HC Deb 26 July 1978 vol 954 cc1706-43

Question again proposed, That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Peter Thomas

I think that you, Mr. Speaker, would accept, as will the right hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes), that if anyone wishes to be popular as Secretary of State for Wales the last thing that he should enter into is local government reorganisation. With reluctance I found that it was inevitable that I should apply myself to that task. I found that a great deal of activity had taken place over several years and that there was plenty of good learning to be had from various documents which had been prepared by many intelligent and able people and by Royal Commissions.

It was inevitable that something had to be done. But what was most important—and I know that you, Mr. Speaker, and the right hon. Member for Anglesey also found this—was that there was enormous anviety among local government officials in Wales because they felt that a finality had to be reached. One therefore had to try to find a solution in order to restructure local government. Without that there would have been despair among local government officials in Wales about what was to happen to them.

If we reopen this question, when local government in Wales is settling down, with all its imperfections, we shall reopen all the miseries and anxieties that I found when I first came to office.

Every county council in Wales is totally opposed to the review of local government being placed in the hands of the Assembly. Lord Heycock made that clear. He said that great anxiety was expressed by district councils. A review must come but it must come gradually. Local government must be given an opportunity to settle down. If the task is placed in the hands of the Assembly it will be in the hands of a body which has a vested interest and which will, during the time of the investigation, cause uncertainty in local government in Wales.

The general view is that there must he a period in which local government can settle itself. The implications of the structure and functions must be found out in due course. But local government must be given the opportunity to settle down so that it can discover what must be reviewed and changed.

The Under-Secretary of State referred to the opposition to local government reorganisation. Of course there was opposition on both sides of the House. Because there is stern opposition to a particular Bill which becomes an Act, one does not say that that Act must be reviewed. That would mean that the entire time of the Assembly or any Government body would be taken up in reviewing Acts passed by previous Governments. That argument is not good.

The Minister did not apply himself to the fact that clause 12 is unnecessary. If it was not in the Bill the Assembly could of its own volition review local government and report the result to the Secretary of State.

Mr. Alec Jones

I made that point in my speech. That is why I said the amendment was more objectionable than the deletion of clause 12.

Mr. Thomas

I understood the Under-Secretary to say that at the beginning. That was not the way I understood his argument to run, however. Does he accept, then, that if clause 12 was removed the Assembly would still have the right to review local government when it considered the time was right, and that it could report to the Secretary of State?

Mr. Alec Jones

I certainly accept that. I said so in my opening speech. That is not, however, what we are dealing with now. Our main point is that we want to put the duty on the Assembly because it has such important local government functions.

Mr. Thomas

I am obliged to the Under-Secretary. The matter is now perfectly clear. Clause 12 is purposely included to give an instruction to the Assembly.

The Government have spoken in terms of this Bill setting up a democratic Assembly. It should therefore have the right to decide for itself what it should do. An instruction is being given by this House to the Assembly, however. As far as I can see it is the only real instruction in the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Edwards) referred to it as peremptory command post from this House to the Assembly that it should review the structure of local government and report its conclusions to the Secretary of State, and that applies even though the Assembly already has the right to do it under the Bill.

Why have this peremptory command? Its presence in the Bill causes one to be suspicious of the motives behind it. My hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke pointed in his admirable speech to one or two of the suspicions that are felt, and they must be right. This provision is made for no other reason than to try to create some form of popularity for the Bill which would otherwise hardly be described as popular in Wales.

I should like to adopt, without reservation, the speech by the hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Davies). He speaks for the majority, certainly in the southern part of Wales. His speech was very similar to Lord Heycock's speech in another place. He spoke with an economy of words and firmly, and I believe that he put the truth about this matter. This provision is not required. It will cause uncertainty and it should be dropped.

There has already been a Division in this House and there was a majority of only one in favour of retaining the clause. That indicates that the House is deeply divided on the issue. Two more votes could have made all the difference. If they had been cast against the clause it would have been removed and we would not now be facing the problem.

The amendment in many ways is not perfect, but it is simple and it provides that the Secretary of State, this House and the other place shall decide on the opportune time for a review. Until that has been decided, the Assembly will not exercise its rights, quite apart from clause 12. That appears to be sensible. The amendment was supported by the hon. Member for Gower. I hope that there will be a majority in favour of it in the Division Lobby tonight.

Mr. Roy Hughes (Newport)

It would be far more just and more democratic for a review of the structure of local government to be carried out by the elected Welsh Assembly rather than by the right hon. and learned Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Thomas), however learned and charming he may be.

We know that the House of Lords originally tried to multilate the Bill with dozens of amendments. This House has now very wisely restored most of the position. Perhaps it is worth reminding their Lordships, as this is a Welsh Bill, that when they last clashed with Welshmen, in the early part of this century, they had their wings clipped. I hope that in the next Parliament we shall have a majority Labour Government that will wipe out the House of Lords. Certainly democracy in Britain would be stronger as a result of such a measure.

This reform of local government is vital. The Under-Secretary reminded us that all Labour Members disagreed profoundly with the local government legislation when it was going through Parliament. We know that there was much gerrymandering involved in it. There was waste and extravagance as a result of its implementation. There was duplication of functions. A loss of identity was suffered by many communities throughout Wales.

If further evidence is needed about the reorganisation of local government for England as well, it is provided on the Order Paper in Early-Day Motion No. 580, signed by very many Labour Members, backing the proposals of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, particularly that to restore the powers now lost to county boroughs throughout the country.

It is absolutely vital that the proposals contained in clause No. 12 should go through tonight. An elected Welsh Assembly is the body to draw up proposals for the reorganisation of local government. I imagine that it will be composed of people with a vast experience of local government, living and working in their own localities in Wales.

