HC Deb 20 July 1976 vol 915 cc1528-605

5.—(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 and which have not previously been brought to a conclusion, Mr. Speaker shall forthwith proceed to put the following Questions (but no others), that is to say—

  1. (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);
  2. (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;
  3. (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, 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.

If 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

6.—(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) 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 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.


7. Nothing in this Order or in a Resolution of the Business Committee shall—

  1. (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
  2. (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.


8.—(l) References in this Order to Proceedings on Consolidation 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 recommit 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.


9. 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 provided that a Motion for allotting time to the Proceedings on the Bill to be taken on that day either has been agreed on a previous day, or is set down for consideration on that day, 'the Bill' means the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill; 'Resolution of the Business Committee' means a Resolution of the Business Committee as agreed to by the House.

Mr. Speaker

I wish to inform the House that I have been asked by the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) whether I should be willing to select a manuscript amendment in his name, which differs slightly in form from the amendment now on the Order Paper as Amendment No. 4. I have decided that I am willing to do that, and if opportunity arises I shall call the hon. Gentleman or one of his hon. Friends to move the manuscript amendment, which is as follows: in paragraph 5(1)(b), leave out from first 'Member' to end of subparagraph (1)(b) and insert: 'and which shall have been selected by Mr. Speaker'.

Mr. Foot

It is only right that the facts behind the motion should be recited, as they have been somewhat swamped in the controversies of a few weeks ago. The Bill had 58 sittings in Committee, giving a total of 141 hours of discussion there. Taking into account also the Second Reading, of about six hours, and the two days of procedural discussions on the Bill, which were devoted primarily to procedural questions but also partly covered questions of merit and substance in the Bill, we see that it had a total of 159 hours' discussion. But the principal claim I make on this aspect is based on the 58 sittings in Committee, which nobody could call a small allocation of time for the Committee discussion of the Bill.

We now propose that there should be three days for discussion of the Report stage and Third Reading. I believe that that is also a substantial allocation of time. It is slightly more than the time which it was expected would be allocated to Report and Third Reading when we were proceeding to the Report stage originally and when the discussions took place on the matters raised by the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop). [Interruption.] I believe that that was the general understanding in many quarters. At any rate, at that period it looked as if the likelihood was —I place it no higher—that we should have the Report stage and Third Reading in about two and a half days. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I could state it much more highly.

I believe that all hon. Members who examine the matter fairly will see that what we propose in the motion is a substantial allocation of time. Nobody could claim that the Bill has been rushed through the House without adequate time for discussion. Compared with the time allocated to other Bills which might be considered comparable, the time proposed in the motion is very reasonable. I shall come later to figures which cover an even wider period.

Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)

I do not know where the right hon. Gentleman gets his evidence about two and a half days. He claims that three days is reasonable. How many Government amendments were involved in the Report stage? Since the selection has already been made by Mr. Speaker, may I ask how many debates have already been selected by Mr. Speaker involving Government amendments?

Mr. Foot

I stated the matter as moderately as I possibly could. It was the assumption on this side of the House at any rate that the time required for adequate discussion of the Bill on Report and Third Reading was something like two and a half days. I think that most people who had followed proceedings would have seen that that was a reasonable allocation.

Mr. Nigel Lawson (Blaby) rose

Mr. Foot

I will answer the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) first, if the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) will permit me.

On the second point, there are, of course, a considerable number of Government amendments. Many of them—my right hon. and hon. Friends will deal with the details of them—related to proposals made on behalf of the Opposition. Many of them were designed to meet much of the case that was put in the Committee stage. On Report, with Bills of this consequence, there are many amendments put down by the Opposition and many amendments from the Government, which may be accepting, or going far towards accepting, proposals which have come from the Opposition. That was the case in this Bill, as in many other previous Bills, but it does not alter the comparisons I was seeking to make.

Mr. Lawson

If the right hon. Gentleman says that three days is what would have been needed anyway, why is he introducing the guillotine motion? Further to that, is it not totally dis- ingenuous to pretend that three days ending at 11 o'clock is the same as three days which would have been open-ended and which we should have had if it were not for the guillotine motion?

Mr. Foot

The original assumption on this side of the House—and there were others who concurred with it—was not three days but two and a half days, and under this timetable motion we are allocating a longer period than two and a half days. It is perfectly true, as the hon. Gentleman states, that if there were no allocation of time order it is possible that some of the proceedings might have been longer. That is true in some cases, but that has also been taken into account in that a longer period is being allocated under this allocation of time motion than had originally been assumed.

I believe that no one in any quarter of the House, looking back fairly at what has happened over many previous Bills, could say that the allocation we are making for the further discussion of the Bill is unfair, just as no one could possibly claim that the time allocated in Standing Committee was a small amount.

Mr. Patrick Cormack (Staffordshire, South-West)rose

Mr. Foot

I will give way to the hon. Member when I have dealt with the comparison, if I may, so that hon. Members can see the position in perspective.

I should like to compare what is being done by the Government in regard to the allocation of time with what was done by a previous Conservative Administration. The charge against us is that we are censoring Parliament and suppressing free speech. Wild charges of that sort have been made against us. The comparison I seek to make is with what happened in the case of three Bills which were guillotined in 1961–62 under a Conservative Government. The Conservative Government then guillotined five Bills during the same Session. I agree that it was not five in a day but it was five in a Session, which amounts to the same thing. From the point of view of abbreviating the opportunity for debate, the comparison with an earlier Administration, which also guillotined five Bills in a Session, is a perfectly fair one.

Mr. Nicholas Fairbairn (Kinross and West Perthshire)rose

Mr. Foot

I have already indicated my intention to give way to the hon. Member for Staffordshire, South-West (Mr. Cormack), but I should like first to put these figures before the House. There were 58 sittings in Committee on the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill. The Transport Bill of the Conservative Government, in the 1961–62 Session, contained 91 clauses. That Bill was guillotined by the Government after 23 sittings in Committee. The Housing (Scotland) Bill, with 37 clauses, was guillotined after 13 sittings in Committee. The Pipe-lines Bill, with 63 clauses, was guillotined after 15 sittings in Committee.

There we have three Bills that were guillotined by a Conservative Government in one Session. Two of them were longer Bills even than the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill. If we add together the time allowed by that Conservative Government for those three Bills, we find that this Labour Government have in fact allowed more time in Committee for this one Bill than the Conservative Government allowed for three Bills—

Mr. Cormackrose—

Mr. Foot

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment. I have not forgotten him. In the face of that first fact, to say that we are suppressing free speech in dealing with this Bill is clearly absurd.

Mr. Cormack

Why does not the right hon. Gentleman instead consider what is happening today in the light of his own speeches and antics during the 1970 Parliament? Has he changed his mind? Where was the road to Damascus?

Mr. Foot

I promise the hon. Gentleman that I shall not seek to escape the point he makes about some of my own past speeches, but I will deal with it in my own order, if I may.

Wild charges have been made in many quarters, not only against myself but against the Labour Government, of suppressing free speech and curtailing the proper amount of time which should be allocated for discussion of Bills in Parliament. These are serious charges, but they cannot be fairly levelled by Conservatives against a Labour Government.

It might be thought that I selected a particular period which was advantageous to my case. In fact I selected a year which stood out clearly, when five Bills were guillotined in the same Session by a Conservative Government. But, taking the past 25 years, there have been considerably more guillotines imposed by Conservative Governments than by Labour Governments. Nineteen Bills have been guillotined by Conservative Governments and 10 Bills have been guillotined by Labour Governments during that period.

It is also relevant to compare the time allowed in Committee before guillotines were imposed. The charge against the Labour Government—and against me in particular—is that we have rushed to impose the guillotine. Far from that being the case, over these 25 years the average number of hours allowed in Committee for the consideration of Conservative Bills has been 39, whereas for Labour Bills the average number of hours of debate in Committee has been 61. En other words, about 50 per cent. more time has been allowed by Labour Governments for the consideration of Bills that were eventually guillotined than was allowed by Conservative Governments.

In the face of facts of that nature, it is not only absurd for hon. Members of this House, who know something about how business is conducted here, but even more absurd for people outside, who perhaps know less—or wish to know less—of these matters, to pretend that in some way or other this Labour Government or other Labour Governments have been seeking to impose guillotines in a frivolous or shocking manner. We have been much more reluctant to impose guillotines than were the former Tory Government. The same applies to this situation this year.

Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)

The real issue is that the President of the Council now proposes to force through five guillotines. He stated that in 1962 the Conservative Government guillotined the Transport Bill, the Housing (Scotland) Bill and the Pipe-lines Bill. Will he ask his right hon. Friend how many amendments there will be to this Bill on Report? As the Minister referred to three Bills, will he tell us how many amendments there were to those Bills on Report?

Mr. Foot

I assure the hon. Gentleman that I do not know the exact figure. I know that the matter is important. It will help to support my case. I did not quote one Bill, the debate on which took place on the Floor of the House and not in Committee. That was the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill. There were large numbers of amendments to that Bill. The comparison does nothing to suit the case.

Mr. Peter Rost (Derbyshire, South-East)

Why did not the Labour Party try to chuck it out?

Mr. Foot

We tried to chuck it out, just as the Opposition are trying to chuck out this Bill. I do not complain that they are trying to chuck it out. The Government have a right to take precautionary measures, just as the Tory Government also took precautionary measures. The difference between us is that we have resorted to the guillotine for the five Bills after a much longer period than did the Tory Government.

Mr. Eric S. Heller (Liverpool, Walton)

Does my right hon. Friend agree that four of the five Bills were taken on two separate days and that it is not true to say that more than one Bill has been taken on more than one day?

Mr. Foot

That is correct.

Mr. William Whitelaw (Penrith and The Border)

Would the Minister say today that he and his right hon. Friends wished that their efforts to stop the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill in 1962 had been successful?

Mr. Foot

I do. I have never changed my mind about the matter. I took the same view then. This is a different question, but I have given the answer for which the right hon. Gentleman asked. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman is here, as I should like to turn to him next. I am extremely gratified at his presence. I shall be grateful for any intervention he likes to make on this motion rather than on other motions, on which his last interruption might have been more appropriate.

Let me come to the question of principle that underlies these guillotines. These are matters of degree, choice, and taste in some respects. Labour Govern- ments have shown much more distaste for guillotines than have Tory Governments and have demonstrated much less readiness to resort to them. Any Member of Parliament who has been in the House for any length of time and heard these guillotine debates will agree that it is impossible to make an absolute law one way or the other, to say that there should be no guillotines or that there should always be guillotines. It is a matter of degree.

No one has stated that matter of degree better than the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Whitelaw). In some cases he states matters better than anyone else. It is true that on one occasion he had the insistence of his Chief Whip at the time, the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym). Together they devised a formula, but not in the heat of the debate, not in a rowdy guillotine debate or in a quieter debate as we are happily having today. They carefully thought what they should do about the guillotine situation. They wrote a document which they sent to the Select Committee on Procedure of 1970–71. Out of that document the Standing Order under which we are operating faithfully and properly was devised. I was asked by the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) to alter it with a fresh decision. That would have been to alter, amongst other matters, the arrangements for these debates that had been proposed by the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border and agreed by the Select Committee on Procedure and later by the House.

I come to the statement made by the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border. I hope that the House will note it carefully. Writing as a result of the recent experiences of that time, the right hon. Gentleman and his Chief Whip at that time stated the matter about as well as it could be stated. They referred to past experience, including the 48 Bills which had been dealt with in Standing Committee from 1968 to 1969 and in 246 sittings, which was an average of five sittings per Bill. Only nine Bills involved more than 10 sittings.

I turn aside for the moment to compare that with the 58 sittings for the Bill that we are discussing. The right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border said Many were the subject of voluntary agreements. These figures suggest that on the whole the present arrangements work satisfactorily; but there is a small minority of Bills on which feelings run so high that without a timetable their consideration would not be completed within a reasonable period. I do not believe that any Member of Parliament would take objection to that. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad that hon. Members agree.

That does not apply to the vast majority of Bills going through the House. We are operating on that principle in the case of the small minority of Bills on which feelings run so high that without a timetable their consideration would not be completed within a reasonable period.

Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)

I appreciate the quotation from the document written by the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border (Mr. Whitelaw). The small numbers of Bills to which the Minister referred are usually measures in respect of which there may be allegations of obstruction or filibustering, with the idea of defeating the Bill by obstructing it. Is that the case with the Committee on this Bill? I was not a member of the Committee. It is alleged that there was deliberate obstruction or filibustering during the proceedings?

Mr. Foot

The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), like myself, did not have the duty of attending all the proceedings of the Committee. I shall leave it to my hon. Friend who had that duty, and who carried it out so skilfully and diligently, to reply on that subject.

It is clear that the Opposition want to delay this Bill by every means in their power. They were perfectly entitled to do that. I do not complain about that. It is clear that the Opposition sought to obstruct the Bill. They said as much. I may quote what was said by the former Leader of the Opposition. However, my hon. Friend will be able to do that at length. The then Leader of the Conservative Party, the right hon. Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath)—not the right hon. Lady—said that the Tories would do everything in their power to resist the Bill. It was so long ago that the Bill was introduced to the House that the right hon. Member for Sidcup was Leader of the Opposition.

The House should be aware of what was intended and carried out. I am not squealing about it or saying that it is scandalous or improper. I am saying that the Opposition made their position clear, not only in words but in deeds, in 58 sittings. Labour Governments are more reticent about these matters than are Conservative Governments. I have proved that by the facts, and the Government have every right to protect themselves.

Mr. Fairbairn

I am not sure that I follow the right hon. Gentleman's argument. When he objected to guillotine motions on Bills, he mentioned that he did so not as a matter of degree but as a matter of principle. Is he trying to justify his lack of principle by his accusation of lack of principle by his opponents?

Mr. Foot

I am grateful again for that intervention because I had promised to refer to my own comments on these matters. It is not true that I have opposed all guillotine motions introduced into this House or anything of the sort. Indeed, I have supported quite a number of such motions. [HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] For example, when my right hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) introduced her Transport Bill. After many sittings in Committee that measure had to be guillotined, and I defended her action. There were other occasions too. It is true that I have supported guillotines introduced by Labour Governments and opposed those introduced by Tory Governments, but there have been many more such motions introduced by the Tories.

If the Tories are to make accusations against me that I have been inconsistent, I ask them not to read my speeches but, instead, to read the speeches made on this subject by the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon). I opposed the guillotine motion that was imposed on the European Communities Bill. That was a Bill of a highly constitutional character, and the imposition of the guillotine was of an entirely different character. When I opposed that motion the right hon. and learned Member, who sought to repudiate my words, looked up what I had said on previous occasions and came across a number of occasions when I had supported a guillotine. He quoted those words against me and asked how I could then oppose a guillotine on that Bill. That only confirms what I said earlier—namely, that there are some occasions when guillotines should be opposed and some occasions when they should be supported.

If I may turn to the attitude of the Liberal Party, its difficulties in this respect are even more emphasised than the difficulties of other parties. On the proceedings on the European Communities Bill, which involved high constitutional principles and when the Conservative Government attempted to force through that measure without a single amendment, the behaviour of the Liberal Party was very strange indeed. Having swallowed that camel, Liberal Members forfeited the right to strain at any gnat in the future. These five matters they surely can swallow at one gulp. However, the Liberal Party has changed its attitude on these matters generally.

