HC Deb 20 July 1978 vol 954 cc929-64

Lords amendment: No. 167, in page 72, line 36, at end insert—

("THE EDUCATION ACT 1944 At the end of section 13(4) of the Education Act 1944 there shall be inserted the following new subsections: (4A) (a) Where the proposals under this section are made by a Welsh local education authority the Secretary of State shall give public notice of his decision to approve them, with or without modification, or to withhold that approval; and (b) if that decision is a decision to approve the proposals with modifications the notice shall include a statement of those modifications; but, (c) that approval or as the case may be that decision to withhold approval shall remain provisional until either

  1. (i) the expiry of the period for the submission of objections laid down under subsection (4B) of this section or,
  2. (ii) where an objection has been submitted during that period, the giving of public notice under subsection (4B) of this section.
(4B) Where the functions of the Secretary of State under subsections (4) and (4A) of this section have been discharged by the Welsh Assembly:
  1. (a) those persons entitled under subsection (3) of this section to submit objections may, within two months of public notice being given under subsection (4B) of this section submit to the Secretary of State objections either to the approval or as the case may be to the decision to withhold approval referred to in a public notice made under subsection (4A) of this section; and
  2. (b) the Secretary of State may approve the proposals against which the objections have been submitted after making such modifications therein, if any, as appear to him to be desirable; and
  3. (c) the Secretary of State shall give public notice of his decision to approve the proposals, with or without amendment."")

Mr. Alec Jones

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

Section 13(4) of the Education Act 1944 is concerned with proposals by local education authorities when they establish new schools or cease to maintain others or with proposals which involve making significant changes in the character or size of premises of a school.

Subsection (4A) contains the Secretary of State's power of approval over such schemes. This power is devolved to the Assembly by schedule 2. The new subsection (4A) inserted by the amendment would require the Assembly to give public notice of its decisions. The new subsection (4B) would allow persons to submit objections to the Secretary of State in respect of schemes approved by the Assembly. The Secretary of State could then approve the schemes, with or without modification. The effect of the amendment would therefore be to place the Secretary of State in the position of a kind of court of appeal in respect of education decisions of this kind made by the Assembly.

Hon. Members will appreciate that schedule 2 transferred wide-ranging powers in education matters to the Assembly. It will effectively be responsible for the education system in Wales. But if the amendment were accepted, the Assembly's powers would be circumscribed in respect of one corner of the education system. An extra layer of government would be imposed and the Secretary of State for Wales would be placed in the invidious position of having to interfere in the running of education in Wales.

For all these reasons, the Government are not prepared to accept the amendment. The amendment is so seriously technically defective that if it were passed into law it would have an unclear result which the courts would have some difficulty in interpreting. But I am making my case not on the technical aspect but on the extreme difficulty of trying to interpose the Secretary of State as a court of last appeal in a sphere—education—where all the primary functions will have been devolved to the Assembly.

Mr. Brittan

I am sure that the Minister will forgive me if I say, as I feel bound to say, that his advice on this occasion is unusually thin, particularly the suggestion that the amendment is so seriously defective that it would cause grave difficulties. Either that is meant to be taken seriously or it is not. If it is meant to be taken seriously, I do not think that a vague statement of that kind will impress the House one little bit. Had the Minister wanted that suggestion to be taken seriously, it would have been necessary for him to explain in what sense the amendment is defective. No doubt, with the customary good will that Governments show on these occasions, he would have provided his good offices to assist in making the amendment as effective as it should be, because there is no difficulty at all in seeing what was the intention of the other place.

Like so many of the issues in the Bill, although not here a constitutional one in the stricter sense of the word, this again shows some of the basic problems with which one is faced in setting up a devolution system of the kind to be set up in the Welsh Assembly. It is all very well to say, "Let us set up an Assembly; let us make the decision not to make it a legislative Assembly; let us confine it to being an executive Assembly and then give it a wide range of powers, particularly powers over education", but that does not resolve the problem in its entirely because the Government themselves have not actually done that. What they have done has been to say that broadly speaking, education should be devolved, but there are certain areas within education—and I am not talking about the universities—which should not be devolved.

Therefore, one is really asking a question which even on the Government's philosophy of devolution has to be asked, which is where to draw the line. The way the Minister put it seemed to imply that any exclusion of any education matter was inconsistent with the scheme of devolution. Plainly, that is not so. In order to establish that point, I invite the House to look at part III of schedule 2 on page 39. There one immediately sees a list of enactments in the left-hand column and the excluded functions in the right-hand column. All of these enactments relate to education. Of course, the most important are the Education Acts 1944 to 1976, of which the amendment deals with part.

In the right-hand column, under "Excluded functions" one finds: The function under section 45 (4) of the Education Act 1944 (c. 31) of issuing instructions to local offices of the Department of Employment. The functions under section 75 (1) of that Act. The function under section 77 of that Act of making recommendations to Her Majesty on the appointment of inspectors. The functions under section 100 (1) (b) of that Act so far as relating to terms and conditions of service, pensions, gratuities or allowances payable on retirement or death, or compensation for loss of office or employment or loss or diminution of emoluments. The function of giving certificates under section 115 of that Act.", and several other functions, which I shall not weary the House by reading out. The same applies to the Sex Discrimination Act functions.

What one sees there is that the Government themselves have decided that there are certain areas, even within education, which should not be devolved to the Assembly. Therefore, one cannot answer with an automatic "no" when one is asked whether anything relating to education should be reserved to the Secretary of State. One must ask about the particular function and whether it is sensible to reserve it. The right approach is to ask on what principle one decides whether a power should be devolved.

A number of criteria must be borne in mind in considering this. One criterion must be that the decisions relate to matters about which feeling is very strong and there is reason to believe that real benefit would be derived from a view of a less local and more detached character. This is an important consideration which leads one to suggest that the power concerned should not be devolved. If it is devolved, it is reasonable that there should be some kind of reserve mechanism to enable a less local and more detached judgment to be expressed at the end of the day.

I do not think that anyone who has served in this House would have doubts about the proposition that there is no sphere of activity that is more controversial or on which feelings are more deeply held than education—particularly in relation to closing, opening or changing the character of a school. Without embarking on the ideologically controversial area of the imposition of comprehensive education, I point out that we have all experienced intense controversy about the closure of schools, or about changing their character. Such issues arouse passions, and local opinion is likely to be mobilised on an extensive scale.

