HC Deb 17 November 1976 vol 919 cc1340-84

3.46 p.m.

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

In view of your ruling, Mr. Speaker, I shall move a motion.

I beg to move, That the matter of the complaint be referred to the Committee of Privileges. It has been the custom of previous Leaders of the House at this stage to suggest to the House that we should seek to carry this motion without further debate. I think that would be the best course in this instance, also.

3.47 p.m.

Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)

The Lord President is extremely sensitive this afternoon. I thought that the hon. Member for Paddington (Mr. Latham) was pretty sensitive in making this complaint yesterday, but for the Lord President to put this motion to the House seems unnecessary. The right hon. Gentleman does not have to move this or any other motion.

I wonder why it is that a matter which could be described as fair political comment, and which could even be described as such with considerable foundation in truth, should be the subject of a motion.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Gentleman is not entitled to anticipate what the Committee of Privileges, if the matter goes there, will decide. We are discussing now whether it shall go there.

Mr. Arthur Latham (Paddington)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Before the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) proceeds too far down any road which he is going to travel, I should like to ask you to make one point clear for the record. I am grateful for your ruling. However, are you able to confirm that that which you have suggested should have precedence for referral to the Committee of Privileges is the matter submitted to you in so far as it may be a breach of privilege or a contempt of the House?

I ask this so that you may be able to put on record that any question of defamation or personal damages regarding individual Members named is a matter on which the Committee of Privileges will not be asked to pronounce, but on which individual Members may, if they choose, seek redress in the courts.

Mr. Speaker

Any action that right hon. or hon. Members may take in the courts is, of course, their concern.

My predecessors have often used the expression "There is a prima facie case of a breach of privilege and, therefore, it should have precedence." I have used the expression that it ought to have precedence. I feel in no way inhibited from saying that there is a prima facie case and that the matter should be given precedence.

Mr. Arthur Latham

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I think that this is terribly important, because no Member would wish to be guilty of any kind of contempt of the House or discourtesy to yourself. What I am asking is whether you can make absolutely clear that the terms of reference of the Committee of Privileges relate to matters referred to it in so far as they may be breaches of privilege or contempts of the House, and would not deal with an issue of personal defamation or damages that Members might seek.

Mr. Speaker

All that I can do is to say that this question has precedence, and the Committee of Privileges has very wide powers and will no doubt want to go into the question in some depth. But I cannot decide what the Committee of Privileges will do.

Mr. Ridley

In no sense do I wish to suggest that the Committee will come to one decision or another, Mr. Speaker. I merely comment on the decision of the Leader of the House to refer this matter by moving this motion. I think that it is questionable when moved by one who himself in past days has questioned similar motions. In this case, although I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that you are entirely right in the ruling that you have just given, it suggests that it may be that the rules are a little out of date, and perhaps if the Leader of the House had been on the mark over the time that he has occupied that high office he would have moved to change those rules a little. It seems to me that what my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat) has said is no more than fair comment and in many respects may well be entirely justified.

Mr. Michael English (Nottingham, West)

Does the hon. Gentleman recollect the date of that report'? He says that the present Leader of the House could have changed the rules. What about all previous Leaders of the House, including those on both sides of the Chamber?

Mr. Speaker

Order. Perhaps I may intervene, by courtesy of the House, for one moment. I hope that the House will bear in mind that there is a long programme of business before us. [Interruption.] The House will know whether it wishes to go on to debate this matter. It will know that it is up to me to draw the attention of the House to the condition in which we find ourselves.

Mr. Ridley

I intend to be brief, Mr. Speaker. However, I believe that these points should be put. I must, first, reply to the hon. Member for Nottingham, West (Mr. English). It is the present Leader of the House who has the greatest reputation of any Leader of the House for challenging privilege cases. It is the fact that he of all people should have been prepared to move this motion that brought me to my feet.

However, to return to my argument, I quote from Hansard. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South is alleged to have written: The aim of these people is to turn Britain into the equivalent of a totalitarian East European State."—[Official Report, 16th November 1976; Vol. 919, c. 1128.] Well, it is. There is nothing wrong in that they should have it as their view. Are they ashamed of it now? Are they retracting from it? Why are they so sensitive about it? If they have spent the last few years proclaiming up and down—

Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. All that is in order now is to discuss whether this issue should be referred to the Committee of Privileges. It cannot be in order to discuss the merits of the case and to make statements such as the hon. Gentleman has made.

Mr. Ridley rose—

Mr. Speaker

Order. There is no reason why we should not behave with common sense over this question. The question before the House is the motion of the Leader of the House, that this matter be sent to the Committee of Privileges. Naturally, the Committee itself will be debating these issues.

Mr. Ridley

I am merely seeking to argue, Mr. Speaker, that the Leader of the House should not have moved this motion. I am adducing reasons why I think he was far too sensitive in his desire to shut up my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South and to put this matter under the carpet by sending it upstairs. After all, as I say, it is fair comment.

I was surprised that the Leader of the House should seek to argue that we should not discuss the merits of this matter. But if the House is to claim as one of its privileges that no hon. Member or other person may pass aspersions upon the political intentions of some hon. Members, the very essence and substance of political debate itself is impossible.

To hear the right hon. Member for Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) on a point of order trying to suggest that this matter, delicate though it is to the Labour Party, should not be discussed, that it is hurtful and wounding that it should ever be discussed at all that the fact that I should seek to raise it makes him feel that I should be shut up seems to show just that very intolerant attitude towards free speech which is at the very heart of the nature of East European States.

I quote again: by standing for Labour; they are little less than the"—

Mr. Speaker

Order. What the House is deciding is whether it supports the recommendation that I made. The question is not the merits of the case that is to go to the Committee of Privileges if the House so decides. We are not going to get into a state of untidiness on this question. The issue before the House is quite clear. I have stated that in my judgment precedence should be given. Following long tradition, the Leader of the House has moved that the matter be referred to the Committee of Privileges. We do not have the main debate before the Committee of Privileges has considered the matter.

Mr. Nigel Lawson (Blaby)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I think that we should make it clear—I hope that you will make it clear—that we are not in any way debating your ruling. What we are debating is the motion moved by the Leader of the House.

Mr. Speaker

That is what I am trying to ensure.

Mr. Mark Carlisle (Runcorn)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Am I right in saying that it is normal on these motions to be able to debate whether it is right that the House should refer a matter? For the House to decide whether it is right to refer the matter one must, with respect, as I ask you to rule, Mr. Speaker, be able to debate whether this is a matter worthy to be referred.

I think that on previous occasions over the last few years I have heard the Leader of the House himself argue on many occasions when a similar motion has been moved by other Leaders of the House that the matter should not go to the Committee of Privileges because it did not justify being sent to the Committee. Surely, on that basis what my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) is saying on the merits must be relevant.

Mr. Ronald Bell (Beaconsfield)

On the same point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it not the case that on these questions in the past we have often had full debates on the merits of the matter, and after full debates on the merits it has happened that the motion to commit the matter to the Committee of Privileges has been withdrawn because the feeling in the House on the merits was that it should not go upstairs? This debate is without any disrespect to your ruling, Mr. Speaker, which is merely that the debate should have precedence over the Orders of the Day.

Mr. English

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker—

Mr. Speaker

Mr. English—the same point of order.

Mr. English

Is there not another distinction in this debate? Has it not been usual in the past, when the Leader of the House has moved the formal motion—and formal motion it is—for him to be supported by the Leader of the Opposition?

Mr. Speaker

I do not know about that. Perhaps I may just say that I want to observe the rules of the House and in no way to restrict speech, but what I hope we shall understand is that the hon. and learned Member for Runcorn (Mr. Carlisle) was quite right in the point of order that he submitted to me. The question is whether the matter shall go to the Committee. All that I am hoping is that we shall avoid the untidiness of just going over and renewing charges that are to go to the Committee of Privileges, and that hon. Members will, in general, address themselves to that issue.

Mrs. Judith Hart (Lanark)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Further to the point raised with you by my hon. Friend the Member for Paddington (Mr. Latham), may one seek your guidance? I ask purely for guidance. If the matter goes to the Committee of Privileges, will there be any offence to the traditions or courtesies of the House if individuals seek their own legal remedies while the Committee of Privileges is sitting? As you will appreciate, Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of some concern to the individuals, and one would not wish to offend the courtesies of the House by taking one's correct legal remedies.

Mr. Speaker

The right hon. Lady has raised an important question. I do not wish to answer off the cuff. I shall give her an answer tomorrow.

Sir John Hall (Wycombe)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. For our guidance could you inform the House how it is possible to debate whether the motion should be accepted and the matter go to the Committee of Privileges without our going into the background of the case and deciding whether, in the view of the House, it is important that it go to the Committee? You have asked for restraint, Mr. Speaker, and I understand that perfectly well, but I feel that it is very difficult—I am certain that the Leader of the House, from his previous experience when in Opposition, will agree—to debate these matters without taking into account the background of the case as a whole.

