HC Deb 14 February 1978 vol 944 cc373-93

As amended, again considered.

Question again proposed, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Latham

As I was saying before those procedural issues were dealt with by you, Mr. Speaker, the House has a very important role to play, and it is well described in New Clause 5.

As for the role of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, it is quite some time since I was involved in studying these matters of constitutional history, but I remember the very important role that the Judicial Com- mittee played in respect of the development of the constitution of Canada and in the development of the Commonwealth of Australia, as also with regard to the devolved Parliament of Northern Ireland. In these instances the Judicial Committee had a very important role, which it played with great distinction and authority, producing in the process a great many leading cases.

If we are concerned with something as important as a new form of government for Scotland, there is no better body than the Judicial Committee to make decisions in that regard. I am at a complete loss to understand why Ministers should want to resist a clause of this kind. My hon. Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow), in a characteristically trenchant and valuable contribution to the discussions, put his finger directly on the issue, which is the discretionary powers of Ministers and the likelihood that they will not report back to the House in any effective way.

I am sorry that the Ministers on the Treasury Bench seem to regard this as an amusing matter. Certainly the country does not regard it in that way. Large firms go on to a secret black list and they are robbed of their livelihood in secret by Star Chamber courts. This is not regarded by the country in any way as an amusing matter. We are discussing in the Bill an attempt to restrict the discretionary power of Ministers.

Under Clause 19(1)(a), the question of the legislative competence of the Assembly can be a matter for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. That was originally not intended by the then Lord President of the Council, now Lord Glenamara. It is intended by the present Lord President of the Council as an attempt to buy off the minority parties in this House, most of whose members are not present. I am talking about the Liberal Party, the third arm of the Government. No one was in any doubt about buying off the right hon. Member for Western. Isles (Mr. Stewart) in regard to devolution—

Mr. Gow

Will my hon. Friend remind the House that, happily, the noble Lord, Lord Glenamara, will have the opportunity of recording his approval of the new clause if by chance this House should not approve it?

Mr. Latham

My hon. Friend has put his finger on a most important issue—the rights of another place, under the constitution, to give lull discussion to the Bill, and in particular to those parts of it which have been guillotined in this House and not properly discussed by this House. No doubt the noble Lord, Lord Glenamara, will play a full part in the discussions in another place on this issue, and many of my noble Friends in the Conservative Party and many Labour Lords will no doubt do so as well.

If it is considered to be suitable for the Privy Council to discuss the legislative competence of the Assembly with regard to the vires of any particular Bill, why should not we in 1978, when we are concerned with oven diplomacy—with open government openly arrived at, as I believe Woodrow Wilson put it—have questions referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council by a resolution of either House? That must be right in 1978.

My right hon. and hon. Friends have done a signal service to the House in bringing these new clauses before it. I am sure that several of us will want to commend these new clauses to the House.

Mr. Speaker

Mr. Ivor Rees.

Mr. Peter Rees (Dover and Deal)

I am happy to respond under whatever Christian name you may allocate to me for the moment, Mr. Speaker.

When I read New Clauses 4 and 5 I thought they were so eminently sensible, so reasonable and so carefully drafted that I could not conceive that there would be any serious resistance to them from the Government Front Bench. I thought that no assistance from me would be necessary to carry them into law—[Interruption.] I am encouraged by the plaudits from the other side to think that perhaps I have a modest role to play in this debate. [HON. MEMBERS: "A significant role."] Modest up to now, but it may become significant. I wait to see.

To understand the new clauses one must refer back to Clause 19, because there is a significant distinction between subsection 1(a) and subsection 1(b). From a cursory reading—it may well be that I shall be corrected by the Lord Advocate who has a keener, sharper legal eye than many of us—it would seem that the Government feel that matters that are of domestic competence and domestic legal significance should be referred by the Minister—whether the Secretary of State or an Under-Secretary of State—to the Privy Council when they feel there may be some conflict between the jurisdiction of this House and the Scottish Assembly. That one can well understand.