When one adds the particular factors that might arise in Wales as a result of the language issue, and the possible implications of that, one does not need to go any further in pointing out the extreme delicacy of decisions of this kind.

The Lords have said that in such cases there should be at least a possibility of a review of the situation by the Secretary of State. They are not saying that the Welsh Assembly should be deprived of its primary right to determine the matter. They are saying that there may be occasions in this peculiarly delicate area where the Welsh Assembly might be too close to the problem to provide the objectivity required for a decision of this nature.

In this whole procedure we are seeking objective decisions. Otherwise, the councils or local authorities themselves would be able to make the decisions under the 1944 Education Act. The reason why a local authority cannot decide, and the decision is left in the last analysis to the Secretary of State, is the need for a detached and objective view.

In amending the 1944 Act in 1976 the present Government plainly did not think that there was any reason to change the basic balance between local education authorities and the centre on that question. It was not just a matter of resources and preventing local authorities from spending money contrary to the national economic situation. That matter could be dealt with by the loan sanction arrangements and other means. There was more to it than that.

There is implicit in the 1944 Act a view that local authorities should not have a totally free hand. They must initiate the proposals. The Secretary of State does not have the right, even under the 1976 Act, to initiate the proposals, whether for closure, alterations, or significant changes in character. But in the 1944 Act the decision has been left to the Secretary of State—I can only assume because he is more detached and is able to take a general view of policy, but is less subject to local sensitive pressures.

That scheme was not altered by Labour's 1976 Act. It is significant that in the 1976 Act the Labour Government did alter things other than the arrangements relating to comprehensivation of schools. They took the opportunity to deal with a number of matters where, rightly or wrongly, they felt that change was needed. But this was not one of them.

10.45 p.m.

We are left with a situation where an implicit judgment is involved and where there should be a second and more objective view than may be possible locally. If we examine the Assembly, and especially if we consider perhaps an application to close or change the character of a school in South Wales and envisage that coming before an Assembly that may be dominated by the densely populated area of South Wales, we see that it is not unreal to say that there may not be the detachment and objectivity envisaged by the 1944 Act.

Let us remember that the amendment says that the decision will be taken in the last analysis not by the Secretary of State for Education and Science but by the Secretary of State for Wales. One is not doing anything contrary to the concept of decisions being taken by Welshmen in Wales, but is merely saying that the Assembly may not be capable of detaching itself and providing the necessary objectivity.

It is important to stress that in the first analysis the basic decision will probably be made by the Welsh Assembly, and if this amendment is retained what will be left to the Secretary of State is only a review provision. The Secretary of State should indicate at the outset that in exercising his powers under that provision he would not just casually disregard the view of the Assembly and substitute his own judgment for the Assembly, but as a matter of policy would intervene only if something went seriously wrong in the procedure, or if a basic question of fundamental principle were to arise, as sometimes happens in education matters.

That indication is not in the amendment itself, but as one who supports the Lords amendment I wish to indicate the spirit in which I think that it was meant and in which I hope that it will be implemented if it remains part of the Bill. It seems to be not subversive of the basic scheme of the Government's devolution proposals, because quite a number of other aspects of education are not devolved to the Assembly at all. We are not suggesting that section 13 decisions should not be devolved. They are devolved under the Bill; they will continue to be devolved if this amendment becomes part of the Bill.

We are providing a long stop which I hope will be used not as a substitute for the decision of the Assembly but genuinely as an opportunity to review the matter in those cases where matters have gone badly wrong. In that sense I commend the Lords amendment to the House.

Mr. Dalyell

It is fair to record that not since 20 minutes past eight yesterday evening, when my hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes) resumed his place, other than an intermittent interruption by Plaid Cymru and the occasional speech by the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson), have we heard from anywhere on the Back Benches a friendly word about the Bill. I really begin to wonder where the support comes from.

Normally when a Government are defeated there is some kind of recrimination and comment. They have been absent. We have reached a stage where it has to be recorded that the House of Commons as a whole is without question hostile to the Bill. It has no stomach for it.

Mr. Alec Jones

This is a Second Reading speech.

Mr. Dalyell

It may be a Second Reading speech, but we return to the irreducible difficulties of the Bill.

Let us come to this gobbledegook now. Anybody who has had anything to do with education must know that these divisions between something which goes to the Assembly and something which remains reserved are very unreal. We are creating divisions for what? For no better reason than to give this institution something to do. Again, it is window dressing.

Mr. Alec Jones

It is not.

Mr. Dalyell

Of course it is window dressing. The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who is a realistic man, knows it perfectly well. Any intelligent man looking at page 39 of the Bill knows full well that this is manufacturing differences for the sake of giving these Assemblymen in the Coal Exchange something to do.

I return to the point I made on the Health Service: if there is £10 million, £13 million, or whatever it is to spend, for heaven's sake why not spend it by paying teachers a little more rather than dividing up education administration? We all know of 101 good ways for the expenditure of public money. I repeat that, to spend it on this is to squander taxpayers' money.

Mr. Robert Rhodes James (Cambridge)

In following the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) again I find myself in substantial agreement with the fundamental points that he made.

The Minister's speech reminded me of when I was a very young and new author. I wrote a biography of Lord Randolph Churchill, which was kindly received by the then Prime Minister, Mr. Macmillan. At that time, Mr. Bevan, who was extremely unwell, gave his last press conference. He was asked whether he had read the book and whether he approved of political biography. Mr. Bevan replied "No. I like my fiction neat."

I think that the Minister failed absolutely to deal with the fundamental points in the amendment. He put forward two arguments which did not appeal to me and, I thought, would not appeal to the House. First, he said that if the amendment were carried, the Secretary of State would be in the position of a court of appeal. That was the point made by the Lords. Secondly, he said that the Secretary of State would be in the invidious position of interfering in education in Wales. That is not the purpose of the amendment. The Minister cannot argue that the Secretary of State would be a court of appeal and that he would be interfering in education in Wales

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cleveland and Whitby (Mr. Brittan) and the hon. Member for West Lothian pointed out that the devolved powers in themselves are perhaps not all that significant, but they are reasonably significant. All that the Lords are saying and all that we are arguing is that, at the end of the day, in the spirit of the 1944 Act, there should be some facility for the Secretary of State and, as my hon. and learned Friend emphasised, the Secretary of State for Wales to play some part in this procedure.

The Minister said that the amendment was seriously legally defective and capable of amendment. But he gave no indication to the House how that should be done. He did not say why the Government had not proposed certain amendments to make the amendment more relevant and technically correct.

