HC Deb 10 November 1976 vol 919 cc414-71

3.36 p.m.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Michael Foot)

I beg to move, That, for the remainder of this Session, any Questions necessary to dispose of Motions moved by a Minister of the Crown, and any amendments thereto selected by Mr. Speaker, relating to Committees to draw up reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to Amendments to Bills shall be decided forthwith, and proceedings on such Motions, though opposed, may be decided after the expiration of the time for opposed business.

Mr. Speaker

I should like to inform the House that I have received a manuscript amendment from the Official Opposition and that I have selected it for debate. The amendment reads as follows: to leave out from "Bills" to "though".

Mr. Foot

When this House disagrees with amendments made in another place to Bills sent there by this House it is the convention to appoint a Committee to draw up reasons for such disagreement. The Bill is then sent back to the other place with the House of Commons reasons for disagreeing with the Lords amendments. The appointment of such a Committee has always been treated by the House as a formality—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] We may have some discussion about that later, but it is the usual understanding that the appointment of such a Committee has always been treated as a formality—to such an extent, indeed, that it is not even provided for in the Standing Orders of the House. I believe that it is right that the appointment of such Committees should continue to be treated as a formality in that sense.

Giving reasons to the Lords for disagreeing with their amendments is in one sense no more than a necessary courtesy. The decisions of substance on the amendments have already been taken by the House by the time the appointment of such a Committee is proposed and in drawing up its reasons the Committee is bound by the decisions of the House. I think there is no real disagreement between the parties on that aspect of the matter.

An alteration to the situation arose last night, because the Opposition wished to propose an additional name as a member of the Committee. However, the time for opposed business had expired and Mr. Speaker therefore ruled that the amendment could not be taken last night.

In the light of this situation, which I believe is unprecedented, the Government have thought it right to table the motion which appears on the Order Paper today to allow the Questions necessary to the appointment of such Committees, and any amendments which the Chair may think it appropriate to select, to be taken at the end of our consideration of Lords amendments. The motion also provides for such Questions to be decided forthwith.

As I have said, the appointment of such a Committee is no more than a formality and a courtesy and I believe it is in accordance with the spirit in which the House has treated these motions in the past to make such provision. The appointment of these Committees is merely the logical consequence of decisions the House has already taken and I do not believe there can be any dispute about the need to appoint them.

I hope that the House will be prepared to accept the motion. If there is debate, perhaps I might be allowed to reply later. I believe this to be the best way for the House to proceed. That is why the Government have tabled the motion.

Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way. He asked us whether we can accept the motion in due course. Are we to take it that, in the same spirit, he will accept the amendment?

Mr. Foot

The amendment has not yet been moved. What I would prefer to do, if it suits the right hon. Gentleman and the Opposition, is to comment on the amendment after it has been moved. The amendment would permit a debate to take place and would mean that the motion would not be put forthwith. I am not quite sure whether the right hon. Gentleman is referring to that amendment or to the amendment of which the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) gave notice yesterday, proposing the addition of a name.

Mr. Thorpe

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for questioning me further. I am anxious to explain. I was referring to the amendment of which the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) yesterday gave notice. As I know that the right hon. Gentleman does not want to waste the time of the House and wishes to get on expeditiously with the business, perhaps he will indicate whether he is prepared to accept that amendment.

Mr. Foot

If the right hon. Gentleman would prefer it, I am prepared now to comment on the proposal made last night by the right hon. Member for Yeovil. The difficulty about that proposal is that if it were carried, instead of there being parity on the Committee which decides on the answer of disagreement to the Lords, the Government would be in a minority. It would be the first time in history that that had been proposed. No one could say that such a proposition as that was not altering the whole spirit and letter of the way in which these matters have been dealt with. If the amendment were to be carried it would alter the whole nature of the procedure, and we do not think that that is the right course to take.

3.44 p.m.

Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)

I beg to move, as a manuscript amendment to the Question, to leave out from " Bills" to "though".

I am quite prepared to meet the convenience of the Secretary of State by moving the amendment to which Mr. Speaker has referred. The effect would be to permit discussion of the two later motions which we reach after the guillotine procedures this evening. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will accept the amendment and subsequently take a useful and positive part in the discussion of those two later motions.

I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that the giving of reasons to the Lords for disagreeing with them in their amendments was a necessary courtesy. We have sometimes come to the sad conclusion that the Government do not regard courtesy as ever being necessary.

There are two explanations for the situation in which the Government find themselves. One is kindly and the other less kindly. I accept without hesitation the kindly explanation, which is that somewhere in the shades of the Government Benches there lurks some sense of shame, some unease, at the grubby expedients which the Government have been driven to adopt to get through their shoddy business. This somehow puts them off their stroke and disturbs their judgment. The less kindly interpretation is that the Government take Parliament so much for granted that they feel themselves to be excused from taking pains with the rules or showing too much courtesy.

As the motion is concerned with the time of the House, it would be convenient for me to say now that later tonight, at the expiry of the guillotine time, the Opposition would be fully justified in following the example set by the Labour Party when in opposition on the Industrial Relations Bill and requiring the House to vote through the night and into the morning. I am sure that my hon. and right hon. Friends have a lively recollection of finishing voting at 11 o'clock in the morning, having started voting at 11 o'clock at night, without a word of argument or debate having been expended. Out of regard for the House and respect for its convenience, this would not be the intention of my hon. and right hon. Friends.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

Get on with it.

Mr. Peyton

Do not tempt us too far. Despite the characteristically bad behaviour of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), who knows no better, we would feel obliged to vote on a number of the most important amendments, but that would be only a very small number. If we were to exercise this restraint, I must make it absolutely clear that we would do so on the understanding that it implies no qualification whatsoever of our support for the House of Lords or our abhorrence and detestation of the Government's actions.

The question we have to ask meanwhile is, why should the Government be permitted to dispose of this matter as quickly and easily as they wish now to do? I suppose it is necessary—

Mr. Skinner

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that there have been occasions in the past when we have gone through the process of the guillotine in respect of Lords amendments, although it has never happened when a Tory Government have been in power. A Tory Government have never been placed in the predicament of having to get rid of Lords amendments—and there is irony in that. Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that we have been through this procedure before, but never on any occasion have we had to go through the process of passing the motion on the Order Paper, because the Tory Front Bench has never before bothered to challenge the procedure, although there have been similar occasions during the lifetime of the present Government?

Mr. Peyton

I do not suppose that that intervention was particularly useful to anybody else in the House, although I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving me a chance to have a glass of water.

It is necessary for me to remind the House that the Government majority—which on these three Bills came down to one and in one instance depended on the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maguire)—hardly justifies their coming forward as the unsullied champions of democratic rights and attacking vigorously and viciously the House of Lords, which is simply doing the duty laid upon it by a Labour Government in 1949. Nor does it warrant their having it all their own way on a Committee which is designed to give reasons. I can think of few collections of people whom I would regard as less fitted than right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to formulate reasons for anything.

We therefore seek to amend the motion to allow discussions of the later motions which will come up tonight. We recognise that the rather peremptory conduct of the Government is very convenient to the Left wing—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Feltham and Heston (Mr. Kerr) reminds me more of Sydney cricket ground than of anything else. I am tempted to wonder what he looks like when he is standing up. I thought for a moment that we were going to have a demonstration of the reality of the nightmare, but happily we were let off.

This peremptory demand is, as I was saying, very convenient to the Left. It behoves us at any rate to ask the question, what of the moderates? Their influence is not obvious, but they are talked of much. What of the moderates, who have done so much to get the Labour Party into power by giving it a veneer of respectability? But these people are constantly dragged at the chariot wheels of the Left.

We hope that the Government will accept this very reasonable amendment, but before I sit down I would like to quote a passage from "Erskine May", a book not every page of which absolutely thrills me. But on page 602 there occurs this majestic sentence: When ministers command the confidence of a majority in both Houses, concord is assured. What a marvellously lucid explanation of the discord in which we presently find ourselves, when Ministers command the confidence of neither House.

I hope that lion. Members will care to exercise their imaginations about what happens in the situation referred to later on that page, where there occurs reference to how communication takes place between the two Houses. The usual way, it is said, is by message. It goes on: Conferences between the two Houses are now obsolete, since their main function, that of providing an occasion for communicating reasons for disagreement to amendments to bills, has been taken over by the modern practice of sending messages … it remains theoretically possible for either House to request a conference with reference to amendments to bills disagreed to. What a lovely thought that we should now have a conference between the two Houses. I know that my right hon. and hon. Friends, notable for their modesty and restraint, would wish on such an occasion to be mere spectators, because we would like to witness the happy reunions between the bands of brothers from both Houses, including, from the other place, the staunch and loyal supporters of the Labour Party, particularly the Wilson creations, so popular and so well thought of on the Benches opposite. When they brought their messages down here and came to talk to us, we would like them to come bearing their Division records, because, although we impute nothing but the highest and nicest motives to these distinguished people, that unkind and nightmare group below the Gangway opposite has some very serious scores to wipe off.

Mr. Ernest G. Perry (Battersea, South)rose

Mr. Peyton

I ask the pardon of the hon. Member for Battersea, South (Mr. Perry), for whom I have nothing but respect, for I have done him wrong. But I must warn him that he should be more careful as to where he sits. Not even the gleam of his reputation could survive the tarnish which he is risking now.

The Government have got themselves into a real difficulty, not for the first time. As usual, they seek to put the blame upon other people.

Mr. Skinner

The right hon. Gentleman is nit-picking.

Mr. Peyton

I must say that the advice I get from that quarter—

Mr. Russell Kerr (Feltham and Heyton)

—is brilliant.

Mr. Peyton

I repeat what I said the other day. I do not believe that Lewis Carroll—

Mr. Arthur Lewis (Newham North-West)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I raise it as a point of order pertaining to this case and generally. Is it not a frequent occurrence for Opposition Front Bench spokesmen to turn their backs on the Chair and address parts of the House other than the Chair? That is, of course, out of order. Will you please draw the attention of the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) and of right hon. and hon. Members generally to the fact that they should address the Chair and not the Bar of the House?

Mr. Speaker

I am obliged to the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis), who came into this House on the same day as I did—

Mr. Robert Mellish (Bermondsey)

You have done rather better than he has.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I did not hear what the right hon. Member for Bermondsey (Mr. Mellish) said. I have the good fortune not to hear everything. But it makes a pleasant interlude for me in the Chair if right hon. and hon. Members do look this way.

Mr. Peyton

I am charmed by your invitation, Mr. Speaker. Since you have been kind enough to say that it matters to you, I shall endeavour never to err again. But, by way of excuse, perhaps I should explain that I got that bad habit from observing the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) when he was Prime Minister, whom I never copy in any other respect. I had hoped that, during the course of my remarks, I might pick up a bite from the odd minnow, but I never thought to get a whale such as the hon. Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Lewis).

When I was interrupted just now, I was endeavouring to waste—[Interruption.] I find it very difficult to refrain from wasting the time of the House discussing those people who are, in my view, a sort of Lewis Carroll nightmare of the Mad Hatter's tea party, who, instead of being pleasant, are thoroughly venomous. I hope that before long the Labour Party will shed their influence and learn to behave as a respectable political party again, free of such malign influence.

The Government have once again got themselves into a thorough mess in the handling of Parliament's business. I hope that they will at least show a degree of contrition and courtesy by accepting the amendment.

4.0 p.m.

Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Who am I, Mr. Speaker, to intrude upon these proceedings? I must first express an interest. I have long nurtured the ambition to serve upon the Reasons Committee on the Education Bill. It was for this object that I sought election to the House and for which I remain here. There may be other ambitions which mean rather more to me.

But there is a far more important reason why this matter should not be dispatched as lightly as the Government Front Bench wishes. On several occasions in the course of this Parliament it has been necessary to assert that there are now several parties strongly represented on the Opposition Benches and that these parties have as much right to a place in the proceedings of the House as those whose leaders sit on the two Front Benches, and their exclusion from committees of all kinds is something that the House ought not to tolerate. It was for that reason that we were prepared to see a name go forward from my own party, and would be prepared on other occasions to see names go forward from other minority parties, to ensure that on other committees, as well as on this, the minorities in this House are represented.

We have been through all this before on a number of other issues, and I had hoped that the matter was resolved. I had hoped that the House had come to agreement that we ought to ensure a system of representation on committees which genuinely reflected opinion in this House. We seemed to have reached that point, but now, quite unexpectedly, we are faced with the issue again in the particular context of the usually rather little considered occasion of the Reasons Committee on a Bill.

What we are confronted with at this time of day is a device which will, unfortunately, prevent us from discussing the merits of the case, from advancing our claims, and from hearing the Government's answer to them. The Leader of the House took the opportunity to give some indication of what is in the Government's mind in response to an intervention by my right hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe), but we have not been able to explore the matter as fully as we might.

There are many issues that we should like to explore, not least because my noble Friends in another place are themselves responsible for some of the amendments upon which a discussion of reasons will take place. We therefore have a close concern in the matter.

For my part, whatever the heights of eloquence to which the Leader of the House might have wished to rise later tonight, I should have been content with a quite short debate on this matter. I am sure that the subject of my place on or absence from the Reasons Committee can be dispatched with limited argument in a short time. If we could have spent an hour on it later tonight, instead of a rather longer time discussing whether to discuss it at this time, we should have proceeded more sensibly. Why on earth not allocate a modest and reasonable period to resolving the matter instead of trying to foreclose all debate? The end result is to spend time discussing whether to debate at all, and that is not sensible.

If there is one respect in which I would part company from the Leader of the House it is when he said that we were dealing with what had become a formality. Of course, it is true that in recent history very little attention has been attracted by the particular kind of committee which is the subject of these discussions. But I remind the right hon. Gentleman—as I ought not to need to do—that it is of formalities that many of our liberties are made. It is of things which time and time again are not mentioned and not contradicted or referred to but which on one crucial occasion become important that many fundamental liberties depend.

We all know how many times measures go through this House on the nod, without any challenge, because there is no challenge to be made, measures which on some other occasion may be the subject of challenge. We know how many procedures we have here which for most of the time go without any particular notice or any particular disturbance. But at some point, when some matter of great importance is in the minds of hon. Members, they cease to be formalities and become matters of great importance.

I therefore counsel the House never to consider any of its procedures always to be a formality. Every one of our procedures has a time and place when it becomes important. If for 300 days in the year we can treat it as a formality and let it go through with no additional trouble at all, there will be a day when we have to consider it important.

On this occasion we have had to look carefully at the issue of the Reasons Committee, and I am glad that hon. Members in parties other than my own have shared my feeling about it. The Government have not so far shown any willingness to meet us on the point at issue, although I suspect that in their deeper councils they are aware that there is a point of fairness to be granted. They have not shown any willingness so far to meet us, and in those circumstances I do not see how I can encourage my hon. Friends to vote in such a way as to preclude any debate on the merits of the issue—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) seems to think that there is no issue at stake, but if he found himself on the Opposition side of the House as a member of a minority party—

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg (Hampstead)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) to call the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) a Tory stooge? [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Charges of personal abuse, as I have said before, are much to be deprecated. I am not able in this place to hear all the exchanges from below the Gangway, but I must say that interruptions of that sort are unworthy of the House.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would you explain to the House whether it is a term of abuse to say that the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) is a Tory or a stooge?

Mr. Speaker

If I called the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) a stooge, I have no doubt that he would soon understand that it was not very complimentary.

Mr. Beith

There are times when I am glad that my range of hearing is as limited as you have admitted yours to be, Mr. Speaker, although my wit is not equal to yours. If that is the view held by the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), I suggest that he consults the defeated Tory candidate in my constituency, who certainly does not share it.

The issue is one of relating the procedure of the House to its membership and the composition of the parties within it. That ought to concern hon. Members in whichever part of the House they may sit, because it will affect them sooner or later.

Mr. Robert Adley (Christchurch and Lymington)

Will the hon. Member clear up a point which was raised by his right hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe)? It occurs to me that the Leader of the House has a different Order Paper from mine. I understood the Leader of the House to say that if the motion placing the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) on the Committee were to be accepted, it would put the Government in a minority position. That was what he said, I believe.

From page 13351 of today's Order Paper it seems clear to me that the acceptance of the proposition would give the Government parity, with three members of the Labour Party, two members of the Conservative Party and a member of the Liberal Party. Does the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed agree with my interpretation? If so, will he find out whether the Leader of the House has got it wrong again?

Mr. Foot

What I should have said—I apologise to the House if I did not make it clear—was parity below the Chair. It does not alter the argument that I am presenting, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman would agree. If the House agrees to the proposal for adding the name of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), it will give the Opposition parties a majority below the Chair.

Mr. Beith

The right hon. Gentleman points to the difficulties of our proceedings. It is precisely in order to examine these complications that we should look at the next Government motion, which is explicitly designed to prevent us from debating the issue.

I understand the right hon. Gentleman's difficulty. We had occasion to discuss it in regard to the composition of the Committee of Selection. But we have been over this course many times. On the face of it, the simple achievement of the amendment that the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) advanced last night was to bring about parity. If that presents the Government with special difficulties, why do they seek to deny themselves the opportunity to explain those difficulties to the House?

Since we are not to be given that opportunity, I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to support the amendment, which will ensure that the matter could be debated.

4.10 p.m.

Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

That useful work of reference called "Erskine May" makes it quite clear that the object of a Reasons Committee is not to justify decisions of the Commons but to offer persuasion to the House of Lords about why it should find itself in agreement with the House of Commons.

The House of Commons has a diverse composition, as the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) stressed. Therefore, unless the Reasons Committee reflects as accurately as possible the composition of the House, it is unlikely to do the best job of drawing up persuasive reasons why the two Houses should find themselves in agreement.

Once again the Leader of the House has let the cat out of the bag that he knows neither procedure nor his job. Assuming that this motion is passed unamended, it is clear that he believes that, if the amendment which my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) will have to move later tonight without any supporting argument is carried, there will be the same parity on the Reasons Committee as there is on every Standing Committee following the Government's undertaking to ensure parity on Committees.

If the right hon. Gentleman wants to make a case for the Reasons Committee having a Government majority, that is a case that he must make to the House. It is not a case that is self-evident, because the Government themselves agreed to parity on Standing Committees. Moreover, the relevant Standing Order of the House lays down that Committees of the House shall reflect the composition of the House.

The Opposition raise the matter now on my right hon. Friend's amendment to the Business Motion simply because, if the Business Motion is passed unamended, we shall have no further opportunity to raise the matter.

It is not just on the Reasons Committee the appointment of which was moved last night by a Minister that the House will be denied all opportunity of debate or discussion. It is every Reasons Committee that the Government will seek to appoint this week and, indeed, for the remainder of this Session—even further than the timetable resolutions which are functioning this week and possibly next week as well, since there is no reason for believing that this Session will end next week or on any particular date.

Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)

Since the motion refers to "this Session", I am sure that my hon. Friend will agree that, if the Government continue to deal with their business so completely incompetently, the Session could go on for several weeks, during which time the Government might lose 20 by-elections.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

My hon. Friend has made a most valuable contribution. The longer the Session lasts, the more by-elections the Government are likely to lose.

I hope that every hon. Member is seized of the point that this debate in which we are now engaged is the last moment in time at which any hon. Member can contribute his comments or advice to the House, including the Leader of the House, although giving the Leader of the House any advice from any part of the House seems to be a singularly unrewarding occupation except in terms of extending his education in procedure. This is the last occasion on which any hon. Member will have the right which he would have but for the passage of this motion.

This is not part of the timetable resolutions. The passage of this motion unamended in no way expedites the business which is the subject of the timetable resolutions. I hope that there is no doubt about that. This is not a necessary part of the timetable resolutions achieving their task. This is a new restriction on the freedom of speech in this House which the Leader of the House has conceived within the past 24 hours, and it does him little credit.

At no stage has the Leader of the House endeavoured to justify to the House his refusal to allow hon. Members to debate this Reasons Committee appointment motion. He made no attempt to do that in moving this motion, and the reason that he did not is that he knows that even the business on which the Government rely does not depend upon the passage of this motion unamended. He is unable to say to his hon. Friends "Unless you allow this further gag on Members of the House, the Government's business cannot be completed." He is unable to say that or, rather, he is unable to say it truthfully, because the Government's timetable is in no way affected by this motion.

Why, therefore, has he done it? He has done it for exactly the same reason as he denied petitioners the right to petition against the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill. He has done it because he dare not allow reasonable argument to see the light of day. He knows perfectly well that the Government themselves deliberately delayed the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill. He knows that they did not attempt to make any progress on it for a period of six weeks or more after 8th June. It was not the Opposition who held up these measures. It was not the House of Lords which held up these measures. It was the Leader of the House, who is responsible for the Government's programme on the Floor of the House and who, every Thursday, gives the House the business for the coming week.

We have to discuss the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill in this context because we shall not have the opportunity to discuss the effect of this resolution on a Reasons Committee in respect of that Bill when the motion is moved for it. Therefore, we have to discuss it now.

Why do the Government want to delay the passage of the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill, and why do they want to prevent the House from having a Committee which can reflect accurately its reasons for disagreeing with any of their Lordships' amendments? I think that the House knows why. It is because they want firms in the shipbuilding industry and in the aircraft industry to sack lots of their workers. They want to see them sacked week after week so that, eventually, if the Bill should receive the Royal Assent, the nationalised shipbuilding corporation and aircraft corporation will have labour forces which have already been slashed brutally. The Bill is not intended to save employment in those industries. It is intended as a vehicle for slashing employment.

Mr. F. A. Burden (Gillingham)

Does my hon. Friend recall that the Prime Minister said that, when nationalisation had taken place, there would have to be a rationalisation?

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Yes, and we all know that there is only one exception to the rule that rationalisation means fewer jobs. That is in the highly paid superstructure which is invented and superimposed upon the management structures which are already there. That is what rationalisation means in the context of nationalisation.

Mr. Eddie Loyden (Liverpool, Garston)

Then, will the hon. Gentleman explain why, during the time that the shipbuilding and ship-repairing industries have been in the hands of private enterprise, the Merseyside shipyards which once employed 20,000 today employ only 3,500? Is not that a clear indication that jobs have been lost because of the inability of private enterprise to organise their industries properly?

