HC Deb 18 November 1976 vol 919 cc1608-67

The Lords do not insist on their amendment in page 42, line 12, to which the Commons have disagreed, but propose the following amendment in lieu thereof—

Lords amendment in lieu: No. 1, in page 42, line 12, after "if" insert— (a) it is a transaction the effect of which is to transfer or grant to any person any property or rights belonging to the company effecting the transfer, being property or rights used by the company in connection with the business of repairing, refitting or maintaining ships carried on by it at a place which is not a shipyard or other works in which the company had an interest in the possession on the initial date, or (b)

5.15 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Industry (Mr. Eric G. Varley)

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Meyer Galpern)

We are to discuss at the same time Lords amendments in lieu Nos. 2 to 4, together with the Government motion, That this House doth insist on its disagreement with the Lords in the said amendments, and the following Government amendments in lieu thereof:

No. 2, in page 21, line 40, leave out "Part I" and insert "paragraph 1, 3 or 4".

No. 3, in page 21, line 41, leave out "fulfilled the conditions in Part II of that Schedule" and insert— (a) fulfilled the conditions in Part II of that Schedule, and (b) fulfilled the conditions specified in subparagraph (b) of paragraph 5 of that Schedule as being for the purposes of that paragraph shipbuilding companies, manufacturers of slow speed diesel marine engines or training companies,". No. 4, in page 21, line 43, at end insert— (2A) Subject to the provisions of this Part of this Act, on the shiprepairing industry vesting date all securities of the companies which on that date were known by the names specified in paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to this Act, being the companies other than any excepted company which on that date—

  1. (a) fulfilled the conditions in Part II of that Schedule, and
  2. (b) fulfilled the condition specified in subparagraph (b) of paragraph 5 of that Schedule as being shiprepairing companies for the purposes of that paragraph
shall, by virtue of this section, vest in British Shipbuilders free from all trusts and incumbrances". No. 5, in page 77, line 15, after "Shipbuilders", insert— by virtue of section 19(2) of this Act". No. 6, in page 77, line 16, at end insert "and (c) in relation to a company which becomes, or would but for the provisions of section 27 of this Act become, a wholly owned subsidiary of British Shipbuilders by virtue of section 19(2A) of this Act, the ship-repairing industry vesting date;". No. 7, in page 77, line 34, at end insert— 'shiprepairing industry vesting date' means such date not less than 3 nor more than 6 months after the passing of this Act as the Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument specify for the purposes of section 19(2A) of this Act;". No. 8, in page 80, line 44, at beginning insert— 1. The companies whose securities are to vest in British Shipbuilders under section 19(2) above as being shipbuilding companies for the purposes of paragraph 5 below are:—". No. 9, in page 81, line 18, at end insert— 2. The companies whose securities are to vest in British Shipbuilders under section 19(2A) above as being shiprepairing companies for the purposes of paragraph 5 below are:—". No. 10, in page 81, line 31, at end insert— 3. The companies whose securities are to vest in British Shipbuilders under section 19(2) above as being manufacturers of slow speed diesel marine engines for the purposes of paragraph 5 below are:—". No. 11, in page 82, line 1, at end insert— 4. The companies whose securities are to vest in British Shipbuilders under section 19(2) above, as being training companies for the purposes of paragraph 5 below are:—".

Mr. Varley

I want to make it clear at the outset that it is the firm policy of the Government that the nine privately-owned and three publicly-owned ship repair companies named in Schedule 2 should vest in British Shipbuilders. The reports in the Daily Express and the Financial Times that the Government have offered a deal to exclude some of these companies are completely without foundation. No such deal has been offered and no such deal will be offered.

The Government have a clear mandate for these proposals. In our manifestos in both February and October 1974, we said clearly: We shall also take shipbuilding, ship repairing and marine engineering—into public ownership. It is clear that there is a firm commitment specifically to ship repairing in both manifestos. This afternoon a representative of Plaid Cymru suggested that that commitment was not contained in our manifesto. I am sorry that no member of the party is here to listen to that quotation.

That commitment is as firm as our commitments to bring aircraft, shipbuilding and marine engineering into public ownership. All were published at the same time in the manifestos—not some in bolder and some in lighter type—and it is not for the House of Lords to pick and choose among the manifesto commitments which it deigns to permit us to implement.

The amendments to the Lords amendments which I am moving today reaffirm our commitment to nationalise ship repairing and set out the time scale for vesting—no later than six months after Royal Assent, and earlier than that if this can sensibly be achieved.

Ship repair was included in our proposals for public ownership for strong and powerful reasons. These are as follows. The ship repair industry is fragmented and has a rapidly declining work force. The level of capital investment in the industry has been nothing short of disastrous. There is an urgent need for injections of capital to bring about a rapid modernisation of ship repair yards. Under the present fragmented private ownership, the ability to plan investment effectively and to manage efficient modern yards is severely limited.

These conclusions were confirmed and echoed almost identically by a report on the United Kingdom ship repair industry commissioned by the Conservative Government from PA Management Consultants and published in June 1974. The report was rather vague about remedial measures—except to make clear that the investment which it considered necessary for the industry would not be forthcoming from the private sector, and to advise individual ship repairers to take the initiative to make applications for Government aid.

The PA report showed that the ship repairing industry in this country had consistently declined over the last decade, during which employment in ship repairing had halved. It suggested that the major firms on the main estuaries should be encouraged and it identified a number of major obstacles to growth. They included outdated facilities of many ship repairers which do not compare with those of their rivals on the Continent and which will become even more unsatisfactory in the longer term. It also identified unsatisfactory labour relations and the impact of this upon international competitiveness.

Therefore, the case in general terms for nationalising ship repairing is that the improvements badly needed in investment, productivity and industrial relations are unlikely to cone about otherwise. Under private ownership it has been an industry generally noted for outdated, run-down facilities and poor working conditions. In competitive world conditions, the industry must now pursue an active marketing policy at home and abroad. It can best do this under the umbrella of British Shipbuilders.

Our ship repairing proposals are part of a clear industrial strategy for this sector. But another reason for bringing ship repairing into the Bill is the strong link with shipbuilding. Many shipbuilding firms in the Bill also carry out considerable ship repair work. Examples are Swan Hunter Shipbuilders, Hall Russell, Rob Caledon, Smith's Dock, Vosper Thornycroft and Goole Shipbuilding and Repairing Company. In most of these cases it would be impossible to split the two activities; in many cases there is interchange of labour and common facilities are used.

Shipbuilding groups like Swan Hunter and Scott Lithgow have separate ship repairing subsidiaries. There also, shipbuilding and ship repairing complement each other to a great extent. When these matters were last discussed in the House, my hon. Friend the Member for Newton (Mr. Evans), who has worked in both the ship repairing and shipbuilding industries, made a powerful case.

The ship repair docks may be used by the shipbuilders at certain stages in the construction of ships. Some jobs—for example, conversions or refits—may call for the use of both shipbuilding and ship-repairing facilities. The same types of skill are needed in the labour force. Unless ship repairing companies in these groups come into British Shipbuilders, there will be loss of flexibility and inefficient use of resources. The ship repair companies named in the Bill were included for good industrial reasons.

The analogy which has often been made, and which was made in a radio broadcast, a few day ago, comparing the difference between ship repair and shipbuilding companies with the difference between car manufacturers and garages is, therefore, entirely fallacious, inaccurate and inappropriate as far as companies named in the Bill are concerned.

Mr. Tom King (Bridgwater)

Who made that analogy?

Mr. Varley

It was said by a Mr. Bayliss whom I believe to be the secretary of the SRNA, who spoke on the radio a few nights ago.

I have made it clear that our commitment to nationalise ship repair is firm and long-standing and has sound industrial logic behind it. This commitment has been upheld in this House since the Second Reading debate nearly a year ago, and not once in all the 58 sittings of the Committee stage, in the three days of Report and Third Reading or in the first Commons consideration of Lords amendments was a single Division carried against inclusion of ship repair in the Bill.

On Tuesday the right hon. Member for Lowestoft (Mr. Prior) congratulated the Government on accepting what he called the "clear will" of the House on the Dock Work Regulation Bill. It has throughout been the clear will of the House that ship repair be brought into public ownership. It seems that the Opposition proclaim the clear will of this House when it suits them but reject decisions of this House when they do not suit the Tory Party. That is why my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was absolutely right when he spoke of a conspiracy between the Opposition Front Bench and the Tory peers.

It is impossible for the Government to agree to the Lords proposal that ship repair should be dropped. The Government have a duty to carry out the policy in their election manifesto, particularly when this has repeatedly been endorsed by the House.

If the Lords maintain their present stance, the blame for delay in enacting the Bill will lie squarely on their shoulders. The consequences of delay for both shipbuilding and aerospace industries have been spelt out many times. My noble Friend Lord Melchett described them in another place on Monday as catastrophic. He was not exaggerating. Not least to suffer from the delay, will be some of the very private ship repair companies which the Lords are misguidedly fighting to remove from the Bill. Indeed, information reaching my Department indicates that a number of the nine private ship repair companies in the list are anxious that the Bill should go ahead as passed by this House.

There is, of course, one notable exception which has consistently opposed the Bill by means of an extremely expensive and highly misleading publicity campaign. Some of this might have misled some Members in another place into taking a mistaken view of the industry and misunderstanding the logic of our proposals.

One Member of another place on Monday who admitted that he knew nothing about the industry was impelled to contribute to the debate by reading a letter he had received from a worker shareholder of the firm thanking him for voting to remove ship repair. I, too, have had a letter from a worker in this company, backed up by the signatures of 76 per cent. of his fellow workers, both skilled and unskilled. The letter is from a shop steward in Bristol Channel Ship Repairers and I have his permission to read it.

The letter is as follows: We the undersigned are employees of Bristol Channel Ship Repairers, Swansea, and wish to make it known that we fully support the Bill to nationalise the shipbuilding and ship repairing industries which includes this company. Also we would welcome an opportunity to meet any representatives of the Organising Committee. The letter is signed by 76 per cent. of the work force in Swansea drydock.

Sir Raymond Gower (Barry)

Perhaps the Secretary of State is not aware that this company operates in four of the South Wales Docks—Cardiff, Newport, Barry and Swansea. I have met numerous employees of the company, and the vast majority of them are strongly in favour of the company's action in seeking to be outside the ambit of the Bill.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Varley

I have just read out a letter representing 76 per cent. of those who work in the Swansea dry dock. There is other evidence, not only from Swansea but from Cardiff, of representatives of workers at Bristol Channel Ship Repairers saying that they want to be included.

The Government have a clear mandate to insist on the enactment of the ship repair proposals. The great majority of those who work in the ship repair companies named in the Bill want the proposals to go ahead. The Tory peers, responsible to no one and elected by no one, take it upon themselves to decide which election commitments the elected Government should be permitted to fulfil and which they should be prevented from fulfilling. They never once did that when the Tories were in power.

The Tory peers are as selective in their interpretation of their role as they are about the legislation they will pass. I hope—and I say this on behalf of the Government—that they will think carefully about the consequences for the many thousands who depend for their livelihood on the shipbuilding, ship repairing and aircraft industries if they delay the Bill by insisting on disagreeing with this House. The responsibility for those consequences will be theirs and theirs alone.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Michael Heseltine (Henley)

The House will be a little disappointed that the Secretary of State should have repeated the delusions which dogged his Minister of State and Under-Secretaries throughout the consideration of the Bill. Everybody working in the aircraft and shipbuilding industries is aware that both have a real difficulty in their forward work loading. That is not in dispute. But none of the people working in them is so naive as to believe that handing over £400 million to £500 million to shareholders who, by and large, have no wish to go will do anything to improve the work loading.

Therefore, it is regrettable that the Secretary of State should have suggested that in some way nationalisation creates jobs. It is particularly regrettable on the day when the National Economic Development Organisation has produced a report, an independent report but nevertheless one heavily influenced by its role in government, which clearly shows trade unionists, management, civil servants and politicians that nationalisation has been a political disaster. In industry after industry, everybody who has been consulted by NEDO has panned the concept from start to finish, because it has not been able in any way to live up to the expectations that led the Labour Party to introduce nationalisation.