If I may presume to say so, I applaud the caution and the constitutionality of this particular provision. It is right that these matters should not be decided by the discretion or the mere lay eye of a Secretary of State, however distinguished, because there may be fine matters of construction that have to be determined. Whatever merits we may have in this House—I for one would claim great merits—I do not feel that we can always bring a clear, unclouded, judicial eye to bear on these fine matters.

Whatever we may do upstairs in Standing Committee, I think that these are matters to be left to the courts. But surprisingly, when we come to subsection (1)(b), it appears that with regard to matters which to my simple way of thinking are of even greater importance, our Community obligations and international duties—if there be the possibility of conflict between what the Assembly chooses to enact and what the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, or some other high Minister of State, should regard as an international obligation of this country—these can be determined in his discretion. They may be matters as fine as, if not finer than, those that must as a necessity be referred to the Privy Council. I am personally at a loss to see why this distinction should have been introduced in this clause.

As I understand it, the new clauses were designed to draw attention tot his distinction and perhaps to put right an anomaly that may have crept in through inadvertence, though I am always reluctant to ascribe inadvertence to the Lord Advocate or to the Minister because I know how assiduously they have supported this Bill even though it may actually be distasteful to them. Therefore, I look around to find some sound reason for this distinction and some found reason why the Government are resisting these eminently sensible new clauses.

I can find only three. I must say that none of them reflects any credit on the Adminstration. The first must be that with regard to our external or international obligations—perhaps to the Community or to other countries with which we are in friendly alliance—they are of less importance than these fine matters of domestic disputation. Of course, judging from the conduct of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs—and more recently of the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food—that could well be the view that the Government take of our external obligations. I do not want to be led into these areas of foreign affairs, important though they may be. I suspect, Mr. Speaker, that you would rule me out of order if I ventured into them. But this is perhaps one discreditable reason for the resistance which the Government are offering.

Sir David Renton

It is with some hesitation that I venture to intervene in my hon. and learned Friend's interesting speech, but has not he overlooked the fact that international obligations, now that we are in the EEC, can in fact become commensurate with law applicable in this country?

Mr. Rees

I am obliged to my right hon. and learned Friend. He reinforces my argument. There is a vast area of Community obligations which are directly applicable and which may be a matter for consideration by our courts. It is equally true that some of these matters may have to be taken to the European Court. But, be that as it may, I should have thought that these were matters on which it would be most important to have a ruling of the Privy Council.

In case those right hon. and hon. Members who represent the Scottish National Party in this House take exception to the new clauses, I suggest to them that it could be that a Secretary of State who was not well disposed to some extreme measure introduced by them and their hon. Friends in some Scottish Assembly might block it on the pretext that it conflicted with some international obligations. What in those circumstances would be their remedy? It may be that they could force a debate in this House. It may conceivably be that they could mount litigation under Clause 61. But these are difficult and devious matters. A much simpler remedy is to hand, and it is to accept the new clauses.

I hope that, before a Division is called, we shall hear the voice of the Scottish National Party and be able to judge whether right hon. and hon. Members in that party have pondered these clauses as closely as my right hon. and hon. Friends have done.

That is the first pretext that I find, and I do not find it a very honourable one.

The next pretext is even more specious and even less attractive. We know, alas, from too many debates and too many interventions that there is a pathological distrust among Government supporters of the judiciary, whether it be south or north of the border. We have heard all too often that judges are drawn from too narrow an economic and social reservoir.

Mr. James Lamond

Hear, hear.

Mr. Rees

My suspicions are amply confirmed by the sedentary intervention of the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Lamond), who perhaps will seek to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker, in order to amplify his suspicions. But I have no doubt that we shall hear only a parrot-like repetition of what we have heard on too many occasions from Government supporters who sit below the Gangway.

Mr. Nicholas Fairbairn (Kinross and West Perthshire)

It may interest Government supporters to know that perhaps the judge of the greatest celebration in Scotland is Lord Braxfield, who was the son of a blacksmith. He probably held the views which were least attractive to them. When he sentenced to death his best friend, with whom he used to play chess, he said "Well, that's checkmate noo, Wullie."

Mr. Rees

We are always grateful for the interventions of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fairbairn). However, as I am singularly ignorant of the background and the record of that distinguished member of the Court of Session, it would be perhaps straying a little wide of your patience, Mr. Speaker, if I attempted to develop that intervention any further.