It is worth asking why their Lordships should continue to resist this proposal. The answer is that they are aware of a certain weakness in the ranks of the Parliamentary Labour Party. They know that last week there was a majority of only one for the clause, whereas it should have been passed by a considerable majority. I find it rather nauseating to see Labour Members actually associating themselves with the House of Lords in this way. A small group of Labour Members representing Welsh constituencies have waxed eloquent, to the continuous "Hear, hears" of the Tory Benches. What is more, those Members have acted as unofficial Whips, advising and, indeed, persuading other Labour Members how to vote on certain proposals.

As I see it, it works like this. My hon. Friends who represent constituencies in, for instance, the north of England, feel that an elected Welsh assembly would give the people of Wales an unfair advantage over those in the north of England. There may be some justification for that view, particularly when we consider the economic depression that has affected the north of England for a long time. But the fact is that those Members in the north of England do not need much persuasion to vote against the Welsh Assembly, for the sort of reason I have illustrated, and particularly when those trying to persuade them are Members representing Welsh seats.

It was because of this sort of persuasion that the referendum clause was inserted into the Bill. Then they were not satisfied with that. They wanted the 40 per cent. provision as well. Now they want this provision on local government eliminated. As a result of their activities, it was passed by a majority of only one in the House last week.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. John Evans (Newton)

My hon. Friend says that some Members from the North of England are not happy about the Bill. Certainly some of us from the North of England hope that it will he defeated by the Welsh people. But will he accept that the argument about local government reform is entirely different? The Welsh people's unhappiness with their own structure of local government is nothing compared with the unhappiness that the English people, particularly in the North of England, feel about their structure of local government. What we want is a further reorganisation of local government in England and Wales, and the only body that can do that is a reconstituted Boundary Commission as authorised by this House. That is the only way in which we shall be able to maintain comparable levels of local government in England and Wales as we had for so many years.

Mr. Hughes

I certainly agree with my hon. Friend when he expresses the dissatisfaction of his constituents and many others about the reorganisation of local government. But he must understand that, whether for good or for evil, local government in Wales has in the past been reorganised on a separate basis from that of England. Some of us are quite happy that it should be done in that way.

We have been through these arguments very many times. We know that on this side of the House there has been much discussion in our ranks. There was a Royal Commission on the subject. There was agreement before the 1974 General Elections by Welsh Members on the need for an elected Welsh Assembly. The Labour Party conferences in Wales have repeatedly called for the creation of a Welsh Assembly. So has the Wales TUC.

It is worth reminding the House that Members such as my hon. Friends the Members for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock), Aberdare (Mr. Evans) and Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) actually had in their election addresses that a Labour Government would create an elected Assembly in Wales. What, therefore, could be more logical than that a Labour Government when elected should actually introduce legislation along these lines and implement the promises made, including this provision on local government?

We have had arguments in the Labour Party over the years about such major issues as the Common Market, nuclear disarmament and German rearmament. But then it was always one section of the Labour movement ranged against another. In this argument about Welsh devolution and the reorganisation of local government, all sections of the Labour movement have been absolutely united. It is a different argument altogether.

There comes a time when individuals, however important they may feel themselves to be, must accept the decision- making processes of the Labour movement. The alternative, if they cannot do that, is to consider their own personal positions within the Labour Party. On the other hand, I am all for tolerance on this issue of clause 12 and local government. Indeed, in the Labour Party we have always had the conscience clause. But if a Member's conscience takes such a turn in the lifetime of one Parliament, surely a quiet abstention could have salved that conscience. Instead some hon. Members representing Welsh constituencies have acted like a group of what I may call latter-day Donnellys in their attitude to their own Government's proposals. Their behaviour was recognised as such at the last conference of the Labour Party in Wales a couple of months ago, when delegate after delegate strode up to the rostrum to denounce them for their activities.

These are absolute facts. Whatever the views of these hon. Members might be on the creation of a Welsh Assembly, and on the reorganisation of local government, I remind them of what the attitude of some of their predecessors would have been. I am thinking of people such as Sir Harold Finch, the late Mr. Ness Edwards and Mr. Iorrie Thomas. They may have profoundly disagreed on some of these issues, but once the Labour movement had made up its united mind they would certainly be in the Lobby supporting the Labour Government. That is the profound difference.

We know, too, that the behaviour of these Members has already done immense harm to this Labour Government. The fall of the Scotland and Wales Bill led directly to the creation of the Lib-Lab pact, for instance. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] This is absolutely true.

Several Hon. Members rose

Mr. Speaker

Order. If the hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes) will confine himself to the Lords amendment, it will enable other hon. Members to be called as well. Mr. Roy Hughes.

Mr. Hughes

On the question of the Lords amendments, and what should be the attitude of Labour Members to them, I am saying that the party to which they belong was built on loyalty and solidarity. It was these firm foundations which created the career machine which the Labour Party now seems to have become.

I would have thought that tonight at least these hon. Members could let bygones be bygones and support the Government in the Lobby on this issue, to ensure that we get the majority that we certainly deserve.

Sir Anthony Meyer (Flint, West)

I am sure, Mr. Speaker, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Secretary of State for Wales will be grateful for that massive expression of support from the committee of public safety on the Labour Back Benches. I think that it would be perhaps asking rather much for him to accept the very cogent and closely argued case put forward by the hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock). I thought that the hon. Member summarised very well the dilemma that we are in—the unsuitability of an elected Assembly to conduct a detailed recommendation for the reform of local government. I thought that the hon. Member was absolutely right when he said that the function of an elected Assembly is to approve, on political grounds, detailed recommendations drawn up by a judicial body.