I hope that Liberal Members have studied these matters recently, because they do not always look at their own history and sometimes one has to do it for them. It so happens that another precedent for such timetable motions was an Act passed in 1908. The guillotine motion on that occasion was supported first by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, secondly by Mr. Asquith, and thirdly by Mr. Lloyd George—a more glamorous parade even than the one which has recently enchanted the country. Therefore, I hope that Liberals will examine the facts a little more carefully. They will discover that not merely did the Liberals resort to five timetable motions in a single Session, and not merely did they on one occasion introduced two on the same occasion—quite rightly, in my opinion—but they were bitterly attacked by the Conservative Opposition at that time, and that attack was supported by Mr. Balfour. He made exactly the same kind of charges against the Liberals which the Conservative Opposition are now making against me. The Conservatives say that this is a monstrous invasion and erosion of our liberty. That is as bogus a charge now as it was when they made it those many years ago.

Mr. Gordon Wilson (Dundee, East)

When the Lord President says that he was against the guillotine on the European Communities Bill because it was a constitutional measure, does he mean that the Government have no intention of introducing a guillotine motion in relation to the similarly constitutional measure involving a Scottish Assembly?

Mr. Foot

Wait and see, if I may use that Asquithian phrase which always comes in so useful. I hope that we shall be able to avoid any timetable motion in dealing with that Bill because, for the reasons I have already stated, I believe that such motions should be avoided if possible. I think that they should be introduced only after considerable opportunity has been allowed for debate. That is the principle on which the Labour Party has operated, and I believe that it is just.

Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)

The right hon. Gentleman will recall that great opportunity for debate was given on the other constitutional Bill, the European Communities Bill, and that on that occasion he still opposed a timetable motion. Will he undertake similarly to oppose a timetable motion on the devolution Bill, irrespective of how much time is granted?

Mr. Foot

I have already given the answer. If people can understand that answer in Scotland. I they should be able to understand it in Tewkesbury. It was an answer that was intended to be understood by all and sundry.

Mr. Leon Brittan (Cleveland and Whitby)

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept that, whatever all and sundry may or may nor understand, he has put his defence of the guillotine in this case, and possibly in other cases, on a basis of principle as opposed to expediency? The principle is the difference between the constitutional and the non-constitutional issue. If that is so, surely he can give a clear answer without giving details as to whether in all circumstances he would oppose a guillotine on a devolution Bill.

Mr. Foot

I have already answered that point. I based my answer on the unexceptionable and excellent statement which I quoted from the right hon. Member for Penrith and The Border. I would not like to go back on what he and I said. I accept that principle as the basis of the matter.

Mr. Norman St. John-SteNas (Chelmsford)

Let me, as one constitutional historian to another, put this point to the right hon. Gentleman. He quoted the words of Mr. Asquith—"Wait and see"—in relation to the devolution Bill, but surely he must know that when Mr. Asquith used those words they were not a reassurance but a threat. He knew that he had in his pocket the promise to create the necessary number of peers. Therefore, is the right hon. Gentleman saying that the Government have in fact made up their mind to use the guillotine on the devolution Bill, and is he relying on the rather tenuous knowledge of history in the House to conceal his intention?

Mr. Foot

If the hon. Gentleman is speaking as one constitutional lawyer to another, that should rule us both out. Certainly, if he has any quarrel with Mr. Asquith he must fight it out with others, not with myself. I was merely quoting the phrase in its common or garden use, as it has been used over 30 years or more. The historic point produced by the hon. Gentleman does not get the debate any further.

There are some in this House, and some outside, who say—though I do not think so many outside the House will say it—that a guillotine motion on controversial Bills should not be introduced by minority Governments or Governments who do not have substantial majorities. That is a view held by some hon. Members, though I do not know that they often took that view when they sat on the other side of the House. But it is held by some others in other parts of the country. It is held by some people in Fleet Street and might be called the Rees-Mogg doctrine for reducing Parliament to a farce and a nullity. There is no question but that those who would deny the right of the House of Commons to introduce controversial legislation would reduce Parliament to a nullity.

There are many occasions when Governments, even minority Governments— and this is not a minority Government, as we shall see—introduce controversial measures and have to face the criticism and say "These are the essential measures required for the welfare of the nation. We present them to Parliament, and Parliament must choose." That is what we did in this House in July last year when we introduced the Remuneration and Charges Bill, which was bitterly criticised by some of my hon. Friends and some hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side, including the Front Bench spokesman, who said that it was a constitutional monstrosity and would not work. They made these charges then, claiming we were acting in a controversial measure. Of course, the fact that we acted in a controversial measure enabled us to overcome some of the economic difficulties of the time. That is an illustration of fact for anyone who may claim that minority Governments, or Governments with small majorities, should not engage in controversial measures. That is a denial of the meaning of Parliament itself.

Those who have made such a suggestion should abandon any such proposition for the future. What is proposed to the House in this debate, and is causing the attacks made on those who have introduced these timetable motions, very late in the day, as is alleged against us by the Conservative Opposition, is a different proposition altogether. Their proposition is not that minority Governments or Governments with a small majority should not be allowed to introduce controversial measures but that a different rule and a different law should apply to Labour Governments from that applied to Conservative Governments. It is quite all right for Conservative Governments to introduce guillotine motions, and they do it on a much bigger scale. Conservative Governments are quite right, we are told, to introduce a guillotine motion when there have been 10, 11, or 12 days in Committee; but for a Labour Government to resort to the guillotine after 58 sittings in Standing Committee ah, that is a monstrous invasion of our liberty!—

The use of such language debases the whole debate in Parliament, especially so when used by the right hon. Lady the Leader of the Opposition the other day in making the accusation that this was an unprecedented attack on Parliament. My advice to her is to throw away that notebook, particularly when she charges that we are in some way introducing an Iron Curtain system. Such charges are bitterly resented on this side of the House. They will not do any service to the right hon. Lady or her party. A much greater leader than either the present Leader or the immediate past Leader of the Conservative Party made a similar charge against the Labour Party when Mr. Winston Churchill spoke of a Labour Government wanting to introduce a Gestapo. It did not do any injury to us but it did injury even to his great reputation that he should have resorted to such vulgar abuse. That is what we have had from hon. Gentlemen opposite and even from the right hon. Lady in this controversy.

I am asking that in this debate we should argue about the guillotine. Let hon. Gentlemen opposite tell us why they think we have no right to introduce such measures when they so frequently resort to them. Let them tell us why after 58 sittings we should not be able to do what they did after 12 sittings, over comparable periods with comparable Bills. Let them explain all that but let them not use the concentrated arrogance and hypocrisy of the Conservative Party in holding that somehow they have a right to use this Parliament for such purposes and to have no such attacks made upon them as have been made upon us.

We see a Labour Government as having a right and a duty to legislate against any attempts to frustrate us in the end from exercising our rights of legislation, whether in this House or in another place—and, of course, it is a particular illustration of the malice, folly and absurdity into which right hon. and hon. Members on the Opposition side have got themselves that when we exercise those ancient rights it is cheating and when they exercise them it is freedom.

We on this side are not surprised that the Conservative Opposition should have so little regard for the liberties of the British people in this House, for most of those liberties had to be fought for, against them. [Interruption.] I would even pray in aid the Liberal Party on that, because of the many rough occasions in this House when the Conserva- tive Opposition of the day tried to shout down Liberal speakers, as they shouted down Mr. Asquith or tried to deal with Mr. Lloyd George when he imposed a guillotine on the first Bill for old-age pensions. Those are some of the battles which took place in this Parliament in the past, and there should have been those on the Opposition side as well as on this side of the House who understand that a Labour Party protects the liberty of government and people very much better than any others on that side of the House.

4.47 p.m.

Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)

The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House has taken up a great deal of the limited time in this debate without adding much to what we knew already, and I am bound to say that he somewhat surprised my hon. and right hon. Friends by talking about other people using extravagant language. That, from him, really was Satan rebuking sin on a quite new scale.

The right hon. Gentleman also made the claim that he was not inconsistent. We never made the charge that he was. We would always admit that he has been perfectly consistent in his voting on guillotine motions. He has voted for every one introduced by a Labour Government and against every one introduced by a Conservative Government.

The right hon. Gentleman sees something very wicked in guillotine motions when he is on the Opposition side of the House. We believe that when the Government resort to measures of this nature they are plunging one more knife into parliamentary democracy.

Mr. Russell Kerr (Feltham and Heston)

Lazy rhetoric.

Mrs. Helene Hayman (Welwyn and Hatfield)rose—

Mr. Peyton

I will give way to the hon. Lady in a moment. Lazy rhetoric! I was very much hoping that the hon. Gentleman might say that, for the words I have just spoken come from the right hon. Gentleman himself as reported in column 153 of the Official Report of 6th March 1961. There is the lazy rhetoric.

Mrs. Haymanrose

Mr. Peyton

These motions cover five Bills. I do not doubt that Mr. Speaker's ruling yesterday was well considered by himself and by those who advise him, but that ruling—that singular can and often does mean plural—will place the House of Commons in some danger, because some Government—maybe this one—in future might feel tempted to put more than one, two or three measures into a three-hour motion, and we shall have virtually the end of any parliamentary freedom at all.

Mrs. Hayman

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. I wonder whether he could help me on the point when he was rebuking the Leader of the House for his inconsistency in supporting guillotine motions only when introduced by a Labour Government. I have not had the misfortune to be here when the Conservative Party has been in power. I feel that the right hon. Gentleman's argument would have more weight if he could tell me that he has opposed guillotine motions introduced by a Conservative Government.

Mr. Peyton

The hon. Lady should have done me the courtesy of listening to what I was saying. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to defend himself against the charge of inconsistency. I was merely saying that we had never made that charge. I have not brought up this point: the right hon. Gentleman made it.

Over many years, with great eloquence and seeming conviction, the right hon. Gentleman has denounced the guillotine as a device fatal to debate. On 6th March 1961 he said: First, I should have thought that everyone who has experience of it would agree that any debate conducted under the shadow of the Guillotine is a dead debate. When the proceedings take place, all the life, fire and cross-examination which should he part of a parliamentary debate is gone. No one will deny that. The right hon. Gentleman has not always had the regard that he now has for Government timetable motions. Again on 6th March 1961 he said: If Government timetables go through"—

Mr. Russell Kerr

When are we going to get to the modern bit?

Mr. Peyton

There is nothing very modern about the Leader of the House. If the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston (Mr. Kerr) has a train to catch, we should all be delighted to see him go, though I do not doubt that, for reasons which may become clear in a couple of hours, the Government would like him to stay. It is a matter of taste.

On 6th March 1961 the right hon. Gentleman said: If Government timetables go through exactly as Governments want, there will be a kind of dictatorship by consent Therefore. Government timetables ought to be liable to be upset every day of the parliamentary week." —[Official Report, 6th March 1961; Vol. 636, c. 148–152.] The right hon Gentleman has also been exceedingly censorious of those who have introduced guillotine motions. On one occasion—23rd April 1952—he was broad-minded enough to invoke a Conservative spokesman—Disraeli: Like all weak Governments, they resort to strong measures. How well that applies today! He went on: That is the policy being pursued by the present Government. The Leader of the House, having made a total failure in the allocation of the time of the House, having dispatched the House of Commons for a long holiday, and having miscalculated all the time he would have afterwards, now comes along and denies to the Opposition their rights, because of his own mismanagement. It is true that we are about to go on holiday—we have not come back from one. But that hardly makes life more comfortable or more easy for the Leader of the House. The right hon. Gentleman is never one to leave a good point alone when he gets on to it. On the same day—mark the words—he said: But our great, strong Leader of the House—who cannot answer Questions when it is his duty to answer questions, who cannot organise the affairs of this House, who cannot add up the days and see that he has sufficient time left over, who sends the House off for a couple of months and afterwards finds that he has to destroy parliamentary rights which have existed for generations".—[Official Report, 23rd April 1952; Vol. 499, c. 649–50.] The clear intention of the Government today is that further debates on these Bills should be dead debates. But during the course of the right hon. Gentleman's speech my hon. Friends repeatedly interrupted him to ask whether he was aware of the number of Government amendments involved in the Bill covered by the motion. I can tell him—even though he does not either know or care about the answer—that there are over 200 amendments on the Notice Paper now. I understand that there are more to come. Up to half of those are amendments of substance.

The argument which the right hon. Gentleman put just now—not for the first time—was that if a point were contained in an amendment which was there in response to a request from the Opposition, that did not mean that it had to be debated. The whole point is that again and again we have had the experience, on both Bills and amendments, of botched-up efforts by the Government which mean either nothing or not what they are required to mean.

We have nine hours today to discuss a trio of motions. There is no precedent for this in the annals of Parliament. Never before have any Government made any such proposal as this. Indeed, never before has any Minister put any proposal of any kind before this House when at the same time he had to explain away so broad a chasm between what he professes and what he practises.

In Thursday's exchanges the right hon. Gentleman was heard to say that there would have been no need for these motions had the Opposition adhered to their agreements. In a somewhat evasive reply to my right hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Atkins), the Opposition Chief Whip, the right hon. Gentleman ran away from that charge. It is important that, on behalf of the Opposition, I should make clear that there were no agreements on either the Health Services or the Rent (Agriculture) Bills, for the very good reason that the usual channels were in no condition to negotiate such agreements by the time that they might have become appropriate.

We agreed that we should end the Committee stages of the other three Bills on named days, and we did that. We did that not because we were in any way reconciled to measures that we believed, and still believe, to be both odious and irrelevant, but because we did not want to give excuses to those whom we did not trust to abbreviate or eliminate the Report stages.

Mr. Ron Thomas (Bristol, North-West)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Peyton


Mr. Ron Thomasrose

Mr. Peyton

If the hon. Gentleman will be patient, I shall give way to him.

The question is whether the Government have discharged the burden of proof. I believe that the right hon. Gentleman's words again come back to answer him—this time from 1963: What we had from the right hon. Gentleman today was not even the slightest attempt at such proof. In reply to one of my hon. Friends who asked whether he was saying that there had been any obstruction, his answer was that, at least, one could say that there had been no marked anxiety on the part of the Opposition to get the Bill through. That is all he charged us with. If that is the justification for a guillotine, one could have a guillotine in any case where the Opposition showed no marked anxiety to get a measure through. Thus, the only basis upon which the Leader of the House founded his case today, applied to this particular guillotine motion, is one on which one could have a guillotine on almost any measure a Government brought before the House of Commons.—[Official Report, 29th January 1963; Vol. 670, c. 804.]

Mr. Ron Thomas

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will not think that I am impertinent, but has he actually read the Official Report of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill Committee'? The Opposition engaged in prevarication and filibustering all the way through, and they spent 95 per cent. of the time arguing about confrontation and trying to extract the last penny for the shareholders of those companies.

Mr. Peyton

If the hon. Gentleman was on the Committee, I can understand that some of my right hon. and hon. Friends might have been provoked now and again into being slightly irrelevant. However, I do not suppose that they would yield to that temptation.

