|Report and Third Reading|
|2.— (1) The Proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading of the Bill shall be completed in three allotted days and shall be brought to a conclusion at Eleven o'clock on the last of those days; and for the purposes of Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) this Order shall be taken to allot to the Proceedings on Consideration such part of those days as the Resolution of the Business Committee may determine.|
|(2) The Business Committee shall report to the House their resolutions as to the Proceedings on Consideration of the Bill, and as to the allocation of time between those Proceedings and Proceedings on Third Reading, not later than the fourth day on which the House sits after the day on which the Chairman of the Standing Committee reports the Bill to the House.|
|(3) The resolutions in any report made under Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) may be varied by a further report so made, whether or not within the time specified in sub-paragraph (2) of this paragraph, and whether or not the resolutions have been agreed to by the House.|
|Procedure in Standing Committee|
|3.— (1) At a Sitting of the Standing Committee at which any Proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion under a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee the Chairman shall not adjourn the Committee under any Order relating to the sittings of the Committee until the Proceedings have been brought to a conclusion.|
|(2) No Motion shall be made in the Standing Committee relating to the sitting of the Committee except by a Member of the Government, and the Chairman shall permit a brief explanatory statement from the Member who makes, and from a Member who opposes the Motion, and shall then put the Question thereon.|
|4. No Motion shall be made to postpone any Clause, Schedule, new Clause or new Schedule, but the resolutions of the Business Sub-Committee may include alterations in the order in which Clauses, Schedules, new Clauses and new Schedules are to be taken in the Standing Committee.|
|Conclusion of Proceedings in Committee|
|5. On the conclusion of the Proceedings in any Committee on the Bill the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.|
|6. No dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, Proceedings on the Bill shall be made in the Standing Committee or on an allotted day except by a Member of the Government, and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.|
|Extra time on allotted days|
|7.—(1) On an allotted day paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the Proceedings on the Bill for one hour after Ten o'clock.|
|(2) Any period during which Proceedings on the Bill may be proceeded with after Ten o'clock under paragraph (7) of Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) shall be in addition to the period under this paragraph.|
|Standing Order No. 13|
|8. Standing Order No. 13 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of select committees at commencement of public business) shall not apply on an allotted day.|
|9. Any private business which has been set down for consideration at Seven o'clock on an allotted day shall, instead of being considered as provided by the Standing Orders, be considered at the conclusion of the Proceedings on the Bill on that day, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted Business) shall apply to the private business for a period of three hours from the conclusion of the Proceedings on the Bill or, if those Proceedings are concluded before Ten o'clock, for a period equal to the time elapsing between Seven o'clock and the completion of those Proceedings.|
|Conclusion of Proceedings|
|10.—(1) For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any Proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee or the Business Sub-Committee and which have not previously been brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall forthwith proceed to put the following Questions (but no others), that is to say—|
|(a) the Question or Questions already proposed from the Chair, or necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed (including, in the case of a new Clause or new Schedule which has been read a second time, the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill);|
|(b) the Question on any amendment or Motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of any Member, if that amendment or Motion is moved by a Member of the Government;|
|(c) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded;|
|and on a Motion so moved for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.|
|(2) Proceedings under sub-paragraph (1) of this paragraph shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.|
|(3) If, at Seven o'clock on an allotted day, any Proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion at or before that time have not been concluded, any Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) which, apart from this Order, would stand over to that time shall stand over until those Proceedings have been concluded.|
|(4) If, on an allotted day, a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 stands over to Seven o'clock on an allotted day, or to any later time under sub-paragraph (3) above, the bringing to a conclusion of any Proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion on that day at any hour falling after the beginning of the Proceedings on that Motion shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the Proceedings on that Motion.|
|11.—(1) The Proceedings on any Motion moved in the House by a Member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order (including anything which might have been the subject of a report of the Business Committee or Business Sub-Committee) shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced, and the last foregoing paragraph shall apply as if the Proceedings were Proceedings on the Bill on an allotted day.|
|(2) If any Motion moved by a Member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order is under consideration at Seven o'clock on a day on which any private business has been set down for consideration at Seven o'clock, the private business shall stand over and be considered when the Proceedings on the Motion have been concluded, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted Business) shall apply to the private business so standing over for a period equal to the time for which it so stands over.|
|(3) If on an allotted day on which any Proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before that time, no notice shall be required of a Motion moved at the next sitting by a Member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.|
|12. Nothing in this Order or in a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee or the Business Committee shall—|
|(a) prevent any Proceedings to which the Order or Resolution applies from being taken or completed earlier than is required by the Order or Resolution, or|
|(b) prevent any business (whether on the Bill or not) from being proceeded with on any day after the completion of all such Proceedings on the Bill as are to be taken on that day.|
|13.—(1) References in this Order to Proceedings on Consideration or Proceedings on Third Reading include references to Proceedings, at those stages respectively, for, on or in consequence of re-committal.|
|(2) On an allotted day no debate shall be permitted on any Motion to re-commit the Bill (whether as a whole or otherwise), and Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to dispose of the Motion, including the Question on any amendment moved to the Question.|
|14. In this Order—|
|"allotted day" means any day (other than a Friday) on which the Bill is put down as the first Government Order of the Day;|
|"the Bill" means the Housing Finance Bill;|
|"Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee" means a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee as agreed to by the Standing Committee;|
|"Resolution of the Business Committee" means a Resolution of the Business Committee as agreed to by the House.|
§ Mr. Speaker
I have not selected the Amendment in line 4, leave out from 'on' to end of line and insert:the day when all remaining Clauses, Schedules and new Clauses, and Amendments thereto, have been adequately considered by the Committeein the name of the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland), but I have selected that in line 7, leave out "three" and insert "six".
§ Mr. Whitelaw
Over the years, all Governments have used timetable Motions and all Oppositions have, naturally, objected to them. There are, therefore, abundant quotations which each Leader of the House can use against his predecessors in the opposite party. The new procedure for shorter debates on timetable Motions, unanimously proposed by the Select Committee on Procedure and recently adopted by the House, gives us an opportunity in this debate to put an end to this rather fruitless exchange. The question before us is not whether timetable Motions in general are justified, because it is accepted on both sides of the House that in certain circumstances they are, but rather whether this particular timetable Motion is justified in the case of this particular Bill.
My experience, both in Government and in opposition, has taught me that every effort should be made whenever possible to reach voluntary agreements on the time necessary for the full, constructive discussion of any major Bill. In the majority of cases, such arrangements are made, and I welcome them. But there remain a few highly controversial Bills about which the Opposition of the day decide that, for policy reasons, they cannot accept any proposals, however reasonable. I do not complain of this. Indeed, I was obviously a party to such decisions in the last Parliament. But I say that when such a position on the part of the Opposition becomes clear, the Government have no alternative but to introduce a timetable Motion.
§ The facts of the discussion of this Bill speak for themselves. The Bill has received some 200 hours' discussion in no fewer than 45 sittings of the Standing Committee. In total some 119 hours have been spent on Parts V and VI alone. No Bill since the war to which a timetable Motion has been applied in Committee has received so much time before the Government felt it necessary to move a timetable Motion. This alone demonstrates the Government's forbearance.
§ By contrast, under the last Labour Government the Transport Bill of the Session 1967–68, in many ways a comparable precedent, was guillotined after 20 sittings of the Standing Committee, only 70 hours. The Ports Bill in the session 1969–70 was guillotined after 24 sittings, a total of 82 hours.
§ Furthermore, in respect of the Housing Finance Bill the Government made an offer of a voluntary timetable for the remainder of the Committee stage which in my experience was highly generous. We offered the Opposition a closing date for the Committee stage which was several weeks ahead. During this time, we offered them any arrangement of the debates which they would have chosen. They could have chosen how many days a week they wished to debate the Bill and at what times, so that by any standards there would be ample opportunity to discuss the 30 remaining Clauses, many of which are of comparatively minor importance, and the remaining Schedules to the Bill.
§ This offer was turned down and in turning it down the Opposition clearly showed that they were not interested in any realistic voluntary arrangement. They have shown this, too, in many of the debates, particularly over the last few weeks of the Committee stage. The figures of almost 12 hours spent in discussions of sittings and dilatory Motions and more than nine hours on points of order also speak for themselves.45
§ I have no doubt, therefore, that this timetable Motion is inevitable. I believe that the timetable proposed provides a fully adequate opportunity for discussion of the remainder of the Bill. It is open to the Business Sub-Committee to allot as many sittings as it chooses for further consideration of the Committee stage between now and 29th March. Thereafter, the allocation of three days for Report and Third Reading compares favourably with the practice for previous Bills of similar length and importance.
§ Mr. Whitelaw
No. I am sorry, but it is a short debate and I do not intend to give way.
It compares well, for example, with the three days allotted for the Bill of the right hon. Lady the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle), the Transport Bill, in the last Parliament, which had 169 Clauses against the 103 Clauses of the present Bill.
The Government, therefore, having been driven to this Motion by the actions of right hon. and hon Members opposite, are maintaining their position by providing, within the timetable, ample opportunity for reasonable debate on the remaining stages of the Bill. I therefore commend this entirely justified and eminently reasonable Motion to the House.
§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland), I think that I should indicate how the debate could be conducted. As I have said, I have selected an Amendment. It would be convenient if the Amendment were to be moved during the course of the closing speech for the Opposition. Meanwhile, any argument about the Amendment or the substantive Motion will be in order. Similarly, when the Minister replies, he will not be limited to the Amendment only.
§ 3.51 p.m.
§ Mr. Anthony Crosland (Grimsby)
The Leader of the House has treated the Motion in the same kind of cavalier and contemptuous fashion that the Minister in charge of the Bill has treated the Committee throughout our discussions. 46 I am grateful to the Leader of the House for one thing, and one thing only: that he did not use an argument very popular with Leaders of the House when they introduce guillotine Motions; that they were justified in doing so by the fact that the Bill concerned played a prominent part in their election manifestos. There were three things in the Tory Party manifesto that bear on the Motion: first, to introduce a fair rents Bill; second, to cut prices at a stroke; and third, to increase the freedom of local authorities. The Bill fulfils one and breaks two of those election pledges. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman was wise not to use that argument to justify the Motion.
I agree with the right hon. Gentleman at once on a number of points he made. I agree that Governments, of course, have the right to introduce timetable Motions. I agree that all Governments exercise that right, although history shows that Conservative Governments exercise it rather more freely and frequently than Labour Governments. I also agree that when a Government exercise that right, there frequently ensues a debate in the House which is ritual in character and which often displays synthetic indignation, and consists of tit-for-tat quotations about what people said when they were sitting on the other side of the House, not to mention elaborate calculations of column inches of HANSARD taken up by speakers, and so on. I have taken even less trouble than has the right hon. Gentleman to look up all those often tiresome precedents and, therefore, I have no damaging quotations and no elaborate mathematical calculations. I deal with one question only, which is, given that the Government must select which Bills they guillotine, are they right to decide to guillotine this particular Bill at this particular moment? I would answer that they are not.
I start by saying that the nature and the intrinsic importance of the Bill are such as to demand, and to demand imperatively, a full, free and unfettered discussion of the Bill in Committee. After all, let us consider what the Bill does. I am not arguing about its merits but speaking factually about what the Bill does. First, it enforces an unprecedently large increase in rents on 5½ million council tenants, a doubling by 1976—nothing that the Minister has said has dented or 47 destroyed our calculations to that effect—and an increase of about 15 per cent. to 25 per cent. per year in the period immediately ahead, an increase wholly out of line with the 5 per cent. price increase target agreed by the Government and the T.U.C., and an increase which is an absolute guarantee that the price stability we all want and which the Government have long since promised us will not occur and that price inflation will continue unabated.
Second, because of this exorbitantly high level of rents, an unprecedently large number of tenants, indeed, some millions of families, will have to submit to a household means test to obtain rent rebates. In other words, they will be unable to stand on their own two feet and will have to apply for what they, at least, rightly or wrongly, consider to be charity. So we have here, for the first time in our social history, means testing on a positively massive scale. It is extraordinary that the Prime Minister, who clearly does not understand the purposes of the Bill, makes constant speeches taking pride in the huge numbers of people who will be subjected to this means test. We, on the contrary, think it quite wrong to set rents at a level so high that so many millions of people will have to apply for rebates.
§ Mr. Crosland
I acknowledge my hon. Friend's unvarying perspicacity.
Third, the Bill introduces an entirely new principle, that over much of the country the cost of rebates and the cost of the private rent allowance will fall not on the Government or on public funds but on council tenants. In other words, the Bill abandons a principle accepted by all parties, at any rate since the First World War—and, so far as I know, in every other civilised country in the world—that the relief of poverty and the maintenance of incomes is a national responsibility. Instead, a large part of the burden is now to be placed on my council tenants in Grimsby and those of many hon. Members on both sides of the House. It is they and not the State who will now bear a large part of the cost of paying rebates and allowances for their poorer neighbours. That alone 48 would make the Bill a revolutionary Measure, and this new principle is bitterly objected to by the whole of the local authority world.
As if that is not enough, the Bill introduces another new principle, that council housing over much of the country should become a profit-making activity and that the profit should be taxed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the rate of 50 per cent. So we have two concepts that are entirely new in the history of public sector housing: a concept of landlord profit and a concept of a new tax which will fall on council tenants but on no one living in the private sector, whether rented or owner occupied.
§ Mr. Frank Allaun (Salford, East) rose—
§ Mr. Crosland
I am concerned about the time. Probably all the members of the Standing Committee will try to speak in the debate, and I am anxious to do nothing to prevent any of my hon. Friends from so doing.
Lastly, the Bill introduces a major constitutional change in the relationship between central government and local government. Despite all the promises in the Tory Party's election manifesto of June, 1970, local government is now to be deprived, under the Bill of all freedom, all power and all independence in the matter of rent policy. And if it jibes, revolts or seeks to protect its tenants, it is then faced with autocratic penalties for which I can find no precedent in any of our domestic legislation. A housing commissioner would be sent from Whitehall with the power to take over an authority's entire housing function.
Poplar in 1922 was thought to have raised issues of the greatest constitutional significance. It will be interesting to see what future constitutional historians have to say about Clauses 93 to 95, Clauses which are now to be so blithely guillotined.
There is no denying that the Bill is a revolutionary Measure. That is not just my opinion or an opinion put forward by the Opposition as part of the normal exchange of party controversy. It is also clearly the opinion of Ministers. I should have thought that the Secretary 49 of State for the Environment might have shown us the courtesy of appearing for the debate—I am sorry, he is in the Chamber. I am glad to see him.—[AN HON. MEMBER: "Twenty minutes late."]—Twenty minutes late, and typically bashful and self-effacing. On Second Reading, the Secretary of State called the Bill the most radical reform of housing this century. The Minister for Housing and Construction said the Bill will be more important to the daily lives of our people than even the great issue of the Common Market. The Secretary of State for the Environment, in an outrageous television political broadcast a few days ago, made no demur when his obsequious interviewer, another Tory Member of Parliament, said:Your Housing Bill has caused more controversy in Parliament than any other Measure for years.I agree with all those statements, and they are echoed throughout the local authority world. Therefore, I hope there is no doubt about the outstanding importance of the Bill and its imperative claim to be fully and constructively discussed.
However, I concede that if no progress is being made on a Bill, if the Opposition are patently obstructing and filibustering, the Government have the right to use the guillotine, however intrinsically important the Bill. So the next question is: Have the Opposition been filibustering on this Bill, or have we made reasonable progress? We all know—and I said this in Committee upstairs—that there are Bills in respect of which the Chairman and the Government are faced with relentless irrelevance and virtually no progress is made week after week. The question is whether that is true of our discussions upstairs.
I said at the first sitting of the Committee:As the Minister knows, we regard the central proposals in the Bill with implacable hostility. Nevertheless, we do not propose to filibuster in any way, because there is far too much in the Bill that we want to get down to opposing, changing and amending. We have no intention of wasting time, because there is much too much in the Bill that we want to discuss."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 25th Nov., 1971; c. 5.]My hon. Friends and I have fully carried out that pledge—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—as anyone who reads the HANSARD reports of our debates must see. 50 The Leader of the House, in a speech which lasted barely five minutes, was able to produce virtually no evidence that we had used the tactics by which Oppositions, if they so choose, can obstruct progress on a Bill. Let me give one or two examples.