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

It is not an indication of anything of the kind. To the extent that these industries depend on orders coming from abroad, there will be fewer customers—

Mr. Thomas Swain (Derbyshire, North-East)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it in order for this discussion to be taking place on a specific Bill, despite the fact that there is a motion before the House dealing with the whole concept?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)

I was about to draw the attention of the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) to the fact that there is a motion. I hope that he will address his remarks to that.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Before you came into the Chair, Mr. Deputy Speaker, we were discussing the fact that the debate has to encompass those debates that would have taken place but for this motion being passed unamended. If the motion is passed unamended—and it is for the benefit of the hon. Member who intervened rather than for yourself that I make this observation—the reasons for not disagreeing with their Lordships would have been able to be put before the House in a debate to appoint a Reasons Committee. If the motion before the House is passed without amendment, it will have the effect of preventing these debates and therefore preventing these arguments from being advanced. It is in the context of pointing out the merits of the argument that would have been advanced as a reason for not agreeing to the motion unamended that it is necessary to present the arguments that would have been advanced were that not the case. The grounds for passing the motion without amendment would have to go by without being studied specifically in the House.

I do not wish to waste time in digressing in the direction in which the hon. Member invited me, because the question which his own colleagues put to me earlier was about employment. Employment in both the aircraft and shipbuilding industries and, incidentally, in the ship-repairing industry will be more dependent on the volume of overseas orders than on any other factor. The Government are forcing these great industries into nationalised corporations so that the customers can no longer choose where their order is executed. The question whether the customer would be able to choose where the order is executed was put four times running to the Minister in the Committee, but he refused to answer, because the customer will not be able to choose. Therefore, the volume of orders in each of the three industries from overseas customers is bound to be lower than would otherwise be the case, That is because they have the alternative of going to Sweden, Holland, Portugal, or even to Brazil and certainly to Japan, where they can specify who carries out the order.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I am at a disadvantage as I have been in the Chair only for a moment or two. It appears that the hon. Member is straying beyond the bounds of the motion.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

I am giving examples of the arguments which it would have been in order to advance before the House decided who could suitably represent it on a Committee to draw up reasons for the Lords.

A number of undesirable consequences will follow unless my right hon. Friend's amendment is passed. Among the consequences that will not follow is frustration of the Government's business. I wish that it would, but it will not. The first consequence that will follow is that the Government will be able to pack the Reasons Committee with a Government majority, although they agree that such a majority is utterly inappropriate in Committees, which is why Standing Committees do not have a Government majority. The second consequence is that the Government will be able to pack the Committee without having to justify it to the House and without hon. Members being able to challenge the reasons. The third consequence is that the Government will be able to exclude all the smaller Opposition parties from the Committee without those parties being able to protest or challenge them by argument.

All hon. Members who wish to advance arguments in favour of putting in reasoned resolutions will be silenced. We have been denied what would have been the most suitable vehicle—a Committee of the Whole House. That would have been able to draw up reasons which are representative of the House. Instead, we have this miserable situation which once again the right hon. Gentleman, the Leader of the House, who was once a parliamentarian, has insisted on inflicting upon the House. He is intent on denying the House of Commons the right to do its duty to the nation. I hope that he will be ashamed of himself and that the House will insist on the insertion of my right hon. Friend's amendment.

4.28 p.m.

Mr. Robert Adley (Christchurch and Lymington)

Before entering the Chamber, I was in the Table Office and I saw the hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) with a book under his arm. It was called "Freedom under Foot" by Nora Beloff. It was a thin book and should have been written on a single sheet, because the Leader of the House is trampling on the freedom of the House to come to reasonable decisions.

If words have any meaning, the words which the Leader of the House uttered earlier about the composition of the Reasons Committee were meaningless. Only when I was able to intervene in the speech by the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) did the Leader of the House come up with some cock and bull excuse about Members below the Chair being the members of the Reasons Committee to whom he was referring. The example set by the Leader of the House is now appealing to his hon. Friends. Yesterday, the Father of the House—of all people—suggested that my hon. Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow) was out of order in seeking a Standing Order No. 9 debate. Fortunately Mr. Speaker intervened to uphold the rights of Back Benchers.

In attempting to force through the motion the Government are operating not only the guillotine, but the jackboot. They claim that they have an adequate mandate for their legislation, but if one tots up the votes at the last General Election of the parties that voted for the motion to guillotine the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill and the number of votes cast for the parties that opposed it, one discovers that 11,522,752 people voted for the Labour Party, plus the hon. Members for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) and Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maguire). But 16,817,424 people voted for the Conservative Party, Liberal Party, SNP and Plaid Cymru. That situation excludes the new position resulting from the three by-elections at Woolwich, Walsall, North and Workington.

Surely that means that the other place along the corridor has every right to take account of the current support in the country for these controversial Socialist measures, particularly when the Government depend for their existence on the support of a man who was interned in Belfast for three years for being a member of the IRA. [HON. MEMBERS: "Treachery."] It seems even now—[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Unless we can hear what the hon. Member is saying, none of us profits.

Mr. William Ross (Kilmarnock)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Are you suggesting that the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) is entirely in order, because I have not heard him mention the motion?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

What I was suggesting was that, if I could hear what the hon. Gentleman was saying, I should be able to judge.

Mr. Adley

I was not casting any aspersions on the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone. I am casting aspersions on the Government. The hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone in his own words in "The Times Guide to the House of Commons" is presumably proud of the fact that he was interned for three years in Belfast. I am casting no aspersions on him. But if the Government with a majority of one have to rely on this particular hon. Member—I do not balk the word "honourable"—I think this is a relevant point to our debate.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) appears to be offering additional succour to the Government. I do not wish to enter into the merits of that argument except to say that occasionally when the right hon. Gentleman makes speeches on racial issues he is roundly and vehemently criticised by members of the present Government who seem very anxious to have his support now. Any port in a storm, indeed.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must address himself to the amendment.

Mr. Adley

I have the amendment before me, and I bow to your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

Mr. Norman Tebbit (Chingford)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Surely my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) is at the nub of this argument, in that unless we are allowed to discuss who might be properly made a member of this Committee the whole debate falls to the ground. The Government's view may well be that the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maguire) would be a better member of the Committee than the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith). Therefore, this is a very relevant matter in this debate.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. That may be the view of the hon. Member, but that is not my impression of what the hon. Member for Christchurch and Lymington (Mr. Adley) was saying.

Mr. Adley

As ever, my hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) reflects the general impression which I was trying—inadequately—to convey to the House.

Mr. Ridley

If my hon. Friend were to propose that, instead of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), as suggested by my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton), the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) were to be a member of the Committee, surely the Leader of the House would accept that with alacrity after last night's news.

Mr. Adley

That is a very interesting intervention by my hon. Friend to which I should like to give consideration and I may be moved to move a manuscript amendment to that effect later in the afternoon. I should like further to consider that point.

On the motion, we are discussing the relationship between the two Houses of Parliament, and that lies at the nub of this debate—the relationship between the two Houses of Parliament. The fact of the matter is that, certainly on the Dock Work Regulation Bill, which has been called "the Jack Jones Benefit Bill", the Government are clearly influenced by Mr. Jack Jones's views of another place. I put it to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and to the House, that the House of Lords is a far more legitimate part of the British political scene—I stress the word "political"—than is the Trades Union Congress.

If we in this place are to discuss—that is the nub of the motion—the freedom of the House of Commons and of the British people, I think that I speak for a number of my constituents when I say that they regard the House of Lords as a far safer guardian of the freedom of Parliament and of the individual than are Mr. Jack Jones and those whom he purports to represent.

Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

They are never on our side.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. Observations from a sedentary position are not in order, as the hon. Gentleman well knows.

Mr. Flannery

The hon. Gentleman has referred to the House of Lords as a democratic assembly. It has an inbuilt Tory majority which on no occasion supports the Labour Party. If that is the hon. Gentleman's opinion of democracy he is entitled to such an opinion, but democrats in general do not share that opinion of that undemocratic body.

Mr. Adley

This country has a two-Chamber Parliament. It is up to the Government to come to the House of Commons at any time, as no doubt the Lord President of the Council would like to do, and to present a motion to abolish another place. Unless and until that happens we shall have a two-Chamber Parliament. That is the point I was seeking to make and it is a point which the arrogance of certain hon. Members opposite causes them constantly to ignore.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)

Would my hon. Friend accept that by their actions this Government are in danger of making the other place more representative of public opinion than they are?

Mr. Adley

My hon. Friend makes a valuable point. Time after time in the past two years Mr. Speaker has had to sit there unable, even if willing, to comment adversely on motions which have appeared on the Order Paper. As recently as the day before yesterday he told me that he had absolutely no control over the Order Paper of the House of Commons. It is, therefore, perfectly open to the Government to table a motion stipulating, let us say, that no Member may speak or vote in the Chamber unless he is a member of the Parliamentary Labour Party or a member of the Transport and General Workers' Union. Only the conventions of the House prevent the Government from doing that. That was the point that the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed was seeking to make.

We depend greatly upon the conventions of the House. I do not want to see a closed shop enforced in the House of Commons. For that reason, and for that reason alone, I shall fight, fight and fight again for the freedom of Members of Parliament.

4.36 p.m.

Sir John Rodgers (Sevenoaks)

I do not wish to prolong the debate on this procedural matter. I wish, as one who has been a Member of Parliament for over 25 years, to say that the mess in which the Government now find themselves stems from the attitude of the Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons. It dates back to 26th May when he tried to circumvent Mr. Speaker's ruling that the Shipbuilding and Aircraft Industries Bill was a hybrid Bill. If the right hon. Gentleman had then tried to accommodate all parts of the House, the Government would not be in the mess they are in now and we should not be having a debate such as this.

Only yesterday the Prime Minister himself said that the one problem facing the country and facing this Government should be how to tackle the desperate problem of growing inflation and that everything else was secondary. How right he was. One of the most secondary things the Government are doing is to try to rush through five Bills which are totally irrelevant to the situation facing the country.

If only the Lord President of the Council would remember that he is speaking as Leader of the House and not as the ringmaster of the Labour Party, even at this late hour he could rise and announce that two of the Bills could wait for a later time and could be introduced then. Chat is what the country requires. None of these measures will help to solve the financial problems now facing us. It is up to the Leader of the House to recognise this and to try to bring about some accommodation between the Government, the principal Opposition party and the minor Opposition parties and see whether we cannot get, not necessarily concord, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) referred to it, but at least some form of co-operation. I urge the right hon. Gentleman to speak now for the House of Commons and not just for the Labour Party.

4.39 p.m.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

This business motion introduces a much larger and more serious precedent than may at first sight appear and portends a very considerable erosion of the rights of the House and of hon. Members. I am surprised and regretful and puzzled as to the reasons why the Government should have thought it necessary to introduce it.

The Lord President is quite right in saying that it is a traditional and proper part of our procedure to give reasons for disagreement and that the method of doing so is by the appointment of a Committee to draw up the reasons. But I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will agree that, in the event of the House requiring to resolve the question of the membership of any of its Committees for any purpose, it is the function of the House as a whole to do that job and that the motion which must be put before the House for that purpose is debatable and amendable.

There is no precedent yet for what we are being asked to do. We are establishing that, when the House sets up a Committee, the membership of that Committee shall not be debatable but only votable. Make no mistake that the pressures, which are well understood, are such that this case will not be firmly distinguished and discriminated from other cases. This will be a precedent for the proposition that the House can nominate a Committee by a motion which is not debatable but only votable. I venture to prophesy that it will not be long before the convenience to the managers of such a precedent will be recognised and followed.

The House, rightly or wrongly, and narrowly, has come to a decision to limit the time which it spends on considering Lords amendments on the Bills to which its resolutions apply. If the right hon. Gentleman could argue that there was a possibility of the House frustrating that decision, he would have some ground, some case, for a Business Motion of this sort. However, he is in no such danger.

