HC Deb 29 April 1975 vol 891 cc391-417

Lords Amendmen: No. 20, in page 15, line 36, leave out Clause 19.

Mr. Millan

I beg to move, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.

This amendment seeks to eliminate Clause 19 from the Bill. The question of Clause 19 has been discussed by the House on a number of occasions. We discussed the matter on Second Reading, in Committee, and on Report. Therefore we are dealing with a matter which has been very well covered already. In those circumstances I intend simply to state briefly again the Government position on this matter.

The effect of Clause 19 is to amend Section 201 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1947, which is the basic provision at the moment dealing with default procedures. Section 201 is a defective section in that once the Secretary of State has decided whether or not a surcharge should be made upon the persons in default, the persons become liable jointly to pay the whole amount involved.

That is an inflexible procedure. That was recognised by the previous Government, because they introduced a provision in the Local Government Act (Scotland) 1973 which said that the Secretary of State, in applying these default procedures, must have regard to all the circumstances of the case, including such information as may be available to him as to the means of any persons concerned and their ability to pay. Therefore the 1973 Act allows the necessary flexibility to the Secretary of State and it allows the Secretary of State to have regard to the ability to pay of the persons concerned.

Section 19 of the Bill seeks to insert a similar provision into the present law and to allow the Secretary of State to consider any interim reports from auditors, received by him at any time after 1st September 1973, in the terms of the clause as we have laid it out here, so that he can have regard to all of the circumstances of the case. That will include the similar provision contained in the 1973 Act regarding information available to the Secretary of State as to the means of any person against whom a surcharge might be made.

The reason for this clause is that we wish the additional flexibility with which it will provide us to be used in dealing with interim reports which have arisen from the default of councillors under the Housing (Financial Provisions) Scotland Act 1972.

I shall not argue the case again. The principle of flexibility and of having this kind of method in dealing with interim reports is accepted by both sides of the House because a similar provision appeared in the Conservative Government's 1973 Act.

The second point is that there is no question of retrospection in the sense of the Secretary of State being able to use this power to absolve any councillor from a liability which he has incurred already because no surcharges have been made, and therefore there is no question of any person who is under a penalty at the moment having that penalty removed by this provision. Therefore in that sense—which is the major sense of retrospection—there is no retrospection involved in the clause.

As I say, when we discussed this matter before, the main argument that we used was that, particularly in the circumstances with which we were dealing under the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1972, it did not make sense to deal with these matters under the inflexible powers of the 1947 Act. It is meaningless in a practical sense because we know that in most cases the councillors concerned are highly unlikely to be able to afford to pay surcharges based on the loss of revenue involved in the interim reports.

Mr. Teddy Taylor

Has the hon. Gentleman any evidence that the councillors cannot afford to pay? Has he any evidence that the ratepayers in the areas concerned can afford to pay?

Mr. Millan

We have gone over this ground considerably. In some instances, the ratepayers have already paid. This, again, is a difference between the Scottish and the English situations, because the deficits concerned have been rated for already. So there is no issue outstanding on that matter, either.

The real question is whether we want to proceed by the present inflexible procedures, or whether we want to use the more flexible procedures provided for under Clause 19. I repeat that the need for flexibility was recognised by the previous Government, as was the need for a little common sense and humanity in dealing with this matter.

Although I am sorry to say that that does not seem to have been recognised by the Conservative Opposition in this House, it has been recognised by the former Secretary of State, now in another place. Lord Campbell, in another place, did not use the arguments that have been used in this House about Clause 19. I imagine that one reason for that was that, as the Secretary of State who introduced the 1973 Act, he found himself under certain inhibitions when it came to attacking Clause 19 in the wholehearted way in which it was attacked by his right hon. and hon. Friends in this House.

Lord Campbell said that he thought that the procedures under the 1947 Act should be carried through to their logical conclusion. He suggested that at that point the Secretary of State should introduce some form of parliamentary process in relation to the individuals concerned to mitigate or ameliorate the full rigour of the law.

I see one or two Opposition Members showing some puzzlement about that. It is puzzlement that I share. It seems an extraordinary proposition. If that were to happen, the parliamentary proposals which have been referred to could be done only by legislation, and it seems a remarkably cumbersome way of reaching what is essentially the same result to go through the procedures of the 1947 Act and, having reached certain conclusions about them, then to come to Parliament to have the procedures set aside and tempered by new legislation having some regard to the new situation.

Mr. Gordon Wilson

Does the Minister agree that if we followed Lord Campbell's proposals in the other place and brought in separate legislation after the procedures of the 1947 Act had been carried through, it would in effect be retrospective legislation?

Mr. Millan

Yes. I was about to make that point. It is an extraordinary proposition. As I have pointed out, we are not providing for retrospective legislation, but to go through the procedures would mean retrospective indemnity for the councillors concerned. It is an extraordinary proposition and procedure.

If the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor) agrees with what was put in the other place—we must assume that the Conservative Party has also changed its mind about it—the Opposition are putting forward a quite extraordinary proposition. It is a circuitous way of reaching what can be arrived at in a more direct way by providing the additional flexibility that we are providing in Clause 19.

When the Clause is reinserted, as we wish, and my right hon. Friend makes decisions on these matters, he will be able to use the provisions of the clause and take account of all the circumstances, including the means of the persons concerned. It is not for me to anticipate the decisions that my right hon. Friend will reach. It is for this House to provide him with the statutory power to reach decisions in a sensible and practical way.