The Leader of the House mentioned the question of points of order in the Committee. A number of them were on Motions to adjourn because we were sitting at intolerable hours in the early morning. But, in fact, the Committee has spent less time on points of order in three months than, if I may say without disrespect to you, Mr. Speaker, is normally spent in the Chamber in a fortnight. There have been far fewer points of order in the Committee than is normally the case in the Chamber.
We have made no attempt, unlike the Secretary of State for the Environment during discussions on the Transport Bill, 1968, to obstruct by the common method of proliferating Amendments on the Notice Paper. On the Transport Bill 2,000 Opposition Amendments were tabled. On this Bill the Opposition have tabled barely 500. In addition, we have accepted, with very little debate, almost every sitting Motion which the Government have proposed, except for the monstrous Motion—I do not know how seriously it was intended—that we should sit for five days and have ten sittings in a week, which would have destroyed any possibility of our preparing work on the Bill or carrying out any other public or parliamentary duties.
True, I am happy to say that we have had occasional moments of humour in the Committee in which Members on the Government side have fully participated and which have occurred almost entirely during the middle of the night when the only alternative would have been for us to come to blows. It is true that we have had occasional, not frequent, long speeches, but, in practice, they have not wasted time because the Chairman—and I make no criticism of this, although we have suffered from it—has taken that fact into account in the time he normally allows for debate.
May I say in passing that the Bill needed an exceptionally long cross-examination because the country was given so little information about it before it was published. Before the Transport 51 Bill was published there were no fewer than five explanatory White Papers. An exceptionally flimsy White Paper was published before this Bill, and it has been a constant refrain among local authorities that before we started discussing the Bill they had nothing like the detailed financial and mathematical information which they needed in order to comment on it.
It is an irony that the one publication which has made niggling comment on the Committee's proceedings, presumably briefed by the hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Raison)—and this represents probably his major, almost his sole, contribution to our proceedings in the last three months—namely, New Society, after—
§ Mr. Timothy Raison (Aylesbury)
May I assure the right hon. Gentleman that, although I have read the article to which he refers, I have had no discussion with any member of the New Society staff about housing policy or the Bill?
§ Mr. Crosland
I had hoped that, since the hon. Gentleman has been almost totally silent in Committee, he had at least found someone to talk to. It is ironic that, after making one or two niggling comments, the rest of the editorial consists entirely of certain figures and arithmetic which we dragged out of the Minister with the greatest difficulty on about our thirtieth sitting.
If further proof is needed of what I am saying about the absence of obstruction of the Bill, I point out that in three months, after 45 sittings and nearly 200 hours of debate, the Chairman has accepted the Closure on only 14 occasions, and on only four Clauses out of 70 has he refused debate on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill". The result is—and this was not brought out clearly by the Leader of the House for those who are not members of the Committee—that the Government have obtained 70 Clauses and six Schedules of this profoundly controversial Bill. Even The Times was moved to say in an editorial on this subject on Friday last week, when referring to the proposal to introduce the guillotine:The committee has spent 189 hours getting there52 —that is, to the point at which the guillotine was announced—which is not too long for a Bill of such complexity, originality and political punch. The Opposition has given it a tough going over, and rightly so.Therefore, apart from the intrinsic importance of the Bill, the Government lack the normal, proper and constitutional excuse for introducing the guillotine, namely, that progress on the Bill is virtually at a standstill; it is not. It is clear that at our present rate of progress we could have finished our study of the Bill in a reasonable time without the imposition of the guillotine.
I can find no precedent, certainly in post-war history, for a guillotine being introduced in Committee when no fewer than 70 Clauses have been completed. It is without precedent to introduce the guillotine when so much progress has been made. However, the Government, having failed to strangle the Committee stage by their proposal that the Committee should sit continously for five days a week, thereby making serious work on it impossible, have now resorted to the cruder weapon of the guillotine. Despite the good progress which has been made, to which tribute has more than once been paid by the Minister in charge of the Bill, we are to have a sudden and sharp speeding-up of our debates—from 70 Clauses and six Schedules in 45 sittings to 33 Clauses and five Schedules in about 12 sittings. In other words, instead of a length of time which The Times described asnot too long for a Bill of such complexity.we are to proceed at a pace which clearly gives inadequate time for proper consideration. This enforced speeding up of our discussions is proposed at a time when we still have before us highly complicated Clauses on housing associations on which, despite one concession by the Minister, great anxiety has been expressed in the voluntary housing movement and by many hon. Members opposite.
We still have ahead of us Clauses 93 to 95, with their unprecedentedly autocratic powers which, according to this week's issue of the Municipal Journal,…more than almost anything else one can think of, would sour the relationship between central and local government for many years to come.53 We still have before us Clause 96 and Schedules 7 and 8, which terminate all the existing subsidies.
I suppose that from the Opposition's point of view, there will be a more than proportionate reduction in the time available to us because no doubt we shall have a torrent of oratory from hon. Members opposite who—and this applies even to those who purport to be concerned with housing and social matters generally—have remained disgracefully and cynically silent during discussion of the most important domestic Bill we have had for many years.
Further, the guillotine comes at a time when not only tenants but responsible local authority opinion of all parties, as last week's angry meeting of the A.M.C. clearly showed, are becoming more and not less concerned with the implications of the Bill. I have here a letter from the A.M.C. addressed to my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. David Stoddart), of which I will read one sentence:It is therefore the earnest hope of the Association that, even at this stage in the Bill's progress…—the letter was written only a few days ago—…account will be taken of the views of local authorities upon whose co-operation the success of Government's legislation must depend.This week's Municipal Journal, after reporting last Tuesday's A.M.C. meeting, says:The Government ought to be extremely concerned about these expressions of dissatisfaction with the way the Bill is being taken through Parliament.I am not making this afternoon simply a conventional party and Opposition case. I am quoting also the views at this late stage of an A.M.C. which still—this will not be true after 4th May—to the extent of two-thirds is Conservative controlled. These considerations should have played a much larger part in the Government's thinking.
It is for these reasons that we strongly oppose the timetable Motion and have rejected what the Leader of the House called the generous offer of a voluntary timetable, which was only marginally different from the timetable laid clown in the Motion we are now discussing, and would have made on my calculation 54 a difference of three days at most. It is for these reasons that we have tabled our Amendment to give at least as many days on Report stage of the Bill as on the Local Government Bill, and as many further days in Committee as are needed for an adequate consideration of the remainder of the Bill.
We could have included in our Amendment, as the Secretary of State did on the Transport Bill in 1968 when that was being guillotined, an astronomical figure of additional hours. He asked for 455 additional hours. Rather than be so frivolous we have simply asked for the time needed, at something like the present rate of progress, for proper scrutiny of the remaining Clauses.
Is it impossible under our present parliamentary procedures, given ingenuity and good will, to find the necessary time? I accept that there are always acute timetable difficulties on the Floor of the House, and we all understand that, but we are discussing time in Committee upstairs. Given that we have finished nearly 70 Clauses of the Bill, I cannot see why, with good will, we should not find it possible to have the time needed for proper consideration of the rest of the Bill.
The answer is that time could easily be found, but of course it will not be found, and it will not be found for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with the proceedings of the Standing Committee. It will not be found partly because the Government's entire legislative programme has got into a total mess, and partly because the Government, regardless of whether or not we have a proper discussion on the Bill, have one single overriding aim, which is to get the Bill into law in time to validate the £1 increase in rents in October. That is the basic reason why the Leader of the House, although he could, given good will, find the time, will not agree to do so.
We all know that there are threats of extra-parliamentary action on the Bill. There is talk of defiance and non-implementation. No hon. Member should countenance unconstitutional action, although the Government appear to have anticipated it by inserting Clauses 93 to 95. But if one practises the politics of confrontation as the Government have done, one finds that two can play at confrontation. Having discovered this brutal 55 fact of life, the Government have wisely withdrawn from confrontation and reversed their policy on U.C.S., on miners' pay and on relations with the T.U.C. I end by urging the Government as strongly as I can, before it is finally too late, to show the same last-minute wisdom here and to withdraw the Bill altogether. If they stubbornly insist on going ahead, I urge them at least not to show a blatant disregard for tenants' rights and feelings by imposing this wholly unjustified guillotine.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Spencer Le Marchant (The High Peak)
The Bill is probably one of the best pieces of legislation on housing that there has been for a long time, according to Father Byrne, of Shelter. It is a major step forward. We on this side of the House accuse the Opposition members of the Committee of shift—not of shift such as we have seen on Europe, but of a shift of practice, evasion, rotation, the substitution of one thing for another.
The right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) has quoted some things which he has said, but he also said at the first sitting of the Committee that he would give no reasonable excuse for a guillotine. After making that remark, how could he, after Amendment No. 261 had been debated for seven hours and the Closure had been moved refer to:That disgraceful pseudo-guillotine Motion."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E 8th February, 1972; c. 1497.]The hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson) having spent the night away, came into the Committee on the morning of Wednesday, 8th March, and spoke to us for 1¼ hours. Since then he has continually been telling us of his ability to speak at length, and has shown that he can do so.
The hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) at the second sitting, described the Bill as altogether vicious, but said at the sixth sitting:…if there is sufficient pressure…the Government will find some way of bowing to it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee F, 9th December, 1971; c. 271.]How wrong he was. He also said that he would stop the Measure becoming law and that there were stirring times ahead.
The hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mrs. Doris Fisher) made frequent 56 and long contributions, although at the first sitting she said:We do not want to stretch out proceedings of the Bill."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee F, 25th November, 1971; c. 36.]The hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser) accused the Minister of "pressing his luck too far"; yet at the first sitting he asked that there should be no question of a guillotine and wanted over 300 hours' discussion. Yet there he was, pressing the Minister to stop.
The hon. Member for Rother Valley (Mr. Hardy) described the White Paper as ridiculous and at the first sitting said that he would kill the Bill, and spoke of the obnoxious policy of the Bill. When we discussed the sittings motion he said that he was capable of speaking at length and ad nauseam, but he understated his abilities: he has spoken often and at length and ad nauseam.
§ Mr. Peter Hardy (Rother Valley)
The hon. Gentleman referred to me, and I thought he was about to quote the limerick which we composed in his honour, which reads as follows:There was a young man from High PeakWho sat in Committee all weekHe heard what was saidAs if he were deadBut nothing could drive him to speak.
§ Mr. Le Marchant
I have heard that before, but I am glad I gave way to give the hon. Gentleman the opportunity of repeating about the most amusing contribution we had in the Committee proceedings.
I come to the hon. Member for Gates-head, West (Mr. Horam), who said at the first sitting that there would be no filibuster. He promised an honest, sensitive and understanding perusal of the Bill. Those of us who heard him will hardly agree with that.
Then we come to the hon. Member for Paddington, North (Mr. Latham), who during the night and early morning of 28th–29th February spoke for over three hours, but showed so little interest in the Bill that at the end of his speech he went for the rest of the sitting. That is how the Opposition work—by rotation. They are not interested in the Bill. They are interested in making their speeches, and then they go away and return a day or two later.
The hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. McBride) at the third sitting spoke 57 of a doctrinaire, ruthless Bill and said that ours was the most reactionary Government for 150 years. He said that the present Government were putting up rents to satisfy beliefs. This morning he said he hoped councils would not obey the Bill and will not put its provisions into effect after it becomes law. That is a most serious suggestion to make.
Then I turn to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Aston (Mr. Julius Silverman), who said that this was the worst housing Bill produced in this country. The hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. David Stoddart) called it an ill-conceived Measure which ought to be dropped. All these examples show that Opposition members did not want to discuss the Bill in Committee. They did not want to do anything other than deliberately filibuster. We know that the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Eddie Griffiths) joined the Committee to do everything he possibly could to obstruct. He has told us that he will continue to do everything possible to frustrate the Bill. He is only interested in destroying its provisions.
Mr. Le Merchant
The hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) is probably worse than other hon. Members because he goes outside the House and deliberately incites people to disobey what will become law. He was doing so only yesterday morning in his constituency, not only making this point, but also boasting that he had been responsible for helping to find the information which had been put forward by the hon. Member for Salford, East.
§ Mr. Peter Rost (Derbyshire, South-East)
While my hon. Friend is dealing with the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), will he not confirm that that hon. Member goes into other people's constituencies, particularly into mine, stirring up trouble with vicious falsehoods about the Bill and without having the courtesy even to advise the hon. Member in whose constituency he is speaking?
§ Mr. Le Marchant
That is absolutely correct. I hope I have given enough examples to show the House that the Opposition have no intention of discussing the Bill.
§ Mr. Le Marchant
No, I will not give way.
I was saying that the Opposition have no intention of discussing the Bill. It is an excellent Bill which I commend to the House. A widow in the constituency of Bolsover was recently complaining to me that she, who lived in her own bungalow, was having to subsidise those richer than herself who lived in a council estate at Hindes Green. She said to me "Get this Bill made law." I say to the House that the sooner the Bill is law the better.
§ 4.26 p.m.
§ Mr. Dick Leonard (Romford)
Following the eloquent speech of the hon. Member for The High Peak (Mr. Le Marchant), the House will not be surprised to learn that in Standing Committee we have heard a great deal about the views of a considerable number of local authorities and of their tenants in The High Peak constituency, but what its hon. Member did not tell the House is that all that information was given to the Committee by my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) because the hon. Member for The High Peak could not be bothered to represent his constituents' views in that Committee.
If the Government are in difficulty over the Bill, as indeed they are, this is entirely their own fault. The source of difficulty goes back to the decision by the Secretary of State for the Environment not to serve on the Committee on his own Bill or, for that matter, on the Committee on the Local Government Bill. The House may think this an extraordinary decision.
We have heard a good deal about absentee Tory landlords. In fact, the Minister for Housing and Construction confessed to the Committee that he is the absentee landlord of some properties in Southwark. However the right hon. Member for Worcester (Mr. Peter Walker) will go down in history as the first absentee Secretary of State too busy to serve on his own Committee, too busy this afternoon to listen to the speech of his right hon. Friend who introduced the guillotine Motion.
As soon as I learned that the Secretary of State was not to serve on the Committee on the Housing Finance Bill, I was consumed with curiosity to discover what 59 manner of man it was who was to head our deliberations. I went straight to the Library and took out a volume written by a former Member of this House. I opened it at an interesting section entitled "The Character of Julian" and there found some most encouraging remarks:The throne of Julian…was the seat of reason, of virtue, and perhaps of vanity. He despised the honours, renounced the pleasures, and discharged with incessant diligence the duties of his exalted station…".Promising stuff! The author goes on:One of his most intimate friends, who had often shared the frugal simplicity of his table, has remarked that his light and sparing diet left his mind and body always free and active for the various and important business of an author, a pontiff, a magistrate, a general, and a prince…He listened to the memorials which had been received, considered the subject of the petitions, and signified his intentions more rapidly than could be taken in shorthand…He possessed such flexibility of thought and such firmness of attention, that he could…pursue at once three separate trains of ideas without hesitations, and without error.I regret to report that, in the event, the right hon. Gentleman the Minister did not live up to this advance billing. I will cite an example. Edward Gibbon in that passage said that Julian hadlistened to the memorials which had been received considered the subject of the petitions…But this Julian refused to do so. He shut his ears to any representations from those who will be most deeply affected by the Bill, and this means the 5½million council tenants and their families and representatives. In fact the Minister, whom I welcome back to the Chamber, developed a positive mania for non-consultation. He refused to conusult tenants; he refused to consult individual local authorities including my own local authority, the London Borough of Have ring, which asked him to receive deputations to consider the Bill. He even refused to consult his own Chief Whip and Leader of the House, when he descended on the Committee with a ludicrous Sittings Motion at 4.30 in the morning which proposed that we should meet virtually uninterrupted from early Monday morning to late Friday night.