My hon. and learned Friend pointed out that the objectivity of the 1944 Act, which is the principle at stake, is included and carried on by the amendment. I cannot understand why the Government, faced with a perfectly reasonable proposal, should produce once again this strictly negative approach.

I am sorry that, temporarily, the Minister of State is not with us. I feel very sorry for him. He has been trundled on with the Scotland and Wales Bill, the Scotland Bill and the Wales Bill to answer debates which he has not answered and to produce impossible negative answers which he knows are impossible and negative.

I am very glad to see that the Minister of State has come back into the Chamber. His position reminds me very much of when the late Mr. Stewart Alsop, in 1950, had lunch with the then Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Churchill. During the course of the lunch, Mr. Alsop was tempted to say to Mr. Churchill that he could not understand why such a great world statesman should be forced so constantly to talk about boring subjects such as sewage, roads, and so on. Mr. Churchill said "It is very easy. I ring up Anthony Eden and I say, 'Anthony, this is your big chance.'"

That is the position in which the Minister of State has been throughout. The Secretary of State for Scotland and the Secretary of State for Wales, when anything comes up that will be unpleasant, throughout the devolution Bills ring up the Minister of State and say. "This is your big chance". The Minister of State is then once again produced, trundling forward ridiculous negative answers and not answering the debate. His hon. Friend the Under-Secretary is now put in exactly the same situation.

Mr. Alec Jones

How can I be accused of that when I have not yet even attempted to answer the debate?

Mr. John Smith

Get out of that.

Mr. Rhodes James

The hon. Gentleman has not attempted to answer the Lords amendment. There has been a debate in another place and the Minister knows about that debate. A Lords amendment has been placed. The hon. Gentleman has not attempted to deal with the arguments in that amendment.

The Minister of State is extremely tetchy tonight. Perhaps it is the end of a long Session of defending an unanswerable and abominably drafted Bill and dealing with Lords amendments which are extremely sensible. I am not surprised that the Minister of State is getting very tetchy and worried. But the fact is that arguments are put forward in this amendment.

Mr. John Smith

I am a little surprised that that accusation should come on the one day in all these proceedings on which I have not defended the Government position at any stage. I know that the hon. Gentleman did not know that, because he has not been in any of our debates until now.

Mr. Rhodes James

As the right hon. Member knows, I have, in fact, been attending most of these sessions. I was in anguish. I am delighted that I have involved the right hon. Member in the debate again, because I was in dismay. The one thing that was missing was the right hon. Member. I see that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Secretary of State is coming to life, too. It is amazing that the Treasury Bench is suddenly coming into great activity. I am delighted to have contributed to that.

I return to the central point of the Lords amendment. That is that if we are to have these devolved powers, surely the position of the Secretary of State as—in the Under-Secretary's own words—a court of appeal, as the repository of the principle, the objectivity of the 1944 Act, is worth preserving. Why on eath cannot the Government accept that the principle is a good one? Why cannot they accept the amendment? Why cannot the Minister of State answer the arguments made in the amendment?

Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)

I do not know what Sir Winston Churchill said to Anthony Eden. Unlike my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Rhodes James), I am not all that well acquainted with the quotations from those very eminent persons. However, from my hon. Friend we have had more education than we are likely to get from the Government Front Bench on this very sensible Lords amendment.

As my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Cleveland and Whitby (Mr. Britton) said when introducing the argument from the Opposition side of the House, the Government's explanation why they do not accept this Lords amendment is very thin indeed.

Indeed, I believe that the House has seen just how thin it was by the contribution subsequently made by the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell), who clearly indicated that far from trying to establish justice, far from trying to establish efficiency, far from trying to make the Assembly and the government of Wales efficient, the Government were, by the division of these responsibilities, going to create complete chaos. He rightly threw a copy of the Bill down on the Bench beside him, indicating that he felt, as many of us feel on this side of the House, that the whole Bill will be very disadvantageous to Wales and the Welsh people.

11.0 p.m.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cleveland and Whitby in producing a very sound argument why the Conservative Opposition will support the Lords amendment, clearly established that we believe that education is a serious matter. He highlighted that it is also a matter going to the heart of the people and that there are issues in education about which people feel very strongly.

My hon. Friend talked about the opening of schools and, perhaps more important, the closure of schools. Bearing in mind that the Assembly is likely to be dominated by the urban and industrial belt in the south of Wales, I wonder whether many of those who come from the more rural part of Wales—mid-Wales and north Wales—will be very happy about decisions relating to the closure of schools.

Many of us on this side of the House who also represent rural constituencies know the problems that we and our constituents often face when the county councils in our areas have been moved, for reasons of finance and economy, to close rural schools. I wonder whether the situation will help the Welsh people if the decision is to be made by the Assembly in the last resort and there is no final court of appeal, as it were, to the Secretary of State.

I believe that my hon. Friend presented an eminently reasonable argument. I hope that in reply the Minister will give it rather more attention that he did in his introductory remarks. I believe that my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge was right—there is a wealth of opinion on the amendment in the debates in the other place. It may be that some hon. Members opposite do not like the existence of the other place, but I also believe that the fact that many of its amendments, both to this Bill and to the Scotland Bill, have been accepted by the Government is clear indication that the other place is doing an excellent job. It is trying to improve what is chaotic legislation which will lead to disaster for the United Kingdom and for the people of Scotland and Wales.

Surely it is only right that an area of Wales, that a group of parents in Wales, that a village in Wales, should have the right of final appeal to the Secretary of State. The Education Act 1944 was a non-partisan measure. It was accepted without acrimony. Unlike the Education Act 1976, passed by the present Government it had all-party agreement. Many safeguards were built into it. Is it not right that the people of Wales should continued to have those safeguards? I believe that it is right that they should.

Mr. Rhodes James

How would my hon. Friend deal with the point made by the Minister when he said that to have have this appeal power would be putting the Secretary of State in the invidious position of interfering in education in Wales? How on earth does this amendment give the Secretary of State the position of interfering in education in Wales, given the devolved powers contained in the Bill?

Mr. Winterton

It does not. In the words of my right hon. Friend the Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym), it merely gives the Secretary of State an opportunity to review the situation in light of all the circumstances. I do not believe that is bad.

