HC Deb 07 March 1978 vol 945 cc1356-87
Sir David Renton

I beg to move Amendment No. 177, in page 7, leave out lines 31 to 36 and insert— '(1) The Assembly may appoint committees for the discharge of any of its functions.'.

The First Deputy Chairman (Sir Myer Galpern)

With this it will be convenient to take the following amendments:

No. 178, in page 8, line 6, leave out 'by the leader of the committee or'.

No. 179, in page 8, line 13, leave out from 'chairman' to end of line 14.

No. 180, in page 8, line 14, at end add— '(4) Any such committee or sub-committee may authorise an officer or officers of the Assembly to take such action as may be necessary for the discharge of any of the Assembly's functions which the committee or sub-committee has been appointed to discharge.'.

No. 181, in Clause 19, page 8, line 17, leave out 'leaders' and insert 'chairmen'.

No. 182, in Clause 19, page 8, line 20, leave out from 'Committee' to the end of line 25.

No. 145, in Clause 19, page 8, line 16, leave out from 'Committee' to 'and' in line 19.

No. 144, in Clause 19, page 8, leave out line 21.

Sir D. Renton

It would seem to be convenient to discuss the next seven amendments, although there are three separate issues raised. I shall begin with only two of those issues, leaving it to my hon. Friends on the Opposition Front Bench to deal with the other issue.

Amendment No. 177 proposes to leave out subsection (1) as it stands. Before going any further, I should mention that Clause 18, according to the side notes and its contents, would seem to oblige the Assembly to appoint a wide range of subject committees relating to all the powers conferred by Clauses 10, 11 and 12. Of course, Clause 18 provides for other things besides those, as I shall try to explain.

If there are to be subject committees on all the powers conferred on the Assembly, there will be such an enormous range of sub-committees that even an Assembly of 100 Members would not find enough Members to man them satisfactorily to study all the subjects to be considered.

Mr. Dalyell

I wonder whether it would be in order to point out that on this matter of vital importance to Wales the only hon. Members present on the Labour Back Benches are the hon. Member for Carlisle (Mr. Lewis), who admittedly is of Welsh extraction, and myself, who thinks that the whole proposition is preposterous. That demonstrates the enthusiasm there is for this Bill.

Sir D. Renton

I am grateful to the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) for pointing out that fact. It is rather shameful. We are moving constructive amendments which seek to improve the Bill. They concern matters which deeply affect the future of Wales, especially existing local authorities. Yet we find the most elaborate provisions for imposing this new Assembly upon Wales These provisions overlap the responsibilities not only of the Secretary of State but of the local authorities. It seems that we are to have complete duplication of the committees of the local authorities. That is not all. If we were merely to have the Assembly, so to speak, matching the committees of the local authorities, that might be fair and sensible. But under Clause 18 as drafted, with the cross references which t contains to other parts of the Bill, the multiplicity of committees will be astonishing.

9.45 p.m.

References have been made to the Committee not being able properly to discuss Schedule 2. Under the heading "Local Government" there is an enormous number of references to the Local Government Act 1972 and to other provisions affecting local government. Part II of the Schedule which is headed "Local Matters" deals with the Burial Acts, fairs, cinematographs, theatrical employers registration, airport shops and food and drugs. It deals with the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act, the Licensing Act, the Theatres Act and even the Mines and Quarries (Tips) Act. I have mentioned only about half of them. Which of the possible subject committees relating to powers conferred on the Assembly would deal with this extraordinary variety of matters? I have mentioned nine or ten different subjects. The whole thing is too ridiculous for words.

There is a part dealing with education. For once that is plain enough. The Assembly will have an education committee, as do local authorities. The next part of the schedule is headed Landlord and Tenant and Housing". There is a variety of subjects to be considered under that heading. Some of them bear upon agriculture. The Rent (Agriculture) Act is listed. Will that come under the housing committee, the landlord and tenant committee or what?

The next heading is "Fire Services". That is another straightforward matter. But then there is "Health and Social Services" which covers three pages of statutory references. I shall not weary the Committee with them.

The next part is headed "Pollution" and the next "Planning and Land Use". There is a tremendous section there which covers not only planning matters in the way in which we normally consider them but the safety of sports grounds, mobile homes, harbours, the Gas Act, the Commons Registration Act, and the Inclosure Acts. Fancy, we are still having to deal with that! One wonders which of the committees of the new Assembly will deal with the multiplicity of subjects which are given the generic description "Planning and Land Use".

Mr. Hooson

I share the doubts about a committee structure in the Assembly, but was it not recommended by the Kilbrandon Commission of which the hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) was a member? Did he dissent from that recommendation?