The debate today affords the Opposition not just the opportunity but the challenge to explain our concern and even our anger at the pattern of events. The Government have a very narrow majority indeed. They have no clear mandate for policies which we believe will end up in too much government, too little wealth, and a steady wearing away of choice and liberty. The Government have been fortunate in that the Opposition parties were unable or unwilling to make a common cause. Despite that, the Government would have matched the mood of the nation and served it better had they moderated their policies in the way Mr. Attlee did in 1950. But, no: they pressed on with their partisan measures and half-baked schemes for nationalisation.

As far as the aircraft industry is concerned, what sack of presents is Lord Beswick going to bring forward? I know that the aircraft factories are pervaded with rumours about the Government's intentions, but no one has any clear idea of what the nationalisation will produce.

In the shipbuilding industry it is not known how the Government intend to grapple with the excess capacities and in which constituencies the knife will fall. One thing is very certain and it is that some Labour Members who are voting for this Bill will not find that their constituents are relieved of anxieties: very far from it.

In recent weeks we have had something of a lull in this place. The Government seem to be in something of a morass created by their own insatiable appetite for legislation and their almost unlimited capacity for bungling. There were two possibilities. The first was a retreat. But that would have been an outrage, involving the Government in very considerable difficulties with their rather savage left-wing tigers.

I would have thought that the right hon. Gentleman would find the second course of pressing on equally difficult, because to do so involves revealing a real contempt for Parliament and involves him personally in a betrayal of the high words that he was once accustomed to using and that he once regarded as so important. I quote from one of his more recent references in May 1972 when he said: We have used words to try to defend freedom. That is what the great words of the English language are for. We have used our opportunities in the House of Commons to try to say to everybody outside, to everybody who may be interested, that there are questions involved which are much bigger perhaps than even the questions involved in the major debates of last October, and other dates."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd May 1972; Vol. 836, c. 232.] That is precisely the message that we want to hand back to the Government today.

In fact, the Leader of the House and his right hon. Friends were not grappling with colleagues—they were not confronting their left wing; they were waiting shabbily for Thurrock, and now that they have their majority, they are going ahead. Last Thursday's announcement was shocking because there is no precedent whatever for the steps which the Government announced.

Looking back, I wonder whether any of my right hon. and hon. Friends were justified in feeling any surprise at all. After all, we had the incident of the majorities on Standing Committees. We had seen the brushing aside of an inconvenient ruling by Mr. Speaker. We had the affair of the disputed vote and the long delay of the replay. Finally, late one night, we saw the snuffing out of petitioners' rights, petitioners who live in, of all places, Ebbw Vale.

This motion shows the brazen determination of the Government to choke off further discussion and to put the remaining parts of these debates into the morgue. There is no need whatsoever—[Interruption.] I always find the interruption, of the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston a very great encouragement to me because they show that the Labour Party has some soreness and some sensitivity, and that is nice to know.

There is no need to look at the details of this motion because, to quote again from the right hon. Gentleman: There is no need to read between the lines of an edict of Nero to know that it is tyrannical."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th January 1963; Vol. 670, c. 803.] We learn that when Ministers are cornered, they feel in no way constrained by a nice regard for Parliament or its rules.

I hope that those outside this House who may feel tempted to write this off as just another parliamentary row involving nothing more serious than the ruffling of a few Opposition feathers, or even the integrity and good faith of a single Minister, will realise that we believe that the Government have today breached the fabric of Parliament and that those who follow us will find it very difficult to repair that breach. Let us cherish our freedoms—

Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, Central)

Let us pray.

Mr. Peyton

Let us cherish our freedoms in a world in which they are being eroded. These are words which hon. Members opposite now mock, yet they were spoken by the Prime Minister when he first took his present office. We think that it is a pity that he and his colleagues should be trampling those words in the mire of expediency today.

Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South and Finsbury)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As you know, when this debate finishes at 7 o'clock, we shall then go on to second debate until 10 o'clock and then a third until 1 o'clock. Those subsequent debates will involve very much the same issues as have been canvassed in the last hour. Since the two Front Benches have now gone through the ritual of quoting each other's speeches at each other, is it possible for you somehow to stop them from giving us all the same quotations again so that we may move on to new ground?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Oscar Murton)

That is not a point of order. The length of speeches is a matter entirely within the hands of hon. Members.

5.0 p.m.

Mr. Robert Mellish (Bermondsey)

I have been in the House for 30 years and I have lost count of the number of timetable debates I have listened to. I will not make any party political point about who has introduced the largest number of timetable motions. I must have listened to them all, because I find them intriguing. The right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) did not make a bad speech, but it was not up to the standard of the late lain Macleod when he opposed guillotine motions introduced by Labour Governments. He subsequently became Leader of the House and introduced his own timetable motions. Today it seemed as though we had turned the clock back and we were back in the old scene.

The best way to sum all this up is with another quotation—I am sorry if my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham) does not like quotations, but he must listen to this one—this time from the late Mr. Chuter Ede, a great personal friend of mine and a great Member of the House and Leader of the House. He said: So long as I sit in this House, and when my party is in power, I shall support the efforts of the Government to get their business. But if the party opposite is in power, I shall oppose the Government getting their business, and I hope that no one will have any illusions on that score."—[Official Report, 6th March 1961; Vol. 636, c. 86.] That is how we explain the ritual that we have just heard about, about who said what and when and on which side of the House they were when they said it. That is what it is all about. I see the Leader of the Liberal Party is still here and he might be interested in a quotation from Asquith 50 years ago. He said that he had slowly and reluctantly come to the conclusion that you cannot carry on legislation here on large and complicated subjects without treating a time-table as part of our established procedure That was good old Asquith donkeys years ago.

As Chief Whip I gave evidence to the Select Committee on Procedure and my views have not changed since then. I do not believe that the business of this House can go on with the present arrangements of hoping somehow that we can get a handshake between both sides of the House. I have the greatest respect in the world for the usual channels as represented by Conservative Members, and I say nothing against them. But it is impossible for them to control their mavericks.

There are some lively characters on that side of the House. The party managers over there may shake hands with us and say that they will do their best to give us a Bill by a certain date, but they cannot guarantee it. The unsatisfactory situation is that as a party manager I could at no time be certain of any Bill finally coming to fruition. What a way to run a Parliament!

I believe that certain complicated Bills should on Second Reading be the subject of an end timetable motion. That should state specifically that by a certain date a Bill will have a Third Reading. I agree that the Opposition should have complete freedom up to that date to put their arguments and to decide how to use that time. If they want to spend two days a week in Committee, that is for them to choose. The Opposition's rights to oppose should never be eroded.

On so many Bills, however, the Opposition have abused their right to be the Opposition. I take the Education Bill, for example. If ever there was a crying need for a guillotine motion it is on that Bill. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. St. John-Stevas) is not here. Perhaps I should have given him notice that I intended to raise this matter. He and his party put down about 250 new clauses and amendments to the Bill. The first new clause took three hours to debate before the Government moved the closure. After that vote there was a vote on the main Question. Then for 57 minutes the hon. Member for Chelmsford moved the second of the new clauses. I worked it out on a rough calculation that we should have been here night and day for about six months and we should still not have got rid of the Education Bill.

Mr. Victor Goodhew (St. Albans)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Surely we are dealing with the Education Bill in the next debate, not this.

Mr. Mellish

You do not have to reply to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is a load of rubbish.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The right hon. Gentleman cannot pre-empt the Chair. It is for the Chair to decide these matters. I presume that the right hon. Gentleman is developing his argument and will come in due course to the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill.

Mr. Mellish

That point of order was not even clever. My point is that it should be a general principle that any Bill which is vehemently opposed by the Opposition should be subject to a different procedure. The Opposition have every right to do everything they humanly can to stop a Bill from getting on the statute book. They may take hours to discuss one amendment. I have done all that myself. We have seen today's charade performed before with different actors.

The Select Committee on Procedure did not adopt my suggestion for an end timetable motion, but perhaps it will be adopted one day. It would mean, for example, that a Bill introduced in late January would be assured of a Third Reading by the end of March. The Opposition, not the Government, must have the major say in what happens between those two dates.

Mr. Robert Cooke (Bristol, West)

If there were a fixed timetable for every Bill, what would there be to stop Ministers and their supporters from taking up all the time and preventing the Opposition from discussing the matter?

Mr. Mellish

One could do nothing to prevent that. It would be for the Chair to control that sort of thing, if it were possible. But the Opposition, for example, could opt for four Committee sittings a week if they wished. Of course, if any Government had their way, they would get a Bill through in one sitting. Oppositions must be allowed to oppose, but Oppositions must be denied the complete freedom to do exactly what they want by filibustering, for example, in their attempts to stop Bills. Governments must have the right to govern and Oppositions must have the right to oppose. That is what democracy is all about. But when Oppositions have had their fun and games, the Government must be free to move in.

I support the motion because it is completely justified. I have been out of a job since 8th April—a date I shall always remember. I left my job with some relief and some regrets. However, I can say on the argument about the disputed vote that no Government could have been more decent and honourable after that incident in trying to appease the Opposition following the fuss they made.

Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)


Mr. Mellish

The hon. Gentleman should go back to the Library and read some more rubbish.

The Leader of the Opposition had a private interview with the Prime Minister about the incident and he apologised to her. The Leader of the House arranged for a full day's debate to rehearse the incident.

I can illustrate the terrible tangle into which the usual channels have now got themselves by telling hon. Members that at least three of my hon. Friends who should not be moved from hospital are being brought to the House today. That is an absolute scandal. [HON. MEMBERS: "It is the Government's fault."] I do not agree. When Oppositions filibuster, Governments must introduce guillotine motions. The situation in which the usual channels now find themselves is primarily the result of the Opposition's refusal to co-operate.

I do not doubt the integrity of my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) and neither does anybody else on this side. He is a decent and honourable man and certainly as good as anybody on the Opposition Benches. I believe that he acted in the way he did with the best of intentions. This motion was inevitable.

I put it on record, and this speech may be quoted—perhaps by a Conservative Government if there ever is such a terrible thing—that I believe that there must be a timetable motion on every controversial Bill at the time of Second Reading. It would stop this charade and the rubbish we hear in all these debates when hon. Members repeat what was said years ago by people such as Asquith. Let us get on with the argument and the vote so that we can then get on with the Bill.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Do I understand that the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) is not moving either of the amendments in the names of himself and his right hon. Friends?

Mr. Peyton

That is correct, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am giving way, with a graciousness unknown to hon. Members opposite, to the hon. Member who is to speak for the Liberal Party and to move the Liberal amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

In calling the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) to move his manuscript amendment at this stage, as agreed by Mr. Speaker, I think that it would be the sense of the House that the Chair should not unduly restrict subsequent debate. I shall accordingly propose to allow hon. Members to continue to address themselves to the motion as well as to the amendment.

5.14 p.m.

Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)

I beg to move as a manuscript amendment, in paragraph 5(1)(b) leave out from first "Member" to end of sub-paragraph (1)(b) and insert and which shall have been selected by Mr. Speaker". As a good Presbyterian, I do not accept the doctrine of apostolic succession and I do not believe that it applies to the leadership of the Liberal Party. I hope that the Leader of the House will excuse me if I feel free from having to sustain what was done by my distinguished predecessors a long time ago.

It was slightly insulting of the Leader of the House to suggest that I might wish to speak without checking the precedents of the Liberal Government, especially as the right hon. Gentleman pointed them out on Thursday. I have checked the precedent of 1908 and the right hon. Gentleman is entirely unjustified in his view of that occasion when a Liberal Government moved a guillotine motion on two Bills—not five—in one day. They were closely related Scottish Bills which had been blocked by the Conservative hereditary majority in another place.

This incident was the forerunner of a long series of battles between the Liberal Government and the hereditary obstacle of the other place. To suggest that a motion on nationalisation measures supported by only 28 per cent. of the electorate is a parallel of the 1908 position and to pray in aid the guillotine introduced for the first old-age pension is to stretch political comparisons a little too far.

I hope that we shall dispense with some of the more sanctimonious utterances from both sides of the House. The Leader of the Opposition talked about the Leader of the House bringing down an iron curtain on the House of Commons, but we must pause to ask who dug out the iron ore and did the smelting to enable that iron curtain to be manufactured. It was the right hon. Lady and her right hon. Friends in 1971 when they concocted Standing Order No. 44, which the Leader of the House is using now. I hope that we shall have no more such extravagant phrases.

Mr. Lawson

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman wishes to be accurate. Standing Order No. 44 of 1971 replaced the Standing Order No. 44 introduced by the Labour Government in 1967, which enabled only two hours' debate on a guillotine motion. The 1971 Order provided for three hours' debate.

Mr. Steel

I was referring specifically to the complaint of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition that the Opposition did not realise that more than one Bill could be included in Standing Order No. 44. Even Conservative Ministers must be presumed to intend the consequences of their actions.

The Leader of the House bored us with statistics to show what a generous fellow he had been in allowing the Committee stages to go on for so long. He posed in the guise of a reluctant executioner. That is nonsense. We all know perfectly well that the guillotine would have been introduced much earlier had it not been for the vacancies at Rotherham and Thurrock. That was a piece of high humbug from the Leader of the House.

The right hon. Gentleman described guillotine measures he had opposed in the past—particularly on the European Communities Bill—as being on highly controversial pieces of legislation. This is changing the meaning of words. In the right hon. Gentleman's dictionary, highly controversial matters are those which he opposes. Measures that he supports are not controversial—they are acceptable to the House.

The real danger to the House is that each incoming Government build on the bad precedents of their predecessors. This is a particular danger for those of us who do not sit on the Front Benches. In a few years' time this debate on the introduction of five guillotines in one day for the first time might be prayed in aid by a Government wishing to introduce 10 guillotines in a single day.

As Governments come and go, the freedom of the House is eroded by the creation of new precedents. I hope that the Leader of the House will at least recognise that danger, particularly when I quote some of the things he has said in the past. It may be painful for him to listen to them, but he will just have to listen.

In 1961, the right hon. Gentleman said: That is why I am opposed to this Measure. As I was saying, every day when the Leader of the House comes into the House he ought not to he certain that his business will go through that day;… There ought to be much more pressure of this nature, because then there would be government by discussion … instead of government by edict, which is what we have to have so often now. It so happens that I think that the collective wisdom of the House of Commons is superior to the collective wisdom of the Cabinet."—[Official Report, 6th March 1961; Vol. 636, c. 154.] I agree with that statement in its generality and not in relation to any particular Cabinet.

In 1962, the right hon. Gentleman said: It is of great importance, first, because everybody knows that the introduction of a Guillotine destroys a debate.… Members should recognise the fundamental principle that we must decide what is going to happen by open debate on the Floor of the House. The Guillotine injures that because it interferes with free debate. Nobody can deny that"—[Official Report, 25th January 1972; Vol. 652. c. 456–458.] Yet now he seeks to deny that.