Let us suppose that the motion, which stands as the second Order of the Day, is allowed to be debated, that an amendment to it is duly selected, by you, Mr. Speaker, and that it is debated. The debate is such that the Chair has the power and discretion, and would know when to exercise the discretion, to keep it within reasonable limits, having regard to the narrow nature of the subject matter. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman may well have been coming to the conclusion that the debate on this motion, where it stood upon the Orders of the Day, might well have been more brief than the debate which is taking place now. However, in any case there is no threat to the transaction of his business that the right hon. Gentleman has to apprehend from the debating as well as the voting upon such a motion as this. It is that fact which makes all the more serious the erosion, which we are invited to attempt, into the rights of the House.

Therefore, I hope that the Lord President will recognise that this kind of motion is not only not necessary to facilitate his purpose but will have the opposite effect. In addition, it is almost bound to be used to deny the House the right of debating propositions upon which it is to vote. I trust that the right hon. Gentleman will have second thoughts.

4.44 p.m.

Mr. Mark Carlisle (Runcorn)

When the Leader of the House moved the motion I wondered whether he realised the point of principle with which the House was concerned. When he went on to say that if he accepted the amendment of my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) concerning membership of the first Committee to draw up reasons for disagreing to certain Lords amendments it would turn the parity which existed into a majority against the Government, I thought for a moment that it was because he did not appreciate what he was doing. But it is clear from the intervention he made during the speech of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) that the right hon. Gentleman realised full well what he was doing. He said then that he was suggesting setting up not a Committee that had parity but one which had parity below the Chair, as he described it. I do not know whether the Leader of the House was implying that the chairman of the Committee would be in some way in a similar situation to that of a Chairman of a Standing Committee. I see that he shakes his head. If he was not making that point I cannot understand the purpose of his comment. Presumably the member of the Committee who is elected Chairman will be voting in that Committee in the same way as any other member. The Lord President is creating not a Committee of parity but a Committee which has a majority on the Government side.

Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South and Finsbury)

I presume that the Committee would be like a Select Committee of the House, where the Chairman votes only if there is a tie between the other members. Therefore, for normal voting purposes the Government would not have a majority if one of the Government members were Chairman.

Mr. Carlisle

As far as I can see from "Erskine May" and the Standing Orders, there are no rules laid down on the working of this Committee. It is clear—I should have thought that the Leader of the House would accept that this is right—that the membership of that Committee should reflect the composition of the House, as the Standing Orders require for Committees dealing with Public Bills. I realise that they relate only to Standing Committees, but it seems to be the nearest analogy to a Committee of this nature.

The Leader of the House said that this matter could be dealt with without debate because it was a formality. In many circumstances the Committee to give reasons may well be a formality. However, in the case of these Bills the Committee will be asked to formulate reasons for rejecting amendments without their ever having been debated on the Floor of the House, due to the guillotine. Therefore, I cannot see how it can be said that the Committee which has to formulate reasons, vote on them, amend them, reject them, or agree to them is a mere formality. It is much more than a formality. Therefore, I think it important that that Committee should be properly set up and should reflect the composition of the House.

As like my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop), I cannot understand what the Leader of the House is afraid of. If he would allow debate on the motion which is very narrow, he would find that it did not go on for all that long and that it had no effect on Government business. It can only be that he is not prepared to allow debate and is not prepared to hear the arguments against what he proposes to do because he knows that there is no justification for the Committee he is attempting to set up.

4.48 p.m.

Mr. Norman Tebbit (Chingford)

What is at the heart of this argument is, as the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) said, what is at the very heart of Parliament. Parliament is often referred to, somewhat contemptuously, as a talking shop, but this proposition would close the shop. It would shutter the shop and stop it from even talking about its own procedures.

I suspect that the motion is without precedent in that it is intended to pro- hibit us from discussing our own affairs. It is as though the right hon. Gentleman had guillotined the debate on a report of the Select Committee on Procedure.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

He would like to.

Mr. Tebbit

I do not know whether he would like to do so today, but no doubt after a week or two the right hon. Gentleman will have convinced himself of some democratic argument for doing so.

The problem is that we have now become accustomed to procedural motions designed to truncate the rights of Members in opposing or even questioning the Executive. At present the Opposition Benches are filled mainly with Conservatives, but that is a situation which even the most optimistic Labour Member must know will not last for ever.

I urge Labour Members who think of themselves primarily as parliamentarians as opposed to members of the Executive—or those who have had it made plain to them that they will not become members of the Executive—to realise that before long they will be suffering from the difficulties that Oppositions always face in making their arguments heard in the country. They will then no doubt take a different view.

Curiously, not one of them has so far put a point of view. They seem to regard a majority of one as being sufficient not just to get their business, but to get it without argument or discussion.

The Government have tabled the motion because they do not want us to discuss it or the amendment concerning the composition of the Committee which will discuss the reasons for disagreeing with their Lordships. We therefore face a twofold problem. The first and most important aspect is that to which I have already alluded, the procedural problem and the problem of whether the Executive will allow the House the right to discuss its own affairs. The second aspect of the problem concerns the suitability of the Committee drawn up.

We are surprised that the Government, having to rely as they do on four splinter group Members who sit on their side of the House, should consider that they have a majority. We would not find that a convincing argument unless those Members actually took the Labour Whip. Even some members of this Government would hesitate to offer the Labour Whip to at least one of those Members upon whose votes they rely to get their business through the House.

The Lord President said that this matter was only a formality, but let him not take formalities of this sort for granted. If the formal powers we have are taken for granted, we shall have to exercise them more frequently so that they are not allowed to rust or be corroded by the corruption of misuse or disuse.

The Lord President is irritated by Parliament and his irritation is not a lovely sight to see. It would be even more unlovely to see this Parliament's rights to discuss its own affairs truncated not only on this occasion but in future when the Lord President brings his motions before the House without even bothering to argue the case for them.

4.55 p.m.

Mr. Nigel Lawson (Blaby)

I am not surprised that the Lord President should at this moment be leaving the Chamber, in view of my hon. Friend's speech. His whole thesis, such as it was, has been torn to shreds.

He began this debate by trying to maintain that the action of the Opposition in trying to add a name to the membership of the Committee was unprecedented. It might be rare, but it is not unprecedented. What is unprecedented is the motion which he has put before the House today, and he has given no argument for attempting to create this precedent.

The amendment in the name of my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) is rare because the position in which the House finds itself is rare. Even within the political lifetime of anybody here there cannot have been an occasion when a Government have attempted to force through legislation against the objections of the House of Lords when that Government have not had a majority of their own party in the House of Commons. Since that is unprecedented, it is therefore wholly appropriate that a slightly antique device should have been reinstated to try to deal with the problem of Lords' amendments and the reasons for objections to them.

I make one comment with great sadness. Perhaps I may declare a rather oblique interest as a director of a publishing firm which is proud to have the Leader of the House as one of its authors. It is a matter of very great sadness that he should have sold down the river his previous devotion to Parliament and, in particular, to the House of Commons. I never thought I should hear him telling the House, as he did not so long ago, that he would curtail debate in this House for the sake of the House of Commons. There is no House of Commons interest in curtailing debate in this House. The interest of the House lies in the opposite direction, in having a full debate. The Lord President has other interests at heart when he seeks to curtail debate.

Why has the right hon. Gentleman become the great poseur of the House? Why has he adopted this stance? I think that it may be, in view of his recent remarks to a Fabian meeting in Cambridge, that he has been so carried away by parliamentary democracy Indian-style that he thinks it is a better brand than the democracy that hitherto he has espoused. No doubt in due course we shall see proposals for the incarceration of journalists and the suspension of elections. Certainly the right hon. Gentleman's enthusiasim for Mrs. Gandhi's democracy bodes ill for the House of Commons.

But I suspect that there may be another reason why he is attempting at every opportunity to curtail debate in the House. It is that he has been seduced by a new doctrine, the doctrine of trade union infallibility. The most reactionary cardinal who ever lived has never promoted the cause of papal infallibility with the dedication with which the right hon. Gentleman promotes the cause of trade union infallibility.

One of the oddities about his belief in trade union infallibility—which means the infallibility of certain important trade union leaders—is that it has just been repudiated by rank and file trade union members themselves. That is what happened at Workington and Walsall, but the right lion. Gentleman still holds to his belief in trade union infallibility. It must have caused him great pain and distress to discover that that doctrine has been shown to be incompatible with his belief in Parliament and the House of Commons, although no doubt initially he thought it was compatible. He has now had to make a choice between the two, and regrettably he has not chosen Parliament. He has chosen trade union infallibility, and that is the doctrine to which he now holds. That is the great sadness that lies behind the debate and behind many of the speeches that we have heard from the right hon. Gentleman.

Behind all this lies the question of what the relationship should be between the House of Lords and this House. I do not pretend for a moment that it is a satisfactory relationship at present. Of course it is not. But if the right hon. Gentleman has any proposals for reforming the House of Lords, let him put them to the House. We shall judge them on their merits, Maybe something better could be devised but the right hon. Gentleman has not done so.

If the right hon. Gentleman is unwilling to do that, and if it is a question of defiance of the will of the people that Labour Members below the Gangway speak of so often, let the question of the relationship between the two Houses be put to the people and let the people choose in a General Election. We are ready for that and it is the Government who are not.

5.2 p.m.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths (Bury St. Edmunds)

I think it best to avoid personal attacks on the Lord President choose to speak more to his colleagues below the Gangway than to the Government Front Bench.

Mr. Skinner

I am not sure that I want to listen—[Interruption.] I am not sure that I want to listen to any more of this.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Hon. Members must not address the House from the centre of the Floor.

Mr. Griffiths

The point I want to make above all else is that we live at a time when parliamentary democracy is at risk across the whole world. It is at risk in this country and in many others. The threats to our parliamentary democracy do not arise only from the right hon. Gentleman. All of us know that power is seeping away from this place to big business, big unions, big media and big civil services.

Mr. Powell

And to Brussels.

Mr. Griffiths

And to Brussels, as my right hon. Friend says. We are witnessing a serious erosion of the powers of Parliament. This debate, procedural as it may be, must be seen in the context—I am sure that all of us as Members of this House are deeply concerned about the process of parliamentary democracy starting to wither away—of several weeks during which, for reasons that need not be debated at length, the Government have found it necessary to curtail debate in the House not once but many times. They have seen fit to take amendments that were considered necessary by more than one party in another place and to spurn them out of hand without consideration and without giving reasons for their rejection. We now come to the amendment of my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton), and if the motion be carried we are not even to have an effective debate on the reasons for the House disagreeing with the Lords amendments.

I am prepared to give the Leader of the House credit for not wishing to do what he has done. He conceives it to be his duty to get the Government business through. Other Leaders have taken a similar view in the past, and no doubt they will do so in the future. I put it to the right hon. Gentleman that the number and the intensity of the guillotines and gags has reached a point at which there must be concern in all parts of the House about what is happening to free speech and to Parliament.

I tried to ask myself why the right hon. Gentleman felt it necessary to do this to Parliament. Like many of my hon. Friends I do not believe that it was necessary for him to do it in that the Government's business would otherwise have been frustrated. No one believes that the small Committee that sits in a small room and decides in a very few minutes what message to send back to the Lords would, whatever its composition, have frustrated the Government's business.

