HC Deb 06 July 1978 vol 953 cc677-747

Lords amendment: No. 1, in page 1, line 8, at end insert: the members of which shall be elected by that system of proportional voting specified under this Act.

Mr. John Smith

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

Mr. Speaker

With this we are to take Lords amendments nos. 2, 4, 7 to 10, 15 to 17, 101 and 114.

Mr. Smith

As I think the House will be aware, this group of amendments provides for elections to the Scottish Assembly to be by the additional Member system of proportional representation. Since we have less time to debate this matter than we once thought, I am sure the House will not wish me to embark on a long discussion on the detail of the system, which has been explained to us on many occasions by its proponents.

I remind the House that it has debated and voted on a similar proposition in relation to the devolved Assemblies on three occasions. On each occasion, the House rejected a system of proportional representation. Nevertheless, the other place, by an equally clear majority, decided in favour of the additional Member system, so this House has the opportunity of considering the matter yet again. In the earlier debates to which I referred Ministers explained why the Government had not proposed a system of proportional representation.

Sir David Renton (Huntingdonshire)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. A conversation is being conducted on the Government Benches and I cannot hear the Minister of State.

Mr. Speaker

I am sure that hon. Members will have heard that point of order.

Mr. Smith

As I was saying, in previous debates Minister explained why the Government had not proposed a system of proportional representation for the Asesmbly elections, and the House will not want me to set out those arguments again. The Government's view is clearly known and has been made clear in previous debates. In view of the shortness of the time available for the debate, I shall say no more on the merits of the matter.

However, I make clear to the House that there is a free vote on these amendments. The Government reached the view that it was appropriate to allow a free vote on this occasion. I understand that the Conservative Party is allowing a free vote, and that may be the view taken by other political parties. For hon. Members on this side of the House, I confirm that there is a free vote, but the Government's recommendation is that the amendment should not be accepted.

Mr. Pym

I appreciate the extreme brevity of the Minister of State, but, as he said, these amendments were carried in another place by a very large majority indeed. This House will return to the subject with renewed interest in the light of the surprisingly strong degree of support that these amendments received in another place.

The House knows that I have a great deal of sympathy with proportional representation and the ideas behind it. For Westminster it would be a drastic change, and I think we all know that the House would not agree to it by quite a wide margin. However, we are considering proportional representation in relation not to Westminster but, to an altogether new Assembly, the political circumstances surrounding which would be entirely different. Not only that, but the Asesmbly would also have an entirely different role. It does not follow, therefore, that what is thought to be inappropriate as an electoral system for Westminster is necessarily inappropriate for the proposed Assembly.

In Scotland, the political landscape is dominated not by two political parties but by three parties—fairly equal in size and enjoying broadly the same degree of support—plus a number of minor parties. In such circumstances, the most important claim of the advocates of proportional representation is that no one party can gain a majority of seats on a minority of votes.

Of course, under any system, a party which gains 50 per cent. of the votes will probably secure a majority of seats, but that degree of support is not often forthcoming. [Interruption.] I hope that the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston (Mr. Kerr) will stop his permanent muttering, to the irritation of everybody. He is not one of those hon. Members who have often attended debates on the Scotland Bill. I do not know whether it is something to do with an earlier incident that calls him to his place now.

In any election confined to Scotland, such an outcome would be extremely unlikely, to say the least. So the question is whether it is acceptable or wise to create a situation in the Assembly in which a relatively small proportion of the votes would be allowed to secure a majorty of seats for one party.

It seems to me that there is a risk that, through the operation of this process under the first-past-the-post system, one party might achieve a dominant position in the Assembly and maintain it for some years while not commanding anything like a commensurate degree of support in the country. In my opinion, such an outcome is undesirable and unnecessary, especially for an Assembly with the type of responsibilities that are laid down in the Bill. Compromises can, and should, be sought in devolved areas.

Nobody can tell whether any such domination by one party will occur, but the Lords amendment would obviate it. One argument used by the Solicitor-General for Scotland in another place was that the Bill is an experiment and it might be a mistake to add a further novelty to it—to pile one experiment upon another. Although there is already more than one experiment in the Bill, I think that there is some force in his argument.

However, the alternative also has to be considered. If we adhere to the firstpast-the-post system, the consequences must be accepted. One of those is that the party which gains the majority at seats may well claim that it is fully entitled to implement its programme. Two points emerge from that. The first was made by my noble Friend Lord Home of the Hirsel in another place when he expressed his anxiety and concern at the practice which has arisen whereby a Government elected on a minority vote have interpreted their majority in such a way as to entitle them to impose policies and undertake actions which clearly are not what the majority of people have voted for. That is the tyranny argument. so to speak—using a majority of seats from a minority of votes to implement a programme with which most of the electorate does not agree.

The second point is that the claim of any party to carry through its programme, by virtue of a majority of seats obviously must apply to all parties. In this case, one of the parties wants to make a drastic change to the constitution of the United Kingdom. It would therefore be feasible under the first-past-the-post system for a minority of Scottish votes to yield a statistically possible result that would give the Scottish National Party a majority of seats. It would then regard itself as being entitled to set out towards its target of independence as best it might.

I am not suggesting that that party has indicated any intention that could be remotely described as UDI, but it would be entitled, at least by the letter of the law, to use that Assembly majority, if it obtained it, to try to take Scotland towards the party's coal of independence.

Mr. George Reid (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)

Is it not much to the credit of the Scottish National Party that, even when the party was riding high in the polls, with 35 per cent. or 36 per cent. of votes, the SNP consistentl r supported electoral reform?

Mr. Pym

I take that point, but I think that what I have just said is accurate.

Mr. Dalyell

Was not Lord Home under a fundamental misunderstanding when he said: I do not think, therefore, that they are the kind of Bills which ought to lead to great and serious clashes between parties".—[Official Report, House of Lords, 4th April 1978; Vol. 390, c. 56.] He draws the analogy between what he thinks an Assembly will be and the Scottish Grand Committee here. But we are talking about a Government in Edinburgh. Does not the noble Lord display a fundamental misunderstanding of the change as between the Scottish Grand Committee and a Scottish Assembly Government?

Mr. Pym

If I may say so, that was slightly wide of the point that I was making. My noble Friend said that it seemed to him that there would be three or four political parties in Scotland, more or less equally balanced, and a system of proportional representation would, in his view, give a fairer result.

The situation that I have been describing is a possible match to what is unfor tunately now happening in Quebec, where we know that 40 per cent. of the votes has yielded the Parti Quebecois 70 per cent. of the seats. In Scotland, at the last election to this Parliament, the Labour Party polled 36 per cent. of the votes and obtained 58 per cent. of the Scottish seats—not so extreme an example as Quebec, but in that direction. If this group of amendments were accepted, that possibility could not exist.

In a previous debate on this subject, I stressed the importance of making a constitutional change of this kind, if it is to be made, on its own merits as an improvement in our constitution, and not for the purpose of affecting one party or as a device for worsting or effecting any particular point of view. I adhere to that still, but I point out that the amendment would have some consequences which, in the circumstances of Scotland, are desirable.

I have sustained over the months a strong criticism of the Government for their handling of devolution. They look as though they are in the process of securing a measure of success in obtaining the advantage they want for their own party, but at a price that I think will prove very high for the United Kingdom. I have argued consistently for the need for a broad measure of support for any constitutional change. I believe that the same consideration applies here.

All our recent debates on proportional representation have been in relation to the devolution Bills. I do not think that the election of a Scottish Assembly by PR would frustrate the Government's intention; nor do I see how it could in any way materially affect how the Government see the Bill operating. It is not in any sense a wrecking amendment. The Solicitor-General for Scotland said in another place that it would cause no delay whatever in its operation and implementation.

But the House has to vote yet again on a particular method of proportional voting. A particular group of amendments is before us. There is uncertainty about which method of proportional voting should be used, and about the details of it. There has been too little discussion about the matter, and no debate about it in the House so far.

What is more, when we have debated the issue, we have had before us a different scheme, at least in detail, on each occasion.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

I am absolutely fascinated by this, because I thought that the right hon. Gentleman and many of his right hon. Friends were opposed to the principle of proportional representation. Is he now in support of it? I am absolutely confused. I do not know where the Opposition stand on this issue. The right hon. Gentleman says "quite good", "quite bad" and so on. Where does he stand?

4.45 p.m.

Mr. Pym

If the hon. Gentleman will allow me to conclude my speech, I shall give him my answer. We on this side of the House have a free vote on the matter, as do Members on the Government side. Furthermore, we are discussing not the principle of proportional representation but a group of Lords amendments to a particular Bill. I am relating the argument to the effect that I think these amendments would have, if passed, upon the proposed Assembly and the Bill.

Therefore, I do not think that it is entirely fair of the hon. Gentleman to think that I should say what I feel about the broad, general question of proportional representation. In fact, I have just made the point that it has never been debated in this House. It has been debated only in relation to the Scotland and Wales Bill. I notice that the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh), who has been prominent in these debates on each occasion, is strikingly absent on this occasion. However, I make no criticism.

Perhaps I may now be allowed to continue with my speech, because many hon. Members want to speak, and there are other measures to get on to.

On each occasion, the amendments put before this House have been different. On the Scotland and Wales Bill the proposal was for an Assembly for Scotland consisting of 71 directly elected Members, plus 29 added Members. On the Committee stage of this Bill, the proposal was for 100 directly elected Members—two from some larger constituencies and one from the smaller constituencies—plus 50 added Members. This amendment is similar, but the numbers are altered to 101 directly elected Members plus 50 added Members. It is true that the same type of proportional voting is envisaged—namely, the additional Member system—but its advocates might have been wiser to sort out the details of their scheme first and then to stick to it. It would have been easier for the House.

A criticism of this particular form of voting is that it places rather heavy emphasis on party lists. I think that quite a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House feel a great deal of reluctance about engaging in a system which places greater stress upon party lists. However, I do not think that the method of election in any way goes to the heart of the Bill.

The Government pretended to think that proportional voting was right for elections to the European Assembly. They undertook to put a choice to the House, and they did so. They offered a choice between the first-past-the-post system and the regional list. The latter was so unsatisfactory and unacceptable that the House rejected it. Again, there were no prior discussions. There should have been, because in all probability the second set of elections to the European Assembly will take place under proportional voting. The point is that the Government thought that that system was the right voting method for that Assembly. Therefore, they cannot be opposed to proportional representation on principle.

As the right hon. Gentleman said, hon. Members on his side of the House have a free vote. So have we, and the House will decide. My own position is simple. Despite my reservations about the method, which I have expressed to the House, I do not intend to oppose it. I see no overriding disadvantage in it, and I do not think that it is an issue that is crucial to the Bill. In no way would the acceptance of this group of amendments frustrate either the implementation of the Bill or its operation. It is for the House to decide whether this thoroughly bad Bill will work less badly or more badly if this method is adopted, or whether perhaps it will not make a significant degree of difference.

Mr. Donald Dewar (Glasgow, Garscadden)

I am one of those Members who cannot describe themselves as battle-scarred veterans of the Bill. I have said not a word about the Bill in the House, because I simply was not here to say it. Therefore, I have not been involved in debates on proportional representation.

Although I have given some thought to the matter, and have possibly acquired a certain knowledge of the various systems that have been proposed, I have never taken a definite or hard stand one way or the other. However, election to this House and the reality of a free vote concentrates the mind wonderfully on these matters. I shall have to vote tonight, and I intend—in some ways rather reluctantly—to vote against the additional Member system proposed in this group of amendments.

I say that not as someone who is instinctively, root and branch, hostile to the idea of electoral reform or, necessarily, to some form of proportional representation. I think that that would be the height of arrogance. Clearly, if we look at electoral statistics and recent returns we see a strong basic case for electoral reform of which every hon. Member is aware and which was referred to by the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym).

In Scotland at the last election my own party gained 36 per cent. of the vote and nigh on 60 per cent. of the seats, so clearly there is a case to answer. It would be extremely stupid not to accept that. We cannot afford just to say that we stay with tradition because it is traditional, or even, tempting though it is, that we stay with tradition because it suits us in the short term. After all, none of us knows what the long term will hold.

I know that many hon. Members wish to contribute to the debate, so I shall explain only briefly why I shall be voting in the "No" Lobby tonight. First, as the right hon. Gentleman said, we are not necessarily taking final decisions about proportional representation per se—however, wherever and whenever it is proposed. We have a specific additional member scheme represented by this batch of amendments, and it is on that specific scheme that the House is to pass judgment.

There are and must be worries about the fragmentation of party politics and the encouragement of coalitions. I see the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) raising his eyes in horror, but I make that general point because it has particular application to the scheme embodied in the Lords amendments. I think that the best case against this scheme—it may have been referred to in previous debates, and it may be referred to again—was made in Lord Drumalbyn's speech, reported at column 51 of the Official Report of the first day's Committee proceedings in the other place.

What Lord Drumalbyn tried to do was to translate the October 1974 election returns in Scotland as he thought they would apply in his 150-seat or so Scottish Assembly. He concluded—I have no reason to doubt his arithmetic—that if we had had his additional Member seat Assembly in October 1974 we should have had 58 Labour Members, 36 Tory Members, 45 SNP Members and 11 Liberal Members. The outstanding feature of that particular mix is that the Lib-Lab pact would not have worked. The Labour and Liberal totals combined would not command a majority. For a workable majority, there would have to be an SNP-Labour alliance, a Tory-Labour alliance or a Tory-SNP alliance. Somehow we should have to get two of the big three running in harness to form an Administration.

In the reality of politics—we are talking about a system which we are asked to put into real practice in the immediate future—we would be producing an Assembly that would be totally ungovernable and unworkable. That weighs heavily with me and should, I think, weigh heavily with the House when it considers this scheme. It would be particularly damaging because in the normal state of affairs we are looking at a fixed-term Assembly.

I am aware that there is an emergency fallback clause allowing an early election if two-thirds of the Assembly will it. But we are working within the ambit of a fixed-term Assembly, and we should be constructing electoral systems for fixed terms. It seems, to me at least, that the recipe which their Lordships have produced would be thoroughly counter-productive and alarming.

Mr. Malcolm Rifkind (Edinburgh, Pentlands)

If the hon. Gentleman believes that in his scenario the Assembly would be unworkable and ungovernable, what will he do if under our present electoral system the distribution of seats in the Assembly produces exactly the same result?