I hope that it will also have regard to the fact that the 1972 Act raised violent emotions. It meant that law-abiding councillors felt so strongly about what was being imposed on local authorities by the then Government that they had to make a stand, even if that stand were against the law. It was an unhappy episode in the relationship between central and local government. It is sensible to put that episode behind us as neatly and cleanly as we can. That was part of the purpose of Clause 19. That is why we want it reinstated in the Bill.

Mr. Teddy Taylor

The Minister, in a rather unusual speech, has appealed to us to show humanity, flexibility and common sense. Several times he asked, "What is the issue in the debate?" The issue is whether a substantial sum of money in Clydebank and elsewhere should be paid by the law-breaking councillors or by the law-abiding citizens and ratepayers of Clydebank. This is the only issue that we have to decide.

I hope that Members of the Scottish National Party, who have a most unusual record on this issue, which ended on Report with them standing by lawbreaking councillors, will note that the issue that we have to decide is whether the law-breaking councillors or the law-abiding ratepayers pay for the law breaking. That is all that we are deciding tonight.

The Minister said that we had discussed this issue on many occasions. Indeed, it has become known as the Clydebank issue, although it affects a substantial number of burghs in Scotland. That is because the Clydebank council, for a variety of reasons, has a special notoriety.

We have protested each time because we consider that to propose what is undoubtedly retrospective legislation for bailing out law-breaking councillors is one of the most shameful and cynical steps ever taken by a democratic Government.

11.0 p.m.

This is nothing more than a shabby political pay-off to a bunch of irresponsible councillors who brought shame on Scottish local government. The flouting of the law was not a passing protest. It was a deliberate and politically motivated flouting of the will of a democratically-elected Parliament.

Second, the issue was part of a campaign of deliberate political distortion by the Labour Party about the Housing Finance Act 1972—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) always talks a great deal on these occasions. I can remember him and others saying that tenants could not afford to pay 50p extra a week. Now he and all his hon. Friends are supporting the Secretary of State in cheerfully forcing up the rents of SSHA and other houses. Is he prepared to sit down in protest in front of St. Andrew's House because the Secretary of State is forcing up the rents of the council tenants in his con- stituency? I think that he will be a lot quieter now than he was on the Tory Bill.

Third, the Government are creating a new concept of law which was summarised in his usual weak and apologetic fashion, which he displayed tonight, by the Minister of State in Committee on 6th February. When asked specifically whether the law should be obeyed—a simple question, one would have thought, to put to a Minister, an hon. Member or a judge—he gave a splendid answer: Local authorities should not disobey the law, but I take the view that where, unfortunately, it happens, one has to take account of why it happens and whether the Government have behaved unreasonably."—[Official Report, First Scottish Standing Committee; 6th February 1975, c. 124] If that is the attitude of the Labour Party—

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Robert Mellish)

A very good answer.

Mr. Taylor

I am astonished that the Government Chief Whip should consider that a very good answer. When we are considering whether the law should be obeyed, it is no answer to say, "It should be obeyed, but…" If this miserable Government last beyond the winter, which is highly unlikely, they will have cause to regret their advice to councillors about obeying the law.

Mr. Mellish

If a Conservative Government said that I was not allowed to go to a Roman Catholic church, I would tell the hon. Gentleman and his crowd to get stuffed, and I would still go.

Mr. Taylor

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would, and good luck to him. If a law is passed to which he objects, let him stand up for his principles and take the consequences, but do not let him go to the Labour Party and say, "I have disobeyed the law. When you get back to power, bail me out." As an honourable man, the right hon. Gentleman would stand by his principles and take the consequences. He and his colleagues would not go to the Labour Party and, as part of a dirty, shabby political deal, say, "Buy our principles out when you return to power." Yet that is what the Clydebank councillors did. The Labour Party said, "Disobey the law and we will bail you out." I hope that the right hon. Gentleman would not do anything like that.

In the other place, the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, in a vain attempt to persuade the Lords to accept the clause, said that the councillors could not afford to pay the surcharge. We have heard heart-rending tales tonight of the poverty of the Clydebank councillors. Has the Minister made inquiries into the finances of the ratepayers of Clydebank? Have they piles of extra money? If the Minister has taken the trouble to find out whether the councillors could afford to pay for their law-breaking, he should also have found out about the ratepayers.

Mr. David Lambie (Central Ayrshire)

They have plenty of money.

Mr. Taylor

I hope that that remark will be noted. The councillors cannot afford to pay, according to the hon. Gentleman, but the ratepayers have plenty of money. The shipyard workers who are being put out of work by the Government's actions will, I hope, bear in mind that the hon. Gentleman thinks that they have plenty of money to pay for law-breaking councillors. Even if they had plenty of money, if the streets of Clydebank were paved with gold, it would he shameful for the hon. Gentleman to say that law-breaking councillors should not pay while law-abiding ratepayers should.

Is the Minister saying that the people of Clydebank can afford to pay and that the Government will insist that they do? It will be the height of Socialist injustice if decent, law-abiding citizens of Clydebank have their families thrown out on to the streets and their furniture sold because they cannot afford to pay their rates, while the Secretary of State is gleefully adding to the Clydebank rates burden by passing retrospective legislation to transfer a fine for contempt of court from law-breaking councillors to law-abiding ratepayers. I see the Chief Whip laughing. Would he do me a favour? Would he ask the Secretary of State for the up-to-date position? What is the number of people who have been taken to court and had everything sold because they could not afford to pay the rates? He would be shocked by the answer.