Now we have yet another attempt by the Government to reach a compromise with their Left wing over that section of the British industrial scene that must be handed over to the State to buy a further period of unity for the party in government. It is extraordinary that in the course of this week we can hear the ringing tones of the Prime Minister talking about the need to rally the nation behind the mixed economy and make it work, as he sets off hot-foot back to the House to try to design the strategy with which to nationalise yet one more industry.

The only standard by which this Government are judged now is that of the facts, which stare us in the face. Nobody listens to the words, to the arguments and speeches, because there is a quotation to support every concept that suits Ministers in every posture that they adopt. There is somebody representing every view, from the extreme moderate view to the extreme Left-wing view, within the Cabinet, so every argument is well rehearsed, depending entirely on the circumstance in which it is paraded. In industrial terms, it all adds up to humbug, because it contributes nothing towards job creation, nothing towards the prosperity of British industry and investment in it. All that it adds up to is the creation of additional requirements for Government borrowing to compensate shareholders who, broadly, have no wish to have occasion to be compensated.

It is curious that the Secretary of State, who is regarded as a man with a certain concern for the well-being of British industry, should now come with a speech, doubtless polished up this morning in Cabinet, to try to present a case for moving forward in public ownership. He quotes the Labour Party manifesto. Doubtless he will soon quote the resolutions of the Blackpool conference.

There is a whole string of industries now facing nationalisation, in whole or in part, by the Labour Party. Some of them are listed in the manifesto—the pharmaceutical, construction and transport industries. Others are now in the process of being debated within the Labour movement or have been accepted by the policy councils of the movement. In their judgment the process is irreversible.

The Secretary of State says that the proposals have been carefully worked out, that there are ideas which are to be implemented. But all of us who sat through the 58 Committee sittings know that there are no such proposals. In no industry that has been nationalised have there been any factual, concrete proposals. It is one of the major problems facing nationalised industries that the theories are generalised and the practical proposals are never designed until the crisis hits the industry after nationalisation. We have never had a debate about where rationalisation will take place, or how, or, perhaps more important, where the work will come from to preserve the jobs after nationalisation.

Our whole submission was that if the Government had spent the past two and a half years worrying about how the workload and efficiency of the industries was to be improved, to compete for what limited amount of work was available, there would be a much better prospect of job security for those two industries today. The Government have no ideas themselves. They appointed an organising committee to which they could give no instructions. The Government wasted those two and a half years. They did not put forward sensible or coherent policies for anyone in the industries to consider in detail, except within the privacy of the organising committee.

The other place has powers given to it by the Labour Party in 1949. Presumably their Lordships were given those powers so that they might judge whether they wished to use them. If the Labour Party does not believe that there should be a two-Chamber system of government, it is up to the party to put forward that argument. Many hon. Members on both sides of the House would accept that there is a case for reform of the second Chamber, but what is not arguable is the Secretary of State's case that the other place is not supposed to use the powers it has been given.

Rather than putting forward this totally incomprehensible amendment to prolong the agony for another two or three days, the Government would have done better to face up to the fact that their Lordships have decided to represent the overwhelming wishes of the body of the people by deleting ship repairing from the nationalisation proposals.

I have no doubt that the House, having heard the arguments about the ship repair industry many times, will wish to proceed to an early Division. I recommend my colleagues to support their Lordships.

Mr. William Small (Glasgow, Garscadden)

I thought that by now there had been a thaw between us and another place, but their Lordships always wear the mask to look in the mirror, and, like the reflection in the mirror, we have the Tory Party in the House of Lords defying the House of Commons. To that degree and to that degree alone, I have sympathy with the point of view of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister.

We in Britain have a problem of loss of face, which the Japanese know about in their religion called Shinto. This applies to the place of British shipbuilding in the world. We need to go for a total package, including ship repairing.

If I met a lord to discuss the old question of hybridity, I would ask him down to the Lords' Bar. I would say "Let us have a Cutty Sark". He would look at the label and see the ship that was called the Cutty Sark. In referring to "Cutty Sark" there is that element of hybridity. This often arises in the use of English. For example, in one poem Burns uses the words "woman's chemise"—namely, a wanton witch. There are all these interpretations, difficulties and possible hybridity in the use of English. To say that ship repairing is not part of the shipbuilding package astounds me. To that degree, I hope that my right hon. Friend has some success.

A constituent of mine is taking part in the Miss World contest. I hope that she wins.

Mr. Richard Wainwright (Colne Valley)

It is not necessary to hold any brief for the other place to agree with this hatch of amendments about ship repairing. It stands out a mile that if the other place had really wished to earn its money it would have tackled the legislative monstrosities of the previous Conservative Administration with the same exactitude that it has applied during the past few weeks. I have in mind the shambles of the Local Government Act 1972 and the Industrial Relations Act, two pieces of legislation that were inflicted upon a long-suffering country, uncorrected.

To contest the claims of the other place, as I do, does not mean that one must deny everything that comes from it. Even the dimmest pupil in the class occasionally gets the sum right, but that is not a case for changing the principles of mathematics. When that happens the teacher graciously acknowledges that at last "Robert has a sum right". That is what has happened here. The other place has had one or two flashes of inspiration. They have come not entirely from the Tory peers.

It is not for us to question how they have suddenly come upon this accession to wisdom. It is not simply a matter of their doggedly resisting everything labelled nationalisation. If that had been the case, the Liberal peers would not have supported the amendments. As I hope the House knows, Liberals are not dogmatic on these issues. The mischief is that in this case much new ground has been covered without any real mandate. Is it seriously maintained that the people of Chesterfield, Nuneaton, Keighley and those in part of Greater Manchester, for example, really believed, when they went to the polls on two occasions in 1974, that they were voting not only for the tremendously important principle of nationalisation in terms of ship repairing, but for the new principle of nationalising a service industry that is carried on in small units? If they had been enabled to realise that, they would have noticed that a serious precedent was being set which threatens every sort of service industry in the country.

For the most part, the British people were not aware that such a course was to be taken. At this stage it seems completely irresponsible for the Government to contest the amendments and to move that we disagree with them. In so doing they are endangering the whole of the Bill.

We did not have to be in the slightest sense parliamentary legal experts to know that the Bill was irresponsibly drafted and bristling with hybridity. All honour must go to the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop), who, with his expert botanical knowledge, discovered the best hybrid of all blooming away in some remote Scottish area. But even those of us who do not have his expert knowledge were aware that when a Bill of this sort is drafted, when it is impudently supposed that the principle of nationalisation can be applied to manufacturing and servicing industries of great complexity in the same measure, we are bound to create not one instance of hybridity but dozens.

It was common knowledge, even if the majority of Members do not have the same talent for spotting such strange things going on in other parts of the country as does the hon. Member for Tiverton, that various examples of hybridity could be produced. To send the amendments back to another place is to run the risk of provoking it into sending the Bill to the Examiner, in which case these failing industries—we have been told so often from the Treasury Bench how many thousands of redundancies the Government will have to declare as soon as they become responsible—may well face even worse trouble. Not only is it irresponsible to take that course; it is unrealistic.

5.45 p.m.

It seems that the Government do not realise that they are dealing with an industry that has become highly mobile between one country and another. Gone are the days—at any rate, they are going—when ship repairing had to be carried on in fixed abodes, in docks which, once established, are maintained until they wear out. We have seen in operation the large floating dry dock that can be moved from country to country. Indeed, one example is about to be moved from one continent to another. There will be nothing to prevent the floating dock that was proposed for Port Talbot in more rational times, which is expected to generate one thousand jobs, being floated across the Atlantic, to a French port, a Dutch port or, if necessary, to a German port.

The Government do not seem to realise that they are dealing with an industry that is not entirely a captive. It is not an industry that has to submit to what is done in his House. Thank goodness, like so many of our citizens, part of it can sling its hook and vote with its feet, or propellor, when it decides that conditions have been made intolerable. To insist on this last scintilla of the Bill when the rest of the prize is at last within the Government's grasp, after all the mistakes that have been made in the past, is irresponsible and unwise.

Mr. Michael McNair-Wilson (Newbury)

I was appalled by the cynicism of the Secretary of State's remarks when he said that if he cannot have ship repairing the aircraft industry and the shipbuilding industry must wait, however long it is that they will be required to wait, and that whatever may happen to them in the meantime is no concern of his but is somehow the concern of another place. I find that amazing.

The right hon. Gentleman knows as well as any of us that three industries have been incorporated within one Bill for the first time in the history of the House and that one day was given for Second Reading. By anyone's standards they are not industries that are compatible. They do not belong together in one Bill. The three industries were put together in the one measure to ease the passage of legislation, and that passage has not been eased by the incompetence of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman would have been far better advised to take each industry separately and examine it separately before deciding whether it belonged in the same Bill or whether, in reality, it would be better handled individually.

If there is to be a catastrophe ahead for our airframe and shipbuilding industries because the other place is refusing to accept the nationalisation of shiprepairing, I say that the responsibility rests firmly and completely upon the head of this Government and the head of this Secretary of State.

The employment of hundreds and thousands of persons depends upon what we decide and how much emphasis we place upon what the two Chambers say. The Government can have the aircraft industry and the shipbuilding industry in a Bill to nationalise them both, and they can have it before 24th November.

We are told by the Secretary of State that he has a magical thing called a mandate from the nation which requires him to carry out, to the last jot and tittle, his duty to nationalise the aircraft, shipbuilding, and ship repairing industries. The right hon. Gentleman claims a mandate from the nation, but let us examine that mandate. It was a promise made to the nation in a Labour Party document on which the right hon. Gentleman supposed the electorate voted in October 1974. Is he unaware that in a Labour Party document not so long ago he was also to include Harland and Wolff within the nationalisation of the shipbuilding industry? That never happened. Does he not have a mandate to incorporate that company within these other nationalised companies? Apparently he has no such mandate, because the mandate he has is that which he wishes to have rather than something that he has been given.

If he were as sensitive to what people really want, he would not deny himself the reality of the two by-election results which clearly showed that the electors in two important Labour constituencies turned their backs on the mandate that he was supposed to have achieved in October 1974. But to recognise that fact flies in the face of what the Government intend to do. It is that intention, and not this supposed mandate, which governs the Government's actions tonight.

I return to the question of Harland and Wolff—not because I wish to divert this debate in any way but simply to underline the nonsensical situation now created in the United Kingdom in which, if the Bill is enacted, we shall have two nationalised shipbuilding industries and two nationalised airframe industries. How can that situation be justified? If it cannot be justified, it is much more difficult to seek to justify the case that ship repairing—an international business—should be included in the nationalisation of the shipbuilding industry, when a Northern Irish shipbuilding company, which belongs 100 per cent. to the Government, is not to be included in British Shipbuilders.

I suggest that the concept involving the national interest and a national mandate is not uppermost in the Government's mind. What is uppermost in their minds is their determination to succeed and a dogmatic intention to nationalise three industries, regardless of the consideration whether it is good for the workers of Britain and for British trade.

I turn to a question which the Secretary of State must answer before lie asks anybody to reject these amendments from the other places; what sort of control is he looking for in regard to the shipbuilding yards? The hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) said that there are many of these ship repair yards. He will know that their business is international and that, because of that factor, they are in a different category from shipbuilding, which is essentially of a national character. The hon. Gentleman also will know that those who bring their ships to be repaired are concerned about time, price, delivery, and the geographical position of the yard to which they take their ships for repair. Is it being said that those yards will have the flexibility that they now possess?

Will the Minister comment on what was said by Sir Anthony Griffin in The Times on 19th July this year: It was not the intention that the industry"— he was referring to British Shipbuilders— should be run by a 'faceless, far-off, monolithic corporation', but rather that the new body should create an environment under which the individual yards could utilise their resources to the full. The work being undertaken by the Organising Committee was based on international as well as national and industrial considerations. Policies derived from each of these would be combined into an updated national policy. Sir Anthony made that speech in a shipyard. Bearing his words in mind, may we be told how the Government envisage that ship repair is to be handled? Do the Government see the ship repairing yards having the kind of flexibility which they now possess? Does the Minister see them being able to meet the demands of owners in the short notice that may be required? Will they have the necessary flexibility in charging?