It struck me that the speech which has dominated the debate was that of the much respected hon. Member for Gower (Mr. Davies). I think that I am right in saying that it was the very first time that he has expressed disagreement with the attitude taken by his Front Bench on this issue. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Thomas) said, the hon. Gentleman's speech must be taken with the utmost seriousness by all hon. Members on each side of the House.

Reference was made to the very gallant campaign conducted by my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Edwards) on behalf of his country. I very well recall that campaign. He fought very valiantly for it, and he persuaded me to accompany him into the Lobby in revolt against the line which our party was taking.

I was just about to step into the "No" Lobby on that occasion when one of the Government Whips at the time—not, I hasten to add, my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Grist), but some other Whip whom I shall not name —came sidling up to me—[HON. MEMBERS: "Be a devil, name him."]—and asked "Are you going to vote for Nick's amendment?". I said "I thought he made out a very good case." I was told "You ought to know that there is much more to this than meets the eye. A lot of powerful interests are engaged in this." I, being a nervous fellow, did not want to get mixed up in that murky kind of business, so I kept out of the Lobby. I should say that there was not a word of truth in the allegation. It was merely a Whip doing his job extremely well. But that illustrates the kind of combination which occurs on these occasions.

A noble Friend of mine, who was new to these things and wished to preserve the identity of his county, asked me for advice on this matter. I told him "My dear chap, you won't stand a hope if you put forward even the most lucidly argued case as to why your county should retain its independence. What you must do is to get together with four or five other discontented groups and say 'I shall support you if you support me.'" He did, and to this day his county retains its identity. So do four other counties which had no better reasons for retaining their identities than many which lost them.

This kind of combination of disparate interests can go on in an elected Assembly if it is charged with a function which it should never have—that of making specific detailed recommendations about the reform of local government. As the hon. Member for Gower said, this is a matter in the first instance for a quasi-judicial body. Thereafter, by all means let the elected Assembly pronounce upon it. But it is because it seems to me that the amendment sent to us by another place neatly provides for this facility that I shall be voting in favour of it.

Everyone is saying that the reform of local government has been a complete and utter disaster. In my own part of the world, in the county of Clwyd, it has been a very great success. The present pattern of local government is an enormous improvement on its predecessor. The only undesirable feature is the overlapping of powers, particularly in the area of planning, a feature which was introduced in this House as a result of the kind of lobbying combinations to which I have referred.

Mr. Anderson

For good fraternal reasons I shall make only a brief comment on the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes).

Hon. Members

Where is he?

Mr. Kinnock

Roy Robespierre.

Mr. Anderson

It struck me as being what my American friends would call "a way of influencing people without making friends". My hon. Friend said that all sections of the Labour movement in Wales were united in favour of devolution. If he were here, I would remind him that the bulk of individual constituency Labour parties in Wales are against this measure. I say no more than that.

Certainly, local government reorganisation played no part in the manifesto on which I was elected. Therefore, there is hardly a necessary relationship between views on local government reorganisation and views on devolution.

10.30 p.m.

Opening the date the Under-Secretary stated that there was a need for a review of local government in Wales, and that that need resulted from widespread dissatisfaction in the Principality with the Tory local government reform. If there is such dissatisfaction, I am not sure that it is nearly as profound as it was two or three years ago, when it was prompted by the high rates rises at the time.

My view is that there would be some form of dissatisfaction no matter what structure of local government had been adopted in Wales. What confidence can the Minister have that any alternative structure would have more general assent than the structure that resulted from the 1972 reorganisation? One could always, at any time, find a need for reorganisation as a result of dissatisfaction.

I was almost tempted to accept the near-Trotskyite view of my hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock). Trotsky's view was that there should be continuous revolution. My hon. Friend seems to want an adaptation of that—that there should be continuous reorganisation. I saw some merit in this. But if dissatisfaction is the test, why not have a similar reorganisation in England? It is a novel principle that one's own principles are determined by the degree of longitude in which one finds oneself. That is what a philosopher would call a relative view of truth.

If local government is as sick as my hon. Friend suggested, why did this profound malaise not creep into the realisation of the Government until two years after they embarked upon the process of devolution and after they had said in clear terms in the White Paper that devolution would have no effect on local government?

Since there was this late inclusion of local government reorganisation, which has no necessary nexus with devolution, some cynical characters might ask the Government's motivation. Do we expect that the Government will use the prospect of local government reform in the referendum campaign to bring every discontented area into the pro-devolution net? Can we imagine the Under-Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda (Mr. Jones) trudging up to the two cottages in the village of Gilfach Goch, asking the occupants whether they want reorganisation of local government, and if so, telling them that it is necessary for them to vote for this vast, expensive bureaucracy which is the only means of local government reorganisation?

The most simple and pointed question had been put by the right hon. and learned Member for Hendon, South (Mr. Thomas) who asked why, alone of all other matters which could have been included, is local government reorganisation included as a duty on the Assembly, when the order of the day in all other matters is discretion.

Mr. Alec Jones

It is perfectly true that we believe it right and proper to lay this as a duty on the Assembly. But it is far from the only duty. Clause 9 begins "the Assembly shall exercise"…The duty is that the Assembly will carry out many functions and proposals in the Bill.

Mr. Anderson

Clause 9 can be distinguished on the basis that it calls on the Assembly to exercise as regards Wales the functions given to Ministers of the Crown. That is a general rather than a specific duty such as the Government are proposing to include in Clause 12.

Mr. Dalyell

Will the hon. Member-satisfy my curiosity as to why the Gilfach Goch question could not have been settled by all these able Ministers in the Welsh Office?

Mr. Anderson

We have had the West Lothian question and the West Glamorgan question. I hope that at this late stage we shall not embark on the Gilfach Goch question, attractive as that prospect is.