Mr. Speaker

I think that we may have become unnecessarily agitated. The background to the issue is very different from just a series of repetitions of what the hon. Member for Paddington (Mr. Latham) complained about yesterday.

Mr. Ridley

I have no desire, Mr. Speaker, to judge the merits of the case. Nor have I the slightest quarrel with your ruling—far from it—which, I am sure, is entirely right in accordance with the precedents. I merely make the point that the option before us, your having ruled, is whether the House should accept the motion, and that is something which we must consider because the nature of a breach of privilege is quite rightly laid down in our precedents, but the actual fact of this incident, in my opinion, does not merit that it be referred to the Committee at all.

I am seeking to show that it was just fair political comment, and, although I am sure that, technically, it comes within the scope of our rules, I think it a mistake for the Leader of the House to suggest that it should go to the Committee of Privileges. It seems to me that it is a matter of general public comment. There have been a good many comments in speeches and in articles over many years referring to the fact that there are a large number of Left-wing elements in the Government party.

I think that I can claim as evidence for that statement the fact that the right hon. Member for Newham, North-East (Mr. Prentice) and the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Sandelson), as well as other hon. Members, have had trouble as to their continuing candidature for the Labour Party. I am sure that it is in no sense a breach of privilege to suggest that there are persons in the country who are seeking to replace them with other politicians—other candidates—of other political views.

As I see it, all that my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South did was to suggest that there are in the Labour Party people of political views or colours totally different from the right or left of the Labour Party. That is well known to be the case.

What I find so extraordinary is that the hon. Member for Paddington should feel so sensitive about it. Surely, he is proud of his extreme Left-wing tendencies—[Interruption.] He proclaims them in this Chamber in speech after speech. Other hon. Members—I cannot claim to know entirely who are in this glorious list of 30—have been proclaiming those very views day after day in debate after debate in this place. I do not understand why they should now say that it is a grievous insult and that they are thoroughly affronted when my hon. Friend says—in tamer language than they have often used themselves—what they know to be true. I had thought that they were proud of it.

Mr. Stanley Newens (Harlow)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) has stated as a fact that hon. Members named in the list given by his hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat) have expressed certain points of view. That is what he has just said. I think that many of my hon. Friends would deny that very strongly, and, in these circumstances, as I understood it, it was to be the business of the Committee of Privileges to investigate this aspect of the problem.

I should be most grateful for your guidance, Mr. Speaker. Could you help us by explaining whether it is in order for hon. Members to make statements in the House imputing to other hon. Members here points of view which are to be the subject matter of consideration by the Committee of Privileges before the Committee has had an opportunity to discuss those matters?

If you rule, Mr. Speaker, that it is in order for hon. Members to impute points of view to others in the House, would it be in order for an hon. Member on this side to seek by means of analogy to question the points of view of hon. Members on the Conservative Benches and to make suggestions that those hon. Members have affiliations with other organisations—I am not making suggestions; I am asking you to rule—with the Fascists and the National Front?

Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Are we not in danger of falling into the error of thinking that the House has decided to refer the matter to the Committee of Privileges when it has not so decided? This debate is about whether it should so decide. We cannot, I submit, assume that it will so decide and therefore argue that we must not ventilate the matters which are relevant to the question whether it should go to the Committee of Privileges. To endeavour to restrict debate on the motion, which you have ruled should have precedence over the Orders of the Day, would be to deny the House the opportunity of forming a considered view on whether the Committee of Privileges should be put to these pains.

Mr. Speaker

I shall reply now to the points of order. First, right hon. and hon. Members know that it is never wise, and it is not parliamentary practice, to impute motives—certainly, unworthy motives—to one another in debate in the House.

Mr. Newens

That is what is being done.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Second, the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) is right in suggesting that it is in order for hon. Members to make out a case showing why the matter should not go to the Committee of Privileges, perhaps because they do not think that it is worth it, or to argue that it should go to the Committee of Privileges. On this the House must trust me to keep as careful a line as I can. But there is no firm line in a debate of this sort.

Mr. Ridley

To bring my remarks to a conclusion—[HON. MEMBERS "No".]—I would like to respond to the hon. Member for Harlow (Mr. Newens). I must confess a terrible weakness, that I had not read my hon. Friend's list. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Harlow was on it, but I presume he was from his point of order. [Interruption.] I have not read the list at all.

Mr. Newens

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Speaker

Order. We cannot have two hon. Gentlemen arguing across the Floor. I do not think that the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) is giving way.

Mr. Arthur Latham

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. [HON. MEMBERS: "Speak up."] Rather than tell me to speak up, hon. Members should shut up. I want to ask you, Mr. Speaker, for your ruling in relation to a matter that arose in my submission to you yesterday. You will recall that I explained that, although the names had been included in the document, the Press—so far as I can establish, on the advice of their legal advisers—refrained from publishing the names that had been included. If there are certain things which may be libellous if said outside the House, I would ask whether you feel that the protection of parliamentary privilege within the House should enable an hon. Member deliberately to make available names so that it then becomes permissible for the Press, on the grounds of reporting, to perpetuate a libel against individual Members of this House? I raise the point now, in the middle of the sincere exposition by the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley), because I suggest that there is at least one Conservative Member waiting to interrupt his hon. Friend with a list of names which he wishes to state so that the laws of libel outside the House should be overcome. I invite you to rule whether you think that an abuse, or a proper use, of parliamentary privilege.

Mr. Speaker

The ruling which I gave today was on the basis of what the hon. Member for Paddington (Mr. Latham) read out yesterday. I have to say that it is an undoubted right and ancient privilege in this place for hon. Members to speak in a way in which they would not be free to speak outside this House. If in the course of the debate hon. Members feel that the rest of the speech to which the hon. Member for Paddington referred is relevant to their argument, I cannot rule it out of order. If it is relevant to the argument that they are advancing, it must be heard. The hon. Member for Paddington yesterday read part of the speech and I ruled on it accordingly.

Mr. Ridley rose—

Mr. Neil Kinnock (Bedwellty)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I hope that all that you have said will be accepted by every hon. Member in the House, and always will be. The difference is between the use of a reference to a speech made by an hon. Member outside this House by the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) and what the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury is now doing. He said that he presumed, because my hon. Friend the Member for Harlow (Mr. Newens) had risen on a point of order to defend his hon. Friends, that he was one of the people on the list. I submit, Mr. Speaker, that that is the beginning of the regression from the gutter down to the sewer which is invited by permitting hon. Members to use their reference to speeches as the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury is now doing. Would you please rule on the question of an hon. Member making a presumption about another hon. Member on the basis of that hon. Member's attempt to defend his hon. Friends from what he considers to be a calumnious attack.

Mr. Patrick Cormack (Staffordshire, South-West)

Surely both these lists have been published and, therefore, if hon. Gentlemen opposite consider that they have been maligned they have a proper redress, if that is what they seek, in the courts? Because these things have been published outside the House, privilege in that context does not apply and it should not inhibit my hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) in making the point that he is now making.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I said earlier that I deprecate any imputations, but I must say to the House that once we embark on this sort of debate, which is raised by privilege, the two sides of the argument must be allowed to be expressed and, further, that hon. and right hon. Members, as long as they are not breaking the rules of the House, take responsibility for their own statements here. I do my best to guard against any charge against an hon. Member if dishonour is implied.

Mr. Ridley

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, if the existence of this list causes hon. Members opposite worry.

Mrs. Millie Miller (Ilford, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I ask for your guidance in this matter'? You have said that you have to protect the House against abuse. I put it to you that the behaviour of the Opposition today is rapidly approaching that of the McCarthy era when people were judged guilty by association.

Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. I want to hear the hon. Lady.

Mrs. Millie Miller

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The imputation being made against some hon. Members, whose names we do not know, and some whose names we do know, is of various kinds of treachery—treachery as hon. Members of this House, treachery as Members of the party to which they belong or treachery to their constituents to whom they have submitted themselves as members of a particular party. I put it to you, Mr. Speaker, that discussions in this House which include attacks on hon. Members who are unable, in the context of points of order, to reply are abusing the privileges of the House.

Mr. Newens

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. The hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury said that he presumed that I was one of the people named in the list. The hon. Gentleman then went on to state that he had not read the list. Does that not mean that the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury has come before the House without any knowledge of the list, or the speech, and is prepared to get up in this House and impute motives, and points of view of other hon. Members, when he has no right, on the basis of the statement he has made, to say anything? Is it not in order that you should rule that the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury is not entitled to impute motives to other Members or, if he does, is this not a case of McCarthyism, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, North (Mrs. Miller) made reference?

Mr. Speaker

I thought that I had made it clear that imputations are deprecated. I am sure that the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury, if it is felt that he has made an imputation, will act accordingly. We cannot avoid a debate in which both sides will be heard in the argument whether the matter should go to the Committee of Privileges.

Mrs. Hart

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. What is arising now has a considerable bearing on the rights of a number of hon. Members. I raised with you earlier—you were kind enough to say that you would give a ruling tomorrow—the question of what individual Members should do in terms of their legal rights outside the House while the matter is with the Committee of Privileges, if it goes there.