If the Minister cannot satisfy us on those points, is he taking the attitude "I want all of my Bill—and the people in the yards can go hang"? Instead, will he not reconsider the matter? What is there to stop the Government including in the Queen's Speech on 24th November a new Bill just to nationalise ship repairing? That would get us all off the hook and would put an end to this futile tirade against the other place, which is only carrying out the job for which it was set up.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

I shall not take up the remarks of the hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. McNair-Wilson), although I appreciate that he has made a number of contributions on this subject both in the House and in Standing Committee. This is a brief debate as we all know, and I, too, shall be brief in my comments. This subject has been exhaustively discussed and is no longer in issue. What is in issue is the position of the House of Lords.

The hon. Member for Newbury referred to a mandate—he might like to know that I represent a constituency containing a shipbuilding and ship repair industry. I assure him that this matter has been discussed in one way or another in my constituency in the long time during which I have been a Member of Parliament. Certainly the subject has been far more exhaustively discussed than has devolution. It has been discussed in my constituency because it is a fact of life—an issue that affects the lives of the people who live there.

We are concerned about the question "For whom does the House of Lords speak?" Opposition Front Bench speakers say that it speaks for the overwhelming majority of the people. But does it? That statement has only to be expressed to be recognised as farcical. That surely is one claim that the House of Lords could never make. The only claim it can make is that it can exercise its power to seek to embarrass a Labour Government. That is the only occasion on which it seeks to exercise its power.

We all remember that we had a host of amendments on the Race Relations Bill. In the previous Session their Lordships discussed the Sex Discrimination Bill. They moved no amendments to that legislation, but when the Race Relations Bill came along, containing almost identical provisions to those in the Sex Discriminuation Bill, their Lordships carried a series of amendments. In view of the political climate, they chose to be difficult. Of course, this is a political matter.

I warn the Conservative Party over this matter, because Lord Carrington seems to be very active. I have already said that I have many shipbuilding workers in my constituency, but I should point out that the constituency also contains many miners who work in one of the biggest pits in the country. We remember that Lord Carrington had a major responsibility in what happened when the Tories upset everybody by their policy of confrontation. He will do the same again.

Mr. Tom King

Should not Lord Shinwell also be warned? I am sure that the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) would not say that Lord Shinwell was unaware of this problem. Has he read the part of the noble Lord's speech which suggests that the ship repairing industry should not be included in the Bill?

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Willey

I am obliged to the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) who knows how objective I am.

Last week I talked to a shipbuilder about the likely course of events. I was assured that the Conservative Party was anxious, because not only were there Conservative Peers in another place who were running wild and whom it was difficult to advise; Cross-Benchers and Liberals were also causing great difficulty. These people in the other place do not speak for the majority of our people.

What I was about to say, which upset the hon. Member for Bridgwater—and he appreciates this as much as I do—was that it would be politically very dangerous if we had this confrontation. I am concerned with both management and men. Confrontation will be very harmful not only to the men in the industry, but to the companies.

We know—it is no good hiding the fact—that one or two companies are on the brink of liquidation. It is doubtful whether they will be able to hang on. They are thinking of weeks and months. If they go into liquidation—I assure my right hon. Friend that he is taking the right course—they will not get the compensation provided by the Bill. They will be taken over on receiver terms.

I argued the question of compensation in Committee. These companies are desperately anxious. It is all right for their Lordships, but these are people whose stake in the industry is threatened. The companies and the men are threatened. Therefore, Lord Carrington will have a confrontation not only with shipyard workers, but with the industry as a whole.

I can speak forcibly because this matter does not affect me directly. Sunderland Shipbuilders Ltd. was taken over because it begged to be taken over by Court Line. In the next few months, if the Lords upset the whole of the Bill, other companies will demand to be saved. However, the terms will be those of receivership.

If there is a confrontation, the men will realise that the Conservative Party is trying to make political capital out of a national industry that is in desperate straits. We have only to read in today's Press about the difficulties with the Japanese. This is not the time to play politics. The problem in the industry is capital investment. The figure of £500 million has been mentioned. How will that be provided otherwise?

Mr. Teddy Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

How will the Government provide it?

Mr. Willey

We shall provide it when the Bill is implemented. This is the best formula to provide it.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor) made an intervention from a sedentary position. Today Mr. Speaker referred to sedentary interventions. I hope that hon. Members will not give way at all and will completely ignore any sedentary interventions.

Mr. Willey

I shall give way only to you, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I was coming to a conclusion. It is no use saying that this will be a brief debate and then speaking at length.

This is the old issue which has continually faced this House with the House of Lords. We have taken our decision. I know that it is a party decision taken on party lines. There was never better whipping than on this legislation. There was no better prolonged discussion than in Committee on this legislation. The decision has been taken It is for the House of Commons to speak up for itself. That is the issue.

Mr. David Mudd (Falmouth and Camborne)

I pay tribute to the Secretary of State for being both concise and consistent in his appraisal of the issue at stake in this debate.

It seems that the yardstick that he seeks to apply is simply that the ship repairing industry should remain part of the Bill in the interests of good industrial relations, investment and jobs. If this is the yardstick which the Secretary of State seeks to apply, by his own definition Falmouth Docks should not have been included in the Bill in the first place.

Falmouth Docks is an outstanding example of good industrial relations. There is a memorandum of agreement between the yard and management which is second to none in the ship repairing industry. There is no connection whatsoever between Falmouth Docks and the shipbuilding industry. The yard has neither received nor sought any grants whatsoever outside those which are available to industry within development areas.

For many years the yard has put men on social employment at times when the work load has been a bit lean. I hope that dispenses with the Secretary of State's basic argument in relation to Falmouth Docks.

I turn now to the right hon. Gentleman's final point—that in any case this commitment was in the manifesto. With respect, neither the right hon. Gentleman nor anybody else on the Government side can pick selectively from the commitments in the Labour Party General Election manifesto.

It will long be remembered in Cornwall that Labour's great manifesto commitment was to reduce unemployment, During the life of this Government—to a certain extent we must blame the Secretary of State in his time at the Department of Energy—we have seen the closure of the Hayle power station, and we now see the closure of the Ministry of Defence Research Establishment at Nancekuke and of the RAF Marine Unit at Falmouth. These closures lead to a direct loss of employment because of Government policy and are in total contradiction to the Labour Party's commitments. Time and again we have sought explanations for these matters. The Government have failed to give satisfactory answers. We have been fobbed off with excuses rather than explanations.

The Government may claim tonight that they are seeking to fulfil a long-standing commitment. Perhaps the commitment that they are seeking to fulfil tonight is the commitment made by the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir Harold Wilson) when he addressed the Labour Party Conference in Scarborough in 1965. The right hon. Gentleman referred glowingly to the many men and women in Britain who were looking forward to "undreamed of leisure". If this measure goes through, unemployment in this industry will give many people "undreamed of leisure" by bringing them into the ranks of the unemployed.

Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

I was going to address some of my remarks to the Minister of State, but he is just leaving the Chamber. I shall try to save the remarks which refer to him until he returns—if he returns soon.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Perhaps the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) would prefer to resume his seat and allow me to call another Member?

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

I should be obliged, Mr. Deputy Speaker, because I do not wish to make those comments in the Minister's absence.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Of course, that raises the problem whether the hon. Gentleman has already contributed to the debate. I think that he had better continue.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

In the debate last Thursday night, on the very Lords amendments which we are again discussing, I made what I believed to be the important point that the total volume of employment in the ship repairing industry will depend more than anything upon the total volume of repair orders that come in from overseas. Those orders are not under the control of the British Government.

Three times the same morning in Committee—I pointed this out in the debate last Thursday night—the question was put to the Minister of State whether after the industry was nationalised, if a customer wished to specify the yard in which his ship was to be repaired, he would be able to do so, or whether the Corporation would have the right to divert his order to another yard. If that happened I believe that a significant proportion of the orders would be lost to this country. Each time that vital question was put the Minister refused to answer it.

When I put the question to the Minister last Thursday night he went off and consulted his advisers. I am prepared to believe that he had been taken for a ride by his advisers because, when he came back, the result was that he grossly misinformed the House on this crucial matter shortly before the House divided with a majority of only one for the Government. The Minister, referring to the specific point that I had made, said: I wish to mention the speech of the hon. Member for Tiverton because I thought that he made some valid points. The hon. Gentleman said, as he has said on many occasions, that he will not accept a Minister's assurance on this, that and the other because he likes lo see words written into a Bill. I think he is right. The Minister added: Therefore, I wish to draw his attention to Clause 5 of the Bill as it left this House in which we laid down the following …". The Minister then quoted from Clause 5(2) of the Bill. I shall read what he said, but I ask the House to note that the hon. Gentleman did not begin his quotation at the beginning of sub-paragraph (ii). He began it having left out a crucial sentence at the beginning of that sub-paragraph. I shall demonstrate. The Minister read out: Therefore, I wish to draw his attention to Clauses of the Bill as it left this House in which we laid down the following: 'decentralisation of management and decision-taking to separate profit centres in the shipbuilding and ship-repairing areas of Great Britain, and in particular of Scotland and Wales and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, in relation to sales, pricing, production, the formulation and implementation of investment programmes, manpower planning and management, industrial relations and responsibility for financial performance'. End of the Minister's quotation. He then added: That is in the Bill and if it is carried it will, of course, be in the Act when it is passed. That is better than an assurance from me."—[Official Report, 11th November 1976; Vol. 919, c. 751.] What the Minister omitted to read out to the House was the sentence at the beginning of sub-paragraph (ii) which states (ii) without prejudice to the generality of sub-paragraph (i) above, of seeking the largest degree, consistent with the proper discharge of its functions …". The Minister then started his quotation, but sub-paragraph (i) said the opposite of what the Minister was quoting to the House. I shall read the whole of Clause 5(2) to demonstrate. I should like to believe that the Minister was misled by his own advisers and, in consequence, misled the House before there was a crucial vote that was carried by a majority of one.

Clause 5(2) states: British Shipbuilders shall, forthwith after the shipbuilding industry vesting date and subsequently from time to time when it considers it appropriate or the Secretary of State so requires—

  1. (a) undertake a review of the affairs of the Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiaries for the purposes—
    1. (i) of determining how the management of the activities of the Corporation and those subsidiaries can most efficiently be organised, and what steps are necessary in order effectively to promote industrial democracy in its undertakings and the undertakings of its wholly owned subsidiaries; and
    2. (ii) "—
as I have already quoted— without prejudice to the generality of sub-paragraph (i) above …". That brings it home that what the Bill says is the exact opposite of the gravamen of what the Minister said to the House. The point I made was that if the Shipbuilding Corporation wishes to divert work away from ship repair yards to shipbuilding yards in order to make those more viable—with the result that employment is lost in the ship repair yards or, indeed, they are closed—it is totally within its power to do so. That is why the Minister refused on three occasions to answer the question: "Can a customer specify a given yard?"

6.15 p.m.

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

Without in any way accepting the charge that the lion. Gentleman makes—I shall endeavour to deal with it when I reply later—I am interested in what the hon. Gentleman says, because he is now telling us what all the Opposition have denied completely, namely, that it is perfectly possible and satisfactory to do ship repair in a shipbuilding dock just as it is possible to do shipbuilding in a ship repair dock. That is what I myself saw being done in Korea, and the hon. Member for Bridgwater (Mr. King) made fun of me for that claim. The hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) is now saying not only that it is possible but that we intend to control it.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

No. I have not said that ship repair work can be carried out in every shipbuilding yard. What I have said is that the Government may intend to divert work from ship repair yards to shipbuilding yards. It is not in dispute that there are some shipbuilding yards which do undertake ship repair work.