§ Mr. Frank Allaun
I hope my hon. Friend will remind the House that, although 60 the Minister is refusing to meet deputations, he is meeting the Press. Yesterday he is reported as saying in a special interview that local authorities will be making a profit out of council houses for the first time and that this will mean that they will have greater freedom in building and design. He can meet the News of the World, but he cannot meet councillors and tenants' associations accompanied by their Members of Parliament.
§ Mr. Leonard
That is a very apt comment on the conduct of the Minister.
This non-consultation was not only an affront and an insult to people who have every legitimate right to expect to be consulted; it contributed directly to the length of debates on many of the Clauses. As tenants had no opportunity to present their case directly to the Minister, they had to fall back upon Labour Members serving on the Committee to put their case for them. I know that many of my hon. Friends are grateful to organisations such as the Association of London Housing Estates, which gave us a number of Amendments to be moved from our side of the Committee and supplied material in support of those Amendments. But having to put these points in Committee, which the Minister should have listened to beforehand, inevitably slowed up the proceedings.
I give one example. As hon. Members know, the purpose of Clause 57 is to enable representatives of local scrutiny boards to inspect dwellings "at all reasonable times". They are required to given tenants only seven days' notice of their intention to inspect dwellings, while tenants are liable to fines of up to £50 if they refuse to allow inspections to take place. Clause 57 was so badly drafted that it was criticised from all sides of the Committee. One Conservative Member, the hon. Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Mr. Bowden) described it as a "bludgeon", and another the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Idris Owen) said that it was "a sledgehammer to crack a nut". The result is that the Clause is having to be completely re-examined in the Department before Report. The Minister has undertaken that the length of notice given to a tenant, his right to object if a visit will be inconvenient and the size of the fine will all be looked at again before Report.
61 There are other reasons why the Government have got themselves into timetable difficulties. My right hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) has outlined them with great force and precision. But in my view the refusal by Ministers to engage in the normal processes of consultation is at the root of the predicament in which they now find themselves.
The solution to this predicament is apparent. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite must now swallow their pride and listen—listen to those whose counsel they refused to take at an earlier stage. The advice which they will get is crystal clear. They will be told that this is a harsh, oppressive and unjust Measure which should be dropped or at least put into cold storage.
If the Government want to help solve the housing problem, if they want to help solve the problem of inflation, if they want to build up a relationship of trust with millions of tenants throughout the country, this is what they should do. It is intolerable that they are seeking today not to do this but to put a gag on proper parliamentary discussion of this bad, bad Bill.
§ 4.34 p.m.
§ Mrs. Sally Oppenheim (Gloucester)
I am grateful to have this opportunity to intervene briefly in support of the Government's timetable Motion with regard to the remaining stages of the Housing Finance Bill—
§ Mrs. Oppenheim
To those of us who are also members of the Standing Committee which is considering this Bill—
§ Mrs. Oppenheim
— inevitably there is an air of déjà vu about this debate, not only with regard to the faces of hon. Members opposite who also serve on the Standing Committee and who have, after 200 hours of debate, acquired a certain familiarity, but also with regard to their arguments which have recurred with monotonous regularity during the seemingly endless succession of days and nights that we have spent discussing the 62 Bill. The only change would appear to be the venue.
We on this side of the House accept entirely that an important and fundamental piece of legislation as this Bill should be the subject of lengthy and detailed debate in Committee. We have spent some 200 hours already in Committee in what I understand is an unprecedented number and length of weekly sittings. If all this time had been used constructively and usefully, it would have been time well spent. But that has not always been the case.
It is true that we on this side have moved Amendments and intervened briefly. But we have denied ourselves the luxury of speaking at length simply in order to give right hon. and hon. Members opposite as much opportunity as possible to advance their arguments.
At the same time, my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State has been the subject of congratulations from right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite for his courteous and informative replies, which have never been prolonged unduly. Therefore, I think that we should consider exactly how much time has been spent on constructive debate and how much has not.
As my right hon. Friend said earlier, some nine hours have been spent on points of order and some 12 hours on sittings and adjournment Motions. But as a result of some very careful research that is fully documented and can be laid before the House if necessary, I have some figures which I believe are a devastating indictment of the use of Committee time by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. Since 1st February the Committee has sat for some 136 hours, during which time on no fewer than 344 occasions hon. Members opposite have been ruled out of order because of the irrelevancy of their remarks to the Amendment or Clause being debated. On a further 84 occasions they have raised points of order which have been ruled out of order. In addition, they have been responsible for another 52 miscellaneous and residual infringements of order, bringing the grand total to 480—[Interruption.] I can assure the lion. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Mrs. Doris Fletcher) who is attempting to 63 intervene from a sealed position and is herself out of order—
§ Mrs. Doris Fisher (Birmingham, Ladywood) rose—
§ Mr. Eddie Griffiths (Sheffield, Brightside) rose—
§ Mr. Eddie Griffiths
On a point of order. It is obvious that the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mrs. Sally Oppenheim) has devoted a great deal of time and energy to her research. Having produced all these facts, would not it be in order for her to make some attempt to restore the balance and give a fair picture by making the point that, if the contributions from hon. Members opposite serving on the Standing Committee had been added together, the Committee stage of the Bill would have finished on the first day?
§ Mrs. Oppenheim
The hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Eddie Griffiths) himself has been responsible for a considerable number of points of order, the majority of them concerned with his stomach and the provision of hot meals during the night.
On a very conservative estimate, this total of 480 infringements of order has resulted in the Committee spending some 32 hours out of order. I base that calculation on a very generous estimate of two minutes for each irrelevancy or bogus point of order and two minutes for each ruling. My calculations take no account of long filibustering speches which may not have been out of order but which certainly were prolonged unduly.
I thought that it was very unworthy of the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) to compare the number of points of order in a Committee on which 38 hon. Members serve with the number of points of order on the Floor of the House where there are 630 Members.
These tactics, about which some hon. Members opposite have been privately boasting to each other, have devastated and made a travesty of the Committee's proceedings. As a result, they cannot 64 argue with any credibility that they have used all the time available to them for serious discussion. Indeed, with one or two notable exceptions—I certainly mention here the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser), who has made some valuable contributions in Committee—it was never their intention to do other than delay and obstruct the Bill.
As my hon. Friend the Member for The High Peak (Mr. Le Marchant) said, some very revealing remarks were made by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside. On 6th March, 1972, at columns 3349, 3351 and 3352, the hon. Gentleman is clearly on record as saying:However often we sit, however long, however many days we put in, it will not bring the finality of our Committee stage any nearer.In answer to an intervention by my hon. Friend the Member for The High Peak, the hon. Gentleman said:I joined the Committee to do everything I possibly could to obstruct it. I shall continue to do so.The hon. Gentleman went on:The Minister will not get the Bill in a reasonable time. He will have to fight far longer than he ever dreamed of fighting for the Committee stage.Most revealingly, the hon. Gentleman concluded:If the Minister wants this Bill he will have to exploit every avenue of Parliamentary procedure available to him."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 6th March, 1972; c. 3349–52.]That demonstrates their clear intention Therefore, the Government have every right to take steps to defend their legislation against such tactics. It is sheer hypocrisy for right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to vote against the Motion tonight, a Motion for which, by their tactics, they have begged, beseeched and implored.
§ 4.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Latham (Paddington, North)
First, I should like to congratulate the hon. Members for The High Peak (Mr. Le Marchant) and Gloucester (Mrs. Sally Oppenheim) on having commented on the Bill, even though this is a debate on a guillotine Motion, and, secondly, on being so well briefed about what has happened in Committee, because we have come to regard both as birds of passage. They flitted in and out of the Committee so often that I began to wonder whether they were collectively suffering from some 65 kind of overdose in consequence of the revelry and champaigne in Committee Room 7.
With respect to the hon. Member for The High Peak, who has now returned—one gathers that "Peak" should be spelt "pique"—the fact that he opened the debate from the back bench suggests, and his performance confirmed, that the Government do not take the matter seriously. Even though we may have been in a mood of flippancy for the last 20 minutes or so, I now want to come back to an extremely serious matter.
From outside the House I have always worried about the guillotine procedure. Whichever Government use the guillotine device, they are using a very unpleasant instrument. I have grave doubts about the circumstances in which it can be justified. I was in Parliament for only the last seven months of the previous Administration. However, I do not believe that during that time I was called upon to make what would be a difficult decision—namely, to vote for my own Government's proposal for a guillotine Motion. I give notice to the Chief Whip now and whoever may be Chief Whip in future that I for one would need very strong persuasion indeed if a future Labour Government sought to introduce a guillotine Motion. Certainly if they sought to introduce such a Motion in the circumstances in which we are asked to approve this Motion, I should be unable to go into the Lobby with my own party.
§ Mr. Nicholas Scott (Paddington, South)
We would, clearly, like the Opposition Chief Whip not to misunderstand the representation being made to him. Is the hon. Gentleman making it clear that, in the event of his being present during any future Labour Government, he would not vote for any kind of timetable Motion on any important Bill which had had 200 hours of discussion in Committee?
§ Mr. Latham
I shall come to that point, Perhaps I may say that if that were to happen the hon. Gentleman would have the opportunity of watching from the public gallery.
There are two extremes. At one extreme, it is wrong for the Government to force through legislation without its having had thorough and proper scrutiny At the other extreme, it is to be acknowledged 66 that it is wrong for the Opposition to frustrate and delay the majority view of the House by undue procrastination. Somewhere between those two extremes there is a proper balance to be drawn.
The serious issue to which we should be applying our minds today is whether we have reached the situation where the Government have no alternative but to use the unpleasant device of the guillotine. In support of the contention that it is an extraordinarily unpleasant device, from inquiries which I have made about the way that it will apply I find that the guillotine is aptly described as an axe, because it is likely to be used in consequence of paragraph 10 of the Motion as a very blunt instrument indeed.
I understand that if on a particular Clause five Opposition Amendments had been selected by the Chairman and the time which was considered should be devoted to that Clause and those Amendments was in the region of two hours, which I suggest is the time likely to be available to us on a reasonable arithmetical calculation, and those two hours were spent on discussing thoroughly and properly the first Amendment, with absolute regard to the rules of order and relevancy, the situation would be that there would be a Division on that Amendment, and the remaining four Amendments would fall entirely. They would not be called and subjected to a vote; only Amendments which had been tabled by the Government would be eligible for a vote. That is the extraordinarily blunt way in which the axe can operate, and it illustrates that the opportunities for proper and detailed scrutiny of the remaining Clauses of the Bill will be denied to the Committee in consequence of the Motion.
Great emphasis has been laid on the fact that the Committee has had 45 sittings. It is true that it has taken approaching 4,000 columns in HANSARD and getting on for 200 hours of debate. Why? Is this a simple nine-Clause Bill? No. This is a Bill of 103 Clauses and 11 Schedules of very detailed small print, and it comprises 158 pages. Every Clause has considerable complexities because this is a most extraordinarily comprehensive Measure. It is the first Housing Bill in recorded history—never mind the merits, which we deplore—which has 67 tackled private and public sector housing, housing associations, and virtually every other form of housing of which one can think.
§ Mr. Frank Allaun
My hon. Friend is illustrating the important and unprecedented nature of the Bill. As the Bill affects roughly half the population and makes a serious increase in their weekly expenditure, it should not be brought under the guillotine procedure, but, indeed, should be discussed on the Floor of the House, because not only 37 M.P.s but certainly, as far as I know, almost every hon. Member on this side wants to discuss it.
§ Mr. Latham
My hon. Friend is right. I was coming to the point that the Bill affects 7 million tenants in all, which represents far in excess of 20 million people. That is the magnitude of the Bill. That is its importance in terms of the ordinary working people of this nation.
When one talks about the amount of time spent in Committee, one has to relate that to the magnitude of the Bill, to the complexity of it, and to the fact that it embraces so many sectors of housing. To add to what was said by my hon. Friend, a reasonable calculation shows that, on average, the Bill will take £100 per head per year out of the pockets of ordinary working families. Any Measure that is likely to have that effect warrants the kind of detailed consideration which the Bill has been receiving in Committee.
The Committee upstairs has reached Clause 70. If one relates those 70 Clauses to the 189 hours that have been quoted one realises that that is not an unreasonable amount of time to have spent on scrutinising and examining the Bill. Some Amendments and some Clauses have gone through somewhat more speedily than others, and rather more hastily than some of us would have wished, but that has been done so that we could concentrate on the most vital and at the same time the objectionable parts of the Bill.
Reference has been made—and no doubt will be made again—to the length of speeches in Committee, but it has been made clear by the admirable Chairman 68 of the Committee—whether he is right in this or not is something that I shall leave aside—that the amount of time spent collectively in debating an Amendment or a Clause is something that he takes into account before a Closure is accepted. Generally speaking, it means that if one hon. Member speaks for an hour, or an hour and a half, other hon. Members are denied the opportunity of making a contribution. It therefore cannot be claimed that there has been delay or filibustering. Similarly, there have been occasions when one or two of us have felt that we have been somewhat in deficit and have not been able to make what we thought were pertinent points on Clauses and Amendments which had a direct bearing on the matter under discussion.
If some of those who comment adversely about our conduct as an Opposition in the Committee would stay in the room long enough, or if those who are not members of the Committee would listen to the debates, they would find that the charge made against us is the opposite of the truth. They would find that we show considerable restraint and absolute dedication to relevancy during our discussions.
It may be argued that on two occasions hon. Members burst into song, but those were exceptional occurrences. The first time was when, for about 40 seconds, we celebrated the birthday of my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner). The second was an occasion when, appropriately, we acknowledged Wales on St. David's Day.
§ Mr. Eddie Griffiths
I am glad that my hon. Friend has acknowledged the presence of Wales, because the Government, by the absence of the Secretary of State for Wales and his Minister of State, have ignored and insulted the Principality during the proceedings in Committee.
§ Mr. Latham
I hope that my hon. Friend will not take it amiss if I say that the Principality is well represented on our Committee by a Scotsman.
The Times Dairy on Friday referred to "Limericks as last resort". One can often express in a few short lines of verse what might otherwise take several columns of HANSARD. These matters can sometimes be dealt with extremely economically in Committee. On Friday when I 69 spoke in the constituency of the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Allason) I was able to save a great deal of time by telling the people there:There was an M.P. named James,Who spoke in the House many tames,But when we sat up at nightDiscussing tenants' rights,He might as well have been in the Thames.That could be said of the majority of Government Members on that Committee.
I associate myself with the tribute paid by the hon. Lady the Member for Gloucester to the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, the hon. Member for South end, West (Mr. Channon), whose contributions have been lucid and who has not always spoken with brevity. I have had some research done, and I find that he has far outdone me in terms of time spent on debate, but that is understandable, because he is about the only Member on the Government benches from whom we have had contributions. There can be no criticism of the Under-Secretary on that ground, because he has had to speak for about 20 Government Members serving on that Committee.
One of the things that has struck me as most surprising is that because of the Macmillan-Churchillian axis which has been operating in the Committee upstairs I believed that there would not be a guillotine. From the right hon. Member for Brighton Pavilion (Mr. Amery), who has been egged on by the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill), we have experienced a kind of Churchillian doggedness, inspired particularly by the grandson of Winston, which led us to believe that there would be absolute determination, and complete tenacity and pugnacity, in pressing on to the end. In fact, we had Churchillian oratory from the right hon. Gentleman in the early hours of the morning—or the nearest thing to it that he could reach—dedicating himself, and us, to Queen and country to serve all night in the interests of putting up the rents of 20 million tenants.
What struck me as extraordinary was that despite that Churchillian doggedness it took only a couple of sentences from my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Eddie Griffiths) for them to collapse like a house of cards and introduce the guillotine. I am 70 astonished that after their willingness to sit at all hours they should at this stage in our proceedings have come forward in this rather shamefaced way and abandoned all their previous determination in order to ask that the axe should fall. It is a commentary on the priorities of the Government that with more than 1 million unemployed, with the problems of Northern Ireland, and faced with economic problems of inflation, rising prices, and so on, the one Measure which they single out for priority, the one Measure to which they propose to apply the guillotine, is that which is calculated to clobber council tenants and raise their rents by extremely unfair amounts.