Mr. Dewar

That would be unfortunate. We should have to live with it. The hon. Gentleman should not laugh. Whatever system is constructed, there is a possibility of that unfortunate situation emerging. I am saying that the possibility is converted into a probability if we go for the system that their Lordships are recommending to the House.

There is an enormous quantitative difference between a possibility and a probability, and I am sure it is one that the hon. Member appreciates. I do not wish to sound too complacent, but I believe that there are virtues in the certainties of the present system and I do not accept the Royal Commission's argument, much stressed in the other place, that certainty was less important in a subordinate legislature.

We shall be dealing in the Scottish Assembly with the crunch issues of domestic Scottish politics—education and housing—issues that worry the Scottish electorate. It is not fair to say that in some way we need not worry about coalitions because it will be a nice cosy consensus discussion with no real party fighting. The real Scottish party infighting will take place in the Assembly, and in those circumstances the proposal for an additional Member system is unfortunate.

I wish now to deal briefly with another major consideration. It has been rehearsed again and again, but I must state my position. I refer to the "thin end of the wedge" argument. The right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire said that we are looking at an Assembly alone and it is therefore not fair to say that, if there is PR in the Assembly, we must also have it at Westminster. That is a plausible position, but it is a difficult one to hold over a period. One can hold the line now, but in three or four years it will be more difficult to hold.

Europe can be distinguished—even Stormont could be distinguished in years gone by—but if on the mainland of Great Britain, in a legislature subordinate to the House of Commons, PR is introduced, one will be open to the argument that if it is good for Scotland it is good for Britain. It would be difficult to defeat that line of reasoning. I do not go for that argument, although it is one beloved of many hon. Members who argue for PR. I do not accept that there is an enormous difference between Scottish politics and English politics because in England there is a two-party system and in Scotland a three-party system.

Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)

Surely the hon. Gentleman, as a pragmatic and reasonable man, will accept that if it was demonstrated that it was good for Scotland it might well be good for Britain, too. What is wrong with that?

Mr. Dewar

That would be so if one accepted that it would be good for Scotland. My argument, as the hon. Member will have gathered, is that as a matter of balance it would not be good for Scotland. The reasons why many people wish to see it introduced into Scotland seem basically unsound, and I might carry the hon. Member on that. But Conservatives, in particular, say that we must not have PR in case we have a Parti Québecois situation where 70 per cent. of the seats are won by 40 per cent. of the votes.

I am totally opposed to introducing a system of electoral reform where one of the main arguments in favour of which is fear of success of a particular party, however much I may personally oppose it. That is an extraordinarily dangerous piece of political sophistry and one that I would stand against. I believe that if we produce the right policies and promote them properly—the Scotland Bill is an important part of the Government's policy in Scotland—we shall beat the Scottish National Party at the polling booths under the present system. We should not try to construct a system to ensure that the nationalists cannot gain power by winning the argument in Scotland.

In the age of referendums—we have all made our contribution on constitutional issues—it is much less implausible to say that the first-past-the-post system might produce the endorsement of separatism by the back door. As happened in Quebec, if the SNP obtained a majority of seats in the House of Commons, it would be the first to accept that it would have to take that issue on a referendum to the people of Scotland, as we did on Europe and as we are doing on devolution. That particular scare is one of the basic reasons why people vote for proportional representation in Scotland. Saying that we do not want it in England is much less impressive, given that we have established constitutional referendums over the past year or two.

That argument is also basically unfair to the Liberal Party. I do not accept the thesis that in England the Liberals will not be an impressive third party. The Liberal Party polled well in recent elections in England, and I charitably hope that the hon. Member for Inverness and his colleagues may poll well on some future occasions. If they poll more than 20 per cent. in elections, are we to say that we must now have PR in England as a matter of political expediency, in order to accommodate them? Perhaps hon. Members will say that we must have PR not to accommodate them but in order to stop them, because they may win too many seats on the first-past-the-post system? It is a false argument, and I believe that the balance weighs heavily against the Lords amendments.

5.0 p.m.

Many people who have sympathy for proportional representation as a principle will not like the additional Member system in this package. That has closed the door for me, apart from the general points that I have made. It is a compromise, as its promoters said, and it is an uneasy compromise which was commended only on the grounds that it was easy to introduce. That is a practical consideration, but, given its disadvantages it is a slight one.

Non-elected Members will be second class Assemblymen, almost inevitably. If I were one, I should feel to some extent second class. I should be answerable to no electorate, although I would have a vague regional connection. I should be answerable, I suppose, to the party caucus which had picked me and foisted me on the Assembly. That is giving a power to the party machine which, loyal though I am to my own party, I would greet with no enthusiasm and with much scepticism. It is not a good idea to walk down these ways and I believe that many who support PR will shy away from this proposal.

There was a letter in The Times on 5th July from a number of noble Lords on this matter. They said that they felt that they had popular support behind their amendments, and they referred to various opinion polls which showed heavy public support for PR. I am a little suspicious, because many of the questions are asked almost in the form, "Are you in favour of a fairer voting system?" Most of us are, but when one knows what it consists of one sometimes discovers that it is unfair, so that is not a significant piece of evidence.

The noble Lords went on to say that in view of the popular support that they imagined they had they felt that they might properly urge that the will of the people should prevail. That may have been a veiled hint about what they would do if the amendments foundered in this House.

I do not think that those who said "Yes" in that referendum were voting for the additional Member system or for non-elected Assemblymen or for all the complicated systems of averaging which would result in their evolution and arrival in the Scottish Assembly. If the whole Bill were to be jeopardised or delayed because some people in another place showed signs of playing ping-pong or of obstructing progress, that would be said for the prestige and standing of the United Kingdom Parliament in Scotland.

It would be thoroughly counter-productive, not just for the Lords but for this House as well, because Westminster would be seen again as failing to deliver the goods after years of difficult gestation. I hope that we shall vote against the amendments, and I hope that that decision will be accepted. The case generally has not been proved for PR in the Scottish Assembly, and I am satisfied that this formula would be damaging and destructive.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Myer Galpeim)

May I remind hon. Members that the guillotine falls on this group of amendments and on three others at seven o'clock? In view of the large number of hon. Members who wish to take part, I would appeal for brevity.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

It is not difficult to find grounds on which to fault the scheme which is proposed in the Lords amendments. I mention only three of them. The first is that one would set up an Assembly with two different sorts of members—members who represent a constituency and members who represent nobody or everybody. There would be a strong feeling in this House against an Assembly with two classes of member.

Secondly, it is a system which would give the maximum strength and influence to the parties—and not only to the parties but to the central mechanism of the parties, not to party feeling in the respective constituencies but to the organisations, which will necessarily be central, which would fix the party list.

Thirdly, it destroys what surely in a provincial, just as much as in a national, assembly is important—the nexus between the representative and those whom he represents, the direct responsibility of every member who votes to those who sent him to that place for the way in which he has voted, as well as for the consequences for those whom he represents.

However, in a brief speech I do not want to dwell upon these defects of this scheme, although I believe that many of them would be found in most schemes of proportional representation. I want to draw attention to one matter of principle which already featured in the speech of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar), although it entered into his speech, as it were, backwards on.

The hon. Gentleman designated it the argument of the thin end of the wedge, the argument that, if this is good for a subordinate Assembly which we are creating, then, bless my soul, we might one day find that some people would say that it was good for us. I believe that that consideration applies much more forcibly and with much more moral effect the other way round.

This House, this—at any rate internally—sovereign House, is engaged, whether we think it wise or not, in creating a subordinate and local Assembly. If it chooses not to create that Assembly in its own image, then the most serious consequences follow, for the clay will say to the potter, "Why halt thou made me thus?" Those for whom we set up this subordinate Assembly will say that the national convention enshrined in Parliament is the acceptance of the consequences—which might seem grotesque, but the general and almost unbroken acceptance of the consequences—of direct elections, of a directly elected Assembly.

Why and by what right can this Assembly decide that in some parts of the United Kingdom circumstances are so different that it will create a different system, that it will endeavour to promote the acceptance of consequences different from those which we accept in the House of Commons? Is it really right that we should examine a part of the Kingdom and say "It looks to us as though the party structure is different in that part of the Kingdom. It looks to us as though there are—presumably only at the moment, or is this for eternity?—three evenly-balanced parties. We might he mistaken, but we say that that is how it looks to us. Therefore, in creating another democratic assembly, we will base that assembly upon different principles from those on which we are sent here, which incidentally are the principles which entitle us to pass this legislation."?

We are indeed guilty of a self-contradiction if we say that a majority in an elected House which does not correspond to a majority amongst the electorate is unacceptable, for there are some of us who believe that there is not even in this House a true majority for this measure which has come back from the Lords. Nevertheless, there is no hon. Member, I believe, who, even if of that opinion, will not accept that the law is validly made thereby until it can be changed.

Yet that very validity with which we presume to pass and expect to have accepted this legislation we are going to repudiate when we create an Assembly for a part of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Tim Rathbone (Lewes)

The right hon. Gentleman there touches, of course, on the core of this debate. That may be a presumption which we should be very wary of making. Do we in fact correctly presume that we have the representative power to pass this law and create this Assembly? There are other hon. Members who would doubt that presumption.

Mr. Powell

I was not aware that any hon. Member doubted our right by majority, and in the due forms, to come to our decisions and, with another place, and the assent of the Crown, to make unchallengeable law for this realm. If we are to re-examine that principle, we must first examine it here. If we do not have the moral basis, if such a system is not a satisfactory form of legislation, we must not presume to use that unsatisfactory form in order to invent and impose a different system for a part of the Kingdom. The retort must be "Physician heal thyself". If we need healing it is here that we must debate these principles. If we are an invalid Assembly, and that is where the argument runs, we must revalidate ourselves before we can presume to pick and choose between the different parts of the Kingdom.

Besides, once we are embarked upon this it is not only on grounds of the particular party arrangements and party balance in the part of the Kingdom that we shall find ourselves so legislating. One reason which was given by the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) was that the matters with which this Assembly will deal are matters where compromise is particularly important. I happen to think that there is a profound confusion in that word "compromise", a confusion between compromise, which is splitting the difference between 10 and two and arriving at six, and on the other hand the restraint by which we desire and seek, and even need, a degree of consent even from a minority.

So the necessity for consent is very different from the necessity of compromise. But on what ground do we say that the subjects of this new Assembly are different from those with which we deal and such as to require the consequences of an Assembly elected upon these new principles? What about local and regional government which have been handling, though not at a legislative level, most of these subjects? Has it been our view that those matters are not to be dealt with by assemblies elected on the same principle as this Assembly is elected? That has not been our view so far. But those are not the only grounds upon which, once we start picking and choosing, we shall start deciding that the system that validates us is not good enough for validating an assembly in a part of the Kingdom.

We shall find other reasons. We shall find in parts of the United Kingdom an entrenched party majority. It will not only be the fact that the parties are evenly balanced that will be urged in argument. It will be urged that in County Durham there is a permanent Socialist majority, or that in Hampshire, or whatever they call the area now, there is probably a permanent Conservative majority. Therefore, someone will tell us that we have to have a system which will enable us to break up the monopoly of these massive majorities which are created by our system of first past the post.

Mr. Peter Emery (Honiton)

As is done in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Powell

The hon. Member, with his quickness of apprehension, has taken the very words out of my mouth, the words with which I was to conclude. These are observations fit to be put before this Assembly by those coming from a Province on which, not for representation in this House but for other purposes, a different system from that which we regard as valid here has been imposed. It has been imposed sometimes on one ground that the sort of differences are not party differences. It has been imposed sometimes on another ground that there is a permanent party majority. But, at any rate, it has been the imposition of a different system, so that there is a rooted grievance amongst those whom we represent that the principle which the Kingdom as a whole accepts and which hitherto in all subordinate Assemblies has been accepted, of decision by majority vote in an Assembly elected by first past the post, British democracy as it has been hithero, was either too good or not good enough for Northern Ireland.

It will not only be a province such as Northern Ireland that will be the anomaly and which will be aggrieved if we once start upon this course. There will be other parts of the Kingdom where there will be differences and divisions, where aspects which one might have wished might gain the ascendency or might gain expression will be able to be detected.

5.15 p.m.

We are debating an even more serious matter than the composition of the Scottish Assembly. We are debating the very foundation of our own authority in this House and of our own representative character. One hon. Member, I think in an interruption, spoke, rather to reject it, just now of accepting things because they have been customary. Whatever system of representation is invented, it will always have arbitrary elements. There will be no system which will be compelling simply by its sheer logical beauty.

The reason why this House and its decisions are accepted, even by those of us who hate those decisions, even by sections of the country which at any time might be a majority of the country which hate and resent those decisions, is the force of what Burke called prescription.—because it has come to be so, because within the whole system of acceptance of law in this country, the making of law and the reaching of decisions in this House by that method, this form of representation, is part of the conditions of the acceptance. Once you take one stone, and that a cornerstone, out of that fabric, Mr. Deputy Speaker, you will not have strengthened that acceptance. You will have begun to destroy it.

Mr. Dalyell

Not for the first time in our discussions, I should like to refer to what I believe to be, not only because of his influence, an important misunderstanding by Lord Home in the Lords debates. It is the idea that somehow one can equate what we are doing in creating the conditions for a decision-making Scottish Government with what happens upstairs in the Scottish Grand Committee when we know that final decisions are taken not upstairs but by a Government majority down here.

I must say to Lord Home that if he thinks that my hon. Friend the Member for Stirling, Falkirk and Grangemouth (Mr. Ewing) and the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor) will not have differences of policy which brook no compromise, he ought to reconsider and reflect on the matter. He said: I do not believe that the majority of people in Scotland wish to be governed by any Party—I do not care which Party it is—elected on a minority vote. None of us has any control over that. There will be Governments with minority votes. He continued: It is long-winded almost beyond words, but you can count the occasions almost on two hands in which there have been serious clashes of principle on these kinds of Bills. I do not think, therefore, that they are the kind of Bills which ought to lead to great and serious clashes between Parties. There will be great and serious clashes at the High School if it is set up, and, therefore, I think that this is a basic and geological misunderstanding.

I want to cut my speech by echoing much of what the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) said in relation to this general problem.