The true state, as the House now knows it, is not as the Minister said, decentralisation of management and decision-taking to separate profit centres". The Government have laid down no such thing in the Bill. The whole of that is without prejudice to the generality of sub-paragraph (i) above,". That sub-paragraph says that they can determine how the management of the activities of the Corporation"— not of the ship repairing industry but of the whole Corporation— and those subsidiaries can most efficiently be organised,". Therefore, what the Minister of State claims, doubtless misled by his advisers—[Interruption.] Either the Minister of State accepts responsibility for misleading the House himself or he was misled by his advisers. There is no third possible alternative.

Mr. Kaufman

First, there is never a third possible alternative. "Alternative" means one of two. It is derived from the Latin "alter": one of two—Leeds Grammar School 1943. The hon. Gentleman has shown himself misinformed on that matter. I do not accept that I misled the House. I certainly do not accept that anything I said was the result of my being misled by my advisers. As the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. Wilson) knows, possibly better than any other hon. Member in this House, the sub-paragraph to which the hon. Member for Tiverton has referred was drafted at my initiative and request and in the terms that I requested following discussions with certain hon. Members of the House earlier in the proceedings. Therefore, I do not accept that I misled the House. I also think it is unfair of hon. Gentleman to lay the responsibility on my advisers for what is my own responsibility.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

I am glad to [earn that it was the Minister who misled the House because there is no third alternative. The hon. Gentleman is quite wrong. One can have exclusive alternatives or one can have 100 or even 1,000 alternatives. "Alternatives" are not confined to two, even in the English language.

I want to lay on the record that we now know that the Minister has written into the Bill not what he claimed by omitting the first sentence— without prejudice to the generality of sub-paragraph (i) above". What the hon. Gentleman has written into the Bill is a specific authorisation to the Corporation to divert work away from where the customer wants to put it. Ministers, and hon. Members on this side of the House, have concentrated on the employment implications of these amendments. It is common ground between the two sides of the House that the volume of employment there will be in the ship repair industry depends more on overseas orders than on any other single factor. The reason for the high rate of unemployment in ship construction and ship repair at the moment is more than anything else the decrease in total world demand. There is a smaller cake to be divided up.

We must be in no doubt that if we disagree with the Lords amendments to take ship repairing out of the Bill there will be a lower total volume of employment in the ship repairing industry. By their amendments the Lords have sought to sustain employment. The Minister, by his disagreement with the Lords amendments in this respect, is promoting avoidable unemployment. He is also discouraging the earning of foreign currency, because repair work undertaken on vessels owned or chartered by firms abroad brings in foreign currency. So on both those counts it cannot be disputed logically that their Lordships are sustaining employment and the necessary efforts to bring foreign currency into an industry which is important for many reasons.

The ship repairing industry is important as a source of employment. It is also important because the employment which it generates tends to be in areas of high unemployment, whether Falmouth, Cardiff, Swansea, Wallsend or anywhere else. As I have said, it is a significant earner of foreign exchange, and that makes it doubly important.

Both sides of the House are agreed that this is not a captive market. There are many ship repair yards abroad to which ship owners can and will send their vessels for repair. During the debate last Thursday a specific instance was given: On 28th July I quoted the letter from Holter-Sorenson and Company, which reads: 'with our experience with nationalised companies, we must regret to announce that, in the event of nationalisation of your firm, we shall no longer be interested in making use of your docking and repair facilities'."—[Official Report, 11th November 1976; Vol. 919, c. 747. What is the collision, if such there be, between the two Houses? It is that the Labour Government, purely for doctrinal reasons and for no other, are endeavouring to insist that the exclusion of the ship repair industry be removed. If they really want to nationalise the aircraft and shipbuilding industries, why do they not agree to their Lordships' amendments and then introduce a new Bill in the next Session to nationalise ship repairing? The reason is that they want this Bill to be delayed. They know that the nationalised aircraft and shipbuilding industries intend to terminate the employment of thousands of British workmen. They know that those industries intend to cause widespread unemployment—what they would call rationalisation. Therefore, they reason, why not so conduct Government policy that the Bill they pretend to want is delayed? Then more men will lose their jobs before nationalisation and they can claim that it is due to the Tory Party, the Liberal Party, the Welsh nationalists, the Scottish nationalists and the United Ulster Unionists. The Government can blame them for the shortage of world demand.

That is the Government's reason—the reason why they did nothing for six weeks during the second half of June and most of July. They did not try to make progress on the Floor of the House because they wanted the Bill delayed. They could either have let the Bill go to a Select Committee—it would have come out by about 7th July—or they could have commenced the Report stage in the second week of June. Instead they left it until the back end of July. So the delay in the Bill—a healthy delay, yes—is of their making and their intention. Any consequences that follow lie at the door of the Ministers in charge of the Bill and the Cabinet as a whole, who deliberately did not bring it on to the Floor of the House for nearly six weeks—

Mr. Norman Tebbit (Chingford)

My hon. Friend omits to take into account the delay of six months or so before the Government brought forward the Bill for processing in the House, having laid it on the Table for its First Reading.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

That may be for the reason let out of the bag by the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), who suggested to the House that the more firms that can be induced to go bust, having been rendered totally un- creditworthy by the Bill among other things, the more will the Government be able to do the shareholders out of their proper compensation.

The duty of the House is, fortunately, coincident with the duty which the House of Lords is doing. There is no collision of duties. There is only a collision between the party political obstinacy of the Labour Party, in which the elector ate has shown a devastating lack of trust in areas traditionally loyal to the Labour Party—

Mr. Kaufman

Newcastle upon Tyne, Central?

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Does the hon. Gentleman think that an election result in which a Member of Parliament is elected with under 5,000 votes is meaningful in any terms? That is the sort of mandate that the Chinese Government used to have—a heavenly mandate. The existence of the heavenly mandate was known only by the continued existence of the Government. When that Government were unseated by another the inference was that the heavenly mandate had been transferred. The heavenly mandate underwent a certain amount of erosion in Workington and Walsall, North, where electorates of the size that the Boundary Commission is supposed to ensure gave a definite opinion.

Mr. Kaufman

Is the hon. Gentleman implying that when the Conservatives lost Bromsgrove, Sutton and Cheam, Isle of Ely and Ripon the House of Lords would have obstructed their legislation?

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

No, because the party concerned did not as a result of that have to rely on the casting vote of the Chair to carry its legislation. That is a distinction which is a difference. It was able to carry its policies into legislative effect with its members on the Floor of the House.

The House of Lords has done conscientiously the job that the House of Commons should have done. The House of Commons was prevented by the guillotine from giving consideration to the Bill on the Floor of the House. The Government introduced the guillotine not because they were short of time—they had six weeks after 7th June when they did nothing—but purely to stifle discussion and argument.

Mr. Ron Thomas (Bristol, North-West)


Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

Why else did they do it? Will the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Thomas), who was on the Committee, say why he said "Rubbish"? Or does he not have the courage of his convictions?

Mr. Ron Thomas

I thank the hon. Member for inviting me to interrupt him. Will he give one example of any other Bill upon which the House has spent so much time?

6.30 pm.

Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop

The House has spent very little time on the Bill. The hon. Gentleman must have been asleep in the Standing Committee and dreamt that he was on the Floor of the House. That explanation might account for the paucity of his contributions to the Committee.

Today the House of Commons has once more the chance of debating the necessity or otherwise of nationalising the ship repair industry. The Minister's arguments are threadbare of anything except political malice towards the ship repairing industry. An attempt to argue it away by quoting a part of the Bill without giving the whole quotation is now exploded. We know that still further unemployment will be engineered by the Government if they insist on their rejection of the Lords' amendments.

Mr. Teddy Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

I intend to make a short speech and I declare my interest in that I worked in the Clyde shipyards for five years before coming to this House, that I represent a shipbuilding area and that I am an adviser to the Ship Repairers National Association.

I agree with the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) that there is an analogy to be drawn between devolution and ship repairing nationalisation. Both are expensive, silly, damaging and bureaucratic. I hope that we shall reject them both.

The Minister must answer specific questions. Once again it has been alleged today that shipbuilding and ship repairing are closely integrated. The Secretary of State said today that there was considerable labour interchange. On Second Reading, on 2nd December 1975, the right hon. Gentleman said that six of the 12 companies had an interchange of labour. Through the long Committee stage we went over this point many times trying to find a firm, apart from Scott Lithgow, which is a special case, where there was an interchange. The nearest we came to it was some inconclusive talk about one or two people in Wallsend. Does the Secretary of State still think that the industries are closely integrated?

Has the organising committee expressed any view to him about whether it would be difficult or impossible to go ahead with the Bill without ship repairing? Those involved in the shipyards believe that it is perfectly possible, and perhaps preferable, to separate shipbuilding from ship repairing.

The Secretary of State said that if we agree with the Lords we shall endanger the Bill. My party has consistently opposed the Bill. The one thing which stands out is that if the Government wanted to go ahead with shipbuilding and aircraft nationalisation they could do so and have it completed within a couple of days. However, they choose to say that because ship repairing is not included they will not do so and that instead there will be a long delay. Why have the Government taken that view? My hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) gave an explanation. We know that a lot of redundancies will occur shortly after nationalisation. The Government's view might be that this should occur before nationalisation.

There may be a second explanation. The IMF discussions are now in progress and we know that time is short for the Government. The money borrowed on the standby credit must be repaid on 9th December, and the Government must therefore get a large loan very quickly. Have the IMF officials told the Government that there must be no nationalisation and no increase in the public sector borrowing requirement until the deal has been struck? It is clear that the Government are choosing to put off the Bill on the basis of a bogus argument about ship repairing.

All of my hon. Friends and I wish that politics had never been brought into this matter. A great deal of damage has been done to shipbuilding, aircraft and ship repairing by two years of uncertainty and delay. But we are entitled to hear from the Government reassuring and confident reasons why shipbuilding and ship repairing cannot be separated when all those in the industry believe that they can be separated, and when all the arguments about interchangability were exploded in Committee. The Government should tell us the real reason for their attitude, but I doubt whether we shall get it today.

Sir Raymond Gower

I was disappointed at the Minister's attitude to the amendments. We have come a long way since the occasion, not so many years ago, when the late Herbert Morrison said that in proceeding towards nationalising industries any Government should proceed with caution and should never nationalise an additional industry without unanswerable reasons for doing so. We now see a very different picture. Modern nationalisers have an insatiable appetite. That is why they cannot conceive of an industry being left out of a sector that is to be taken over.

Would it not be adequate to take over the two enormous industries of shipbuilding and aircraft? Cannot the Government be content with that? No, they must grab the lot. It is as though they could not endure the possibility of some small successful competitor to the State sector. Among those smaller ship repairing firms there might be some very successful competitors who would show up the deficiencies of the State organisation.

That is in the very nature of the monster that some nationalised industries have now become, that they must be in a monopoly position. They cannot endure something that is beyond their control and that might highlight their inadequacies. That is why I am disappointed that the Government are not content to concentrate on the enormous task of making a success of shipbuilding and aerospace. It is not as though the nationalisation doctrine has been a conspicuous success throughout our economy. I cannot understand why Labour Members constantly decry the failure of private industry in Britain and say that it is surpassed by the industrial performance of other countries. Nearly all the countries that they quote are those which practise private industry. Those coun- tries are among our most successful competitors.

We have contributed to our industrial decline in recent years by adopting this expedient of bringing industries into State ownership. The countries that have done well are those which, on the whole, have not taken that course. Yet Labour Members are prepared to disregard that lesson.

The Secretary of State referred to Bristol Channel Ship Repairers. It is a successful company. The Secretary of State implied that there was great resistance among employees there against remaining outside the Bill. However, I can assure him that there is a lot of evidence put before Conservatives, Welsh nationalists and Liberals about the high regard for this company of those who work in it. I have met numerous individuals at all levels, from the bottom right up to board level.