I think that the whole situation can be summed up by saying that this is an indecent Bill which the Government are trying to push through the House with indecent haste.
§ 4.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Norman Tebbit (Epping)
As ever, my intervention will be brief. It will have in it a few quotations. It will not refer at any length to the merits or the demerits of the Bill, because to do so seems to be largely irrelevant to the issue of the Motion before us.
What is relevant is whether the proceedings in Committee are grinding so slowly along as to lead us to the conclusion that the Opposition are indulging in a filibuster which is designed to frustrate the intent of the House, as expressed on the Second Reading of the Bill. The Committee proceedings have occupied 3,700 columns, or whatever it is, of the OFFICIAL REPORT, and we are up to Clause 70. There have been 45 Sittings, some extremely long and wearisome.
I quote the Local Government Chronicle of 10th March which mentions the decision of the Committee to sit on Mondays as well as on Tuesdays and Thursdays:But despite the additional day, Clause 65 was still under consideration on 29th February. Much of the delay has been caused by extremely lengthy and often irrelevant contributions, such as the discussion on interesting uses for the name Julian.There has been a little more of it today. We had a classic illustration of precisely the points which were being made when the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Eddie Griffiths) obligingly gave a demonstration of how 71 to waste time on a bogus point of order. There could have been no more convincing demonstration.
The quotation which I made is the voice of a disinterested observer.
§ Mr. Eddie Griffiths
While the Hon. Gentleman is carrying out his perusal of what has gone on in Committee, will he place on record for how many hours to date he has slept in the Committee and in adjoining rooms during the Committee's proceedings?
§ Mr. Tebbit
Again, one has a fairly typical example. Perhaps we might ask how many hours the hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson) or the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) or any other hon. Member has slept during the proceedings of the Committee. We are only flesh and blood, and it has been pretty sorely tried on many occasions. The view of the interested party of course has been well put already in the quotations from the hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside—determined absolutely to have a guillotine.
We have had some extraordinary proceedings. I regret that the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Leonard) is not here, because one of the most extraordinary was from him. The hon. Member and I have shared a platform on which we both agreed that we wanted to see this country go into Europe, yet he said in Committee that he wanted to be down here, not merely to eat his words but to have them rammed down his throat in a public humiliation by being whipped through that Lobby when he should have been in this one. What an extraordinary position to take.
Not all hon. Members opposite have behaved badly. The right hon. Member for Grimsby is normally to the point and brief. We all take note of this. Tribute has already been paid today to the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser)—
§ Mr. Tebbit
The hon. Member should take his compliments wherever he gets them.
72 I speak for all of us on this side I think when I say that he has always spoken with admirable clarity and without excessive wordiness. Whoever else's speeches I may sleep through, I always wake up for his.
§ Mr. Molloy
The hon. Member says that he listens only to the speeches of my hon. Friend. I assume from that that he may now be talking in his sleep.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I should have resisted the temptation to let the hon. Member intervene—[Interruption.] I did not say that. I said that whoever else's speeches I may sleep through, I will always listen to those of the hon. Member for Norwood.
But when one comes to the rambling, multi-clause—one might even say megaclause—efforts of the hon. Member for Willesden, East or some of his hon. Friends, one can only conclude that the purpose of them is to take up time rather than to illuminate and to persuade. I recommend anyone who is not a member of the Committee, if he doubts my words, to turn to the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Then we have the famous three-and-a-half hour ramble at pedestrian pace through the by-ways of the Bill by the hon. Member for Paddington, North (Mr. Latham). Abraham Lincoln summed up the attitude of many hon. Members opposite when speaking of a colleague of his who was also a lawyer:He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I have ever met.It also reminded me of the words of a friend of mine, who, some years ago—I emphasise that, because things have changed now—said of a day spent in Toronto:I spent a fortnight there one Sunday afternoon.That is what some of the Opposition speeches have felt like.
From time to time, we have had these lovely escapades when suddenly, during the speech, perhaps, of one of the Opposition Front Bench spokesmen, Opposition Members have all run away, playing the good old game "Let's not have a quorum." It is a legitimate parliamentary tactic, but does it accord with the ambition to get on with the Clause-by-Clause sensible discussion of the Bill?
I am in absolute accord with the intent of the Bill. In one area it was defective, and that was in the provisions relating to 73 housing associations. But the Government have brought forward Amendments in that area. So I have willingly given and will continue to give the Floor primarily to Opposition Members who are not satisfied. That is right.
I end with the wisdom of Ecclesiastes, Chapter V, Verses 2 and 3—
§ Mr. Tebbit
At least we can be grateful for one small mercy: that the hon. Member is not.
He will like these words of Ecclesiastes:Be not rash with thy mouth…let they words be few…a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.We cannot end foolishness by edict of this House, but at least we can limit it by passing this Motion.
§ 5.5 p.m.
§ Mr. John Horam (Gateshead, West)
The proposition before us is that, after Standing Committee E, which has become famous in the annals of this Parliament if nothing else, has spent 200 hours examining 70 Clauses out of 103, which have contained the real meat of the Bill, the Government are no longer prepared to abide by the normal parliamentary procedures of scrutiny.
Perhaps the Government feel that the stamina of their own Members is collapsing. It is well known that Labour Members are more resolute and conscientious. Certainly they are more experienced in housing matters. We have noticed that, occasionally, hon. Members opposite have had resort to drink at early hours of the morning to sustain them, while we have made do with the Tearoom cocoa, a much less sustaining beverage.
But we must be charitable. I would not attribute any base motives to the Government. The ostensible reason for this guillotine is that they cannot get the Bill on schedule. They want to get the Bill by July in order to put on the increases in October. But we are still only in March. We have discussed 70 Clauses of the Bill. The Leader of the House said today that what remains is of lesser importance—as indeed it is. I should not have thought that we could fail to complete the Bill by the end of April or early May, even taking into account the 74 full powers of my hon. Friend the Member for Paddington, North (Mr. Latham).
If so, we should have two and a half months, ample time to complete the remaining stages. It is not unprecedented for a Bill which completes its Committee stage in May to receive the Royal Assent by the end of July. The Gas Bill of the 1945 Labour Government did precisely that—and that was a controversial Measure. But the reason why that succeeded and the present Government are failing is that that was the main Bill of that Session. The present Government have many other Bills going through Parliament at this time. That is the real reason for the guillotine—not the progress or lack of it on Standing Committee E but the legislative log jam which they face on all fronts. It is not our fault, although they are trying to pin it on us. Hon. Members opposite who regard themselves as interested in housing should think twice before voting for a Measure of this kind if they want to do justice to our people and to their own sincerity.
The Times, to continue the quotation of my right hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland), thought that the guillotining of the Bill had nothing to do with progress of the Bill but was because of the general trouble the Government are in on all fronts, and I agree. If that is so, I do not think this Bill or this kind of Bill should be guillotined.
The Under-Secretary is fond of saying, as a kind of shorthand to get round a few arguments, that there is a wide gulf between the two sides which he acknowledges. That is so. The Opposition have said repeatedly that the Bill is not about housing. We wish it were. We wish that it did something to produce more houses and to improve existing houses, including council houses. But it does nothing toward that. It is concerned with the distribution of income in this country, the unequal distribution of income and the use of public resources to mitigate that inequality. It bears most on those who can least afford it, with one exception, which I will grant the Government, and that is the introduction of allowances for the private landlord sector. With that exception we believe the whole focus of the Bill will bear hardest on those who can least afford it.
The Government say that they are concentrating help on those who need it 75 most, and this is a familiar argument from a number of hon. Members on the Government side. We argue that this is true in only a limited and superficial way. The major effect is the reduction in general subsidies to the tune of £300 million by the end of the 1970s with consequent increases in rents which will fall most heavily and most directly on those who do not own the houses in which they live, and who are, by and large, at the bottom of the income scale. If there were any doubt about that, it would be more than eliminated by the fact that the Government are doing nothing to change the general subsidy which goes to owner occupiers or even to relate it more closely to those owner occupiers who need it most.
In these circumstances, to highlight the fact that the diminished subsidies will become more closely related to need is to argue in a very disingenuous way. It is wholly to ignore that in order to get that closer correlation with need the Government are to introduce a whole plethora of means tests going beyond all reason or all precedent in any society.
The Government know that we deeply dislike the Bill. Hon. Members opposite have today and in Committee expressed their distaste for and their dislike of our tactics, but they cannot doubt the sincerity which lies behind our approach. If they are honest they will admit that, irrespective of the tactics in which the two sides have perforce to indulge there lies on this side of the House a very deep and sincere belief that the Bill is wholly and completely wrong and that is touches the very core of Labour Party thinking. The first Labour Government ever elected created council housing in its present form with the Wheatley Act, and such legislation touches deep emotional springs in the Labour Movement.
Hon. Members opposite acknowledge that beneath the banter and beneath their attack on the way in which we have conducted affairs there has been far, more wit and humour than could reasonably have been expected through the dismal hours of the night. It is obvious that we greatly dislike the Bill. It is a highly ideological and controversial Bill which many people outside, quite independent of politics, will dislike. It is 76 precisely the kind of Bill that should not be guillotined. I believe that the Government will regret their impatience.
§ 5.15 p.m.
§ Mr. Timothy Raison (Aylesbury)
I will return in a moment to the last and quite serious points which the hon. Member for Gateshead, West (Mr. Horam) has just made about the Bill. So far this afternoon the debate has been characterised by a half holiday atmosphere. The fact that we have been allowed out of Committee Room 11 for the afternoon has probably had a good deal to do with this. We have also heard a repetition of familiar jokes from the Committee Room. I do not know whether hon. Members who are not members of the Committee will understand them but they have become a part of the apparatus of the exercise.
The badinage should not hide the fact that in the last few sittings of the Committee the rate of progress on the Bill has diminished sharply. When hon. Members claim that over a certain period of sittings a certain number of Clauses have been covered, they do not say that the rate of progress has dropped very sharply in recent sittings. I do not doubt that a few days or may be a week or two ago the Opposition deliberately decided to bring about a guillotine. They wanted to be able to say to their council house tenants, "Look at those wicked Tories; they have guillotined discussion on the Bill" and every hon. Member—
§ Mr. Molloy rose—
§ Mr. Raison
I will not give way. Every hon. Member on the Committee on the Opposition side knows this was so. I am not sure whether it was the hon. Member for Paddington, North (Mr. Latham) in his three and a quarter hour diatribe or oration which started this but I cannot help thinking of the famous passage of Macaulay's essay on Dr. Nares' Life of Burleigh where at the beginning he says:The title is as long as an ordinary preface; the prefatory matter would furnish an ordinary book; and the book contains as much reading as an ordinary library.…Such a book might, before the deluge, have been considered as light reading by Hilpa and Shalun. But unhappily the life of man is now three score years and ten; and we cannot but think it somewhat unfair in Dr. Nares to demand from us so large a portion of so short an existence.77 I would apply those words to the hon. Member for Paddington, North's speech and say that I cannot think it anything but unfair of the hon. Member to demand from us so large a portion of what has been a long Committee stage.
§ Mr. Latham
Will the hon. Member recall that on several occasions, when it was suggested during that contribution from the Government side and on one or two other occasions from the Chair that certain of my hon. Friends might be deprived of the opportunity to speak, they were happy with the situation. Will he confirm that I offered to conclude my remarks if anyone on the Government side of the Committee was for once prepared to enter into the debate and no one took up the challenge?
§ Mr. Raison
The hon. Member for Paddington, North was applying tactics then as he is now. There is no doubt that the Opposition have been seeking a guillotine for some time now and the question is why they should have done so. I acknowledge that they have a general feeling of opposition to the Bill and that this has been a part, but only a part, of their approach. The operation has also been designed to cast a smokescreen over the total lack of alternative policy to be offered by the Labour Party. I was interested earlier to see the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) attending the debate. I can only hope that in one of his forthcoming speeches he will offer the Labour Party a policy for housing because it quite manifestly has not been able to think up one for itself.
§ Mr. Frank Allaun rose—
§ Mr. Raison
In the Clause in the Bill which introduces the principle of fair rents in the council sector, we have had from hon. Members opposite something like five different alternative policies. We had the official policy of treating pooled historic costs as a maximum, but only a maximum; we had the policy put forward by the second Front Bench spokesman, the hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson), which seemed to suggest treating pooled historic costs as 78 the genuine basis as opposed to simply a maximum; the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) talked in terms of a system of unpooled historic costs; the hon. Member for Kensington, North (Mr. Douglas-Mann) would like to see rents related to average earnings in a particular area covered by the local authority; and the principle of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) was simply to keep rents as low as possible. That there are no fewer than five separate answers shows that the Opposition have not thought out what they would do if they were in power. The remarkable thing was that in spite of that divergence they managed to vote with total unanimity in favour of their Amendment. The truth is that the Opposition have not got a housing policy.
I should like to say a few words about why the Bill gives a chance to move forward in housing and to quote a brief passage from a book published by the Fabian Society, "Labour and In equality". I have quoted from it in Committee in a slightly party political and polemical vein, but I have now picked out a passage that lays bare what is at the heart of our housing problem. It is a passage from an essay by Professor Peter Hall—
§ Mr. Latham
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Those of us who have spoken so far have generally refrained from anything other than passing references to the merits of the Bill, on the understanding that this was a debate on a guillotine Motion. I raise this point of order in view of what the hon. Gentleman is now embarking upon and also because he has not availed himself of the opportunity to put these points in Committee but now seeks to put them in a debate on a guillotine Motion.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The hon. Member for Paddington, North (Mr. Latham) is right in saying that the main intention of the Bill is not the subject of this debate.
§ Mr. Raison
The hon. Member for Gateshead, West devoted a fair part of his speech to an attack on the principles of the Bill. I shall not deal with that at great length, but I think it not unreasonable that I should say at least something in reply to the point the hon. Gentleman 79 validly made. In the essay which Opposition Members are trying to gag, Professor Hall said:In her study of housing in Camden, Ruth Glass has clearly shown the haphazardness of current housing policies even in a progressive local authority area. Only about 30 per cent of all households of semi-skilled or unskilled workers were in the council sector, while of those in unfurnished privately rented dwellings no less than 45 per cent had less than £16 a week, 28 per cent of them less than £12. (The corresponding figures for furnished, privately rented accommodation were 54 and 26 per cent). Of those with under £12 a week, no less than 45 per cent. of the unfurnished and 78 per cent. of the furnished tenants were paying one-third or more of their income on housing. As Ruth Glass comments, the poor are paying more, because many are paying no less than three supplementary housing taxes: on central area accommodation, on furnished accommodation and on accommodation for newcomers. These are the people who continue to suffer most from the existing bundle of policies.I am sure Professor Hall is right. These are the people who are suffering most under existing policy, but they are also the people who will benefit from the Bill. The Opposition know this. The first reason why they will benefit is that the Bill applies rebates or rent allowances to private tenants, something that should have been done many years ago. The Milner Holland Report recommended it in 1965, and the Labour Government failed to take action on the matter. It will apply to unfurnished private tenants, and I have every confidence that my right hon. Friend will extend it shortly to furnished private tenants. I only ask him to bring that into the Bill.
The Bill also spreads decontrol. Labour hon. Members know, as we all do, that control has had the effect of lowering the whole standard and quality of housing. It is vital to get rid of control, because it is a formula for perpetuating slumdom.
Thirdly, the Bill introduces fair rents into the council sector. The merits of that, which we have debated in Committee, are that it provides for the first time an equitable system as between all sectors of the community, between the council tenant and the private tenant, and between one area and another.
For those reasons I consider it to be of the greatest importance that we should get on with the Bill rather than be subjected to more filibustering from the Opposition.
§ 5.26 p.m.
§ Mr. Stanley Cohen (Leeds, South East)
The hon. Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Raison), who remained silent for so long in Committee, has abused the rights of the House by taking up valuable time during his speech, when we should have been discussing the guillotine Motion, to express points of view which he could have expressed adequately in Committee and will no doubt have the opportunity to express adequately in Committee when we resume.