Mr. Lambie


Mr. Taylor

I have not the information here, but what I can tell the hon. Gentleman is that I had 200 people in my constituency who were put out. That is the simple fact.

Mr. Lambie

Give us one case.

Mr. Taylor

The simple fact is—

Mr. Lambie

Give us one case.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must not interrupt from a sedentary position.

Mr. Lambie


Mr. Taylor

I will give the hon. Member—

Mr. Lambie

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Taylor

I will give the hon. Gentleman the information for which he is asking and then I shall be glad to give way.

Mr. Lambie

Give me one case. Give me one case.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must bide his time.

Mr. Taylor

In my constituency last year, I had more than 100 people put out of their homes because, for one reason or another, they could not afford to pay the combined rent and rates bill.

Mr. Lambie

Would the hon. Gentleman give us one case in his constituency where people were put out because they could not afford to pay the rates?

Mr. Taylor

I could give the hon. Gentleman that, but not now. However, I promise him that immediately after this debate I will give him the information, with name and address, of one, particularly, of those who could not pay rates. I can give him a list of 20 in relation to rent and rates. He will be aware that rates are paid direct. He will accept that people in Scotland are facing hardship and considerable hardship. It is shameful that Clydebank councillors should not pay, but that the tenants and residents there should.

The Minister of State put a fair question: what did we suggest should be done? To my mind there is only one just and honourable solution. It was the Scottish Labour Party in Parliament and outside which stirred up a campaign of political distortion about the Housing Act—and some Scottish nationalists. They incited the councillors to break the law. It is the funds of the Labour Party in Scotland which should pay the bill for law breaking. This, as we see it, is the clear message sent to us from the Lords—that we should find a just solution.

We have to answer two simple questions, and I hope that even hon. Members with closed minds, such as the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie), will think clearly about those two questions. First, should the rule of law be upheld? Our answer is a definite "Yes". If hon. Members vote against that, they will regret it.

The second question is, who should pay the bill, the law-breaking councillors and their notorious political associates or the ratepayers of Clydebank who have broken no law and committed no sin, except that they have been unfortunate enough to live under the jurisdiction of Clydebank Council? There can be only one answer. We must vote for the rule of law and for justice.

Mr. Lambie

I did not propose to speak in this debate until I heard the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor). The hon. Gentleman is known as a two-hatted politician. When he is walking in the middle-class, owner-occupier areas of Cathcart he wears a top hat. He has been wearing it tonight. When he walks among the municipal tenants in Castlemilk he wears his Keir Hardie cloth cap. As usual, the hon. Gentleman has missed the point of the Government's case. I congratulate the Government on disagreeing with the Lords amendment and on proposing that the Bill should stand as it was before it went to the House of Lords.

We in Parliament and people in the councils throughout Scotland opposed the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1972 on various principles and grounds. We said that it had been introduced to solve a problem which did not apply to Scotland. In Scotland, 80 per cent. of the people live in tenanted houses of either private owners or public authorities. In England and Wales, less than 50 per cent. of the people live in public authority houses. The case advanced by the hon. Member for Cathcart was advanced in the context of England where the majority of the people live in owner-occupied houses. It has no relevance in Scotland because most of the people live in private or public authority tenanted houses.

We opposed the 1972 Act on the ground that it was unfair to council tenants. We said that the Conservative Government were welshing on agreements which had been made between successive Governments, both Conservative and Labour, and successive councils under Conservative, Independent and Labour control from 1919 until 1972. During that time various housing Acts were passed under each of which agreements had been made between the local authorities and the Government. The local authorities agreed to build the houses and the Government agreed to pay subsidies towards their cost. The Tory Government said that under the 1972 Act they would welsh on those agreements. We therefore opposed it. Many of us advised our colleagues in the councils to oppose its implementation.

I am glad that the present Government are taking the opportunity of reversing the decision of the House of Lords. The House of Lords does not represent the people of Scotland, just as the Opposition do not represent the people of Scotland. The Tory Party is a rump party in Scotland. Even the Scottish National Party has a greater say in Scotland than the official Opposition.

I congratulate the Government on what they have done. I say to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), who has many family connections with Clay Cross. that the Scottish Ministers have done better for the councillors who opposed the Tory Act in Scotland than the English housing Ministers have done for the Clay Cross councillors.

We are not going round the House asking Scottish Members to sign Early Day Motions in support of our colleagues in Clay Cross. We do not need to, because we have great confidence in my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. When the Bill is passed the slate will have been wiped clean, and we shall start afresh.

We are preparing for the next battle, not against the Tories but against our right hon. and hon. Friends on the Front Bench, who have accepted that the Scottish Special Housing Association should increase its rents by £26 a year, and who have also accepted an increase in New Town Corporation rents. The Tories are irrelevant. While we congratulate our right hon. and hon. Friends on the Bill, we are preparing for that battle against rent increases which they favour.

11.15 p.m.

Mr. George Reid (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)

The arguments on this issue have been advanced many times, and do not require further rehearsal. All Scottish Members have had to live in an atmosphere of fire and fury over the consequences of Clause 19 for a considerable time. The last time we debated the matter we had a near apoplectic performance by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor). He and his hon. Friends desire retribution and their pound of flesh. At the other extreme we have heard extreme Socialist speeches by the hon. Members for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan) and Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie).

Against all that, I am glad to see wiser counsels prevailing in Government circles. I am particularly glad that in another place Lord Hughes appeared to concede what has been the SNP policy all along—that while councillors may well be surcharged there should be due regard to their personal circumstances. Our concern has been to temper justice with mercy.