But another question now arises which concerns your duty to protect hon. Members. Were legal redress to be sought against individuals concerned with the statement issued yesterday, how far would proceedings in this House today, in which names were given, which would then be a matter for the courts, diminish the rights of hon. Members outside the House? I am sure that you will see the point that I am making. Leaving aside for a moment what it is all about, I would merely put it to hon. Members opposite that there is a real problem here. Every hon. Member has a right to go to the courts outside. What is done here must not prejudice what happens in the courts, and this clearly has some relevance to what is happening at the moment.

Mr. Speaker

We cannot limit debate in the House on the possibility of some action arising in the courts later.

Mr. Ridley

In answer to the hon. Member for Harlow, I am not sure what the imputation is that I am supposed to have made—whether that it is that he wants to be on the list and is not there or that he is on the list and does not want to be. Perhaps if one of my hon. Friends who is in possession of the list would be kind enough to say who is on it and who is not—

Mr. Michael Brotherton (Louth)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way—

Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Further to your ruling in response to the request of my right hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart), may I confirm that if any hon. Member reads names which were on the document which was read to you yesterday by my hon. Friend the Member for Paddington (Mr. Latham), the effect of reading it in this House would be that any redress for anyone who may be on the list would not be available in the courts? Therefore, any hon. Member who reads that must now do so in that knowledge.

Mr. Speaker

In 600 years of history there have been seven Speakers who were not lawyers. I am pleased to say that I am one. Therefore, I obviously cannot rule on what the hon. Member has said, but I advise him to think over what he has said.

Mr. Brotherton

I remain grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way. It may help the House if I were to read out a paragraph of what the hon. Member for Paddington (Mr. Latham)—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman may be lucky enough to catch my eye later but we cannot have an inter vention used now merely to read something out. His hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury is addressing the House.

Mr. Ridley

I wish to close. This speech has gone on for a terribly long time, but very little of it has come from me. The right hon. Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) and other hon. Members—

Mr. Andrew Faulds (Warley, East)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I draw your attention to two aspects of this problem which do not seem to be receiving quite the attention they should from the Chair—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—if I may say so with respect? First, you have clearly ruled that this is a prima facie breach of privilege—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—and that it should be sent to the Select Committee for that examination. The hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) seems to be calling in question your decision in that respect.

Second, it seems to be verging on an abuse of the House when, simply by quoting names at random which are supposed to be on these two lists, certain Opposition Members are doing as much damage as they can by sweeping as wide as they can with a dirty brush, throwing doubts on hon. Members, such as my hon. Friend the Member for Ilford, North (Mrs. Miller), who we on this side all know could not be more loyal to this country.

Mr. Norman Tebbit (Chingford)

She could try harder.

Mr. Faulds

This exercise can be reciprocal. I am prepared to give the House now 12 names of Conservative Members whose allegiances I would very much call in question in terms of their contacts with the Right Wing.

Mr. Speaker

May I remind the House and the hon. Gentleman that the House is debating the Lord President's motion that, following my ruling that this business should have precedence over the Orders of the Day, it should go to the Committee of Privileges. In so doing hon. Members are entitled to advance arguments. Mr. Ridley—to conclude?

Mr. Ridley rose —

Mrs. Millie Miller

On a point of order. My hon. Friend the Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds) was good enough to say that he would vouch for my loyalty to this country, and I am very grateful to him for doing so. However, a Member of the Opposition, the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit), took leave to doubt that. I ask for your protection in this matter against that serious allegation.

Mr. Kinnock

Yes, I heard it.

Mr. Speaker

No right hon. or hon. Member would like any imputation made of the sort to which the hon. Lady has referred—

Mr. Kinnock

The hon. Member is a big twit.

Mr. Speaker

I heard that remark. I must confess that I do not know who made it, but it is totally unworthy of the House of Commons. I hope that hon. Members will control themselves. Mr. Tebbit—to make a statement?

Mr. Tebbit

I do not know whether mine was the remark that you heard, Mr. Speaker, but I will tell you what I said and if you or the House find it offensive, I will of course gladly withdraw it. The hon. Member for Warley, East (Mr. Faulds) said of the hon. Member for Ilford, North (Mrs. Miller)—perhaps the words would come more quickly to his mind than to mine—

Mr. Faulds

"Totally loyal to her country".

Mr. Tebbit

I think that he said that the hon. Lady "could not be more loyal" to her country. My comment was that perhaps she could try harder. If that is offensive, I gladly withdraw it.

Hon. Members

Of course it is.

Mr. Lawson

The other hon. Member should admit what he said.

Mr. Speaker

Order. If the House goes on like this I shall have to suspend the proceedings. I will not have right hon. and hon. Members just shouting at each other across the Chamber. When I said that I had heard something, it was not the remark made by the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit); it was another offensive remark. The hon. Member for Chingford has withdrawn it. Mr. Ridley.

Mr. Ridley

I could have finished a long time ago, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Bryan Davies (Enfield, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. As we are debating a serious motion and at the conclusion of the debate have to make serious judgments on our course of action in terms of which Lobby we enter, may I bring to your attention the difficulty that is posed by your earlier indication that you will rule tomorrow on the representation put to you by my right hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart)?

It surely cannot be contended that it is unimportant to hon. Members seeking to reach a serious judgment on the merits of the decision to be taken this afternoon whether that decision will have any effect upon the rights of hon. Members to have recourse to the courts. In view of that and the fact that you have clearly indicated that not until tomorrow will a firm judgment be made upon that point of order, is it possible for the House to continue to consider the issue before it and reach a considered judgment?

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Enfield, North (Mr. Davies) is not correct. The debate today will in no way preclude any hon. or right hon. Member from taking court action if he feels that he has been defamed outside the House. That is not the concern of the House. The concern of the House is whether the Committee of Privileges should give attention to this matter. Has the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury completed his speech?

Mr. Ridley rose—

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. When a similar point of order was raised just before the House debated whether matters concerning Mr. Stonehouse should be referred to the Committee, my recollection is that your predecessor, Mr. Speaker Lloyd, replied that with no amount of notice could he from the Chair give a ruling on whether what went on in the House would preclude an action—in that case a criminal action—outside. Is not that parallel a good one—that hon. Members cannot expect the House to rule on whether a court outside will entertain—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I suggest that we get on with the debate.

Mrs. Millie Miller

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I have your guidance whether you informed me earlier that the hon. Member for Chingford had withdrawn his imputation?

Mr. Speaker

Yes, I did.

Mr. Ridley

All I urge is that the House should not refer this matter to—

Mr. Maurice Orbach (Stockport, South)


Mr. Churchill (Stretford)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I warn the House that if we have any more of this, I shall suspend the Sitting. Hon. Members are behaving disgracefully this afternoon.

Mr. Churchill

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I distinctly heard an hon. Member below the Gangway opposite call an hon. Member a coward. Is that a parliamentary term?

Mr. Speaker

It is an unparliamentary expression and should be withdrawn if it was used.

Mr. Orbach

I am delighted to withdraw it in the House, but I shall repeat it to the hon. Gentleman outside.

Mr. Lawson

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order that a withdrawal should in future take the form which we have just heard from the hon. Member for Stockport, South (Mr. Orbach)?

Mr. Speaker

The House is very excited. As I understood it, I said that the hon. Gentleman should withdraw the charge. What he does outside the Chamber is not my responsibility.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg (Hampstead)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You said that you would rule tomorrow on the question of privilege submitted by my hon. Friend the Member for Howden (Sir P. Bryan). In that submission, which has relevance to the Lord President's motion, he included all the names that were mentioned.

We have heard, and some of us have read, the names mentioned in the subject for discussion today. Will you rule on whether today hon. Members whose names were included in that list are permitted to vote, and on whether tomorrow the Lord President, whose name is in the statement made by my hon. Friend the Member for Howden, will be permitted to move a motion should you rule that it is in order?

Mr. Speaker

The answer to both questions is "Yes". The hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat), who withdrew whilst we continued our discussion, will be free to vote when the Division comes. It is a convention that he should withdraw.

Mr. Ridley

Hon. Members should not be so sensitive. All that my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South has done is to accuse a number of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway—and perhaps on the Front Bench—of being Communists. If that accusation makes them as cross as they appear to be this afternoon, they are trying to do two things at once and not thinking things out for themselves.

4.38 p.m.

Mr. Ian Mikardo (Bethnal Green and Bow)

I do not propose to comment on the remarks made by the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) because I believe there will be other and better ways of establishing the validity or otherwise of what was said by the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat). It will be possible to find out the validity of what he said, not the validity of the euphemistic gloss which the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury put upon it.

I do not intervene to take part in the debate but, if you will permit me, Mr. Speaker, to make a personal statement. I have the honour to have been selected by the House as a member of the Select Committee of Privileges. I believe that I am the only hon. Member serving on that Committee; all the others are right hon. Members. That being so, and as I am included in the list mentioned by the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South, I rise to express to you, Sir, and to the House the hope that the House will forgive me if I absent myself from the proceedings of the Committee while this matter is under discussion, if it is referred to the Committee. [Interruption.]