I was about to say that I should hesitate to remind the Treasury Bench which distinguished member of the Cabinet referred to a trigger happy judicial finger", but I hardly feel that the Lord Advocate or the Minister of State, who are both distinguished members of the legal profession north of the border, and may have honourable ambitions to be included in the Court of Session, nourish such suspicions about the judiciary. I hope that in due course they will join the Bench and add distinction to its deliberations. Whether they will sentence their best friends to death or to long terms of penal servitude remains to be seen. I am not called upon to speculate on that tonight. That could be the second possible reason. The Government have this paranoic suspicion, they see a twitching forest of judicial fingers through which the provisions of this Bill have to thread their way. They should know better than to succumb to that kind of fear.

10.15 p.m.

The third reason is even less creditable. They hope to reserve another large area for the exercise of ministerial discretion. My hon. Friends say "Hear, hear", and in doing so they encourage me to think that my suspicions in this direction are not as unworthy as I first thought they might be.

I am permitted to make these suggestions because of the two unhappy experiences in this House last week and again this week. We on this side of the House were unhappy because we were not able to persuade the House that the measures proposed were as destructive of constitutional propriety and judicial rectitude as we thought. Ministers were unhappy, too, perhaps a little less than we were, because the verdicts were not so overwhelmingly confirmative of their aspirations as they would have liked.

We are entitled to ask them about this area of ministerial discretion that they wish to reserve to themselves. I ask the Scottish National Party representatives whether they are happy about this considerable area of ministerial discretion in a very delicate area. Should this be reserved for the Secretary of State? The SNP's choicest measures might be blocked on the pretext—perhaps a specious one—that they are offending against the international obligations of this country.

I hope that my suspicions will be proved unfounded and unworthy of my hon. Friends and myself. However there is a considerable onus on the Government Front Bench to reassure the House and not just give the same reply as they gave to the debates last week and this week.

Mr. A. P. Costain (Folkestone and Hythe)

It will not have escaped your notice, Mr. Speaker, that in the whole progress of debates on the Scotland Bill I have been like the proverbial schoolboy—seen and not heard. I have been following the debates with a great deal of interest but basically my two concerns have been whether the Bill will affect the unity of the United Kingdom, and whether, by dividing and ruling, it will give Ministers special power and privileges.

For that reason I intervene on this new clause. I consider it a matter of extreme importance. One of the dangers in devolution is the whole idea of Scotland being something different from England. This creates a problem which makes the Scottish nationalist Members laugh but for generations they have had the benefit of the unity of the United Kingdom.

The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) has been heard and seen a lot in these debates. He spoke on this new clause but he left me in some doubt whether he was in favour of it. I am basically in favour of the new clause because I believe that the Privy Council has done so much to ease problems, particularly in the Commonwealth.

Mr. Dalyell

May I ask the hon. Gentleman this serious question: is the Privy Council now to be used as a quasi-constitutional court?

Mr. Costain

I do not necessarily say that it should be used in that way, but it needs to be an effective arbitrator in respect of various obligations which the United Kingdom possesses. I was brought up in an industry in which every clause contained a provision for arbitration. In this case we have a clause that will give us the benefit of such a provision.

One of my objections to devolution as set out in the Bill is that there will be a tendency for some hon. Members to regard Scotland as something that is quite different and away from the United Kingdom. They see this matter in terms of power politics and they think, for example, of a Prime Minister of Scotland. I believe that such an attitude will weaken the unity of the United Kingdom.

Therefore, we need to have a quick way of reaching a decision rather than to reply on some new court in Europe or some other outside body. Therefore, I believe that on this clause we should accept the advice which has been given to us by the Opposition Front Bench.

Mr. Fairbairn

This clause raises important matters of principle. It is expected that the Bill will raise major matters related to powers and rights. The first half of Clause 19 relates to the activities of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. It is a departure in Scotland that any matter of this sort involving power should be remitted to that Committee. That body has been chosen as the appointed court to sort out disputes on power, and that aspect no doubt will be raised by those who seek to bring out of the Assembly matters related to independence. They will seek to make political capital out of it.

