HC Deb 27 January 1976 vol 904 cc379-88

Order for Third Reading read.

10.11 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Employment (Mr. Michael Foot)

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I hope that in moving the Third Reading I shall be brief. I am sure that everyone will wish that to be the course to be pursued. I hope all hon. Members will agree that, despite suggestions some weeks ago that this procedure would curtail proper discussion, we have provided sufficient time for reconsideration of the Bill. I think that the only hon. Member who has suffered under our procedure—and I apologise to him at once—is the hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Bottomley), whose amendments were not able to be called under the procedure we have followed.

Mr. Peter Bottomley (Woolwich, West)

I do not wish to go back to the occasion when some of us predicted that this would happen, especially as I was not in the House for the previous rounds. However, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to indicate whether my amendments would have been acceptable. I know that there is not time to go into the reasons for or against them.

Mr. Foot

I was about to say that, persuasive as I am sure the hon. Gentleman's speeches would have been, we would not have been able to accept his amendments. His first amendment concerned the political levy. If he looks at the existing rules of trade unions, he will see that most of the difficulties that he might think might arise are already covered. The other matters that he raised are already covered, we believe, by the provisions that enable agreements to be made between employers and unions. We think that that is the best way of dealing with the problems that the hon. Member had in mind. I cannot give him any further satisfaction than that. We hoped that he would be able to move his amendments in the proper way. There was no desire by the Government to seek to exclude him from doing so.

I think most hon. Members will agree that, contrary to the suggestions that the Government were being miserly or trying to curtail the time that the House would have to discuss these matters, we have had very full time for reconsideration of the Bill. I had in mind to state very briefly the sort of procedure that might occur, following Third Reading, in another place, but even those remarks I shall abbreviate very much further than I had previously thought.

The Bill will now go to another place once we give it a Third Reading. I trust that it will be given a Third Reading with a substantial majority such as we have been enjoying throughout the day.

When the Bill goes to another place, I hope that those concerned will recognise the view which has been expressed in such overwhelming terms by this House. I hope they will take that into account and allow the Bill to go on to the statute book speedily and without the Parliament Act needing to be invoked. That would be the simplest and most sensible course. Arrangements could be made whereby the main additional suggestion, as it is called under this procedure, which has been approved in these discussions could be added to the Bill as it was left on the previous occasion. The Press charter can be added to the propositions by the House of Lords, and it will be discussed by the methods which the Government will describe in the House of Lords.

I hope that the other place will take account of the fact that we have had substantial majorities on all the other matters that have come before us on this Bill but that this particular proposition passed this House without a dissenting voice. Since there have been these substantial majorities on a measure which is controversial, I trust that the other place will now recognise the will of the elected House of Commons and accept that fact.

I say in conclusion that many violent adjectives or nouns have been used in this debate. Indeed, I have been referred to as Dr. Faustus. It was remarked of Dr. Faustus, Let Faustus live in hell a thousand years". I dare say that some people would choose that fate for me. But surely even Dr. Faustus would have been able to knock something off that thousand years if he had been able to plead that he had spent a thousand hours on the Trade Union and Labour Relations Bill. Therefore, I ask for a remission for all those who have endured the same fate.

We believe that this measure will contribute to industrial relations and we send the Bill to the other place in that spirit. We trust that the other place will never dare to send it back again.

10.18 p.m.

Mr. James Prior (Lowestoft)

I wondered what the Secretary of State for Employment was reading so avidly during the debate. I thought that he was bored with the proceedings. I now recognise that he must have been wading through "Dr. Faustus" to find the quotation he gave.

We have regarded this Bill and its predecessor which was thrown out by the House of Lords as being particularly bad. It is a little disingenuous of the Secretary of State to say that the Press charter passed without dissent in this House. The truth is that we had long debates on the matter and went deeply into the subject of the charter. We were unsuccessful, and I suppose that the charter can be regarded as at least a step in the right direction. We believe that it will have to be greatly strengthened in a year or two and we hope that we shall then have the support of Labour Members.

The Bill has been concerned the whole way through with the issue of the freedom of the individual. Its provisions involve the exclusion or expulsion of an individual from a trade union without a properly constituted tribunal or court before which a case can be put. It also touches conscience grounds in respect of unfair dismissal when a man does not wish to belong to a trade union. We were unable even to write in the words

"deeply-held conviction." Such words have been barred from the Bill.

I see no members of the Scottish National Party present, and on no single occasion have they supported us during the passage of the Bill. So much for their ideas of freedom north of the border.

The Bill has received larger majorities than it deserved. That is certainly true when judged against the attendance during our debates of Labour Members, who have been conspicuous by their absence.

We are grateful to the Government for having given the House two days' discussion of the measure. We think that the procedure has worked reasonably well. Of course, it may have to work again on subsequent occasions. If the Government go on producing legislation like this, I would not be at all surprised if we have more of this procedure.