If there is a need for some review of local government, why should not my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales invite the Assembly to embark on that review by some other means? It could be done by a letter to the Assembly or by some state of the union message. Why is this uniquely singled out as a specific duty of this nature on the Assembly?

The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) asked whether the Assembly would be competent to embark on a review of local government. The answer to that question, apart from the learned and weighty opinion of the Lord Chancellor in another place as to the competence of the Assembly, is that the Assembly has substantial competence in matters wholly unrelated to the devolved powers. If the Assembly so willed, it could set up a committee on foreign affairs. That is within its competence. How much more can it set up an inquiry into something which, on any reasonable definition, must be four square within its powers?

Yet despite all I have said, I find the House of Lords amendment defective in two ways. It is defective because it prevents the Assembly from embarking on a review of local government of its own volition. This is improper because the Assembly should be enabled to do so. The cat was let out of the bag by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Wales when he said that if clause 12 were not there the Assembly could in any event set out on this path. Why do we need clause 12?

Mr. Kinnock

For the referendum.

Mr. Anderson

Yes, for the referendum. One is impelled towards that one reason. That is the Government's motive in including this. The Assembly could embark on a review if it wanted to do so. Why have the Government gone to all this trouble to include this clause at a late stage?

I accept the argument that the Assembly is necessarily a partisan body. The likelihood of the Assembly making local representation less democratic is very real because the strategic powers are likely to float up to the Assembly if there is a system of unitary authorities. The hon. and learned Member for Montgomery was in many ways disingenuous in suggesting that there is no time limit and that the Assembly could put off the review to the Ides of March or to the mid-80s if it wanted to do so. It is also disingenuous to suggest that there is a safeguard in the two-stage approach.

I also object to the Lords amendment because it gives the House of Lords a veto power over the Assembly setting out on the course of reorganisation. The provision says in terms that no order for review shall be made unless a draft thereof has been laid before and approved by resolution of each House of Parliament". I think that it is wrong in principle that a non-elected hereditary body like the House of Lords should have a power of veto over an elected Assembly whether it should or should not embark on this particular venture.

For those two reasons, having found the amendment defective and having said that the Government should properly have taken out clause 12 altogether and accepted the original House of Lords amendment, in the best radical fashion I say: A plague o' both your houses! I shall abstain.

Mr. Raison

I suppose that it is very much on the cards that this may be the last evening that we spend in this present Parliament debating the subject of devolution. It is a strange thought. But it will not be the last evening that we shall spend in Parliament debating devolution, because, if the Bills go through, we shall be debating their consequences for a long time to come.

I am sure that if there is a Welsh Assembly, the atmosphere will be extremely pleasant. The debates on this Bill have always been rather charming. We have had occasional outbursts, like that of the Stalinist hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes), who seems to be making a bid to become Chief Whip of the Labour Party, but on the whole the atmosphere has been pleasant.

I should like to take up one point made by the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson). He seemed to have some doubt about the House of Lords having an impact on the proceedings of the Welsh Assembly. But a number of his hon. Friends today seemed to find the House of Lords rather sensible. It was notable that twice this evening, on the Scotland Bill, a majority of the House agreed with the House of Lords, despite the wishes of the Government. Perhaps those who voted with the House of Lords might reflect that it has a role to play after all.

As an English Member, I do not want to embark on the rather intimate details that we have heard from some hon. Members. I want to make one or two brief points which have a United Kingdom background. We must remember the whole time that there is a United Kingdom background to pretty well every aspect of devolution.

The question has been asked: why, of all the different bodies that might be reformed, should there be the requirement to reform local government? There could have been a requirement to reform education, social work, health, planning, water, housing or goodness knows what, but local government has been plumped for. The answer is that it is thought that local government has the most political mileage.

The fact that it is a political gesture is proved by the curious ingredient that there is no timescale attached to it. To be required to carry out a review of local government and not to give a date by which the review has to be carried out is verging on the farcical. It shows that it is for political reasons only.

A more important point was made by my hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Edwards)—that it is absurd to carry out a review of local government without the possibility of reviewing the financial provisions for local government. The one lesson that we have learned during the last few years is that to attempt to reform local government without looking at finance at the same time is probably misconceived. To try to produce a structure in Wales where the same would happen would be folly indeed.

It must be accepted—even the Minister must accept this if he is being honest—that it will not be within the competence of the Welsh Assembly to consider the future financial arrangements for local government. After all, they touch on the national tax system, questions of what to do about income tax and so on. That seems to be the most powerful argument against this proposal.

The only other point that I make—a point that has been the motif of many of our debates on both devolution Bills—is that we see again in the Government's scheme the possibilities of endless friction between the devolved Assembly and the House of Commons. After all, the Government are saying "Let the Welsh Assembly come up with its review of local government in Wales and present it in some way or other to the Secretary of State and to the House of Commons."

We know that there will be a temptation to come up with a radical and drastically different scheme—a scheme that may not be in line with the thinking of hon. Members here. The temptation to go for a more total and irresponsible reform that has no regard to the United Kingdom financial position will be very powerful. Therefore, we shall see yet again the possibility that the Assembly will say one thing, knowing perfectly well that the House will not go along with it. That is the grave danger we all see in this devolution system.

10.45 p.m.

The House of Lords has a pretty powerful logic behind its amendment. It is saying in effect that there is no merit, no point, in advancing proposals for the reform of local government unless there is a pretty good reason to suppose that such proposals will be accepted by the United Kingdom Parliament, which alone will be able to translate them into legislative action.

We are left once more with the absurd dichotomy between this executive devolution and the retention of the legislative power in the House of Commons. That is an absolutely cast-iron formula for failure. The best way we can support that point is by once again supporting the other place.