When my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil moved his amendment last night, I believe that the Leader of the House was irritated. Perhaps he was tired. I believe that he grew angry and decided that he would show my right hon. Friend and the House who was boss. He did that, and put the motion upon the Order Paper. I believe that was the first reason for his acting in this way, but perhaps a further reason was his conception of his duties as Leader of the House. The right hon. Gentleman appears to believe that his first duty is to get through the Government's business regardless of the procedures of the House, even though, as we all know, the procedures are designed to safeguard Parliament itself and the rights of free speech in our country. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the Government's business must come first, and that the procedures of the House must take second place.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

The right hon. Gentleman said that they must take no place.

Mr. Griffiths

No place, as my hon. Friend says. At the same time, the right hon. Gentleman conceives it to be his duty to get through the business regardless of whether there is adequate discussion. In so doing, I am bound to tell him, he has destroyed the reputation that he had built up in this place over many years as a civil libertarian and as a great servant of Parliament itself. He has many times in the past held the House by his oratory. If I may say so, he has written and spoken magnificently on the side of civil rights. But power has corrupted him. I fear that the absolute power that he now seeks will corrupt him absolutely. That is the position in which we now find ourselves.

Mr. George Cunningham

In order to make the debate a bit real, will the hon. Gentleman give us an example of one reason on one Bill of the type that is cooked up in that little room and sent up to the House of Lords? That is what it is all about. Will he read out one reason on any Bill of his choosing?

Mr. Griffiths

I think that the hon. Gentleman, rather characteristically, has missed the point. He has not done so narrowly. He has missed it by a mile. He frequently does, so I shall leave him in his capacity for error.

I speak only to the Leader of the House as I do not wish to take the time of this place. It is tragic that power should have corrupted one who felt so deeply, wrote so eloquently and spoke so fiercely about the rights of Parliament. What he has done as Leader of the House of Commons, not Fuehrer of the Reichstag, is to put Government before Parliament. I hope that he appreciates the significance of that. He has put Government before Parliament and party before country. In so doing he has forfeited any confidence he might have enjoyed in this place.

I believe that the right hon. Gentleman has moved our affairs a little further to the point at which people outside the House will finally lose confidence in Parliament itself. If there cannot be free speech here, there can be free speech nowhere. The right hon. Gentleman today, wittingly or otherwise, has put one more nail in the coffin of Parliament in this country.

5.9 p.m.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

I have listened carefully to Opposition Members, and apart from the contribution of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) I do not think that it has been worth listening to any of them.

A question is raised that is interesting from my point of view—namely, whether the motion is essential from the point of view of getting through the business. I do not know. The Government feel that it is necessary. I trust that in reply the point made by the hon. Gentleman will be dealt with.

The hon. Gentleman did not raise many of the other erroneous issues raised by other hon. Gentlemen. For example, he did not make the point that my right hon. Friend was deliberately trying to undermine and erode the rights of Parliament. That was a ludicrous statement. The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) said that the motion could do that. I do not think that he made a personal attack on my right hon. Friend by suggesting that he was intentionally doing that. That is precisely what many Opposition Members have been attempting to do this afternoon. They have referred to my right hon. Friend's past writings and statements as though in those days he was the white, shining angel of the Conservative Party. That was not how I understood their views on my right hon. Friend today.

Mr. Flannery

Aneurin Bevan.

Mr. Heffer

When Aneurin Bevan was alive, he, just like my right hon. Friend, was the devil incarnate. No doubt when the time comes for my right hon. Friend to pass over to the other side he, like Aneurin Bevan, will overnight become a saint and we shall hear many quotations from his speeches and writings.

I should like to recall to the House the writings of Sir Winston Churchill relating to the Lords. I do not know whether Opposition Members have read the very interesting book by Sir Winston Churchill published in 1909 when the Liberal Government were trying to get a Finance Bill through based on what was known as the People's Budget. I should like to recall to hon. Gentlemen, especially to the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill, what Sir Winston actually said. As a matter of fact, I trust that in a few days the quotation will be printed somewhere. It is interesting to find out what Sir Winston Churchill said about the character and nature of the other place. He said that their Lordships were in the main very narrow, ordinary run of the mill people who supported the Tory Party.

The Opposition are again raising this issue as a great matter of principle when in fact they are trying to stop the Government's legislative programme being carried into effect. Of course, it is always a matter of great principle, as it was in the days of the Liberal Government in 1909. The suggestion was that people and the national interest had to be protected The same argument has been developed again today.

Mr. Churchill (Stretford)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Heffer


Mr. Churchill

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving publicity to any Churchill publication. Is he aware that, since 1909, there have been two Parliament Acts, the most recent of which was of the Labour Party's making? It is that state of affairs which has presented us with the present situation. While I am delighted for him to go on giving plugs to the Churchill family—I am not sure whether that was his purpose—will he now address himself to the point at issue?

Mr. Heffer

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman has raised that issue. At that time the other place was voting against Finance Bills. The Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 were passed because on both occasions, when progressive Governments were trying to get through progressive legislation, the inbuilt Tory majority in the House of Lords tried to stop that legislation from going through. That is what the argument is about. On every occasion, the Tories elevated Members—

Mr. Tebbit

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I know that both you and share a devotion to free speech, but are the Parliament Act 1911 and advertising, for the Churchill Foundation's books anything to do with the motion on the Order Paper.

Mr. Speaker

My difficulty is that they are what in Wales are called second cousins to the subject. Other hon. Members have roamed rather widely.

Mr. Heffer

I want to bring my speech to a conclusion very quickly. I shall ignore the typically snide remarks made by the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit).

Mr. John Mendelson (Penistone)

Uriah Heep.

Mr. Heffer

The hon. Member for Chingford is better known among some of my hon. Friends as the Uriah Creep of the House of Commons, so I shall ignore his remarks.

The House is fully aware that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House is not and has no intention of trying to curtail democracy. My right hon. Friend has not defended the curtailment of democracy in the Indian sub-continent. Indeed, he replied more than adequately to the point made in a letter in the New Statesman.

The Opposition wish to try to get over to the general public that the Labour Party is out to destroy our democratic traditions. They know that is untrue. But, like the Hitlerite regime, the Opposition think that if they repeat it often enough sufficient people will actually believe it. That is their intention.

Parliamentary democracy will be safeguarded much more by Labour Members who have consistently and genuinely fought for parliamentary democracy throughout the entire world and have based themselves on the Chartists and others who consistently fought for parliamentary democracy in this country against the Tory Party at different times in our history.

5.20 p.m.

Mr. John Page (Harrow, West)

I think it would be inappropriate if the arrogant discourtesy of the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner), in leaving the Chamber as he did and treating you, Mr. Speaker, our custodian of parliamentary honour, as he did, was not mentioned this afternoon. I think it shows the disregard and disdain for Parliament which the hon. Member has, and I believe that the hon. Members for Luton, West (Mr. Sedgemore) and Feltham and Heston (Mr. Kerr) also showed the same disdain by following him out. I do not believe that they represent the body of opinion of Parliament as a whole.

Mr. Peter Bottomley (Woolwich, West)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for the hon. Member for Luton, West (Mr. Sedgemore) to say "Get out your swastika"?

Mr. Speaker

Order. The language in the House is deteriorating. Did the hon. Member say that?

Mr. Brian Sedgemore (Luton, West)

I will gladly withdraw my remark, but is it in order for the hon. Member for Harrow. West (Mr. Page) to make jackbooted remarks, complaining about my getting up and leaving the Chamber? I bowed to the Chair, Mr. Speaker. We are not yet living in a jackbooted society governed by the hon. Member.

Mr. Speaker

Perhaps we could now restore ourselves to proper order. I noticed that both the hon. Member for Luton, West (Mr. Sedgemore) and the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston (Mr. Kerr) left the Chamber and bowed to the Chair as they left.

Mr. Page

I do not wish to continue—

Mr. Flannery

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. If my hon. Friends left the Chamber in a proper orderly manner and bowed to the Chair, should not the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Page) withdraw his imputation that they did not do so?

Mr. Page

I was not particularly referring to whether the hon. Member for Bolsover and the other two hon. Members bowed or not. My understanding was that the hon. Members for Luton, West and Feltham and Heston marched out in sympathy with the hon. Member for Bolsover.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I am very' anxious for us to get back to the motion. [Interruption.] I do not need any help. I think that the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Page) is aware that his remarks were misconstrued to apply to two other hon. Members who left the Chamber in an orderly and peaceful manner.

Mr. Page

Of course, on your advice, Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the imputation that they did not bow and that they intended discourtesy to you. However, I feel that the actions of the Leader of the House since he became Leader have encouraged hon. Members to show disregard and disdain for the old traditions of the House, and that is unfortunate.

When the Leader of the House was a Back-Bench Member below the Gangway—and I did not agree with him politically, but I felt that he was always a defender of the rights of Parliament—he once teased one of my hon. Friends by saying that he was the first navigator in history to run into both Scylla and Charybdis in one journey. He is now behaving rather like a third-rate travel agent offering his hon. Friends a package tour to some Socialist Shangri-La and finding that the aircraft crash-lands at both Sodom and Gomorrah on the way.

We are discussing why the right hon. Gentleman is putting forward this motion today. I think the key lies in the last couple of lines which say that the question shall be decided forthwith after 10 o'clock without debate. The reason that is necessary is that the Government have been forced into a state of total disarray and do not command a majority over the whole House. As a parliamentary general, the right hon. Gentleman has become Napoleon Blown-apart. He is in desperate need of a reinforcement of troops. No wonder the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central (Mr. Cowans) was cheered when he came here on Monday at the head of the great army of nearly 5,000 constituents who had supported him the previous Thursday.

Then, of course, the Government can rely on the well-informed and patriotic voting of the hon. Member for Fermanagh and South Tyrone (Mr. Maguire), and also, sadly enough, the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), who was my right hon. Friend but who has now nailed the Red Flag to his Ulster mast. He is someone who could give very good advice to the Government in managing their business, but I wish he did not propose to give it so wholeheartedly.

The Leader of the House seems to have only two parliamentary tactics—the guillotine and the gag. He is removing free speech and free action from the House. I wish he had the decency to accept the amendment today as one small step back to parliamentary respectability.

5.28 p.m.

Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South and Finsbury)

The hon Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) mentioned that throughout the world parliamentary democracy is under threat. I think that hon. Members, in the course of circus proceedings such as those we are seeing this afternoon, might take note of the fact that we are not in secret session and that the public are observing our going through this ridiculous and childish charade. If parliamentary democracy ever gets the boot in this country, it will be because of the kind of thing we have seen this afternoon. We have an obligation to conduct our affairs at least as reasonably intelligently as moderately advanced children. It is high time that more hon. Members were prepared to expose themselves—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] Yes, that is a jolly good joke. One could not get a laugh with it in a circus, but one can in the House of Commons. It is time hon. Members were prepared to expose themselves to the risk of being accused of being sanctimonious by telling the House what it should damned well be told—that it does not conduct its affairs in a fitting way for a national legislature but more in the manner of a kindergarten.

Listening to the antics today, one would think that an undebatable motion was unheard of in the procedure of the House of Commons. There is hardly any procedure which is unheard of in the House of Commons, because we have never reviewed our procedures rapidly or sensibly enough for them not to contain the most grotesque anachronisms. Undebatable motions are an inherent and common feature of our procedure. We do it nearly every day. Any day on which we have business that we want to discuss after 10 o'clock and dispose of, even if it is opposed we have the normal suspension motion that is put without debate because the House, in one of its few lucid intervals, decided that the case for and against that proposition was sufficiently obvious and it would be possible to vote on the matter and let the majority have its way without all the case for any against having to be put again. The House in one of those lucid intervals also recognised that if it did not do that hon. Members who wanted only to filibuster would use the occasion to do so. I should do that if there was something to which I was opposed and if the procedure of the House allowed me to do it.