There was an important clash in the Lords when Lord Boyd-Carpenter was interrupted by Lord Mackie of Benshie. Lord Boyd-Carpenter took the argument that if we adopted a system that was in any way different from that which has pertained throughout the British constitution in this House over many hundreds of years, and if it was thought to be different precisely with the object of excluding the Scottish National Party from power for all time, it would then be thought to be a considerable cheat.

Lord Mackie said: Would the noble Lord permit me? I think it should be pointed out, to their great credit, that many members of the Scottish National Party are in favour of PR. Lord Boyd-Carpenter replied: I am perfectly certain that the noble Lord is right as of now, but I wonder whether ha will reflect with me a little further as to what their likely reaction would be if this Amendment were carried; if they found themselves in a position in which, under the first-past-the-post system, they would have had a majority but we have devised rules which will inhibit them from getting their majority—which under that system they would have got, and which is after all the system that we adopt for the whole of the rest of our arrangements at Westminster and in this Island. Of course, the noble Lord is quite right in saying that, for a reason which I find it very difficult to follow because I do not think it is in their own interests, some of the representatives of that Party have taken this view."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 4th April 1978; Vol. 390, c 56, 59–60.] I say without rancour that it is natural and understandable that, if a system is adopted which is different from what we have here and if the SNP, rightly or wrongly, thinks that on the basis of this system it is permanently, semi-permanently or at any rate in the long distance excluded from power, it will be dissatisfied and, indeed, it will have ground for dissatisfaction, because that really will be seen as a fixing operation.

I want finally to raise with the House the question of the political realities of Scotland. I think we can say that under a PR system the Communists and the party of my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Sillars) will get few votes. I may be wrong, but I am not convinced that the Liberals will get many votes. It seems very likely, however, that, if not after the first election at least after the second or third election, no Government can be formed other than by a coalition of two of three main parties.

What are the possibilities? The first possibility is that there is a Tory-Labour coalition. That would raise some eyebrows on both sides of Smith Square. They would think it a bit strange at Transport House if that happened. I do not know what Ron Hayward and the national executive of the Labour Party would have to say if they discovered that there was a proposal for a Tory-Labour coalition in the High School in Edinburgh, and those in the Conservative Central Office might not be much less surprised.

If one excludes that possibility, one is left with what? PR makes it all the more likely, and that is why I shall be in the Lobby with the Minister of State on this occasion.

The truth is that if there is a Tory-SNP coalition or a Labour-SNP coalition, it will be fundamentally different not only in degree. It will be absolutely geologically different from any kind of Lib-Lab pact as we know it. One of the parties to such a coalition has as its very raison ďetre the break-up of the British State and different fundamental constitutional arrangements.

Whatever is said about the Lib-Lab pact, there is agreement on this fundamental issue. It is not the break-up of the State. There may be differences of views. But when one party has as its object the termination of the constitutional arrangements of the State, it is fundamentally different.

I say this with considerable friendship to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar). He is right in saying that PR may make this probable, but he has also to admit that under the arrangement which he and I would like to see it is possible. No one has yet been able to say—I have asked the Secretary of State endlessly at Question Time—what precisely happens if by some unfortunate chance there is not an overall permanent Labour majority in the High School in Edinburgh. What happens then? I am afraid that the problem which so haunts my hon. Friend the Member for Garscadden remains with us, whether or not we have PR.

I see that you are becoming very restless, Mr. Speaker. We are under a guillotine. I leave it at that, with that question to my right hon. and hon. Friends. I shall be with them in the Division Lobby tonight, for what that is worth. But, some time, I hope that they will explain precisely what will happen if there is a coalition. The price that the SNP will ask is to say "We will go along with your economic policy. If it is Labour, we will go along with a Left-wing economic policy. If it is Tory, we will go along with a Right-wing economic policy. But we ask one thing in return. We must go further along the road to a separate State." That is the price of going into political bed with the SNP.

Mr. Russell Johnston

Before I make my remarks, Mr. Speaker, may I seek your guidance on a matter of order?

It had been my intention to make some quotations from remarks made in the other place. However, I understand from advice given to me privately by the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) that this would be out of order in respect of any noble Lord other than a Government spokesman. I wonder whether you can guide me on that matter.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member went to a good source for his advice. The position is exactly as he says. Hon. Members cannot quote noble Lords other than those who are speaking on behalf of the Government in another place.

Mr. Johnston

I presume, however, that I shall be in order if I paraphrase their remarks.

Mr. Speaker

That is right—so long as it is polite.

Mr. Johnston

As has been said, we are discussing the desirability of a different and, I would argue—unlike the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell)—a better system of voting for the Scottish Assembly. We are doing so on the basis of a Lords amendment, and it has not been emphasised adequately so far that it was passed by a most substantial majority of 155 to 64 votes. That voting followed an extremely thorough debate in which a number of leading politicians, many of whom had seen service in this House over many years but who at that time, being trapped in the trench warfare of the two-party system, had not then expresesd any support for proportional representation, spoke eloquently and logically of their conversion to an acceptance of it. It is fascinating to see some of the names on the Division list of 4th April, which was when this vote took place.

The Lord Kilbrandon appears there. He was chairman of the Constitutional Commission, much quoted by the Minister of State when it suits him to support some matter in the Bill. Then there is the Lord Hailsham, a well-known Law Officer of the Conservative Party, the Lord Home of the Hirsel, the Lord Strathclyde, the Lord Wilson of Langside, the former Solicitor-General of the Labour Party, the Lord Houghton of Sowerby, the former chairman of the Labour Party, the Lord Can, the Lord Boothby, the Lord Campbell of Croy, a former Secretary of State for Scotland, the Lady Gaitskell and many others.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) makes a great deal of the fact that what is important in this House is not parties but personalities and individuals. Very well. I quote personalities and individuals with experience, knowledge and political history in this House, and I feel that their combined influence has some relevance.

Mr. Tim Renton (Mid-Sussex)

Would the hon. Member care to add to this interesting part of his speech the thought that, even if no Conservative peers had voted in favour of proportional representation in the House of Lords, there would still have been a majority of eight in favour of the amendment to introduce proportional representation?

Mr. Johnston

I imagine that that is an inert piece of information which I am sure will be of great interest to those who compile the "Guinness Book of Records" but is hardly of any political significance. The importance of the Con servative peers being in the Division Lobby was not that they made up the total but that they were there at all. That was very significant.

5.30 p.m.

In deference to the guidance given by Mr. Speaker, I want to paraphrase briefly a part of Lord Kilbrandon's central theme in moving the amendment in another place. This encapsulates part of the basic argument made in the Lords in favour of the amendment. He compared the general election of 1959 with that of October 1974. In 1959 we had a notable Conservative victory—it was their best performance since the war, if not this century. At that time the Conservative Party nationally won 49.4 per cent. of the votes and got 58 per cent. of the seats. In Scotland it obtained 47 per cent. of the votes but received only 44 per cent. of the seats.

On the other hand, the Labour Party got the same percentage of votes in Scotland—47 per cent.—but obtained 53 pet cent. of seats. Therefore, even in a year when the Conservative Party did extremely well in British terms, it was not on the same level in terms of representation in Scotland.

But, as Lord Kilbrandon pointed out, the situation changed in October 1974. Although the Labour percentage of votes on that occasion was down considerably on that of 1959—from 47 per cent. to 36 per cent.—its representation in terms of seats increased from 53 per cent. to 58 per cent. Therefore, there was no relationship between the two facts.

The Conservatives, the Liberals and the Scottish National Party received correspondingly unproportional representation, The most notable figure was for the SNP, which received 30.5 per cent. of votes compared with 36 per cent. for Labour but obtained only 15.5 per cent. of the seats compared with 58 per cent. for Labour.

The point that Lord Kilbrandon made with force and clarity was that for some time the situation in Scotland had been considerably different in its essential make-up from that in the rest of the United Kingdom. At a time of constitutional change, which inevitably produces emotional excitement, it was clear that whatever the composition of the new Assembly, with the first-past-the-post system it could not have a majority party elected on the basis of the majority of votes cast. This view was echoed by Lord Home in his remarks and by other peers such as Lord Blake. They all said what most of us have said at some time—that in a situation in which the break-up of the electorate is roughly 30:30:30:10, one cannot expect that the party elected will necessarily be elected on the majority of the votes.

The Government's spokesman. Lord McCluskey, conducted himself throughout the debates on the Bill in a wholly admirable way, but in this particular debate his answer can only be described as rather pathetic.

Mr. John Smith


Mr. Johnston

The Minister may grunt. It is a characteristic of Ministers that they grunt from time to time, but when I have finished he may intervene and tell me why my remarks are unfair.

The first thing that Lord McCluskey said was that the proportional system would not be absolutely proportional and, therefore, it would not be very much better than the first-past-the-post system. On 4th April he told the House of Lords: Let me suggest first of all that direct elections, first-past-the-post elections, do not necessarily produce a markedly non-proportional result, though of course I acknowledge that they can. What a generous chap he is! But that is a wholly bogus argument. It was further marred by the fact that he clearly misunderstood Lord Kilbrandon's amendment, and he had to be corrected by Lord Drumalbyn. The Minister of State keeps frowning even though he has stopped grunting.

Lord McCluskey went on to say that PR was likely to lead to a coalition. I quote from the same debate, in which he said: It is very likely to lead to a coalition, or the possibility of a coalition, and coalitions tend to be weak and unstable and they tend to be lacking in authority. With all respect, I reject that argument. It is the argument of the Exclusive Brethren of politics. It is the argument that one should have nothing to do with anyone else if one does not entirely agree with him. It is totally denied by almost every democracy in the world, and notably in Europe.

Mr. Dalyell

Is there any democracy in the world in which one partner to a coalition is actually working at the break-up of the State?

Mr. Johnston

I would not know. But the point is that one can reach an accommodation with anyone if one tries hard enough. The hon. Member for West Lothian appears to be suggesting that he would not have anything to do with anyone.

The other argument against PR has not yet been advanced today but has been put forward on previous occasions. It was stated by Lord McCluskey on 4th April. He said: Another tendency is to put fairly small Parties with relatively small electoral support into powerful positions holding a balance between other Parties and so perhaps give to the smaller Parties a bargaining strength out of all proportion to their electoral support."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 4th April, 1978; Vol. 390, c. 101–103.] I recognise that this is being regarded by the opponents of change as an argument of force, but it is not a political reality. The political reality, which is seen in coalition after coalition throughout the democratic world, is that the lesser partner inevitably has to give way and cannot get an excessive degree of acceptance from the larger partner.

The fourth argument, set out in column 103 of that debate, was that, the devolution Bill being itself an experiment, it was unwise to engage in a further experiment. This can best be described as the plum duff agreement, heavy and out of season. That argument was dealt with effectively by others. The last argument he produced was that the Commons would not like it and, therefore, the Lords should not do it. I do not regard that as a very startling argument.

The fact is that opposition to proportional representation from Scotland from both Front Benches wholly lacks intellectual consistency, and in my view it lacks morality also. The obvious evidence is Northern Ireland. In other words, the fact that the Government feel it appropriate to introduce PR into direct elections for the European Parliament to protect a minority there while in the same breath and at the same time denying it to Scotland is a blatant and bile-making hypocrisy.

Mr. Russell Kerr (Feltham and Heston)

Absolute nonsense.

Mr. Johnston

It is not absolute nonsense. It is a fact.

Mr. Kerr

It is a totally different situation.

Mr. Johnston

I agree that it is a totally different situation. In Northern Ireland they are throwing bombs. That is regarded as different and means that one can give way.

Mr. Robert Rhodes James (Cambridge)

The hon. Gentleman referred to lack of consistency by the two Front Benches. I received a letter from the Liberal candidate in Peterborough and leading members of the Cambridge Liberal Party urging me to vote against these amendments on the ground that it is an inadequate method of handling the matter. How can the hon. Gentleman accuse us of being inconsistent?

Mr. Johnston

We all have our problems! I am aware of the activities of the Liberal candidate in Peterborough. It has also been drawn to my attention that in Peterborough, which used to be represented by Lord Harmar-Nicholls, by a hair's breadth time after time, 66 per cent. of those entiled to vote elected nobody and the other 34 per cent. elected the Member of Parliament. I would have thought that that encapsulated very well the argument for having PR. Therefore, I would reject the advice of the Liberal candidate for Peterborough which, I suspect, the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. Rhodes James) would have done even without my advice.

I concede to the hon. Gentleman and to others that many Conservative Members have had an honourable record on electoral reform, but the view of their leadership is very unclear. The remarks made by the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) today did not clarify matters. Certainly the right hon. Lady the Leader of the Opposition can-nor say on the one hand Let us have no humbug. Let Ministers listen to the people for a change instead of preaching at them. and on the other hand reject contemptuously any proposal for electoral reform, despite the fact that the opinion polls recently by The Economist have shown 68 per cent. support and only 15 per cent. opposition and that support in the right hon. Lady's constituency of Finch ley amounted to 66 per cent. I am sure that, had those same people been polled on a United Kingdom basis and had it explained to them what the three-and-one-third position was in Scotland, they would have voted even more substantially for a PR system in Scotland.

5.45 p.m.

The Liberal Party traditionally has advocated the STV system. It has done so because in our opinion it combines choice of one's individual candidate and choice of party and has geographical relevance. But let me say to those who defend the first-past-the-post system on the grounds that because of our constituency system—this is true, I think, of the right hon. Member for Down, South—we elect a Memeber for his qualities and not as a member of a party, that that is totally untrue and experience shows that it is quite otherwise. There are a number of hon. Members who obtain additional votes because of their capacities, but I do not think that this is a general matter.

Mr. Powell

I do not want to lengthen the hon. Gentleman's speech, but I wish to point out that this is the second time that he has accused me of believing that Members should be elected as individuals and not as representing a party. All my political life I have been an almost fanatical advocate of party in politics. That is the reason why I declined to stand as an independent candidate in my old constituency of Wolverhampton, South-West. At least that cannot be attributed to me, whatever else can.

Mr. Johnston

All I can say is that the right hon. Gentleman, in tying himself very closely, as I am sure he would admit, to the importance of geographical representation, is essentially and implicitly making an argument against the party matter as being less important.