4.39 p.m.

Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)

The whole House will unite in one thing and that is in sympathy with yourself, Mr. Speaker. You find yourself in an incredibly difficult situation.

I recognise that when accusations of this kind are made it is almost certain that strong feelings will be aroused. You earlier called attention to the unhappy condition in which we find ourselves. The condition has been getting steadily unhappier since then, but I may be able to help the House by saying that my right hon. Friends and, I hope, my hon. Friends on the Opposition Benches will wish to support the motion and to send the matter to the Committee of Privileges. [Holy. MEMBERS: "No."] I am sure that my hon. Friends will accept that, if serious accusations are made by Members of Parliament against their colleagues, or if those accusations which were not intended to be too wounding are taken as being wounding, there should be some inquiry into them in a less passionate atmosphere than the one we have engendered this afternoon.

Perhaps the Committee has a useful contribution to make. My hon. Friend the Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) was absolutely entitled to make the speech he made this afternoon and I am grateful to you, Mr. Speaker, for having supported his right. There can be no question of Governments moving motions like this and expecting them to go through on the nod, whether or not objections to the motion are regarded by the Government as reasonable.

In view of one remark made by an hon. Member opposite, I should say that my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat) made the speech which has been complained of outside this House and it was published. I saw it in at least two newspapers. I think the complaint that these names have somehow been withheld is not justified.

Mr. Arthur Latham

I have seen reports of the speech, but I have not seen newspapers containing the names. Will the right hon. Gentleman reflect on whether he has seen them and tell us where?

Mr. Peyton

I would rather not name the newspapers, but I will communicate with the hon. Gentleman afterwards. My recollection is that at least two newspapers carried the names.

I do not wish to raise the temperature of the House, but I think that my hon. Friends have some justification for expressing surprise that the accusation of Left-wing loyalties should be considered by so many people to be so wounding. That is what is stirring up feeling on this side of the House.

We accept the motion and we shall support it. It would be in the interests of the House to dispose of it as quickly as possible.

4.42 p.m.

Mr. Foot

What the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) has said could be of great help to the House. I certainly think that no hon. Members can complain because a motion of this character has been moved by the Leader of the House in accordance with the normal system of the House.

When the Speaker has ruled in the past as he has today, in most cases the Leader of the House has moved the motion which I moved earlier. I certainly cannot complain that hon. Members have sought to continue the debate, because I have on numerous occasions in the past sought to continue such debates.

I was a member of the 1968 Committee of Privileges which investigated the question of privileges and made recommendations for alterations in our procedure. But these did not commend themselves to the House and they have never been carried into practice. Therefore, we are operating under the old system.

I have followed exactly the precedents—as you have, Mr. Speaker— and hon. Members are entitled to engage in debate. I have no power or authority to ask them to curtail the debate, but I think that those who have listened to the discussion so far—and I am not reflecting on any hon. Member—would conclude that we could get into a discussion which would not be beneficial to the House.

We are not ruling out a debate when the Committee of Privileges has reported to the House. The difference is that when we have that debate the facts will have been examined and conclusions reached by the Committee. The House will then be able to pass judgment without necessarily accepting what the Committee has said. I think that is the best way to proceed.

If any hon. Members decide to continue the debate, it is not for me to be censorious, because I have done the same myself on previous occasions. Maybe on those occasions, in my belief, the cases were much more dubious, but that is a matter on which the Committee will come to its own view.

In response to what the right hon. Member for Yeovil has said, and in the circumstances described by my right hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart)—that action may be taken outside and nothing which happens in the House impedes action outside—it would be better for us to come to a fairly early decision. We should avoid a major debate which would not be easy to stop and which would not be conducive to the best settlement of this matter.

Mr. Robert Adley (Christchurch and Lymington)

Many of us listened to what my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) said about voting for this motion, but can the Leader of the House answer two simple questions') Will the Committee sit in private or in public in view of procedure adopted in other Select Committees which might be relevant? Who, if anybody, will be invited to give evidence?

Mr. Foot

The Committee will act in the same way as all previous Committees of Privilege in such matters. There are ample precedents. They normally sit in private and the decision as to who is to appear and how is a matter for the Committee. It will take precedent into account.

I can see that some of my hon. Friends may legitimately feel that statements have been made by hon Members opposite which they have had no opportunity to rebut. I can understand their feelings, but we shall have a later opportunity to discuss this.

I have no power to end this debate, but I very much hope that we can make it brief. I hope that my hon. Friends will take into account the fact that the proposal for the submission of this matter to the Committee was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Paddington (Mr. Latham). It was on the basis of that submission that I proposed the motion to the House. We have some very important other business and I hope that this debate will be brief.

4.49 p.m.

Mr. Julian Amery (Brighton, Pavilion)

I am reluctant to intervene following what the Leader of the House said about the desirability of curtailing the debate, but there are certain points which must be viewed in a broader context before they are put to the Committee.

When this Chamber was destroyed by enemy action, there was considerable discussion about the form in which it should be rebuilt. There were many who favoured the introduction of a circular or semi-circular Chamber such as those in many Parliaments overseas. It was Sir Winston Churchill's view that we should stick to the rigid division which exists today. I cannot help thinking that although at the time I entirely subscribed to his view, perhaps he was mistaken. The spectrum of our views is much more circular than it is divided between one side of the House and the other.

Here we come to the nub of the problem which is to be put to the Committee. My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat) alleged that there were hon. Members and perhaps right hon. Members on the other side of the House who, in a sense, defrauded their constituents by standing on the Labour manifesto while taking views which are far to the left of it. It could also be said that there are Members on the Government Front Bench who have taken views to the right of the manifesto. I do not wish to go into that topic, but there is clearly a problem whether some hon. Members represented themselves as belonging to an association—the Labour movement—and yet were pursuing views which were not in keeping with the officially pronounced views of that movement. We must consider whether that is an appropriate position for hon. Members or whether it amounts to a defrauding of the electorate.

The second issue is more difficult and delicate. My hon. Friends and I represented that there were hon. Members on the other side who were acting for alien interests. I understand that in law one is supposed to have willed the things that one would normally be intending to will. Some hon. Members on the other side, in the general view of many of us, have objectively put forward views which are contrary to the consensus of what opinion in the House would regard as the national interest. I do not say that they did it in the service of an enemy or in any way as a deliberate act of treason. Nevertheless, there may be a case for believing that the views to which they subscribed were in themselves injurious to the interests of the country. We have not had a situation such as this since the Jacobite situation at the end of the seventeenth century when hon. Members of the House, as it was then constituted, believed that the higher interest of the country was contrary to what could be called the interest of the State.

These questions should be put to the Committee of Privileges and I shall support the motion so that the problem can be referred to that Committee and investigated in some detail

4.43 p.m.

Mr. Eric S. Heifer (Liverpool, Walton)

I do not want to take up too much of the time of the House, but I find it regrettable that the matter should have been brought before the House at all. I have never liked the idea of matters going to the Committee of Privileges. But I recognise—and I have argued this in the House—that if one is a poor man about whom untrue statements are made, and if one cannot take on the Press barons or those with large incomes, one has no alternative but to ask for the protection of the House. There are, therefore, certain circumstances in which it is right to refer matters to the Committee of Privileges.

I am not particularly happy with this case because politicians live with smears and slanders throughout their political lives. I was a member of the Communist Party and was expelled. Some people have never understood that I was expelled and some people have never understood any of my writings. That is their fault, not mine. But it becomes a serious matter if my constituents, or those of any other hon. Member are told that because we have Left-wing political views we are masquerading in the Labour Party and are Communists, Trotskyites, members of the International Socialists or some other organisation. That is then serious, as it would be if we on this side of the House said that hon. Members with whom we totally disagree on many issues were members of the National Front or a similiar organisation. That would be wrong and intolerable, and that is the point that worries me this afternoon.

I am worried at the frivolity with which the matter has been treated in the House today. I appeal to hon. Members and warn them that if we go on like this we shall undermine our democratic rights and principles and perhaps undermine the House of Commons. I believe in the House of Commons. I believe in parliamentary democracy. We should be careful of anything which undermines that parliamentary democracy. There are people outside the House who do not believe in it and who are only too keen at all times to chip away at the basic rights that have been built up by the people of our country.

I was worried about what the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury (Mr. Ridley) said. It is legitimate for hon. Members to say that a point of view that I or other of my hon. Friends put forward could, in their opinion, lead to the type of system that exists in Eastern Europe. In the same way, I could say that the arguments of the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph)—with whom I have been having a discussion in a well-known national newspaper—could lead to the type of military dictatorship that exists in Chile.

Mr. Lawson rose —

Mr. Heifer

I shall not give way at the moment because I want to develop my argument.

I do not believe, for example, that Opposition hon. Members who are passionately concerned with the defence of the capitalist system believe that they should turn to a dictatorship to reach that end. But I could argue that some of their actions could lead to such a state, as they can argue in reverse.