This is the best example I have seen for some time of a company that commands a high degree of admiration and allegiance from those employed by it. This is a company that is practising those ideals of industrial democracy which have considerable support, at least in theory, on the Government Benches. It has put this into practice without legislative compulsion and is practising those ideals of profit-sharing and common ownership which I consider to be of considerable value if introduced voluntarily within the context of a particular industry. That is why this company commands so much support from its workers.

The company has shown great initiative in seeking orders and has gone overseas to seek and obtain them. Many of the people employed by the company are apprehensive that in future it will not be allowed to go out to seek orders because those orders will be directed to another part of the country. It will not be the initiative of this company or the lack of initiative that will determine its future; it will be some diktat from above. That is the weakness of a massive, centralised State organisation. It does not allow success to be achieved by localised initiative. By its very nature, decisions must be made from the centre. I fear that those who are pressing nationalisation on the country, for good or ill—I hope for good, but the lessons of the last two decades make us doubtful about that—sustained as they are by a magnificent vote in the last General Election from 33 per cent. of our nation, will regret it, as will the country. The real trouble is that they will misguidedly bring to an end the identity of separate, successful and prosperous companies.

I am sorry that the Government are taking over these two great industries, but, by golly, those are two formidable tasks. Why can they not be content with and concentrate upon those? Why must they grab the lot? There is far too much smash and grab in the policies of this Government and I hope that they will not have the power to carry them out much longer.

Mr. Ron Thomas

I apologise for having had to leave the debate for a short while. We are going over ground that we have already gone over again and again. One hon. Member on the Opposition Benches suggested that we had not really looked at public ownership of ship repairing. He was reminded by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor) of the time spent on this subject, at least in Committee, and of the many questions asked about it. Whether the hon. Member for Cathcart was satisfied with the answers is another matter, but we spent a great deal of time in Committee considering the public ownership of the ship repairing industry.

Other hon. Members said that the House of Lords had done its job, but let us just look at the amendments put down there. The Lords debated amendments to delete the aircraft industry, Scottish aviation, ship repairing, and warship building, and another to prevent the Bill becoming an Act before the next General Election. If those were not pure wrecking and mutilating amendments, I do not know what they were. What would have been left of this legislation if this elected Chamber had accepted those amendments? Nothing at all. Even to begin to suggest that the other Chamber has acted as a revising Chamber to tidy up its legislation is nonsense. The Lords have attempted to multilate this Bill, the Education Bill, the Dockwork Regulation Bill, the health services Bill and the agricultural Bill. This was not by revision or tidying up in a legislative fashion but by carrying a whole series of amendments to completely wreck these Bills.

6.45 p.m.

The House of Lords is not a revisionary Chamber and I am very disappointed with the hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright), because some of the things he said would make my friend, Lloyd George, turn in his grave. It seems the Liberals have come a long way since the days of Lloyd George. We know that the Tory-dominated House of Lords has tried to wreck both Liberal and Labour legislation, but that when there is a Tory majority in this House it has been silent.

Mr. Richard Wainwright

I do not blame the hon. Member for a moment for not listening to my speech, but if he had, he would have heard me say that I held no brief for the Lords as an institution and that it had failed dismally to correct the appalling legislation of the Heath Administration.

Mr. Thomas

I accept that point. I remember the hon. Member saying it but what the hon. Member wants to do is pick and choose, saying, on the one hand, that he held no brief for the House of Lords but, on the other, that because it had done something with which he agreed it was a good institution. I would have thought that as a Liberal, believing in democratic institutions, the hon. Gentleman would have had no truck with that unelected Chamber. The Lords has this image of being a watchdog of the Constitution, but it is really a poodle of the Tory Party. I should have thought that Liberals who looked back to the days of Lloyd George would have joined with those on the Government Benches in getting rid of that unelected body as soon as possible. If we could get a brief Bill in this evening I would be very pleased.

We have heard a great deal about the wonderful firm of Bristol Channel Ship Repairers. I am astonished at the reactions of so many hon. Members to a company such as this, which has spent tens of thousands of pounds trying to bribe hon. Members to behave in a certain way. There is no question about it. I am not saying that the company has succeeded in bribing hon. Members, but they have spent tens of thousands of pounds in wining and dining hon. Members in order to try to persuade them to their point of view.

When we last debated this matter and discussed the relationship between Bristol Channel Ship Repairers and their employees, we got from the Minister a totally different picture of the real situation. I hope that my hon. Friend will give some more information about the unfair dismissals from that firm. This Company has attempted to sustain a myth, and I am surprised that hon. Members, including the hon. Member for Colne Valley, have been taken in. The company claims to be spearheading industrial democracy, but the truth is far from that.

The hon. Member for Barry (Sir R. Gower) claimed that countries which had not gone in for public ownership had surged ahead, but many European countries have extended public ownership more than Britain. We are way behind, in, for example, banking and finance. To hon. Members opposite, the suggestion of control over banking and finance is a Maoist or Trotskyite revolutionary policy. But there are many so-called capitalist nations in Europe which have extended public ownership into banking, finance and aerospace. We are way behind in that regard.

More particularly, it seems to me that the Tories and their friends have always supported taking into public ownership two types of industry. The first is industry that is absolutely bankrupt. On that basis it is all right to take into public ownership Rolls-Royce and to do everything possible to justify it.

The second is the type of industry that is essential for the success of the rest of the private sector. It is all right to take into public ownership firms of that type. The private sector in Britain would have collapsed long ago had we not nationalised coal, electricity, railways and certain other areas of the economy. It would have collapsed immediately after the last war.

The Tories go along with public ownership to that extent, so that the industries thus nationalised may ensure the profitability of private industry. When any industry looks like going bankrupt, the Tories are in favour of taking it into public ownership, but if an indus- try is profitable that is a different matter altogether.

The other Chamber had the cheek to say that warship building could not be taken into public ownership because it is profitable. It is profitable because of the use of taxpayers' money.

I have hardly heard a word said about shipbuilding in these debates. Why have there been no tears flowing down the aisles in regard to shipbuilding? The reason is that it is practically collapsing. The companies, the previous owners, have taken every ounce of profit out of shipbuilding and put nothing back. The industry is on the brink of collapse; therefore we have the same old Tory cry about taking it into public ownership. But if there were any chance of shipbuilding showing a profit, there would be all hell let loose in order to prevent it from being taken into public ownership.

In our election manifesto we said that we would take into public ownership shipbuilding and ship repairing. I am very pleased indeed that the Government are standing firm and telling the House of Lords "We shall carry out that manifesto pledge." If it becomes a question of the peers against the people, the hon. Member for Colne Valley ought to know which side he should be on.

Mr. Dafydd Wigley (Caernarvon)

I apologise for missing the opening remarks of the Secretary of State and an opportunity to intervene in relation to the comments made thereafter.

I am surprised in many ways that I find myself in total agreement with the almost incredible postulation advanced by the hon. Members for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) and Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor), that by this stage the Government do not want the Bill. They do not want ship repairing, shipbuilding or the aircraft industry nationalised, and are playing for time in order to lose the Bill. They are doing it deliberately for motives best known to themselves.

If the Government wanted to get the Bill through they could have done so last week. They had a perfectly good opportunity to do so then, without jeopardising anything to do with shipbuilding or aircraft. They needed only to accede to the point—made by many hon. Members in all parties, including the Labour Party, at earlier stages of the Bill—that ship repairing should be excluded from the Bill. The Government chose not to do this, and in that way they are jeopardising, according to their own line, the likelihood of continued employment in the aircraft industry in places such as Broughton. The same can be said in regard to shipbuilding.

The Government are now willing to throw it all away because, presumably, on the one hand they have the International Monetary Fund breathing down their neck and telling them what policies they may or may not follow and, on the other, it would seem that they want to be able to go into the next election with a manifesto for the reform of the House of Lords, with an instance that they can readily call to mind of a major Bill being lost as a result of the intervention of the House of Lords. Only in that way can they rally their troops around their tattered flag.

I believe that this is the reality of the present situation. If between now and next Tuesday there is not some compromise on the issue of ship repairing, I am certain that my belief will be confirmed.

Throughout the debate Labour Ministers and Labour Members have spoken of the common ground between shipbuilding and ship repairing. A few minutes ago the hon. Member for Cathcart referred to the fact that six companies may have had an involvement in shipbuilding and ship repairing, and that six did not. Of the 12 that we are discussing in the amendment, which has to do with ship repairing only, at least four have no interface whatsoever with shipbuilding. It is possible that some compromise could be reached over these four companies, but the Government are not willing to discuss compromise. It is all or nothing for them, perhaps in the certainty that they will get nothing and will then be able to blame others for what has happened.

The hon. Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Wainwright) has referred to the possible creation of 1,000 jobs in Port Talbot which required £100 million investment. The Government were not willing to find it. They said that they did not have the money. Yet they are willing to put up £150 million for the Bill. They could get their way at two-thirds of that cost, and provide 1,000 extra jobs if they were less pig-headed about the amendment and would reach a sensible compromise. The people of Port Talbot will lose 1,000 jobs because of the stubbornness of the Government in this matter.

The hon. Member for Tiverton referred to a letter of March of this year that I quoted. I now have one dated 19th October, from Mr. George Walls, general manager of Empresa Hondureña de Vapores, S.A., of New York, in which it says— Should this tragic step materialise, we feel that we would have to take a hard look at our practice of repairing our vessels al Bristol Channel Ship Repairers Ltd. yards, or any British yard". I see that the Minister of State is showing his usual Pavlovian reaction to the mention of Bristol Channel Ship Repairers Limited.

Recalling the words of the Secretary of State in opening the debate, if he was so happy that the employees of Bristol Channel Ship Repairers Limited were so much in favour of nationalisation, why did the Government turn down our amendment asking for a ballot to be taken among the employees? The fact is that the Government know that they would lose such a ballot devastatingly. There has, in fact, been a proposal signed by some 300 employees of that company supporting the removal of the company from the Bill.

If the Bill goes forward, we shall see a sector of industry run down in a devastating way, and probably killed off. If that happens, there will be jobs lost in Wales and elsewhere.

Mr. Roy Hughes (Newport)


Mr. Wigley

No, I shall not give way. I put it that we have—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)

Order. We can have only one hon. Gentleman occupying the Floor at the same time.

Mr. Wigley

I shall not give way. I am trying to be brief. Last week the Minister said that the implications of carrying the amendment were not as serious as they were in regard to other amendments. The Government now have a practical opportunity for a meeting of minds. They can get through those parts of the Bill that they regard as most essential. If the Bill is thrown out, it will show the Government's total hypocrisy and cynicism towards the whole Bill. The fact that they are climbing down on the whole Bill, and do not have the guts to say it publicly, is a reflection of their policy.

Mr. Stan Thorne (Preston, South)

I am sorry that the lion. Member for Barry (Sir R. Gower) has left the Chamber, because he used a very interesting argument. I am glad to note that the hon. Gentleman has now returned, because I am sure that he would like to hear part of my remarks, at any rate.

The hon. Gentleman referred to the question of a percentage vote, and claimed that the 33 per cent. vote, or whatever it was, that the Labour Party received at the last General Election was not a justification for pursuing certain policies, particularly the one that we are debating today.

I recall that since 1945 no Government have been elected with an overall majority in this Chamber. It may also be mentioned that 56 per cent. of the Members of this House were not elected by a majority of votes. The Conservative Government—of which I am sure the hon. Member for Barry was a strong supporter—introduced measures such as the Industrial Relations Act and claimed, when so doing that, that they had a mandate from the electorate to pursue their policy. It seems a little hypocritical for them now to condemn this Government for pursuing a similar tactic. We all have to recognise that this has been done by Governments of both parties over the past 25 years. Therefore, there can be no claim that my right hon. and hon. Friends are acting in any way against what has become custom and practice.

7.0 p.m.

In terms of the argument about public ownership, which was again pursued by the hon. Member for Barry, it seems to me that from the moment that this Bill was first discussed in this House we have been involved in a debate about public ownership. The last-ditch stand by the Opposition and their allies in the House of Lords is intended to prevent ship repairing being taken into public owner- ship. One wonders why they are not taking the same stand about shipbuilding. My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Thomas) made some valuable remarks in this regard, and I think that he was right when he pointed out that at the moment one is relatively profitable and the other is in the doldrums.