Before I conclude, I wish to refer to only one further matter, and that is the argument to the effect that this proposal is what is called the thin end of the wedge. It is most unfortunate that our rules of order prevent hon. Members from quoting directly from the speeches of noble Lords. Nevertheless, perhaps I may paraphrase some of the remarks made by Lord Hailsham. He pointed out clearly and effectively, with the logic for which, when he was in this place, he was famed, that if a proportional system is successful in Scotland, surely it will be the thin end of the wedge because it will he seen to be a good thing to follow. If it is not successful, which is what all opponents of PR systems argue, it will not be. How one can put forward that argument at all, as a matter of intellectual substance, is quite beyond me.

Our debate is short and I do not wish to continue it further. However, I shall end by making three very short points. First, I ask why it is that, although proportional representation is acceptable in Northern Ireland, it is not acceptable in Scotland. I think that it is exactly due to the violence there and for no other reason. Hon. Members should recognise that fact. I also ask what justification there can be for supporting a system which has been shown to produce 58 per cent. of the seats for 36 per cent. of the votes.

Lastly, I must tell the House that the longer it cynically denies justice, as it does, in pursuit of the simple back-and-fore business between the two large parties and denies it not only to Liberal and moderate elements in the electorate but in general to the electorate, the nearer comes the threat of authoritarianism of Right or Left which in its words it condemns but in its actions it encourages.

Mr. Norman Buchan (Renfrewshire, West)

It fell to my lot once before to follow the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) in a discussion on PR. He took great umbrage when I said that fairness was the last refuge of the wet. I meant that there is one argument propounded by the hon. Gentleman, by his party and by those in favour of PR which is the simplistic, surface argument that it is a fairer system on election day in relation to votes and the return of Members to this place—as if that finishes the question.

It is a simplistic approach to say about politics that this is the only element of democracy that is involved in judgment and the only element of democracy in- volved in our relationships between this House and the electorate outside it. There can be even greater unfairness achieved than the imbalance that may exist, be it greater or lesser according to particular swings from year to year, in an element of proportional representation which can eventually deny the right of the electorate to achieve the kind of majority in the House for which it has voted in supporting a particular party. I realise that this may be difficult for the hon. Member for Inverness to understand, so I shall explain it to him.

In the course of an election, people should come forward to the electorate and say "Here I stand. Here my party stands. I seek your vote in order that we can go into Parliament to achieve this programme." The consequence of proportional representation, particularly in the proposed form, would be that, immediately an election took place under that system, a coalition structure would be necessary and the moment that such a structure became necessary the party and person who had been voted in on a particular programme would have to turn round and say to the electorate "You can forget all that we have been saying for the past three weeks and all that you voted for because we have entered a coalition and are developing another policy." That is precisely what will happen. If hon. Members believe that it will not happen, what the blazes have we been trying to do with the Liberals and the voting patterns in this Parliament, which in many ways has been a hung Parliament? There is a Bill with which I am concerned that I cannot get through because Parliament is hung.

These proposals make coalition government more likely. It is inevitable because the moment we introduce an element of proportional representation, particularly one based on the alternative vote system, several things happen. First, there is nothing to prevent the proliferation of parties. It is an open secret that we have in the Labour Party the manifesto group, the Tribune group and a vast, turgid mass in the middle. However, we say that we will fight on a common programme and, on the basis of that programme, will combine in Parliament to try to achieve it.

The moment that we can say that we can fight on our own specific programme because, in any case, we can form a coalition the day after the election and deny our programme, we shall be selling a bogus programme to the electorate. Coalitions are not only more likely, they are inevitable.

Mr. Russell Johnston

In Ireland at the moment there is STV, no coalition and overall majority, and Sweden had until recently a one-party Government under proportional representation.

Mr. Buchan

The hon. Gentleman is dragging me away from my argument. I had wanted to deal with Northern Ireland very briefly.

Mr. Russell Johnston

I was referring to the Republic of Ireland.

Mr. Buchan

I do not want to get involved in the politics of Southern Ireland. In most countries with proportional representation and in which political programmes have been based on social attitudes rather than on history, particularly history between 1916 and 1923, which tends to be the basis of the main political parties in Ireland, the situation that I have described inevitably comes about. What has happened in West Germany is an example of that.

We cannot accept as an argument in favour of proportional representation the position that we face in Scotland, and it cannot be buttressed on the ground that a parallel can be drawn with Northern Ireland. It is claimed that there is a parallel because in Scotland we have a fourth party seeking an independent and separate Scotland. However, the difference is that in Northern Ireland there is the problem that, rightly or wrongly, two communities sense themselves as being two communities, and one suspects the other of having an allegiance not to independence but to joining another country.

Mr. Powell

Under proportional representation, where it applies in Northern Ireland, the majority community—as the hon. Gentleman wishes to regard it—still has a majority of the seats.

Mr. Buchan

That is true, but when dealing with the sort of situation that exists in Northern Ireland the answer is not necessarily or ever proportional representation. It is to recognise that the two communities sense themselves as two communities, and that is an argument for power sharing. I endorse that argument. The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) probably does not, but it is irrelevant to the argument about proportional representation.

Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that he considers that proportional representation is fair in Ulster but would not be fair in Scotland? If so, how does he draw that distinction?

Mr. Buchan

I said that it was an irrelevant argument to different circumstances. The difference is that in Northern Ireland there is, rightly or wrongly, a sense of two communities and not merely a division into politics because of social and economic issues.

It is also not an argument in favour of proportional representation to say that we may have an SNP majority in Scotland. If that problem arose—there is no sign that it will—the sense of the Scottish people and of the more intelligent members of the SNP would have to accept the necessity for a majority vote and not just a majority of seats in the Assembly. It would give the SNP an argument for immediately entering into discussions and negotiations on independence, but, as Professor McCormick has argued, the mandate would more properly be that of the vote. I accept that.

I take my chance on that possibility. If there were such a victory for the SNP, it would be right for us to face the consequences, but there are no recent indications that this will happen.

The basic arguments in favour of proportional representations are those in favour of the retention of the status quo. Proportional representation inevitably leads to fragmentation and coalition, which inevitably leads to government of the centre, which means government for the retention of the status quo.

Those of us who are in politics in order to change society radically cannot possibly accept that prospect. We say that our task is to achieve a majority backing in the community which reflects itself in a majority representation in the House in order that we can bring about decisive and radical social changes. Proportional representation would inevitably inhibit that. I reject PR because it rejects democracy for the electorate, who would be deprived of having the representation in the House to carry out the programme chosen by electors at the election, and I reject it because it is an impediment to, rather than an advancement of, human progress.

I agree with those who say that we have yet another practical problem. Even if we accepted the rather injudicious figures and analyses that have been swapped around, there is no foreseeable governmental benefit which could arise in Scotland. With whom could any of the parties combine? All three of the leading parties—Tory, Labour and SNP—could combine with the Liberals. That is about the only possibility of a combination in Scotland. The consequence of that would lead to a third situation, but not one of the combinations could achieve a majority.

6.0 p.m.

Given the present figures, we are asking the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cath-cart (Mr. Taylor) to form a coalition with my hon. Friend the Member for West Stirlingshire (Mr. Canavan). That is a delightful thought. I hardly expect that coalition to take place. Are we expecting the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Mr. Henderson) to form a coalition with my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell)? Is that on the cards? It is all nonsense, and everybody knows it.

The argument for proportional representation as a means of achieving fairness is the last level of argument of the wet. Those who advance the argument have not begun to think of the relationship of the House to good government and to the electorate. It is an argument that should be rejected.

Mr. Reid

How desperate the hon. Member for Renfrewshire, West (Mr. Buchan) is for the old ideological certainties. I suspect that his ideal Parliament is one in which he can sit happily blinkered with similarly blinkered Members opposite and engage in ya-boo confrontation and gladiatorial contest. That would be achieved, in his present position, with about 35 per cent. of the vote. The hon. Gentleman wants the stamp of firm government, although the Labour Party in Scotland since the war has never.had a popular majority of the vote.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), like the hon. Member for Renfrewshire, West, believes in the sovereignty of the House. The right hon. Gentleman considers that the House is the perfect culmination of 1,000 years of history, with its institutions and for methods suitable for export throughout the world—for example, to Tuvalu—including Scotland. He believes that there is nothing wrong with an Assembly that a dose or injection of Westminsteritis will not cure. He and others forget that the situation north of the border is different. We are not, as he asserts, 'part' of the kingdom. My hon. Friends and I believe Scotland to be a nation in its own right. For example, we have different ways of going about our business in health, education and schools.

We believe that in Edinburgh there is no need for an Assembly to be a carbon copy of the House in its electoral practice and committee system. We consider that there is a good case for trying some reforms, some different ways of running our business. At the end of the day we believe that that may be good for Westminster and may unlock, too, some of the minds in the House. We argue from that point of view.

It is a great pity that some right hon. and hon. Members have toyed with the concept of electoral reform more as a means of dishing the SNP than as a concept that has merit in its own right.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) drew attention to a letter which appeared earlier in the week in The Times above the name of a bunch of noble Lords. Their approach to the problem is a case in point. They wrote fearfully of what they called the Quebec precedent. They referred to Rend Levesque and the Party Quebecois, which gained two-fifths of the popular vote yet three-quarters of the seats. They hinted that a similar development was imminent in Scotland and that under a first-past-the-post system of winner-takes-all a bunch of SNP wild men could find themselves in the Assembly claiming that the result was an outright mandate for independence.

I say to the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) and others that the only mandate that an SNP group in the Assembly will be bound by is what is in its manifesto. That is the limit of our commitment. We cannot go beyond that in what itself is a devolved legislature.

Mr. Dewar

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that if under a first-past-the-post system or a proportional representation system the SNP achieved a majority of the Scottish seats, many people would have voted for it for reasons unconnected with its manifesto—perhaps, understandably, in protest against other parties? Does he accept that there would have to be a referendum before it could be said that a party had a mandate on proportional representation?

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Myer Galpern)

There are still a substantial number of hon. Members who wish to take part in the debate. I ask the hon. Member for Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire (Mr. Reid) to try to reduce the number of interventions that he allows by those who have already taken part in the debate.

Mr. Reid

I take up the remarks of the hon. Member for Garscadden. What he said in his intervention happens with all parties, including his own. It would be churlish of the Government Front Bench to deny that when the SNP was running very high in the opinion polls in Scotland—it had 36 or 37 per cent. support—a swing of about 1 per cent. could have led to the nationalists scooping the pool. However, we held firm in our commitment to electoral reform. The hon. Member for Renfrewshire, West smiles.

Mr. Buchan

I have dealt with that argument.

Mr. Reid

We have been utterly consistent in advocating electoral reform, and we continue to do so.

The only question before the House is whether the form of electoral reform advanced in the amendments is suitable. Certainly it is a form that could be introduced quickly, as the Minister knows, without any great problems. It has the advantage of adding Members on the basis of geographical location. In that way there would be a sense of regional identity among Members, be they from central Scotland, north Strathclyde or the Highlands.

As many hon. Members have said, we already have a form of electoral reform in practice for Europe. In Ulster, STV is proposed for elections to the European Parliament. A later Lords amendment, no. 11, urges that the Assembly should be able to determine a new system of electoral reform. That is something that my party will support and force to a vote. There are many guarantees. Whatever proposals the Assembly advanced, they would have to come back to Westminster and pass through both Houses by positive resolution procedure. We believe that it is unfair that the Assembly should be so fettered that it cannot devise its own electoral system.

The commitment of the SNP to electoral reform through thick and thin is the one guarantee that the party is devoted to a gradual and responsible transfer of power from the House to Edinburgh. In the last election returns, the Labour Party had 36 per cent. of the vote and 41 Scottish seats. There are 11 Scottish National Party Members representing 30 per cent. of the votes. That is not a happy situation. It is a situation that leads to yah-boo and gladiatorial contest. We shall continue to support electoral reform and the measures contained in the amendments. If electoral reform becomes a ping-pong match between the two Houses we shall not be mere spectators. If there is no electoral reform in Scotland and if the SNP wins in Scotland as Rend Levesque and the Parti Quebecois won in Quebec, so be it.

Mr. Gerry Fowler (The Wrekin)

I am sorry to intrude into the debate an English voice from the Labour Benches. However, we are debating an issue that should be of concern to all hon. Members from whatever part of the country.

I am not using the thin end of the wedge argument. I believe that the amendments from another place represent not the thin end of the wedge but the thick end. Their lordships have suggested that we stick into the middle of our system of government an Assembly elected by a system of proportional representation while we keep at this end of the system of government, in Parliament, and at the bottom end of the system of government, in local government, the first-past-the-post system. To my mind that is total nonsense.

I speak without any bias. I have an open mind on proportional representation and systems of PR. I have voted for proportional representation, or a form of it, for the European Assembly. However, I do not wish to see it introduced at an intermediate stage of government, which would pre-empt the argument for the introduction of proportional representation at every other level in the system. That seems to be one of the knock-down arguments against accepting the amendments.

I should be happier, too, if the system proposed were different. I admit that the system proposed for the European Assembly elections was not ideal either. The great weakness of the AMS method as it comes through in the amendments is one that is familiar to the House. It is a system that puts all power into the hands of the party. I say as delicately as I can that I for one would not want to rely entirely upon a system where the party bosses rank candidates in terms of their prospects of election. I hope that I phrase that delicately enough. In the long run such a system would be disastrous.

I am not happy either if we think of alternatives, such as the STV system. That system always seems to me to work perfectly well in multi-Member constituencies in urban areas. However, I have no wish to represent the whole of the rural county of Shropshire, which is one of the largest inland counties. I do not wish to be the sole Labour Member for the county, which is exactly what I should be under STV.

I do not know what I would do if during a weekend I had a phone call from someone living 50 miles from my residence telling me that he had an urgent problem and asking me to visit his home because he was a Labour voter.

There are weaknesses in every system of proportional representation. I argue that we can have such a system—it may be that STV is the best—provided that we are prepared to consider a total reform of our political system and not merely the mode of electing members. Consideration has to be given to proportional representation in the context of support for parties and support for individual Members, not merely the mode of election. That is precisely what we never give. To fail to do that, to look at the mode of election in isolation and to do it in the context of an intermediate Assembly, which is neither the national Parliament nor local government, seems the most arrant nonsense. I hope, therefore, that the House will reject the amendment.