I should like to inform the House of the fact that SNP Members in this House have a political director. He was on Grampian Television recently and said that the referendum should be on the basis that those who vote—and this was his instruction to party workers—"Yes" are voting for Scotland, whereas those who vote "No" were traitors. It is an extremely dangerous matter if these problems are to be dealt with on the basis of football match loyalties

It will be a dangerous constitutional concept if football match loyalties have to be decided by the Judical Committee of the Privy Council. I fear that whatever that body decides, it will inevitably be said to be prejudiced by the judges. Perhaps the fact that the father-in-law of the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) is the distinguished Lord Justice Clerk in Scotland will be called in aid as an example of prejudice. There will inevitably be created the concept that judges are demonstrating an attitude or political loyalty in favour or against devolution and, by God, we are already in difficulty when we have Lord Kilbrandon on one side of the argument.

It is a dangerous principle to leave half the clause to judges and the other half to the discretion of the Secretary of State so that he can exercise in his supreme discretion what judges are not permitted to exercise in theirs. That division of functions raises the most dangerous principles.

It is essential that we should understand that the Bill raises constitutional, judicial and ministerial schisms that will inevitably break apart this country. They will be played upon on purpose by those who wish this to happen and it will be impossible for those who do not want to see the break up of the United Kingdom to prevent the schism and the arguments being made along those lines. I hope that the House will support the new clause.

Mr. John Smith

With his customary skill, the hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby (Mr. Brittan) deployed, in a fairly short time, arguments on a large number of the amendments that are grouped for discussion. Some were referred to obliquely in Committee when the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) managed to stray a little on one amendment and I was able to stray equally to reply to some of the points he made.

There have been many speeches in this debate and some of them have not been precisely to the point, as was evident when the hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby argued that the European Convention on Human Rights should be incorporated directly into the Bill. He is very much a Bill of Rights man and wishes to see a larger function for the courts in our constitution. That is a perfectly respectable view. I disagree with it, but the hon. Gentleman puts it with cogency and force on every opportunity and that shone through some of his remarks.

The hon. Gentlemen rightly stressed that New Clause 4 is probably the most important of the clauses we are discussing. He and the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) argued that if we were allowing a role for the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in deciding questions of vires, we should take it wider and apply that principle to our international and European Community obligations as well.

My hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) is constantly worried about the role of the Judicial Committee, but it is a simple matter that vires issues should be decided by a court. My hon. Friend must be aware that the Judicial Committee performed such a task for the Canadian constitution from 1867 to 1949. There is all the difference in the world between a court expressing an opinion on political matters, which I would deplore, and a court deciding question of vires. It is a simple proposition that the Judicial Committee should decide whether a proposed Bill falls within the powers conferred upon the Scottish Assembly by the Scotland Act. As was said earlier, the Judicial Committee performed such a role in relation to the Stormont Parliament.

10.30 p.m.

Mr. Fairbairn

The Minister of State is raising an important matter of principle. How can it possibly be that the Committee could pronounce, for instance, on whether certain powers in respect of education or housing were or were not within the Act without it being accused of having involved itself in the political arena?

Mr. Smith

I think that it would be possible for it to do that. If a Bill to do with education sought to extend or contain powers not within the scope of the Scotland Bill, the matter would be referred to the Judicial Committee by the United Kingdom Government. The Committee would determine whether the Bill fell within such powers. For example, if there were a provision for university education in Scotland—as the Bill stands, the Assembly would have no powers to deal with such matters—that provision would be declared ultra vires, and that would be an end of the matter.

We are discussing the proposition put forward by the hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby that we should put the United Kingdom's international obligations before a domestic British court. The Government's view—this is why we make a distinction between vires matters of a domestic sort and international obligations—is that it would not be suitable or desirable to put these matters before a British court.