The Motion is the result of one of two things—acomplete failure by the Government to appreciate both the controversial and important nature of the Bill, or, more likely, a blatant contempt by the Minister for Housing and Construction and his right hon. and hon. Friends for the House and its democratic processes and for the need to protect the rights of about 50 per cent. of those who reside in properties in this country.
Like my hon. Friends, I am reflecting on the number of times when the right hon. Gentleman has categorically denied in Committee that he had any intention of moving a guillotine Motion. I am sure he regards it as rather a sad blow to his ego that he has had to take this step. All sorts of subtle methods have been tried. The right hon. Gentleman once moved a sittings Motion requiring us to sit five days a week. Fortunately, the powers-that-be brought pressure to bear, and within a short time the right hon. Gentleman changed that requirement. But he told the Committee, like a paragon of virtue, that his sole object was to provide us with sufficient time to discuss the Bill Clause by Clause, line by line, detail by detail. The real object of that proposal, and the arrangements now in operation in Committee, was to limit discussion, creating a situation in which those of us taking part in the discussion in Committee were unable to find time to do the research work needed to be constructive and not, as Conservative Members have suggested, to filibuster, when the Committee was sitting 12–18 hours a day, five days a week. Understandably, hon. Members serving on the Committee would find it extremely difficult to devote the necessary time to the work of the Committee. Therefore, to talk about giving us ample time to discuss the detail of the Bill in the fullest way was ridiculous.
81 The hon. Member for the High Peak (Mr. Le Marchant) called out what I can only describe as a roll of honour of Opposition Members. I felt rather disappointed that I was not included for reference. Heaven protect us from our friends! With friends like that we do not need enemies.
There were references in the hon. Gentleman's speech and that of the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mrs. Sally Oppenheim) to the conduct of Opposition Members. The responsibility was ours to analyse, discuss and amend, if necessary, the Bill because little support was forthcoming from hon. Members opposite. It would be fair to say that they were the "silent majority". On most occasions when they decided to raise their weary bodies and interrupt the discussions, they had to be called to order by the Chairman for irrelevance.
This is where I would like to take the hon. Member for Gloucester to task. She has obviously spent a considerable amount of time and money on research. I wish the same amount of time and money had been spent on research to deal with the Bill itself. It is interesting to note that, despite all her effort, only one side was presented by the hon. Lady. When I have the opportunity, I would like to ask her if, in listing the amount of time devoted to hon. Members on this side being called to order, she would also itemise the amount of time we were called to order resulting from her hon. Friends being out of order. This was the case in about 50 per cent. of the time.
We have been told that 200 hours have been occupied by the Committee. I do not believe that to be excessive. Despite what the Minister might say, we must remember that 70 Clauses have been dealt with in those 200 hours—an average of three hours per Clause. Considering the importance of all the Clauses in the Bill, the Government have no cause to complain about the rate of progress.
Indeed, the statements made today by hon. Members opposite have strengthened my case. We have been told that nine hours were spent on points of order and 21 hours on Closure Motions, while, according to the hon. Lady, 32 hours were spent on matters which were out of order. This is a total of 62 hours. Taking the 62 away from 200, we are 82 left 138 hours, and I challenge hon. Members opposite to continue to accuse us of filibustering when, on that calculation, we have got through 70 Clauses and about 140 Amendments in 138 hours. The Government have no cause for complaint about our conduct.
There have been personal references in the debate, and I do not want to engage in personalities, with one or two exceptions. In view of what the hon. Lady has said about the conduct of some of my hon. Friends leading to being called to order, I recall an occasion when she had to be called to order for dictating to her secretary in Committee. I shall not estimate how much time that took of the Committee's work. I am open to challenge here, but I recall that for 80 or 90 per cent. of the time she was not present in Committee but was outside in the corridor or in Room 10 sleeping along with some of her hon. Friends. I am sure that there were always more than two—let us put that in order.
§ Mr. Eddie Griffiths
Is my hon. Friend aware that on two occasions certainly the hon. Lady had her sleeping bag with her as well?
§ Mr. Cohen
I saw it. It was a most delicate blue.
The fact is that we oppose this Bill, and we make no apology for having done so and for continuing to do so. We regard it as totally unjust and probably the most divisive and dictatorial piece of legislation that this Government, who claimed that they were going to unite the nation, have yet introduced. I assure the House that both in this Chamber and in Committee, and in the country outside, we shall argue our case against the Bill because of what we think of it, because of the effect we know it will have on the vast majority of local authority tenants, and because it takes away from local authorities the right to make their own decisions in the light of what they consider to be the interests of those who elected them. As so many other hon. members wish to speak, I close on that point.
§ 5.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Sydney Chapman (Birmingham, Handsworth)
As one who has suffered very deeply and personally and, I fear, 83 irrevocably from serving on the Standing Committee, I say what a pleasure it is to follow the hon. Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. Cohen). The only excuse I have been able to give my constituents on returning very late for a late weekend is that I have spent my nights with my hon. Friend the Member for Gloucester (Mrs. Sally Oppenheim). My credibility as a bachelor has soared as a result.
In a sense, the hon. Gentleman is right in saying that we on our side have been the silent majority. Apart from what I hope were helpful interventions, I have spoken but once in the Committee, and that was to introduce an Amendment of such conciseness and of such quality that it was immediately accepted by the Government.
I welcome this Motion because it puts an end to an increasingly absurd situation. Of course the Opposition can say, with a certain amount of truth, that the Government supporters have not spoken so much and appear—the impression is quite wrong—to be uninterested in what is, after all, an historic if somewhat controversial Bill. Of course we on this side can say that the Opposition have been delaying and filibustering, certainly on certain occasions, though perhaps not on others. I am entitled to say to the hon. Member for Paddington, North (Mr. Latham) that hon. Members on both sides want speeches in this Chamber which are not too long, but it would be wrong of me to suggest that no speech should be more than half an hour or 15 minutes long, but a speech which lasts for over three hours on an Amendment in Committee is pushing things a bit too far.
I say to the hon. Member for Gateshead, West (Mr. Horam), whose contributions in Committee I have much enjoyed, that it would be wrong if he were to give the impression that we on our side of the Committee have never been there while hon. Members opposite always have. I refer him to the last all-night sitting. Early in the morning of 7th March, from Division No. 131 at 1.40 a.m. to Division No. 135 at 6.45 a.m., although the Government have a nominal majority of three, we had majorities of seven, eight and nine. We can throw these charges 84 and counter-charges around but they do not get us any further.
Although the Committee has been considering the Bill for about 200 hours, with one exception none of us has been there the whole time. That is a bad thing for the Committee and for the Bill. The one exception, of course, has been my hon. Friend the Member for Rye (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine), the Chairman of the Committee, whose patience is a wondrous marvel to behold, far exceeding that of Job, and whose temper must be as even as a billiard table. It is ironic to realise that he is the one person who cannot comment on the Bill when it comes back on Report. Yet he is the one person who has been there the whole time.
I believe that it is the system which is at fault. Let us face the fact that the rules are such that the Government want the Bill as quickly as possible and it is convenient for them to have it as quickly as possible, so their supporters tend to keep quiet. Let us also face the fact that the Opposition, rightly or wrongly, want to stop the Bill and delay the Committee stage as long as possible. It is no exaggeration to say that, and it is literally true that we have been playing an artificial cat and mouse game week in and week out until the Government realised that they could not get the Committee stage without wasting half a day on the Floor of the House with this Motion.
The result of all this is that the quality of debate in Committee has suffered and that consequently the prestige of Parliament has declined further. It was a false assumption to think that no one was taking notice what we were doing. One only has to read the popular Press to realise that people outside think that we have only done three things—sat ungodly hours, sung "Land of my Fathers" and hurled limericks at each other across the floor of the Committee.
The technical Press has been taking notice of what we have said. Our prestige and our authority have suffered. Anyone who doubts that should read "In Standing Committee" in the Local Government Review of 11thMarch. That is just one example, and I will not bore the House by mentioning others.
I make the simple proposition that there should be a voluntary timetable 85 agreed before any Bill goes to Committee. If a voluntary timetable cannot be agreed, the Government should propose a timetable, acceptable to the House, before a Bill goes to Committee, and the Opposition should have the right to decide how to use at least 80 per cent. of that time.
I understand the opposition to that view and its sincerity. But to have such a procedure would not be a denial of democracy. Indeed, it would further democracy, because all Bills would be better and more efficiently examined. Some Bills might need only 50 hours in Committee, and I do not deny that this one might need 250—I am not competent to say. But a timetable Motion could and should and would be agreed for most Bills if we had that form of procedure. Democracy would gain, because there would be a better chance, a greater likelihood, of improving a Bill, because it would be more efficiently examined.
In the meantime, I support the Motion on the principle of being better late than never. However, I hope that the rules of the House will be changed to permit this procedure, though I fear that it will have to be our generation that sees that it is done.
§ 5.42 p.m.
§ Mrs. Doris Fisher (Birmingham, Ladywood)
Many hon. Members have spoken of the number of hours, the number of Amendments and the number of Clauses, but I relate the number of hours which the Committee has taken so far to the number of tenants involved. The time taken on the Bill so far is infinitesimal compared with the impact which the Bill will have on the lives of tenants.
The Minister and the Under-Secretary have both recognised the great gulf between the two sides of the Committee on this issue. The Minister himself has publicly said that the Bill is complex. If he finds it difficult to understand, it is extremely difficult for members of the Committee to understand, and that has naturally delayed proceedings.
When we were discussing the Clauses dealing with subsidies, it became apparent that detailed explanations of the financial implications were required. Hon. Members who are interested in housing matters know that the system of housing subsidies has been built up over many years. By this one Bill they are all to 86 be replaced by an entirely different system.
The financial implications for local authorities have had to be carefully studied. When we were discussing this subject and asking for explanations, the Minister needed a great deal of prompting by his advisers before he could explain these complexities. That, too, took time.
We have made several proposals to protect both local authority and private tenants. It is important clearly to understand the Bill's effect on council tenants, for it removes their protection from local authorities. In view of the Government's dictatorial method of steamrolling their proposals through the Committee, the Opposition have been forced to try to make sure that council tenants are safeguarded in other ways. Even so, it was proved in Committee that the public landlord should not be trusted with the same freedom as the private landlord. All these complexities have had to be hammered out, and that has prolonged discussion.
Many of the debates have resulted from the queries of Opposition Members. On at least two occasions the Under-Secretary has offered to duplicate documents in order to elucidate matters.
§ Mr. R. C. Mitchell (Southampton, Itchen)
As my hon. Friend will know, I have been a frequent spectator of the Committee's proceedings. I am strongly of the view that the Minister does not understand his own Bill. Does my hon. Friend agree?
§ Mrs. Fisher
We came to that conclusion quite early.
I was saying that on at least two occasions the Under-Secretary offered to produce documents in order to elucidate complex issues, and we have been grateful for that. But it has naturally meant that the Committee has sat even longer. The language of the Bill is intricate and requires careful reading. Even the Minister has often found it difficult to explain provisions, and occasionally he has retreated from earlier observations. That, too, has lengthened discussion.
The Opposition regard the Bill as fundamentally wrong. For the first time in the history of local authority housing, tenants are to be required to pay a profit 87 rent, so much so that local authority housing will cease to be social housing. Council tenants will have to pay a profit rent which will assist local authorities to reduce rates, or help the Government to reduce taxation. Therefore, we have opposed that part of the Bill.
But our complaint about the delay arises from the lack of clarity from the Minister. It is, therefore, remiss of the Government to introduce the Motion when they could have speeded the passage of the Bill by having the information at their fingertips and by drafting the Bill more concisely.
§ 5.50 p.m.
§ Mr. W. Benyon (Buckingham)
Only my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Mr. Sydney Chapman) and the hon. Member for Paddington, North (Mr. Latham) have attempted an analysis of the guillotine procedure, at any rate from the back benches.
I agree with the remarks of my hon. Friend, but I reject the thesis made in the early part of his speech by the hon. Member for Paddington, North. The events that have occurred in Committee Room 11 over the past months have been a charade, a charade that is understood by all hon. Members, but it is ignored almost entirely by those outside the House. Where it is not ignored, it is regarded with incredulity that we should conduct our operations in this way. This is not the time to discuss the niceties of parliamentary procedure. All Oppositions have indulged in this practice. Indeed, using the argument that for instance, it is wrong to pontificate about coal mining if one has not had experience of a coal face, as a new Member I am delighted to have had this experience. It would be an Irish compliment to say that, in a negative sense, I have learned a great deal.
The essential argument is whether enough time has been given to the discussion of the Bill. Under any possible assessment, the answer must be "Yes". We have heard an enormous amount of statistics today. We have been told that we have discussed the Bill for 200 hours and that the Clauses that remain are not, in many instances, vital. If the time has been misused by the Opposition, that is a matter for them. They have spoken 88 for hours when minutes would do. They have done so to an extent that would have won the grudging admiration of the best performers in the American Senate. The Opposition are fond of accusing us of not keeping our election promises. I could not follow the argument of the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) that in this instance we could be accused of breaking election promises. Even by the wildest stretch of the imagination, that is not so. No Measure was spelt out more carefully before the General Election—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—in such a detailed way. It was discussed during the campaign. It was contained in our election manifesto. No. voters in June, 1970, could have had any doubts whatever that if they voted for the Conservative Party they were voting for the Measure being put into law.
§ Mr. Benyon
The Opposition are against the principles of the Bill; that is understood. In the same way we were opposed to the principle of the nationalisation of the steel industry. But here the opposition is tinged with sour grapes. Hon. Members opposite know that if they had been returned to power in June, 1970, they would have had to introduce a measure somewhat akin to this one.
My hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr. Raison) has listed no fewer than five different propositions about council house rents which we heard in Committee. So we can only speculate as to what form the Labour Party's legislation would have taken. But the Opposition know that housing in Britain is in a bad state. They know that we are paying the price for years of mismanagement.
§ Mr. Benyon
They know that we are miles behind other Western industrial countries which have suffered far greater difficulties as a result of the war, and they know that it would have been necessary to introduce some sort of selective approach to the problem. Thus, like all involuntary defenders of the status quo, they resort to destruction and distortion, and this becomes increasingly hysterical as the public refuses to respond. Thus, we have had a number of sinister threats, 89 already referred to today, made by various members of the Committee, which will not be forgotten as time passes.
This is a Measure of major reform. Like all such Measures, from the abolition of slavery onwards, it has been opposed by reactionary elements in the country. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Today from the Opposition Front Bench we have heard the argument that the Measure is inflationary. I suppose that it is inflationary if the poorer tenants and the tenants of private landlords are to get reductions in their rent. We have heard that it is a profit measure. It is a curious profit measure if ultimately the Government still continue to subsidise housing to the tune of £350 million.
The time has come to end these discussions. The debate has been very extensive both inside and outside the House. It is a great and long overdue reform which should be allowed to reach the Statute Book with the minimum of delay.
§ 5.56 p.m.
§ Mr. John Fraser (Norwood)
Having served in Government I have some sympathy with the members of the Committee—a Committee that has continued for a long time. But why is the guillotine being introduced now? It is unnecessary to have it now. The Committee is not holding up proceedings in the House. Why do the Government want to railroad the Bill through now? The reason is that they have been rumbled, because although they regard the Bill as a fit subject for showcase presentation on television—perhaps even the subject of one of the new ministerial television interviews, in the absence of the Opposition—they do not find it convenient to have it examined on the Floor of the House, especially when it returns on Report.
In effect, we are given only two-and-a-half days, in which hon. Members will be armed with questions and will want to search carefully the Government's motives. They will have all kinds of questions from their constituencies and local authorities. They will not be able to examine the Bill properly. This will be a denial not only of the rights of the 37 members of the Committee but also of those of many hon. Members who wish to put forward proposals.
Let us face what we have to examine in the two-and-a-half days. The Government 90 propose to return with a very important statement on allowances to furnished tenants. There will be another debate on the definition of a furnished tenancy. We shall have to debate Government Amendments arising from dis-discussion. Although we have spent a long time discussing Clause 70, as far as I recall the Government already have to put down four Amendments to correct their misdrafting about rights of entry, about which Government back benchers were very unhappy. The Government have undertaken to look at that matter. A period of two-and-a-half days is probably enough only to examine Government Amendments which arise from the detailed criticism put forward.