Mr. Ioan Evans (Aberdare)

We have had a game of ping-pong with the other place and have gone over this ground to quite an extent. The previous Lords amendment on the matter was defeated in this House by one vote. The debate has ranged rather wide. My hon. Friend the Member for Gower (Mr. Davies) rightly tried to confine it to the amendment.

In our discussions on the Scotland and Wales Bill, when I said that local government would be affected I was told that in no way would it be affected by that Bill. It is true that it contained no equivalent to Clause 13, or Clause 12 as it has now become since Clause 1 was removed from this Bill.

In "Our Changing Democracy," the White Paper outlining their policy, the Government said: The devolution Act will make no change in the structure of local government in Wales. One cannot be more definite. That White Paper led to the Scotland and Wales Bill.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes), whom we shall very much miss in future Parliaments because he brings a great deal of thought to our discussions, said in the debates on that Bill that if we had had a different set-up we might not have had to deal with the matter in this way. I believe that the failure of the Government's proposals is that as an afterthought they decided that they must do something about local government, as reorganised by the previous Government, and said "We can't possibly tackle it. Let's give this power to the Assembly." I shall argue why we should not give it the power.

Do we need a major change of local government in Wales? It is debatable. Do we want to abolish the county councils or the district councils, or both? That is the question to which we must now address ourselves as a result of the creation of an Assembly, if the people decide in a referendum to have it.

It can perhaps be argued that there is a case. What we are doing in the proposals for a Welsh Assembly is to create another tier of government. We have the community councils, the 37 district councils, and the eight county councils, the Welsh Office, the Secretary of State and Members of Parliament, and on top of that we are to have an Assembly.

I think that we shall create a problem for democracy in Wales if there are elections for one authority after another. That will be the situation if elections have to be held for local government, for the Assembly, for the central Government and, of course, for the European Assembly. One can visualise a year in which there will be no elections, but in some years there will be two or three elections for these various authorities. If the Bill goes through, and if elections are to be held for the Assembly, for local government, for this Parliament and for the European Assembly, we shall have to address our minds to the question of providing State funds for the political parties. I think that the Conservative Party will find it difficult to finance all the various elections. I am certain that the Liberal and the Labour Parties will find it difficult to finance local government elections, in all their various stages, as well as having to finance elections for the other bodies to which I have referred.

Is there a need for a review? If so, is it urgent? Should the task be given to the Assembly? I do not believe that it should be, because we do not know what the Welsh people will decide. I believe that at the referendum they will turn down the idea of an Assembly. If the Government think that this is an urgent task that must be dealt with without delay and that the review body must be set up now, it is wrong to suggest that this job should be given to the Welsh Assembly. If the Government think that is vital to review the structure of local government, that is something that we can do without the judgment of the people on the merits whether they want an Assembly. I believe that when the issue is put before them the people will turn down the idea of having an Assemby.

If it is thought that having created an Assembly we much find something for it to do so let us give it the task of reviewing local government, I must tell the Government that that will not endear them to the people of Wales. I do not think that it will endear them to those who are at present in local government who have gone through one reorganisation and are not looking forward to another reform of local government so soon after the last one.

Another reason why I do not believe that the Assembly should be given this task is that we do not know who the Members will be. We do not know what their political complexion will be, which is relevant. The people selected to become Assemblymen may not have experience of local government. When the House of Commons wishes to bring about local government reform, we tend to set up commissions and to appoint to them people who have expertise in local government. We look at their recommendations, and decide whether to accept them. I think that we should look again at the proposal to give this job to a body on which there may not be people with local government experience.

But even if the people of Wales vote for an Assembly, if they vote for people with local government experience, and if there is not a hung Assembly where there is no majority party but a number of parties, leading to serious political compromises, the last thing that we should give the new Assembly is the task of reorganising local government. The Assembly will have to work with local government bodies, and yet the first task that it is being given is that of looking at the district and county councils and coming up with proposals possibly to do away with one body or the other, or, as most of us on this side of the House think, to alter both bodies.

Having gone through a major reorganisation not all that long ago, for the time being the counties and districts should be left alone. We have to wait and see what the weaknesses are. I agree with my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary that there should be an alteration in the distribution of some functions as between the districts and the counties, and certainly it is not just to get back votes that we find some places wanting to go into different authorities. But the Boundary Commission is looking at the boundary problems, so that is not relevant to the functions of the Assembly.

Reference has been made to the noble lord, Lord Heycock, who has considerable experience of local government. On this issue, he said in the other place: When I spoke on Second Reading, I gave a clear indication that the eight Welsh counties of Wales, of which I am privileged to be the President, were opposed to the Assembly reorganising local government."—Official Report, House of Lords, 24th July 1978, Vol. 395, c. 665.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)

Order. Is the hon. Member quoting a Minister?

Mr. Evans

No. I am quoting the words of a noble Lord in the other place.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

That is out of order.

Mr. Evans

Then perhops I may paraphrase what the noble Lord said. He was saying that the eight Welsh counties were unanimous in regretting that a clause had been put into the Bill giving power to the Welsh Assembly to review the organisation of local government.

There is a great depth of feeling not amongst the county councils alone but amongst the district councils that it is wrong for the Welsh Assembly as its first task to be given the job of reorganising local government.

It may be argued that Government supporters have a vested interest in maintaining the present counties and districts. But we have to bear in mind that the Welsh Assembly would have a vested interest in making certain recommendations. As my right hon. Friend for Anglesey said, we cannot contemplate for a lengthy period in Wales the continuance of all the existing bodies with a Welsh Assembly on top of them. If anything means the creation of a bureaucracy, that does.