Mr. Alec Jones

It seems that tetchiness is catching tonight. If a local authority makes proposals to close or open a school and they are confirmed by the Assembly but overturned by a deccision of a Secretary of State, that must be direct intervention by the Secretary of State in the running of schools in Wales. That is what I meant by intervention.

Mr. Winterton

The Minister has made a good point with that example, but I do not believe that many such cases would occur. The Secretary of State would undoubtedly liaise closely with the Assembly, but the aggrieved party in Wales would feel that the case had received an objective review and consideration.

The Lords amendment is eminently reasonable and the Government should be as reasonable and meet some of the concern felt in Wales, in another place and on this side of the House about the likely effect of the Government's proposals on education. I should like to go further and have no devolution of education powers. It will be expensive and we shall build up two bureaucracies. The Government exhort us to be more efficient, to cut down on bureaucracy and to reduce government, but there will be a marked division of responsibility in education. Certain functions will be reserved to the Secretary of State and others will be devolved. In all sense, does not the Minister realise that this will create chaos and disillusion in Wales?

I intervene because I am concerned about education. Before becoming an hon. Member I was a county councillor and deputy chairman of an education committee for a number of years. I believe that the Government's proposal will be damaging. The damage would be much less if the Minister would accept the suitable and moderately worded amendment, the objectives of which are very limited. It provides the safeguard that is so important.

If the Government regard the amendment as unfortunate, why did they not change the provisions of the 1944 Act, which included the safeguard that is being removed for the people in Wales, when they introduced the 1976 Act, which affects education throughout England and Wales? In many of the offices he has held, the Minister has shown sympathy, concern and understanding. Surely he will not lose anything by accepting the amendment.

Will the Minister think again and consider the points put forward by this side of the House and by his hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell)? I fear that the relationship that may have built up between the Government Front Bench and the hon. Member for West Lothian may be such that the Minister will not listen to the great sense spoken by the hon. Member not only on this Bill, but in his contribution on the Scotland Bill. I hope that the Minister will reconsider this decision and, even if reluctantly and a little late, announce that the Government will support the amendment.

Mr. Peter Thomas

It is with extreme diffidence that I intervene, because we are short of time and the Minister will want as much as possible to reply to questions. After the searching and able speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton), I know that he will want to ally the fears expressed about his attitude at the beginning of the date.

My party's manifesto in Wales in 1970 said that we would devolve to the Secretary of State for Wales functions in respect of primary and secondary education. As Secretary of State after the election, I carried through that mandate, despite opposition from the Labour Party. I do not know whether the Under-Secretary was one, but several distinguished members of his party opposed that devolution.

That devolution has now become popular in Wales. I was interested, because I was the first Secretary of State to have that responsibility and I had to take the decisions on section 13 approvals by local education authorities which were in the main politically opposed to me. I think that it will be agreed that those decisions that I took in my four years as Secretary of State were mainly accepted in Wales.

I found how important it was that those decisions should be taken by the Secretary of State. I used to hold the view, which most hon. Members would accept, that the local education authority should judge. Only if the Secretary of State, or whoever is responsible, feels that the authority has gone wrong should he upset the decision, even if it is not wholly in accord with his political view. Occasionally, one could not give approval and has had to suggest modifications—as would be done under the amendment.

I found that that period from the excitement engendered by the decision of the local education authority and the feelings abroad through parents or whomever it might be until eventually the decision was taken by the Secretary of State was a time when feelings were ventilated. But emotions and tempers cooled to a certain extent, and I was able to reach an accommodation which, in the end, generally was right.

11.15 p.m.

Sir David Renton

My right hon. and learned Friend is making a very important statement to the House based upon his own valuable experience. But it would help us to understand what he is saying if he could give us some idea of the extent to which he found himself adjudicating between the education authorities and people who had raised objections to its scheme. I assume that that happened in 95 per cent. of cases.

Mr. Thomas

I think that percentage is about right, as I would expect from my right hon. and learned Friend. I had to adjudicate on the objections which were raised. I had to review objectively the schemes that were put forward. I found that in the Welsh Office there was built up the Welsh education office. In it were men who had been connected with education in Wales for many years. They had been part of the Ministry of Education for years, but had been remote from it. From the time that Ben Bowen-Thomas was Under-Secretary, he had built up a department remote from the main education office, and there it was; we had a Welsh education office. It was able to function, and it advised the Secretary of State so that he was able to give a decision which generally was acceptable to the people of Wales.

I found no difficulty. I was, after all, a Conservative and the first Conservative Secretary of State in a country where at that time there were very few local authorities which could be considered to be of the same political complexion. I never found any difficulty.

If we are to hand over that power to an Assembly—a political body which will undoubtedly exercise its political muscle and play politics, as we know it will—it will be bad for education in Wales. I believe that a Secretary of State in Wales of whichever party has that objectivity when he has behind him a Department which over the years I grew to admire. That Department can give that assistance and objectivity hoped for from a Secretary of State. I am sure that in certain respects the present Secretary of State is objective, and I have no doubt that he is in education, because it is so important in Wales.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

Does not my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the relationship which he is describing and which he suggests will exist between the local authorities and the Assembly is likely to be exacerbated by the inclusion of clause 12, which gives the Assembly the right to review the local authority position?

Mr. Thomas

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that intervention. This is very important. We now have a situation, in view of the vote that we had yesterday, in which the education authorities in Wales will be very concerned about their future. They will also be very wary of an Assembly, if it comes into being.

The Assembly wishes to review local government in Wales, to keep its eye on the local education authorities and to diminish their influence. That is what will happen. For that reason we shall have not a sense of co-operation between the local education authorities in Wales and the Assembly, but a feeling of rivalry. There is no doubt that once a decision is taken by an education authority on whatever matter and it goes up to the Assembly, whatever the Assembly decision may be there will be resentment, or a feeling on the part of the local authority that it is not being dealt with objectively.

What is left? We have the Secretary of State, with his Department behind him. I believe that that is the answer. There will undoubtedly be objectors. There will be deep feelings and concern about any form of education change. The Secretary of State will be the person able to make a proper, objective, review.

Mr. Alec Jones

Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman appreciate that while he had the advantage of having a large Department behind him when he was Secretary of State, when the Assembly comes into being the Secretary of State for Wales will not have that expertise? That expertise will be transferred to the Assembly.