I think that we have to look at the basis of the Government's approach to public ownership. The hon. Member for Barry argues that the Government are concerned about monopolies that are outside our control but that we want to establish a monopoly of our own. The reason why we are concerned with monopolies in Britain which are outside our control—though in fact in the main they are oligopolies—is precisely that we wish to do a planning exercise in regard to our economy and that we recognise that if we leave economic forces to the play of the market we shall be prevented from so doing.

Without the exercise of Government control, the monopolies will take decisions on the basis of not what is in the best interests of the people and the needs of the country, which we would seek to do under planning, but what is likely to maximise their profits, be they at home or abroad. It is against that background that we reaffirm our belief that only through public ownership can we get real planning and make the sort of advances in economic terms that we need.

Sir Raymond Gower

In that case, can the hon. Gentleman explain why the most successful companies in the world today are achieving these results without the State monopoly of which he is so fond?

Mr. Thorne

I notice that the hon. Gentleman has not named his most successful countries. Nor does he indicate their basis of success. He may well say, for example, that the United States of America is an extremely powerful and successful country. But I suggest that there is nothing powerful and successful about a country which registers between 7 million and 8 million unemployed. When making statements of that kind, we have to decide the criteria by which we define "successful" economies.

In my view, we shall get a successful economy operating in Britain only when we have large-scale planning at the centre. I look forward to a new form of nationalisation. In Committee, many of us reiterated that we did not want to see a nationalised industry under the control of a centralised bureaucracy with the workers who are responsible for creating the product and the profits being divorced from decision making.

Happily, in this Bill we have certain assurances—some of us believe that they are rather limited—to suggest that, following the launching of the two corporations, we can begin the process of creating a situation in which both blue-collar and white-collar workers will participate in decisions about the future of their industries and, therefore, that we shall eradicate some of the ills existing at present in our nationalised industries, which I recognise and accept. Obviously, mistakes were made when the National Coal Board and other organisations were set up. There were mistakes in the recruitment to the respective boards. The qualifications of some generals and air vice-marshals were not in keeping with the needs of those industries. But the recruits to the two new boards so far appear to have an understanding of the industries in which they are involved, and I think that they can learn from the rank and file in those industries how best to create the sort of industrial democracy which I referred to earlier.

As for Bristol Ship Repairers and the others in the section which the House of Lords wishes to delete from the Bill, I confirm the comments made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-West. During the Committee stage, I received a nice little envelope, appropriately addressed, containing an invitation card which suggested that there might be something worth discussing if I went to a certain luncheon room, had a few drinks, a lunch and a chat, and that in an atmosphere of conviviality we could probably reach some understanding of what was involved. My hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-West referred to that as an implied bribe. In my view, when we talk about inviting councillors in local authorities to meet representatives of the building industry to discuss contracts over drinks and lunches, we are entitled to be a little suspicious. If that is the case at local level, is it not just as true at national level, when representatives of industries come here, using consultants and lobbyists who are professionals—a growing practice in British politics—to cause Members of Parliament to act in such a way that it protects their economic interests. I submit that, as far as we are able in accordance with our lights, our responsibility is to contribute to the making of decisions which meet the needs of the British people.

It is against that background that Government supporters applaud the decision of my right hon. and hon. Friends to go ahead with this Bill as it stands, with no compromises to the other unelected Assembly down the corridor.

Mr. Norman Tebbit (Chingford)

There are one or two respects in which I greatly envy the hon. Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne). The first is his lofty contempt for his creditors. I wish that I had the sauce to go to my bank, tell the manager that he did not know how to run his business and that the place was a shambles, and generally express the contempt that the hon. Gentleman expressed for the United States, and then hold out my hand for the sort of money for which the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has been to the United States recently again to grovel in order to keep this country on its course of spending disaster.

Mr. Thorne

Does not the hon. Gentleman accept that the Chancellor of the Exchequer did not go cap in hand to the IMF with my blessing?

Mr. Tebbit

I should very much like to see the sort of blessing that the right hon. Gentleman would get from the hon. Member for Preston, South if he could not raise another massive loan to keep this country staggering on deeper and deeper in debt.

There is another feature of the remarks of the hon. Member for Preston, South which I find remarkable—his threshold of corruptibility. If he is afraid that his Socialist views will be corrupted by a gin and tonic before lunch, he is a pretty weak-minded fellow. I must confess that I have occasionally accepted a drink from Socialist friends, but that has not changed my opinions in any way. I do not believe that the hon. Member is so easily corrupted by a drink or a meal. What he is really afraid of is that he might get a touch of common sense rammed into his blinkered mind by people who know about the real world. He has successfully kept himself out of this real world by sitting among his friends below the Gangway.

I have a short word to say to the hon. Member for Bristol, North-West (Mr. Thomas). I think that he was wrong in one major respect. He referred to the Dock Work Regulation Bill being destroyed by the House of Lords. He is wrong. The other place gives this House a chance for second thoughts; this House took the opportunity, and destroyed the rotten Bill. It was this House which killed the Bill, or disembowelled it, or whatever the current trendy word is.

Mr. Ron Thomas


Mr. Tebbit

No, I shall not give way. I do not see how the hon. Gentleman can possibly differ from me on that point.

At each stage of this Bill the Government have had narrow majorities, which have tended to get narrower all the time. Then, of course, there was the business of the disputed vote—something in which Labour Members can take no pride. There are two by-elections pending in Government-held seats, both of which would be lost on current form. The Under-Secretary may smirk, but obviously his arithmetic is not too bright. What-ever mandate the Government had when they first introduced this Bill, they are losing it fast, by-election by by-election. This is a lame-duck Government, with lame-duck Ministers in a lame-duck business. They will suffer the fate of all lame ducks—they will get subsidies for a while, if they can find someone to bail them out, but sooner or later they will come to the end of their career and be finished.

If the Government insist on confrontation with the other place—and the other place has rightful powers—and insist on repudiating the will of the people, they must take the consequences. If the Government chose to take the Bill without the provision to nationalise ship repairing they could bring in a short Bill next Session to nationalise the ship repairing industry, if they still had a majority. If they choose to throw this Bill away, they can invoke the Parliament Act and bring back the Bill in December. But I warn them that it would take longer to get that long Bill through than a short one, on the assumption that they have a majority for either. Both the House and the country must come to the same conclusion as the spokesmen for both the Welsh National and Liberal Parties, that if the Government turn down the Lords compromise it will be because they do not want the Bill at all. It will seem that they want to delay the nationalisation process, if not drop it altogether.

In the meantime the Government are using the spiteful policy enunciated by the Minister of State, which will cause massive redundancies in these two industries. There will be no new private investment in the industries while they are under the shadow of nationalisation. At the same time the Government have said that there will be no launching aid for the civil aviation industry until it is nationalised. Thus, the Minister of State has effectively told the world that if the industry is not nationalised it will be wrecked. That is no basis on which any industry, in private or public ownership, can make contracts with the world abroad. The Minister of State wants to close factories and shipyards and put men on the dole by proxy because he lacks the guts to do it himself. But he knows that his policies will lead to these results, inevitably.

7.15 p.m.

I turn briefly to the Bristol Channel Ship Repairers affair. That company has been spoken of at length, and I regret that we must discuss it again tonight, particularly as this suggests that other companies are not so worthy of saving from nationalisation. My hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Sir R. Gower) and the Secretary of State both mentioned the company, and said that shop stewards claimed that 75 per cent. of the Swansea work force wanted the company to be nationalised. If that is so there has been a sudden change of mind, and I wonder why.

I understand that 10 weeks ago workers in that yard tumbled to the fact that in the public sector businesses were run differently from those in the private sector. They realised that once they were in the public sector it did not matter whether they made money or even worked, they would be bailed out. It was discovered that a number of overtime workers had adopted the practice of leaving the yard at 5.30 pm while a few of their mates remained to clock off at 7.30 pm. That is the British Leyland style of overtime. [HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."]

About 100 men were caught at this trick, and they got written warning that they would be sacked if it continued. Their attitude was that it did not matter, because all the workers in the yard would soon be on the Government payroll. An overtime ban was imposed, and as a result an order by Texaco for repairing one of its ships was three weeks late in completion. This order was worth £500,000 and because of the delay Bristol Channel Ship Repairers lost orders for repairing two more Texaco ships, which went to Greece instead. So far, that little exercise has lost us £1 million in overseas earnings, and 70 man-years of work. This is all directly attributable to what is known abroad as "the English disease", but what might more appropriately be called "Kaufman's disease".

Mr. Kaufman

I thought that the hon. Member for Tynemouth (Mr. Trotter) wanted to speak. I awaited his intervention because it would have had a cleansing effect after that last speech.

I am astonished that after all this time any hon. Gentleman should believe a single word which emanates from Bristol Channel Ship Repairers, and read to the House the phoney allegations that that company has produced. The one fact that has been established without any argument at all is that Bristol Channel Ship Repairers sacked workers who supported nationalisation. When the Bill came before the House in July I informed the House of that unfair dismissal procedure. This very week—I realise that I may be accused of rigging the timing to suit the debate—the appeals by Bristol Channel Ship Repairers against the findings of unfair dismissal of four of its employees were dismissed by the Employment Appeals Tribunal, and the company was refused leave to appeal again. That is the Bristol Channel Ship Repairers.

As the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Wigley) is about to intervene I should say to him that I think it is very sad that he has been misled into getting on to the hook of the Bristol Channel Ship Repairers. A few men who have totally misrepresented to him the situation in those yards have alienated him from the true feelings of the Welsh workers who work in them.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Industry has read out the letter that he received from 76 per cent. of the workers in the Swansea yard who have now been vilified by the company because they have had the daring to write to a Minister saying that they support the Government. In exactly the same way I have received telegrams supporting the Government—I received one only last week—from the Transport and Genera] Workers' Union at Bristol Channel Ship Repairers in Cardiff. My right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council has just received a letter, which he has handed to me, from an address in Cardiff. I shall not name the writer because he would undoubtedly be victimised by these people if I did. The letter says: I would like to thank you on behalf of my colleagues in the TGWU in Cardiff dry docks for your continued efforts to get the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill on the statute book. It goes on to say: We are optimistic that the Government will be successful within the next two weeks and that Bristol Channel Ship Repairers will be a part of British Shipbuilders. If hon. Members are talking about the bona fides of letters that either emanate from or are addressed to Bristol Channel Ship Repairers, I would tell them that this worker at Bristol Channel Ship Repairers who wrote to my right hon. Friend the Lord President, said: Today or yesterday a director asked the worker directors and shop stewards to sign a letter of thanks which was to be sent to the House of Lords. I believe the TGWU shop steward refused to sign it. Our concern is that this letter will appear to represent everybody in the dry docks. He goes on to say: A number of us were hoping that our union officers would have organised a party to the House of Commons to support the Government the next time Mr. Bailey is there with his tame poodles. The hon. Member for Caernarvon has been sadly misled. Whenever the workers in Bristol Channel Ship Repairers have dared to resent the victimisation from which they suffer from Mr. Bailey and his colleagues, and the kind of filthy vilification to which the hon. Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) so aptly lent himself—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Caernarvon represents a great constituency, and a Member who stood up against the House of Lords, and he has mixed himself up in matters which are unsavoury and in which he ought not to involve himself.

Mr. Wigley

Will the Minister answer three points? First, of the Bristol Channel Ship Repairers employees, 280 out of 300-odd are still opposed to the Government. Will he also comment on why the Government refused a referendum among the employees, if the Government are so convinced of the Tightness of their case? Second, before coming to the House I lived in the Glamorgan area and I knew many employees on the shop floor of the company—before I knew anyone in the management—and I know and respect their judgment. Third—a point on which I wanted to intervene earlier—in relation to the case reported in the Press this week I must tell the Minister that the case was lost because the presentation made to the judge was on points of facts, and he would accept only points of law.