If we had gone about this differently and decided to have a top tier authority for Wales with a unitary authority underneath, that would have made sense. But that is not the Government's proposal. Because the Conservative Administration reorganised local government, the present Government have tried to set aside the whole question of further reorganisation. That is why I believe these proposals have a basic weakness and why I should have preferred the deletion of the clause. The Secretary of State has said that we do not need to provide for it in the Bill. The Secretary of State can give the Assembly power to review local government if it so desires. Recognising that it is not essential to do it, rather than have a constitutional crisis with the Lords at this stage, though we might choose another time, I believe that this amendment should be accepted.

The amendment has this merit. We do not know what will be the decision of the people of Wales. If they decide to have an Assembly, rather than tell it what it should do, we should consult it. After all, we are talking about devolution. We are talking about consultation, not dictation. If the Assembly decides that it wants to undertake the task of reorganising local government, we can look at it afresh and, if it is the will of this House, we can make a decision.

In such an event, I should still oppose it. I do not think that an Assembly of this kind is the proper body to review local government. But that would be a more rational approach to this matter. The Government have gone about it in the wrong way. There are those of us who believe in devolution and who want to bring government nearer to the people. But we shall not do that if we abolish eight counties and take all the administration down to Cardiff. That is not devolution. It is centralisation.

11.0 p.m.

Mr. Alec Jones

By leave of the House. I begin by repeating what I said in my opening remarks—that it would be possible for the elected Welsh Assembly to carry out a local government review even if there were no clause 12. There is a case to be made for that, and it has been made by some of my hon. Friends. That is not the option before the House.

At present I am concentrating upon the option before the House. We are asked to agree that the elected Welsh Assembly should be able to carry out a review and report on local government in Wales only after an order has been made by the Secretary of State, subject to affirmative resolution of both Houses. The idea that a review of local government in Wales, to be carried out by a democratically-elected Assembly, should be dependent on the votes of a non-elected chamber is a strange democratic concept. Of the 109 votes in the other place, which brought this option before us, 66 came from hereditary Members. I do not believe that that proposition has a healthy democratic background.

I deal with our reasons for believing that it is necessary to have clause 12 in the Bill. The White Paper of 3rd August 1976 says: The Government will ask the Assembly to consider and report, after appropriate consultations, on future local government structure in Wales in the context of the Assembly's own new responsibilities for the whole of Wales. We believe it right that we should give the Assembly the duty to review local government rather than that it should be a casual request which the Assembly might choose to do off its own bat. We believe that the Assembly will have been given substantial local government functions. We have only to look at schedule 2 to see the wide range of responsibilities which it will have. Accordingly it is right that it should be the body to which my right hon. and learned Friend could refer for advice as to how local government might best be organised in Wales, if that is considered to be necessary.

It has been said on several occasions that having the threat of review hanging over local government will create a great degree of uncertainty. However, many of my hon. Friends have admitted that there are anomalies in boundaries and functions which ought to be changed. As long as these exist there will be some degree of uncertainty.

If I had to make a straight choice between the uncertainty that some say is present and allowing the anomalies and defects of the present system to continue for another six years or 10 years, I should prefer to live with the uncertainty. It is true that there are other ways of proceeding, but six years have passed and the anomalies continue. It is because we do not find the time to do many things—

Mr. Wyn Roberts (Conway)


Mr. Jones

That is not nonsense. If we are to wait six years or 10 years before some of the anomalies in functions and boundaries are corrected, that is asking the people of Wales to put up with too much for too long.

My noble Friend Lord Heycock has received due acclaim from quarters from which I suspect he would least expect it. I appreciate and value the experience that my noble Friend has had in local government, but there are other views on local government in Wales. It has been trumpeted forth that the county councils hold a certain view, but it is equally true that the district councils in Wales do not hare that view.

Mr. Kinnock

Mine does.

Mr. Jones

It may be the odd man out. I can understand that. There are odd men out throughout the world. Howevr, it is not true that the whole of local government in Wales is so in love with the present system that it is fearful of the consequences of clause 12. Certainly the district councils of the Principality would say that it is right and proper that someone should review local government and make a report. It is my view—obviously some do not agree—that the Assembly would be a better body to do it than any other body now available.

Mr. Anderson

Is my hon. Friend seriously arguing that we can envisage a golden age in which dissatisfaction with the structure of local government will not be apparent?

Mr. Jones

I have long given up hope of attaining that golden age, but it is still an aspiration in the minds of a good many. It is true that no one is able to give a guarantee that any system of local government or national government will be welcomed with acclaim throughout the country, but it is the height of folly for us to tolerate a form and structure of local government in Wales that we know and admit to be faulty in respect of functions and boundaries. Therefore, it is right and proper that we should proceed with the clause.

My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdare (Mr. Evans) thinks that the people of Wales will reject devolution. If that is his view and he is right, we need not get into a panic about clause 12 or any other clause. I believe that he is afraid because he thinks that the Welsh people will accept devolution.

I consider devolution to be right. I say that having spent three years in the Welsh Office. I am now more convinced that it is right than when I took office. If Conservative Members who laugh had had experience in government and had

travelled throughout Wales, they would realise that devolution is desirable. They would realise that it is possible to have a better system of government for Wales than we have at present. It is possible to have a more democratic system of government. Devolution will bring that about, and clause 12 will enable us to have a healthier and better structure of local government in Wales.

Mr. Geraint Howells (Cardigan)

Does the Minister agree that the reason why the Welsh electorate is not satisfied with Welsh local government reorganisation is its loss of identity? The Secretary of State is a Cardiganshire man. People will perhaps ask in the future what a Cardy is. It is essential that we should have a review of local government. Perhaps there would be no need to change the structure but perhaps just to change the name. Instead of calling Dyfed a county council perhaps we should call it a regional authority and give back the identity to Cardiganshire and call it Cardiganshire County Council.