Mr. Thomas

That is absolutely true. The Department will then be advising the Assembly. Instead of advising one man it will be advising the Assembly. The Under-Secretary knows that Ministers get departmental advice and eventually the Secretary of State has to take a decision. How will that be done in the context of an Assembly? Who will take the decision? Will it be a wrangle or a discussion? What happens now is that there might be two or three views in the Department. The Under-Secretary will come along and say "This is my view but I think that I should tell you that so-and-so feels differently. It is a matter for you, as Secretary of State, to decide". The Minister decides. The Department advising an Assembly can never give the advice that will be sufficient to produce a united view among a conglomerate of people.

What is needed is that the advice which the Department may give to the Assembly—together with the Assembly's decision—should go up to a Minister who also has the advantage of advice from others, so that a decision is taken by the Secretary of State. This is clearly in the interests of those who will undoubtedly object, and object as is anticipated by these amendments. Then it will be found that all the fears and concern that will undoubtedly be expressed by the local education authority and the Assemby—who may be in a position of rivalry—will be allayed if they can take the matter to someone who is the ultimate court of appeal.

It is important that the Under-Secretary should reconsider. He has the Secretary of State sitting beside him. All that he has to do is to turn to his right hon. and learned Friend and say "I am absolutely convinced by what has been said and I think that you should give me the authority to get up and say 'I'm sorry, but the speech I made at the beginning of the debate was a little truncated and I think that I was wrong. I should now like to say on behalf of the Government that I think that the Lords amendment can be accepted for the benefit of education in Wales.'"

Mr. Ioan Evans

If this matter of reviewing education in Wales is to go to the referendum and the people decide that there should be an Assembly, will there not be a period of uncertainty? At the moment education is the responsibility of the counties. The Assembly will be given the power to review local government. The education responsibility cannot be passed on to the districts, because there are too many of them: there cannot be 37 directors of education. A new type of local Government body may emerge from some radical recommendation, involving the abolition of the counties and districts. That will take time to implement.

Is not the problem that while the review is taking place, and after that when the report comes back to the House for it to take a decision on it, education as a whole will be uncertain about what is to happen? It will not know which is to be the education authority. That will be the position if the Assembly does not take on that function, and if it does there will be not devolution but a concentration of authority in the Assembly to run education in Wales.

Mr. Thomas

The hon. Gentleman is right. He has expressed the situation in that clear way that one expects from him. I tried to do the same thing, but I did so in my contorted way and was unable to express it clearly. That is the whole point.

I am not sure which way the hon. Gentleman voted last night, but I have long thought that he is apt to vote on the side of the angels. Following what happened last night, there will be this period of tension between the Assembly and the local education authorities. The hon. Gentleman is right. Whatever happens, education will not be put over to the districts unless there are enormous changes in the districts. If the Assembly comes into being, for some time there will be this feeling of rivalry between it and the local education authorities.

What the amendment does is to offer a solution to the tension and misery that undoubtedly will exist. A local education authority may decide to propose a change. There may be protestations and all sorts of feelings of unhappiness about what is happening. It will be no good going to the Assembly and hoping that its decision will solve the difficulty. There must be a higher court of appeal, and I suggest that what is in this amendment is the answer. It is a well-thought-out amendment, and it has been put forward for no reason other than to try to offer those who are concerned, those who submit objections, a certain amount of time, and then the Secretary of State will either give his approval or make modifications to what has been submitted.

I believe that we are all united in our desire to improve education in Wales. We may have slight differences over the form of education that we want for Wales, but, generally speaking, the situation is such that most of us will support something of importance to Wales. For generations education has been thought of as the great equaliser of the condition of man. For that reason one supports education in Wales. We have a wonderful history of people who have come up from the bottom to the top. The country is full of quarrymen's children and miners' children who have gone to the heights by means of education, which is given support by every family in Wales.

That being so, let us not do anything that might destroy the confidence of people in Wales in education generally. A small contribution can be made tonight by the Under-Secretary taking the strong and sensible view, admitting that he was wrong and saying that he will accept the amendment.

11.30 p.m.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

I am glad to follow the extraordinary and enthralling peroration of the right hon. and learned Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Thomas). I suppose that I could say that we have both come up from the same bottom—

Mr. Nicholas Winterton

I am not sure that that is the right phrase.

Mr. Thomas

—since we both attended the school at Llanrwth. But I was particularly enthralled by his view of the role of the Secretary of State during his period of that office. Maybe he is in the process of writing his memoirs—

Mr. Peter Thomas

No, I am not.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

Some of his reminiscences tonight had the air of memoir writing as opposed to an accurate recollection of the reality of events.

Mr. Peter Thomas

The hon. Gentleman knows that I have known him practically all his life. He is perfectly right that we come from much the same background. We come from the same village. I call on him to recall, because he has a very good memory, one decision on education that I took as Secretary of State and of which he disapproved, or any decision by me that caused enormous controversy among those who support him.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

Apart from saying that I shall write to the right hon. and learned Gentleman, my immediate response to that is that he must have been very attentive to the advice of his officers in the Welsh Office if his decisions were as popular as he apparently recollects.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman sees the Secretary of State as an extremely objective High Court judge in some idealistic federal system, as someone who sits in totally objective analysis of evidence. I am always on my guard when I hear politicians talk of the need for objectivity. That generally indicates an attempt to deny that ultimately all the decisions on public policy are taken on political grounds.

My concern about the Lords amendment and the Conservative support for it is that it is an attempt to maintain a degree of subjective political interference by a future Conservative Secretary of State in the structure of education in Wales. It may be that when the right hon. and learned Member for Hendon, South was the first Conservative Secretary of State he was more diffident and reluctant and might have been shown not to be the kind of material that would find a place in the Leader of the Opposition's Cabinet, should she ever have a working majority, and not the sort to make radical Right-wing changes in the structure of education.

The history of education in Wales has been one, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman so rightly said, of commitments to egalitarianism, of the early implementation of the comprehensive system, and of the development of a popular-based education system. Naturally, the Assembly will want to develop and maintain policy along those lines.

It seems to me that it is not appropriate at all that the Secretary of State for Wales, in his new post-Assembly function, should be concerned with detailed decisions of education administration. In the new post-Assembly situation, the Welsh Education Office will already have been subsumed into the Welsh Office as a whole. That administration now has responsibility not only for primary and secondary education, as in the days of the right hon. and learned Member for Hendon, South, but for the whole of education in Wales, except for distinguished institutions such as Coleg Harlech, the University of Wales and the Open University. The total educational expertise will therefore be advising the Assembly and will not be present to advise the Secretary of State. Or are we to have set up, under the Conservative proposals some sort of private education office in the Secretary of State's Department which will take an additional overview when these appeals on closures or on changes of character come to him, the Secretary of State?