In 1972, the right hon. Gentleman said: The guillotine is the last resort of a Government who know that they cannot get the full-hearted consent of Parliament but are determined to have their way in any case.… What the Government and the Prime Minister, in particular, are doing is to show full-hearted contempt for the democratic processes of this country; full-hearted contempt for the normal legislative processes of this House of Commons."—[Official Report, 2nd May 1972; Vol. 836, c. 235.] He has now changed his views and says that a guillotine is none of those high-minded phrases but is just a matter of degree. What a change! He not only demeans the House, but demeans himself and his long record as a parliamentarian by what he is doing.

Mr. Foot

I do not ask the hon. Gentleman to quote any more of what I have said, but if he will quote my remarks properly he will see that I never said that there was an absolute rule to be laid down about no guillotine at all. I always said that it was a matter of degree.

Mr. Steel

The right hon. Gentleman has picked and chosen. When he has been against a measure, he has decided that he is against a guillotine on it. When he has been in favour of a measure, he has been in favour of the guillotine on it.

The right hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) was right to quote Mr. Asquith and his view on the timetabling of debate. I hope that the Leader of the House will not think it impertinent when I say that he should listen to a little advice on his leadership. I take the view that a Government, especially one with a narrow majority, have an obligation to try to seek as much support as is possible from the entire House for their legislation.

My colleagues and I are not opposed in principle to the sensible timetabling of debates. As the right hon. Member for Bermondsey suggested, timetabling should be introduced at the beginning after discussion. We believe that the Leader of the House has an obligation to go to the official Opposition and the other parties to ask "What is a reasonable time in which we might proceed with this Bill?"

I was the Chief Whip of the Liberal Party at the time of the European Communities legislation, and discussion of that nature took place on that Bill. We did not enter a debate having been told that we could take or leave a motion on the Order Paper. There was negotiation. We were satisfied—I know that the right hon. Gentleman was not—to get an extra half-day debate on one section of the Bill. That was negotiated with the then Leader of the House. I suggest that the present Leader of the House should pursue that line.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

Without meaning to do so, the hon. Gentleman appears to be suggesting that there should be some kind of fix. How would his plan have worked out in the case of the Parliament (No. 2) Bill? An obligation may have been given in good faith that could not have been delivered. In those circumstances there would have been charges of breach of faith.

Mr. Steel

I take the hon. Gentleman's point. I do not believe that any leader of any party, or any Whip, has any right to commit the membership of his party to a certain course of action. The Parliament (No. 2) Bill is a good example, but the Leader of the House, to the knowledge of my party, and I speak for no others in this Chamber, has made no attempt in advance of tabling these motions to enter into consultations about what would be a reasonable timetable to adopt.

It was the view of our spokesman in Committee on the Education Bill that the Bill was in danger of being filibustered. The right hon. Gentleman would have found a sympathetic ear had he come to us to ask about a sensible timetable for that Bill.

The Minister of State, Department of Industry (Mr. Gerald Kaufman)

The point that the hon. Gentleman is making is reasonable in the circumstances, but if he had consulted his hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) he would have been told that I sought to get a sensible agreement from the beginning of the proceedings in Committee. I consulted not only the Conservative Party but on a number of occasions his hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley and the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson), the Scottish National Party representative. The hon. Members for Colne Valley and Dundee, East were perfectly willing to come to a sensible and rational arrangement, but they were frustrated by the unwillingness of the Conservative Party to enter into such an arrangement.

Mr. Steel

I cannot speak for the Conservative Party, but that Bill has passed from Committee. We are talking about the guillotine on Report. I have consulted my hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright). As our spokesman on the Bill, he says that there was no discussion on what would be a sensible timetable prior to the tabling of the motion today. That is the complaint that I am making. I am not saying that we should have agreed to a timetable, but the right hon. Gentleman did not even try.

A further objection to the Bill and the Government's handling of it is that it is hybrid in more than the narrow parliamentary sense of the word—it is one Bill dealing with two different industries. That in itself has been a cause of delay and frustration. There has had to be necessary consultation with two or three very different industries. The wrapping up in one package of this extensive piece of nationalisation has itself been a cause of prolonged and necessary delay and detailed examination of the Bill.

The effect of my amendment is simple—namely, to enable amendments to be voted on at the end of each period of debate. It would enable voting on amendments introduced not only by the Government but by other Members. I regard this as being an extremely important amendment, and I hope that I shall be able to carry some Labour Members with me. If the House does not accept the amendment, the Government will have the right to produce their own amendments and have them voted upon, and, by concentrating on their own amendments, the opportunity to remove discussion and voting on any amendments other than Government amendments.

Let us consider the position of the ship repairing industry. There are amendments in the names of my hon. Friends, amendments from the Plaid Cymru Members, amendments from Conservative Members and amendments from an important group of Members on the Labour Back Benches. However, the motion as it comes before us does not allow amendments from Government Back Benchers to be voted upon; only amendments from members of the Government. The House will recognise the distinction between the two categories. I point out to Labour Members that there is no chance of their amendments being discussed or of a vote being taken on them if my amendment is not carried.

I believe that the Government are attempting to stifle open debate on matters of keen concern to thousands of people in their everyday lives, matters for which they have no mandate in any real sense of the word. The House must rise and defend its liberties at whatever point they are under erosion. I believe that the Leader of the House is guilty of eroding them further in his action today.

5.28 p.m.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

I hope that the House will forgive me if at this juncture I do not make any references to the amendment. I trust that my right hon. Friends on the Government Front Bench will declare their position.

I shall make some reference to the speech of the Leader of the Liberal Party, the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel), but first I wish him the best in his job as leader of his party. I am sure that he will have a pretty difficult time with a somewhat motley crew. Nevertheless, I sincerely wish him all the best. I trust that he will have many years fighting for his point of view.

I found the hon. Gentleman's remarks about the apostolic succession very interesting. They were especially interesting because, like many other members, I have done a bit of homework. I have discovered that between 1907 and 1913 the Liberal Government brought in not merely five guillotine motions but 23 covering 20 different Bills. I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman is declaring in clear terms that in no circumstances would a Liberal Government, if by some miracle one were elected, ever bring in guillotine motions.

Mr. David Steel


Mr. Heffer

The hon. Gentleman says that he is not saying that—fine. That means that as usual the Liberal Party is facing both ways at the same time. As always, it wants it both ways. The Liberals want to be fair, objective and decent. They want to be against the Government, and at the same time they want to be against the Tories. They end up with a policy that is no policy. That is a typical Liberal position and one that I understand very well.

The House has debated timetable motions on many occasions. They always generate a great deal of heat, but never any light. There has always been a great measure of hypocrisy about the Opposition, whatever its political complexion. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House that if we were a civilised parliamentary body, we would not lay down a timetable but try to negotiate a timetable. But that can never be guaranteed. Incidentally, a timetable motion should never be applied to constitutional measures, which are fundamentally different from nationalisation or denationalisation measures.

The right hon. Lady the Leader of the Opposition again treated the House to exaggerated language when she referred to an iron curtain coming down. The first timetable motion to be debated in the House was in 1881. In that debate Gladstone, Parnell and T. P. O'Connor, a former Member for Liverpool, Scotland, were all involved. All the political wizards of the time took part in the debate. Gladstone said that he would not vote against the Government, but he issued a warning that parliamentary democracy was in danger. Parnell said that it was more or less the end of British parliamentary democracy and T. P. O'Connor's remarks were stronger and different in character.

Ever since in debates on timetable motions there have been fears about British parliamentary democracy being about to fade away, or being in danger of being disrupted or ended by the terrible Government in power at the time. It is amazing how British parliamentary democracy has survived since 1881. It has done remarkably well and is still surviving.

I am sorry that the right hon. Lady the Leader of the Opposition is not present to hear me say that the Tories can cry "Wolf" too often. They accuse the Labour Government of bringing in a dictatorial iron curtain system, but they know that that is untrue. But the day may come when certain political forces—not us will try to bring in such a system. Will she understand what is happening then, or will she be on their side? That has happened before in democratic countries. Right-wing forces have undermined and destroyed democracy. I ask the House, particularly Liberal Members, to bear that in mind.

That is not the issue. As hon. Gentlemen would understand if they argued the honest case instead of the nonsensical case about the undermining of British democracy, the real issue is that the Opposition want to hold up the Government's business. They are perfectly justified in doing so within our parliamentary system. We tried to hold up the Industrial Relations Act and other Bills to which we were bitterly opposed. We did not say that our opposition was because the Government were bringing in a timetable motion. We did not like the guillotine and we argued against it, but we did not say that it was the end of parliamentary democracy, because we knew that at the next General Election the people had the right to elect another Government.

I draw to the attention of the House Lord Kilmuir's memoirs. In referring to the years 1950 and 1951, when a Labour Government with a very small majority were in power, he said: Enormously encouraged by these and other manifestations of the Labour Party's sagging fortunes, we hurled ourselves enthusiastically into our task of Opposition. Angry scenes at Question Time became an almost daily occurrence, and all-night sittings a regular feature of Parliamentary life. Relations between the parties became exceedingly bitter, and the spectacle of aged Labour Members muffled up in rugs or being pushed through the divsion lobbies in bathchairs was not a pleasant one. We could argue that it was not our fault that the Labour Party contained so many old men who were physically quite unfitted for active political life. Our hatred of the Government was deep and sincere, we had many old scores to pay off, and the price which the Labour Party had to pay for their arrogance and abuse after 1945 was a very heavy one. He goes on to say: Nevertheless, I do not think that many Conservatives who took part in that ruthless period of 'harrying' look back on it with much ride or satisfaction. I hope that hon. Members will bear that passage in mind. Even today, hon. Members on the Government side of the House are having to be brought here in ambulances and nodded through. I hope that the House will not feel much pride or satisfaction in that.

All this nonsense about the guillotine undermining British democracy hon. Members know to be untrue. The Opposition are using every political device they know to defeat the Government. They are perfectly entitled to do that, but they should remember that the Labour Government have as much right to bring in their legislation as have Governments of any other political persuasion.

During the years when the Liberals were in power the 23 timetable motions were put down because of the reactionary opposition of the Tories. We are debating this motion today because of the Tories' reactionary opposition to progressive measures. I ask hon. Members to look back over history and to recognise that what we are doing is perfectly justified to sustain parliamentary democracy. If the Opposition's policies were carried out to the ultimate, parliamentary democracy would be not sustained but destroyed.

5.38 p.m.

Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)

I welcome the speech made by the Leader of the Liberal Party, the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel). I find myself in large measure in accord with what he said. The last part of the speech made by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heller) contained hyperbole of the wildest sort. The Government must recognise that when Governments with small majorities attempt to govern against the wishes of the people, they are bound to run into trouble. The hon. Member for Walton suggested that there was danger of the abuse of the powers of the House by what he called the Right wing. What he said applies equally to a Left-wing Government.

The clear lesson emerges that the Select Committee on Procedure has a greater responsibility to the House than has hitherto been understood. In a country such as ours which has no Bill of Rights the freedoms of the country depend on the House of Commons. Because of a misdrafting or too rough a drafting of Standing Order No. 44 in 1971, a ruthless Government have been enabled to drive a coach and horses through the Standing Order. That is what they are doing today by this quintuple timetable motion—with trumbrils and all. That is the first lesson to be drawn.

The Leader of the House is responsible not just of his own party. He should seriously examine the whole subject of the Procedure Committee and the Procedure Committee should look much more closely at the dangerous opportunities which enable the Executive to override the general will of the House.

Even the Leader of the House himself admitted the muddle into which the Government's legislation has now got. I am concerned about the fact that we are having to produce guillotine motions on so many Bills and about the fact, as was pointed out by the Leader of the Liberal Party, that in the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill we have not just a hybrid Bill but a triple hybrid Bill which is generally unpopular throughout the country. It is a Bill which has proved to be unconstitutional and it is only as a result of a by-election, as the Liberal leader said, that the Government hope to get these extraordinary measures through.

I must turn to one point which the Leader of the House raised. It concerns taste and the general feel of the Government about what is right and fitting. What the Government are doing tonight is perfectly legal, but I do not believe that it shows taste or a long-range interest in the way in which the affairs of this country are conducted. No one is saying that this is a Hitlerian coup de main by the Government. Certainly, I am sure that the late Adolf Hitler would have found someone better than Lord Beswick to put in charge of the aircraft industry. But there is, nevertheless, a fact which must be faced.

The Leader of the House said in a fairly loud and strenuous voice that when certain people say it is wrong for a minority Government with only 37 per cent. of the votes to pursue certain policies which are opposed by the great majority, that is an entirely wrong constitutional doctrine. I beg to differ. I think that when it comes to a matter of taste and decision, government can be carried on only if it is of such a nature that proper time is given for the full discussion of the issues, or that it governs with consent of the great majority of people. Otherwise, the Government are left in a very difficult position.

I am sure that the Leader of the House is familiar with this quotation: We have 37 per cent. of the total vote, which means that we have 75 per cent. of the power which is necessary to govern. But the right hon. Gentleman goes much further. Having 37 per cent. of the vote, he claims 100 per cent. of the power to govern absolutely. My quote is by the late Adolf Hitler in an interview he gave to an American journalist on 17th August 1932.

Mr. Heffer

I feel that the right hon. Gentleman was joking when he referred to Lord Beswick as he did. Lord Beswick had a distinguished flying record during the Second World War and played his part in fighting the forces of darkness and Hitlerism. I do not think it right to refer to noble Lords in that way. Everyone played his part in fighting against precisely this type of thing, which we have to be prepared to fight against.

Mr. Fraser

The consequence of that would be to put winners of the Victoria Cross in charge of the nationalised industries. I can quite see that view being put forward by some members of the Left wing as a way to bring industry in this country round.

I would add that I feel there is a tact of government, a tact of what is possible when the Government complain that they are bringing in legislation opposed by not 65 per cent. of the people but considerably more. Let me just remind hon. Gentlemen that the Hitler régime—and it was not the Reichstag when Goering was in charge but the Reichstag before the Nazis seized power—had 37 per cent. of the vote, which dropped to 32 per cent., and seized power on that basis. Let us not be so easy about the dangers of minority Government.

The issues being raised tonight are two: first, the incompetence of the Government and, secondly, the effort of the Government to overrule a majority of the people, which is constantly growing in its total opposition to what this Government seek to do. I therefore believe that Labour Members, the Conservative Opposition the Liberal Party and the rest are totally justified in an all-out opposition to what is being attempted this very evening.

5.46 p.m.

Mr. Michael Stewart (Fulham)

Reproaches have been hurled across the House from the Front Bench speakers that we all tend to vote for the guillotines introduced by our own party. That is probably true of the great majority of hon. Members and there is nothing in that which merits reproach. It is no disgrace for an hon. Member to believe firmly in the principles and policies of his own party and to work for their success within the rules of order of this House.

During past years we have had a state of our development where the periodic use of the guillotine has been an inevitable process in carrying Government policies into effect. I do not intend to pursue the Hitlerian arguments advanced by the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser), except to say that one of the reasons for the arrival of the Hitlerite Government in Germany was that it was preceded by Governments with a form of constitution under which it was becoming progressively impossible to reach important decisions about necessary matters. Democracy can be destroyed just as much by processes of Government which mean endless discussion and continual postponement of decisions as by anything else. That is why we have used guillotines and that is why we have been entitled to do so.