We have heard tonight that what is good for Northern Ireland is good for Scotland. We all know the special case about Northern Ireland. Putting the matter bluntly, we still have the politics of the seventeenth century in Northern Ireland. We have sectarian, community, politics which, thank heaven, we do not have in that form in Scotland. We do not have in Scotland a two-group, two-community, system. We have, as many hon. Members have pointed out, what might be called a three-and-a-half party system. I suppose that we should concede to the Liberals that they are at least one-half, but I am tempted to say that it is a three-and-a-quarter party system. There is no possibility there of the tyranny of the majority over the minority in sectarian terms. That could not happen in the Scottish context. Therefore, there is no point in trying to set a precedent in the Scottish context.

The example of the Republic of Ireland has been adduced. I am amazed that hon. Members should want to quote that as an example of the way that PR works. If we had two parties called the Soldiers of Destiny and True Gael relating to the politics of 1916 to 1923, perhaps we might get away with a PR system. Fortunately, we in this country do not vote on historic issues long dead. Therefore, we do not, or we should not, assume that a PR system in this country would work in the same way.

I see no case for accepting these amendments in their present form. I see a very strong case for this House in future considering the introduction of several forms of proportional representation—we should have open minds about this matter—and considering those forms of proportional representation for elections at every level throughout the United Kingdom. That is an entirely different question, but this is the wrong way to approach the matter.

Mr. Charles Morrison (Devizes)

I cannot see why it is impossible to have proportional representation for one form of Assembly and not another.

I do not want to rehearse yet again all the arguments in favour of proportional representation. I shall not and never intended to do so. However, I want to refer to the comments made by the hon. Member for Renfrewshire, West (Mr. Buchan), who is no longer in his place.

I make the point straight away that proportional representation does not inhibit change. All it does is to inhibit change which the elected majority do not want and to inhibit change of an extreme nature. It is because of the latter point that the hon. Member for Renfrewshire, West is opposed to it. I shall be referring to him again later.

Secondly, I cannot understand why there should be all this worry about coalition. Least of all can I understand that when we have had the Lib-Lab pact—

Mr. Emery

That has been a great success.

Mr. Morrison

Whether it has been a great success or not, it demonstrates that it is possible for parties to get together if one party does not have an overall majority in the House. We may not like the coalition that we have had on the Opposition side, but the two parties involved have perhaps enjoyed it.

Not surprisingly, in view of what I have said, I believe that the Lords amendments should be accepted. If they are not accepted, I think it will be because a majority in this House are fearful of one of two things, or perhaps a combination of both. First, I think it will be because hon. Members may be fearful of introducing a system which will allow the Assembly to agree only to matters which broadly have the support of the majority of the electorate and which will block proposals which do not have general support. The joy of proportional representation is that it produces Assemblies which more accurately represent the attitudes of the electorate.

Secondly, if this House disagrees with the Lords, it will be because it is fearful of an electoral system which may prove successful and might, therefore, be a precedent for election to this House.

6.15 p.m.

On the first point, I refer not only to what the hon. Member for Renfrewshire, West said today but to what he said on 22nd November 1977. Referring to the speech made by the hon. Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh), the hon. Gentleman said: His is a perfectly sensible prescription for those who want to manage society, but it is not sensible for those like me who want to change society. That is my basic objection. I am in politics because I want to transform society."—[Official Report, 22nd November 1977; Vol. 939, c. 1436.] That was what the hon. Gentleman said, but he might have added "I want to transform society regardless of whether society and the electorate want to be transformed."

I should like to make two comments on the second of my two main points. I promise to be, and have every intention of being, brief. Arguments in favour of proportional representation in Scotland are very different from those in respect of proportional representation for the whole of the United Kingdom. I thought that my right hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) dealt with that point very well.

Secondly, would it not be rather splendid if a proportional representation systern—the additional Member system currently suggested by the Lords—worked as well as I believe it would and provided a little more knowledge and experience of the working of proportional representation? If that happened, it would ensure a much more informed debate about proportional representation in its application to election to this House. Judging by some of the comments which have been made about proportional representation, I think that would be nothing but a very good thing.

Finally, I think that it is worth recalling the point made by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar), although he drew a different conclusion. The hon. Gentleman drew attention to the extent of support for proportional representation in recent opinion polls. Would it not be a good thing if this House were seen to be paying just a little attention to public opinion? The Lords have done so. I think that the Lords are right, even if my respected and noble father was one of those who voted against proportional representation.

Mr. George Robertson (Hamilton)

It may initially seem an impertinence for a second new Members to speak at this stage in the proceedings, not having participated in the preceding lengthy deliberations. However, like my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar), I have been involved in the discussion that has gone on in Scotland about the Bill. Therefore, we come here with no little knowledge of the background feeling in Scotland about devolution.

I also come here with no preconceived bias against proportional representation. The result of the by-election gave me 51 per cent. of the vote. Therefore, I am immune to the arithmetical calculations that would be involved if proportional representation were to be introduced.

In considering the issues relating to proportional representation, I think that we must look, first, at the proposal in the Lords amendment. However much we might like to discuss the question of proportional representation as a concept or as it might apply to the electoral system of this country, that is not the question that we are considering. We are considering a precise formula put forward by the other House. Therefore, although many hon. Members and people outside this House might vote in a public opinion poll or in a referendum, if such a concept could be arranged, for a variety of forms of proportional representation, what we have to consider is a precise form of proportional representation which I believe to be inherently wrong and likely to be damaging to the country.

I turn to the motives which persuaded the Lords to come to their conclusion by such a handsome majority. Because of Mr. Speaker's ruling, I cannot quote precise words from the House of Lords, but I shall paraphrase some of the views that were expressed.

Lord Home of the Hirsel, who for a brief time was my representative in this House, saw a number of problems in the existing electoral system which he wanted to rectify in the proposals for a Scottish Assembly. He seemed to perceive within the existing political system an unhealthy trend. He said that this weakness involved the introduction of party politics into the system and he felt that that was likely to bring politics into disrepute.

Another non-political peer, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, agreed with Lord Home that the increased growth of party machines in the political system was detrimental. Perversely, that led him to the conclusion that we should have an electoral system based on the alternative Member system.

One of the major weaknesses of the alternative Member system is that it moves away from the existing political system and puts more power into the hands of the party machines. The Lords suggested that the introduction of weightier and weightier political machines, which they said had been introduced into the system only recently, would be countered by the introduction of a new electoral system but yet that system would mean that the party machines would have even greater dominance.

The crux of the weaknesses in the system which the Lords suggested is that there would be two classes of Member. I do not suggest that the alternative Members will be the second class citizens. They might be the first-class citizens because they would probably be assured of their seats election after election, so long as the popular vote did not decline by too high a percentage. The alternative Members might as well be the protected element in the system.

Lord Drumalbyn said that those individuals would have to be chosen carefully in order to introduce into the Scottish Assembly the same qualities as he divines in newly created Life Peers. I do not share his confidence that the party machines would necessarily pick Members on the basis of what was in the interests of the people. But whether or not people were selected who had all the qualities of newly created peers, they would be chosen by a process outwith the popular system of voting in this country. That would weaken the system.

One can also criticise the Lords' proposal because the basis of democracy in this country is consent. Unless there is a true basis of consent for the elected representatives, people will not tolerate the outcome of those representatives' discussions. A system which provides that alternative Members are elected indirectly will confuse and complicate the system. It might approximate to a closer arithmetical of representation of Members to votes, but that complication will remove Government further from the people whom they seek to represent.

I recall that two years ago when I visited Brussels I picked up a leaflet in the street in which one of the local Government candidates asked "How is it that a Member can be elected when he is 25th on the list when somebody who is 18th on the list is not elected?" The complexities of that electoral system make it possible for somebody who is 25th on one party's election list to be elected before somebody who is 18th on the list.

Mrs. Winifred Ewing (Moray and Nairn)

Does not the hon. Member insult the intelligence of the electorate? Admittedly the system adds a complication, but it is remarkable how quickly an electorate can adjust to another system and master it. It is a mistake to suggest that the suggested system is too complicated for electors to understand what they are doing.

The first time there would, perhaps, be a little difficulty but the electors would soon become used to it.

Mr. Robertson

I accept that eventually people would perhaps grow to understand the system and thereby create the degree of consent which I believe to be essential. But my anxiety is about the initial stages of the Scottish Assembly's life. I stood as a candidate for this House on the basis that I believed in the Government's proposals for the Assembly. I believe, not only that these should be a Scottish Assembly, but that we must create the conditions that will make the Assembly work and which will bring about consent earlier than would be possible if we introduced a novel and perhaps unique system. I do not underestimate the intelligence of the electorate. But it is crucial not to introduce an experimental system merely because we believe that we know the arithmetical calculations that should produce the best system of Government.

The dangers of a coalition have been highlighted my my hon. Friend the Member for Garscadden. The calculation based on the October 1974 election would produce the hung situation that my hon. Friend mentioned, but the danger that is inherent in that is not neces- sarily that to which my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrewshire, West (Mr. Buchan) referred. He said that coalitions would be created and that coalitions are, by their nature, undesirable. A coalition created through such a permutation of voting would be undesirable because it would create the tensions and seeds of destruction.

Lord Kilbrandon said in his report on the constitution: The system of Parliamentary Government now in operation at Westminster depends on the Opposition party having a real prospect of achieving power. But in some regions this might not be so. If the proposed system were adopted it would be impossible for those who were not members of the grand coalitions to achieve power. That would diminish the authority and credibility of the Assembly.

It is suggested that the Assembly should have power to suggest changes in the electoral system. That is a recipe for disaster because everybody would be competing with each other to work out formulae for dishing their opponents at the next election.

I believe in the Scottish Assembly and in the role that it will play in the next 10 to 15 years. The formative years are the crucial years. If we impose upon the Assembly a unique system of proportional representation to satisfy our need for mathematical accuracy we shall foist upon it the seeds of its own destruction.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. Rathbone

I hope that the hon. Member for Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) will forgive me if I do not follow him, except to say that I would have hoped that the most recently elected Members of the House—he and his hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar)—would be even more in touch with the electorate than those of us elected four years ago, and might have represented more closely this afternoon the views that their constituents have expressed in every single poll.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) regarded the debate on this question as being more important than the technical arguments which have been put by many of the speakers so far. Are we not discussing this afternoon whether the Government and we as a House are concerned with political opportunism or adherence to proper democratic principle? If it is adherence to democratic principle, it is hard to see why the Government do not accept the Lords amendment and the contingent amendments as a sensible, practical and more proportionate system of electing Members to the new Assembly in Scotland. If the Assembly does not represent the true political complexion of the Scottish people—their own voice in their own affairs—then the Assembly will be a sham, and can only become an additional and unwanted layer of bureaucracy.

Until recently it could be argued that the two-party system was deeply ingrained and that the electorate had a shrewd appreciation of the way the system works, but no longer is this the case nationally, and no longer is this the case in Scotland. With the two parties using the first-past-the-post system, we used to be able to produce one governing party in a national or local election, and the public used to accept that as desirable—even in the extreme circumstances when single party government was achieved only by something of an electoral conjuring trick. But times have changed and people's views have changed, and not one opinion poll taken in recent years has indicated anything other than resounding general support for proportionate systems of election across all-party lines.

What is more, as was pointed out at the start of the debate, arguments which can be applied to support first-past-the-post elections to a legislative forum, from which an Executive evolves, are in no way appropriate to an Assembly such as is being envisaged for Scotland. The aspects, furthermore, which can be applied to support first-past-the-post elections to any chamber of government which has been in existence for many years—the arguments for the status quo—cannot be applied to a new Chamber.

It cannot be argued that the Scottish people could not manage such a system. People throughout the world have managed similar systems easily and found the results to be intelligible, reasonable and satisfactory. How much more should this not be applied to the canny Scots? In terms of democratic theory, therefore, and in the light of democratic practice, the first-past-the-post system, as advocated for the Scottish Assembly, is crude, unpredictable, and unjust.

In some people's eyes it may be anachronistic that it is to the noble Lords that we have to look for the protection of democratic principle in this country. To others it may appear as a relief that they do so, tinged with regret that we in this House had not done so previously. Whichever may be hon. Members' points of view, the Lords amendments propose, through the additional Member system, a way to preserve that democracy.

Contrary to the views expressed by the right hon. Gentleman, I believe that the system has been debated very thoroughly in this House in one form and has been debated very thoroughly in the other place in a slightly amended form. Is it not appropriate that their Lordships, seeing that this House had voted against it in its original form as considered here, should not seek to replace that same system, unchanged, but rather seek to amend it, to improve it in detail, and re-submit it to this House in its improved form?

It is not over any fear of electoral consequences that these amendments are worthy of support. Rather I put it to the House that at this time, when a new democratic Assembly is about to be born, a fair system of election should be used for the elections to it.

Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Stockport, North)

If one further English Member may briefly voice a few comments, I suggest that the only justification for devolution is that we wish to improve the system of government in Scotland. But it seems to me that in this group of amendments we are not doing anything to improve the system but probably swapping one set of faults, which clearly exist with the first-past-the-post system, for a different set of faults.

What concerns me in this debate, and in reading through much correspondence in the newspapers and elsewhere about proportional representation, is the assumption that we can take the election results which have occurred in this country in first-past-the-post elections and then apply them as if people were voting in a national election, as opposed to one for individual constituencies.

It is clear that there is a great deal of tactical voting which has taken place in elections. I do not at this time want to argue how the tactical voting has occurred. It could be argued from the point of view of the Liberal Party that many people would like to vote Liberal but they feel it is a wasted vote, and therefore have not voted Liberal. I would argue that in constituencies such as Rochdale many people have a natural inclination to vote Conservative but for tactical reasons vote Liberal. To suggest that results achieved from first-past-the-post elections can then be interpreted to produce arguments for proportional representation seems to me to be extremely dangerous. Until we have had an election in proportional representation terms, we cannot really predict how people will vote in that sort of election. I accept that some assumptions can be made from opinion polls, but these polls are extremely dangerous.