Mr. Brittan

Will not the hon. Gentleman agree that that argument might carry some weight if the position were that there were no education matters reserved to the Secretary of State? I am afraid that I took too much of the time of the House in reading out pages 39 to 40 of the Bill, but they clearly set out a whole range of functions in education reserved to the Secretary of State, and therefore necessitating the retention within his office of a substantial section able to deal with and advise on education matters.

Mr. Thomas

I take that point, but it appears to me from reading again the list of education functions not to be devolved to the Assembly that there is a qualitative difference between the other non-devolved functions and this in that I believe that this impinges more closely upon the adminitstration of education policy itself as opposed to the safeguarding of the remuneration of teachers and so on, matters in effect settled on a United Kingdom level.

The other issues not being devolved are issues which, within the logic of the Bill and within the logic of maintaining the same levels of remuneration throughout the United Kingdom, can, according to the logic of the Bill, be retained with the Secretary of State. But I believe that when we are talking about the opening and closing and the changing of character of schools, these are education policy decisions which rightly should fall to the Assembly to undertake. The Assembly would play this role within its overall context of policy making where it takes an over-view of the activities of the local education authorities.

Here certainly I have no anxiety, as someone representing a rural area, that we should suddenly have a demand from mid-Glamorgan or from south Glamorgan that there should be a move to close down rural schools. I do not take the hint given by the hon. and learned Member for Cleveland and Whitby (Mr. Brittan) when he touched on linguistic policy. I do not have any fear that the Assembly, in coming to decisions, say, about the opening of further bilingual secondary schools—and decisions such as the one that the Secretary of State took recently in the context of Gwynedd will not be able to take them in the context of a bilingual policy throughout Wales.

Mr. Wyn Roberts

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that both he and I represent Gwynedd constituencies and that school closures are not unknown in that county and in other rural areas? Is he telling the House that he is prepared to go with the new dispensation and that in the event of the closure of a local school—say, in his constituency or mine—he would not like to have the final right of appeal over the Assembly to the Secretary of State?

Mr. Thomas

I believe that nothing is gained but that rather there is a policy intervention by the Secretary of State, acting with a sort of High Court, federal function which is unnecessary. Gwynedd is now going through the consultation procedures over half-a-dozen schools in my constituency. Having gone through all the local consultation procedures, having gone to the local education committee, having discussed the matter with parents and councils, and then having the issue thrashed out in the context of an all-Wales view about rural policy, which could well be different from the view of a local education authority, all parties affected by the decisions will have been able to air their views. Individuals and groups in Wales will be able to petition the Assembly and influence those decisions and have them made in open debate within the Assembly. I cannot but feel that a decision taken openly by a democratic body is qualitatively as well as quantitatively better than even the excellent decisions that have been taken recently by the Secretary of State on bilingual education.

For those reasons I have no compunction in rejecting the Lords amendments as an attempt by the Conservative Opposition to maintain a vestige of political control by a potential future Conservative Secretary of State under the guise of alleged objectivity.

Sir David Renton

I wonder whether I may intervene briefly to remind the House that the Kilbrandon Commission, on which Sir Ben Bowen Thomas served—that is, the majority of the Kilbrandon Commission, among which I did not number myself—if anything favours the Lords amendment rather than the Government view on the matter. I shall illustrate that statement by referring to the relevant passages of the report.

First, the Commission said in paragraph 709: There would…be considerable scope in…education for the devolution of functions of a kind which have been transferred to the Scottish and Welsh Offices. That was in 1973. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Thomas) referred to 1970, when it was done.

Then, in paragraph 839, the Commission referred to the problem of drafting. It said, to illustrate that problem, that the law was to be found in section 1 of the Education Act, which confers on the Minister…the duty 'to promote the education of the people of England and Wales and the progressive development of institutions devoted to that purpose, and to secure the effective execution by local authorities, under his control and direction, of the national policy"— I stress "national policy"— 'for providing a varied and comprehensive educational service in every area.' It is immediately apparent that if regional assemblies were to be given functions in connection with education, this duty would in some way have to be shared between a central government Minister or Ministers and the assemblies. So far we are all in agreement, but now I come to the crux of the matter as it affects the amendment. That is to be found in the appendix that we compiled, which I have always felt to be very informative and useful, appendix D, headed: The Scope for Devolution of Departmental Functions". Under the heading of education, the appendix deals with the general functions, regional and local organisation and then schools. In paragraph 64, in relation to schools, it says: Devolution would be possible"— that means devolution from the Secretary of State to an Assembly— though if it led to the adoption of substantially different policies for the organisation of the schools system, problems would be created for children moving from one region to another". Speaking more generally, and this is the crux of the matter, it states: If policy control remained at the centre many of the department's executive functions could be devolved". Therefore, it was recognised by the majority of the Kilbrandon Commission—I was not among them—that this question of the functions relating to schools was very sensitive, as has been pointed out.

I think that we Conservatives are in some danger of ourselves being inconsistent, because earlier, in relation to the National Health Service, we accused the Government—I did myself—of blowing hot and cold, of devolving with one hand and taking away with the other. But on the narrow point covered by the Lords amendment, and in view of the very powerful evidence given by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Thomas), we must recognise that especially in Wales—I do not think that this would apply to anything like the same extent in England—where there are strong religious feeling, and a good many religious schools and where we are likely to have a strongly political Assembly—I do not complain about that, because that is the way our democracy works out—and in this especially sensitive area of local disputes arising whether schools should be closed, amalgamated or whatever, it is right that there should be a more impartial ultimate authority.

That is why I believe that the Lords amendment should be retained. It is a great pity that neither in another place nor in this House have we been told why it is technically defective. I do not see that it is.

Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)

As soon as you want me to sit down, Mr. Deputy Speaker, no doubt you will give me the wink, or else it will come from the Treasury Bench or from my colleagues on the Front Bench.

Mr. Ivor Stanbrook (Orpington)

Sit down now.

Mr. Crouch

I shall certainly not sit down now; that is the last thing that I shall do. I am required to go these Lobbies night after night on these devolution Bills, and I feel that I would be letting down the House, myself, my constituents, the country and the Principality of Wales by not expressing some view on the Bill providing some devolution and self-government to the Principality.