The United Kingdom Government will remain responsible for international obligations post-devolution. Therefore, the United Kingdom will have the responsibility of fulfilling whatever are the international obligations even in devolved areas. If there come to be European Community obligations relating to education or health, for example, which I suppose is a possibility, these are matters for which the United Kingdom Government will remain responsible. Indeed, if they are to be taken to European or international courts, it will be the United Kingdom Government that is so taken. Therefore, it seemed appropriate that the United Kingdom Government should have the power of veto over any Bills coming forward from the Scottish Assembly that might possibly infringe the United Kingdom's commitment. That is because the United Kingdom will be answerable both to any other body—

Sir Frederic Bennett


Mr. Peter Rees


Mr. Smith

The United Kingdom will have to be answerable. It cannot escape its legal liability to conform to international obligations into which it has entered, or to whatever Community obligations it has undertaken.

I give way to the hon. and learned Member for Dover and Deal (Mr. Rees).

Mr. Peter Rees

I appreciate that the Minister of State is making a serious argument. No one would attempt to argue against his thesis that the Government will remain responsible for their international obligations. However, we are not concerned with that argument in dealing with the new clauses. There will inevitably be fine questions whether an Assembly measure does or does not infringe our international responsibilities, but those questions should surely be determined in the dispassionate atmosphere of a court of law rather than by an exercise of ministerial judgment, however elevated and however distinguished. Surely these high matters are essentially for the courts. They should surely be determined by the courts in the first instance, or by reference to the European Court. They are not matters for ministerial discretion or ministerial judgment.

Mr. Smith

I beg to differ from the hon. and learned Gentleman. I believe that they are matters of ministerial judgment and for accountability via Ministers to this Parliament. As the hon. and learned Gentleman is well aware, international obligations are of many characters and of many different types. They are not all closely defined. They are not all closely defined in legal terms. Some of them range from an international nod and a wink to a carefully defined treaty carrying particular obligations.

Sir David Renton

Surely the hon. Gentleman is aware that in the High Court in the Strand the impact of EEC obligations, laws and regulations upon our own law is being decided by the courts week after week. Those issues are not being decided by Ministers.

Mr. Smith

With great respect to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, we are dealing with a different matter—namely, a Bill coming from the Scottish Assembly, not the impact of EEC regulations on a particular case before a domestic court, be it in England or in any other part of the United Kingdom. That is a different matter.

The right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire said that the Government had changed their mind about how to deal with vires questions. That is true. I do not apologise for it. It was a wise decision by the Government to change their mind on that matter. It seems, that listening to hon. Members in the House and to other opinions, it is a matter not for criticism but for such modified congratulation as the right hon. and learned Gentleman managed to confer upon us. Therefore, I think that we are basically right to leave vires questions to the Judicial Committee.

There is a distinction between international obligations and what might be called domestic issues—Bills dealing with education, health and so on—on which the Scottish Assembly might seek to stray beyond the bounds of its competence. We would be asking the Judicial Committee to make a determination on those matters when it might not be clear what our international obligations are. But our preference is that that should be a matter for the United Kingdom Government, who are answerable to the House of Commons.

Other matters have been raised—for example, whether the House itself should put matters before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The Bill places a duty on the Secretary of State to scrutinise Bills. We expect that he will seek the advice of Law Officers in any case where he is concerned about a vires question and will form an opinion in the light of that advice. The Scottish Assembly will be advised by its own Law Officers on what is or is not within its powers. The number of occasions on which that is likely to arise is limited. That was the experience at Stormont.

Sir Frederic Bennett

The Minister of State has possibly misunderstood some of the arguments. He said that Ministers will take the opinion of the Law Officers. As far as I can see, there will be no method by which we could test whether the Minister in such matters has acted ultra vires. The Minister has ruled that out. He said that Ministers will seek the opinion of the Law Officers, but at no stage has he said that the Scottish Assembly and others must be subject to certain rules. The hon. Gentleman has not admitted that Ministers, in the exercise of their discretion, will be subject to any form of judicial test.

Mr. Smith

We are dealing with the vires of Scottish Assembly Bills, not the activities of United Kingdom Ministers. The United Kingdom Minister who exercises the discretion is accountable to the House of Commons. If the House felt that there was a vires question proper to be referred to the Judicial Committee and the Secretary of State did not act in that way, hon. Members have many ways of drawing the matter to his attention. The House of Commons is keen on drawing the attention of Ministers to many matters.