Undebatable motions are not unusual. The question is whether this kind of motion is one that it is legitimate to put down as undebatable. What is it that we are talking about? We are talking about the composition of the silly little Committee that sits in a room not far from this Chamber after our debates when there is disagreement between the two Houses in order to point out the reasons for the disagreement.

It has been suggested that that Committee ought to have on it a larger representation of the Opposition parties. What would that mean? It would mean that after a majority had defeated a Lords amendment, the responsibility for expressing the reasons why it had defeated it would rest with the minority who had voted the opposite way. The House of Commons does many stupid things, but there ought to be a limit, and that would be nonsense.

Mr. Tebbit

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Cunningham

No, I will not

What are the reasons that are stated to the House of Lords? The whole process of stating reasons to the House of Lords is a total anachronism. The other place does not pay a blind bit of attention to what is said, and it would be very stupid if it did.

I gave the House two examples from the Industry (Amendment) Bill last month. There was one Lords amendment that would not have allowed nationalised industries to come into the private manufacturing sector. The reason given for rejecting the amendment was because it is wrong that the National Enterprise Board should be prevented from extending public ownership into profitable areas of manufacturing industry. No doubt that was very enlightening for their Lordships. It was an important bit of work, and we ought to give a lot of attention to deciding what kind of Committee should draft those words.

Mr. Cranley Onslow (Woking) rose—

Mr. Cunningham

I will give way in a moment.

The Committee gave another reason. It was because the power of the National Enterprise Board to form bodies corporate should not be fettered. The question was whether it should be fettered. The reason was that it should not be fettered. Can anyone suggest that this is a serious part of our procedure?

Mr. Onslow

It is helpful to have from the hon. Gentleman's penetrating mind an analysis of the fatuity of the reasons set out by the Committee on which the Government have a majority. I am sure that in their consideration of the reasons sent to them, their Lordships will be interested to know what his penetrating mind has detected. Can the hon. Gentleman say why there are Opposition Members on this Committee at all?

Mr. Cunningham

I can. It is because the House on this aspect of our proceedings, as on nearly all others, has not for centuries given its tiny mind to the subject. That is the only reason why the provision is there. The hon. Gentleman knows that that kind of reason and that kind of Committee exists whichever party is in power. Let us admit that the public are misled. Let us admit to them that this is a farce and that this is only a motion to delay proceedings so that the scheduled six hours of debate will take place from 6 o'clock to 12 o'clock, instead of from 4 o'clock to 10 o'clock.

5.35 p.m.

Mr. Foot

May I ask for the permission of the House to speak a second time?

Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

The right hon. Gentleman does not need the permission of the House.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are you calling the Lord President so that the debate is now concluded and no other hon. Members will be permitted to take part?

Mr. Speaker

I called the Minister because he rose in his place. I cannot say now that the debate is concluded. We shall have to wait and see.

Mr. Ridley

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Lord President said in his first speech that he would seek to wind up the debate at the end, but there are many hon. Members who wish to speak. I have sat here since 3.30 p.m. without leaving the Chamber once, whereas the right hon. Gentleman has frequently been out of the Chamber. The debate is clearly not finished. Why is the Lord President seeking to wind it up?

Mr. Clement Freud (Isle of Ely)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. There have been a number of speeches from this side of the House, but only one from the Government side. There are now two Privy Councillors rising in their places to speak. Would it not make for a more elevating debate to hear their contributions.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. If the Lord President is to reply to all the contributions in this debate and you call further hon. Members to speak, is it your intention to call the Lord President for a third time?

Mr. Speaker

In that case, I think that he would need the permission of the House.

Mr. Foot

I am most grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, for having called me on this occasion, and I thank you for it.

I have listened to almost every sentence that has been uttered in the debate. I left the Chamber for half a minute, or a minute. I have heard the rest of the debate and I agree that I have a case to answer.

I do not wish to depreciate the contributions made by others, but those who have listened to the debate will, I am sure, agree that the most formidable case that I have to answer was that made by the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), and I shall seek to answer what he said. I hone also to answer the case made by others.

I repudiate any suggestion that by what we are proposing we are injuring or impairing the legitimate rights of the House. I believe that we are seeking to protect them, and it is in that way that I approach the debate.

I turn first to the remarks of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) and underline what I said to him before. I am not sure whether in some of his remarks he was referring to some other discussion about the composition of the Committee of Selection, the composition of other Committees, and the representations that he and his party made on that subject, and which were made by other parties. I believe that were solved that question satisfactorily in the interests of the whole House—I think the hon. Gentleman will acknowledge that—and that we made an arrangement that was acceptable to the whole House and to the minority parties in accepting their rights.

If there is a distinction in this case I should like to elaborate to the hon Gentleman why I think that distinction has to be made. It is not because I am saying that minority parties in this House have no right to be represented on Select Committees—of course I am not saying that—and already by our actions we have proved more eloquently than any words could do that we accept the case that the hon. Gentleman and others made on that aspect of the matter.

I wish to stress what would be the effect of the proposal incorporated in the amendment moved by the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton). I am not criticising the Opposition for what they are seeking to do, but I should like to say what I think would be the consequence of what they are doing. What was intended was an elaboration of what has been an entirely formal procedure—so formal that no provision is made in Standing Orders for the appointment of such Committees.

This is an elaboration—exploitation might be an even stronger word to use—of what is there. Such an elaboration should not be made without examining what is proposed. What is proposed in the Government motion is, in our belief, designed to preserve the present practice of the House. If we were to alter the present practice—that would be the consequence of accepting the amendment moved by the right hon. Member for Yeovil—we would erode that present practice. That should be done only after much more consideration, possibly by the Sessional Committee on Procedure.

What we are proposing is a Committee of five. The extent of the change is highlighted by the fact that the Clerks have not had to turn their minds to this problem before. I am advised by the Clerks that the rules of procedure applicable to Select Committee are also applied to these Committees. Under those rules the Chairman of such a Committee would have only a casting vote. Assuming, therefore, that a Government Member is called to the Chair in the Disagreeing Committee, or whatever one likes to call it, that leaves parity of Government and others below the Chair. I believe that is all that hon. Gentlemen opposite, or Members of the minority parties or the Liberal Party, can reasonably ask for in such circumstances.

If we were to accept the right hon. Gentleman's proposal the Government would be in a minority below the Chair. Partly for the reasons stated by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Cunningham), that would be an absurdity. It would be such an absurdity, were such a position to arise, that there would be no guarantee that further absurdities would not be created. This Committee, which has solely been a formality in the past, could be transformed into something different. That would be the consequence of accepting the amendment proposed by the right hon. Member for Yeovil. If that were the case, then, far from preserving the present position in relation to these matters, it might be transformed.

I turn to the remarks of the right hon Member for Down, South. If we accepted the amendment we would be transforming the nature of these Committees. We would turn them from the formality which they have been for centuries into something quite different. That is the first reason for rejecting the right hon. Gentleman's argument. I do not know whether he wants to intervene now or wait until after I have dealt with some of his other arguments.

Mr. Powell

Surely, in arguing the case against the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) being added to this Committee, the Lord President is eloquently doing exactly what the motion seeks to prevent the House from doing.

Mr. Foot

I said that this was not the only argument to be deployed against the right hon. Gentleman. That is why it might have been better if he had reserved his intervention until later. There are, additional arguments which sustain the present situation. So far nearly every one seems to be on my side. What I am saying is that if the amendment were carried, and if the composition of this previously formal Committee were to be changed and the Government were put into a minority, that might mean that the nature of the Committee itself would be transformed.

Mr. Adley

If the right hon. Gentleman is concerned about the Chairman being a Government Chairman—and being deprived of a vote—and if he wishes to maintain the spirit of harmony which he talked about earlier, one way of achieving it would be to have one of the non-Government Members as Chairman.

Mr. Foot

That would be a further transformation of the Committee and would be quite a different arrangement. What we are seeking to do is to preserve the present situation of this formal Committee in exactly the same way that it has operated for about 300 years. What hon. Gentlemen opposite are proposing is a major transformation of the status of this Committee, which I believe it would be wrong for the House to undertake.

Mr. Ridley

The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that on the General Sub-Committee of the Select Committee on Expenditure there are four Government Members and four Tory Members. That means that the Chairman, who is a supporter of the right hon. Gentleman's party, on taking the Chair is in the exact position which the Lord President mentioned. Yet this Sub-Committee has been in existence for years in its present form and it works perfectly. If the Lord President quotes the example of Select Committees why does he not accept the example of this particular Sub-Committee?

Mr. Foot

What I am seeking to do is preserve the operation of this Committee in the form in which it has operated hitherto. What has been proposed by hon. Gentlemen opposite would run the risk—or invite the possibility—of changing the nature of these Committees. The onus is on those hon. Gentlemen who want to make this change. The Government are proposing to preserve the operation of these Committees in the way in which they have operated before.

Mr. Lawson

Would the Lord President give way?

Mr. Foot

No, I must get on, and the hon. Gentleman has made his speech.

The right hon. Member for Down, South said that we would be silencing the amount of debate. But for about 300 years this Committee has been regarded as a pure formality and there has never been anything which could be regarded as a debate on the matter. This form of setting up such a Committee to express disagreement with the House of Lords dates from about 1693. I am glad that even in 1693 there was disagreement with the House of Lords. From that time until now, although there has been a possibility of debate—and although there may have been one or two occasions on which some question was asked—it has never been regarded by any Opposition, minority or majority party as a requirement for maintaining the opportunities and rights of this House that there should be debates on this motion.

Therefore the elaborate claims which have been built up that I am seeking to silence debates which normally take place are not true. For more than 300 years there have been no debates and I doubt whether for the next 300 years there will be further debates. We shall be left in the same situation as we were in before if the motion is passed. What I am saying is that the motion makes no practical difference to what has been the existing custom.

I would give the right hon Member for Down, South a third answer. We had a similar timetable motion a year or so ago. It was assumed, rightly or wrongly, that that timetable motion covered the motion in respect of this Committee. Mr. Speaker gave a ruling—and the ruling in this aspect of the matter from Mr. Speaker is conclusive—that this timetable motion does not cover the reference to the Committee. That does not alter the fact that there have been a number of occasions on which a timetable motion itself has been thought to cover this reference, as well as other aspects of the timetable motion, and that in itself also denied discussion of this proposal.

One of the right hon. Gentleman's fears was that if the motion were accepted it could be taken as a precedent and used to forbid debates on the setting up of other Committees. I understand his anxiety, but for the reasons that I have already given and that I believe are apparent to anyone who examines the history of the matter, there is a great distinction between the two. That distinction goes back once again to the essential fact that these Committees have always been regarded as formalities.

Of course the House must always look carefully at any proposals for altering the way in which these matters are dealt with, and the House has been properly exercising that right today. But my claim is sustained by much more formidable arguments even than those produced by the right hon. Member for Down, South, who unwittingly has joined those who wish to transform the situation by a side wind.

I am not complaining because the Opposition seek to do so. We are told that we must not imagine, that we must not have such sinister suppositions in our minds as to believe, that they would in any sense use this change in our procedures to interfere with the Bills at present going through the House—

Mr. David James (Dorset, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Did you not rule earlier that it would be for your convenience if the Minister at the Dispatch Box were to address the Chair?