What happens, under the proposed amendments, to the person who is about to vote? Suppose that he would usually support a party which is in a clear minority in his constituency. Does he vote for that minority and have no influence on who is elected to represent him in the constituency, or does he vote for one or other of the two people likely to win, thereby having an influence on the result in his constituency? As I understand it, he is not allowed to cast two votes, one for the particular named candidate in his constituency and one for the party. He has to make up his mind whether he is voting for the party or whether he is voting for a particular person from that constituency to represent him in the Assembly. I wonder what advice he could be given. Is it that he should remain loyal to his party, so that when the topping-up takes place he has some influence in the topping-up, or does he exercise his vote to influence the particular person who is to represent him?

I now turn to the question of the abstainers. If it is logical that we should try to find some representation for the minorities in each constituency, is it not logical that in the topping-up there should be some people put there to represent the abstainers? That may be absurd, but it seems to me that that is rather the way in which the argument goes. If the people in a minority in a constitu- ency should have some representation, what about the abstainers?

It does not seem to me that the people on the topping-up list can stay out of the election. They have to be people who compete in the election. They will probably be people who have been rejected by a constituency and are then used, if necessary, to top up the number of representatives of a particular party.

If there is topping up from unsuccessful candidates, what is their relationship to the constituents by whom they were rejected? Do they continue to represent the minority of people in the constituency who supported them but rejected them in total? Do they represent nobody? Are they paid the same as those who might deal with a considerable number of constituency problems? What happens as another election approaches? Are they entitled then to start trying to represent the constituency that they hope to win next time round? There are many problems. I should like some answers before we move into this area.

I turn finally to the question of coalitions. Almost the essence of politics is the forging of coalitions. The question is whether those coalitions are formed before or after the election. In other words, are they approved by the electorate or are they fixed up by politicians after the election?

One of the fundamental aspects of the British political system is that we have almost always tried to forge those coalitions before elections. The Conservative Party and the Labour Party are, on the whole, coalitions, and probably in many ways the Liberal Party is even more of a coalition. Those parties are coalitions of people who put their ideas together and put them to the electorate, who approve or reject them.

It is not possible to say after an election why a particular party was elected. Was it for policies A, B and C or was it for policies D and E? When one forms a coalition after the election one may well put together one which includes all those policies which were least attractive to the electorate rather than those which were attractive to them. Therefore, it may well be found that the coalition is carrying out those policies which the electorate in general least liked, whilst all those policies which the electorate liked end up abandoned.

The Liberal Party should be thinking seriously about its strategy, which at present is "Vote for us and then we hope to form a coalition with one of the main parties after the election." Many voters who would be naturally inclined to vote Labour might be very reluctant to vote Liberal in a seat where they see no prospect of the Labour candidates winning, if they discover that the Liberals are committed to a coalition with the Conservatives, which would almost certainly mean the abandonment by the Liberals of many matters that Labour voters might find attractive. The important point is that coalitions should be sorted out before elections and that the electorate should approve the policy, as opposed to a policy's being fixed up afterwards.

I hope that hon. Members who speak after me will answer those questions about topping up and the personal voting—does one vote for one's party or for a particular candidate, and how does that influence the final outcome?

Mr. Alick Buchanan-Smith (North Angus and Mearns)

I hope that no one is deterred from supporting the amendment by the argument that it is an innovation in electoral arrangements in Britain or, in the particular system of proportional representation, an innovation for the United Kingdom. If we are prepared to be progressive and forward-looking when we are setting up new arrangements for the government of the United Kingdom, we must be prepared to consider new electoral arrangements as well.

One of the problems in the whole question of constitutional reform, and one of the forces and motivations that have brought the Government and the House to have to consider changes in government, is that for too long, particularly recently, we have been trying to find uniform solutions for the whole United Kingdom. In part the motivation for devolution in Scotland and Wales is a revolt against successive Governments trying to impose uniform solutions to the particular problems in particular areas.

Therefore, I hope that no hon. Member will be deterred when voting tonight by the fact that we are considering a system of election which is an innovation. That is not an argument in principle that has much weight.

6.45 p.m.

Secondly, the form of proportional representation that we are discussing has been criticised. Almost any form has been criticised, and it is a matter of choosing which is the best.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) fairly said that in the course of our debates we had considered different forms of proportional representation, depending on the different stage at which we debated it. I do not think that we should necessarily criticise the form before us simply because those who have supported proportional representation appear to some extent to have changed their ground. The different forms proposed at different stages of this legislation have been related to the particular circumstances at the time In some ways the original form that we considered a year ago in the original Bill may have been the best.

I think that those who framed the amendments tried to fit the best into the size of Assembly that the Government have proposed. In considering the precise form of proportional representation, we must remember that, although this may not be the idea system, and there may be changes, it is important o establish the principle of proportional representation. Once we have established the principle, it may be possible in the light of experience to alter the practice, perhaps to adapt it to the Scottish situation.

The added Member system has worked well in West Germany, where what is significant is that the system has evolved over the years, with a different proportion between those Members for constituencies and those on the added list.

Thirdly, what is really important in this debate and in our decision tonight is that the House should face the facts of the present political situation in Scotland. We have a multi-party system, with three relatively large parties. Therefore, we should not look at Scotland in the light of the experience in the rest of the United Kingdom, which was for a long time based on a two-party system.

Even if devolution draws the teeth of those who seek independence, I do not believe that that will mean a disappearance of the Scottish National Party. I believe that we shall continue to have it whether or not we have an Assembly. Therefore, in Scotland we shall see a continuation of a major third party and possibly even a fourth party. We must adapt our electoral arrangements for the system and for the facts of political life as they are in Scotland.

Therefore, it is wrong to draw a comparison with experience in the rest of Britain or to look forward and say that by doing this in Scotland we are necessarily anticipating what must be done for the rest of the United Kingdom. Our job tonight is to secure the best system of election for the Scottish Assembly.

For those reasons, which I have stated briefly, I support the amendment. There are many other reasons. I believe that under this system we are more likely to have a stable form of government in Scotland. As a result of talking to people in Scotland, I believe that with proportional representation we are more likely to have a form of government and a form of election which gain the broad respect of people in Scotland. After all, stability and respect are two of the most important matters. I believe that by supporting the amendment we have more chance of getting them.

Mr. Teddy Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

This excellent debate shows the limitations of the guillotine under which we are working. Although we have only about 11 minutes before the guillotine falls, there are about eight other groups or individual Lords amendments that should be considered by this House. No one has suggested that any hon. Member, with the possible exception of the usual wanderings of the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston), has taken an unreasonable time to advance his important points of view. That shows that it will be physically impossible for the House to consider in detail all the important points put before us by the House of Lords.

During this debate the views both for and against the Lords' proposal have been put very strongly and eloquently. It was interesting that some of the arguments, both for and against, were expressions of concern about the Bill itself. One point mentioned frequently—it was mentioned by the hon. Members for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar), Hamilton (Mr. Robertson) and West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell)—was the danger that in the Assembly, as we propose to establish it, it will not be possible to have a Government or an Administration that can carry out a policy in Scotland. This is one problem which they suggested might well stem from the adoption of the system proposed by the House of Lords.

It was pointed out, quite rightly, that in Scotland today it was more than likely, as my hon. Friend the Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) said, that we would have a three-party system, that under the system which is proposed by the House of Lords we could well have three parties which were not greatly different in size, and that it would therefore be necessary to have a coalition.

Therefore, as the hon. Members for Hamilton and Garscadden rightly said, how do we suggest that in a Scottish Assembly it would be possible to get the Labour Party and the SNP, or, indeed, the Conservative Party and the SNP, to agree on a programme for a Scottish Assembly?

I suggest that while there is certainly a major problem, and it is very difficult indeed to envisage circumstances in which either the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, or the nationalist party and one of the major parties, could agree on a programme, this is not something that is restricted to the adoption of the proposal by the House of Lords on PR. I think we all know that exactly the same thing could happen under the first-past-the-post system.

Therefore, the House should consider seriously whether this important discussion which has been put to us about the possibility that a Scottish Assembly will not be able to form an Administration to carry out a programme, because of the special circumstances in Scotland, it is not an inherent defect of the Bill and is not something related to the argument on PR.

The Scottish political scene is different. Only once since the war have we had a party with a majority of votes in Scotland. That was in 1955, when the Conservative Party just exceeded 50 per cent. That is something that we hope to achieve again. But we certainly cannot count on that necessarily when we are preparing new constitutions. Therefore, the House should seriously consider whether we have not, in this important discussion, revealed what could be a major problem in Scotland and for the stability of the Assembly, whether or not we have PR.

The second general point is that I think that some of those who have argued for PR have made the mistake of assuming, as some of those in the House of Lords did, that with the kind of issues which are being devolved and the kind of people that we have representing Scotland as such, the issues are more liable to be subject to consensus and compromise. That appeared to be one argument advanced in the House of Lords—that because we had had only one vote, I think, in the Scottish Grand Committee over a long number of years, the nature of the issues to be devolved was likely to be such as to lead to an agreement or a consensus between the parties.

As I am sure the Minister of State will confirm, I think that there is a fundamental misunderstanding of the argument about the nature of the Scottish Grand Committee. That Committee can consider only Second Reading Bills, which will inevitably come to the House of Commons. It is a Committee that considers only particular cases or Bills which are put to it by the House of Commons. There are many issues of controversial Scottish Bills which never go to the Scottish Grand Committee.

I think that the House would be wrong to assume that, because we have not had many votes in the Scottish Grand Committee, the Scottish Assembly would necessarily be of a kind and would be considering issues which would not lead to a great deal of conflict. The kind of issues that are being devolved, such as housing, education and so on, are the very issues that can sometimes cause major conflict between the parties.

The arguments on both sides have been put very fairly and strongly. My hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Morrison) rightly said that one great argument for the PR system was that it reflected in a fairer way the views of the electorate. There was also a very fair reference by my hon. Friend the Member for Lewes (Mr. Rathbone), who pointed out that if we had the first-past-the-post system there was the very real danger of creating the Quebec situation in Scotland, whereby only 40 per cent. of the voters could achieve a situation in which we had a body committed to separatism.

It would be wrong to vote in the Lobby tonight without remembering the very important example of Quebec, where a great deal of industrial trouble and the flight of jobs and, indeed, investment has stemmed from 40 per cent. of the people of Quebec voting for a separatist party. That is something that we should bear in mind. My hon. Friend the Member for Lewes was also right to say that we should not ignore the wishes of the public and that there seems to be growing support for PR.

In addition to that, the hon. Member for Renfrewshire, West (Mr. Buchan) may have scared some people away from opposing the House of Lords proposal, which some might have been inclined to support, because he pointed out that if PR was adopted it might be more difficult to have extremist points of view or, indeed, precise, extreme Left-wing points of view—the views of the hon. Gentleman—brought forward into legislation. On the other hand, it would be wrong to ignore the serious problems involved in the proposal from the House of Lords.

The hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mrs. Ewing), in her very brief intervention, made the only reference during the debate to the important question of the consumer. It would be wrong to forget that the voter is someone whom we should consider, and we should consider not only politicians.

We must remember that if the Bill is passed and if we go ahead with the European business as well, the Scottish people will have a multiplicity of elections. They will be voting for European Assemblies, for Westminster Parliaments, for Scottish Assemblies, for regional councils, for district councils and in many cases for community councils. If on top of that multiplicity of elections we are to have different electoral systems at each level, it certainly could create problems for the voter.

The second point that must also be borne in mind is the fair point that the PR system is more likely to force an Assembly into a coalition situation. Certainly we could be forced into coalitions no matter what system we have, but it is fairly obvious that under the PR system it is more likely that we could be forced into the kind of coalition situation which in Scotland, unfortunately, at present, might be a recipe for totally unstable government.

As has been rightly said, the possibility of a coalition between the nationalists and the Labour Party, which might be forced on the Assembly, is something that would be difficult. The fear of many of those committed to the Union is that in any such coalition the inevitable price which would rightly be demanded by the nationalist would be a further step towards separation. Otherwise, what would be the point of their engaging in a coalition at all?

If we do not accept this premise, we have the only other possibility—that of a coalition betwen the Conservative Party and the Labour Party. Frankly, even in a Scottish situation it would be difficult to see the Conservative and Labour Parties agreeing on a common programme—unless that programme was to do nothing at all.

In addition, we should not ignore the dangers of creating two kinds of Members of Parliament—one with a constituency base and one without. The hon. Member for Hamilton made a very fair point that perhaps those who did not have a constituency base might emerge as the super-Members of Parliament.

In addition, we are all very concerned about the possibility of giving too much power to the party machines. As the hon. Member for the Wrekin (Mr. Fowler) righty said, these will be selecting the people to go on to the lists.

The debate has shown, if nothing else, that while this is an important decision on the Bill it is not fundamental in relation to the great issues of the Bill. What the debate has shown is that those who are opposed to the Assembly will not find the acceptance of the AMS or the rejection of it as something which would change their fundamental views on the issue of the Scottish Assembly as proposed by the Government.

In these circumstances, it is absolutely right that we should have a free vote on this issue. For what it is worth, I myself shall be opposing the PR system, because I think that on balance it would make a bad Bill worse. On the other hand, it is right that on such an issue we should vote for the system that we feel is more likely to promote stability and fairness in a Scottish Assembly, although there are many of us who feel that, no matter what system is adopted, there is an inherent instability in the proposal for the Scottish Assembly put forward by the Government.

Mr. John Smith

I am sure that many of those hon. Members seated behind the hon. Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Mr. Taylor) were reassured by the last few sentences that he uttered. But I think that the balanced approach that he has shown in his presentation of the case is one that people have not seen very often in the past. Certainly some of his well-known ideological supporters had, during his presentation of one side of the case, some nervous upsets, which I could see more clearly than the hon. Member. However, I assure him that all seems to be well once again, and he is back in the good old reactionary camp. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I think that the House will be aware that I had in mind the hon. Gentleman's friends behind him.

The right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) showed the same sense of balance. He was so acutely balanced that I am not sure which way he will vote in this Division. But it is the right hon. Gentleman's privilege to keep us guessing.

It is not part of my task tonight to develop the case at any length. Indeed, I am not able to do so. The Government have repeatedly made their view clear. We have said why we do not support these amendments and why we did not put a PR system in the Bill in the first place. We have done so on numerous occasions. But, like other parties, we have decided to have a free vote on this occasion. The Government's advice to Labour Members and to other hon. Members is not to accept these Lords amendments.