I hope that the House will carry this motion tonight, because I think that the Leader of the House made a case beyond dispute. It was not disputed that, by and large, the Labour Party has been much more sparing in its use of the guillotine than has the Conservative Party and has shown a great deal more patience over Bills before resorting to the guillotine. I do not believe that this is really the heart of the matter.

I should like to refer to one other aspect of this motion. It has been quite clear from the Chair that the motion is not out of order. Some play has been made of the fact that in certain respects it is unprecedented, but to say that a thing is unprecedented is not to say that it may not be done, otherwise this House would still be trying to do its business under rules devised in the fourteenth century. From time to time the House changes its rules and, therefore, from time to time a situation is bound to arise in which something is done which is permissible under the new rules, but which was not permissible under the old. Such a thing will, by its nature, be unprecedented, but that does not mean that it is either out of order or that it is an undesirable thing to do.

What I suppose is unprecedented here is the amount of chopping that we are doing in the nine hours we shall spend on debate tonight. If I have a criticism of the Government at all it would be that they showed too much patience earlier and this is why we have to have this chop, chop, chop now. I think the moral is, as was pointed out so forcibly by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish), that we must come to extend the concept of a timetable motion to all major Bills, by agreement if possible but, if not, then the Government must have the right, if they can get a majority of the House to agree with them, to impose a timetable motion.

I want to develop the argument about why I believe that to be necessary. The importance of this debate tonight is not only that it concerns the particular Bills, but that it is showing us what will increasingly be the need of his House if we are to do our business not only efficiently but with a proper regard for the rights of the minority and freedom of discussion. This is because I believe that the claims about rights of minorities and freedom of discussion which have come from those in opposition to the motion have really been in defence of illusory rights, as I shall endeavour to show.

It can be argued that if one accepts a timetable motion—or, to give it its slang name, the guillotine—on all major Bills, one takes away from the Opposition one of the weapons which they have now, the weapon of delay. But what does that weapon come to in the last resort? If the Government are determined to get their measure through and have a majority in the House, when they see that the weapon of delay is being used beyond a certain point, they will crack down and the weapon will be taken out of the Opposition's hands.

It is an illusion to claim that that weapon is effective. It may occasionally get concessions on very minor matters, but it results also in the use of the time of the House in talking a great deal of agreeable rubbish. I confess that I have once in opposition spoken on the question of whether "may" or "shall" would have been more appropriate in a particular clause. According to Hansard, 50 minutes elapsed from the time my speech began to the time it ended. A study of the pages of Hansard will show that only 10 minutes of that were taken up by me—the rest of the time was taken up by infuriated interruptions from supporters of the then Government.

That is all good fun, and if one can occasionally get a little bit of concession from the Government, there may be some justification for it. But the public outside, who want efficient and intelligible Government, are not awfully impressed by that way of doing business, and in the end the Government get their way on the matter.

Mr. Mellish

My right hon. Friend will recall that wonderful example of opposition at its best and worst—the London Government Bill. He led the Opposition upstairs in Committee. With his usual brilliant acumen, he put down on the first day nearly 1,000 amendments, and he has recalled the sort of speech then made. Neither he nor I was surprised when, shortly afterwards—after only three or four sittings of the Committee—the Government of the day said "That is your lot; we shall introduce a guillotine."

Mr. Stewart

I am obliged to my right hon. Friend. He has illustrated a point I have in mind. It has been argued that the massive number of amendments put down to the Bills we are discussing today shows how much vital matter there is to discuss. It shows nothing of the sort. The number of amendments is a tribute to the ingenuity of the Opposition in finding ways of delay.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Many of them are Government amendments.

Mr. Stewart

The arguments advanced by the Opposition have concerned both.

I do not believe, therefore, that the weapon of delay is an effective check on what is supposed to be a power-hungry Government. It was pointed out long ago by Walter Bagehot—almost everyone else has been quoted, but I do not think that anyone has brought him in yet—that our constitution is not like the United States constitution, so drafted as to have elaborate checks and balances in the constitution itself on the abuse of power. He added: The real check on any Government is the knowledge that the odd man in five may vote the other way next time. Nowadays, the odd man in 35 is enough to cause Governments to think again.

What is the way in which an Opposition can mobilise the vote of the odd man in 35 or 55? It is by vigorous and intelligent presentation of the arguments against the Government's policies, and doing so both in this House and elsewhere, and one effect of a guillotine motion is to cause the Opposition to use the time on serious arguments and not on filibustering, as anyone who has listened to debate under the guillotine knows perfectly well. Perhaps one may paraphrase Dr. Johnson and say that when an Opposition knows that it is going to be guillotined, it concentrates its mind wonderfully—concentrates it on the arguments that have some substance.

Mr. Anthony Berry (Southgate)

I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has quite understood the point about the amendments. There are also 200 Government amendments down for Report stage, and there are still more to come that we have not yet seen.

Mr. Stewart

But that argument cannot be very strong because most of those Government amendments are in response to the Opposition, and therefore cannot be said at the same time to be provocative of debate.

The House has a choice between having an orderly timetable motion at the beginning of discussion of a Bill and having a period of filibustering followed by chop, chop chop. The arrangement we have at present is not conducive to the vigorous presentation of argument or to the respect in which the House is held by people outside.

Some people argue that the whole trouble is that Governments try to put too much legislation through the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I thought that we should get that response. It is rather like those dolls that one presses and a remark comes out. Why do we have so much more legislation? It is partly because we are living in an inventive age. If no one had invented the motor car, we should have had much less road traffic legislation. Let hon. Members look through the statute book and see what takes up the pages, whichever party is in power. A great deal of what takes up the pages of the statute book is unavoidable reaction to our increasingly technical civilisation. If no one had invented wireless telegraphy, a great deal of legislation connected with it would not be necessary.

The other great source of legislation is the growing humanity of our age. If there were no retirement pensions or no sickness benefit and the rest, how much legislation we should be spared—legislation which has not only to be passed to begin with but has to be amended as we learn more about the real needs of the people! How many fewer statutory regulations and orders there would also need to be! Nowadays, of course, now that we have established the main structure of a Welfare State, what we are moving on to, I am glad to say, is discovering particular needs which have been neglected before—for example, the needs of the disabled, the blind, the children who are cruelly treated in the home. To deal with these matters we need legislation.

I say, therefore, that in a technical age and an age which has an increasing social conscience, we shall get more legis- lation whichever party is in power, and it is important that we should.

Mr. Peter Morrison (City of Chester)

Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that there is particular need for the nationalisation of the shipbuilding and aircraft industries?

Mr. Stewart

Would the hon. Gentleman say that there was particular need for the denationalisation measures carried through by Tory Governments? These are matters on which the parties disagrees. What the hon. Gentleman seems to be saying is that if he disagrees with legislation that is proposed, there is no need for it. I accept that there will be a certain amount of partisan legislation, but the real reason for a great deal of legislation is the one I have mentioned.

We live in an increasingly technical and humane civilisation. It is no way out of the problem to say "Do not legislate so much". We have to remember that the House has not only to legislate increasingly, but that we want it to do other jobs. We want it to supervise more closely the work of Government and the nationalised industries, and we still do not know the answer to the question "How do we find enough time in the House to study the work of the various organs of the European community?"

We are, therefore, in a position where we shall have to make major decisions about how we handle our business. I am suggesting that one important decision to that end was the recognition of the timetabling of Bills. That should not be so unwelcome to the Leader of the Liberal Party, who came a little way towards agreeing with my right hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey, nor to the Conservative Party, which has resorted to the guillotine more than any other party. I hope that we shall give urgent consideration to the need for a change in our procedure.

6.2 p.m.

Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

In his somewhat strange address in moving the motion, the Leader of the House referred to the large number of Committee sittings. But he forgot to mention that the Bill is a collective of three different nationalisation measures—a measure to nationalise the aircraft industry, a measure to nationalise the shipbuilding industry and a measure to nationalise the ship repair industry. The decision to try to nationalise three completely different industries in one Bill is the principal cause of the Government's misfortune over their timetable. On the Notice Paper at this moment are no fewer than 208 Government amendments, and one Government new clause, and we understand that there are still more to come. That is why the Leader of the House was not able to tell the House how many Government amendments there will be. That is an illustration of the incompetent drafting of this trinity of Bills embodied in one.

The Government tried to be too clever. They tried to draft a Bill in such a way that Mr. Speaker could not order it to be divided into its component parts. On one occasion after another the Government have themselves produced a situation which they are now trying to resolve by an unprecedented allocation of time motion. The Government themselves created the hybridity troubles by trying to leave out Marathon Shipbuilding (United Kingdom) Limited, a firm which, on the day when the first controversial motion came before the House on 27th May, announced that it would have to start making what even the Leader of the House and his hon. Friends would recognise as ships. The Government's incompetence in drafting produced a Hybrid Bill in the first place.

Once Mr. Speaker had identified the hybridity in the Bill, Government incompetence resulted in the Bill being delayed. The Select Committee could have heard all the petitioners and we could have gone on to the Report stage well before now; but the Government were determined to deny the petitioners the right to have their petitions heard. That is the milk in the coconut. The Government did not want trade unionists, shop stewards and branch secretaries turning up before the Select Committee, arguing in support of their own petitions against the Bill. That is what the Government tried to prevent, and that is what they did prevent. If the Government had not been determined to prevent that, they would have had the Report stage over and done with before now. Their incompetence plus their determination to silence ordinary members of the public has led to this situation.

Now the Government are determined finally to silence the House of Commons—and silence it will be. In three parliamentary days one cannot deal with 208 Government amendments, one Government new clause, other Government amendments yet to come and a reasonable number of amendments from all the Opposition parties. The Government know that we cannot do that, and that is why they put the guillotine on.

The situation with which the Government claim that they are now trying to deal has been continuously and at each stage of their own making. It is not a misfortune forced upon them by the Opposition or by circumstances outside their control. It is a blend of folly—the folly of trying to silence petitioners—and incompetence. Even his own Back Benchers have had ample opportunity of forming an opinion of the personal incompetence of the Leader of the House. His simple incompetence in handling the House has been demonstrated not only day by day or week by week but month after month in Bill after Bill.

The selection of Bills which is now to be put in these multiple guillotine motions is the cause of particular worry and concern to the House, and that will continue after the debate. I can find no record—nor has the Leader of the House offered one—of any Hybrid Bill being guillotined before a particular organ of the House of Commons—the Standing Orders Committee, over which Mr. Deputy Speaker presides—has reported on it to the House. When I say "the House" I mean the Government.

The Leader of the House dug back into early history. If he looks at the guillotine motions of 1908, 1913 and 1914, he will find that it was generally the Prime Minister who found it necessary to justify such cases to the House. He justified them on grounds not only involving the House of Lords but because of the massive majorities which that legislation had secured on the Floor of the House. Such motions were moved not after one cheated vote or a tiny majority on a contentious vote. Massive majorities were called for to justify such a motion.

Parties of both political complexions have used timetable motions. No one is suggesting the contrary. But it is also true that the Front Benches concerned have tended to use the arguments when in Opposition that were used by the other side when in Government. That is not in dispute. The situation is well documented and there is no reason for further elaboration. What is unprecedented is for the Government to handle their own legislation with consistent incompetence. To pretend anything else is not in accordance with the facts.

Why are the Government having to extend their sitting into the summer? Why are they having to beg the Lords to come back in September? Why are they unable to tell their own supporters when they will come back after the recess? Why have the Government got themselves into such a mess? As the right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Stewart) suggested, it is partly because the Government are overloading the system with legislation. It is partly because they have been playing tricks with the system, tricks which have consistently misfired, like that of putting three industries into one Bill and honing thereby to save time, when the exact opposite has resulted.

The greatest single factor in the 58 sittings in Committee was the Government's sending the Bill for First Reading before it had been properly prepared. The incompetent preparation of the Bill caused all those sittings. It is not possible to argue, as the Leader of the House apparently is arguing, that a Government Bill needs 208 Government amendments if it was competently drafted. The Government need this vast array of amendments. Even on the very day when they are asking the House for a timetable resolution on the Bill, we understand that they have not made up their minds on the full list of the amendments which they want. Under a timetable resolution, those amendments take precedence. Therefore, by their timetable motion the Government are crowding out the amendments which the Opposition parties have every right to argue before the House in the proper conduct of the Report stage.

That is how the Leader of the House is so abusing the processes of Parliament. When he looks back to precedents, he can find none where there was the same magnitude of Government amendments to be processed—there is no other word—like a sausage or a decayed bit of cheese, in the way that the Government amend- ments are to be processed. Once again, many Opposition amendments will not be voted on, whatever their merits. Those merits will never be exposed to public gaze because they are denied debate by the knowing, deliberate act of the Government. That is the nature of the frustration of parliamentary processes on which this Government are insisting.

We have now had a number of debates on the procedures to which the Bill should be subjected. A number of Government supporters have said, with crocodile tears in their eyes, how they dislike what their Front Bench is doing, but they troop through the Lobby in support of it at the end of the day, and that is the test.

Even now we have three different industries to be nationalised in one Bill, under an allocation of time motion for which only three hours' debate is allowed. I want to stress that yet again in case it is contended that only one Bill is subject to this miserable motion.

As the Government sow, so shall they reap. If this is what they want to do to Parliament, one day it will recoil upon their own heads. In vain will then come the expostulations from the right hon. Gentleman. In vain will he bend over from the Front Bench as if doing washing in a bowl with his usual gesture and claim that something has happened to Parliament. What will have happened to Parliament will have been of his own doing.

6.14 p.m.

Mr. Stan Thorne (Preston, South)

Like the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop), I spent some time in the Standing Committee. We heard from my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House a statement about the 58 sittings which I completely endorse, as I am sure any other hon. Member who served on the Committee must do.

The purpose of the present exercise is to find more time to debate the provisions of the Bill. As my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) said, the Opposition's purpose is to prevent the Bill from becoming law. That was openly said time and again by the Opposition in Committee. Nobody doubted that they felt their function was to prevent the Bill from becoming law.

If there is any criticism to be made of the Government in the Committee, it is that they were too tolerant of the Opposition's antics. The number of trivial amendments can be seen by reference to, for example, the filibusterers of the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit). The hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) had his turn from time to time. But the arch-filibusterer of them all was undoubtedly the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor), who had the capacity for turning every marginal amendment into a debate about how many angels had danced on the point of a needle. He did it extremely effectively, even though the angels were sometimes dressed as Scottish ship repair workers or Scottish Aviation employees.

The process went on hour after hour. Some of us were extremely patient, though we made representations to my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Department of Industry, who led for the Government, for a much earlier end to the Committee. Unfortunately we were not successful. My hon. Friend took the view that Ministers have taken in the past: that if we carried on we should reach a measure of agreement. I acknowledge that that was his rôle, and he played it very effectively, but he fell foul of a series of events which were completely outside his control.