Mr. Foot

If I was not addressing you properly, Mr. Speaker, I apologise, of course.

I was saying—I think that it is a perfectly legitimate comment—that it would be a change if we were to adopt the Opposition's proposals. I am told that of course they would not dream of using such a development to assist them in preventing these other Bills from going through. The right hon. Member for Down. South said that there would be no possibility for any loss from the Government's point of view. But there could be if the debates on the setting up of the Committee were used as an opportunity for a further major debate and vote on these matters. That would be to transform our procedures in the middle of the game, and it is the Opposition who are proposing measures which could change this Committee.

The Opposition say—one of their legal representatives was very strong on this point—that this must no longer be a formality, that a stronger Committee was needed. They therefore suggest altering the composition of the Committee to give the Opposition a majority in the votes in it. They also ask us to believe that in the debates on these matters they would in no sense seek to filibuster to try to affect the major Bills. They are asking a lot in asking us to believe that.

Mr. Peyton

The right hon. Gentleman should be under no misunderstanding. He has twice suggested that I would do something to facilitate the passage of these odious measures. I gave no undertaking of that kind. He has seriously misunderstood me.

Mr. Foot

That helps to confirm my case. It is one of the most eloquent interventions that the right hon. Gentleman has made throughout this discussion. I might almost say that the case rests. Of course the right hon. Gentleman will use every opportunity he can to disrupt the legislation, and he has now come out with that confession.

What we propose is the best way of preserving the rights which the House has had in this matter. Those who wish to transform this Committee into something much more elaborate and far-reaching are the persons who are seeking to change the rules in the middle of the game.

Several Hon. Members rose—

Mr. Walter Harrison (Treasurer of Her Majesty's Household) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put:—

The House proceeded to a Division—

Mr. Peter Emery (Honiton) (seated and covered)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The acceptance of the closure motion is always, rightly, in the decision of the Chair. Is it not slightly unusual for that decision to be taken when Privy Councillors rise, wishing to be called to speak in the debate?

Mr. Speaker

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. As I have said before, all hon. Members are equal in this place—some a little more equal than others. It is customary for Mr. Speaker to decide whether to accept the closure motion.

The House having divided: Ayes 311, Noes 303.

Division No. 386.] AYES [5.56 p.m.
Abse, Leo Cryer, Bob Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Allaun, Frank Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Hardy, Peter
Anderson, Donald Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiten) Harper, Joseph
Archer, Peter Dalyell, Tam Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)
Armstrong, Ernest Davidson, Arthur Hart, Rt Hon Judith
Ashley, Jack Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Ashton, Joe Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Hatton, Frank
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hayman, Mrs Helene
Atkinson, Norman Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Deakins, Eric Heffer, Eric S.
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Hooley, Frank
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Horam, John
Bates, Alf Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)
Bean, R. E. Dempsey, James Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Doig, Peter Huckfield, Les
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Dormand, J. D. Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Bidwell, Sydney Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hughes, Mark (Durham)
Bishop, E. S. Duffy, A. E. P. Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Dunn, James A. Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Boardman, H. Dunnett, Jack Hunter, Adam
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Eadie, Alex Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Edge, Geoff Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)
Bradley, Tom Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Janner, Greville
Brown, Hugh D. (Proven) Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) English Michael Jeger, Mrs Lena
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Ennals, David Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Buchan, Norman Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)
Buchanan, Richard Evans Ioan (Aberdare) John, Brynmor
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Evans, John (Newton) Johnson, James (Hull West)
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Johnson, Waiter (Derby S)
Jones Alec (Rhondda)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Faulds, Andrew Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Campbell, Ian Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Canavan, Dennis Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Judd, Frank
Cant, R. B. Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W) Kaufman, Gerald
Carmichael, Neil Flannery, Martin Kelley, Richard
Carter, Ray Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston) Kerr, Russell
Carter-Jones, Lewis Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Cartwright, John Foot, Rt Hon Michael Kinnock Neil
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Ford, Ben Lambie David
Clemitson, Ivor Forrester, John Lamborn, Harry
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Lomond, James
Cohen, Stanley Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Latham, Arthur (Paddington)
Coleman, Donald Freeson, Reginald Leadbitter, Ted
Colquhoun, Ms Maureen Garrett, John (Norwich S) Lee, John
Concannon, J. D. Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)
Conlan, Bernard George, Bruce Lever, Rt Hon Harold
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Gilbert, Dr John Lewis, Arthur (Newham N)
Corbett, Robin Ginsburg, David Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Cowans, Harry Golding, John Lipton, Marcus
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Gould, Bryan Litterick, Tom
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Gourlay, Harry Lomas, Kenneth
Crawshaw, Richard Graham, Ted Loyden, Eddie
Cronin, John Grant, George (Morpeth) Luard, Evan
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Grant, John (Islington C) Lyon, Alexander (York)
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Grocott, Bruce Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)
Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Paimer, Arthur Strang, Gavin
McCartney, Hugh Park, George Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Parker, John Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
McElhone, Frank Parry, Robert Swain, Thomas
MacFarquhar, Roderick Pavitt, Laurie Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
McGuire, Michael (Ince) Pendry, Tom Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
MacKenzie, Gregor Perry, Ernest Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Mackintosh, John P. Phipps, Dr Colin Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Maclennan, Robert Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Prescott, John Tierney, Sydney
McNamara, Kevin Price, C. (Lewisham W) Tinn, James
Madden, Max Price, William (Rugby) Tomlinson, John
Magee, Bryan Radice, Giles Tomney, Frank
Maguire, Frank (Fermanagh) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) Torney, Tom
Mahon, Simon Richardson, Miss Jo Urwin, T. W.
Mallalieu, J. P. W. Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Marks, Kenneth Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Marquand, David Robertson, John (Paisley) Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Robinson, Geoffrey Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Roderick, Caerwyn Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Rodgers, George (Chorley) Ward, Michael
Maynard, Miss Joan Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton) Watkins, David
Meacher, Michael Rooker, J. W. Watkinson, John
Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Roper, John Weetch, Ken
Mendelson, John Rose, Paul B. Weitzman, David
Mikardo, Ian Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Wellbeloved, James
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Rowlands, Ted White, Frank R. (Bury)
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Ryman, John White, James (Pollock)
Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) Sandelson, Neville Whitehead, Phillip
Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) Sedgemore, Brian Whitlock, William
Molloy, William Selby, Harry Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Moonman, Eric Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Shore, Rt Hon Peter Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE) Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Moyle, Roland Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich) Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Sillars, James Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Newens, Stanley Silverman, Julius Wise, Mrs Audrey
Noble, Mike Skinner, Dennis Woodall, Alec
Oakes, Gordon Small, William Woof, Robert
Ogden, Eric Smith, John (N Lanarkshire) Wrigglesworth, Ian
O'Halloran, Michael Snape, Peter Young, David (Bolton E)
Orbach, Maurice Spearing, Nigel
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Spriggs, Leslie TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Ovenden, John Stallard, A. W. Mr. James Hamilton and
Owen, Rt Hon Dr David Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham) Mr. David Stoddart.
Padley, Walter Stott, Roger
Adley, Robert Carson, John Farr, John
Aitken, Jonathan Chalker, Mrs Lynda Fell, Anthony
Alison, Michael Channon, Paul Finsberg, Geoffrey
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Churchill, W. S. Fisher, Sir Nigel
Arnold, Tom Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Clark, William (Croydon S) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Awdry, Daniel Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fookes, Miss Janet
Bain, Mrs Margaret Clegg, Walter Forman, Nigel
Baker, Kenneth Cockcroft, John Fowler, Norman (Sutton C't'd)
Banks, Robert Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Fox, Marcus
Beith, A. J. Cope, John Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Cordle, John H. Freud, Clement
Benyon, W. Cormack, Patrick Fry, Peter
Biffen, John Corrie, John Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.
Biggs-Davison, John Costain, A. P. Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Blaker, Peter Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E) Gardner, Edward (S Fylde)
Body, Richard Crawford, Douglas Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Critchley, Julian Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)
Bottomley, Peter Crouch, David Glyn, Dr Alan
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Crowder, F. P. Godber, Rt Hon Joseph
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Goodhart, Philip
Bradford, Rev Robert Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Goodhew, Victor
Braine, Sir Bernard Dodsworth, Geoffrey Goodlad, Alastair
Brittan, Leon Drayson, Burnaby Gorst, John
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)
Brotherton, Michael Durant, Tony Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Dykes, Hugh Grant, Anthony (Harrow C)
Bryan, Sir Paul Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Gray, Hamish
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Grieve, Percy
Buck, Antony Elliott, Sir William Griffiths, Eldon
Budgen, Nick Emery, Peter Grimond, Rt Hon J.
Bulmer, Esmond Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Grist, Ian
Burden, F. A. Eyre, Reginald Grylls, Michael
Butter, Adam (Bosworth) Fairbairn, Nicholas Hall, Sir John
Carlisle, Mark Fairgrieve, Russell Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Marten, Neil Sainsbury, Tim
Hampson, Dr Keith Mather, Carol St. John-Stevas, Norman
Hannam, John Maude, Angus Scott-Hopkins, James
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Mawby, Ray Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Hastings, Stephen Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Shelton, William (Streatham)
Havers, Sir Michael Mayhew, Patrick Shepherd, Colin
Hawkins, Paul Meyer, Sir Anthony Shersby, Michael
Hayhoe, Barney Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Silvester, Fred
Heath, Rt Hon Edward Mills, Peter Sims, Roger
Henderson, Douglas Miscampbell, Norman Sinclair, Sir George
Heseltine, Michael Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Skeet, T. H. H.
Hicks, Robert Moate, Roger Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Higgins, Terence L. Monro, Hector Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Hodgson, Robin Montgomery, Fergus Speed, Keith
Holland, Philip Moore, John (Croydon C) Spence, John
Hooson, Emlyn More, Jasper (Ludlow) Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Hordern, Peter Morgan, Geraint Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral Sproat, Iain
Howell, David (Guildford) Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Stanbrook, Ivor
Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Stanley, John
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Hunt, David (Wirral) Mudd, David Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Hunt, John (Bromley) Neave, Airey Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Hurd, Douglas Nelson, Anthony Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Hutchison, Michael Clark Neubert, Michael Stokes, John
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Newton, Tony Stradling Thomas, J.
James, David Normanton, Tom Tapsell, Peter
Jenkin, Rt Hon P.(Wanst'd & W'df'd) Nott, John Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Jessel, Toby Onslow, Cranley Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Tebbit, Norman
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Osborn, John Temple-Morris, Peter
Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Page, John (Harrow West) Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Jopling, Michael Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Page, Richard (Workington) Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Kaberry, Sir Donald Paisley, Rev Ian Thompson, George
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Pardoe, John Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Kershaw, Anthony Parkinson, Cecil Townsend, Cyril D.
Kilfedder, James Pattie, Geoffrey Trotter Neville
Kimball, Marcus Penhaligon, David Tugendhat, Christopher
King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Percival, Ian van Straubenzee, W. R.
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Peyton, Rt Hon John Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Kirk, Sir Peter Pink, R. Bonner Viggers, Peter
Kitson, Sir Timothy Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch Wainwright, Richard (Coine V)
Knight, Mrs Jill Price, David (Eastleigh) Wakeham, John
Knox, David Prior, Rt Hon James
Lamont, Norman Pym, Rt Hon Francis Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Lane, David Raison, Timothy Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Langford-Holt, Sir John Rathbone, Tim Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Latham, Michael (Melton) Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter Wall, Patrick
Lawrence, Ivan Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Walters, Dennis
Lawson, Nigel Rees-Davies, W. R. Warren, Kenneth
Lester, Jim (Beeston) Reid, George Watt, Hamish
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts) Weatherill, Bernard
Lloyd, Ian Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex) Wells, John
Loveridge, John Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Welsh, Andrew
Luce, Richard Ridley, Hon Nicholas Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
McAdden, Sir Stephen Ridsdale, Julian Wiggin, Jerry
MacCormick, Iain Rifkind, Malcolm Wigley, Dafydd
McCrindle, Robert Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Winterton, Nicholas
McCusker, H. Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW) Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Macfarlane, Neil Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
MacGregor, John Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks) Younger, Hon George
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Ross, William (Londonderry) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Madel, David Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire) Mr. Anthony Berry.
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Royle, Sir Anthony

Question accordingly agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 307, Noes 310.