It is on the subject of education that we are perhaps in danger of making a mistake. I am not a learned Member. I have listended with great attention to right hon. and learned Friends who have spoken with great wisdom. The former Secretary of State, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Thomas), spoke with conviction from experience. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) spoke with experience, wisdom and conviction from his long study of the whole problem of devolution while serving on the Royal Commission.

I can only say that I still believe that Royal Commissions may come and go but in the end it is this House which produces the greater wisdom or the greater common sense about these things. I have felt for a long time that there is an advantage in devolving education out from the centre, out from Whitehall. I feel that we have an advantage in devolving education from Whitehall to our counties.

I heard my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hendon South speak of the special advantages accruing to Welsh people from Welsh education. Yet here we have this reactionary advice from another place that we must stop this dispersal from Whitehall to the perimeters of our country. After all, this is dispersal to the Principality of Wales—not an unknown region of Britain, but a clear, recognised and distinct area with a great history.

This was also the case with Scotland. The House knows my views about Scotland. The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) knows my views. He is tolerant of me now; he does not keep interrupting me, because I am not speaking about Scotland—thank God for that.

Even at this late hour and with this limited audience I owe it to the House to say that I still feel from the south-east of England these strange urges to support the views of the hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. Thomas), who represents a diminutive party in our political spectrum. I agree with everything that he said.

Mr. Kenneth Warren (Hastings)


Mr. Crouch

That brings gasps from a Member of my own party. The advantage of this place is that even in the late hours of the night, or small hours of the morning, and in the eleventh hour of this Parliament, it is still possible for us to say something before we have to go into the Lobbies.

My point is that on this matter the House of Lords is wrong. The Lords are telling us—in this elected chamber—to be reactionary and do nothing. But do we not understand that Wales is a nation, a Principality, a recognised region? Do we not believe that it can produce a standard of education? Must we always interfere? Must we have a man sitting in Whitehall—albeit a Welshman—in control, under a Prime Minister and a Cabinet, telling Cardiff that we do not approve of its methods and we do not believe that it can manage without our modifications?

I am a simple man and I hope that the Minister will appreciate that it takes a simple man with common sense to realise that we must not limit the opportunities we give to expression and even to control in parts of the United Kingdom. We must give trust we must not take it away.

Mr. Alec Jones

I shall attempt to deal with some of the points that have been raised in the debate. It has been said that my opening remarks were unusually thin. I do not know whether that was meant to be flattery of my previous remarks, but I shall take it that way.

In opening I made the point about the technical defects of the amendment and my objections on principle. As I have suffered personally from Ministers turning down perfectly good amendments on the grounds of technical defects, I shall deal mainly with the objection in principle.

The noble Lord who introduced the amendment in the other place was advised by the Government that his amendment was defective. He was offered an alternative, but he chose not to accept it. He has again been written to with an explanation why this amendment contains technical deficiencies, which have been drawn to his attention. I shall not make any fuss about that, or I shall not have time to go into the principle.

Mr. Brittan

The Minister's attitude on this is unsatisfactory. He cannot have it both ways. Either he does not say anything about the technical defect, or he explains it. If he thinks that the technical aspect does not matter, he should not mention it. But he appears to be saying "I shall not tell you about it, but there are fundamental technical objections and if you knew about them it would be enough to put you off." It is tantamount to saying "I have reasons—I cannot tell you what they are—which would frighten you off this amendment." I do not think that is an appropriate way to deal with the House.

Mr. Jones

That is not true. The position is the converse. I am saying that the hon. and learned Gentleman should forget the technical objections so that we may concentrate on the objections in principle. But it was equally right that I should repeat to this House the advice given by the Government in another place namely, that relating to the technical deficiencies.

I return to the objection in principle. The administration of education in this respect is primarily devolved. It is not true, as the hon. Gentleman suggested, that the exclusions listed in the Bill are significant, except in respect of salaries and such matters which are centrally negotiated. In the main, the items excluded are the Lord Chancellor's rule-making powers. I do not think that will give the Secretary of State much of a staff to deal with. Then there are employment-related powers, advice to the Crown on the appointment of Her Majesty's inspectors, and powers concerning mandatory student awards. Those are the functions which, in the main, will remain.

We had an excellent speech from the right hon. and learned Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Thomas) giving his point of view but the situation will have changed fundamentally. The Secretary of State will not have the same degree of expertise to advise him which the right hon. and learned Gentleman had when he held that office, because the number of people will be relatively small and in the main, they will concern themselves with remuneration and such matters. If the right hon. and learned Gentleman is suggesting that those who advised him in the past and who will now be advising the Assembly could also at the same time advise the Secretary of State, it seems to me that if they were honest men, as I believe them to be, they would of necessity give the same advice to the Assembly and to the Secretary of State. It is not likely to be different.

Mr. Peter Thomas

All I meant to say was that the Secretary of State would still have the benefit of the advice of the Welsh education office. It will advise the Assembly; the Assembly will have to reach a decision somehow, whether by a majority or whatever it is, and there can be an appeal to the Secretary of State. But the right hon. Gentleman can still ask for the advice of the Welsh education office. There is no difficulty about that at all.

Mr. Jones

The advice that that body would give to the Assembly would be the same as it would give to the Secretary of State. If the same advice is tendered, one normally expects the same outcome.

There is also to be borne in mind the fundamental point that if this House decides to devolve education almost

totally to an elected Assembly in Wales, it is extremely difficult to justify the over-supervising of it by some other body—and that is what it would be. There is not much point in saying that certain things must follow because we have this sort of principle in the 1944 Act. There is a right of appeal to the Secretary of State in the 1944 and 1976 Acts because there was then no Assembly. But post-devolution we shall be operating in a completely different area.

With the Assembly responsible for education in Wales, it should have the responsibility to decide on proposals initiated by local education authorities, particularly when those proposals involve the opening or closing of new schools or seeking to maintain schools. If one did not do that—

It being midnight, Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Order [18th 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 172, Noes 149.