When the Government presented this very complicated, lengthy and wide-ranging Bill they were faced with two enormous dangers. The first was that the right hon. Gentleman the Minister for Housing and Construction might not understand the Bill, the second, that everybody else might. Both fears were well-founded. The right hon. Gentleman has been bewildered by the creature of which he is in charge. For example—putting the lie to some of the stuff we have heard about long speeches—I moved an Amendment on Clause 3. I could read the speech I made; it comprises only eight lines in HANSARD. The right hon. Gentleman's reply was:I confess to having been taken somewhat by surprise by the brevity of the hon. Gentleman's speech. I will seek advice on the point, and reply to him in due course."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 7th December, 1971; c. 253.]That was a very short speech on an important, basic Clause. The right hon. Gentleman complained about it and did not even understand it. That was the first danger. The Minister did not understand it. As the Bill has progressed that fear has been confirmed. But the much more dangerous problem was that other people would begin to understand it. The lengthy proceedings in Committee and their repeated reporting in the Press have contributed to a wider understanding of the implications of the Bill. The public are becoming more and more aware of them.
§ Mr. Frank Marsden (Liverpool, Scotland)
I concede that some time has been wasted in Committee, but does my hon. Friend agree with me about one 91 of the reasons? In Committee we tried to get information from the Minister. We appealed to him over and over again for facts and figures. We even asked for a financial memorandum so that we could ascertain some of the facts. In fact, I have obtained more facts from the Liverpool town clerk. It was clear to me that local authorities were in possession of more facts than were members of the Committee. That is where the lime wasting went on—trying to get facts from the Minister.
§ Mr. Fraser
I accept that.
As I have said, as the proceedings on the Bill have continued, more and more people have understood its implications. If the proceedings in Committee had been terminated as some hon. Members opposite have proposed, the Government would not even have had time to put down Amendments to the part dealing with housing associations. At least the more criticism of the Bill that has been made by local authorities and professional bodies the more time has been made available for understanding the Bill. Had it not been for the lengthy proceedings in Committee many points would have been missed.
People are waking up not just to the Bill's implications but to its economic setting. The Prime Minister makes cosy speeches on television on Sunday evenings, but members of the public are wondering what is going on. They are wondering whether their rents will be doubled. They are thinking more and more about the Bill in the context of the Government's economic strategy. They see the Minister for Housing and Construction and the Under-Secretary of State as—and this is how I described them in Committee—Butch Amery and the Sundance Kid, with one motto—"Stick 'em up!": stick them all up on Clause 63, stick them up by 50p on Clause 64, stick them up by £1 on Clause 66 and stick them up by more than £1 on Clause 95 if a commissioner is put in. Butch Amery's sheriff—the commissioner—will go into the town halls to fulfil the functions of councillors who refuse to implement the Bill's provisions.
Tenants have cottoned on to the doubling of council rents by 1975–76 due to the efforts of my hon. Friend the 92 Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun), who received and circulated a Government document—and a good thing, too. The Minister has vehemently denied time and again that the figure in it is accurate. He has told the Committee, "I agree that it is an official document, but I assure you that it is officially inaccurate". We know from our researches that the document is accurate, and people are beginning to understand this. The longer the proceedings on the Bill take the deeper is the message sinking in.
Conservative authorities, in particular, are aware of the "great surplus robbery" whereby half the surpluses in local authority housing revenue accounts will be purloined—to use the Minister's word—by the Treasury. As I said the other day, it makes Jesse James look like a suburban shoplifter when one considers the amount of money that the Government will lift from local authority coffers. The tenants and the local authority in Gloucester who read the reports of this debate will say, "How is it that the hon. Lady the Member for Gloucester (Mrs. Sally Oppenheim) is able to spend hours and hours in counting the number of points of order which have been made and the number of times on which it has been necessary to draw attention to the need for a quorum but has not calculated how much of Gloucester's surplus will be purloined, or, if she has calculated it, has not made a speech in Committee about it? This is curious".
§ Mrs. Sally Oppenheim
I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not add to the calumny of his hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. Cohen), who was guilty of a terminological inexactitude when he accused me of being absent from the Committee for 80 per cent. of the time. If he has any evidence to substantiate that, I ask him to put it forward or to withdraw his remark. I hope that the hon. Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser), to whom I was kind enough to pay a compliment which caused him great embarrassment among his colleagues, will not add to the calumny.
§ Mr. Fraser
I am not adding to calumny. I am simply saying that people will observe—and I am certainly entitled to observe—that the hon. Lady has gone to considerable trouble to make mathematical calculations about points of order, but she and her hon. Friends, particularly 93 those who represent surplus authority areas, have made no calculation, and certainly have made no speeches, concerning the resentment which many Conservative authorities feel about the purloining of their surpluses by the Minister.
§ Mrs. Sally Oppenheim
I have had no indication from my Conservative authority that there is any resentment about this matter. I can speak only on behalf of my authority, which has made no such representations. Therefore, I cannot put it forward.
§ Mr. Fraser
What the hon. Lady is saying is that she sits absolutely dumb and silent and if the local authority does not prompt her about the surplus she will say nothing. I have had letters from many Tory local authorities, sayings, "How can we get rid of our surplus? May we plough it back into the general rate fund?" Bromley council is one of them. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh?"] I am sorry; I should have said that I have had letters from Labour councillors about Conservative authorities. Councils like Bromley are ploughing money from the housing revenue account into the general rate fund. There is a great deal of resentment about this.
The Government are afraid that the longer the proceedings on the Bill go on the more council committee meetings there will be at which consideration will be given to the question whether the authority can put the surplus in the general rate fund or spend it on improvements. Local authorities are waking up to the fact that the Minister proposes to interfere in the way in which they operate their housing revenue accounts in terms of and the amount of money that they spend on maintenance, repair and standards.
§ Mr. R. C. Mitchell
Is my hon. Friend aware that the Southampton authority has just put a £300,000 surplus on the housing revenue account into the general rate fund? The council tenants of Southampton are subsidising the rest of the ratepayers.
§ Mr. Fraser
Exactly. The Government know that the earlier the Bill becomes law the more they can pinch from local authorities and the less they will be able to spend for the benefit of their ratepayers and tenants. This understanding 94 is creeping through in places like Newcastle and in local authorities where the Conservatives face defeat in the coming local elections. That is why we had in Committee the Newcastle Amendment, which is intended to save the face of the Tories.
The longer the proceedings on the Bill continue the deeper becomes the understanding and the resentment, and the more the message sinks in. The Government, acting like the social bandits they are, are saying to local authorities, to the people and to the House, just like any bandit, "Stop talking and stick 'em up"—and they mean not their hands but the rents. The real friends of the Tory Party are waiting for the pay-off.
§ 6.9 p.m.
§ Mr. Reginald Freeson (Willesden, East)
This is not an honourable action which the Leader of the House and the Government have taken.
We have yet to deal with 33 Clauses and 12 new Clauses. I have not checked the number of Amendments yet to be discussed, but there is a considerable number of them, ranging up to 100, some of which are in the Government's name. The Clauses with which we have to deal relate to housing associations and the Housing Corporation as well as to other matters. The new Clauses deal with questions of investment in public authority housing—a matter not touched on in the White Paper or in the Bill as drafted. These are all important issues.
Even if it could be argued—and I do not accept that it could—that the length of time spent on 70 Clauses to date is excessive to the extent of 50 per cent., that could not possibly justify the limited time that is to be given to the rest of the Bill. Even if we were to accept as reasonable half the length of time spent on the Bill, that would not justify another two weeks or so in Committee, with 45 Clauses and well over 100 Amendments to be considered—all important matters—with only three days on the Floor of the House.
The Motion is dishonourable for a second reason. There are 630 hon. Members of the House, and to give only three days on Report for one of the most controversial local government Measures that the country has ever seen 95 is a disgrace, and the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House has not acted honourably in treating us in this way.
I do not accept the criticisms levelled at Opposition members of the Committee for the length of time spent on the Bill. I shall not be carried down the road of philosophising or discussing housing policy, as one or two hon. Members opposite have done, because that is more appropriate in Committee, and more appropriate to times which will come when the Bill will, unfortunately, have been passed by the House. That will be a matter to be dealt with on the Floor of the House and in Committee as appropriate in the future.
I certainly reject the garbled and ignorant views about the position of the Labour Party on housing matters. One thing is sure; we in the Labour Party do not wish to see a major cutback in public authority house building, which is the considered policy of the Government. I predict that within three years from now, if the policies of the Government are pursued as reflected in the Bill and in other Measures, there will not be many more than 100,000 local authority starts per year. That is not Labour policy: that is the policy of the Conservatives.
To return to the length of time that we are supposed to have wrongly spent on the Bill, I take as my starting point the Minister's remarks:It has been borne in on me…that Members wish to discuss the Bill very thoroughly and I am sure that there is no wish on either side of the Committee that we should get ourselves involved in a guillotine. I therefore think that it would be right for us to give as much time as possible…A little later he said:It has become apparent that hon. Gentlemen opposite in particular have been anxious to express their views at length. Their views have proved interesting. Let no one suggest that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary and I were bored for one moment…Obviously, there is a desire to explore the Bill in depth. That being the case, and being unwilling myself to recommend the guillotine Motion, which seems to me something of a last resort, I thought it better to allow the Committee as much time as possible.He further said:We wish to ensure that the Bill is discussed in depth…The efforts of my hon. Friend and I are aimed at ensuring that the democratic rights of the House of Commons 96 are exercised through the Committee. There must be no pretext for saying that the Bill was not properly considered, or that it was guillotined. Let us discuss it sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 24th February, 1972; c. 2505–2509.]The Minister said on the following Monday that those remarks related to a sittings Motion to establish sittings on five days in succession per week, which he himself, before it was implemented, accepted was wrong and withdrew. If it was right then that we should have, sentence by sentence and paragraph by paragraph, examination with a good length of time for debate, and if the Minister accepted that it would be wrong to sit for five days in succession per week it must be assumed that the debate should be conducted in some other way. That means that it should be done on a reasonable basis of three days per week. We have been sitting since then in the same spirit of examining the Bill sentence by sentence and paragraph by paragraph.
§ Mr. James Allason (Hemel Hempstead)
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the previous all-time record for length of proceedings was established at column 3406 of the proceedings on the Transport Bill and that the proceedings on the Housing Finance Bill have now reached column 3700 at least?
§ Mr. Freeson
What I have been quoting was said on 24th February and it is now 13th March.
I consider that the guillotine Motion before us is another speedy change of mind by the Minister and the Government.
§ Mr. Raison rose—
§ Mr. Freeson
I am sorry, I cannot give way, my time is limited. I am looking forward to the Minister's rumbustious performance, which I expect to be entertaining and not elucidating. What I have said is a sufficient answer to the criticisms.
The Minister, speaking on behalf of himself and his colleagues, said that we should examine the Bill line by line, paragraph by paragraph, and sentence by sentence, and that is what we want to continue to do.
§ Mr. Raison
Is the hon. Gentleman prepared to deny flatly that the Opposition's tactics have been to bring about a guillotine Motion?
§ Mr. Freeson
The tactics on this side of the House are to discuss—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] If I am asked a question, at least let hon. Members opposite have the courtesy to listen to the reply. I give the answer in the words of the Minister—that it is our desire to examine the Bill sentence by sentence and paragraph by paragraph, taking as much time as may be necessary to do so.
I now turn to the headings upon which we have been spending our time. The Bill has not received from the daily or weekly Press the publicity that one might have expected. This is a serious issue, which will affect many millions of people—not just council tenants but private tenants and owner-occupiers. The Bill will create a situation in which local authority rents will become the market leaders, which will drag up the market level for everybody and not just council tenants.
Have we been wrong to spend so much time on seeking information which the Minister had—and still has—difficulty in providing when we examine the Bill line by line and paragraph by paragraph? Was it wrong to spend a long time discussing the exclusion of nearly half a million furnished tenancies? Was it wrong to examine that point by point, line by line, for hours on end? Was it wrong to discuss the principles of rent levels, the rights of tenants, the rights of local authorities in relation to central Government and the interference by central Government to a degree which we have never seen before? All this is set down in the Bill, and every local authority organisation, of whatever party affiliation, has made this point.
Was it wrong to spend a long time discussing what has falsely been called the fair rents procedure in the Bill? We have argued these matters in detail in Committee for many hours, point by point, to show that the procedures in the private sector in no way compare with what will obtain in the public sector of housing.
Was it wrong to discuss issues relating to co-operative housing? Was it wrong to raise the issue of ex-owner-occupiers who were paid reduced prices for their houses so that they could be rehoused by local authorities at given rent levels on agreed terms? Was it wrong to discuss their rights—rights which will be taken away by the Bill? Was it wrong to discuss 98 the disposal of surpluses produced by local authorities through Government edict when those surpluses are to be taken over by central Government? Why is it not right that we should discuss this innovation in local government finance? It is not a question of only a few thousand pounds. It will involve millions and, in due course, hundreds of millions of pounds which will be taken from local government by central Government as a result of the provisions of the Bill. And this will be paid for by tenants.
Was it wrong to spend a long time discussing Clauses and Amendments which create a situation in which local authority tenants will provide the major part of a £350 million subsidy which will be taken by the Government for other purposes, and most of which will come from the pockets of tenants or out of the surpluses in local authority housing revenue accounts?
Of course, it was right for us to spend a long time discussing these matters; indeed, the Minister has said so. The Association of Municipal Corporations also takes this view, as do the Urban District Councils Association, the London Boroughs Association and a large number of elected local government members. They see the Bill as an interference in local government affairs. Indeed, local government elected members who attended the Conservative Party's local government conference a week or ten days ago could not get called by the management committee of the conference motions which were highly critical of the Bill.
These are the matters that we have spent a long time discussing in Committee. If the Government steamroller through such provisions they will do themselves no good. They will not be able to stem the rising tide of resentment across local government party boundaries, or the resentment that will emanate from local authority tenants as they learn about the full impact of these provisions, which will lead to their money being taken by the Government. Nor will the Government stem the tide of resentment that will rise in the private market sector as the Government's action is borne in on the public. That action will mean a considerable increase in the price of owner-occupied properties. As a result private tenants' rents will be pushed up right across the board.
99 Apart from the mess into which the Government have plunged themselves over their legislative programme, there is one main reason for seeking to impose this guillotine. The reason is that they have written into the Bill a timetable procedure which makes it essential for them to get the Bill through the House quickly. The date on which they have fixed is 1st October, and it is a date to which every local authority association has objected. Indeed the A.M.C., which represents the major group of authorities, has objected very strongly indeed. It is this rigidity and inflexibility of approach which has led to the commitment to 1st October when the first increases of £1 will be felt throughout the country, and it is this to which local authorities of all political persuasions have objected. That is why we now have this guillotine Motion before the House.
Those are my reasons for rejecting the Government's arguments for a guillotine. In order that we may at least have a reasonable time to debate these matters on the Floor when the Bill comes back for its Report stage, I beg to move the Amendment in line 7, leave out "three" and insert "six".
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ The Minister for Housing and Construction (Mr. Julian Amery)
At the outset I wish to pay tribute to the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party did not serve on the Committee, but towards the end of the last century it introduced the guillotine procedure to the House of Commons. Whatever has been said in this debate. I feel that there are few hon. Members who are not grateful to the Liberals for that invention.
The hon. Member for Willesden, East (Mr. Freeson) and his right hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) said that the guillotine was not justified. The right hon. Gentleman opened the proceedings upstairs by saying that he did not propose to filibuster. He said in the House this afternoon that he is content to seek to change and to amend and that he has no wish to table proliferating Amendments. In other words, his attitude is that the Opposition would be reasonable and co-operative and that they would neither filibuster nor obstruct but would help the Government to get an improved version of the Bill. I hope 100 my hon. Friends will take note of the right hon. Gentleman's words.