Division No. 387.] AYES [6.09 p.m.
Adley, Robert Beith, A. J. Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)
Aitken, Jonathan Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Bradford, Rev Robert
Alison, Michael Berry, Hon Anthony Braine, Sir Bernard
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Biffen, John Brittan, Leon
Arnold, Tom Biggs-Davison, John Brocklebank-Fowler, C.
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Blaker, Peter Brotherton, Michael
Awdry, Daniel Body, Richard Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)
Bain, Mrs Margaret Boscawen, Hon Robert Bryan, Sir Paul
Baker, Kenneth Bottomley, Peter Buchanan-Smith, Alick
Banks, Robert Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Buck, Antony
Budgen, Nick Heath, Rt Hon Edward Neubert, Michael
Bulmer, Esmond Henderson, Douglas Newton, Tony
Burden, F. A. Heseltine, Michael Normanton, Tom
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Hicks, Robert Nott, John
Carlisle, Mark Higgins, Terence L. Onslow, Cranley
Carson, John Hodgson, Robin Oppenheim, Mrs Sally
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Holland, Philip Osborn, John
Channon, Paul Hooson, Emlyn Page, John (Harrow West)
Churchill, W. S. Hordern, Peter Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Page, Richard (Workington)
Clark, William (Croydon S) Howell, David (Guildford) Paisley, Rev Ian
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Pardoe, John
Clegg, Walter Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Parkinson, Cecil
Cockcroft, John Hunt, David (Wirral) Pattie, Geoffrey
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Hunt, John (Bromley) Penhaligon, David
Cope, John Hurd, Douglas Percival, Ian
Cordle, John H. Hutchison, Michael Clark Peyton, Rt Hon John
Cormack, Patrick Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Pink, R. Bonner
Corrie, John James, David Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Costain, A. P. Jenkin, Rt Hon P.(Wanst'd & W'df'd) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E) Jessel, Toby Prior, Rt Hon James
Crawford, Douglas Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Critchley, Julian Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Raison, Timothy
Crouch, David Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Rathbone, Tim
Crowder, F. P. Jopling, Michael Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Kaberry, Sir Donald Rees-Davies, W. R.
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Reid, George
Drayson, Burnaby Kershaw, Anthony Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Kilfedder, James Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Durant, Tony Kimball, Marcus Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Dykes, Hugh King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John King, Tom (Bridgwater) Ridsdale, Julian
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Kirk, Sir Peter Rifkind, Malcolm
Elliott, Sir William Kitson, Sir Timothy Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Emery, Peter Knight, Mrs Jill Roberts, Michael (Cardiff MW)
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Knox, David Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Lamont, Norman Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoakes)
Eyre, Reginald Lane, David Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Fairbairn, Nicholas Langford-Holt, Sir John Ross, William (Londonderry)
Fairgrieve, Russell Latham, Michael (Merton) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Farr, John Lawrence, Ivan Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Fell, Anthony Lawson, Nigel Royle, Sir Anthony
Finsberg, Geoffrey Le Marchant, Spencer Sainsbury, Tim
Fisher, Sir Nigel Lester, Jim (Beeston) St. John-Stevas, Norman
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Scott, Nicholas
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Lloyd, Ian Scott-Hopkins, James
Fookes, Miss Janet Loveridge, John Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Forman, Nigel Luce, Richard Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) McAdden, Sir Stephen Shelton, William (Streatham)
Fox, Marcus MacCormick, Iain Shepherd, Colin
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) McCrindle, Robert Shersby, Michael
Freud, Clement McCusker, H. Silvester, Fred
Fry, Peter Macfarlane, Neil Sims, Roger
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. MacGregor, John Sinclair, Sir George
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Skeet, T. H. H.
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Madel, David Speed, Keith
Glyn, Dr Alan Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Spence, John
Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Marten, Neil Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)
Goodhart, Philip Males, Michael Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Goodhew, Victor Maude, Angus Sproat, Iain
Goodlad, Alastair Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Stanbrook, Ivor
Gorst, John Mawby, Ray Stanley, John
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Mayhew, Patrick Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Meyer, Sir Anthony Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Gray, Hamish Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Grieve, Percy Mills, Peter Stokes, John
Griffiths, Eldon Miscampbell, Norman Stradling Thomas, J.
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Tapsell, Peter
Grist, Ian Moate, Roger Taylor, R. (Croydon MW)
Grylls, Michael Molyneaux, James Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Hall, Sir John Monro, Hector Tebbit, Norman
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Montgomery, Fergus Temple-Morris, Peter
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Moore, John (Croydon C) Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Hampson, Dr Keith More, Jasper (Ludlow) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Hannam, John Morgan, Geraint Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral Thompson, George
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Hastings, Stephen Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Townsend, Cyril D.
Havers, Sir Michael Morrison, Hon peter (Chester) Trotter, Neville
Hawkins, Paul Mudd, David Tugendhat, Christopher
Hayhoe, Barney Neave, Airey van Straubenzee, W. R.
Nelson, Anthony Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Viggers, Peter Warren, Kenneth Winterton, Nicholas
Wainwright, Richard (Colne V) Watt, Hemish Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Wakenham, John Weatherill, Bernard Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Walder, David (Clitheroe) Wells, John Younger, Hon George
Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester) Welsh, Andrew
Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek Whitelaw, Rt Hon William TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Wall, Patrick Wiggin, Jerry Mr. W. Benyon and
Walters, Dennis Wigley, Dafydd Mr. Carol Mather.
Abse, Leo Dunn, James A. Kelley, Richard
Allaun, Frank Dunnett, Jack Kerr, Russell
Anderson, Donald Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Archer, Peter Eadie, Alex Kinnock, Neil
Armstrong, Ernest Edge, Geoff Lambie, David
Ashley, Jack Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Lamborn, Harry
Ashton, Joe Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Lamond, James
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Latham, Arthur (Paddington)
Atkinson, Norman English, Michael Leadbitter, Ted
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Ennals, David Lee, John
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Lever, Rt Hon Harold
Bates, Alf Evans, John (Newton) Lewis, Arthur (Newham N)
Bean, R. E. Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Faulds, Andrew Lipton, Marcus
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Litterick, Tom
Bidwell, Sydney Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Lomas, Kenneth
Bishop, E. S. Flannery, Martin Loyden, Eddie
Blenkinsop, Arthur Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston) Luard, Evan
Boardman, H. Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Lyon, Alexander (York)
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Foot, Rt Hon Michael Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Ford, Ben Mabon, Dr J. Dickson
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Forrester, John McCartney, Hugh
Bradley, Tom Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Bray, Dr Jeremy Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) McElhone, Frank
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Freeson, Reginald MacFarquhar, Roderick
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Garrett, John (Norwich S) McGuire, Michael (Ince)
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) MacKenzie, Gregor
Buchan, Norman George, Bruce Mackintosh, John P.
Buchanan, Richard Gilbert, Dr John Maclennan, Robert
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Ginsburg, David McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Golding, John McNamara, Kevin
Caliaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Gould, Bryan Madden, Max
Campbell, Ian Gourlay, Harry Magee, Bryan
Canavan, Dennis Graham, Ted Maguire, Frank (Fermanagh)
Cant, R. B. Grant, George (Morpeth) Marion, Simon
Carmichael, Neil Grant, John (Islington C) Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Carter, Ray Grocott, Bruce Marks, Kenneth
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Marquand, David
Cartwright, John Hardy, Peter Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Harper, Joseph Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Clemitson, Ivor Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael Hart, Rt Hon Judith Maynard, Miss Joan
Cohen, Stanley Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Meacher, Michael
Coleman, Donald Halton, Frank Mellish, Rt Hon Robert
Colquhoun, Ms Maureen Hayman, Mrs Helene Mendelson, John
Concannon, J. D. Healey, Rt Hon Denis Mikardo, Ian
Conlan, Bernard Heffer, Eric S. Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Hooley, Frank Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Corbett, Robin Horam, John Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N)
Cowans, Harry Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Molloy, William
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Huckfield, Les Moonman, Eric
Crawshaw, Richard Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Cronin, John Hughes, Mark (Durham) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Moyle, Roland
Cryer, Bob Hunter, Adam Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge HIM) Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Newens, Stanley
Dalyell, Tam Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Noble, Mike
Davidson, Arthur Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Oakes, Gordon
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Janner, Greville Ogden, Eric
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Jay, Rt Hon Douglas O'Halloran, Michael
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jeger, Mrs Lena Orbach, Maurice
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Deakins, Eric Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford) Ovenden, John
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) John, Brynmor Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Johnson, James (Hull West) Padley, Walter
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Palmer, Arthur
Dempsey, James Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Park, George
Doig, Peter Jones, Barry (East Flint) Parker, John
Dormand, J. D. Jones, Dan (Burnley) Parry, Robert
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Judd, Frank Pavitt, Laurie
Duffy, A. E. P. Kaufman, Gerald Pendry, Tom
Perry, Ernest
Phipps, Dr Colin Sillars, James Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Silverman, Julius Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Prescott, John Skinner, Dennis Ward, Michael
Price, C. (Lewisham W) Small, William Watkins, David
Price, William (Rugby) Smith, John (N Lanarkshire) Watkinson, John
Radice, Giles Snape, Peter Weetch, Ken
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) Spearing, Nigel Weitzman, David
Richardson, Miss Jo Spriggs, Leslie Wellbeloved, James
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Stallard, A. W. White, Frank R. (Bury)
Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham) White, James (Pollok)
Robertson, John (Paisley) Stott, Roger Whitehead, Phillip
Robinson, Geoffrey Strang, Gavin Whitlock, William
Roderick, Caerwyn Strauss, Rt Hon G. R. Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Rodgers, George (Chorley) Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton) Swain, Thomas Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Rooker, J. W. Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W) Williams, Rt Horn Shirley (Hertford)
Roper, John Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Rose, Paul B. Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E) Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW) Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Rowlands, Ted Thorne, Stan (Preston South) Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Ryman, John Tierney, Sydney Wise, Mrs Audrey
Sandelson, Neville Tinn, James Woodall, Alec
Sedgemore, Brian Tomlinson, John Woof, Robert
Selby, Harry Tomney, Frank Wrigglesworth, Ian
Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) Torney, Tom Young, David (Bolton E)
Sheldon Robert (Ashton-u Lyne) Urwin, T. W.
Shore, Rt Hon Peter Varley, Rt Hon Eric G. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE) Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V) Mr. James Hamilton and
Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford) Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd) Mr. David Stoddart.
Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)

Question accordingly negatived.

Main Question put and agreed to.

Ordered, That, for the remainder of this Session, any Questions necessary to dispose of Motions moved by a Minister of the Crown, and any amendments thereto selected by Mr. Speaker, relating to Committees to draw up reasons to be assigned to the Lords for disagreeing to Amendments to Bills shall be decided forthwith, and proceedings on such Motions, though opposed, may be decided after the expiration of the time for opposed business.