We believe that a sensible middle course could have been adopted between our amendments and the Government's desire to have no proper guarantees in the Bill for the rights of the individual. If we had reached an agreed solution, it would have done more to help industrial relations than any other single thing we shall do in the lifetime of this Parliament. A great opportunity has been missed.

We shall consult the TUC and seek to reach agreement—and I believe that we can—on many of the aspects concerned with the rights of the individual which the TUC leaders and their members understand, even if the Government do not. It is in that spirit that we shall approach future industrial relations. For the moment, we shall leave their Lordships to do what they like with the Bill.

Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—

The House divided: Ayes, 285, Noes 249.

Division No. 41.] AYES [10.22 p.m.
Allaun, Frank Bean, R. E. Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)
Anderson, Donald Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)
Archer, Peter Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Buchan, Norman
Armstrong, Ernest Bidwell, Sydney Buchanan, Richard
Ashley, Jack Bishop, E. S. Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)
Ashton, Joe Blenkinsop, Arthur Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Boardman, H. Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)
Atkinson, Norman Booth, Albert Campbell, Ian
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Canavan, Dennis
Bain, Mrs Margaret Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Cant, R. B.
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Bradley, Tom Carmichael, Neil
Bates, Alf Bray, Dr Jeremy Carter-Jones, Lewis
Cartwright, John Huckfield, Les Park, George
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Parker, John
Clemitson, Ivor Hughes, Mark (Durham) Parry, Robert
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Pavitt, Laurie
Coleman, Donald Hughes, Roy (Newport) Perry, Ernest
Colquhoun, Mrs Maureen Hunter, Adam Prescott, John
Concannon, J. D. Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Conlan, Bernard Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Price, William (Rugby)
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Radice, Giles
Corbett, Robin Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Janner, Greville Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Jeger, Mrs Lena Robertson, John (Paisley)
Crawford, Douglas Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Roderick, Caerwyn
Cronin, John John, Brynmor Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Johnson, James (Hull West) Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Cryer, Bob Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Rooker, J. W.
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Rose, Paul B.
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiten) Jones, Barry (East Flint) Rowlands, Ted
Dalyell, Tam Jones, Dan (Burnley) Sandelson, Neville
Davidson, Arthur Judd, Frank Sedgemore, Brian
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Kaufman, Gerald Selby, Harry
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Kelley, Richard Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Kerr, Russell Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Deakins, Eric Kilroy-Silk, Robert Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Dean Joseph (Leeds West) Kinnock, Neil Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C)
Delargy, Hugh Lambie, David Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Lamborn, Harry Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Dempsey, James Lamond, James Sillars, James
Doig, Peter Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Silverman, Julius
Dormand, J. D. Leadbitter, Ted Skinner, Dennis
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lee, John Small, William
Duffy, A. E. P. Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Dunn, James A. Lever, Rt Hon Harold Snape, Peter
Dunnett, Jack Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Spearing, Nigel
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Litterick, Tom Spriggs, Leslie
Eadie, Alex Loyden, Eddie Stallard, A. W.
Edge, Geoff Luard, Evan Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Lyon, Alexander (York) Stott, Roger
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Strang, Gavin
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) McCartney, Hugh Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
English, Michael MacCormick, Iain Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Ennals, David McElhone, Frank Swain, Thomas
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) MacFarquhar, Roderick Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) McGuire, Michael (Ince) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Mackenzie, Gregor Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Mackintosh, John P. Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Maclennan, Robert Thompson, George
Fernyhough, Rt Hn E. McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) McNamara, Kevin Tierney, Sydney
Flannery, Martin Madden, Max Tinn, James
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Magee, Bryan Tomlinson, John
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Mahon, Simon Tomney, Frank
Ford, Ben Mallalieu, J. P. W. Torney, Tom
Forrester, John Marks, Kenneth Tuck, Raphael
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Marquand, David Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Freeson, Reginald Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Mason, Rt Hon Roy Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Meacher, Michael Ward, Michael
George, Bruce Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Watkins, David
Gilbert, Dr John Mikardo, Ian Watt, Hamish
Ginsburg, David Millan, Bruce Weetch, Ken
Golding, John Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Wellbeloved, James
Gould, Bryan Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) Welsh, Andrew
Gourlay, Harry Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) White, Frank R. (Bury)
Graham, Ted Molloy, William White, James (Pollok)
Grant, George (Morpeth) Moonman, Eric Whitlock, William
Grant, John (Islington C) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Grocott, Bruce Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Moyle, Roland Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Harper, Joseph Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Newens, Stanley Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Hart, Rt Hon Judith Noble, Mike Wilson, Rt Hon H. (Huyton)
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Oakes, Gordon Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Hatton, Frank Ogden, Eric Wise, Mrs Audrey
Hayman, Mrs Helene O'Halloran, Michael Woodall, Alec