However, in the Press over the weekend we read all about hon. Members opposite stumping the country saying the Bill was iniquitous, that they will tight its provisions inch by inch and obstruct them in every way open to them. Let them make their position clear. If the right hon. Gentleman is trying to help and co-operate, I hope he will tell the tenants' associations what he is doing. I hope he will tell them that he and the Opposition are seeking to improve the Bill and get Government business through. He must tell them that there is no question of obstruction or of fighting the Bill inch by inch and line by line, but that there will simply be a process of co-operation in the way a constitutional Opposition should work.
The right hon. Gentleman knows that had we continued to leave housing finance as it stands today, by the middle of the decade the bill would have risen from £350 million to £600 million. He knows that if his right hon. Friend the former Chancellor of the Exchequer had still been at No. 11 Downing Street, this would not have been acceptable to him. He also knows that if his right hon. Friend, with whom I understand the right hon. Gentleman is in close contact, were ever to be at No. 10 Downing Street, for which he seems to be trying to book a ticket, such an escalation in subsidies would not be acceptable.
We have often discussed the criteria by which rents should be determined. The choice is fairly limited. We could have had the fair rents inaugurated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman). We could have had pooled historic costs. One or two other suggestions have been made, but all involve increased rents. There could be arguments about the speed of progression towards the increases, but the slower the increase the slower the ability to distribute other benefits in terms of rebates and allowances.
I would, of course, be misleading the House if I pretended that the right hon. Gentleman was a convert in any wholehearted sense to fair rents, but he certainly explicitly accepted the need for the reform of housing finance. He said so on one occasion, and welcomed our proposals to extend rebates to all local 101 authorities and allowances to the private sector, and to expand the slum clearance subsidies.
In the earlier stages of our discussions in the Committee the right hon. Gentleman's influence was paramount. He was heeded as though he were a prophet come down from the mountains. I am not surprised: many of his hon. Friends were serving in the House for the first time, or nearly the first time. They had limited experience of Committee work—as, indeed, the right hon. Gentleman and I have. They took their cue from him, and as a result at the beginning we made very good progress, passing 48 Clauses and five Schedules, many of them highly contentious, in 66 hours. Then the pace began to slow up. The next 14 Clauses took 50 hours. After that we needed 79½ hours to get through 7½Clauses.
Nor could anyone argue that the time spent bore any relationship to the controversial character of the Clauses concerned. Clause 68, which deals with the refund of rent above the fair rent—something clearly favourable to the tenant—took nine hours 13 minutes. Clause 70, the purpose of which is to prevent one possible device for evading the duties imposed on local authorities by Part VI, has so far taken 12 hours 49 minutes—
§ Mr. Bruce Douglas-Mann (Kensington, North) rose—
§ Mr. Amery
No. In the first place, my time, too, is limited. Further, having made a study of the facts, I have no evidence that at any stage the executioner with the original guillotine ever allowed the victim, once laid upon the block, to intervene. This, indeed, unfair as it may seem, was the evidence we had from Dr. Guillotin himself, who, I believe, invented the machine—
§ Mr. Molloy rose—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)
Order. It seems that the right hon. Gentleman does not intend to give way, so the hon. Gentleman must resume his seat.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
Order. The hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Molloy) must play fair by the House. If the right hon. Gentleman the Minister does not give way, the hon. Gentleman must not try to get in by interjection from a sedentary position.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
The hon. Gentleman may raise with me a point of order with which I am competent to deal, but I know the hon. Member too well to think that he would seek to get over what he wanted to say by way of a point of order.
§ Mr. Molloy
The right hon. Gentleman correctly and quite properly referred to the origins of the guillotine, but he seemed to give the impression that they were humorous origins. In point of fact, it was to do with the origins of the Irish question, and we know what happens about that question today.
§ Mr. Amery
The Scots had a similar machine which was known, I believe, as the Maiden.
As I was saying, I would at this stage acquit the right hon. Gentleman of any desire to go back on his undertaking not to filibuster. Had he wanted to filibuster or obstruct the Bill, and I do not think he ever had that wish, he could have spent much more time on Part II—rent rebates and rent allowances—and much more time on Part IV—controlled and regulated tenancies.
But, while the right hon. Gentleman's contribution at an early stage revealed a constructive approach, some of his hon. Friends sang rather a different tune. At our very first sitting, the hon. Members for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) and Rother Valley (Mr. Hardy) said of the Bill "Kill it." They sang this in antiphonal response which would have appealed to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.
A little later on the hon. Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) declared:I am trying to stop this Measure from becoming law".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 8th February, 1972; c. 1379.]103 At our fortieth sitting the hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Eddie Griffiths) said:I joined the Committee to do everything I possibly could to obstruct it. I shall continue to do so. I have…a vested interest in the destruction of the Bill…I have to see to it that the timetable is not kept."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E, 6th March, 1972; c. 3349–50.]As our debates advanced it became increasingly clear to me that there was a deep split between what I might call the "officials" and the "provisionals". This was clearly illustrated by the debate on Amendment No. 269, a debate which lasted for 7¼ hours. That Amendment proposed that each local authority should be required to charge what it regarded as a reasonable rent provided it did not exceed pooled historic costs. That would have had the effect of placing a very low ceiling on the rents of some authorities and a high ceiling on others. The right hon. Gentleman said that the alternative policy:leaves entirely open what should be the proper level of Government subsidies.The hon. Member for Gateshead, West (Mr. Horam) wanted a general subsidy. He said:We would operate it as a general subsidy related not to the individual tenant but to the local authorities to keep down the level of rents.The hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. McBride), a good Scottish Welshman with his customary directness put the point very succinctly when he said:The Amendment supports the retention of a system which has worked well for 50 years."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee E. 8th February, 1972; c. 1367–93.]No wonder that on 9th March New Society wrote:So complex a Measure was bound to take time. But it is not the intricate new subsidy arrangements, the assistance scales or the phasing-in of change, by and large, that have taken up the time. Much has gone on which looks suspiciously like obstruction. The Labour group, for example, has had a quite unacceptable Amendment ready for virtually every single Clause in the Bill.The constitution of the Labour Party is very curious. The right hon. Gentleman is responsible on the Opposition Front Bench for housing and, indeed, for the entire range of environment. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Salford, East speaks on the National Executive 104 for these matters. The right hon. Gentleman supports rebates and allowances; the hon. Gentleman thinks that allowances are subsidies to landlords. Far out on the left—on my right at the moment—is the hon. Member for Bolsover, who regards even rebates for council tenants as a "skeleton in the cupboard."
The hon. Member for Bolsover was good enough in an earlier debate to refer to me as an arrogant pig. I hope that the House will not accept the description, but, if it does, I can only say that the hon. Gentleman's own bearing proves the truth of the old saying that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
It became clear in the Committee that the power was passing from the right hon. Gentleman to his hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East, to whom I have referred as receiving a document improperly communicated to him. Incidentally I said on that point, on which the hon. Gentleman dwelt at very great length, that the Newcastle rents disproved what he said. I am glad to be able to say, and I shall have an opportunity to expand on the matter before long, that I have now had several more authorities reporting this situation, so that I can say that he was guilty in this instance of scaremongering.
§ Mr. Frank Allaun
Did or did not the right hon. Gentleman say in an interview yesterday that local authorities for the first time would make a profit out of their tenants?
§ Mr. Amery
All the evidence now accumulating confirms my view that the hon. Member for Salford, East was guilty of scaremongering.
When I say that the party opposite could not agree on anything except the false premise that we were doubling the rents, I tried to help. I offered the right 105 hon. Member for Grimsby and his colleagues to sit five days a week. I thought that that might give them time—
§ Mr. Amery
I thought that it might give the right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite time to reconcile their differences. I thought that it would give them time to see whether they could concert a policy which would be either an alternative one to our own or a constructive criticism of it. As the right hon. Gentleman underlined, it was an unprecedented offer. It was a very generous offer. It involved important sacrifices for my hon. Friends. It was rejected out of hand. I do not know why. Perhaps the right hon. Member for Grimsby was too bored. Perhaps he thought he could not hope to carry his hon. Friends with him. He said that I was proposing to incarcerate hon. Members in the Committee. I dare say he had seen enough of his fellow prisoners on his own side of the Committee to treat my suggestion seriously.
It is quite clear that all that the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends are trying to do is postpone the introduction of the present Measure or to cause it to be withdrawn. What is it that they seek to have postponed or withdrawn? It is a Measure which by giving help where it is needed will bring fairness into rents as between the tenants of one authority and another, between council tenants and private tenants, and between tenants, tax payers and rate payers. It is a Measure which will enable authorities in stress areas to build houses without the prospect of placing intolerable burdens on ratepayers. It is a Measure which will provide for the first time a specific subsidy for slum clearance. We have
§ never had one. It is a Measure which will arrest the drift into slumdom of privately rented houses. It is a Measure which makes every council tenant who needs it eligible to receive help by way of rebate. It is a Measure which for the first time gives rent allowances to private tenants.
§ Over 198 hours of discussion the Opposition have failed to talk themselves into a policy. They have succeeded in talking the Government into a guillotine. Even this could permit a further 70 hours or more of discussion if the Opposition wished. I think that they should be thankful for these mercies.
§ 6.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Thomas Swain (Derbyshire, North-East)
I hate to intervene in a debate at this late hour. But this guillotine is a vicious Motion curtailing discussion on a vicious Bill. I ask the Government even now—
§ Mr. Gorst rose—
§ Hon. Members Give way.
§ It being three hours after the commencement of the proceedings on the Motion, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER, proceeded to put the Questions necessary to dispose of them, pursuant to Standing Order No. 44 (Allocation of time to Bills).
§ Question put accordingly, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 274, Noes 310.111
|Division No. 80.]||AYES||[6.45 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Beaney, Alan||Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)|
|Albu, Austen||Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Buchan, Norman|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford E.)||Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Bidwell, Sydney||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Bishop, E. S.||Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Blenkinsop, Arthur||Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)|
|Ashley, Jack||Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Cant, R. B.|
|Ashton, Joe||Booth, Albert||Carmichael, Neil|
|Atkinson, Norman||Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)|
|Barnes, Michael||Bradley, Tom||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Broughton, Sir Alfred||Clark, David (Colne Valley)|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)|
|Baxter, William||Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Cohen, Stanley|
|Coleman, Donald||Hunter, Adam||Orme, Stanley|
|Concannon, J. D.||Irvine,Rt.Hn.SirArthur(Edge Hill)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Conlan, Bernard||Janner, Greville||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Padley, Walter|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Paget, R. T.|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Palmer, Arthur|
|Cronin, John||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||John, Brynmor||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Pendry, Tom|
|Dalyell, Tam||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Pentland, Norman|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Davidson, Arthur||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Prescott, John|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Judd, Frank||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Kaufman, Gerald||Probert, Arthur|
|Deakins, Eric||Kelley, Richard||Rankin, John|
|Delargy, Hugh||Kerr, Russell||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Kinnock, Neil||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Dempsey, James||Lambie, David||Richard, Ivor|
|Doig, Peter||Lamond, James||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Dormand, J. D.||Latham, Arthur||Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon)|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Lawson, George||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Leadbitter, Ted||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Driberg, Tom||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Roper, John|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Leonard, Dick||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Lestor, Miss Joan||Sandelson, Neville|
|Eadie, Alex||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Short, Rt.Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Lipton, Marcus||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)|
|Ellis, Tom||Lomas, Kenneth||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|English, Michael||Loughlin, Charles||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Evans, Fred||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Sillars, James|
|Ewing, Henry||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Silverman, Julius|
|Faulds, Andrew||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Skinner, Dennis|
|Fisher, Mrs. Doris(B'ham, Ladywood)||McBride, Neil||Small, William|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||McCann, John||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)||McCartney, Hugh||Spearing, Nigel|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||McElhone, Frank||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McGuire, Michael||Stallard, A. W.|
|Foley, Maurice||Mackenzie, Gregor||Steel, David|
|Foot, Michael||Mackie, John||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Ford, Ben||Mackintosh, John P.||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Forrester, John||Maclennan, Robert||Strang, Gavin|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Freeson, Reginald||McNamara, J. Kevin||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Swain, Thomas|
|Garrett, W. E.||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Taverne, Dick|
|Gilbert, Dr. John||Marks, Kenneth||Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)|
|Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)||Marquand, David||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Golding, John||Marsden, F.||Tinn, James|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C||Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Tomney, Frank|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Torney, Tom|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||Mayhew, Christopher||Tuck, Raphael|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Meacher, Michael||Varley, Eric G.|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn J.||Mendelson, John||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Millan, Bruce||Wallace, George|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Watkins, David|
|Hamling, William||Milne, Edward||Weitzman, David|
|Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||Wellbeloved, James|
|Hardy, Peter||Molloy, William||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Hattersley, Roy||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Whitlock, William|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Hilton, W. S.||Moyle, Roland||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Hooson, Emlyn||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Horam, John||Murray, Ronald King||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Oakes, Gordon||Wilson, William (Coventry S.)|
|Huckfield, Leslie||Ogden, Eric||Woof, Robert|
|Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Hughes, Mark (Durham)||O'Malley, Brian||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Oram, Bert||Mr. James A. Dunn and|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Orbach, Maurice||Mr. Joseph Harper.|
|Adley, Robert||Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Atkins, Humphrey|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Astor, John||Balniel, Lord|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Galbraith, Hn. T. G||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)|
|Batsford, Brian||Gardner, Edward||McNair-Wilson, Michael|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Gibson-Watt, David||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)|
|Bell, Ronald||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Maddan, Martin|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E)||Madel, David|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Glyn, Dr. Alan||Maginnis, John E.|
|Benyon, W.||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Marten, Neil|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Goodhart, Phillip||Mather, Carol|
|Biffen, John||Goodhew, Victor||Maude, Angus|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Gorst, John||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Blaker, Peter||Gower, Raymond||Mawby, Ray|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Body, Richard||Gray, Hamish||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Boscawen, Robert||Green, Alan||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Grieve, Percy||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Bowden, Andrew||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Grylls, Micha[...]||Mitchell, Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)|
|Braine, Bernard||Gummer, Selwyn||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Bray, Ronald||Gurden, Harold|
|Brewis, John||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Moate, Roger|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Molyneaux, James|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Money, Ernle|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Monks, Mrs. Connie|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hannam, John (Exeter)||Monro, Hector|
|Bryan, Paul||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||More, Jasper|
|Buck, Antony||Haselhurst, Alan||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hastings, Stephen||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Burden, F. A.||Havers, Michael||Morrison, Charles|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Hawkins, Paul||Mudd, David|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn)||Hay, John||Murton, Oscar|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hayhoe, Barney||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Neave, Airey|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Heseltine, Michael||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Channon, Paul||Hicks, Robert||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Chapman, Sydney||Higgins, Terence L.||Normanton, Tom|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Hiley, Joseph||Onslow, Cranley|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Holland, Phillip||Osborn, John|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Holt, Miss Mary||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Clegg, Walter||Hordern, Peter||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Cockeram, Eric||Hornby, Richard||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Cooke, Robert||Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia||Parkinson, Cecil|
|Coombs, Derek||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Peel, John|
|Cooper, A. E.||Howell, David (Guildford)||Percival, Ian|
|Cordle, John||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Peyton, Rt. Hn. John|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Hunt, John||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Cormack, Patrick||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Pounder, Rafton|
|Costain, A. P.||James, David||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Critchley, Julian||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Crouch, David||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.|
|Crowder, F. P.||Jessel, Toby||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Curran, Charles||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Pym, Rt. Hon. Francis|
|Davies, Rt. Kn. John (Knutsford)||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Jopling, Michael||Raison, Timothy|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid,Maj.-Gen.James||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Dean, Paul||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Redmond, Robert|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Kershaw, Anthony||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Dixon, Piers||Kilfedder, Jamas||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Kimball, Marcus||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Dykes, Hugh||Kinsey, J. R.||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Eden, Sir John||Kitson, Timothy||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Elliot, Capt, Walter (Carshalton)||Knox, David||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,N.)||Lambton, Lord||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Emery, Peter||Lane, David||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Farr, John||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Fell, Anthony||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Rost, Peter|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Le Marchant, Spencer||Royle, Anthony|