Mr. Lawson

I am grateful to the hon. Member for his courtesy in giving way. I accept that he genuinely believes in parliamentary democracy, but does he not realise that the people who do not believe in parliamentary democracy, to whom he referred, are working within the Labour Party at Newham and at Hayes and Harlington and in the 30 other constituencies referred to by the Prime Minister in his "Panorama" broadcast? There is no comparison between that and anything that is going on in our party.

Mr. Heifer

The hon. Member has proved to me that I should never have given way.

Mrs. Renee Short (Wolverhampton, North-East)

The hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) knows nothing about it. What he says is untrue.

Mr. Heffer

The intervention by the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Lawson) was typical of the sort of statement we are hearing at the present time. It is wrong for hon. Members to impute that other hon. Members are actively working for alien interests, outside forces or countries outside the United Kingdom.

We can all bare our breasts about our patriotism. I get very angry when I sometimes hear hon. Members talking about the patriotism of Labour Members. We all have war records, or most of us have. We have all played our part, as did our fathers before us. But that is irrelevant. What is important is that we should distinguish between the argument that we believe that a certain point of view can lead to something and actually saying that hon. Members were acting on behalf of alien forces and belonged to political organisations other than the one to which they said they belonged. That was what worried me about the speech of the hon. Member for Cirencester and Tewkesbury. He did not draw that distinction. This afternoon I have seen too many other hon. Members failing to draw the distinction, and that is very worrying for the future of the country.

The House must begin to cool it, and I mean cool it. We must have rational, reasonable and serious discussion on the issues. It will sometimes be heated, but that is where we must be. If we step over that line, we shall do considerable harm to the country's future, to democratic rights and principles and to the democratic system.

I am not very happy about the motion. I am sorry that the matter ever came up in this way, but now that it is here we had better send it to the Select Committee. Therefore, I ask hon. Members to support the motion, but I again appeal to them to cool it, because the position is getting too dangerous and too serious for the future of our country.

5.2 p.m.

Mr. Ronald Bell (Beaconsfield)

I would agree with part of what the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Helier) has said if we were talking about alien interests, but the words used were "alien creed". That brings us very close to the relevant matter. I am against the matter's being sent to a Committee, because I ask myself "What will the Committee do with it?"

It has been suggested that certain hon. Members on the Government Benches are Marxists or crypto-Communists and that they aim at a totalitarian society. I understand from "Erskine May" that my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat) is fully entitled to plead justification and to seek to prove his allegations. Suppose he does. Is the Committee then to take a deep breath and sit for months and months, hearing arguments and perhaps evidence—

Mr. Kinnock

It is a dirty name that was used.

Mr. Bell

It is a name, anyway.

Is the Committee then to report to us on the state of mind of 10 or perhaps 30 hon. Members opposite, saying "Yes. So-and-so aims at a totalitarian society, but such-and-such a Member does not", or "In the case of X we do not find it proved beyond reasonable doubt that he aimed at a totalitarian society, but in the case of another chap we do", or "It is half true of So-and-so"? The situation is ridiculous.

The question of privilege may reasonably be raised, and a matter go to the Committee, when the suggestion is that somebody is working for an outside interest, that he has accepted money improperly or behaved in a corrupt manner. But when the argument is about political opinions and objectives, how can one use privilege, and what sensible use can one make of the Committee of Privileges?

The hon. Member for Walton said that we must cool it, and have rational discussion. That is an excellent aim. People have been saying that for a few hundred years. It usually has some effect, for about five minutes. It is like passing a crash on the road. Everybody drives more carefully for anything up to two miles after that, and then one gets back to the old competitive operation. The hon. Gentleman who says "Cool it" may tomorrow, on some other subject, be quite warm in his denunciations and defences. If I may say so with great respect to him, he is not the most icy-cold Member in debate. He feels his politics passionately sometimes, and why not? So do we all. We would not be in this House if we did not care rather strongly about our politics. Therefore, we cannot cool it. What we must do is to keep within some undefined limit—one which I think we all sense or understand, even if we cannot define it. One goes to a certain point.

We all know that there is an element of truth in what is said, in as much as certain hon. Members on the Government Benches are a great deal further to the Left than are others. But the question for the Committee would be how much truth and how much exaggeration there was in what my hon. Friend said. When the report came back, we would all have our individual views about the rights and wrongs and value of the report.

It is not for me to advise the House. This is just a debate where we put forward our own views. But I do not think that I shall be helped at all by a Select Committee. This is politics. We are all politicians, and have our own judgments. If someone overstates a case, he weakens it. If someone understates a case, he lends strength to his argument. Can we not leave the matter there?

I have no doubt that prima facie this was a case of breach of privilege. There have been many such cases in the past where Mr. Speaker has rightly ruled that prima facie there was a breach of privilege, and the House, after debate, has not disagreed but has said "Yes, but we do not want to do any more about it because there is no point". That is exactly what I feel about this matter.

After all, some very harsh things are said. "Communist" is perhaps the epithet that tends to be thrown in the direction of the Labour Benches and "Fascist" the epithet that comes in this direction. It does not mean very much.

I have been called a Fascist many times, but I am always borne up by the thought that the present Chancellor of the Exchequer has been called a black Fascist pig. I do not know why "black". It should perhaps have been "Red Fascist Pig".

Mr. Lawson rose—

Mr. Bell

I shall not give way. I think that my hon. Friend has had his ration of interventions.

Until one has been called a Fascist pig, one has not thrown a six and cannot start in the game of politics as it is played nowadays. I say with respect to hon. Members on the Government Benches who have shown themselves rather sensitive that until they have been called crypto-Communists and have been said to be aiming at a totalitarian State they have not been blooded in the political battle. It is no different from hon. Members on this side of the House being called black Fascist pigs.

Mr. Lawson

My hon. and learned Friend is wrong.

Mr. Bell

If my hon. Friend thinks that I am wrong, I shall give way to him.

Mr. Lawson

There is a very serious issue here, perhaps different from the issue that hon. Members opposite think it to be, but nevertheless serious. Lying behind the accusation by my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat), which has prompted this debate, is an issue which should not be brushed aside in the frivolous manner that my hon. and learned Friend appears to be adopting.

Mr. Bell

I must say to my hon. Friend that I am not being frivolous. I am saying that this is part of the rough and tumble of politics. The hon. Member for Walton is part of that rough and tumble. We sometimes use picturesque phrases, and somewhat heated expressions. The question whether that sort of expression should go to the Committee of Privileges is a serious matter because privilege is serious, but otherwise it is not serious. There has been no imputation against the moral character of the Labour Members—[Interruption.] Some Labour Members are becoming excited and using words that never appeared in the document.

The charge of political duplicity is made in the House every week. It is part of the ordinary interchange of politics. Ministers are accused of deceiving the public. They are often accused of deceiving the House. That is all part of the debate that takes place. The point to which I return is that nothing is gained by sending this sort of dispute to a Committee. What will it do with it? Will it say "We do not think that there was deception"? This is a matter of political argument and discussion, and we can resolve it on the Floor of the House.

My view is that we should not disagree with Mr. Speaker if we said that we did not want the matter to go any further. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the House is at home with this dichotomy of approach. I can remember the famous occasion when this type of debate lasted for six hours and ended in a Division at 10 o'clock. On that occasion the right hon. Gentleman voted with me and others for the defeat of the motion that had been moved by the then Leader of the House. He did not do that because he disagreed with Mr. Speaker's ruling or because he did not think there was a technical breach of privilege; he did it because he saw no point in sending the question of privilege to the Committee of Privileges. That was a matter of political judgment and that is the judgment to which I invite the House to come, otherwise we shall discredit ourselves a great deal more than we shall repair our credit.

5.13 p.m.

Mr. John Mendelson (Penistone)

First, I address myself briefly to the contribution of the right hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton), as I believe it contained the crucial issue on which the decision of the House must centre. I completely dissent from his main point, which he put extremely mildly, but his contributions often go to the root of the matter.

Having announced that he would call upon his right hon. and hon. Friends to support the motion, the right hon. Gentleman said that he was rather surprised that there should be a number of Labour Members so concerned about being accused of being Left-wing. That is not the issue. I do not know of any Member who would be concerned about being called Right-wing or Left-wing. I know many right hon. and hon. Members who would be quite proud to be called Right- wing. The hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Bell) is a good example. I have many right hon. and hon. Friends who would be proud to be called Left-wing. That is not the issue, and the right hon. Gentleman, with his experience in politics, knows that it is not. He should not put that on record.

The issue is far more serious, and it is because of its seriousness that I support the motion. As the House knows, I am not keen on referring motions of this sort to the Committee of Privileges. I have proved that, as has the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield, in past debates and in past votes.

What is the seriousness of the issue? It is the precise nature of the charges that have been made quite deliberately. They are made more serious because, mutatis mutandis, they are a repetition of a charge made about a week ago by the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mr. Gilmour), who speaks on defence matters from the Opposition Front Bench. They repeat the charge that the right hon. Gentleman made to a Conservative gathering in the North-West. Although the term "Young Conservative" might be applied to the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat), it would he false flattery to apply it to the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham.