None the less, we have had a very good and restrained debate about this matter. Some of the objections to the party lists and other objections have been focused on the amendments, but hon. Members will have to weigh up the whole thing.

It being Seven o'clock, Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Order [4th July], to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 363, Noes 155.

Division No. 246] AYES [7.00 p.m.
Abse, Leo Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Hayman, Mrs Helene
Allaun, Frank Cryer, Bob Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Heffer, Eric S.
Anderson, Donald Dalyell, Tam Heseltine, Michael
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Higgins, Terence L.
Armstrong, Ernest Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hodgson, Robin
Arnold, Tom Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Holland, Philip
Ashley, Jack Deakins, Eric Hordern, Peter
Ashton, Joe Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Dempsey, James Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Dewar, Donald Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East) Doig, Peter Huckfield, Les
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey Tott'ham) Dormand, J. D. Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Banks, Robert Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Drayson, Burnaby Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Bates, Alf du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)
Bean, R. E. Duffy, A. E. P. Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Bell, Ronald Dunlop, John Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)
Bendall, Vivian Dunnett, Jack Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Durant, Tony Janner, Greville
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Eadie, Alex Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Berry, Hon Anthony Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Jeger, Mrs Lena
Bidwell, Sydney Edge, Geoff Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd&W'df'd)
Biffen, John Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Jessel, Toby
Biggs-Davison, John Emery, Peter Jones, Alec (Rhondda)
Bishop, Rt Hon Edward English, Michael Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Body, Richard Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Jopling, Michael
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Evans, John (Newton) Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Boscawen, Hon Robert Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Kaberry, Sir Donald
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Fyre, Reginald Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Farr, John Kelley, Richard
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Fell, Anthony Kerr, Russell
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Bradford, Rev Robert Finsberg, Geoffrey Kimball, Marcus
Braine, Sir Bernard Flannery, Martin King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston) Kinnock, Neil
Brittan, Leon Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Kitson, Sir Timothy
Brotherton, Michael Fookes, Miss Janet Knight, Mrs Jill
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Foot P Hon Michael Lamborn, Harry
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Forrester, John Lamond, James
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Lamont, Norman
Bryan, Sir Paul Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Langford-Holt, Sir John
Buchan, Norman Fox, Marcus Latham, Arthur (Paddington)
Buck, Antony Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Lawrence, Ivan
Budgen, Nick Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Lawson, Nigel
Burden, F. A. Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Lee, John
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Fry, Peter Le Marchant, Spencer
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Galbraith, Hon T. G. D. Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Gardiner, George (Reigate) Litterick, Tom
Campbell, Ian Gardiner, Edward (S Fylde) Loyden, Eddie
Canavan, Dennis Garrett, John (Norwich S) Lyon, Alexander (York)
Cant, R. B. Glyn, Dr Alan McAdden, Sir Stephen
Carmichael, Neil Goodhart, Philip McCartney, Hugh
Carter-Jones, Lewis Goodhew, Victor McCrindle, Robert
Cartwright, John Gorst, John McCusker, H.
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Gould, Bryan McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Channon, Paul Gourlay, Harry McElhone, Frank
Churchill, W. S. Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) MacFarquhar, Roderick
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Grant, John (Islington C) MacGregor, John
Clark, William (Croydon S) Grieve, Percy MacKay, Andrew (Stechford)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Griffiths, Eldon MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor
Clemitson, Ivor Grist, Ian Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Grocott, Bruce McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C)
Cohen, Stanley Hamilton, Archibald (Epsom & Ewell) McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)
Coleman, Donald Hamilton, James (Bothwell) McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
Conlan, Bernard Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Madden, Max
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Hampson, Dr Keith Mahon, Simon
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Marks, Kenneth
Cope,John Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Marshall, Dr. Edmund (Goole)
Cormack, Patrick Hart, Rt Hon Judith Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Costain, A. P. Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Cowans, Harry Hastings, Stephen Marten, Neil
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Mates, Michael
Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E) Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Mather, Carol
Maude, Angus Price, David (Eastleigh) Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Mawby, Ray Price, William (Rugby) Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Radice, Giles Swain, Thomas
Maynard, Miss Joan Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) Tapsell, Peter
Meacher, Michael Richardson, Miss Jo Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Ridley, Hon Nicholas Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
Mikardo, Ian Ridsdale, Julian Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Tebbit, Norman
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW) Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Mills, Peter Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Moate, Roger Robertson, George (Hamilton) Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Molloy, William Robinson, Geoffrey Tierney, Sydney
Molyneaux, James Roderick, Caerwyn Tiley, John
Montgomery, Fergus Rodgers, George (Chorley) Tinn, James
Moonman, Eric Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton) Torney, Tom
Moore, John (Croydon C) Rooker, J. W. Trotter, Neville
More, Jasper (Ludlow) Ross, William (Londonderry) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Morgan-Giles, Rear Admiral Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire) Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Rowlands, Ted Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Morris, Rt Hon Charles R. Royle, Sir Anthony Wakeham, John
Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Ryman, John Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Moyle, Rt. Hon. Roland Sedgemore, Brian Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Sever, John Wall, Patrick
Neave, Alrey Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) Ward, Michael
Nelson, Anthony Shelton, William (Streatham) Watkins, David
Neubert, Michael Shepherd, Colin Weitzman, David
Newens, Stanley Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE) Wellbeloved, James
Noble Mike
Nott, John Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford) Wells, John
Onslow, Cranley Silverman, Julius White, James (Pollok)
Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Silvester, Fred Whitehead, Phillip
Orbach, Maurice Skeet, T. H. H. Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Skinner, Dennis Whitlock, William
Ovenden. John Smith, Rt. Hon. John (N Lanarkshire) Whitney, Raymond
Padley, Walter Snape, Peter Wiggin, Jerry
Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Spearing, Nigel Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Page, Richard (Workington) Speed, Keith Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Paisley, Rev Ian Spicer, Michael (S Worcester) Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Park, George Spriggs, Leslie Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Parkinson, Cecil Sproat, Iain Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Parry, Robert Stanbrook, Ivor Winterton, Nicholas
Pattie, Geoffrey Stanley, John Wise, Mrs Audrey
Pavitt, Laurie Steen, Anthony (Wavertree) Woodall, Alec
Pendry, Tom Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham) Woof, Robert
Percival, Ian Stoddart, David Young, David (Bolton E)
Peyton, Rt Hon John Stokes, John
Pink, R. Bonner Stott, Roger TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch Stradling Thomas, J. Mr. Ioan Evans and
Price, C. (Lewisham W) Strang, Gavin Mr. Andrew Bennett.
Adley, Robert Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Aitken, Jonathan Faulds, Andrew Johnson, James (Hull West)
Alison, Michael Fisher, Sir Nigel Johnson Smith. G. (E Grinstead)
Awdry, Daniel Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Bain, Mrs Margaret Ford, Ben Kershaw, Anthony
Baker, Kenneth Forman, Nigel Kilfedder, James
Beith, A. J. Freud, Clement King, Evelyn (South Dorset)
Benyon,W. George, Bruce Knox, David
Blaker, Peter Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian (Chesham) Latham, Michael (Melton)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Ginsburg, David Lester, Jim (Beeston)
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Bottomley, Peter Goodlad, Alastair Lloyd, Ian
Bradley, Tom Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Luard, Evan
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Graham, Ted Luce, Richard
Brooke, Hon Peter Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Gray, Hamish Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson
Bulmer, Esmond Grimond, Rt Hon J. MacCormick, Iain
Carlisle, Mark Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Maclennan, Robert
Carter, Ray Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Madel, David
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Hannam, John Magee, Bryan
Corbett, Robin Haselhurst, Alan Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Crawford, Douglas Hayhoe, Barney Mason, Rt Hon Roy
Crawshaw, Richard Henderson, Douglas Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald
Cronin, John Hicks, Robert Mayhew, Patrick
Crouch, David Hooley, Frank Meyer, Sir Anthony
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Howell, David (Guildford) Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Miscampbell, Norman
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Hunt, David (Wirral) Mitchell, Auslin (Grimsby)
Dunn, James A. Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Dykes, Hugh Hurd, Douglas Morris, Michael (Northampton S)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Mudd, David
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) James, David Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Newton, Tony Sainsbury, Tim Tomney, Frank
Oakes, Gordon St. John-Stevas, Norman Townsend, Cyril D.
Ogden, Eric Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Viggers, Peter
O'Halloran, Michael Shersby, Michael Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Palmer, Arthur Sims, Roger Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Pardoe, John Sinclair, Sir George Watt, Hamish
Parker, John Smith, Dudley (Warwick) Weatherill, Bernard
Penhaligon, David Spence, John Weetch, Ken
Perry, Ernest Stainton, Keith Welsh, Andrew
Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Stallard, A. W. White, Frank R. (Bury)
Raison, Timothy Steel, Rt Hon David Wigley, Dafydd
Rathbone, Tim Stewart, Rt Hon Donald Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Stewart, Ian (Hitchin) Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Rees-Davies, W. R. Temple-Morris, Peter Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Reid, George Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth) Wrigglesworth, Ian
Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts) Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E) Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex) Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Rifkind, Malcolm Thompson, George
Robertson, John (Paisley) Thorne, Stan Preston South) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Rose, Paul B. Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon) Mr. Neville Sandelson and
Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Tomlinson, John Mr. Charles Morrison.
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of Business to be concluded at Seven o'clock.

Lords amendment no. 2 disagreed to.

Lords amendment: no. 3, in page 1, line 13, leave out ("three") and insert ("two").

Motion made, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.—[Mr. John Smith.]

Question put forthwith, pursuant to the Order [4th July]:

The House divided: Ayes 275, Noes 243.

Division No. 247] AYES [7.15 p.m.
Abse, Leo Coleman, Donald Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Allaun, Frank Conlan, Bernard Ford, Ben
Anderson, Donald Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Forrester, John
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Corbett, Robin Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)
Armstrong, Ernest Cowans, Harry Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)
Ashley, Jack Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Ashton, Joe Crawford, Douglas Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Crawshaw, Richard Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey Tott'ham) Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) George, Bruce
Bain, Mrs Margaret Cryer, Bob Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Ginsburg, David
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Dalyell, Tam Gould, Bryan
Bates, Alf Davidson, Arthur Gourlay, Harry
Bean, R. E. Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Grant, John (Islington C)
Beith, A. J. Davies, Rt Hon Danzil Grimond, Rt Hon J.
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Davies, Ifor (Gower) Grocott, Bruce
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Bidwell, Sydney Deakins, Eric Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Bishop, Rt Hon Edward Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Hart, Rt Hon Judith
Blenkinsop, Arthur Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Boardman, H. Dempsey, James Hayman, Mrs Helene
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Dewar, Donald Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Doig, Peter Heffer, Eric S.
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Dormand, J. D. Henderson, Douglas
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Hooley, Frank
Bradley, Tom Duffy, A. E. P. Horam, John
Bray, Dr Jeremy Dunn, James A. Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Dunnett, Jack Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Eadie, Alex Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Buchan, Norman Edge, Geoff Huckfield, Les
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) English, Michael Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Campbell, Ian Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Canavan, Dennis Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)
Cant, R. B. Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)
Carmichael, Neil Evans, John (Newton) Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)
Carter, Ray Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Janner, Greville
Cartwright, John Faulds, Andrew Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Jeger, Mrs Lena
Clemitson, Ivor Flannery, Martin Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston) John, Brynmor
Cohen, Stanley Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Johnson, James (Hull West)
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Oakes, Gordon Stoddart, David
Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Ogden, Eric Stott, Roger
Jones, Dan (Burnley) O'Halloran, Michael Strang, Gavin
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Orbach, Maurice Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Kelley, Richard Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Kerr, Russell Ovenden, John Swain, Thomas
Kilfedder, James Padley, Walter Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Kilroy-Siik, Robert Palmer, Arthur Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Lambie, David Pardoe, John Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Lamborn, Harry Park, George Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Lamond, James Parker, John Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Parry, Robert Thompson, George
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Pavitt, Laurie Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Litterick, Tom Pendry, Tom Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Loyden, Eddie Penhaligon, David Tierney, Sydney
Lyon, Alexander (York) Perry, Ernest Tiley, John
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Price, C. (Lewisham W) Tinn, James
Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson Price, William (Rugby) Tomlinson, John
McCartney, Hugh Radice, Giles Torney, Tom
MacCormick, Iain Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) Variey, Rt Hon Eric G.
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Reid, George Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
McElhone, Frank Richardson, Miss Jo Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
MacFarquhar, Roderick Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Robertson, George (Hamilton) ward. Michael
Maclennan, Robert Robertson, John (Paisley) Watkins, David
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Robinson, Geoffrey Watt, Hamish
Madden, Max Roderick, Caerwyn Weetch, Ken
Magee Bryan Rodgers, George (Chorley) Weitzman, David
Mahon, Simon Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton) Wellbeloved, James
Mallalieu, J. P. W. Rooker, J. W. Welsh, Andrew
Marks, Kenneth Rose, Paul B. white, Frank R. (Bury)
Marshall, Dr. Edmund (Goole) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) White, James (Poilok)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Rowlands, Ted Whitlock, William
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Ryman, John Wigley, Dafydd
Maynard, Miss Joan Sandelson, Neville Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Meacher, Michael Sedgemore, Brian Williams, Rt Hon Aian (Swansea W)
Hellish, Rt Hon Robert Sever, John Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'oh)
Mikardo, Ian Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE) Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford) Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Molloy, William Silverman, Julius Woodall, Alec
Moonman, Eric Skinner, Dennis Woof Robert
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Smith, Rt. Hon. John (N Lanarkshire) Wrigglesworth, Ian
Morris, Rt Hon Charles R. Spearing, Nigel Young, David (Bolton E)
Moyle, Rt. Hon. Roland Spriggs, Leslie
Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Stallard, A. W.
Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Steel, Rt Hon David TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Newens, Stanley Stewart, Rt Hon Donald Mr. Peter Snape and
Noble, Mike Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham) Mr. Ted Graham.
Adley, Robert Buchanan-Smith, Alick Fell, Anthony
Aitken, Jonathan Buck, Antony Finsberg, Geoffrey
Alison, Michael Budgen, Nick Fisher, Sir Nigel
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Bulmer, Esmond Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)
Arnold, Tom Burden, F. A. Fookes, Miss Janet
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Forman, Nigel
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East) Carlisle, Mark Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd)
Awdry, Daniel Chaiker, Mrs Lynda Fox, Marcus
Baker, Kenneth Churchill, W. S. Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)
Banks, Robert Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Fry, Peter
Bell, Ronald Clark, William (Croydon S) Galbraith, Hon T. Q. D.
Bendall, Vivian Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Gardiner, George (Reigate)
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Gardiner, Edward (S Fylde)
Benyon, W. Cope, John Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian (Chesham)
Berry, Hon Anthony Cormack, Patrick Glyn, Dr Alan
Biffen, John Costain, A. P. Godber, Rt Hon Joseph
Biggs-Davison, John Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E) Goodhart, Philip
Biaker, Peter Crouch, David Goodhew, Victor
Body, Richard Crowder, F. P. Goodlad, Alastair
Boscawen, Hon Robert Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Gorst, John
Bottomley, Peter Dodsworth, Geoffrey Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Drayson, Burnaby Gray, Hamish
Bradford, Rev Robert du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Griffiths, Eldon
Braine, Sir Bernard Duniop, John Grist, Ian
Brittan, Leon Durant, Tony Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Brocklebank-Fowier, C. Dykes, Hugh Hamilton, Archibald (Epsom & Ewell)
Brooke, Hon Peter Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Brotherton, Michael Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Hampson, Dr Keith
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Eyre, Reginald Hannam, John
Bryan, Sir Paul Farr, John Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)
Haselhurst, Alan Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Sainsbury, Tim
Hastings, Stephen Mawby, Ray St. John-Stevas, Norman
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Hayhoe, Barney Mayhew, Patrick Shelton, William (Streatham)
Heseltine, Michael Meyer, Sir Anthony Shepherd, Colin
Hicks, Robert Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Shersby, Michael
Higgins, Terence L. Mills, Peter Silvester, Fred
Hodgson, Robin Miscampbell, Norman Sims, Roger
Holland, Philip Moate, Roger Sinclair, Sir George
Hordern, Peter Molyneaux, James Skeet, T. H. H.
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Montgomery, Fergus Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Howell, David (Guildford) Moore, John (Croydon C) Speed, Keith
Hunt, David (Wirral) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Spence, John
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Morgan, Geraint Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Hurd, Douglas Morgan-Giles, Rear Admiral Sproat, Iain
Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Stainton, Keith
James, David Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Stanbrook, Ivor
Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd&W'df'd) Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Stanley, John
Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Mudd, David Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Neave, Airey Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Jopling, Michael Nelson, Anthony Stokes, John
Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Neubert, Michael Stradling Thomas, J.
Kaberry, Sir Donald Newton, Tony Tapsell, Peter
Kimball, Marcus Nott, John Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Tebbit, Norman
Kitson, Sir Timothy Page, Richard (Workington) Temple-Morris, Peter
Knox, David Paisley, Rev Ian Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Lamont, Norman Parkinson, Cecil Thomas, Rt Hon P, (Hendon S)
Langford-Holt, Sir John Pattie, Geoffrey Townsend, Cyril D.
Latham, Michael (Melton) Percival, Ian Trotter, Neville
Lawrence, Ivan Pink, R. Bonner van Straubenzee, W. R.
Lawson, Nigel Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Lester, Jim (Beestor) Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Viggers, Peter
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Lloyd, tan Price, David (Eastleigh) Wakeham, John
Loveridge, John Pym, Rt Hon Francis Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Luce Richard Raison, Timothy Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
McAdden, Sir Stephen Rathbone, Tim Wall, Patrick
McCrindle, Robert Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Walters, Dennis
McCusker, H. Rees-Davies, W. R. Weatherill, Bernard
MacGregor, John Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts) Wells, John
MacKay, Andrew (Stechford) Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex) Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnnam) Rhodes James, R. Whitney, Raymond
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Ridley, Hon Nicholas Wiggin, Jerry
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Ridsdale, Julian Winterton, Nicholas
Madel, David Rifkind, Malcolm Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Marten, Neil Ross, William (Londonderry)
Mates, Michael Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mather, Carol Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire) Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Maude, Angus Royle, Sir Anthony Mr. Michael Roberts.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Mr. John Smith

