be more specific. Maybe he was asking for this sort of thing. All he has to say to the House is, "If hon. Gentlemen will withdraw their Amendment I will look at the matter specifically to find a form of words which will make it patently obvious to everybody that the persons appointed will not just have the desirability of being familiar but will be bound to be familiar or they will not be appointed."

It seems that we are making terribly heavy weather of this matter. I hope that the Minister in the time he has available will come straight to the important points so that we can make progress. Let us get on with the Bill so that we can discuss it in detail. Let the Minister show his good will. My hon. Friends and I showed good will by giving way on five major Amendments—not minor tiddlers like this—on our Employed Persons (Safety) Bill in order to buy a bit of friendship, and still they destroyed the Bill last Friday. The deaths and injuries in factories will in large part be upon their heads from now on.

I urge the Minister to consider and reflect. Let him show a little goodwill on matters like this, that are important. The Amendment provides for perfectly able people to work in the industry, and ensures that those who will get the top jobs will be competent persons and not placemen of any Government. That is all we are asking.

If the hon. Gentleman will show goodwill in that direction, at least we will know in future, when we have our debates, whether on a Friday or late at night, that we are dealing with a Minister who can show goodwill, who is prepared to tolerate discussion and thought—and to understand what hon. Members are saying to him. If he does that with the first major Bill that he is now piloting to its finale, he will go down as a Minister, unlike some of his hon. Friends, with understanding and perspicacity. He will have got the Gas Bill through because he showed something that so few of his hon. Friends have—tolerance and understanding. If he does that, I shall be impressed and I shall help him to get the rest of his Bill through.

3.39 p.m.

Mr. Palmer

It would probably be to the convenience of the House if the Minister were to tell us that he will accept the Amendment, so one must give him sufficient time in which to choose his words. Therefore I will be mercifully short in making my points. My right hon. and hon. Friends have already, with great eloquence and at times with great wit and entertainment, put their points about the need in making these appointments to take fully into account all the regional considerations.

As the hon. Gentleman knows, in making these points they are only reflecting in a different way the arguments which we had in Committee. The Committee took great exception—we still take exception—to the proposal to abolish the area gas boards. Therefore, we are arguing that some little contribution can be made to put right that grave defect in the Bill by making appointments to the new Gas Corporation which reflect regional understanding and needs.

Our Amendment reflects what at one time was traditional Conservative thinking. In the past, when discussing nationalisation, they have said, "We do not like it, but if it has to be, it should be decentralised to the very maximum." The trouble, of course, is that the cen- tralisers have won and the decentralisers have lost.

Under the present structure, the appointment of area board chairmen is automatically the appointment of members of the Gas Council. Under the new system, appointments to the Corporation will not necessarily reflect the regional interests on which the existing legislation insists. The familiar names of these organisations, known to the citizens of this country and reflecting regional interests, will no longer exist. Consumers will have to be content with the purely technical and professional representatives of this mammoth Corporation with its offices, unfortunately, centralised, probably in London.

Many arguments have been used against this change. Even if one ignores the ever useful Mr. Kelf-Cohen—like Shakespeare, he is always quotable—one can turn to the Electrical Review, which might be thought a little biased but which has a strong point here. It has expressed the hope that this system will not be used for electricity supply. One of its reasons for deploring this change in the sister industry was: A loss will be that the Department of Trade and Industry will no longer have official contacts at the 'grass roots' or Board level, and instead of establishing its views on how the industry is being managed and operated from an amalgam of a wide range of opinions it will have to be content with a single industry view… We suggest that a little could be done in this way to maintain the local interest.

This new organisation is likely to be too big for effective central management, and it will remove to a great extent local influences on policy and make the work of the consumer councils much more difficult. We suggest that the Amendment goes some way to removing the greatest objection to the legislation's present form—that it over-centralises.

I hope that the Minister will not say that the present words are as good as our Amendment, but if he does, there is no reason why he should not accept it. It certainly strengthens the Clause from the point of view of decentralisation.

3.45 p.m.

Mr. Emery

The Opposition say that they are keen to make rapid progress. We have seen the evidence of this. Up to the time that the hon. Member for Shore-ditch and Finsbury (Mr. Ronald Brown) sat down, we had had just on four hours of debate, in which there had been eight speeches from the Opposition. That can hardly be described as a record of hon. Members honestly attempting to make fast progress. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]

I shall deal very quickly with the Amendment. There are three things that I would say in reply to the hon. Member for Midlothian (Mr. Eadie). I am as keen as he is to ensure that consumers are properly represented. I reject absolutely his assertion that the Bill makes 13 million consumers more helpless than they are now. As an illustration of that, I refer to the appointments to the national and regional councils. I am always ready to see logic when logic is presented, and I say forthrightly in relation to the Opposition Amendments dealing with the national and regional councils that these councils will have their names changed from "consultative" to "consumers". We shall always give way when we are faced with what we believe to be logic and sense.

It is very misleading to refer to the tyranny of centralisation, as has been done in certain speeches, when the whole structure of the gas industry has altered from regional manufacturing centres into an overall, single marketing operation. If one does not realise that about the Bill, one does not realise anything.

The hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Bob Brown) has been in touch with me in an endeavour to obtain greater regional representation. He equates this with the movement of the headquarters. Not only Newcastle but four different regions have urged the decentralisation of the headquarters of the Gas Council. That cannot possibly be considered until the Corporation has been appointed and is operating, and it will then be a matter of judgment for that Corporation.

The hon. Member for Manchester, Ardwick (Mr. Kaufman) suggested that the Bill was slackly drafted. I reject that suggestion. We have gone to great trouble. I wish—and this is not always what I would wish—to defend the draftsman. The Bill is much more readable than most pieces of legislation. That is what the ordinary citizen wants when dealing with legislation, even if lawyers do not.

I turn to the speech of the right hon. Member for Manchester, Cheetham (Mr. Harold Lever). I have no pride of ownership in the relevant phrase. I want a phrase that will reflect what I believe the hon. Member for Midlothian—perhaps more than any other hon. Member who has spoken today—wants to see in the Bill. The first argument for retaining the words are that they are the exact words that have been used previously for the same sort of factor. They follow exactly the wording of Section 1, subsections (3), (5) and (6), of the Transport Act, 1962.

Let me quote a person whom I regard as a major expert, who has said that it was undesirable to use different words where there was no change in function. In a certain Standing Committee, in a column that I could quote, he said: In legislation generally it is right to assume that when words which have been tradionally used are changed there is a change of policy intended; otherwise, why change those words."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee B: 28th March, 1972, c. 643.] Those are very sensible words—and there is one Member now present who will recognise them—the right hon. Member for Cheetham. I absolutely agree with him in this instance; that is why I shall not give way. If we do what is suggested we shall be saying that there is a major alteration, which there is not.

We still want to see regional representation reflected. The advice I am given is that, small as the difference is, the Bill is slightly stronger in giving attention to the regional aspects by using the words have regard to the desirability of having members who are familiar with the special requirements and circumstances of particular regions and areas". Nothing in the argument today has made me believe that we should strengthen the need for people to understand what is happening in the regions by deleting the words the desirability of having members who are familiar with". The question is, does the phrase do anything to strengthen the Bill, and does it make any difference? It does not make any real difference, and therefore I accept immediately what was said by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Cheetham. In other words, I want to illustrate not a change but that which is well understood.

This is not a major point of principle, but just marginally there is greater benefit by sticking to the words in the Bill, and therefore I hope that the hon. Member for Midlothian will seek to withdraw the Amendment.

Mr. Eadie

At least the Minister tried to argue, but his argument was defective. If he had time to examine the Bill he would see that the Secretary of State's authority would not be weakened if he accepted the Amendment. Therefore, we are considering whether the Amendment would strengthen or weaken the Bill.

If the hon. Gentleman had wanted to expedite the progress of the Bill he could

Question accordingly negatived.

It being after Four o'clock, further consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.

Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered upon Monday next.

Motion made, and Question proposed. That this House do now adjourn.—[Mr. Goodhew.]

have done so by accepting the Amendment immediately after I moved it.

The hon. Gentleman will see if he reads my speech that I did not make the assertion about the 13 million people, although I agree with it. I was quoting from a newspaper.

If we are changing a system, the responsibility lies on the Government, the people who propose to enact new legislation, to see whether the consumer's position will be stronger or weaker under it.

We are grateful to know that the Minister will consider Amendments and make concessions from time to time. But we are dissatisfied with his reply, and therefore I recommend my hon. Friends to exercise their traditional democratic function by voting for the Amendment.

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 27, Noes 42.

Division No. 243.] AYES [3.53 p.m.
Barnes, Michael Foot, Michael Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Grimond, Rt. Hn. J Rose, Paul B.
Booth, Albert Kaufman, Gerald Spearing, Nigel
Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold Stallard, A. W.
Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Meacher, Michael Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove) Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Varley, Eric G.
Dormand, J. D. Molloy, William
Douglas-Mann. Bruce Moyle, Roland TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Eadie, Alex O'Halloran, Michael Mr. J. D. Concannon and
Edelman, Maurice Palmer, Arthur Mr. Tom Pendry.
English Michael
Atkins, Humphrey Iremonger, T. L Skeet, T. H. H
Batsford, Brian Kinsey, J. R. Soref, Harold
Bell, Ronald Knox, David Speed, Keith
Benyon, W. McNair-Wilson, Michael Stanbrook, Ivor
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Mather, Carol Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Meyer, Sir Anthony Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Cordle, John Moate, Roger Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Dykes, Hugh Money, Ernle Weatherill, Bernard
Emery, Peter Normanton, Tom Wilkinson, John
Eyre, Reginald Pink, R. Bonner Winterton, Nicholas
Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead) Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Worstey, Marcus
Fowler, Norman Reed, Laurance (Bolton E.)
Green, Alan Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Gummer, J. Selwyn Rost, Peter Mr. Victor Goodhew and
Havers, Michael Russell, Sir Ronald Mr. Oscar Murton.
Hunt, John
Back to