The clause says that the Secretary of State shall have regard to all the circumstances of the case". My party has taken that to include the circumstances of the ratepayers in the locality. If they do not like what is happening, they can obtain redress at the next elections.

Mr. Teddy Taylor

Have the hon. Gentleman and his party made inquiries in Clydebank to find out whether the ratepayers can afford to pay?

Mr. Reid

Circumstances in Clydebank are in the hands of the ratepayers at the next election.

Under the clause the Secretary of State has the duty to pay due regard to such information as may be available to him as to the means of any person against whom a surcharge might be made". That is an important and just principle, well in accord with the laws of Scotland. It allows for necessary discretion on the part of the Secretary of State, preventing Scots from being faced with having their wages arrested, with sequestration of their assets, with their furniture being seized, and with being made bankrupt.

The last time the issue was debated I described it as a grey area of Scots political life. It is clear that the overwhelming majority of Scots Members opposed the 1973 Tory rent Act. If we had had a sovereign Scots Parliament it would never have gone through.

A second grey area is the confusion over retrospection. All that has happened is an attempt to vary the regulations. No decision is being specifically recalled. All we are dealing with is a variation of the criteria.

In their 1973 Act the Tories said that it was necessary for the Secretary of State to have some discretion. If they conceded that then, why not now, and why waste the time of the House in further mud slinging? The SNP does not assent to the proposition that there should be no surcharge or penalty on councillors who stand by their beliefs. We reasonably accept that some charge should be laid. All we say is that, given the magnitude of the sum involved and the corporate nature of that sum—£20,000—all the circumstances should be taken into account and some regard made to the personal means of the councillors as with any other individual who appears before the courts.

Mr. Nicholas Fairbairn (Kinross and West Perthshire)

This is a matter of the greatest importance and I sometimes have wondered during the debate whether some hon. Members comprehend the principles upon which this Chamber and the law of the land operate, whether in Scotland or England.

Mr. Lambie

Away back to your castle.

Mr. Fairbairn

It is no use the hon. Member for Central Ayrshire (Mr. Lambie) trying to make frivolous points by pointing out that the small Scottish house I live in happened at one time to have been fortified. It is useful to know, in the sort of dispensation that the hon. Member would like, that it would not have to be fortified because there were no principles and that one would always be safe in the knowledge that one's point of view was right.

Let us be clear about the principles we are discussing. The question is whether the citizen is entitled to take the view that in support of his opinion, whether poltical or, as the Chief Whip said, religious, or on whatever subject, he is entitled to break the law. If he takes the view that he is, this legislature imposes penalties upon him. Most people are willing to pay that penalty. In the example that the Chief Whip gave, if this legislature passed a law saying that people were forbidden from worshipping in a particular way, they would no doubt defy that law and pay the penalty. It is another matter, however, to say that, having defied the law and having paid that penalty, someone who sympathises with that citizen will remove the penalty and apply it to someone else who did not break the law.

Mr. John Robertson (Paisley)

We are dealing here not just with Clydebank. There were, for instance, local authorities which were technically in default but which had no wish to break the law. In order to obey the law they had to anticipate it.

Mr. Fairbairn

There has never been a circumstance so far as I know, until the recent Finance Act, in which in order to obey the law one had to anticipate it.

Mr. Robertson

This was one.

Mr. Fairbairn

Let us be under no doubt that the penalty one man has incurred under the law as it stands has been passed to those who have not offended against any law. The basis upon which this has been argued is that it would be unfair if those who did not like the law had to pay the penalty for disobeying it. Is it not more unfair that those who, whether they liked it or not, did not disobey the law have to pay the penalty of those who did? In Clydebank it is not just a question of the surcharge being incurred because councillors spent money in a particular way. Therefore this is a method of distributing between one rate- payer and another that which in cumulo they would all have had to pay.

They defied the law and the courts of Scotland. I hope that the SNP is proud of them. They were fined for contempt of court and that fine was then transferred to people who had gone about their legal and proper business. If that is not unfair, not a dictatorship, if that is not anarchy, I do not know what is.

Mr. Gordon Wilson

The hon. Member comments on fairness. Would he like to comment on the proposal advanced by the Minister of State in quoting what was said by Lord Campbell of Croy in another place about extraordinary legislation being required after the proposals of the 1947 Act had gone through? Does he not agree that, were such special legislation of a retrospective nature to be prosecuted by Parliament, the cost of indemnifying the councillors concerned would pass to the general body of taxpayers of the United Kingdom? Is not the principle the same for ratepayers?

Mr. Fairbairn

I am not particularly interested, when we are debating what the Government are putting forward, in what Lord Campbell of Croy put forward in another place. We can discuss that at another time. What is important is that we are saying here, first, that it is not fair if someone transgresses because he thinks a law is unfair, to pass his transgression on to another person who has not transgressed against the law.

Second, the Government are saying—and it seems a remarkable proposition—that when someone has offended against the law, the Secretary of State should say to him, "Let me see whether you can afford the penalty." We have a situation in which people can say, "I am rather hard up and therefore I am entitled to break as many laws as I like and to get as lenient a penalty as I can afford."

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. William Ross)

In that case may I ask whether the hon. Member would extend his condemnation to his hon. and right hon. Friends on the Opposition Front Bench, because that is exactly the law they enacted for the new local councils which are to take over o a 16th May?

Mr. Fairbairn

I will reserve my condemnation for the right hon. Gentleman alone because he is proposing this law. He knows that it is wrong. We are transferring wrongs to people who are not in the wrong.