With the agreement of the House, Mr. Deputy Speaker, perhaps I might move, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in amendments nos. 4 to 10 inclusive.

Mr. Pym

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. May I point out that in the timetable order, which we very strongly opposed the other night, there is provision for the Government to move, and for you to put to the House, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in all the remaining Lords Amendments." There is no provision to put amendments together in the matter of disagreeing. I feel that that ought to be drawn to the attention of the House, since it was specifically excluded from the order.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Oscar Murton)

In view of what the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) has said, I shall put the Question on each amendment separately.

Lords amendments nos. 4 to 10 disagreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 11, in page 2, line 12, at end insert— ("(6) Notwithstanding any provision of this Act the Assembly may at any time after the first ordinary election of members of the Assembly review the system of voting prescribed by this Act and may by Bill amend that system. (7) Notwithstanding section 17(3) below a Bill under subsection (6) above shall not be submitted to Her Majesty in Council until it has been laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State and has been approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.")

Motion made, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.—[Mr. John Smith.]

Question put forthwith:

The House divided: Ayes 467, Noes 39.

Division No. 248] AYES [7.32 p.m.
Abse, Leo Conlan, Bernard Godber, Rt Hon Joseph
Adley, Robert Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Goodhart, Philip
Aitken, Jonathan Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Goodhew, Victor
Alison, Michael Cope, John Goodlad, Alastair
Allaun, Frank Corbett, Robin Gorst, John
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Cormack, Patrick Gould, Bryan
Anderson, Donald Costain, A. P. Gourlay, Harry
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Cowans, Harry Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)
Armstrong, Ernest Crawshaw, Richard Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry)
Arnold, Tom Crouch, David Graham, Ted
Ashley, Jack Crowder, F. P. Grant, John (Islington C)
Ashton, Joe Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Griffiths, Eldon
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Cryer, Bob Grist, Ian
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Grocott, Bruce
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East) Dalyell, Tam Hall-Davis, A. G. F.
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey Tott'ham) Davidson, Arthur Hamilton, Archibald (Epsom & Ewell)
Baker, Kenneth Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)
Banks, Robert Davies, Rt Hon Denzil Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hampson, Dr Keith
Barnett, Rt Hon Jeol (Heywood) Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Hannam, John
Bates, Alf Deakins, Eric Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)
Bean, R. E. Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Bell, Ronald Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Hart, Rt Hon Judith
Bendall, Vivian Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Haselhurst, Alan
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Dempsey, James Hastings, Stephen
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Dewar, Donald Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Benett, Dr Reginald(Fareham) Dodsworth, Geoffrey Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael
Benyon, W. Doig, Peter Hayhoe, Barney
Berry, Hon Anthony Dormand, J. D. Hayman, Mrs Helene
Biffen, John Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Biggs-Davison, John Douglas-Mann, Bruce Heffer, Eric S.
Bishop, Hi Hon Edward Drayson, Burnaby Heseltine, Michael
Blenkinsop, Arthur du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Hicks, Robert
Body, Richard Duffy, A. E. P. Higgins, Terence L.
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Dunlop, John Hodgson, Robin
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Dunn, James A. Holland, Philip
Boscawen, Hon Robert Dunnett, Jack Hooley, Frank
Horam John
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Durant, Tony Hordern Peter
Bottomley, Peter Dykes, Hugh
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Eadie, Alex Howell, David (Guildford)
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Edge, Geoff Hoyle, Doug (Nelson)
Bradford, Rev Robert Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Huckfield, Les
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Bradley, Tom English, Michael Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Braine, Sir Bernard Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Evans, John (Newton) Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Brittan, Leon Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Hurd, Douglas
Brooke, Hon Peter Eyre, Reginald Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge HIM)
Brotherton, Michael
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Farr, John Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Faulde, Andrew Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford)
Brown, Hugh D. (Proven) Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Finsberg, Geoffrey Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)
Bryan, Sir Paul Fisher, Sir Nigel James, David
Buchan, Norman Flannery, Martin Janner, Greville
Buck, Antony Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Budgen, Nick Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston) Jeger, Mrs Lena
Bulmer, Esmond Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd&W'df'd)
Burden, F. A. Fookes Miss Janet Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Foot Rt Hon Michael John, Brynmor
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) For man, Nigel Johnson, James (Hull West)
Callaghan, Jim (Middlelon & P) Forrester, John Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)
Campbell, Ian Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Jones, Alec (Rhondda)
Cant, R. B. Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Jones, Arthur (Daventry)
Carlisle, Mark Fox, Marcus Jones, Dan (Burnley)
Carmichael, Neil Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Jopling, Michael
Carter, Ray Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Carter-Jones, Lewis Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Kaberry, Sir Donald
Cartwright, John Fry, Peter Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Galbraith, Hon T. G. D. Kelley, Richard
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Gardiner, George (Reigate) Kerr, Russell
Churchill, W. S. Gardiner, Edward (S Fylde) Kilroy-Silk, Robert
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Garrett, John (Norwich S) Kimball, Marcus
Clark, William (Croydon S) Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) King, Evelyn (South Dorset)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) George, Bruce King, Tom (Bridgwater)
Clemitson, Ivor Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Kitson, Sir Timothy
Cocks, Rt Hon MI hael (Bristol S) Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian (Chesham) Lamborn, Harry
Cohen, Stanley Ginsburg, David Lamond, James
Coleman, Donald Glyn. Dr Alan Lamont, Norman
Langford-Holt, Sir John Ogden, Eric Spriggs, Leslie
Latham, Arthur (Paddington) O'Halloran, Michael Sproat, Iain
Latham, Michael (Melton) Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Stainton, Keith
Lawrence, Ivan Orbach, Maurice Stallard, A. W.
Lawson. Nigel Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Stanbrook, Ivor
Le Marchant, Spencer Ovenden,John Stanley, John
Lester, Jim (Beeston) Padley, Walter Steen, Anthony (Wavertree)
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Litterick, Tom Page, Richard (Workington) Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Lloyd, Ian Paisley, Rev Ian Stoddart, David
Loveridge, John Palmer, Arthur Stokes, John
Loyden, Eddie Park, George Stott, Roger
Lyon, Alexander (York) Parker, John Stradling Thomas, J.
Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Parkinson, Cecil Strang, Gavin
Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson Parry, Robert Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
McAdden, Sir Stephen Pavitt, Laurie Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
McCartney, Hugh Pendry, Tom Swain, Thomas
McCrindle, Robert Percival, Ian Tapsell, Peter
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Perry, Ernest Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
McElhone, Frank Pink, R. Bonner Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)
MacFarquhar, Roderick Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
MacGregor, John Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Tebbit, Norman
MacKay, Andrew (Stechford) Price, C. (Lewisham W) Temple-Morris, Peter
MacKenzie, Rt Hon Qregor Price, David (Eastleigh) Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Maclennan, Robert Price, William (Rugby) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertiltery)
Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham) Pym, Rt Hon Francis Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Radice, Giles Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Raison, Timothy Thomas, Ron (Eristol NW)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
Madden, Max Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) Tierney, Sydney
Madel David Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal) Tiley, John
Magee Bryan Rees-Davies, W. R. Tinn, James
Mahon, Simon Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts) Tomlinson, John
Mallalieu, J. P. W. Rhodes James, R. Torney, Tom
Marks, Kenneth Richardson, Miss Jo Townsend, Cyril D.
Marshall, Dr. Edmund (Goole) Ridley, Hon Nicholas Trotter, Neville
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Ridsdale, Julian van Straubenzee, W. R.
Marshall Michael (Arundel) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock) Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Marten, Neil Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW) Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Viggers, Peter
Mason, Rt Hon Roy Roberts, Wyn (Conway) Wainwright Edwin (Dearne V)
Mates, Michael Robertson, George (Hamilton) Wakeham, John
Mather, Carol Robinson, Geoffrey Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Maude, Angus Roderick, Caerwyn Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Mawby, Ray Rodgers, George (Chorley) Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton) Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Mayhew, Patrick Rooker, J. W. Wall, Patrick
Maynard, Miss Joan Rose, Paul B. Walters Dennis
Meacher, Michael Ross, William (Londonderry) Ward, Michael
Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Watkins, David
Mikardo, Ian Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire) Weatherill, Bernard
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Rowlands, Ted Weetch, Ken
Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Royle, Sir Anthony Weitzman Davirt
Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Ryman, John Wellbeloved, James
Mills, Peter Sainsbury, Tim Wells, John
Miscampbell, Norman St. John-Stevas, Norman White, Frank R. (Bury)
Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Sandelson, Neville White, James (Pollok)
Moate, Roger Sedgemore, Brian Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Molloy, William Sever, John Whitlock, William
Molyneaux, James Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South) Whitney, Raymond
Montgomery, Fergus Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Wiggin, Jerry
Moonman, Eric Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Moore, John (Croydon C) Shelton, William (Streatham) Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Morgan, Geraint Shepherd, Colin Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Morgan-Giles, Rear Admiral Shersby, Michael Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Short, Mrs Renee (Wolv NE) Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Morris, Rt Hon Charles R. Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford) Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Silverman, Julius Winterton, Nicholas
Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Silvester, Fred Wise, Mrs Audrey
Moyle, Rt Hon Roland Sims, Roger Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Mudd, David Sinclair, Sir George Woodall, Alec
Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Skeet, T. H. H. Woof, Robert
Neave, Alrey Skinner, Dennis Wriggles worth, Ian
Nelson, Anthony Smith, Dudley (Warwick) Young, David (Bolton E)
Neubert, Michael Smith, Rt. Hon. John (N Lanarkshire) Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Newens, Stanley Snape, Peter
Newton, Tony Spearing, Nigel
Noble, Mike Speed, Keith TELLERS FOR THE AYES
Nott, John Spence, John Mr. James Hamilton and
Oakes, Gordon Spicer, Michael (S Worcester) Mr. Thomas Cox.
Bain, Mrs Margaret Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E)
Beith, A. J. Buchanan-Smith, Allele Crawford, Douglas
Blaker, Pete; Canavan, Dennis Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Meyer, Sir Anthony Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Pell, Anthony Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Thompson, George
Fisher, Sir Nigel Pardoe, John Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Penhallgon, David Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devor
Henderson, Douglas Rathbone, Tim Watt, Hamish
Hunt, David (Wirral) Reld, George Wigley, Dafydd
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Rifkind, Malcolm Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Kilfedder, James Robertson, John (Paisley)
Knox, David Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Lamble, David Steel, Rt Hon David Mr. Geraint Howells and
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Stewart, Rt Hon Donald Mr. Andrew Welsh.
MacCormick, Iain

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendments nos. 12 to 14 and 18 to 23 agreed to.

Lords amendments nos. 15 to 17 disagreed to.

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