Sir D. Renton.

The hon. and learned Member is falling into the error perpetrated by 100,000 people at least. I should have thought that 100,000 people talk of the Kilbrandon Commission as though it was of one mind. He knows that we split four ways in our recommendations affecting Wales and four ways in our recommendations affecting Scotland.

I did not want more than a consultative Assembly for Wales, and to the extent that the hon. and learned Member is right in saying that some members of the Commission wanted an Assembly with some executive powers—others wanted it to have legislative powers—I did not agree with them. I therefore decline to answer for them. They must answer for themselves. In defence of them all, which ever way they split, let me remind the Committee that none of the members of the Kilbrandon Commission put forward the fantastic scheme proposed in the Bill.

Mr. Gerry Fowler (The Wrekin)

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman recognise that it is widely accepted in the House that the Kilbrandon Commission produced the most remarkable do-it-yourself report in history, and that it ill becomes any member of that Commission to criticise a Government who try to make sense of the mess that the Commission left? After all, at the end of the day the Commission left us roughly where we started. Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman accept that?

Sir D. Renton

Again, I must appeal to the hon. Member's sense of fairness. I seek refuge once more in the fact that two of the other members of the Commission and I put forward a proposal which would have enabled Welsh matters to be discussed in Wales without all the palaver of an elaborate new tier of government, because that is what it is, and no amount of talk by the Secretary of State or anyone else can get away from that.

I must press on. Why I should have to go on explaining away opinions with which I do not agree, I do not know. It is something that I as a parliamentarian find strange.

Let me now deal with the other headings. They include "Development", "Water and Land Drainage", "Freshwater Fisheries", "Countryside", "Forestry", "Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings", "Tourism", "Transport", "Road Traffic"—to the extent that they are separate. I do not see why they should be so regarded. Then we come to "Registration Services", and so on. In other parts of the Bill we find other subjects which would have to be the responsibility of specially appointed subject committees.

Mr. Timothy Raison (Aylesbury)

Does the scheme permit the setting up of an additional vehicle registration centre at Swansea? If so, that would be the ultimate in over-government.

Sir D. Renton

I agree that that would be the ultimate in over-government. The registration services that are mentioned here, however, appeal to me very much. One of them is the Population (Statistics) Act 1960. We need population statistics. There are also the Marriages Validity (Provisional Orders) Acts of 1905 and 1924. The provision on registration deals with matters such as that rather than the registration of vehicles.

Then, of course, there are the various matters which are to be the subject of concurrent responsibility with the Secretary of State, including the Community Land Act 1975. We must bear in mind the possibility that some powers mentioned in Schedule 4 are exercisable only with the consent of a Minister of the Crown. But if the Assembly is to have a committee covering each of its functions, it must also have committees covering those potential functions, because their functions can be exercised, although only with the consent of a Minister of the Crown; so by insisting that there shall be the subject committees related to all powers conferred on the Assembly by those sections, and of course the schedules they invoke, and such other functions, if any, as the Assembly may determine, it is difficult to imagine how many committees there might be.

I feel, as do my hon. Friends who support me on this—and I trust that I might perhaps have the support of my Front Bench on these amendments—that it would be so much simpler and more courteous to the Assembly, and more reasonable, and would give them a better start, if we have the very simple provision contained in the amendment I am moving, No. 171, which is to leave out subsection (1) altogether, with all its palaver and simply say—and I am staggered at the simplicity of my own words— The Assembly may appoint committees for the discharge of any of its functions". That is all. The provision is "may" and the Assembly is not obliged to do it for every function, and it is not necessarily related to each subject or anything like that.

If I may make a rather general comment which applies to all legislation, if we want it to be good legislation—and I say this in deep humility but not without some experience—we ought to avoid unnecessary detail if we can possibly do so. When we are dealing with human rights, the rights of the individual, police powers or powers of inspection or entering people's homes, it is right that we should spell these things out so that Parliament can scrutinise them; but when we are merely creating a new public body we can sometimes go into too much detail, and I believe that the Government went into too much detail on subsection (1). Therefore, the simpler form would be better.

I come to Amendments Nos. 178, 179, 180, 181 and 182. They are not quite consecutive on the Order Paper because some amendments moved by the Front Bench come between them, but Amendments Nos. 178 to 182 inclusive, numerically in sequence, deal with quite a separate matter from that which I have mentioned. By the way, I must apologise to the Committee for my imperfect drafting of Amendment No. 182. It was intended merely to be a consequential amendment and I have not got it quite right, but it is something that can easily be adjusted.