Healey, Rt Hon Denis O'Malley, Rt Hon Brian Woof, Robert
Henderson, Douglas Orbach, Maurice Wrigglesworth, Ian
Heffer, Eric S. Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Young, David (Bolton E)
Hooley, Frank Ovenden, John
Horam, John Owen, Dr David TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Howell, Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Padley, Walter Mr. Tom Pendry and
Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Palmer, Arthur Mr. David Stoddart.
Adley, Robert Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Aitken, Jonathan Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Morgan, Geraint
Alison, Michael Gray, Hamish Morris, Michael (Northampton S)
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Griffiths, Eldon Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Arnold, Tom Grist, Ian Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)
Atkins, Rt Hon H, (Spelthorne) Grylls, Michael Mudd, David
Awdry, Daniel Hall, Sir John Neave, Airey
Baker, Kenneth Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Nelson, Anthony
Banks, Robert Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Neubert, Michael
Beith, A. J. Hampson, Dr Keith Newton, Tony
Bell, Ronald Hannam, John Normanton, Tom
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Nott, John
Benyon, W. Hastings, Stephen Onslow, Cranley
Berry, Hon Anthony Havers, Sir Michael Oppenheim, Mrs Sally
Biffen, John Hawkins, Paul Osborn, John
Biggs-Davison, John Hayhoe, Barney Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Blaker, Peter Hicks, Robert Paisley, Rev Ian
Body, Richard Higgins, Terence L. Parkinson, Cecil
Boscawen, Hon Robert Holland, Philip Pattie, Geoffrey
Bottomley, Peter Hooson, Emlyn Penhaligon, David
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Hordern, Peter Percival, Ian
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Howell, David (Guildford) Peyton, Rt Hon John
Braine, Sir Bernard Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Pink, R. Bonner
Brittan, Leon Hurd, Douglas Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Hutchison, Michael Clark Price, David (Eastleigh)
Brotherton, Michael Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Prior, Rt Hon James
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Bryan, Sir Paul James, David Rathbone, Tim
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Budgen, Nick Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Bulmer, Esmond Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Burden, F. A. Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Jopling, Michael Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Carlisle, Mark Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Kaberry, Sir Donald Ridsdale, Julian
Churchill, W. S. Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Rifkind, Malcolm
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Kershaw, Anthony Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Clark, William (Croydon S) Kilfedder, James Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Kimball, Marcus Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Clegg, Walter King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Ross, William (Londonderry)
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) King, Tom (Bridgwater) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Cope, John Kitson, Sir Timothy Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Cormack, Patrick Knight, Mrs Jill Royle, Sir Anthony
Corrie, John Knox, David Sainsbury, Tim
Costain, A. P. Lament, Norman Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Crouch, David Lane, David Shelton, William (Streatham)
Crowder. F. P. Langford-Holt, Sir John Shepherd, Colin
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Latham, Michael (Melton) Shersby, Michael
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Lawrence, Ivan Sims, Roger
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lawson, Nigel Sinclair, Sir George
Drayson, Burnaby Le Marchant, Spencer Skeet, T. H. H.
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Lester, Jim (Beeston) Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Dunlop, John Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Durant, Tony Lloyd, Ian Speed, Keith
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Loveridge, John Spence, John
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Luce, Richard Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Elliott, Sir William McAdden, Sir Stephen Sproat, Iain
Emery, Peter McCrindle, Robert Stainton, Keith
Eyre, Reginald McCusker, H. Stanbrook, Ivor
Fairbairn, Nicholas Macfarlane, Neil Stanley, John
Fairgrieve, Russell MacGregor, John Steal, David (Roxburgh)
Fell, Anthony Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Stokes, John
Finsberg, Geoffrey McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Stradling Thomas, J.
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Madel, David Tebbit, Norman
Fookes, Miss Janet Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Temple-Morris, Peter
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Marten, Neil Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Fox, Marcus Maude, Angus Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Freud, Clement Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Fry, Peter Mawby, Ray Townsend, Cyril D.
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Trotter Neville
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Mayhew, Patrick Tugendhat, Christopher
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Meyer, Sir Anthony van Straubenzee, W. R.
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Mills, Peter Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Glyn, Dr Alan Miscampbell, Norman Viggers, Peter
Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Wakeham, John
Goodhart, Philip Moate, Roger Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Goodhew, Victor Molyneaux, James Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Goodlad, Alastair Monro, Hector Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Gorst, John Montgomery, Fergus Wall, Patrick
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Moore, John (Croydon C) Weatherill, Bernard
Whitelaw, Rt Hon William Wood, Rt Hon Richard TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Wiggin, Jerry Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton) Mr. Carol Mather and
Winterton, Nicholas Younger, Hon George Mr. Fred Silvester.
Question accordingly agreed to.
Bill read the Third time and passed.
That the amendments suggested by this House to the Bill be communicated to the Lords.
That Standing Order No. 73 (Consideration on report of certain Bills by a Standing Committee) be amended, as follows:—
Line 24, leave out 'and Monmouthshire'.
Line 27, leave out 'and Monmouthshire'.— [Mr. Coleman.]
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