During the Committee sittings there was one minor, or major, change. My right hon. Friend the former Prime Minister resigned. Almost immediately it became apparent that the Opposition thought that the prospects of getting rid of the Bill were better than ever. Therefore, there was a new series of filibusters. Then there was the election for my right hon. Friend's successor as Prime Minister. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the House can well imagine some of the Opposition comments about his prospects in the election. It was suggested that if his opponent, the present Prime Minister, were elected, the Bill might much more easily fall. Speculation continued and we had delay after delay from the Opposition.

In the long run, the present Prime Minister took the view that we should complete the passage of the Bill as rapidly as possible, but there still seemed to be some doubt because of other events. There was even a suggestion that there might be a General Election, which would solve the whole issue.

It was against that background that we saw the delaying tactics in Committee. Although he was not there, my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has obviously been well informed about them. He described them in his speech.

Mr. Teddy Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

To put the record right, would not the hon. Gentleman also agree that, although we spent time discussing important matters affecting jobs, he and some of his wild Left-wing friends spent hours and hours talking about industrial democracy without anyone telling us precisely what it was?

Mr. Thorne

The absurdity of the hon. Gentleman's comment should be instantly obvious, Mr. Speaker, in that he speaks on the one hand of the employment of workers and on the other hand of industrial democracy, as if in some way they are in contradiction.

We were anxious to maintain the work force in the aircraft and shipbuilding industries, but we were anxious also that the work force should participate in the discussions to be made in the two industries concerning public ownership. This was something in which they had never been able to participate under private enterprise.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, better than I do—you have been involved professionally a little longer than I have—politics is about power. The power that the Opposition have exercised when in Government, as the Leader of the House said earlier, has always been in the protection of their economic interests.

We are involved in the whole kerfuffle about the Bill only because the Conservative Opposition sense that their economic interests are involved in the debate. They know that when the aircraft and shipbuilding industries are in public hands the decisions will be taken not on the basis of profitability for a few shareholders but on the basis of what is in the interests of the people of Britain as a whole. On that basis, the aircraft workers in my constituency wholeheartedly support the early passage of the Bill in order that we can get on with the job of proper planning in these industries.

6.22 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Wilson (Dundee, East)

One of the more delicious aspects of the debate—it has been rather difficult to find them—has been the Lord President's unwillingness to state whether his opposition to guillotines relating to constitutional matters will relate or refer to the devolution Bill which the Government have on the way. We are told that we shall have to wait and see. Certainly, I think that the Lord President may at the time have some difficulty in explaining his attitudes in relation to this as expressed in the debate.

In debates of this sort—I think that this is the second in which I have participated—there is a lot of double-speak. It is a question of Tory guillotines being good and Labour guillotines being bad, or vice versa. It all depends on which Benches one happens to be sitting on at any given time. It is certainly not a very enlightening experience to hear the pot calling the kettle black. Everyone knows that, when Governments change, so too will the arguments in the mouths of individual Members. Certainly it is a sterile business to spend so much time on something which is of a very negative nature.

I tend to look upon these things in a very practial way. I must have been psychic, because at the start of the long proceedings on the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Indutries Bill—and arising out of experience of service on the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-Lines Bill and the guillotine proceedings there—I wrote to the Secretary of State for Industry. I also sent a copy of my letter to the Shadow Secretary of State for Industry. In my letter I suggested that there should have been some form of voluntary timetable to take care of the proceedings in Committee. Although I did not say so, I felt that this should apply also to subsequent proceedings on Report stage and Third Reading.

I referred to a number of arguments made during the proceedings on the Petroleum and Submarine Pipe-lines Bill. One of these was that the Clerk of the House, for instance, could be asked to certify the length of a given Bill according to experience in relation to Bills of similar size and complexity. That is not a job, I am sure, that the Clerk of the House would wish to undertake, but per- haps he could do the necessary research work to enable Mr. Speaker to undertake it, in the same way as Mr. Speaker is responsible for the selection of amendments. It is the sort of job that by tradition and by willing consent of the House is given to Mr. Speaker on a basis of trust.

If that proposal had been followed, we might certainly have missed a lot of the lengthy proceedings which we have had in connection with the present Bill. When I made the suggestion in my letter, I thought that the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill would last perhaps 25 to 30 sittings. But, much to my horror since I was a member of the Committee, it did not terminate until it had reached 58 sittings. Part of the reason, I think, is that the Bill was not particularly well drafted, but also I believe that the Opposition had a certain amount of responsibility for the amount of time it took in Committee.

We are dealing with a motion to which there are two sets of amendments, one of which, relating to the length of the proceedings, has been dropped by the Conservative Opposition. That implied, in my view, an acceptance of the guillotine as a parliamentary measure but a quarrel over the length of time which might well be given.

Instead, we now have an amendment from the Liberals which seems to be very fair and reasonable. It is to the effect that where amendments are on the Order Paper and have been called by Mr. Speaker there should be an opportunity for a vote on them, even if there has been no opportunity for debate. My hon. Friends and I intend to give suppot to that Liberal amendment if there is a Division. I hope, in fact, that there will not be a Division and that the Government will accept the amendment. I speak as a Member representing one of the smaller parties, but individual Members also have often seen their handiwork—on which they might have slaved for several seconds or hours—disappear without any opportunity for discussion or even decision upon it.

Three days have been given to the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill. Reference has been made to the fact that this was the time set aside for it before the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) exercised his ingenuity in relation to the procedural matters which we have been considering over the last month and a half. Looking, however, at a recent example, we have passed a Finance Bill in about three and a half days, although I admit that in that instance the day was a much longer one than in the case of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill. However, after 1 o'clock in the morning the numbers recorded in the votes begin to peter out. We tend to find that amendments are withdrawn and that there is not much decision-taking at that hour.

I regard this very much as a pragmatic matter. On this basis, although I feel that three days is perhaps a little on the short side, it is certainly not an unreasonable time.

The consequence of the guillotine motion not being carried would be that the debate would be extended into the autumn. As hon. Members will know, I am not a supporter of the principle of the Bill and I have suggested alternatives. Even worse would be to have uncertainty in the aircraft and shipbuilding industries. The answer lies with Parliament. It can kill the Bill at Third Reading, if it is felt to be unacceptable, and allow the Government to come up with alternatives to take care of the difficult situations in these industries over the summer vacation. Alternatively, it can pass the Bill. At least the industries will know one way or another where they stand.

I am against the position taken by the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne), who has now left the Chamber. But I must say that I feel that the way in which the early sittings of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill were paced was superb. The Opposition had put down a tremendous number of amendments, but, of course, they had to get to the compensation section, which was the last main stand before other matters were to be considered. The Bill was paced remarkably well during that period, so that enough time was left to the Opposition to deal with the compensation clauses, on which they had set a great deal of store and emphasis.

On this basis, we shall not oppose the Government on the main Question but we shall be voting with the Liberals on their very important amendment.

6.30 p.m.

Sir Michael Havers (Wimbledon)

There is very little time for me to deal with many of these suggestions that were made by hon. Members. I resist the temptation to follow up those points. For example, too much legislation is a subject about which I might speak for a long time. However, I should like to emphasise the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop). When all the Government amendments are down, the consequence of that huge number must mean that Opposition amendments will be crowded out. Although the Bill has one title and is, therefore, one Bill, it involves four different industries, all four being separately nationalised. Those facts in themselves make nonsense of the figures quoted by the Leader of the House.

One of the drawbacks of a guillotine is that to save time we must spend time. I noticed with interest that throughout the speech by the Leader of the House not a single word was said either about the fact that there were five Bills on one day or, even more important to my mind, about the fact that five Bills were wrapped up into three motions.

I shall be loyal to Mr. Speaker's ruling. However, it is important that the House should look back to the origin of Standing Order No. 44. In November 1971 the rules were changed in a number of small ways. The procedure debate involved a number of other points. There was little discussion of Standing Order No. 44.

The most important change that took place when the House approved the new Standing Order was to increase the time for debate on a guillotine motion from two hours to three hours.

Mr. Heffer

The hon. and learned Member for Wimbledon (Sir M. Havers) made a great point about five Bills being taken in one day. Is he aware that the Commonwealth Immigrants Bill and the Army Reserve Bill—both of which were debated in 1961 and 1962—were taken together and that the Transport Bill and the Housing (Scotland) Bill were both taken on 7th March 1962? Would he explain the difference between two Bills being taken at once and five Bills taken at once? The principle is the same.

Sir M. Havers

The answer is "Three". I regret giving up time when I have so little time for my speech.

Mr. Heffer

The hon. and learned Gentleman has not answered.

Sir M. Havers

I said that three was the difference.

I do not believe that in November 1971 it was intended that Standing Order No. 44 could justify a future Government including a number of Bills in one motion and that the debate would be limited to three hours. My right hon. Friend the Member for Sidcup (Mr. Heath), the then Leader of the House, tells me that he did not appreciate that that would be the consequences. I do not believe that anybody who looked at the new Standing Order before it was approved by the House—certainly no one who took part in the debate in the House in November 1971—appreciated that that would be the consequence. If hon. Members had realised that the wording of the draft Standing Order was such that a Government could include any number of Bills in one timetable motion, and that that motion could be debated for only three hours, I do not believe that the House would have approved the new Standing Order.

I suppose that the Government might today have put all five Bills into one timetable motion. One asks "Why not?" I suspect the answer is that they do not have the face to do so, as the argument that it would not give enough time for debate would be completely unanswerable. Why have three motions? Why not put two Bills into one motion and three in the other? I believe that again we should have received exactly the same answer—that that would not have been fair to the House, to Back Benchers and to those who wanted to debate whether the Bills should be guillotined. If that answer is right, the danger of the consequences of Standing Order No. 44 becomes clearly demonstrated.

I believe that Parliament intended in November 1971 that, if a Bill was destined for "the chop" or the guillotine, the House should have three hours in which to discuss whether that Bill should be so guillotined. The consequence would have been that the Government would have no choice in deciding how long Parlia- ment would have to discuss the guillotine motion. The consequences of what I believe to be the sloppy drafting in 1971 are that the Government now have the choice which it was not intended by the House that they should have. The Government now have the choice of how long they will allow the House to debate a guillotine for each Bill.

If the Government wanted to put 10 Bills into one guillotine motion, we would end up with 18 minutes' discussion for each Bill if the time was fairly divided. I cannot believe that that was the intention of the House of Commons when the Standing Order was approved. What has happened is that the Government are playing the game according to the rules but certainly not according to the spirit of the rules.

I suppose that at an appropriate stage in any year a Government may put their entire programme into one timetable motion and still have only three hours' debate. That gives to the Government a power which I do not believe was even intended by the House. The fault must lie in the drafting.

I do not suggest that Mr. Speaker's ruling is open to question. However, I suggest that the only way in which this matter may be dealt with fairly in the future is that the matter should go back to the Select Committee on Procedure and for that Committee to advise whether this is the right way of proceeding. The precedent created today is one that we may all live to regret very much in years to come.

It is clear that the Government are entitled, as a matter of interpretation, to do as they propose, but as a matter of morality and obligation to the House this should not have been done. The Government have deliberately cut down the time for debate on each Bill. In my opinion, this amounts to an abuse of Standing Order No. 44 and is a contempt of the House. The consequences must be damaging to the Leader of the House.

I have watched the career of the Leader of the House for years. I did not agree with the policies that he advised, but I admired and respected him throughout the time that I have had ay interest in politics. I thought that he truly believed in Parliament, and especially in the rôle played by Parliament in providing a restraint on the Executive. He was the first to complain and fight when Parliament's privileges were under attack. I always believed that he was quick to defend the rights of Back Benchers. Those rights include the right to debate a motion cutting down the time for discussion of a Bill.

There have been enough quotations today. However, it is interesting to look back—this I cannot resist—to what the Leader of the House said on 25th January 1962. He said: I have been reading some of the correspondence in the Daily Telegraph. I am not blaming the people who wrote these letters, but this correspondence shows a complete ignorance of the manner in which the affairs of the House of Commons are conducted, with the suggestion that all debate in the House is a waste of time, or very nearly a waste of time. If we accept that principle, we have some form of Fascist Government. The alternative to deciding things on the Floor of the House by open debate is some form of Fascist dictatorial government. He went on to say: all hon. Members should recognise the fundamental principle that we must decide what is going to happen by open debate on the Floor of the House. The Guillotine injures that because it interferes with free debate. Nobody can deny that. I find it incredible that it should be the Leader of the House of all people who should seek not only to guillotine five Bills in one day but to reduce the time for debate from 15 hours to nine. I suggest that he might remember the words used by him about another Leader of the House in the debate on 25th January 1962. He said to the then Leader of the House: The right hon. Gentleman should go to the Prime Minister and say, 'I should like to have an honest job again'."—[Official Report, 25th January 1962; Vol. 652, c. 457–58, 454.] I hope that those who believe in Parliament and who put the rights of Parliament above the tyranny of the Executive will demonstrate their belief by voting against this unnecessary, undesirable and dangerous motion.

6.39 p.m.

The Minister of State, Department of Industry. (Mr. Gerald Kaufman)

The hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel) moved in good faith an amendment which was taken up by the Tory Opposition for entirely different reasons. I hope that the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues and the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson)—who, to judge from his speech, supports the Liberal amendment in the same good faith as the Liberals moved it—will not be bamboozled by the Tory Opposition into supporting it for the very reasons why the Tory Party has decided to withdraw all its amendments in favour of the Liberal amendment.

Members of minority Opposition parties should ask themselves why there is this unaccustomed generosity from the Tory Party. The answer is quite simple. The Tories are turning a well-intentioned Liberal amendment into an amendment designed specifically to achieve what the hon. Member for Dundee, East does not wish to achieve—namely, the wrecking of the final progress of the Bill. If the Liberal amendment is carried, it will be possible when the guillotine falls at the end of the Report stage for all Opposition amendments which have been selected to be voted on.

Mrs. Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

What is wrong with that?

Mr. Kaufman

There are 130 Opposition amendments on the Notice Paper, and that would amount to Divisions lasting 30 hours. If this wrecking amendment, as the Tory Party seeks to transform the Liberal Party amendment, is carried, we can rely on the Tory Opposition to flood us with hundreds of amendments. We could spend days and nights in Divisions. That process would stretch ahead and would mean postponing the Third Reading of the Bill in a way which the hon. Member for Dundee, East does not wish to see achieved.

Mr. David Steel

I hope that the Minister will not think it a novel concept that if we move an amendment we intend to support it in the Lobby. Therefore, I am not moved by his entreaties. However, the Minister is wrong on his facts. The amendment clearly referred to amendments selected by Mr. Speaker, not to amendments tabled by the Tory Opposition. In any case, the Liberal Party does not intend to vote on every amendment that happens to have been selected by Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Kaufman

I accept the hon. Gentleman's good faith. I have at no time criticised him for tabling his amendment. However, that amendment has now been adopted by the Tory Opposition, who, most suspiciously, have withdrawn all their amendments and have thereby transformed the Liberal amendment into a wrecking amendment.

Although I appreciate that the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles and the hon. Member for Dundee, East would not divide in a random way on amendments, I can assure them that we know the Tory Party too well to believe that it would behave in a responsible way—certainly not in the way in which members of the minority parties tell us they would behave.