The SNP wants the best of both worlds. On the one hand it wants to be a friend of the Labour Party. It does not surprise me that the hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Reid) should want to appear to be a friend of the Labour Party because he once was a member of that party and for all I know he probably still is.

The principle is indivisible. The judgment of Solomon was that something was either right or wrong. It is ridiculous to say that we can compromise the principle and half protect the person who is responsible for compromising the principle.

11.30 p.m.

Mr. George Thompson (Galloway)

Would the hon. Member not agree—referring to a point he has just made—that judges generally consider a person's circumstances when they come to pronounce sentence?

Mr. Fairbairn

I agree with that, but let us not forget that the judge is pronouncing upon an offence that has been committed. What is said here is that whatever offence is committed, the penalty will be decided according to a person's ability to pay, not upon the extent of the offence, or the charge that is placed upon other people who have committed no offence. That is the difference. It is an important difference in principle.

The Government propose that those who have done wrong shall not suffer a penalty but shall be entitled to transfer the penalty to those who have obeyed the law. That is a breach of every principle upon which European democracy has been founded. It is a breach of the principle of the law as we have understood it. There are plenty of laws passed in this place which I do not like, but I would not claim the right of any member of the Conservative Party or of any other party to escape from the penalties of disobeying the law, whatever his conscience may say about it.

Mr. James Sillars (South Ayrshire)

It is pleasant to follow someone who has just lectured us on obeying the law but who earns part of his income from defending people who disobey the law.

Mr. Fairbairn

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for an hon. Member to suggest that an advocate in the course of his duty is defending people contrary to their instructions just because they have been accused of a crime and are subsequently acquitted?

Hon. Members


Mr. Sillars

I have no intention of withdrawing.

Mr. Jerry Wiggin (Weston-super-Mare)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order and in accordance with the spirit of the House, and has it ever been in accordance with the spirit of the House, for hon. Members on either side to cast personal aspersions on the occupations of other hon. Members?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Oscar Murton)

I was not aware from the remarks of the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Sillars) that aspersions were being cast upon the hon. and learned Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fairbairn).

Mr. Sillars

Tonight I have listened to hon. Members on the Conservative benches maligning good, decent working-class people on Clydebank and elsewhere. This is a debating chamber, not a sixth-form debating society. The hon. and learned Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fairbairn) is well able to look after himself.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor) would do better to direct his lecture on the rule of law at Salisbury, Rhodesia than at Clydebank, Scotland. In his parliamentary career he has supported rebellion against the Crown, in that he voted against the application of sanctions to Southern Rhodesia. He should not pretend that he believes in the sanctity of the law in absolute terms.

Underlying all law must be the agreement of the people in the Government's judgment, or at least their acquiescence in it. No one can say that a Government could introduce any law under the sun I say to anyone who questions the legality of the action taken by the Clydebank councillors that the Clydebank councillors had more legality on their side than had the Tory Government. The Clydebank councillors tested their point of view with the Clydebank electorate.

Mr. Michael Brotherton (Louth)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Are we talking about Rhodesia, about Clydebank or what? Will you please ask the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Sillars) to talk about the subject we are debating?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

The hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Sillars) must develop his argument in his own way.

Mr. Sillars

Far be it from me to suggest that the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Brotherton) is a little slow on the uptake. We passed Rhodesia a long time ago. I was about to say that obviously Scottish Conservatives had forgotten about the Rhodesian affair.

In 1970, for what reasons I do not know, they produced a separate Scottish manifesto, tested it separately with the Scottish electorate and had it rejected substantially. So there was no mandate for the introduction of the Housing Finance Bill. The hon. Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) is looking extremely puzzled. If he thinks back to as long ago as 1970 he will remember that that manifesto was introduced. The real question is why—

Mr. Douglas Hurd (Mid-Oxon)

I have been listening to the debate and I am trying to follow the hon. Member's argument. There are many areas in the south of England in which there are virtually no Labour councillors or Members of Parliament. Following the hon. Member's argument, does he agree that Conservative councillors in those areas would be fully entitled to defy laws passed by the present Parliament and expect, after that defiance, to be indemnified by a future Conservative Government?

Mr. Sillars

After that question I cannot understand—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer"] I am about to answer. I was about to pay the hon. Member a compliment. After that question I cannot understand how he managed to write "Scotch on the Rocks".

Mr. Kevin McNamara (Kingston upon Hull, Central)

Will my hon. Friend refer the hon. Member for Mid-Oxon (Mr. Hurd) to a copy of today's edition of Hansard, when it is published, so that he can see what his own Front Bench and his hon. Friend were saying about the Community Land Bill?

Mr. Sillars

The hon. Member will no doubt take note of that remark.

Why did the Conservative Party submit a separate Scottish election manifesto if it intended to ignore it entirely? I believe that it is shameful and cynical for a political party to test its opinions on the electorate and then to ignore the electorate's point of view.

More important still, the real accusation against the Tory Party of those days was that when Scotland was crying out for houses to house her homeless families, all that it could do was to pursue a political vendetta against the Scottish Labour movement.

I am delighted that the Labour Government will wipe the slate clean, so that we can start on the real problem of Scotland and put decent roofs over the heads of the decent working-class people of Scotland.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton (Edinburgh, West)

I shall draw the threads of the debate together as quickly as possible. The Minister made an important point earlier, when he said that the Conservative Party—the last Government—introduced legislation which was similar in certain aspects to the 1973 Act, so why do we oppose this clause? I would mention one essential fact to the Minister. Under the 1973 Act was not incumbent upon the Secretary of State for Scotland to take penalties from councillors and put those penalties elsewhere. The Act merely gave the Secretary of State flexibility if there were grounds for it. So whether one used flexibility depended to a large extent on one's expectations of the way in which the Secretary of State would use it.