These charges must be taken seriously. I am convinced that behind them is a deliberate campaign to denounce and smear the Labour Party. It is wholly unjustified and based on a tissue of false accusations in terms of the statement that forms the basis of the motion. The charges are wholly false accusations. Therefore, it is necessary to take the proper parliamentary action. It is right that such action should be taken on behalf of the House and the Members who are part of the collective unit. Everything else is for individuals.

Why is that? Like the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield, I have always taken an extremely narrow view of privilege. I repeated that view the other day when we were setting up the Committee to inquire into corruption. That is still my view. Privilege is not for the protection of Members; it is to safeguard Members in doing their work for their constituents. Only when that work is threatened or likely to be threatened are we right to invoke the Committee of Privileges.

Mr. Adley

Did the hon. Gentleman advocate that the Poulson Committee should sit in public? If he did, does he agree that the same situation should apply and that now that a Labour Member has gone to the extent of raising this subject as a matter of privilege in the House and has sought to bring it before the Committee of Privileges, presumably with the object of clearing names, the best thing to do is to proceed in public?

Mr. Mendelson

There is no question of clearing anybody's name. The hon. Gentleman must not put words into my mouth. I could deal with the question whether such a Committee should be in public or in private, but that has nothing to do with the matter with which I am now dealing.

I take an extremely narrow view of the purposes of the Committee of Privileges. Only where a Member's work for his constituents is affected or likely to be affected is it right to refer any matter to the Committee. That is the effect in this case, because one of the false accusations made in the speech of the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South is that certain Members are alleged not to have told their constituents that they are aiming to turn the country into an Eastern satellite. They are alleged not to have told their electors that they intend to work for the purposes of another political party or political grouping. Those are the most serious accusations against the professional ability of a Member to do his work for his constituents. It is on those decisive grounds that we must refer the matter to the Committee of Privileges. It is the narrowest of cases, but the most relevant. It brings to the ground the objections of the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield. There is a clear-cut case for the involvement of the Committee of Privileges.

I turn to the wider implications. In the hurly-burly of politics, and in the fight, I believe that any political party with great traditions is ill-advised to follow those who might advise it, shortsightedly, to base its political fortunes upon smear campaigns upon the unemployed, upon those who receive some social security payments for their families, and upon false accusations about the records of its opponents. It may appear attractive at first sight, but the people of this country are too experienced, too honourable, and too far-sighted to listen to those who base their campaign on such considerations. I beg all those who might be misled into that campaign to desist from it.

5.20 p.m.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan (Farnham)

We have heard a speech of great skill delivered with great compassion by the hon. Member for Penistonc (Mr. Mendelson). It was a speech with most of which most Opposition Members would agree. But it is the very skill and ability with which the hon. Gentleman delivered his speech that leads some of us to wonder whether we have not stumbled into far more serious a situation than even he is willing to admit. He has suggested that it would be wrong for any Member of this House to say that there is a possibility that those who are working against the interests of this country might be elected to this House. That seems to me to be a dangerous denial of our ability to defend this nation.

Let me phrase carefully what I say, so as not to make any accusations or impugn any motives of any Member of this House. If we were to follow the hon. Gentleman's advice literally, should such a penetration by an agent of an alien power ever take place, no Member of this House could seek to expose it without himself or herself risking an attack for indulging in a smear campaign. It worries me that the freedom of speech on both sides of the House should be thus limited by fear of such accusations or of those agents whom we all know to be operating throughout the world—agents of what is now called disinformation and disintegration.

We have all heard stories spread by members of various intelligence services that Members of Parliament, trade union leaders, industrialists, and others, are in close contact with the agents of alien Powers. Perhaps, sometimes, those stories are true; perhaps, sometimes, they are false and are spread simply to arouse distrust among ourselves, to bring our institutions into disrepute and, perhaps, to create the very scenes that we saw in Parliament this afternoon.

At first, listening to this debate, I had no intention of taking part and, as the debate continued, I began to think that the right lion. Gentleman the Leader of the House and my right hon. Friend the Member for Yeovil (Mr. Peyton) were wrong in seeking to send what at first seemed to be a trivial matter to the Committee of Privileges. But I now think that that is the right course. We must place at least part of the responsibility on that Committee to ensure that we can truly speak freely in this House; so that should this House be penetrated by enemies of our people and our democracy we should he able to point the finger of accusation at them. After all, we allow great liberty at present. It is no crime in this country, thank God, to seek to overturn the existing regime. It is no crime to believe in a totally different form of political system. It is no crime to be a revolutionary. It is only when a foreign Power conies into the matter that there can be any possible question of crime—or any democratic objection.

Let us hope that if we send this matter to the Committee of Privileges its members will have taken note of this debate and will take it upon themselves to consider the activities of those who seek to use parliamentary procedures and parliamentary institutions to destroy parliamentary democracy itself.

5.24 p.m.

Mr. Cyril Smith (Rochdale)

Until about half an hour ago I, too, had no intention of intervening, and my intervention now will be brief. If this matter is forced to a Division, I shall vote against its going to the Committee of Privileges—for the very reasons outlined by the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) at the end of his speech. What he virtually said was that the public do not take much notice of what is written in the Press. I am inclined to agree with him. In the past seven or eight months I have had a fair amount of muck thrown at me by various sections of the Press. I have in my hand a copy of one newspaper carrying my photograph, under which is the grave description "The Assassin". That was a caption in a newspaper in May.

I do not think that anybody takes much notice of what is said in the Press. However, I believe that the visual media have a greater effect on shaping public opinion than the kind of rubbish written by some of the silly journalists who sit in the Press Gallery in this House and get paid for it.

I do not understand what some Labour Members are getting so worked up about. People have said these things about Labour Members of Parliament for 20 or 30 years. It has been said at one time or another that Labour Members are all Communists, that there are Reds under the bed, and all the rest of it. Nobody takes any notice of it, and, despite what has been said in the Press, Labour Governments have still been elected. If the proceedings of the House had been broadcast this afternoon in the period from 4 pm. to 4.30 p.m. the public would have had a revelation about their Members of Parliament far more serious than anything that has appeared in the Press.

I appeal to Labour Members not to get worked up about these matters, because they have been happening for years. Surely it is a waste of time for right hon. and hon. Members to sit in a Committee listening to a lot of silly nonsense. What will happen is that the hon. Member against whom charges are laid will drag the thing out; he will try to make a political meat pie out of it; he will seek to support what lie has said; and then somebody will go before the Committee and seek to put up a defence. We shall have a repetition of what happened this afternoon, with people reading out names in an effort to get them on the record.

We shall only fan the fire if we send this matter to the Committee of Privileges. My advice is that we should pour some water on the situation and damp it all down, so that the fire cannot be kept alight. I shall vote against the motion.

5.29 p.m.

Mr. Neil Kinnock (Bedwellty)

I have great sympathy with a good deal of the argument advanced by the hon. Member for Rochdale (Mr. Smith) and the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Bell). I believe that one way of ensuring temperate debate in this House and of seeking to deal with matters coolly is to act as mature people and judge issues as they arise, on some occasions by treating them with good humour, on some occasions killing them by jeers, and on other occasions by deciding the most appropriate way to deal with the situation.

This issue, however, is different, and it is different partly for the reason indicated by my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson). Here is a deliberate representation of hon. Members of this House not as Communists, as Trotskyites, as revolutionaries, as anarchists, or as anything else, but as men, and possibly even women, who have contrived and conspired to secure election to this place by defrauding their constituents—that was the word used—in order that they can have an influence on the conduct of affairs in this country for the benefit of an alien creed, an alien regime, an alien ideology and an alien purpose.

That is something entirely different, and it threatens the whole basis of the democratic standard on which every single candidate, of whatever party, presents himself for election. I appeal to Conservative Members to understand the implications of this threat. It is the fact that the hon. Member for Aberdeen, South (Mr. Sproat) did not say that some of my hon. Friends were Communists, or any of the other terms that he used, or that they were definitely affiliates or members of political parties for which they did not stand at election. No, he did not say that. He called them crypto-Communists, and used the most grotesque weapon that can be used against a parliamentary democracy—guilt by association.

It was not without purpose that John Kennedy—no great Socialist or defender of crypto-Communists, but someone who learned his politics in the age of McCarthy in America, in many respects—said that rumour is a greater poison to democracy than the lie.

The reason that we must submit this matter to the Committee of Privileges for the coolest and most thorough and most rigorous examination by Members from among our body is that they can, item by item, examine the rumour, the guilt by association, the implication, the imputation, and so on.

None of us in this House can answer the question "When did you stop beating your wife? "None of us can prove that he was not influenced, in the very conduct of his business and the very pursuit of his ideologies, by those with whom he had to associate.