Mr. Gordon Wilson

May I ask the Minister to accept that as against the large total of Government amendments, amounting to 209—and, therefore, in that respect, the Government are the worst offenders—the SNP has tabled seven? Since we have restricted our amendments to only seven, that means that key amendments could be lost by the fact that they may not be discussed. Therefore, in the absence of any assurance, what else could we do than act in the way we have done?

Mr. Kaufman

I accept that the hon. Gentleman is in a dilemma. I also accept that he and his hon. Friend have tabled a small number of amendments. He and I were on the Standing Committee, and the hon. Gentleman certainly had a better attendance record than some. However, the Tory Opposition have not approached the Bill constructively. Indeed, they have adopted every conceivable way of frustrating this legislation. This is the latest course they have adopted. Therefore, although I completely accept the bona fides of the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles in tabling his amendment, and although I am sure that the hon. Member for Dundee, East is following up the amendment in the spirit in which it was moved, that is certainly not the spirit in which other amendments have been withdrawn by the Tory Opposition in favour of the Liberal amendment. It is not for me to warn those hon. Gentlemen against the Tory Party. They know the situation only too well.

Having given that warning against the Conservatives, I at least congratulate them on their fastidious good taste in not fielding the hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) in this debate. If the hon. Gentleman had spoken in this debate, even the most routine platitudes against timetable motions would have stuck in his throat. He would have been compelled to admit that the three days that we are providing for the remaining stages of the Bill in the timetable motion are more than he and his party were happy to accept for these same remaining stages and this same Bill without a timetable motion. We are providing for three days on remaining stages. When we first tabled these remaining stages for consideration for 25th May, it was on the clear understanding that they would be completed in two and a half days. This was accepted by the Tory Opposition.

Mr. Tom King


Mr. Kaufman

The hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) may think it rubbish, but it is true. The Liberal Party expressed no dissatisfaction with two and a half days, and the same went for the SNP. The hon. Member for Dundee, East has already indicated the way in which his party intend to behave on the motion.

Therefore, the Tories will be perpetrating hypocrisy of the first order if they vote against this generous timetable motion—generous by their own standards on this very Bill. The hon. Member for Henley knows all this, and that is why the Opposition did not field him for this debate.

Mr. Michael Heseltine (Henley) rose

Mr. Kaufman

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman in a moment.

Mr. Heseltinerose

Mr. Speaker

If the Minister does not give way, the hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine) must resume his seat.

Mr. Kaufman

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman when I have completed this passage in my speech. I was saying that the Tory Opposition did not field the hon. Member for Henley because he knows too much about the way in which the Tories have conducted themselves on the Bill. Instead, in this debate they did much better to field the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton), who has established his reputation in the House on the basis of third-class epigrams and first-class ignorance. The right hon. Gentleman attacked us for all the Government amendments we have tabled, but he should know that, of the 210 Government amendments, 100 are in response to assurances which have been given and 110 are technical or drafting amendments.

When we completed the Committee stage of the Bill, I circulated to the Opposition a dossier explaining all the amendments and stating why they had been tabled and the assurances to which they related. That had never been done before. The hon. Member for Henley described this as an improvement in the constitutional practice. He said: It is a most refreshing innovation … which I welcome and applaud "— [Official Report, Standing Committee D, 27th April 1976; c. 2728.] No Government have ever given more assistance than to an Opposition on amendments on Report stage than we have given. I made this material available to the Liberals and also to the SNP.

Mr. Heseltine

During the six months we have been deliberating on the Bill, I have reached innumerable agreements with the Minister about timing. Every one has been meticulously observed by the Opposition. For the record, I wish to say that at no time have I ever given any undertakings about the Report stage. I have held no discussions with the Minister of State about the Report stage. Therefore, the suggestions he has made are totally without foundation.

Mr. Kaufman

I entirely reject what the hon. Gentleman says. As he well knows, the discussions about Report took place not between him and me but through the usual channels. I was not involved in them in any way. As for the hon. Gentleman now getting up and claiming that he made meticulous agreements with me in Standing Committee, the one agreement he flatly refused ever to give me, until we reached the forty-ninth sitting, was on the occasion when his Chief Whip sent him to me to make an agreement on a terminal date. Again and again he said to me "I will not give you a terminal date for this Report stage." I see that the hon. Gentleman agrees. That went on until the end of the forty-ninth sitting. At the end of that sitting, his right hon. Friend sent him to me and then offered to agree a terminal date. Not until we had had more sittings than on three Bills put together, as my right hon. Friend the Lord President has pointed out—

Mr. Heseltine

Let me tell the hon. Gentleman that even now I will not give him a terminal date for the Bill.

Mr. Kaufman

We are about to give the hon. Gentleman one.

Mr. Berryrose

Mr. Kaufman

No, I shall not give way at this moment, but if I have time I will do so because I have much regard for the hon. Member for Southgate (Mr. Berry). [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) had better flutter out somewhere again, because we are debating serious matters. I want to continue my remarks, which I believe to be relevant to what the hon. Member for Southgate would like to say, but I shall try to ensure there is time for him to intervene. The House knows very well that this Bill has not only been fully debated but has been debated in 58 sittings in Standing Committee, the all-time record in the history of this House of Commons.

Those sittings were in no way curtailed by the Government. Not once did we have a sitting when the Opposition demanded that we should go on. We could have had 60 sittings, not 58, but for an Opposition request to us to forgo two sittings in March and April, a request to which we acceded in the helpful spirit in which we always meet Opposition requests. On the single occasion when the Committee sat beyond 7 p.m., one Tory Front Bench spokesman, the hon. Member for Bridgwater, described meeting at that hour of the evening—10 p.m.—as an obscene procedure, showing how much the Tories wanted to debate the Bill at great length. Not only did the Government give the Opposition all the time they wanted to debate the Bill in Committee; we withheld closure motions until Clause 42, because it was on that clause that the Opposition began to filibuster. This was pointed out by the hon. Member for Dundee, East when he said that when the Committee reached the compensation clauses something, though he was not sure what, seemed to go differently.

On this 55-clause Bill,. we completed 41 clauses by the thirty-fifth sitting in Committee. The remainder of the Bill took 24 sittings. It was on Clause 42 that we began to move closures. This was inevitable, because on that fairly routine clause, with many precedents, the Opposition spent 12½ hours of debate during six sittings. The hon. Member for Dundee, East showed his view of the Tory tactics by voting for six of the 10 closure motions we moved in Committee and voting against only one. We could have had 11, because the Chairman of the Committee granted us an eleventh, but the Opposition requested us not to proceed with it and in our spirit of constant co-operation we again did as the Opposition asked.

The hon. Member for Dundee, East, from the Scottish National Party, showed what he thought of the obstructive Tory tactics by voting against the Government on only one of our closure motions. The Liberal Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) showed what he thought of the Tory Opposition tactics by staying away from the Committee a good deal the time. I am not jeering at him on this. He missed 12 of the 24 sittings, from Clause 42 onwards, and I do not blame him, because he must have had very many better things to do than sit listening to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor), who showed how seriously he takes the problems of the shipbuilding industry, an industry whose problems he is paid to take seriously as parliamentary adviser to the Shipbuilders and Repairers National Association.

Mr. Teddy Taylorrose

Mr. Kaufman

The hon. Gentleman showed that by his discussion at length

of a maiden aunt's horse, raspberries and Scottish law cases going back to 1829.

Before the Committee stage began, the hon. Member for Dundee, East wrote to my right hon. Friend—[Interruption.] I give way to the hon. Member for Cathcart.

Mr. Teddy Taylor

My interest in this industry as parliamentary adviser, which I took long before I came here, was declared at the beginning of the Committee sittings. Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that he was constantly saying that the shipbuilding industry was desperate to be nationalised?

Mr. Kaufman

The workers in the shipbuilding industry are desperate to be nationalised, and the hon. Gentleman is frustrating employment on the Clyde by what he is doing. That is how much he cares about the shipbuilding industry that he is paid to represent in this House.

Nobody can claim that the Bill was railroaded through Committee. The evidence points the other way, to a Government almost unnnecessarily accommodating in their willingness to maintain an atmosphere of good will. No one can claim that this Bill is being railroaded through its remaining stages since the Government are providing more time with a guillotine than the Opposition were willing to accept without a guillotine.

I hope that in the interests of consistency and fair play the minority Opposition parties will support the motion. I do not expect any kind of consistency or fair play from the Tory Party, which Benjamin Disraeli described as an organised hypocrisy".

It being three hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded to put the Question necessary to dispose of them pursuant to Standing Order No. 44 (Allocation to Bills).

Question put, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 305, Noes 311.