We all know that the reason for this enabling clause in this retrospective piece of legislation is to allow the Secretary of State to indemnify the councillors of Clydebank who broke the law, or councillors elsewhere in Scotland—

Mr. John Robertson

The hon. Member will recognise that there are other councils involved. For instance, Paisley is involved. That was a town council which had resolved to obey the law. Yet that council is involved in this legislation.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

I accept entirely what the hon. Member says. I mentioned "elsewhere in Scotland". There is no contradiction between supporting the 1973 Act, which gives greater flexibility to the Secretary of State, and opposing this clause, which would give retrospective powers to the Secretary of State. We all dislike retrospective legislation in general, but especially this legislation, because we believe that it will be used by this Government—who have little stomach for defending law and order—for indemnifying defaulting councillors and encouraging others to defy the law for their own purposes. A reasonable Secretary of State would not use the powers in this clause.

The councillors deliberately broke the law and they did so with full intent. Some of them gloried in their prospective martyrdom. I sum up my attitude towards them in the words of a distinguished member of the Labour Party referring to a distinguished colleague in the Labour Party. Mr. Ernest Bevin said of George Lansbury. He has been carrying these martyr's faggots around with him for years. All I did was to set a light to them. Far from setting light to the faggots of any councillors in Scotland, the Secretary of State has decided instead to burn up the money of the Clydebank ratepayers.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

It is a pity that the hon. Gentleman did not take his analogy further. Had he done his research properly he would have found that it was a Conservative Prime Minister who relieved Lansbury and his colleagues of the surcharge.

Lord Douglas-Hamilton

I am interested in that. If the hon. Gentleman will send me chapter and verse I shall consider it fully.

The situation in Scotland is quite different from the situation in England. In Scotland a fine of £20,000 was imposed on the councillors of Clydebank, and that did not happen to the gentlemen in England whom the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) knows so well. I see no humanity and no justice in imposing upon the ratepayers of Clydebank a fine of —20,000 which was incurred by their councillors.

It is argued that councillors are the elected representatives of the ratepayers and the ratepayers are therefore liable for the consequences of the councillors' actions. The answer is that the ratepayers are responsible only for the actions of their councillors if those actions are within the terms of their office and the law. No public servant in this country can be elected to perform criminal actions. Such actions must always be ultra vires. For example, if a Member of Parliament owed a sum of money his electors would have a great grievance if they were asked to pay for the peccadilloes of their representative. That is a precise analogy to the Clydebank councillors.

If the Government give in to the lawbreakers in this case, they will have no moral right to object to ratepayers who refuse to pay their rates, to self-employed persons who refuse to pay their national insurance contributions, to Scottish fishermen who blockade Scottish ports, or to any person in our society who takes the law into his own hands. Respect for the law is indivisible, and if one part of the law is brought into disrepute by defiance, other people are encouraged to defy it for their own purposes. The only reason for the clause is to allow the Secretary of State to indemnify the councillors at the expense of innocent ratepayers.

Mr. Gordon Wilson

Would the hon. Gentleman care to comment on the statement advanced by the Minister of State on the remarks by the leader of the Conservative group in the House of Lords which produced the amendment? Does the hon. Gentleman agree that there is no difference between an indemnity now and an indemnity by special legislation brought in later which is properly and truly retrospective?

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

It is essential that the ratepayers of Clydebank should not be forced to pay the £20,000 fine which was imposed on the councillors. I hope that I am wrong in my suspicions, and I would welcome an assurance from the Secretary of State that he has no intention to penalise the ratepayers, but without that assurance we cannot afford to give the Secretary of State the powers contained in the clause which we believe he will almost certainly dreadfully misuse.

11.45 p.m.

Mr. Millan

We have covered a fair bit of ground tonight, not all of it completely relevant to the debate, and I will briefly comment on some of the matters that have been raised.

I am a little puzzled to understand why there is still so much excitement about the Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1972, because the Government completely repealed that Act by a Bill which went through the House during this parliamentary Session. That episode is now closed. We are dealing with what is essentially a tie-up operation.

No explanation has been given during Second Reading, in Committee, on Report or during this debate why this provision should be so shocking when it is almost the same as a provision that was included by the Conservative Government in the 1973 Act. What can be so intrinsically disagreeable, dishonourable, evil or sinister about this provision when it is essentially the same as the provision which the Conservative Government introduced for similar reasons—no doubt, very good reasons—in the 1973 Act? I have asked that question on numerous occasions and I ask it again. No justification has been advanced for the charges that have been made by the Conservative Opposition, and they introduced almost exactly the same provision in 1973.

But the case is much stronger than that. Not only was the change made in the 1973 Act, but there were cases of interim reports by auditors on other matters—for example, school milk—under the 1947 legislation. However, no action was taken by the Secretary of State. It was not a question of looking at the circumstances and the means of the persons concerned. It was simply that no action was taken. No surcharges were made in the school milk case, although certain councillors in Scotland deliberately defied the law.

What is the difference between taking action under earlier legislation and doing what the Government are attempting to do under the Bill? One difference is that the previous Secretary of State achieved particular conclusions by default. At least we are honest enough to put our intentions in the Bill so as to give the Secretary of State the necessary flexibility in the light of all the circumstances, including the circumstances of the ability to pay of the councillors concerned.