Mr. Alec Jones

I do not believe that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". There are a variety of reasons for dissatisfaction with local government in Wales. In some quarters that is thought to be because of a loss of identity. I do not believe that there is any fear that anyone will mistake the quality of a Cardy. We should not worry about that. The constituency of the hon. Member for Cardiganshire (Mr. Howells) experiences considerable trouble, not just about boundaries but about the functions and the dichotomy of power and control between the county and district councils. His part of the country is one from which I receive strong complaints about the necessity for a review of local government in Wales.

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

The House divided: Ayes 292, Noes 271.

Division No. 315] AYES [11.12 p.m.
Allaun, Frank Bagier, Gordon A. T. Beith, A. J.
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Bain, Mrs Margaret Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood
Ashley, Jack Burnett, Guy (Greenwich) Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)
Ashton, Joe Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Bidwell, Sydney
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Bates, Alf Bishop, Rt Hon Edward
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham) Bean, R. E. Blenkinsop, Arthur
Boardman, H. Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Orbach, Maurice
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Hart, Rt Hon Judith Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Ovenden. John
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Hayman, Mrs Helene Palmer, Arthur
Boyden, James (Bish Auck) Healey, Rt Hon Denis Pardoe, John
Bradford, Rev Robert Heffer, Eric S. Park, George
Bradley, Tom Henderson, Douglas Parry, Robert
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hooley, Frank Pavitt, Laurie
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Hooson, Emlyn Pendry, Tom
Buchan, Norman Horam, John Penhaligon, David
Buchanan, Richard Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Perry, Ernest
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Prescott, John
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Huckfield, Les Price, C. (Lewisham W)
Campbell, Ian Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Price, William (Rugby)
Canavan, Dennis Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Radice, Giles
Cant, R. B. Hughes, Roy (Newport) Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Carmichael, Neil Hunter, Adam Reid, George
Carter, Ray Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill) Richardson, Miss Jo
Carter-Jones, Lewis Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Cartwright, John Jackson, Colin (Brighouse) Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Castle, Rt Hon Barbara Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Robertson, George (Hamilton)
Clemitson, Ivor Janner, Greville Robinson, Geoffrey
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Roderick, Caerwyn
Cohen, Stanley Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Coleman, Donald John, Brynmor Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton)
Colquhoun Ms Maureen Johnson, James (Hull West) Rooker, J. W.
Concannon, Rt Hon John Johnson, Walter (Derby S) Roper, John
Corbett, Robin Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Rose, Paul B.
Cowans, Harry Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E) Jones, Barry (East Flint) Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Craigen, Jim (Maryhill) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Ross, William (Londonderry)
Crawford, Douglas Judd, Frank Rowlands, Ted
Crawshaw, Richard Kerr, Russell Sandelson, Neville
Cronin, John Kilfedder, James Sedgemore, Brian
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Lambie, David Selby, Harry
Cryer, Bob Lamborn, Harry Sever, John
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Lamond, James Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Davidson, Arthur Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) Lee, John Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough) Short, Mrs Renée (Wolv NE)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Lever, Rt Hon Harold Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Deakins, Eric Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Litterick, Tom Silverman, Julius
de Freitas, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Loyden, Eddie Skinner, Dennis
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Luard, Evan Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Dempsey, James Lyon, Alexander (York) Smith, Rt Hon John (N Lanarkshire)
Dewar, Donald Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Snape, Peter
Doig, Peter Mabon, Rt Hon Or J. Dickson Spearing, Nigel
Dormand, J. D. McCartney, Hugh Spriggs, Leslie
Douglas-Mann, Bruce McDonald, Dr Oonagh Stallard, A. W.
Duffy, A. E. P. McElhone, Frank Steel, Rt Hon David
Dunnett, Jack MacFarquhar, Roderick Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth McGuire, Michael (Ince) Stoddart, David
Eadie, Alex McKay, Allen (Penistone) Stott, Roger
Edge, Geoff MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Strang, Gavin
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Maclennan, Robert Strauss, Rt Hon G. R.
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
English, Michael Madden, Max Swain, Thomas
Ennals, Rt Hon David Magee, Bryan Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Magulre, Frank (Fermanagh) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Mallalieu, J. P. W. Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Marks, Kenneth Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Faulds, Andrew Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Thompson, George
Fitt, Gerard (Belfast W) Maynard, Miss Joan Thome, Stan (Preston South)
Flannery, Martin Meacher, Michael Tierney, Sydney
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Tilley, John
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Mikardo, Ian Tinn, James
Forrester, John Miltan, Rt Hon Bruce Tomlinson, John
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride) Tomney, Frank
Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Tomey, Tom
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Molloy, William Urwin, T. W.
Freud, Clement Molyneaux, James Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Wainwright, Edwin (Deanne V)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Morris, Rt Hon Charles R. Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
George, Bruce Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Morton, George Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Ginsberg, David Moyle, Rt Hon Roland Ward, Michael
Golding, John Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Watkins, David
Gould, Bryan Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Watkinson, John
Gourlay, Harry Newens, Stanley Watt, Hamish
Graham, Ted Noble, Mike Weetch, Ken
Grant, John (Islington C) Oakes, Gordon Weitzman, David
Grocott, Bruce Ogden, Eric Wellbeloved, James
Hardy, Peter O'Halloran, Michael Welsh, Andrew
White, James (Pollok) Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington) Wrigglesworth, Ian
Whitehead, Phillip Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E) Young, David (Bolton E)
Whitlock, William Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Wigley, Dafydd Wilson, William (Coventry SE) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Willey, Rt Hon Frederick Wise, Mrs Audrey Mr. James Hamilton and