Mr. Peter Tapsell (Horncastle)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. This is, with respect, a serious point of order. It appears to me that the Patronage Secretary is about to move "That the Question be now put", and I express the view—if I am right in my assumption—that it would be quite inappropriate for the debate to be closured. When a matter before the House is of such importance as to be sent to the Committee of Privileges, I suggest that it is quite inappropriate for the debate to be closured so soon.

Mr. Speaker

Such debates have been closured in the past. I say that without anticipating what will happen.

Mr. Kinnock

I shall bring my remarks to an immediate conclusion, Mr. Speaker, by saying to fellow democrats that we have a machine for giving tolerant and thorough consideration to such business. The hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield asked what the Committee will do. In answer to the hon. and learned Gentleman, I suggest that the Committee can provide us with another protection against the distortion of democracy that was seen in the Moscow show trials, in the activities of the Nazis, and in the activities of Joe McCarthy. It can ensure that if a Member is attacked it is for being what he is and not what someone might say he is, with the intention of profiting from the allegation.

Mr. John Gorst (Hendon, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I endorse what my hon. Friend the Member for Horncastle (Mr. Tapsell) said a moment ago in raising a point of order—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Chair must not be put under pressure on these matters.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Michael Cocks) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question put, That the Question be now put: —

Division No. 410.] AYES [5.35 p.m.
Abse, Leo Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)
Allaun, Frank Ewing, Harry (Stirling) McNamara, Kevin
Anderson, Donald Faulds, Andrew Madden, Max
Archer, Peter Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Magee, Bryan
Armstrong, Ernest Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Mallatieu, J. P. W.
Ashley, Jack Fitt, Gerard (Bellast W) Marks, Kenneth
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Flannery, Martin Marquand, David
Atkinson, Norman Foot, Rt Hon Michael Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Bagfer, Gordon A. T. Ford, Ben Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Forrester, John Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Barnelt, Rt Kon Joel (Heywood) Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Maynard, Miss Joan
Bates, Alf Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Meacher, Michael
Bean, R. E. Freeson, Reginald Meilish, Rt Hon Robert
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Garrett, John (Norwich S) Mendelson, John
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Mlkardo, Ian
Bidwell, Sydney George, Bruce Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Bishop, E. S. Gilbert, Dr John Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Glnsburg, David Miller, Mrs Millie (Iltord N)
Boardman, H. Golding, John Moonman, Eric
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Gould, Bryan Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Gourlay, Harry Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Graham, Ted Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Bradley, Tom Grant, George (Morpeth) Moyle, Roland
Bray, Dr Jeremy Grant, John (Islington C) Newens, Stanley
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Grocott, Bruce Noble, Mike
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Oakes, Gordon
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Hardy, Peter O'Halloran, Michael
Buchan, Norman Harper, Joseph Orbach, Maurice
Buchanan, Richard Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Hart, Rt Hon Judith Ovenden, John
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Hattersiey, Rt Hon Roy Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Callaghan, Jim (Mlddleton & P) Hatton, Frank Padley, Walter
Campbell, Ian Hayman, Mrs Helene Palmer, Arthur
Canavan, Dennis Healey, Rt Hon Denis Park, George
Cant, R. B. Heffer, Eric S. Parker, John
Carmlchael, Neil Hooley, Frank Parry, Robert
Carter, Ray Horam, John Pavitt, Laurie
Carter-Jones, Lewis Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Pendry Tom
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Perry, Ernest
Clemltson, Ivor Huckfield, Les Phipps, Dr Colin
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Cohen, Stanley Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Coleman, Donald Hunter, Adam Radice, Giles
Colquhoun, Ms Maureen Hughes, Roy (Newport) Price, William (Rugby)
Conlan, Bernard Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Cook, Robin F. (Edln C) Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Richardson, Miss Jo
Corbett, Robin Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Cowans, Harry Janner, Greville Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Robertson, John (Paisley)
Craigen, J. M. (Mafyhill) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Robinson, Geoffrey
Crawshaw, Richard Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford) Roderick, Caerwyn
Cronin, John John, Brynmor Rodger, George (Chorley)
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Johnson, James (Hull West) Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton)
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Rooker, J. W.
Cryer, Bob Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Roper, John
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Jones, Barry (East Flint) Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiten) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rowlands, Ted
Davidson, Arthur Kaufman, Gerald Ryman, John
Davles, Bryan (Enfield N) Ketley, Richard Sandelson, Neville
Davles, Denzll (Llaneill) Kllroy-Sltk, Robert Selby, Harry
Davles, Ilor (Gower) Kinnock, Neil Shaw, Arnold (llford South)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Lamble, David Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Deakins, Eric Lamborn, Harry Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Lamond, James Short, Mrs Renee (Wolv NE)
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Dempsey, James Leadbltter, Ted Sirkln, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Doig, Peter Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Sillars, James
Dormand, J. D. Lipton, Marcus Silverman, Julius
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Litterick, Iorn Skinner, Dennis
Duffy, A. E. P. Loyden, Eddie Small, William
Dunn, James A. Luard, Evan Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Dunnett, Jack Lyon, Alexander (York) Snape, Peter
Eadle, Alex Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Spearing, Nigel
Edge, Geoft Mabon, Dr J Dickson Spriggs, Leslie
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) McDonald, Dr Oonaoh Stallard, A. W.
Ellis, John (Brlgg & Scun) McElhone, Frank Sloddart, David
English, Michael McGuire, Michael (Ince) Stott, Roger
Ennala, David MacKenzie, Gregor Strang, Gavin
Evan, Fred (Caerphllry) Mackintosh, John P. Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Evan, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Maclennan, Robert Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley

The House divided: Ayes 277, Noes 256.

Swain, Thomas Walker, Terry (Kingswood) Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W) Watkins, David Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Thomas, Datydd (Merioneth) Watkinson, John Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery) Weetch, Ken Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E) Weitzman, David Wise, Mrs Audrey
Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW) Wellbeloved, James Woodall, Alec
Thorne, Slan (Preston South) White, Frank R. (Bury) Wool, Robert
Tierney, Sydney White, James (Pollok) Wrigglesworth, Ian
Tomiinson, John Whitehead, Phillip Young, David (Bolton E)
Torney, Tom Whitlock, William
Urwin, T. W. Wigley, Dafydd TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Varley, Rt Hon Eric G. Willey, Rt Hon Frederick Mr. James Tinn and
Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd) Williams, Alan (Swansea W) Mr. Joseph Ashton.
Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Adley, Robert Forman, Nigel McCusker, H
Aitken, Jonathan Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Macfarlane, Neil
Alison, Michael Fox, Marcus MacGregor, John
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Freud, Clement McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)
Awdry, Daniel Fry, Peter McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
Bain, Mrs Margaret Gardiner, George (Reigate) Madel, David
Baker, Kenneth Gardiner, Edward (S Fylde) Marten, Neil
Banks, Robert Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) Mates, Michael
Beith, A. J. Gilmour, Sir John (East File) Maude, Angus
Bell, Ronald Glyn, Dr Alan Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Mawby, Ray
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Goodlad, Alastair Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Benyon, W. Gorst, John Mayhew, Patrick
Berry, Hon Anthony Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Meyer, Sir Arrthony
Biflen, John Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)
Biggs-Davison, John Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Mills, Peter
Blaker, Peter Gray, Hamish Miscampbell, Norman
Body, Richard Grieve, Percy Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Grimond, Rt Hon J. Moate, Roger
Boltomley, Peter Grylls, Michael Molyneaux James
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Hall, Sir John Monro, Hector
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Hampson, Dr Keith Montgomery, Fergus
Bradford, Rev Robert Hannam, John Moore, John (Croydon C)
Bralne, Sir Bernard Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Morgan, Geraint
Brittan, Leon Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Morris, Michael (Northampton S)
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Hastings, Stephen Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Brotherton, Michael Havers, Sir Michael Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hawkins, Paul Mudd, David
Bryan, Sir Paul Hayhoe, Barney Neave, Airey
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Henderson, Douglas Nelson, Anthony
Budgen, Nick Keseltine, Michael Neubert, Michael
Bulmer, Esmond Hicks, Robert Newton, Tony
Burden, F. A. Hlggins, Terence L. Nott, John
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Hodgson, Robin Oppenheim, Mrs Sally
Carlisle, Mark Holland. Philip Page, John (Harrow West)
Carson, John Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Howell, David (Guildford) Page, Richard (Workington)
Channon, Paul Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Paisley, Rev Ian
Churchill, W. S. Hunt, David (Wirral) Pardoe, John
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Hunt, John (Bromley) Parkinson, Cecil
Clark, William (Croydon S) Hurd, Douglas Pattie, Geoffrey
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcllffe) Hutchison, Michael Clark Penhaligon, David
Clegg, Walter Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Percival, Ian
Cockcroft, John James, David Peyton, Rt Hon John
Cope, John Jenkin.RtHonP. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Pink, R. Bonner
Cordle, John H. Jesse!, Toby Price, David (Eastleigh)
Cormack, Patrick Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Prior, Rt Hon James
Corrie, John Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Costaln, A. P. Jopllng, Michael Raison, Timothy
Crawford, Douglas Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Rathbone, Tim
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Kaberry, Sir Donald Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Kilfedder, James Rees-Davies, W. R.
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Kimball, Marcus Reid, George
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Drayson, Burnaby King, Tom (Brldgwater) Ridley, Hon Nicholas
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Kitson, Sir Timothy Ridsdale, Julian
Dunlop, John Knox, David Rifkind, Malcolm
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Lamont, Norman Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Langford-Holt, Sir John Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Elliott, Sir William Latham, Michael (Melton) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Eyre, Reginald Lawrence. Ivan Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Fairbairn, Nicholas Lawson, Nigel Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Fairgrieve, Russell Lester, Jim (Beeston) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Farr, John Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Fell, Anthony Lloyd, Ian Royle, Sir Anthony
Finsberg, Geoffrey Loverldge, John Sainsbury, Tim
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles McAdden, Sir Stephen St. John-Stevas, Norman
Fookes, Miss Janet McCrindle, Robert Scott, Nicholas
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Stradling Thomas, J. Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Shelton, William (Streatham) Tapsell, Peter Walters, Dennls
Shepherd, Colin Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart) Warren, Kenneth
Shersby, Michael Tebbit, Norman Watt, Hamish
Sims, Roger Temple-Morris, Peter Weatherill, Bernard
Sinclair, Sir George Thatcher, Rt Han Margaret Wells, John
Skeet, T. H. H. Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S) Welsh, Andrew
Smith, Cyril (Rochdale) Thompson, George Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Smith, Dudley (Warwick) Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon) Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Speed, Keith Townsend, Cyril D. Winterton, Nicholas
Spence, John Trotter, Neville Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Spicer, Michael (S Worcester) Tugendhat, Christopher Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Stanbrook, Ivor van Straubenzee, W. R. Younger, Hon George
Stanley, John Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Steel, David (Roxburgh) Viggers, Peter TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Steen, Anthony (Wavertree) Wainwright, Richard (Colne V) Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Stewart, Ian (Hitchin) Wakeham, John Mr. Carol Mather.
Stokes, John Walder, David (Clitheroe)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Question put accordingly:—