Having taken these powers, I cannot anticipate how my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will implement them. However, we are introducing them quite openly because we believe that it would not be right for my right hon. Friend merely to act by default in the manner adopted by his predecessor. We believe that if the Secretary of State wishes to have flexibility he should have the necessary powers written exclusively in an Act of Parliament. That is what the argument is about. It is not about retrospection because there is no retrospection involved.

There has been a good deal of argument about ability to pay. I wish some Conservative Members would explain, as a matter of practicalities, how some of these surcharges if imposed in full on some of the councillors concerned could be levied in practice. It is an impracticable proposition because we are dealing with very substantial sums of money and with councillors of very limited means.

The hon. and learned Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fair-bairn) said that we were excusing—or "indemnifying" was the word he used, which is an inaccurate use of that legal expression—councillors from paying the penalty. But there have been no penalties imposed on them and therefore they cannot pay them. He said that we were excusing those councillors from payment and instead were imposing payments on the local ratepayers. But in a practical sense there is no way in which these sums could be recovered from the councillors because we all know that they could not possibly afford to pay these substantial surcharges.

Mr. Fairbairn

The Minister must be aware that the Clydebank councillors incurred two fines for contempt of court, one of —5,000 and one of —20,000. Surely he is not suggesting that in passing on those sums to the ratepayers those councillors are not being indemnified. Is he suggesting that if Mr. Stonehouse cannot pay his debts he should be indemnified?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must not refer to a right hon. Member of this House in that fashion.

Mr. Millan

The hon. learned Gentle-man is wrong in his comments about the legal situation. It was not the Clydebank councillors who were fined. It was the town council which was fined as a corporation by the Scottish courts. All that has happened is the issue of an interim report, but no penalties have been imposed on individual councillors and there is no question of retrospection.

I am sorry to put a lawyer right on these legal matters, but the hon. Member for Edinburgh, West (Lord James Douglas-Hamilton), who also is a lawyer, went even more astray on the legal point. He spoke of criminal actions. There are no criminal actions involved here. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman is suggesting that the councillors should be sent to gaol. I gather that some hon. Members say they should. But there is no provision in the 1947 Act, never mind the 1963 Act, to bring about that conclusion. The hon. Gentleman has demonstrated that he does not know the first thing about the existing situation, never mind anything else.

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton

Is the Minister not aware that two offences of contempt of court are quasi-criminal offences?

Mr. Millan

The fine was not imposed on individual councillors but on the town council. There has been no offence, and for that matter there has been nothing so far in regard to the councillors of Clydebank, except an interim auditor's report. There is no question of any criminal action. We are dealing with the practicalities of the situation.

By Clause 19 we are reproducing in the existing situation almost exactly the same position as will be the law of the land in Scotland under the 1973 Act from 15th May 1975. That is the effect of what we are doing in the clause, and we are taking this action because we believe that the existing law is inadequate to deal with the present situation.

The Housing (Financial Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1972, which is now set aside and repealed, produced an extremely difficult situation for central Government and councillors alike. It was a disgraceful episode in public life in Scotland. The sooner we set it all aside and start afresh and re-establish the relationship of mutual confidence and trust between central Government and local councillors, the better.

Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 249, Noes 225.