May I deal with the substance of the matter? For reasons which, as far as I know, have never yet been explained in any White Paper or speech from the Government Front Bench, the Government are taking it upon themselves to use the word "leader" as a new term of art in a way in which, so far as I know, it has never before been used in our constitution. We talk about the Leader of the House of Commons but, as far as I know, that is not a statutory term at all.

Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)

It is not an exact term.

Sir D. Renton

That could be said but we all know who the Leader of the House is. He represents a Welsh constituency. We know that although the Leader of the House is a parliamentary party manager of the Government of the day, he is expected to help the House as a whole and is enjoined to pay special regard to the views of minority parties and so on. He does not always do that, but it is hoped that he will.

10.0 p.m.

The way that "leader" is used in the Bill is not analogous to the leadership of the House. The only other way that I know of "leader" being used in public life is when we talk of the Leader of the Greater London Council, of the Huntingdon District Council or the Cambridgeshire County Council. These people are not normally chairmen of committees and they do not have the same responsibility to the council as a whole as the Leader of the House is supposed to have to the House of Commons. They are essentially leaders of the majority party on the council and, because a council cannot operate without a majority, they are called, for convenience, leaders of the council.

In the Bill, the word "leader" is used in another sense. Clause 18(2)(b) says: where any committee appointed under this section is charged with the exercise of any powers it may arrange for all or any of them to be exercised by the leader of the committee". That is the first mention of the leader. At that point, we do not know what is meant by the leader of a committee. We have to read on. The paragraph goes on to say that, alternatively, the powers may be exercised by a sub-committee. It seems that a sub-committee has the same powers as the leader of a committee.

Subsection (3) says: the Assembly shall name one of the members of each such committee as its chairman and another as leader of the committee, and the leader of a committee shall be known as its executive member. Maybe I am too simple-minded, but to have to have such a complicated arrangement imposed on an Assembly which will have a hard enough job anyway to get over its teething troubles seems not only unnecessary, but unkind.

Mr. Temple-Morris

As we have heard from the Government that the Assembly should decide its own standing orders. does my right hon. and learned Friend not agree that the same applies in regard to this amendment and that all this verbose nonsense is completely unnecessary?

Sir D. Renton

I am exceedingly grateful to my hon. Friend. I had worked out a number of arguments in my mind, but that important argument had not occurred to me. It will enable me to bring my remarks to an end fairly soon. It is such an overriding factor that what I was going to say can be shortened.

Assembly committees will have a chairman and a leader. Surely it would be better to have simply a chairman and no leader. Why is every committee to have both a chairman and a leader? Will the leader be the party manager type or the Leader of the House type? Will this follow the precedent of local councils which have this well-established practice or is it a feeble attempt by the Government to break away from that practice?

That is the sort of thing we need to know simply to understand the clause. What is the policy behind it? We have tabled the amendments to try to have the matter explained to us, first, and then I have made my own poor, inadequate attempt to draft amendments which would carry out what is intended.

After what I have said about not going into too much detail in legislation, someone may try to throw it in my face that that is just what I am trying to do in Amendment No. 180. But that is necessary in order to clarify the committee's position and to simplify it. Those in the outside world dealing with the Assembly need to know who has the authority to act and negotiate on its behalf. The subsection that would be added by Amendment No. 180 makes that clear. It says: (4) Any such committee or sub-committee may authorise an officer or officers of the Assembly to take such action as may be necessary for the discharge of any of the Assembly's functions which the committee or sub-committee has been appointed to discharge. That is simplicity, clarification and well worth while.

I am grateful to this Committee and to you, Sir Myer, for listening to me at such length. I hope that I have made the case clear.

Mr. Dalyell

As the evening has worn on I have been conscious of taking part in the biggest fiasco that I can remember in 15 years as a Member of Parliament. It even surpasses the Scotland Bill. Never on any subject has one seen such an absence of conviction all round the Committee.

Mr. Hooson

Surely the hon. Gentleman remembers the European Assembly Bill, when there was a green desert on his side of the Committee and very few hon. Members were interested.

Mr. Dalyell

At least on that Bill there was conviction in quite a section of my party. Seventy or 80 Members, of whom I happened to be one, really believed in it, and on the Opposition Benches there was a great deal of conviction. On this occasion, as far as I can make out, there is no conviction. Even the hon. and learned Gentleman wants something totally different from this, and those in Plaid Cymru who argue for a "Yes" vote want something totally different. Therefore, the argument for the "Yes" vote is a false description of the goods. It is a prospectus that is not what it says it is, in Wales as in Scotland.