I am not sure that political debate and a majority voting on a vires question is always the best way to deal with such a matter. Ministers are subject to political pressure if it appears to the House that they are not doing what they should be doing.

Mr. Brittan

Will the Minister concede that he is being less than his usual fair self in putting the matter that way? There is no question of the House deciding a vires question under the new clause but only if its deciding whether a question should be referred to the Judicial Committee for judicial determination.

Mr. Smith

I thought that was what I was saying. If not, I apologise. I do not know whether I put it incorrectly or whether the hon. Gentleman did not understand me correctly. I certainly was not suggesting that the House of Commons would decide the matter. It is clear from the terms of the amendment that it is a question whether a matter should be referred and who should refer it. I think it more desirable that a member of the Government rather than the House of Commons should refer the matter.

The hon. Member for Cleveland and Whitby asked whether there should be a specified time within which the Secretary of State should put forward a Bill for Royal Assent following a determination by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Indeed, he suggests in Amendment No. 14 that such a Bill must be put forward within 28 days. We believe such a specific provision to be unnecessary. If the Secretary of State deliberately delayed putting forward a Bill for Royal Assent after the Judicial Committee had made a determination on the matter or matters referred to it, he would be answerable to public opinion and to the House. We think that 28 days is a restrictive period. There might be simple practical circumstances which make it impossible—for example, because the Judicial Committee may not be able to arrange a meeting within the time stipulated. I do not accept that there is a need to put any particular time on this.

The important question contained in the amendments is whether international and Community obligations are to be referred to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. This is a matter of judgment.

Mr. Fairbairn

I apologise for intervening, but this is an important matter. Under Clause 19 (1) (b), assuming the Secretary of State obtains his advice from the Lord Advocate—whose judgment I have always regarded as infallable—how are we or anyone else to test it when there is no provision that it should be tested?

Mr. Smith

The Secretary of State will be under a statutory duty which no doubt he will exercise properly.

We draw a distinction between the few cases that involve European and international obligations and other situations. The farmer raises a different problem because it is not always clear what our international obligations are. There are difficulties in referring United Kingdom obligations to a domestic court. The European Court and the International Court of Justice are of a different character. If the hon and learned Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fairbairn) were in Government he would find many compelling reasons why it would not be wise to do this.

Mr. Stanbrook

If there is one court that cannot be described as a domestic court it is the Judicial Committee, which has been dealing with matters involving the Commonwealth. Even the House of Lords does not sit in the capacity of the highest court in the whole of this country. It sits in two capacities—as the highest court for Scotland and for the rest of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Smith

It is true that the Judicial Committee has in the past, and still has, a wide-ranging international role. But it is a diminishing role. In this case what would be tested would be a United Kingdom objection to a Scottish Assembly Bill. That would be regarded as a domestic matter. In that respect the Judicial Committee should be regarded as a domestic court.

It is a matter of judgment whether we should take it a stage further and refer additional matters to the Judicial Committee. It would be simpler but not wiser. We must keep this distinction between international and Commnunity obligations—which have a different character—and other matters.

We have had an interesting debate and I respect the cogency of the arguments. I believe that the Judicial Committee provison in the Bill is right. Vires questions of an ordinary kind should be referred to the Judicial Committee. It will certainly increase the role of the judiciary, but it will be a different role. I do not

believe that it will be an obtrusion of politics into the court because the court will have to reach decisions in a narrow category. This is within its tradition.

Whether a Bill falls within the Act will be a matter of construction. It would be unwise to embroil the Judicial Committee. For those reasons I advise the House to reject the new clause.

10.45 p.m.

Mr. Victor Goodhew (St. Albans)

Surely the Minister understands that there are a number of his right hon. Friends who are, to say the least, not sympathetic towards the European Community. If there is a Secretary of State who is not sympathetic to the European Community, might he not decide not to point out to the House or to anybody else that a Bill going through the Scottish Assembly is not compatible with our obligations under the Treaty?

Mr. Smith

The hon. Gentleman must allow that Ministers carry out their statutory functions and ministerial duties and do not allow any of these preconceptions to interfere with the obligations laid upon them by their office. That applies to the members of any Government. Irrespective of the political complexion of the Government, I am sure that the Minister concerned would carry out the statutory duty laid upon him under the Bill.