Division No. 194.] AYES [11.54 p.m.
Anderson, Donald Carmichael, Neil Dunnett, Jack
Archer, Peter Carter-Jones, Lewis Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Armstrong, Ernest Cartwright, John Eadie, Alex
Ashley, Jack Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Edge, Geoff
Ashton, Joe Clemitson, Ivor Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)
Atkinson, Norman Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen Ennals, David
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)
Bain, Mrs Margaret Corbett, Robin Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Evans, John (Newton)
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Ewing, Harry (Stirling)
Bates, Alf Crawshaw, Richard Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.
Bean, R. E. Cronin, John Fitch, Alan (Wigan)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Cryer, Bob Flannery, Martin
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Bidwell, Sydney Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Ford, Ben
Bishop, E. S. Davidson, Arthur Forrester, John
Blenkinsop, Arthur Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)
Booth, Albert Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Davies, Ifor (Gower) Freeson, Reginald
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Bradley, Tom Deakins, Eric Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Gilbert, Dr. John
Broughton, Sir Alfred de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Ginsburg, David
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Delargy, Hugh Golding, John
Buchan, Norman Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Gould, Bryan
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Dempsey, James Graham, Ted
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Doig, Peter Grant, John (Islington C)
Campbell, Ian Dormand, J. D. Grocott, Bruce
Canavan, Dennis Duffy, A. E. P. Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Hardy, Peter McNamara, Kevin Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Harper, Joseph Madden, Max Sillars, James
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mahon, Simon Silverman, Julius
Hart, Rt Hon Judith Marquand, David Skinner, Dennis
Hatton, Frank Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Small, William
Hayman, Mrs Helene Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Heffer, Eric S. Meacher, Michael Spriggs, Leslie
Hooley, Frank Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Stallard, A. W.
Horam, John Mikardo, Ian Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Millan, Bruce Stoddart, David
Huckfield, Les Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) Stott, Roger
Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Mitchell, R. C. (Sotton, Itchen) Strang, Gavin
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Hunter, Adam Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Newens, Stanley Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Noble, Mike Thompson, George
Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Oakes, Gordon Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Jeger, Mrs Lena Ogden, Eric Tierney, Sydney
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) O'Halloran, Michael Tinn, James
John, Brynmor O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian Tomlinson, John
Johnson, James (Hull West) Orbach, Maurice Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Ovenden, John Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Owen, Dr David Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Palmer, Arthur Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Parry, Robert Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Judd, Frank Perry, Ernest Ward, Michael
Kaufman, Gerald Phipps, Dr Colin Watkins, David
Kelley, Richard Price, C. (Lewisham W) Watkinson, John
Kerr, Russell Price, William (Rugby) Watt, Hamish
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Radice, Giles Weetch, Ken
Kinnock, Neil Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) Weitzman, David
Lambie, David Reid, George White, Frank R. (Bury)
Lamborn, Harry Richardson, Miss Jo White, James (Pollok)
Lamond, James Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Whitlock, William
Leadbitter, Ted Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Lee, John Robertson, John (Paisley) Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Roderick, Caerwyn Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Lipton, Marcus Rodgers, George (Chorley) Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Litterick, Tom Rodgers, William (Stockton) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Lomas, Kenneth Rooker, J. W. Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Loyden, Eddie Rose, Paul B. Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Luard, Evan Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Lyon, Alexander (York) Rowlands, Ted Woodall, Alec
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Ryman, John Woof, Robert
McElhone, Frank Sandelson, Neville Wrigglesworth, Ian
MacFarquhar, Roderick Sedgemore, Brian Young, David (Bolton E)
McGuire, Michael (Ince) Selby, Harry
Mackenzie, Gregor Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mackintosh, John P. Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne) Miss Betty Boothroyd and
Maclennan, Robert Shore, Rt Hon Peter Mr. Laurie Pavitt.
Adley, Robert Buck, Antony Fairbairn, Nicholas
Aitken, Jonathan Budgen, Nick Fairgrieve, Russell
Alison, Michael Bulmer, Esmond Finsberg, Geoffrey
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Burden, F. A. Fisher, Sir Nigel
Arnold, Tom Carlisle, Mark Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Carr, Rt Hon Robert Fookes, Miss Janet
Awdry, Daniel Chalker, Mrs Lynda Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)
Baker, Kenneth Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Fox, Marcus
Banks, Robert Clark, William (Croydon S) Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)
Beith. A. J. Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Freud, Clement
Bell, Ronald Clegg, Walter Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Cockcroft, John Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)
Benyon, W. Cope, John Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)
Berry, Hon Anthony Cormack, Patrick Glyn, Dr Alan
Biffen, John Costain, A. P. Godber, Rt Hon Joseph
Biggs-Davison, John Crouch, David Goodhart, Philip
Blaker, Peter Crowder, F. P. Goodhew, Victor
Body, Richard Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Goodlad, Alastair
Boscawen, Hon Robert Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Gorst, John
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Drayson, Burnaby Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)
Braine, Sir Bernard du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Gray, Hamish
Brittan, Leon Durant, Tony Griffiths, Eldon
Brotherton, Michael Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Grimond, Rt Hon J.
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Grist, Ian
Bryan, Sir Paul Emery, Peter Grylls, Michael
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Eyre, Reginald Hall, Sir John
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Rossl, Hugh (HOrnsey)
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Madel, David Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Hampson, Dr Keith Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Royle, Sir Anthony
Hannam, John Marten, Neil Sainsbury, Tim
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Mates, Michael St. John-Stevas, Norman
Hastings, Stephen Mather, Carol Scott, Nicholas
Havers, Sir Michael Maude, Angus Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Hawkins, Paul Mawby, Ray Shepherd, Colin
Hayhoe, Barney Mayhew, Patrick Shersby, Michael
Heseltine, Michael Meyer, Slr Anthony Silvester, Fred
Hicks, Robert Mills, Peter Sims, Roger
Higgins, Terence L. Miscampbell, Norman Sinclair, Sir George
Holland, Philip Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Skeet, T. H. H.
Hordern, Peter Monro, Hector Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Montgomery, Fergus Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Howell, David (Guildford) Moore, John (Croydon C) Speed, Keith
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Morgan, Geraint Spence, John
Hurd, Douglas Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Hutchison, Michael Clark Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Sproat, Iain
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Stainton, Keith
Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd&W'df'd) Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Stanbrook, Ivor
Jessel, Toby Neave, Airey Stanley, John
Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Nelson, Anthony Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Neubert, Michael Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Jopling, Michael Newton, Tony Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Nott, John Stokes, John
Kaberry, Sir Donald Onslow, Cranley Stradling Thomas, J.
Kimball, Marcus Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Tapsell, Peter
King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Pardoe, John Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Kitson, Sir Timothy Parkinson, Cecil Tebbit, Norman
Knight, Mrs Jill Pattie, Geoffrey Temple-Morris, Peter
Knox, David Percival, Ian Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Lamont, Norman Peyton, Rt Hon John Townsend, Cyril D.
Lane, David Pink, R. Bonner Trotter, Neville
Latham, Michael (Melton) Prior, Rt Hon James van Straubenzee, W. R.
Lawrence, Ivan Raison, Timothy Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Lawson, Nigel Rathbone, Tim Wakehant, John
Le Marchant, Spencer Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter Viggers, Peter
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Lloyd, Ian Rees-Davies, W. R. Wells, John
Loveridge, John Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts) Wiggin, Jerry
Luce, Richard Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex) Winterton, Nicholas
McAdden, Sir Stephen Ridley, Hon Nicholas Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
McCrindle, Robert Ridsdale, Julian Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Macfarlane, Neil Rifkind, Malcolm Younger, Hon George
MacGregor, John Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Mr. Adam Butler and
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Mr. Michael Roberts.

Question accordingly agreed to.

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