Division No. 303] AYES [12 Midnight
Anderson, Donald de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Doig, Peter Howells, Geraint (Cardigan)
Armstrong, Ernest Dormand, J. D. Huckfield, Les
Ashton, Joe Duffy, A. E. P. Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey)
Bain, Mrs Margaret Dunnett, Jack Hughes, Roy (Newport)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Eadie, Alex Irving, Rt Hon Sydney (Dartford)
Barrett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Janner, Greville
Bates, Alt English, Michael Jay, Rt Hon Douglas
Bean, R. E. Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)
Beith, A. J. Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) John, Brynmor
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Evans, John (Newton) Johnston, Russell (Inverness)
Bishop, Rt Hon Edward Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Jones, Alec (Rhondda)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W) Judd, Frank
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Flannery, Martin Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Buchan, Norman Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Kerr, Russell
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Foot, Rt Hon Michael Kilfedder, James
Canavan, Dennis Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Kinnock, Neil
Carter, Ray Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Lamborn, Harry
Cartwright, John Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Lamond, James
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Freud, Clement Latham, Arthur (Paddington)
Concannon, Rt Hon John Garrett, John (Norwich S) Lee, John
Corbett, Robin Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Lever, Rt Hon Harold
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Ginsberg, David Litterick, Tom
Cronin, John Golding, John Luard, Evan
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Gould, Bryan Lyons, Edward (Bradford W)
Cryer, Bob Grant, John (Islington C) McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Grimond, Rt Hon J. McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Hamilton, James (Bothwell) MacFarquhar, Roderick
Dalyell, Tam Hardy, Peter Maclennan, Robert
Davidson, Arthur Harrison, Rt Hon Walter McNamara, Kevin
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Hart, Rt Hon Judith Madden, Max
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hayman, Mrs Helene Marks, Kenneth
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Hotter, Eric S. Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole)
Deakins, Eric Hooson, Emlyn Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Horam, John Meacher, Michael
Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Roderick, Caerwyn Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Molloy, William Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton) Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Morris, Rt Hon Charles R. Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Thompson, George
Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock) Tilley, John
Morton, George Rowlands, Ted Tinn, James
Moyle, Rt Hon Roland Sandelson, Neville Tomlinson, John
Newens, Stanley Sedgemore, Brian Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Noble, Mike Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert Ward, Michael
Oakes, Gordon Shore, Rt Hon Peter Watkinson, John
Ogden, Eric Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE) Wellbeloved, James
O'Halloran, Michael Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich) Wigley, Dafydd
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Skinner, Dennis Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Ovenden, John Smith, Rt Hon John (N Lanarkshire) Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Owen, Rt Hon Dr David Snape, Peter Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Palmer, Arthur Spearing, Nigel Wise, Mrs Audrey
Park, George Stallard, A. W. Woodall, Alec
Pavitt, Laurie Steel, Rt Hon David Wrigglesworth, Ian
Prescott, John Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham) Young, David (Bolton E)
Price, C. (Lewisham W) Stoddart, David
Price, William (Rugby) Strang, Gavin TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Radice, Giles Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley Mr. Donald Coleman and
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W) Mr. Ted Graham.
Richardson, Miss Jo Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Higgins, Terence L. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Baker, Kenneth Holland, Philip Prior, Rt Hon James
Banks, Robert Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Bendall, Vivian Howell, David (Guildford) Raison, Timothy
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Berry, Hon Anthony Hunt, David (Wirral) Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Bitten, John Hurd, Douglas Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Biggs-Davison, John James, David Rhodes James, R.
Blaker, Peter Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd&W'd) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Body, Richard Jessel, Toby Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Boscawen, Hon Robert Jopling, Michael Ridsdale, Julian
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Bradford, Rev Robert Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Braine, Sir Bernard Kershaw, Anthony Ross, William (Londonderry)
Brittan, Leon King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Brooke, Hon Peter Kitson, Sir Timothy Royle, Sir Anthony
Buck, Antony Lamont, Norman Sainsbury, Tim
Bulmer, Esmond Lawrence, Ivan Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Carlisle, Mark Lawson, Nigel Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Loveridge, John Shelton, William (Streatham)
Clegg, Walter Luce, Richard Shepherd, Colin
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) McCusker, H. Shersby, Michael
Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E) Macfarlane, Neil Silvester, Fred
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Sims, Roger
Dodsworth, Geoffrey McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Skeet, T. H. H.
Drayson, Burnaby Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Smith, Timothy John (Ashfield)
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Mather, Carol Speed, Keith
Dunlop, John Mawby, Ray Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)
Dykes, Hugh Meyer, Sir Anthony Stainton, Keith
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Stanbrook, Ivor
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Miscampbell, Norman Stradling Thomas, J.
Emery, Peter Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Tapsell, Peter
Eyre, Reginald Moate, Roger Tebbit, Norman
Fell, Anthony Molyneaux, James Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)
Finsberg, Geoffrey More, Jasper (Ludlow) Townsend, Cyril D.
Fisher, Sir Nigel Morgan, Geraint van Straubenzee, W. R.
Fookes, Miss Janet Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Forman, Nigel Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Viggers, Peter
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Fox, Marcus Neave, Airey Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Nelson, Anthony Walters, Dennis
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Neubert, Michael Warren, Kenneth
Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Newton, Tony Weatherill, Bernard
Goodhew, Victor Normanton, Tom Wells, John
Gorst, John Page, Rt Hon R, Graham (Crosby) Whitney, Raymond
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Page, Richard (Workington) Winterton, Nicholas
Grant, Anthony (Harrow C) Paisley, Rev Ian Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Griffiths, Eldon Pattie, Geoffrey
Grist, Ian Percival, Ian TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch Lord James Douglas-Hamilton and
Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Mr. Jim Lester.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the Business to be concluded at midnight.

Lords amendment: No. 172, in page 75, line 29, at end insert—


21B. After paragraph 1(h) of the Schedule to the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings)

Act 1960 there shall be inserted"— (i) the Welsh Assembly"")

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

Question put forthwith:

The House divided: Ayes 170, Noes 147.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 173 and 188 disagreed to.

Amendment made to the words so restored to the Bill:

In page 84, line 28, at end insert— '(3) The Welsh Assembly shall publish each report received by it under this paragraph'.—[Mr. John Smith.]

Lords amendment no. 190 disagreed to.

Amendments made to the words so restored to the Bill:

In page 85, line 13, leave out `In section 3(1)(e)' and insert `(1) In subsection (1)(e) of section 3'.

In page 85, line 16, at end insert— '(2) At the end of subsection (8) of that section there shall be added the words"; and the Welsh Assembly shall publish every report made to it under that provision."'.—[Mr. John Smith.]

Lords amendment no. 191 disagreed to.

Amendment made to the words so restored to the Bill:

In page 85, line 46, after 'of', insert ', and paragraph 10(1) of Schedule 5 to,'.—[Mr. John Smith.]

Lords amendment no. 192 disagreed to.

Forward to