|Fidler, Michael||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Longden, Gilbert||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Loveridge, John||Scott, Nicholas|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||Luce, R. N.||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Fortescue, Tim||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Sharples, Richard|
|Foster, Sir John||MacArthur, Ian||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Fowler, Norman||McCrindle, R. A.||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Fox, Marcus||McLaren, Martin||Simeons, Charles|
|Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Fry, Peter||McMaster, Stanley||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Tebbit, Norman||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Soref, Harold||Temple, John M.||Warren, Kenneth|
|Speed, Keith||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Spence, John||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Sproat Iain||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Stainton, Keith||Tilney, John||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Stanbrook, Ivor||Trafford, Dr. Anthony||Wilkinson, John|
|Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)||Trew, Peter||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)||Tugendhat, Christopher||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Stokes, John||van Straubenzee, W. R.||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Stuttaford, Dr. Tom||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard||Worsley, Marcus|
|Sutcliffe, John||Waddington, David||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Tapsell, Peter||Walder, David (Clitheroe)||Younger, Hn. George|
|Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Wall, Patrick||Mr. Reginald Eyre and|
|Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)||Walters, Dennis||Mr Bernard Weatherill|
|Question accordingly negatived|
|Main Question put:—|
|The House divided: Ayes 311, Noes 278.|
|Division No. 81.]||AYES||[6.55 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Cordle, John||Gurden, Harold|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Cormack, Patrick||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Costain, A. P.||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Critchley, Julian||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)|
|Astor, John||Crouch, David||Hannam, John (Exeter)|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Crowder, F. P.||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Curran, Charles||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)|
|Balniel, Lord||Davies, Rt. Hn.John (Knutsford)||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hastings, Stephen|
|Batsford, Brian||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid.Maj.-Gen. James||Havers, Michael|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Dean, Paul||Hawkins, Paul|
|Bell, Ronald||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Hay, John|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hayhoe, Barney|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Dixon, Piers||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward|
|Benyon, W.||Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Heseltine, Michael|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Hicks, Robert|
|Biffen, John||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Higgins, Terence L|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Dykes, Hugh||Hiley, Joseph|
|Blaker, Peter||Eden, Sir John||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)|
|Body, Richard||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Holland, Philip|
|Boscawen, Robert||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne.N.)||Holt, Miss Mary|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Emery, Peter||Hordern, Peter|
|Bowden, Andrew||Farr, John||Hornby, Richard|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Fell, Anthony||Hornsby-Smith,Rt.Hn.Dame Patricia|
|Braine, Sir Bernard||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)|
|Bray, Ronald||Fidler, Michael||Howell, David (Guildford)|
|Brewis, John||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Hunt, John|
|Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Fookes, Miss Janet||James, David|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Fortescue, Tim||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Bryan, Paul||Foster, Sir John||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick(Angus,N&M)||Fowler, Norman||Jessel, Toby|
|Buck, Antony||Fox, Marcus||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Burden, F. A.||Fry, Peter||Jopling, Michael|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Galbraith, Hn. T. G||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Gardner, Edward||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn.G.(Moray&Nairn)||Gibson-Watt, David||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine|
|Carlisle, Mark||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Kilfedder, James|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Glyn, Dr. Alan||Kimball, Marcus|
|Channon, Paul||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B|
|Chapman, Sydney||Goodhart, Philip||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Goodhew, Victor||King, Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Gorst, John||Kinsey, J. R.|
|Churchill, W. S.||Gower, Raymond||Kitson, Timothy|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Gray, Hamish||Knox, David|
|Clegg, Walter||Green, Alan||Lambton, Lord|
|Cockeram, Eric||Grieve, Percy||Lane, David|
|Cooke, Robert||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Langford-Holt, Sir John|
|Coombs, Derek||Grylls, Michael||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry|
|Cooper, A. E.||Gummer, J. Selwyn||Le Marchant, Spencer|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Lloyd, Iain (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|Longden, Sir Gilbert||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Loveridge, John||Parkinson, Cecil||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Luce, R. N.||Peel, John||Stokes, John|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Percival, Ian||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|MacArthur, Ian||Peyton, Rt. Hn. John||Sutcliffe, John|
|McCrindle, R. A.||Pink, R. Bonner||Tapsell, Peter|
|McLaren, Martin||Pounder, Rafton||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|McMaster, Stanley||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Macmillan,Rt.Hn.Maurice (Farnham)||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|McNair-Wilson, Michael||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Tebbit, Norman|
|McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Temple, John M.|
|Maddan, Martin||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Madel, David||Raison, Timothy||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Maginnis, John E.||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Marten, Neil||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Peter|
|Mather, Carol||Redmond, Robert||Tilney, John|
|Maude, Angus||Reed, Lauranc (Bolton, E.)||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Rees, Peter (Dover)||Trew, Peter|
|Mawby, Ray||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Ridsdale, Julian||Waddington, David|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Mitchell,Lt.-Col.C.(Aberdeenshire,W)||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Moate, Roger||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)||Wall, Patrick|
|Molyneaux, James||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Walters, Dennis|
|Money, Ernle||Rost, Peter||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Monks, Mrs. Connie||Royle, Anthony||Warren, Kenneth|
|Monro, Hector||Russell, Sir Ronald||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Montgomery, Fergus||St. John-Stevas, Norman||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|More, Jasper||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Scott, Nicholas||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Scott-Hopkins, James||Wilkinson, John|
|Morrison, Charles||Sharples, Richard||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Mudd, David||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Murton, Oscar||Shelton, William (Clapham)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Simeons, Charles||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Neave, Airey||Sinclair, Sir George||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Sket, T. H. H.||Worsley, Marcus|
|Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Normanton, Tom||Soref, Harold||Younger, Hn. George|
|Onslow, Cranley||Speed, Keith|
|Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Spence, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Sproat, Iain||Mr. Reginald Eyre and|
|Osborn, John||Stainton, Keith||Mr. Bernard Weatherill.|
|Abse, Leo||Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Dempsey, James|
|Albu, Austen||Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Doig, Peter|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Cant, R. B.||Dormand, J. D.|
|Allen, Scholefield||Carmichael, Neil||Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Douglas-Mann, Bruce|
|Ashley, Jack||Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Driberg, Tom|
|Ashton, Joe||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Duffy, A. E. P.|
|Atkinson, Norman||Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Dunn, James A.|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Dunnett, Jack|
|Barnes, Michael||Cohen, Stanley||Eadie, Alex|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Coleman, Donald||Edelman, Maurice|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Concannon, J. D.||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)|
|Baxter, William||Conlan, Bernard||Edwards, William (Merioneth)|
|Beaney, Alan||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Ellis, Tom|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||English, Michael|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Crawshaw, Richard||Evans, Fred|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Cronin, John||Ewing, Harry|
|Bishop, E. S.||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Faulds, Andrew|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Fisher,Mrs. Doris(B'ham,Ladywood)|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)|
|Booth, Albert||Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Fitt, Gerard (Belfast, W.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Dalyell, Tam||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)|
|Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)|
|Bradley, Tom||Davidson, Arthur||Foley, Maurice|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Foot, Michael|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Ford, Ben|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)||Forrester, John|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Fraser, John (Norwood)|
|Buchan, Norman||Deakins, Eric||Freeson, Reginald|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Delargy, H. J.||Galpern, Sir Myer|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Garrett, W. E.|
|Gilbert, Dr. John||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Golding, John||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Richard, Ivor|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||McBride, Neil||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Gourlay, Harry||McCann, John||Roberts,Rt.Hn.Goronwy(Caernarvon)|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||McCartney, Hugh||Roderick, Caerwyn E.(Br'c'n&R'dnor)|
|Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||McElhone, Frank||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||McGuire, Michael||Roper, John|
|Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Mackenzie, Gregor||Rose, Paul B.|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Mackie, John||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Mackintosh, John P.||Sandelson, Neville|
|Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Maclennan, Robert||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Hamling, William||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Hannan, William (G'gow, Maryhill)||McNamara, J. Kevin||Short, Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Hardy, Peter||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Hattersley, Roy||Marks, Kenneth||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Marquand, David||Sillars, James|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Marsden, F.||Silverman, Julius|
|Hilton, W. S.||Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Skinner, Dennis|
|Hooson, Emlyn||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Small, William|
|Horam, John||Mayhew, Christopher||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Meacher, Michael||Spearing, Nigel|
|Huckfield, Leslie||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Mendelson, John||Stallard, A. W.|
|Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Millan, Bruce||Steel, David|
|Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Milne, Edward||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)|
|Hunter, Adam||Molloy, William||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Strang, Gavin|
|Janner, Greville||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Jeger, Mrs. Lena||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Swain, Thomas|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Moyle, Roland||Taverne, Dick|
|Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Thomas,Rt.Hn.George (Cardiff,W.)|
|John, Brynmor||Murray, Ronald King||Thomson. Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Oakes, Gordon||Tinn, James|
|Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Ogden, Eric||Tomney, Frank|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||O'Halloran, Michael||Torney, Tom|
|Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||O'Malley, Brian||Tuck, Raphael|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Oram, Bert||Varley, Eric G.|
|Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Orbach, Maurice||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Orme, Stanley||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Oswald, Thomas||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Judd, Frank||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Wallace, George|
|Kaufman, Gerald||Padley, Walter||Watkins, David|
|Kelley, Richard||Paget, R. T.||Weitzman, David|
|Kerr, Russell||Palmer, Arthur||Wellbeloved, James|
|Kinnock, Neil||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Lambie, David||Pardoe, John||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|Lamond, James||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Latham, Arthur||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)||Whitlock, William|
|Lawson, George||Pavitt, Laurie||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Pendry, Tom||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Leonard, Dick||Pentland, Norman||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Lestor, Miss Joan||Perry, Ernest G.||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Prentice. Rt. Hn. Reg.||Woof, Robert|
|Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Prescott, John|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Lipton, Marcus||Price, William (Rugby)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Probert, Arthur||Mr. Joseph Harper and|
|Loughlin, Charles||Rankin, John||Mr. Ernest Armstrong.|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining Proceedings on the Bill:—
§ 1. The Standing Committee to which the Bill is allocated shall report the Bill to the House on or before the 29th day of March.
§ Report and Third Reading
§ 2.—(1) The Proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading of the Bill shall be completed116
§ in three allotted days and shall be brought to a conclusion at Eleven o'clock on the last of those days; and for the purposes of Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) this Order shall be taken to allot to the Proceedings on Consideration such part of those days as the Resolution of the Business Committee may determine.
§ (2) The Business Committee shall report to the House their resolutions as to the Proceedings on Consideration of the Bill, and as to the allocation of time between those Proceedings and Proceedings on Third Reading, not later than the fourth day on which the House sits after the day on which the Chairman of the Standing Committee reports the Bill to the House.117
§ (3) The resolutions in any report made under Standing Order No. 43 (Business Committee) may be varied by a further report so made, whether or not within the time specified in sub-paragraph (2) of this paragraph, and whether or not the resolutions have been agreed to by the House.
§ Procedure in Standing Committee
§ 3.—(1) At a Sitting of the Standing Committee at which any Proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion under a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee the Chairman shall not adjourn the Committee under any Order relating to the sittings of the Committee until the Proceedings have been brought to a conclusion.
§ (2) No Motion shall be made in the Standing Committee relating to the sitting of the Committee except by a Member of the Government, and the Chairman shall permit a brief explanatory statement from the Member who makes, and from a Member who opposes the Motion, and shall then put the Question thereon.
§ 4. No Motion shall be made to postpone any Clause, Schedule, new Clause or new Schedule, but the resolutions of the Business Sub-Committee may include alterations in the order in which Clauses, Schedules, new Clauses and new Schedules are to be taken in the Standing Committee.
§ Conclusion of Proceedings in Committee
§ 5. On the conclusion of the Proceedings in any Committee on the Bill the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.
§ Dilatory motions
§ 6. No dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, Proceedings on the Bill shall be made in the Standing Committee or on an allotted day except by a Member of the Government, and the Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.
§ Extra time on allotted days
§ 7.—(1) On an allotted day paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted business) shall apply to the Proceedings on the Bill for one hour after Ten o'clock.
§ (2) Any period during which Proceedings on the Bill may be proceeded with after Ten o'clock under paragraph (7) of Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) shall be in addition to the period under this paragraph.
§ Standing Order No. 13
§ 8. Standing Order No. 13 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of select committees at commencement of public business) shall not apply on an allotted day.
§ Private business
§ 9. Any private business which has been set down for consideration at Seven o'clock on an allotted day shall, instead of being considered as provided by the Standing Orders, be considered at the conclusion of the Proceedings 118 on the Bill on that day, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted Business) shall apply to the private business for a period of three hours from the conclusion of the Proceedings on the Bill or, if those Proceedings are concluded before Ten o'clock, for a period equal to the time elapsing between Seven o'clock and the completion of those Proceedings.
§ Conclusion of Proceedings
§ 10.—(1) For the purpose of bringing to a conclusion any Proceedings which are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee or the Business Sub-Committee and which have not previously been brought to a conclusion, the Chairman or Mr. Speaker shall forthwith proceed to put the following Questions (but no others), that is to say—
- (a) the Question or Questions already pro posed from the Chair, or necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed (including, in the case of a new Clause or new Schedule which has been read a second time, the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill);
- (b) the Question on any amendment or Motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of any Member, if that amendment or Motion is moved by a Member of the Government;
- (c) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded;
§ (2) Proceedings under sub-paragraph (1) of this paragraph shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.
§ (3) If, at Seven o'clock on an allotted day, any Proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion at or before that time have not been concluded, any Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 (Adjournment on specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration) which, apart from this Order, would stand over to that time shall stand over until those Proceedings have been concluded.
§ (4) If, on an allotted day, a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 stands over to Seven o'clock on an allotted day, or to any later time under sub-paragraph (3) above, the bringing to a conclusion of any Proceedings on the Bill which, under this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee, are to be brought to a conclusion on that day at any hour falling after the beginning of the Proceedings on that Motion shall be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the Proceedings on that Motion.
§ Supplemental orders
§ 11.—(1) The Proceedings on any Motion moved in the House by a Member of the Government for varying or supplementing the 119 provisions of this Order (including anything which might have been the subject of a report of the Business Committee or Business Sub-Committee) shall, if not previously concluded, be brought to a conclusion one hour after they have been commenced, and the last foregoing paragraph shall apply as if the Proceedings were Proceedings on the Bill on an allotted day.
§ (2) If any Motion moved by a Member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order is under consideration at Seven o'clock on a day on which any private business has been set down for consideration at Seven o'clock, the private business shall stand over and be considered when the Proceedings on the Motion have been concluded, and paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 3 (Exempted Business) shall apply to the private business so standing over for a period equal to the time for which it so stands over.
§ (3) If on an allotted day on which any Proceedings on the Bill are to be brought to a conclusion at a time appointed by this Order or a Resolution of the Business Committee the House is adjourned, or the sitting is suspended, before that time, no notice shall be required of a Motion moved at the next sitting by a Member of the Government for varying or supplementing the provisions of this Order.
§ 12. Nothing in this Order or in a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee or the Business Committee shall—
- (a) prevent any Proceedings to which the Order or Resolution applies from being taken or completed earlier than is required by the Order or Resolution, or
- (b) prevent any business (whether on the Bill or not) from being proceeded with on any day after the completion of all such Proceedings on the Bill as are to be taken on that day.
§ 13.—(1) References in this Order to Proceedings on Consideration or Proceedings on Third Reading include references to Proceedings, at those stages respectively, or, on or in consequence of re-committal.
§ (2) On an allotted day no debate shall be permitted on any Motion to re-commit the Bill (whether as a whole or otherwise), and Mr. Speaker shall put forthwith any Question necessary to dispose of the Motion, including the Question on any amendment moved to the Question.
§ 14. In this Order—
§ 'allotted day' means any day (other than a Friday) on which the Bill is put down as the first Government Order of the Day;
§ 'Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee' means a Resolution of the Business Sub-Committee as agreed to by the Standing Committee;
§ 'Resolution of the Business Committee' means a Resolution of the Business Committee as agreed to by the House.