It is because we see a difference in character between international and European obligations and ordinary vires questions that we think it would be wise for the House to accept the Bill as it stands and not to accept the new Clause.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 216, Noes 242.

Division No. 111] AYES [10.46 p.m.
Adley, Robert Bottomley, Peter Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Alison, Michael Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Clegg, Walter
Arnold, Tom Braine, Sir Bernard Cockroft, John
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Brittan, Leon Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)
Atkinson, David (Bournemouth, East) Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Cope, John
Banks, Robert Brooke, Peter Costain, A. P.
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Brotherton, Michael Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Dean, Paul (N Somerset)
Benyon, W. Buchanan-Smith, Alick Dodsworth Geoffrey
Berry, Hon Anthony Buck, Antony Drayson, Burnaby
Biffen, John Budgen, Nick du Cann, RI Hon Edward
Biggs-Davison, John Bulmer, Esmono Dunlop, John
Blaker, Peter Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Durant, Tony
Body, Richard Carlisle, Mark Dykes, Hugh
Boscawen, Hon Robert Chalker, Mrs Lynda Eden, Rt Hon Sir John
Eyre, Reginald Knight, Mrs Jill Rathbone, Tim
Fairbairn, Nicholas Knox, David Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Fairgrieve, Russell Lamont, Norman Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Farr, John Latham, Michael (Melton) Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Finsberg, Geoffrey Lawrence, Ivan Rhodes James, R.
Fisher, Sir Nigel Lawson, Nigel Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Lester, Jim (Beeston) Ridsdale, Julian
Fookes, Miss Janet Lloyd, Ian Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Forman, Nigel Loveridge, John Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Luce, Richard Ross, William (Londonderry)
Fox, Marcus McCrindle, Robert Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) McCusker, H. Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Galbraith, Hon T. G. D. Macfarlane, Neil Royle, Sir Anthony
Gardiner, George (Reigate) MacGregor, John Sainsbury, Tim
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) MacKay, Andrew (Stechford) Scott, Nicholas
Gilmour, Rt Hon Ian (Chesham) Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Shelton, William (Streatham)
Godber, Rt Hon Joseph McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Shepherd, Colin
Goodhew, Victor Madel, David Shersby, Michael
Goodlad, Alastair Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Sims, Roger
Gorst, John Marten, Neil Sinclair, Sir George
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Mates, Michael Skeet, T. H. H.
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Mather, Carol Smith, Timothy John (Ashfield)
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Mawby, Ray Speed, Keith
Grieve, Percy Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Spence, John
Griffiths, Eldon Mayhew, Patrick Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Meyer, Sir Anthony Sproat, Iain
Grist, Ian Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Stainton, Keith
Grylls, Michael Mills, Peter Stanbrook, Ivor
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Stanley, John
Hampson, Dr Keith Moate, Roger Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Hannam, John Molyneaux, James Stokes, John
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Monro, Hector Stradling Thomas, J.
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Montgomery, Fergus Tapsell, Peter
Haselhurst, Alan Moore, John (Croydon C) Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Hastings, Stephen More, Jasper (Ludlow) Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Morgan, Geraint Tebbit, Norman
Hawkins, Paul Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Temple-Morris, Peter
Hayhoe, Barney Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Heseltine, Michael Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Townsend, Cyril D.
Hicks, Robert Mudd, David Trotter, Neville
Hodgson, Robin Neave, Airey van Straubenzee, W. R.
Holland, Philip Nelson, Anthony Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Hordern, Peter Neubert, Michael Viggers, Peter
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Newton, Tony Wakeham, John
Hunt, David (Wirral) Nott, John Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Onslow, Cranley Weatherill, Bernard
Hurd, Douglas Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Wells, John
Hutchison, Michael Clark Page, Richard (Workington) Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Parkinson, Cecil Wiggin, Jerry
James, David Pattie, Geoffrey Winterton, Nicholas
Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst' d&W' df'd) Percival, Ian Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Johnson Smith, G (E Grinstead) Peyton, Rt Hon John Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Jopling, Michael Pink, R. Bonner Younger, Hon George
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Kaberry, Sir Donald Prentice, Rt Hon Reg TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Kimball, Marcus Price, David (Eastleigh) Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Pym, Rt Hon Francis Lord James Douglas-Hamilton.