Mr. Kaufman

I shall never challenge the hon. Gentleman's own experience. I will challenge any fact that he quotes if he says that it has been supplied to him by Bristol Channel Ship Repairers, because the company's word cannot be believed on this matter.

The hon. Gentleman says that over 200 workers have signed a letter. I am sure that they have—because they are made to sign these letters. We have information as to how it is done, how workers in those yards are asked to sign letters and the letters must be taken to the management for the management to post, so that it is certain that they are posted. We have a great deal of information about what takes place there.

The hon. Gentleman has mixed himself up in something unworthy of him. I say "unworthy" because I have respect for him. Even when I have never been able to persuade him to agree with me I have had respect for him. He can get mixed up in cleaner things than that.

Mr. Clement Freud (Isle of Ely)

Will the Minister explain why on 10th April 1975 he voted on Second Reading of the Referendum Bill in favour of a referendum but did not avail himself of the opportunity that he had of having a referendum among these workers?

Mr. Kaufman

There was a poll about whether Bristol Channel Ship Repairers should be nationalised—in Cardiff, South-East at the last two General Elections.

Mr. Paul Hawkins (Norfolk, South-West)

Oh really!

Mr. Kaufman

Yes. Mr. Christopher Bailey of Bristol Channel Ship Repairers offered himself in the first election as an independent Liberal candidate and got 3,000 votes. In the following election he offered himself as Liberal candidate and got 8,000 votes, coming third. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister beat him by a very large majority. That was the verdict of the people in Cardiff about Bristol Channel Ship Repairers. Liberal Members are under some kind of impression that Mr. Bailey is a Liberal. He is whatever suits him. Therefore, Liberal Members have got on the same unsavoury hook.

I would say this for SNP Members: they are here out of sympathy. They are doing some kind of exchange deal with their Plaid Cymru colleagues. That, at least, is nice of them. But they have not got mixed up in these nasty things and I am sure they are cleaner for it.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Cath-cart (Mr. Taylor) asked a series of perfectly ludicrous questions, most of which do not deserve an answer. However, he answered one of his questions himself. He asked how he could illustrate that the shipbuilding and ship repairing industries were integrated in some way. He then muddled up various qualifications of his own, and sneaked in the fact that he is the paid adviser to a body called the Shipbuilders and Repairers National Association. Why is there such an association? Why does it have a joint organisation that pays him to represent it in the House? It is very interesting that there is not a separate shipbuilders' organisation and a separate ship repairers' organisation. But no, they go together—and the hon. Gentleman is paid to represent them. He, of all people, asks what link there is between them. It is quite extraordinary.

The hon. Member for Newbury (Mr. McNair-Wilson) asked a question to which he clearly deserves an answer. He asked about the remarks made by Admiral Sir Anthony Griffin about the way in which shipbuilding yards were to operate and asked whether ship repairing yards were to operate in the same way. The answer is that under the provision in Clause 5, which I have read out, they will be treated identically. I shall read out the relevant provision once again—and certainly read the words which the hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) claims that I omitted. [Interruption.] I prefer to answer the hon. Member for Newbury myself, if the hon. Member for Tiverton will permit me. What we say is that British Shipbuilders shall, forthwith after the shipbuilding industry vesting date and subsequently from time to time when it considers it appropriate or the Secretary of State so requires—

  1. (a) undertake a review of the affairs of the Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiaries for the purposes—
    1. (i) of determining how the management of the activities of the Corporation and those subsidiaries can most efficiently be organised, and what steps are necessary in order effectively to promote industrial democracy in its undertakings and the undertakings of its wholly owned subsidiaries; and
    2. (ii) "—
this is the part that is directly relevant to the hon. Gentleman's question— without prejudice to the generality of subparagraph (i) above, of seeking the largest degree, consistent with the proper discharge of its functions, of decentralisation of management and decision-taking to separate profit centres in the shipbuilding and ship-repairing areas of Great Britain, and in particular of Scotland and Wales and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, in relation to sales, pricing, production, the formulation and implementation of investment programmes, manpower planning and management, industrial relations, and responsibility for financial performance. What we are doing is putting the shipbuilding yards and the ship repairing yards on all fours. All of them will have the kind of independence of operation that is provided for in this subsection.

7.30 p.m.

Further on in the clause, the hon. Member will see that the Board of British Shipbuilders will be required to make a report to the Secretary of State upon the Corporation's conclusions arising from the review and the action that it proposes to take in the light of those conclusions. The report on the first review will have to be made to the Secretary of State before such date, no more than six months after the relevant vesting date. So what Sir Anthony Griffin said about shipbuilding refers in toto to ship repairing also. There will be the same kind of operation.

The message that goes to the House of Lords from this Government, and which we ask the House of Commons to endorse in a few moments is clear and simple. This Government were elected on a clear pledge to nationalise shipbuilding, ship-repairing, marine engineering, and airframe manufacture.

This Bill covers all four industries. The House of Commons has three times reaffirmed that this should be so after separate debates in Standing Committee, on Report, and on Lords amendments.

The Government are firm in their insistence that the Bill should reach the statute book with all four industries still included. There have been no deals and there will be no deals. If this Bill falls through the action of the House of Lords, it will be for the House of Lords to carry full responsibility of the disastrous consequences to the industries affected that will undoubtedly and inevitably ensue.

For two years or more the aircraft industry world-wide has been in deepening depression. Under private ownership there has been no serious move to take decisions on the next round of major civil aircraft projects: with the approach of public ownership that has changed quickly and decisively in the last three or four months. Within a short time—perhaps within months—the United Kingdom aircraft industry and the United Kingdom Government are going to have to decide which international collaborative projects to join, and negotiate terms. We are going to have to demonstrate the viability of our industry as a partner. No one doubts its technical viability. But its organisational viability, and its financial ability to provide the massive sums necessary for participation, are in doubt.

Indeed, hon. Members opposite have accused us of saying that we will not provide the money for private enterprise to be enterprising with. These matters have been thrown into doubt wilfully and knowingly by the House of Lords.

If nationalisation and the consequent amalgamation are delayed for a year, the international collaborative decisions will have been taken before vesting. The negotiating position of the British companies will be immeasurably weakened by four factors: the fact that they remain disunited; the organisational uncertainty which, I state as a fact, already concerns potential overseas partners; the improbability of the companies or their shareholders putting up the whole or the major proportion of the cost of such participation; and the extent to which the Government may feel unjustified in providing a significant part of that cost by way of launching aid while the companies remain disunited and in private ownership.

Those factors taken together make it likely that, if this Bill does not proceed, if the House of Lords persists in blocking it by its insistence on these amendments, the British aircraft industry will wholly or partly miss out on the next round of civil aircraft collaboration, and that many thousands of jobs will be lost, permanently, in consequence. That is what the House of Lords is taking on itself.

In shipbuilding, the circumstances are different but the result will be the same—literally many thousands of jeopardised jobs, in merchant shipbuilding, marine engine building and ship repair.

The solution of the serious problems facing merchant shipbuilding in the immediate future can be arrived at in an orderly way only through public ownership, which will enable a planned and coherent strategy to be applied, instead of a process of disorderly, unplanned closures with last-minute appeals to the Government for rescue. There will be grave social and economic consequences, in some of the worst areas for employment.

Without public ownership the Government will be powerless to control the timing and extent of these collapses. In some cases there might be a case for assistance, but the case for assisting a fragmented industry in private ownership, with poor prospects of being handled in a coherent way, is very different from the case for financing a Corporation which owns and controls the main firms in the industry and is handling them within a comprehensive strategy, agreed with the companies and with the unions.

In ship repairing, too, there are some firms whose position is serious. The same considerations apply. Lloyd's List of today's date says: Mr. George Arnold, chairman of the Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Unions on the Tyne described as 'farcical' a situation where the Lords could stop ship repairing going into public ownership when everyone had worked towards this for the past two years. This is a man speaking for workers in ship repairing. According to Lloyd's List, he said that Fragmented ownership did not help the industry in the present difficult time. The quotation goes on: Mr. John Elliott, works convenor at the North Shields repair yard of Swan Hunter Shiprepairers, spoke of the yards being in a bad enough state. The Government are committed to this legislation—on aircraft and guided weapons, on shipbuilding, ship repair and marine engineering. I call on the House to support us in the Lobby.

Mr. Neville Trotter (Tynemouth)

I had not intended to intervene in the debate—[An HON. MEMBER: "Well, do not do so, then."] I am delighted to intervene because the Minister's comments were utterly unsatisfactory. He spent most of his time dealing with the affairs of one yard in South Wales. Surely he should have concentrated on the whole principle of nationalising ship repairing.

This is a matter of the gravest concern on Tyneside. It is one of the principal industries in the North-East and in my constituency we have the largest ship repair yard in the country: There can be only one basis for the future of ship repairing in this country, and that must be efficiency. It is simply a question of under which form of ownership we will achieve the most efficient ship repair industry—private or public.

I ask hon. Members opposite to give me one example from the existing State ownership of industry to suggest that our ship repairers will have a better future under public ownership than under private—

Mr. Arthur Blenkinsop (South Shields)

North-East Shiprepairers, which is publicly owned now.

Mr. Trotter

I am glad of that intervention, because that company has just closed down Greenwells dry dock and thrown several hundred men out of work. That is how State ownership has helped so far in the North-East. I believe that some union leaders in Sunderland said at the time that if any private yard had behaved in that way the whole of the Wear would have come out on strike. That is an example of public ownership, of the State as employer.

The efficiency of the British ship repair yards compares very well at the moment with the yards of our competitors in North-West Europe. We hear much criticism of our yards, but that fact is overlooked by Ministers and their supporters. The reports and reviews of ship repairing have shown that, although there are problems, those problems are shared by our competitors and that the record of the British ship repairing industry in recent years is better than that of its competitors in North-West Europe.

This is an international industry. There is no captive market for ship repairing. It is not like the gas industry or the railways. There are alternatives. If one wants to buy gas in this country, one must go to the nationalised gas corporation, whether it is efficient or not. But if one is a shipowner, one can go to the Dutch, German or French yards. There is no more international industry than this. Efficiency will decide where ships are repaired in future, whether in North Shields or South Wales on our side of the Channel or in Hamburg or Rotterdam on the other side.

The numbers of ships involved are also completely different from those involved in shipbuilding. In one yard on the Tyne perhaps 300 ships are repaired in a year, with a vast number of ships coming in for relatively short periods of work. They come in at very short notice and dry docks are booked up only a few weeks ahead—an arrangement which requires great flexibility from the management of the yards. One feature of State ownership is the bureaucracy and lack of flexibility in the management of those enterprises. It is hard to think of an industry which is less suitable for national control and management than the ship repair industry. At the end of the day we shall see empty yards, repetitions of the closures of yards such as Greenwells.

There are no State-owned ship repair yards in Europe. None of our competitors regard the State ownership of the ship repair industry as essential. The Government's main reason for this proposal is based on dogma. It is not based on a belief that it will increase efficiency but on Clause 4 of the Labour Party's constitution. The proposal is one further step down the path towards the complete State control of the whole of British industry.

The people who work in the ship repair industry are being deluded into believing that under State ownership they will have access to a bottomless purse and continuous employment. But Greenwells should be an example to them of what a delusion that is. Efficiency alone will decide whether there is continuous employment.

What do the customers say? The General Council of British Shipping has not publicly expressed dismay at the thought of the State ownership of the shipbuilding industry. Many of the heads of British shipping companies are against that proposal in principle but they have not thought it right to interfere. But, as users, they have expressed their complete opposition to the public ownership of the ship repair industry. I suggest that in this case the customer is right. The livelihoods of the people in our ship repair yards depend upon an efficiency that will be better obtained if we agree with the Lords in their amendment.

Mr. Tom King

We have returned to a familiar subject. It is particularly familiar to those of my hon. Friends who have had the misfortune to listen today to the speech of the Minister of State, which was his usual standard. I thought that I had heard everything from him during the passage of the Bill but I have never heard a more pernicious or squalid speech than that which he made today. He is willing to tell everyone that other people should not be trusted but we have listened to the things that he has had to produce at a late stage to help him with his case. He has produced a variety of last minute letters and allegations. I cannot demolish his argument as effectively as did the hon. Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Wigley) with his personal experience of the industry.