Williams, Alan Lee (Horneh'ch) Woodall, Alec Mr. Frank R. White.
Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford) Wool, Robert
Abse, Leo Fisher, Sir Nigel Luce, Richard
Adley, Robert Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) McCrindle, Robert
Aitken, Jonathan Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Macfarlane, Neil
Alison, Michael Fookes, Miss Janet MacGregor, John
Arnold, Tom Forman, Nigel MacKay, Andrew (Stechford)
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East) Fox, Marcus McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)
Awdry, Daniel Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
Baker, Kenneth Fry, Peter Madel, David
Banks, Robert Galbraith, Hon T. G. D. Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Bell, Ronald Gardiner, George (Reigate) Marten, Neil
Bendall, Vivian Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Mates, Michael
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Gllmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian (Chesham) Mather, Carol
Bennett, Dr Reginald (Fareham) Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Maude, Angus
Benyon, W. Glyn, Dr Alan Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald
Berry, Hon Anthony Godber, Rt Hon Joseph Mawby, Ray
Biffen, John Goodhart, Philip Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Biggs-Davison, John Goodhew, Victor Mayhew, Patrick
Blaker, Peter Goodlad, Alastair Meyer, Sir Anthony
Body, Richard Gorst, John Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Mills, Peter
Bottomley, Peter Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Miscampbell, Norman
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Grieve, Percy Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Griffiths, Eldon Moate, Roger
Braine, Sir Bernard Grist, Ian Monro, Hector
Brittan, Leon Grylls, Michael Montgomery, Fergus
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Moore, John (Croydon C)
Brooke, Hon Peter Hamilton, Archibald (Epsom & Ewell) More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Brotherton, Michael Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Morgan, Geraint
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hampson, Dr Keith Morris, Michael (Northampton S)
Bryan, Sir Paul Hannam, John Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Buchanan-Smith, Allck Harvie Anderson, Rt Hon Miss Neave, Alrey
Buck, Antony Haselhurst, Alan Nelson, Anthony
Budgen, Nick Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Neubert, Michael
Bulmer, Esmond Hawkins, Paul Newton, Tony
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Hayhoe, Barney Normanton, Tom
Carlisle, Mark Heath, Rt Hon Edward Nott, John
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Heseltine, Michael Onslow, Cranley
Channon, Paul Hicks, Robert Oppenheim, Mrs Sally
Churchill, W. S. Higgins, Terence L. Osborn, John
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Hodgson, Robin Page, John (Harrow West)
Clark, William (Croydon S) Holland, Philip Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Clarke, Kenneth (Ruchcliffe) Hordern, Peter Page, Richard (Workington)
Clegg, Walter Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Parkinson, Cecil
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Howell, David (Guildford) Pattle, Geoffrey
Cope,John Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Perclval, Ian
Cormack, Patrick Hunt, David (Wirral) Peyton, Rt Hon John
Corrie, John Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Pink, R. Bonner
Costain, A. P. Hurd, Douglas Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Critchley, Julian Hutchison, Michael Clark Price, David (Eastieigh)
Crouch, David Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Crowder, F. P. James, David Ralson, Timothy
Dalyell, Tam Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd iW'df'd) Rathbone, Tim
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Rees, Peter (Dover ft Deal)
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutstord) Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Rees-Davies, W. R.
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Jopling, Michael Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Kaberry, Sir Donald Rhodes James, R.
Drayson, Burnaby Kershaw, Anthony Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Kimball, Marcus Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Durant, Tony King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Ridsdale, Julian
Dykes, Hugh King, Tom (Bridgwater) Rifkind, Malcolm
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Kinnock, Neil Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Kitson, Sir Timothy Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Elliott, Sir William Knight, Mrs Jill Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Emery, Peter Knox, David Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Lamont, Norman Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Langford-Holt, Sir John Royle, Sir Anthony
Evans, John (Newton) Latham, Michael (Melton) Sainsbury, Tim
Eyre, Reginald Lawrence, Ivan St. John-Stevas, Norman
Fairbairn, Nicholas Lawson, Nigel Scott, Nicholas
Fairgrieve, Russell Lester, Jim (Beeston) Scott-Hopkins, James
Farr, John Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Fell, Anthony Lloyd, Ian Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Finsberg, Geoffrey Loveridge, John Shelton, William (Streatham)
Shepherd, Colin Stewart, Ian (Hitchin) Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Shersby, Michael Stokes, John Walters, Dennis
Silvester, Fred Stradling Thomas, J. Warren, Kenneth
Sims, Roger Tapsell, Peter Weatherill, Bernard
Sinclair, Sir George Taylor, R. (Croydon NW) Wells, John
Skeet, T. H. H. Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart) Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Smith, Dudley (Warwick) Tebbit, Norman Whitney, Raymond
Smith, Timothy John (Ashfield) Temple-Morris, Peter Wiggin, Jerry
Speed, Keith Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret Winterton, Nicholas
Spence, John Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S) Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Spicer, Jim (W Dorset) Townsend, Cyril D. Young, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Spicer, Michael (S Worcester) Trotter, Neville Younger, Hon George
Sproat, Iain van Straubenzee, W. R.
Stainton, Keith Vaughan, Or Gerard TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Stanbrook,Ivor Viggers, Peter Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Stanley, John Wakeham, John Mr. Michael Roberts.
Steen, Anthony (Wavertree) Walker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)

Question accordingly agreed to.

It being more than three hours after the commencement of Proceedings, Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Order [18th July], to put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business.

The Lords do not insist on their amendments in page 14, line 29, page 14, line 37, page 14, line 41, page 19, line 28; their first amendment in page 62, line 42, their amendments in page 63, line 31, page 64, line 14 and page 71, line 35, to which the Commons have dis-

agreed, but propose amendments in lieu thereof:

  1. Clause 37
    1. cc1736-42
    2. INDUSTRIAL AND ECONOMIC GUIDELINES 2,725 words, 1 division
  2. Clause 15
    1. c1742
    2. STANDING ORDERS 112 words
  3. Schedule 9
    1. cc1742-3
Forward to