King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Allaun, Frank Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Davies, Rt Hon Denzil
Andarson, Donald Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Davies, Ifor (Gower)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Campbell, Ian Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)
Armstrong, Ernest Canavan, Dennis Deakins, Eric
Ashton, Joe Cant, R. B. Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Carmichael, Neil Dempsey, James
Atkinson, Norman Carter-Jones, Lewis Doig, Peter
Bain, Mrs Margaret Cartwright, John Dormand, J. D.
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Douglas-Mann, Bruce
Bates, Alf Clemitson, Ivor Dunnett, Jack
Bean, R. E. Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Eadie, Alex
Beith, A. J. Cohen, Stanley Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Coleman, Donald English, Michael
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Concannon, Rt Hon John Ennals, Rt Hon David
Blenkinsop, Arthur Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)
Boardman, H. Craigen, Jim (Maryhill) Ewing, Harry (Stirling)
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Crawshaw, Richard Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Flannery, Martin
Bray, Dr Jeremy Cryer, Bob Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Ford, Ben
Buchan, Norman Dalyell, Tam Forrester, John
Buchanan, Richard Davidson, Arthur Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald McNamara, Kevin Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Madden, Max Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Magee, Bryan Skinner, Dennis
George, Bruce Mallalieu, J. P. W. Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Marks, Kenneth Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Ginsburg, David Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Snape, Peter
Golding, John Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Spearing, Nigel
Gould, Bryan Maynard, Miss Joan Spriggs, Leslie
Gourlay, Harry Meacher, Michael Stallard, A. W.
Grant, George (Morpeth) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Steel, Rt Hon David
Grocott, Bruce Mendelson, John Stewart, Rt Hon Donald
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Hardy, Peter Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Stoddart, David
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Mitchell, Austin Stott, Roger
Hart, Rt Hon Judith Molloy, William Strang, Gavin
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Moonman, Eric Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Hayman, Mrs Helene Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Morris, Rt Hon Charles R. Swain, Thomas
Henderson, Douglas Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Hooley, Frank Moyle, Roland Thomas, Defydd (Merioneth)
Horam, John Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Newens, Stanley Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Noble, Mike Thompson, George
Huckfield, Les Oakes, Gordon Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Ogden, Eric Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) O' Halloran, Michael Tierney, Sydney
Hunter, Adam Orbach, Maurice Tinn, James
Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Ovenden, John Tomlinson, John
Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Palmer, Arthur Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Park, George Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Janner, Greville Parker, John Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Parry, Robert Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
John, Brynmor Pendry, Tom Ward, Michael
Johnson, James (Hull West) Penhaligon, David Watkins, David
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Perry, Ernest Watt, Hamish
Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Phipps, Dr Colin Weetch, Ken
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Price, William (Rugby) Weitzman, David
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Radice, Giles Wellbeloved, James
Judd, Frank Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) Welsh, Andrew
Kaufman, Gerald Roberts, Albert (Normanton) White, Frank R. (Bury)
Kerr, Russell Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) White, James (Pollok)
Kinnock, Neil Robinson, Geoffrey Whitehead, Phillip
Lambie, David Roderick, Caerwyn Whitlock, William
Lamborn, Harry Rodgers, George (Chorley) Wigley, Dafydd
Lamond, James Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Roper, John Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Litterick, Tom Rose, Paul B. Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Lyon, Alexander (York) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Rose, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
McCartney, Hugh Rowlands, Ted Wise, Mrs Audrey
MacCormick, Iain Ryman, John Woodall, Alec
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Sandelson, Neville Woof, Robert
McElhone, Frank Sedgemore, Brian Young, David (Bolton E)
MacFarquhar, Roderick Sever, John
MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mackintosh, John P. Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Mr. Joseph Harper and
Maclennan, Robert Shore, Rt Hon Peter Mr. Ted Graham.
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)

Question accordingly negatived.

It being after Eleven o'clock, further consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned pursuant to Order [16th November].

Bill, as amended, to be further considered tomorrow.