The Minister of State demeans the office which he holds and dignity of his Ministry. In the previous debate he grossly insulted a Queen's Counsel and, by any standards, made a lame withdrawal. Once again he has maligned someone who has no opportunity to reply. The continuous abuse of parliamentary privilege by a Minister of the Crown is a disgrace even to this Government.

Against that background the cynical attitude which the Government are adopting towards the Bill can be better understood. The Minister of State said that the House of Lords was entirely responsible for whether the aircraft and shipbuilding industries are nationalised. Nothing could be further from the truth.

7.45 p.m.

We have fought the Bill every inch of the way. We have been determined to prevent the nationalisation of these industries. But we have to accept that in the case of aircraft and shipbuilding we have failed in our efforts. It lies within the Government's power to nationalise those industries—[Interruption.] The Secretary of State might listen to what I am saying instead of barking. He should save his voice. I know that he has been ill but I could understand if he regrets being here today for reasons other than health.

It lies within his power to take these industries into public ownership. In his speech he used the same phrase as the Minister of State in the House of Lords. He said that there was an urgent need in respect of the aircraft industry and in respect of the shipbuilding industry. The

Secretary of State can check the speech made in the House of Lords and that which he made in the Commons when he justified the nationalisation of the shipbuilding and aircraft industries. Neither he nor the Minister of State named ship repairing. They said that the effect on the aerospace and shipbuilding industries would be catastrophic. They did not mention ship repairing.

They have said that these industries are at risk. That is their judgment, not ours. The Secretary of State is prepared to take that risk by taking the action that he is taking today. He did not say that the ship repair industry was facing a catastrophic situation.

The judgment in this case has been made by the House of Lords—not by Tory peers alone but by the great rank of opinion in that House. The most savage things said about ship repairing in this Bill were said by the noble Lord, Lord Shin well. I am not allowed to quote his words verbatim but he made comments on the particular ocean into which could jump those who criticised his view that great harm would be done to the country and the people who worked in the industries if ship repairing were nationalised.

The Government have not made their case. It lies within their power to achieve what they regard as their crucial objective. But they are cynically, deliberately and in an act of pique over a relatively small section of one industry, deciding to put it all at risk. That is the action that they will take if they insist on disagreeing with the Lords amendments. Let there be no doubt who is taking that responsibility and who is making the judgment.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes, 280, Noes 278.

Division No. 420.] AYES [7.48 p.m.
Abse, Leo Bean, R. E. Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)
Allaun, Frank Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)
Anderson, Donald Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Brown, Ronald (Hackney S)
Armstrong, Ernest Bidwell, Sydney Buchan, Norman
Ashley, Jack Bishop, E. S. Buchanan, Richard
Ashton, Joe Blenkinsop, Arthur Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Boardman, H. Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)
Atkinson, Norman Booth, Rt Hon Albert Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Campbell, Ian
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Boyden, James (B1sh Auck) Canavan, Dennis
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Bradley, Tom Cant, R. B.
Bates, Alf Bray, Dr Jeremy Carmichael, Neil
Carter, Ray Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Perry, Ernest
Carter-Jones, Lewis Hughes, Roy (Newport) Phipps, Dr Colin
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Hunter, Adam Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Clemitson, Ivor Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Price, William (Rugby)
Cohen, Stanley Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Radice, Giles
Coleman, Donald Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Colquhoun, Ms Maureen Janner, Greville Richardson, Miss Joe
Concannon, J. D. Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Conlan, Bernard Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Stechford) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Corbett, Robin John, Brynmor Robinson, Geoffrey
Cowans, Harry Johnson, James (Hull West) Roderick, Caerwyn
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Craigen, J. M. (Maryhill) Jones, Barry (East Flint) Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton)
Crawshaw, Richard Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rooker, J. W.
Cronin, John Kaufman, Gerald Roper, John
Crosland, Rt Hon Anthony Kelley, Richard Rose, Paul B.
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Kilroy-Silk, Robert Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Cryer, Bob Kinnock, Nell Rowlands, Ted
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Lambie, David Ryman, John
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Lamborn, Harry Sandelson, Neville
Davidson, Arthur Lamond, James Sedgemore, Brian
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Selby, Harry
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) Leadbitter, Ted Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lee, John Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-u-Lyne)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Deakins, Eric Lever, Rt Hon Harold Short. Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Lipton, Marcus Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Litterick, Tom Silkin. Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Dempsey, James Lomas, Kenneth Sillars, James
Doig, Peter Loyden, Eddie Silverman, Julius
Dormand, J. D. Luard, Evan Skinner, Dennis
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lyon, Alexander (York) Small, William
Duffy, A. E. P. Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Dunn, James A. Mabon, Dr J. Dickson Snape, Peter
Dunnett, Jack McCartney, Hugh Spearing. Nigel
Edge, Geoff McDonald, Dr Oonagh Spriggs, Leslie
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) McElhone, Frank Stallard, A. W.
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) McGuire, Michael (Ince) Stoddart, David
English, Michael MacKenzie, Gregor Stott, Roger
Ennals, David Mackintosh, John P. Strang, Gavin
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Maclennan, Robert Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) McNamara, Kevin Swain, Thomas
Faulds, Andrew Madden, Max Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Magee, Bryan Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Maguire. Frank (Fermanagh) Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W) Mahon, Simon Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Flannery, Martin Mallalieu, J. P. W. Thorns, Stan (Preston South)
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Marks, Kenneth Tierney, Sydney
Ford, Ben Marquand, David Tinn, James
Forrester, John Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Tomlinson, John
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Torney, Tom
Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Maynard, Miss Joan Urwin, T. W.
Freeson, Reginald Meacher, Michael Varley. Rt Hon Eric G.
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Walden, Brian (B'ham, L'dyw'd)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Mendelson, John Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
George, Bruce Mikardo, Ian Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Gilbert, Dr John Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Watkins, David
Ginsburg, David Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Watkinson. John
Golding, John Miller, Mrs Millie (Ilford N) Weetch, Ken
Gould, Bryan Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Weitzman, David
Gourlay, Harry Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Wellbeloved, James
Graham, Ted Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) While, Frank R. (Bury)
Grant, George (Morpeth) Moyle, Roland White, James (Pollok)
Gram, John (Islington C) Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Whitehead, Phillip
Grocott, Bruce Newens, Stanley Whitlock, William
Hardy, Peter Noble, Mike Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Harrison, Waller (Wakefield) Oakes, Gordon Williams, Alan (Swansea W)
Hart, Rt Hon Judith Ogden, Eric Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy O'Halloran, Michael Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Hatton, Frank Orbach, Maurice Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Hayman, Mrs Helene Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Ovenden, John Wise, Mrs Audrey
Heffer, Eric S. Owen, Rt Hon Dr David Woodall, Alec
Hooley, Frank Padley, Waller Woof, Robert
Horam, John Palmer, Arthur Wrigglesworth, Ian
Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Park, George Young, David (Bolton E)
Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Parker, John FELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Huckfield, Les Parry, Robert Mr. James Hamilton and
Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Pavitt, Laurie Mr. Joseph Harper
Pendry, Tom
Adley, Robert Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Aitken, Jonathan Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)
Alison, Michael Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Mills, Peter
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Glyn, Dr Alan Miscampbell, Norman
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Moate, Roger
Awdry, Daniel Goodlad, Alastair Molyneaux, James
Bain, Mrs Margaret Gorst, John Monro, Hector
Baker, Kenneth Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Montgomery, Fergus
Banks, Robert Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Moore, John (Croydon C)
Beith, A. J. Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Bell, Ronald Gray, Hamish Morgan, Geraint
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Grieve, Percy Morris, Michael (Northampton S)
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Griffiths, Eldon Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Berry, Hon Anthony Grimond, Rt Hon J. Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)
Biffen, John Grist, Ian Mudd, David
Biggs-Davison, John Grylls, Michael Nelson, Anthony
Blaker, Peter Hall, Sir John Neubert, Michael
Body, Richard Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Newton, Tony
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Nott, John
Bottomley, Peter Hampson, Dr Keith Onslow, Cranley
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Hannam, John Oppenheim, Mrs Sally
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Page, John (Harrow West)
Bradford, Rev Robert Hastings, Stephen Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Braine, Sir Bernard Havers, Sir Michael Page, Richard (Workington)
Brittan, Leon Hawkins, Paul Paisley, Rev Ian
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Hayhoe, Barney Pardoe, John
Brotherton, Michael Heath, Rt Hon Edward Parkinson, Cecil
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Henderson, Douglas Pattie, Geoffrey
Bryan, Sir Paul Heseltine, Michael Penhaligon, David
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Hicks, Robert Percival, Ian
Buck, Antony Higgins, Terence L. Peyton, Rt Hon John
Budgen, Nick Hodgson, Robin Pink, R. Bonner
Bulmer, Esmond Holland, Philip Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Burden, F. A. Hordern, Peter Price, David (Eastleigh)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Howell, David (Guildford) Prior, Rt Hon James
Carlisle, Mark Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Carson, John Hunt, David (Wirral) Raison, Timothy
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Hunt, John (Bromley) Rathbone, Tim
Channon, Paul Hurd, Douglas Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Churchill, W. S. Hutchison, Michael Clark Rees-Davies, W. R.
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Reid, George
Clark, William (Croydon S) James, David Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd) Ridsdale, Julian
Clegg, Walter Jessel, Toby Rifkind, Malcolm
Cockcroft, John Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Cope, John Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Cordle, John H. Jopling Michael Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Cormack, Patrick Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Costain, A. P. Kaberry, Sir Donald Ross, William (Londonderry)
Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E) Kershaw, Anthony Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Crawford, Douglas Kilfedder, James Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Critchley, Julian Kimball, Marcus Royle, Sir Anthony
Crowder, F. P. King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Sainsbury, Tim
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) King, Tom (Bridgwater) St. John-Stevas, Norman
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Kitson, Sir Timothy Scott, Nicholas
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Knox, David Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lamont, Norman Shelton, William (Streatham)
Drayson, Burnaby Langford-Holt, Sir John Shepherd, Colin
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Latham, Michael (Melton) Shersby, Michael
Dunlop, John Lawrence, Ivan Silvester, Fred
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Lawson, Nigel Sims, Roger
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Le Marchant, Spencer Sinclair, Sir George
Elliott, Sir William Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Skeet, T. H. H.
Emery, Peter Lloyd, Ian Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Loveridge, John Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) McAdden, Sir Stephen Speed, Keith
Eyre, Reginald MacCormick, Iain Spence, John
Fairbairn, Nicholas McCrindle, Robert Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Fairgrieve, Russell McCusker, H. Sproat, Iain
Farr, John Macfarlane, Neil Stanbrook, Ivor
Fell, Anthony MacGregor, John Stanley, John
Finsberg, Geoffrey Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Fisher, Sir Nigel McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles McNair-Wilson, p. (New Forest) Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)
Fookes, Miss Janet Madel, David Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Forman, Nigel Marten, Neil Stokes, John
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Mates, Michael Tapsell, Peter
Fox, Marcus Mather, Carol Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Maude, Angus Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Freud, Clement Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Tebbit, Norman
Fry, Peter Mawby, Ray Temple-Morris, Peter
Galbraith, Hon T. G. D. Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Mayhew, Patrick Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S) Wakeham, John Wigley, Dafydd
Thompson, George Walder, David (Clitheroe) Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon) Walker, Rt Hon p. (Worcester) Winterton, Nicholas
Townsend, Cyril D. Walters, Dennis Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Trotter, Neville Warren, Kenneth Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Tugendhat, Christopher Watt, Hamish Younger, Hon George
van Straubenzee, W. R. Wealherill, Bernard
Vaughan, Dr Gerard Wells, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Viggers, Peter Welsh, Andrew Mr. Jim Lester and
Wainwright, Richard (Coine V) Whitelaw, Rt Hon William Mr. John Corrie.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords Amendments Nos. 2 to 4 disagreed to.

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