Division No. 258.] AYES [6.56 p.m.
Adley, Robert Bain, Mrs Margaret Benyon, W.
Ailken, Jonathan Baker, Kenneth Berry, Hon Anthony
Alison, Michael Banks, Robert Bitten, John
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Beith, A. J. Biggs-Davison, John
Arnold, Tom Bell, Ronald Blaker, Peter
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Body, Richard
Awdry, Daniel Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Boscawen, Hon Robert
Bottomley, Peter Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Moore, John (Croydon C)
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Boyson, Or Rhodes (Brent) Hampson, Dr Keith Morgan, Geraint
Bradford, Rev Robert Hannam, John Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral
Braine, Sir Bernard Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Morris, Michael (Northampton S)
Brittan, Leon Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Hastings, Stephen Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)
Brotherton, Michael Havers, Sir Michael Mudd, David
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hawkins, Paul Neave, Airey
Bryan, Sir Paul Hayhoe, Barney Nelson, Anthony
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Heath, Rt Hon Edward Neubert, Michael
Buck, Antony Henderson, Douglas Newton, Tony
Budgen, Nick Heseltine, Michael Normanton, Tom
Bulmer, Esmond Hicks, Robert Nott, John
Burden, F. A. Higgins, Terence L. Onslow, Cranley
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Holland, Philip Oppenheim, Mrs Sally
Carlisle, Mark Hooson, Emlyn Osborn, John
Carson, John Hordern, Peter Page, John (Harrow West)
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Channon, Paul Howell, David (Guildford) Paisley, Rev Ian
Churchill, W. S. Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Pardoe, John
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Parkinson, Cecil
Clark, William (Croydon S) Hunt, David (Wirral) Pattie, Geoffrey
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hunt, John (Bromley) Penhaligon, David
Clegg, Walter Hurd, Douglas Percival, Ian
Cockcroft, John Hutchison, Michael Clark Peyton, Rt Hon John
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Pink, R. Bonner
Cope, John James, David Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Cordle, John H. Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Price, David (Eastieigh)
Cormack, Patrick Jessel, Toby Prior, Rt Hon James
Costain, A. P. Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Crawford, Douglas Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Raison, Timothy
Critchley, Julian Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Rathbone, Tim
Crouch, David Jopling, Michael Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Crowder, F. P. Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Kaberry, Sir Donald Rees-Davies, W. R.
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Kellett_Bowman, Mrs Elaine Reid, George
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Kershaw, Anthony Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Kilfedder, James Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Drayson, Burnaby Kimball, Marcus Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Dunlop, John King, Tom (Bridgwater) Ridsdale, Julian
Durant, Tony Kirk, Sir Peter Rifkind, Malcolm
Dykes, Hugh Kitson, Sir Timothy Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Knight, Mrs Jill Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Knox, David Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Elliott, Sir William Lamont, Norman Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Emery, Peter Lane, David Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Langford-Holt, Sir John Ross, William (Londonderry)
Eyre, Reginald Latham, Michael (Melton) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Fairbairn, Nicholas Lawrence, Ivan Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Fairgrieve, Russell Lawson, Nigel Royle, Sir Anthony
Farr, John Le Marchant, Spencer Sainsbury, Tim
Fell, Anthony Lester, Jim (Beeston) St. John-Stevas, Norman
Finsberg, Geoffrey Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Scott, Nicholas
Fisher, Sir Nigel Lloyd, Ian Scott-Hopkins, James
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Loveridge, John Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Luce, Richard Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Fookes, Miss Janet McAdden, Sir Stephen Shelton, William (Streatham)
Forman, Nigel MacCormick, Iain Shepherd, Colin
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) McCrlndle, Robert Shersby, Michael
Fox, Marcus McCusker, H. Silvester, Fred
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Macfarlane, Neil Sims, Roger
Freud, Clement MacGregor, John Sinclair, Sir George
Fry, Peter Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Skeet, T. H. H.
Galbraith, Hon T. G. D. McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Gardiner, George(Reigate) McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Speed, Keith
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Madel, David Spence, John
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Marten, Neil Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Glyn, Dr Alan Mates, Michael Sproat, Iain
Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Mather, Carol Stainton, Keith
Goodhart, Philip Maude, Angus Stanbrook, Ivor
Goodhew, Victor Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Stanley, John
Goodlad, Alastair Mawby, Ray Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Gorst, John Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Mayhew, Patrick Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Meyer, Sir Anthony Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Stokes, John
Gray, Hamish Mills, Peter Stradling Thomas, J.
Griffiths, Eldon Miscampbell, Norman Tapsell, Peter
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Grist, Ian Moate, Roger Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Grylls, Michael Molyneaux, James Tebbit, Norman
Hall, Sir John Monro, Hector Temple-Morris, Peter
Montgomery, Fergus Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S) Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester) Wiggln, Jerry
Thompson, George Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon) Wall, Patrick Winterton, Nicholas
Townsend, Cyril D. Waiters, Dennis Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Trotter, Neville Warren, Kenneth Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Tugendhat, Christopher Watt, Hamish Younger, Hon George
van Straubenzee, W. R. Weatherill, Bernard
Vaughan, Dr Gerard Wells, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Viggers, Peter Welsh, Andrew Mr. Cyril Smith and
Wakeham, John Whitelaw, Rt Hon William Mr. Richard Wainwright.
Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Abse, Leo Doig, Peter Johnson, Walter (Derby S)
Allaun, Frank Dormand, J. D. Jones, Alec (Rhondda)
Anderson, Donald Douglas-Mann, Bruce Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Archer, Peter Duffy, A. E. P. Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Armstrong, Ernest Dunn, James A. Judd, Frank
Ashley, Jack Dunnett, Jack Kaufman, Gerald
Ashton, Joe Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Kelley, Richard
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Eadie, Alex Kerr, Russell
Atkinson, Norman Edge, Geoff Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Bagier, Gordon A. T, Edwards Robert (Wolv SE) Kinnock, Neil
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Lambie, David
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Lamborn, Harry
Bates, Alf English, Michael Lamond, James
Bean, R. E. Ennals, David Latham, Arthur (Paddington)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Leadbitter, Ted
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Evans, loan (Aberdare) Lee, John
Bidwell, Sydney Evans, John (Newton) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)
Bishop, E. S. Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Lever, Rt Hon Harold
Blenkinsop, Arthur Faulds, Andrew Lewis, Arthur (Newham N)
Boardman, H. Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Filch, Alan (Wigan) Lipton, Marcus
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W) Litterick, Tom
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Flannery, Martin Lomas, Kenneth
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston) Loyden, Eddie
Bradley, Tom Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Luard, Evan
Bray, Dr Jeremy Foot, Rt Hon Michael Lyon, Alexander (York)
Broughton, Sir Alfred Ford, Ben Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Forrester, John Mabon, Dr J. Dickson
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) McCartney, Hugh
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) McDonald, Miss Oonagh
Buchan, Norman Freeson, Reginald MacFarquhar, Roderick
Buchanan, Richard Garrett, John (Norwich S) McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) MacKenzie, Gregor
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) George, Bruce Mackintosh, John P.
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Gilbert, Dr John Maclennan, Robert
Campbell, Ian Ginsburg, David McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)
Canavan, Dennis Golding. John McNamara, Kevin
Cant, R. B. Gould, Bryan Madden, Max
Carmichael, Neil Gourlay, Harry Magee, Bryan
Carter, Ray Graham, Ted Maguire. Frank (Fermanagh)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Grant, George (Morpeth) Mahon, Simon
Cartwright, John Grant, John (Islington C) Mallalleu, J. P. W.
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Grocott, Bruce Marks, Kenneth
Clemitson, Ivor Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Marquand, David
Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Hardy, Peter Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Cohen, Stanley Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Coleman, Donald Hart, Rt Hon Judith Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Colquhoun, Ms Maureen Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Maynard, Miss Joan
Concannon, J. D. Hatton, Frank Meacher, Michael
Conlan, Bernard Hayman, Mrs Helene Mellish, Rt Hon Robert
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Henley. Rt Hon Denis Mendelson, John
Corbett, Robin Heffer, Eric S. Mikardo, Ian
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Hooley, Frank Millan, Bruce
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Horam, John Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Crawshaw, Richard Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm'H) Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)
Cronin, John Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Mitchell, R. C. (Solon, Itchen)
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Huckfield. Les Moonman, Eric
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Cryer, Bob Hughes, Mark (Durham) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Moyle, Roland
Dalyell, Tam Hunter, Adam Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Davidson, Arthur Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Newens, Stanley
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Jackson, Coiln (Brighouse) Noble, Mike
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Oakes, Gordon
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Janner, Greville Ogden, Eric
Deakins, Eric Jay, Rt Hon Douglas O'Halloran, Michael
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Jeger, Mrs Lena Orbach, Maurice
de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund John, Brynmor Ovenden, John
Dempsey, James Johnson, James (Hull West) Owen, Dr David
Padley, Walter Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne) Urwin, T. W.
Palmer, Arthur Shore, Rt Hon Peter Varley, Rt Hon Erie G.
Park, George Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Parker, John Short, Mrs Renee (Wolv NE) Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Parry, Robert Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Pavitt, Laurie Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich) Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Peart, Rt Hon Fred Sillars, James Ward, Michael
Pendry, Tom Silverman, Julius Watkins, David
Perry, Ernest Skinner, Dennis Watkinson, John
Phipps, Dr Colin Small, William Weetch, Ken
Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Smith, John (N Lanarkshire) Weitzman, David
Prescott, John Snape, Peter Wellbeloved, James
Price, C. (Lewisham W) Spearing, Nigel White, Frank R. (Bury)
Price, William (Rugby) Spriggs, Leslie White, James (Pollok)
Radice, Giles Stallard, A. W. Whitehead, Phillip
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham) Whitlock, William
Richardson, Miss Jo Stoddart, David Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Stott, Roger Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Strang, Gavin Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Robertson, John (Paisley) Strauss, Rt Hon G. R. Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Robinson, Geoffrey Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley Williams, Sir Thomas
Roderick, Caerwyn Swain, Thomas Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Rodgers, George (Chorley) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W) Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Rodgers, William (Stockton) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Rooker, J. W. Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Roper, John Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW) Woodall, Alec
Rose, Paul B. Thorne, Stan (Preston South) Woof, Robert
Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Tierney, Sydney Wrigglesworth, Ian
Rowlands, Ted Tinn, James Young, David (Bolton E)
Sandelson, Neville Tomlinson, John
Sedgemore, Brian Tomney, Frank TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Selby, Harry Torney, Tom Mr. James Hamilton and
Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) Tuck, Raphael Mr. Joseph Harper.
Question accordingly negatived.
Main Question put accordingly:—
The House divided: Ayes 311, Noes 294.
Division No. 259.] AYES [7.14 p.m.
Abse, Leo Castle, Rt Hon Barbara English, Michael
Allaun, Frank Clemitson, Ivor Ennals, David
Anderson, Donald Cocks, Michael (Bristol S) Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)
Archer, Peter Cohen, Stanley Evans, loan (Aberdare)
Armstrong, Ernest Coleman, Donald Evans, John (Newton)
Ashley, Jack Colquhoun, Ms Maureen Ewing, Harry (Stirling)
Ashton, Joe Concannon, J. D. Faulds, Andrew
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Conlan, Bernard Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.
Atkinson, Norman Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Fitch, Alan (Wigan)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Corbett, Robin Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Flannery, Martin
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston)
Bates, Alf Crawshaw, Richard Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Bean, R. E. Cronin, John Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Ford, Ben
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Forrester, John
Bidwell, Sydney Cryer, Bob Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)
Bishop, E. S. Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Freeson, Reginald
Boardman, H. Dalyell, Tam Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Davidson, Arthur Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) George, Bruce
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Gilbert, Dr John
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Ginsburg, David
Bradley, Tom Davit, Clinton (Hackney C) Golding, John
Bray, Dr Jeremy Deakins, Eric Gould, Bryan
Broughton, Sir Alfred Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Gourlay, Harry
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Graham, Ted
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Grant, George (Morpeth)
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Dempsey, James Grant, John (Islington C)
Buchan, Norman Doig, Peter Grocott, Bruce
Buchanan, Richard Dormand, J. D. Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hardy, Peter
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Duffy, A. E. P. Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Dunn, James A. Hart, Rt Hon Judith
Campbell, Ian Dunnett, Jack Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Canavan, Dennis Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Hatton, Frank
Cant, R. B. Eadie, Alex Hayman, Mrs Helena
Carter, Ray Edge, Geoff Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Carter-Jones, Lewis Edwards Robert (Wolv SE) Heffer, Eric S.
Cartwright, John Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Hooley, Frank
Carmichael, Nell Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Horam, John
Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm'H) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Short, Mrs Renee (Wolv NE)
Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Mason, Rt Hon Roy Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Huckfield, Les Maynard, Miss Joan Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Meacher, Michael Sillars, James
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Silverman, Julius
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Mendelson, John Skinner, Dennis
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Mikardo, Ian Small, William
Hunter, Adam Millan, Bruce Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Snape, Peter
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) Spearing, Nigel
Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Mitchell, R. C. (Solon, lichen) Spriggs, Leslie
Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Moonman, Eric Stallard, A. W.
Janner, Greville Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Stoddart, David
Jeger, Mrs Lena Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Stott, Roger
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford) Moyle, Roland Strang, Gavin
John, Brynmor Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Johnson, James (Hull West) Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Newens, Stanley Swain, Thomas
Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Noble, Mike Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Oakes, Gordon Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Ogden, Eric Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Judd, Frank O'Halloran, Michael Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Kaufman, Gerald Orbach, Maurice Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Kelley, Richard Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Tlerney, Sydney
Kerr, Russell Ovenden, John Tinn, James
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Owen, Dr David Tomlinson, John
Kinnock, Neil Padley, Walter Tomney, Frank
Lambie, David Palmer, Arthur Torney, Tom
Lamborn, Harry Park, George Tuck, Raphael
Lamond, James Parker, John Urwin, T. W.
Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Parry, Robert Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Leadbitter, Ted Pavitt, Laurie Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Lee, John Peart, Rt Hon Fred Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Pendry, Tom Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Lever, Rt Hon Harold Perry, Ernest Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Lewis, Arthur (Newham N) Phipps, Dr Colin Ward, Michael
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Watkins, David
Lipton, Marcus Prescott, John Watkinson, John
Litterick, Tom Price, C. (Lewisham W) Weetch, Ken
Lomas, Kenneth Price, William (Rugby) Weitzman, David
Loyden, Eddie Radice, Giles Wellbeloved, James
Luard, Evan Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) White, Frank R. (Bury)
Lyon, Alexander (York) Richardson, Miss Jo White, James (Pollok)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Whitehead, Phillip
Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Whitlock, William
McCartney, Hugh Robertson, John (Paisley) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
McDonald, Miss Oonagh Robinson, Geoffrey Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
MacFarquhar, Roderick Roderick, Caerwyn Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
McGuire, Michael (Ince) Rodgers, George (Chorley) Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
MacKenzie, Gregor Rodgers, William (Stockton) Williams, Sir Thomas
Mackintosh, John P. Rooker, J. W. Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Maciennan, Robert Roper, John Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Rose, Paul B. Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
McNamara, Kevin Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Madden, Max Rowlands, Ted Woodall, Alec
Magee, Bryan Sandelson, Neville Woof, Robert
Maguire, Frank (Fermanagh) Sedgemore, Brian Wrigglesworth, Ian
Mahon, Simon Selby, Harry Young, David (Bolton E)
Mallalieu, J. P. W. Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Marks, Kenneth Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Marquand, David Shore, Rt Hon Peter Mr. James Hamilton and
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Short, Rt Hon E. (Newcastle C) Mr. Joseph Harper.
Adley, Robert Bottomley, Peter Churchill, W. S.
Aitken, Jonathan Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)
Alison, Michael Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Clark, William (Croydon S)
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Bradford, Rev Robert Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Arnold, Tom Braine, Sir Bernard Clegg, Walter
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Brittan, Leon Cockcroft, John
Awdry, Daniel Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)
Baker, Kenneth Brotherton, Michael Cope, John
Banks, Robert Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Cordle, John H.
Beith, A. J. Bryan, Sir Paul Cormack, Patrick
Bell, Ronald Buchanan-Smith, Alick Costain, A. P.
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Buck, Antony Critchley, Julian
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Budgen, Nick Crouch, David
Benyon, W. Bulmer, Esmond Crowder, F. P.
Berry, Hon Anthony Burden, F. A. Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)
Biffen, John Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Dean, Paul (N Somerset)
Biggs-Davison, John Carlisle, Mark Dodsworth, Geoffrey
Blaker, Peter Carson, John Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Body, Richard Chalker, Mrs Lynda Drayson, Burnaby
Boscawen, Hon Robert Channon, Paul du Cann, Rt Hon Edward
Dunlop, John Kilfedder, James Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Durant, Tony Kimball, Marcus Rees-Davies, W. R.
Dykes, Hugh King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Ronton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John King, Tom (Bridgwater) Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Kirk, Sir Peter Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Elliott, Sir William Kitson, Sir Timothy Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Emery, Peter Knight, Mrs Jill Ridsdale, Julian
Eyre, Reginald Knox, David Rifkind, Malcolm
Fairbairn, Nicholas Lamont, Norman Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Fairgrieve, Russell Lane, David Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Farr, John Langford-Holt, Sir John Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Fell, Anthony Latham, Michael (Melton) Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Finsberg, Geoffrey Lawrence, Ivan Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Fisher, Sir Nigel Lawson, Nigel Ross, William (Londonderry)
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Lester, Jim (Beeston) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Fookes, Miss Janet Lloyd, Ian Royle, Sir Anthony
Forman, Nigel Loveridge, John Sainsbury, Tim
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Luce, Richard St. John-Stevas, Norman
Fox, Marcus McAdden, Sir Stephen Scott, Nicholas
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) McCrindle, Robert Scott-Hopkins, James
Freud, Clement McCusker, H. Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Fry, Peter Macfarlane, Nell Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Galbraith, Hon T. G. D. MacGregor, John Shelton, William (Streatham)
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Shepherd, Colin
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Shersby, Michael
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Silvester, Fred
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Madel, David Sims, Roger
Glyn, Dr Alan Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Sinclair, Sir George
Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Marten, Neil Skeet, T. H. H.
Goodhart, Philip Mates, Michael Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Goodhew, Victor Mather, Carol Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Goodlad, Alastair Maude, Angus Speed, Keith
Gorst, John Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Spence, John
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Mawby, Ray Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Mayhew, Patrick Sproat, lain
Gray, Hamish Meyer, Sir Anthony Stainton, Keith
Griffiths, Eldon Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Stanbrook, Ivor
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Mills, Peter Stanley, John
Grist, Ian Miscampbell, Norman Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Grylls, Michael Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Hall, Sir John Moate, Roger Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Molyneaux, James Stokes, John
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Monro, Hector Stradling Thomas, J.
Hampson, Dr Keith Montgomery, Fergus Tapsell, Peter
Hannam, John Moore, John (Croydon C) Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Morgan, Geraint Tebbit, Norman
Hastings, Stephen Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral Temple-Morris, Peter
Havers, Sir Michael Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Hawkins, Paul Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Hayhoe, Barney Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Heath, Rt Hon Edward Mudd, David Townsend, Cyril D.
Heseltine, Michael Neave, Alrey Trotter, Neville
Hicks, Robert Nelson, Anthony Tugendhat, Christopher
Higgins, Terence L. Neubert, Michael van Straubenzee, W. R.
Holland, Philip Newton, Tony Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Hooson, Emlyn Normanton, Tom Viggers, Peter
Hordern, Peter Nott, John Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Onslow, Cranley Wakeham, John
Howell, David (Guildford) Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Osborn, John Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Page, John (Harrow West) Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Hunt, David (Wirral) Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Wall, Patrick
Hunt, John (Bromley) Paisley, Rev Ian Walters, Dennis
Hurd, Douglas Pardoe, John Warren, Kenneth
Hutchison, Michael Clark Pattie, Geoffrey Weatherill, Bernard
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Penhaligon, David Wells, John
James, David Percival, Ian Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Peyton, Rt Hon John Wiggin, Jerry
Jessel, Toby Pink, R. Bonner Winterton, Nicholas
Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Price, David (Eastleigh) Young, Sir G. (Eating, Acton)
Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Prior, Rt Hon James Younger, Hon George
Jopling, Michael Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Raison, Timothy TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Kaberry, Sir Donald Rathbone, Tim Mr. Spencer Le Merchant and
Kellett_Bowman, Mrs Elaine Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter Mr. Cecil Parkinson.
Kershaw, Anthony

Question accordingly agreed to.

Ordered, That the following provisions shall apply to the remaining Proceedings on the Bill:—

Report and Third Reading

1.—(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 Friday 23rd July.

(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.

(4) The resolutions of the Business Committee may include alterations in the order in which Proceedings on Consideration of the Bill are taken.

Dilatory Motions

2. No dilatory Motion with respect to, or in the course of, Proceedings on the Bill shall be made 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

3.—(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.

(3) If an allotted day for the Bill is one to which a Motion for the adjournment of the House under Standing Order No. 9 stands over from an earlier day, a period of time equal to the duration of the Proceedings upon that Motion shall be added to the period during which Proceedings on the Bill may be proceeded with after Ten o'clock under this paragraph, and 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 shall also be postponed for a period equal to the duration of the Proceedings on the Motion.

Private Business

4. 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

5.—(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 and which have not previously been brought to a conclusion, Mr. Speaker shall forthwith proceed to put the following Questions (but no others), that is to say—

  1. (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);
  2. (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;
  3. (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, 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.

If 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

6.—(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) 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 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.


7. Nothing in this Order or in a Resolution of the Business Committee shall—

  1. (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
  2. (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.


8.—(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 recommit 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.


9. 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 provided that a Motion for allotting time to the Proceedings on the Bill to be taken on that day either has been agreed on a previous day, or is set down for consideration on that day, 'the Bill' means the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill; 'Resolution of the Business Committee' means a Resolution of the Business Committee as agreed to by the House.