Division No. 411.] AYES [5.47 p.m.
Abse, Leo Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Gilbert, Dr John
Allaun, Frank Corbett, Robin Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham)
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Cordle, John H. Glnsburg, David
Anderson, Donald Corrle, John Godber, Rt Hon Joseph
Archer, Peter Cowans, Harry Golding, John
Armstrong, Ernest Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Gould, Bryan
Ashley, Jack Cralgen, J. M. (Maryhill) Gourlay, Harry
Ashton, Joe Crawford, Douglas Graham, Ted
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelttiorne) Crawshaw, Richard Grant, George (Morpeth)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Cronln, John Grant, John (Islington C)
Atkinson, Norman Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Gray, Hamish
Bagler, Gordon A. T. Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Grieve, Percy
Bain, Mrs Margaret Cryer, Bob Grocott, Bruce
Baker, Kenneth Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiten) Hardy, Peter
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Davidson, Arthur Harper, Joseph
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Davles, Bryan (Enfield N) Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Bates, Alf Davles, Denzll (Llaneill) Harrison, Walter (Wakefleld)
Bean, R. E. Davles, Ifor (Gower) Hart, Rt Hon Judith
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Deakins, Eric Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Bennett, Or Reginald (Farenam) Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Hatton, Frank
Benyon, W. Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Havers, Sir Michael
Berry, Hon Anthony Dempsey, James Hayman, Mrs Helens
Biffen, John Dodsworth, Geoflrey Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Biggs-Davlson, John Doig, Peter Heath, Rt Hon Edward
Bishop, E. S. Dormand, J. D. Hefler, Eric S.
Blenkinsop, Arthur Douglas-Mann, Bruce Henderson, Douglas
Boardman, H. du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Heseltlne, Michael
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Duffy, A. E. P. Hicks, Robert
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Dunn, James A. Hlggins, Terence L.
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Dunnett, Jack Hooley, Frank
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Eadie, Alex Horam, John
Bradley, Tom Edge, Geoff Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Huckfleld, Les
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Elliott, Sir William Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Brown, Ronald (Hackney S) Ellis, John (Brlgg & Scun) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Buchan, Norman English, Michael Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Buchanan, Richard Ennals, David Hunter, Adam
Buchanan-Smith, Allck Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)
Bulmer, Esmond Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Jackson, Colin (Brlghouse)
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)
Callaghan, Jim (Mlddleton & P) Eyre, Reginald Janner, Greville
Campbell, Ian Farr, John Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Canavan, Dennis Faulds, Andrew Jenkin.Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd&W'df'd)
Cant, R. B. Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Carmlchael, Neil Fitch, Alan (Wlgan) Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford)
Carson, John Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W) John, Brynmor
Carter, Ray Flannery, Martin Johnson, James (Hull West)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Foot, Rt Hon Michael Johnson, Walter (Derby S)
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Ford, Ben Jones, Alec (Rhondda)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Forrester, John Jones, Arthur (Daventry)
Clemitson, Ivor Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Jones, Barry (East Flint)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Cohen, Stanley Freeson, Reginald Jopling, Michael
Coleman, Donald Garrett, John (Norwich S) Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Colquhoun, Ms Maureen Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Kaufman, Gerald
Conlan, Bernard George, Bruce Kelley, Richard

The House divided: Ayes 370, Noes 110.

Kilroy-Silk, Robert O'Halloran, Michael Speed, Keith
Kinnock, Neil Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Spriggs, Leslie
Lambie, David Orbach, Maurice Stallard, A. W.
Lamborn, Harry Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Stanbrook, Ivor
Lamond, James Ovenden, John Stanley, John
Lamont, Norman Owen, Rt Hon Dr David Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Padley, Walter Stewart, Donald (Western Islet)
Lawson, Nigel Page, John (Harrow West) Stewart, Ian (Hitchln)
Leadbitter, Ted Palmer, Arthur Sloddart, David
Lo Marchant, Spencer Park, George Stott, Roger
Lester, Jim (Beeston) Parker, John Stradling Thomas, J.
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Parry, Robert Strang, Gavin
Lipton, Marcus Pattie, Geoffrey Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Litterick, Tom Pavitt, Laurie Swain, Thomas
Loyden, Eddie Pendry, Tom Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Luard, Evan Percival, Ian Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Lyon, Alexander (York) Perry, Ernest Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Peyton, Rt Hon John Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Mabon, Dr J Dlckson Phipps, Dr Colin Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
McCartney, Hugh Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
McElhone, Frank Price, C. (Lewisham W) Thompson, George
McGuire, Michael (Ince) Price, William (Rugby) Thorne, Stan (Preston Soutti)
MacKenzie, Gregor Prior, Rt Hon James Tierney, Sydney
Mackintosh, John P. Pym, Rt Hon Francis Tinn, James
Maclennan, Robert Radlce, Giles Tomiinson, John
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Raison, Timothy Torney, Tom
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) Townsend, Cyril D.
McNalr-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Rees-Davies, W. R. Urwin, T. W.
McNamara, Kevin Reid, George Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Madden, Max Remon, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts) Viggers, Peter
Magee, Bryan Richardson, Miss Jo Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Mahon, Simon Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Mallalieu, J. P. W. Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Marks, Kenneth Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW) Watkins, David
Marquand, David Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Watkinson, John
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Robertson, John (Paisley) Watt, Hamish
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Robinson, Geoffrey Weatherill, Bernard
Marten, Neil Roderick, Caerwyn Weetch, Ken
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Rodgers, George (Chorley) Weitzman, David
Mather, Carol Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton) Wellbeloved, James
Maude, Angus Rooker, J. W. Welsh, Andrew
Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Roper, John White, Frank R. (Bury)
Mawby, Ray Rose, Paul B. White, James (Pollok)
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Whitehead, Phillip
Maynard, Miss Joan Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Whltelaw, Rt Hon William
Meacher, Michael Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire) Whitlock, William
Mendelson, John Rowlands, Ted Wigley, Dafydd
Mikardo, Ian Royle, Sir Anthony Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Ryman, John Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) St. John-Stevas, Norman Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbfide) Sandelson, Neville Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Miller, Mrs Millie (Illord N) Seiby, Harry Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Mills, Peter Shaw, Arnold (Illord South) Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Molyneaux, James Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne) Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Moonman, Eric Shore, Rt Hon Peter Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Short, Mrs Renee (Wolv NE) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Morris, Charles R. (Opeflshaw) Sllkln, Rt Hon John (Deptford) Woodall, Alec
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Silkln, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwlch) Woof, Robert
Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Sillars, James Wrigglesworth, Ian
Moyle, Roland Silverman, Julius Young, David (Bolton E)
Neave, Airey Silvester, Fred
Neubert, Michael Skinner, Dennis TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Newens, Stanley Small, William Mr. James Hamilton and
Noble, Mike Smith, John (N Lanarkshire) Mr. Peter Snape.
Oakes, Gordon Spearing, Nigel

[For Noes see c. 1467–8]

Question accordingly agreed to.


That the matter of the complaint by the honourable Member for Paddington (Mr. Latham) be referred to the Committee of Privileges.