I shall not take up time except to ask the question that I first asked 37 long days ago in all these discussions. Is my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mr. Jones), who deserves a medal for good attendance and is sitting on the Front Bench now, to be concerned about forestry in the New Forest and not in East Flint? Is the hon. Member for Flint, West (Sir A. Meyer), who is temporarily absent, to be concerned with the water in Wolverhampton but not with the water in West Flint? Is my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdare (Mr. Evans) to be concerned about ancient monuments in Alnwick but not with ancient monuments in Aberdare? Is the Secretary of State to be interested in transport on Tyneside but not transport at Port Talbot? That seems to me to be a situation that cannot conceivably endure. My hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) is doubtless concerned with pollution in Peterborough but not pollution in Pontypool.

Then we get to altogether bigger fish, education. Is my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Foot) to be able to vote money and be concerned with education in Exeter but not with education in Ebbw Vale?

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

It is a courageous thing to raise what is called the West Lothian question in a debate on the Wales Bill. The answer to my hon. Friend's question is that certainly everybody will be concerned with all those matters, because the voting of the moneys will be in the House of Commons and the legislation on all these subjects will be in the House of Commons.

Mr. Dalyell

I take issue with my right hon. Friend, who is a former chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party. I know how expert he is. But there are two interpretations of the matter. If my hon. Friend were right, this would put the Welsh MPs and Scots MPs in a very dangerous position, because they would be seen to have one function above all others, namely, to get the maximum amount of lolly out of the parsimonious English Treasury.

I do not think that Welsh Ministers of great pre-eminence, of whom my right hon. Friend was one in a former Cabinet, exactly saw their role in that light. I wonder what the shade of Aneurin Bevan would have to say about that. Of all the things that Aneurin Bevan thought of himself, somehow I do not think that he thought of himself as a venal Welshman trying to get as much as he could for Wales from a United Kingdom Government. I do not want to be pompous or diffident about it. We shall not call it the West Lothian question. Let us call it, for the sake of courtesy, the Cardiff, South-East question, because I think the question goes directly to the Prime Minister. How long can a Prime Minister, or anybody else representing Cardiff, South-East—

The First Deputy Chairman

Order. I am surprised that any hon. Member, realising that a guillotine is due to fall at 11 o'clock, should indulge in material which is wholly irrelevant, which we have heard for hours on end and which has prevented hon. Members from taking part in discussing important amendments. I see nothing of any relevance in that which is now being said by the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell).

Mr. Dalyell

Whatever else is said about it, it is not irrelevant. It goes to the heart of the matter. As I sit down I simply put this question, because it has not been answered. How long can a situation endure in which our Prime Minister, or anybody else representing his constituency, can vote, for example—to be alliterative—on the Community Land Act in the constituency of the right hon. Member for Cambridgeshire (Mr. Pym) but not in his own city of Cardiff?

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. John Morris)

My hon. Friend must compare the position with the Scotland Bill. The very Act which he has now quoted, if introduced in a post-Assembly period, would affect my right hon. Friend's constituency, be it in Cardiff or any other part of the world, in exactly the same way as it would affect parts of England. On this matter my hon. Friend has completely misunderstood the Bill.

Mr. Dalyell

I do not think I am wrong about this, because I have read the Bill very carefully and I have asked lawyers about this point. At first, I took it that the West Lothian question, so called, was irrelevant to the Wales Bill. I took legal advice about this and I gathered that in fact the issue is more complicated than that and that a great element of the West Lothian question applies to this Bill.

Mr. Gerry Fowler

On a point of order, Sir Myer.

The First Deputy Chairman

The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) has finished his speech.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

I do not want to pursue that point because I would not want to trespass on your good temper, Sir Myer, at this hour of the evening, nor in any way do I want to cut out from the debate anyone who wishes to take part—rather the reverse. I want to broaden out the issues a little beyond the point at which my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) left them. He dealt with the amendments in his name, and I want to refer to those amendments and to Amendments Nos. 144 and 145, in my name and the names of my right hon. and hon. Friends, which deal with the question of the Executive Committee and the particular structure—indeed, I might say the peculiar structure—imposed by the Government in the clause.

This group of amendments brings us to an examination of the committee structure that is supposed to provide us with all the advantages of both the local government and the Cabinet systems of administration.

In the words of a document which was approved by the executive committee of the Labour Party in Wales in 1975, and which drew attention to the advantages and disadvantages of both systems, We would therefore seek a system which would be a hybrid between the Westminster and the local government patterns, and which in our view would combine the strong points of the two. But, in my judgment, that is not what has happened in practice. With that unerring sense of political ineptitude that characterises everything they have done in connection with this Bill, the Government have in reality succeeded in combining the worst parts of the two systems in a way which will make the structure unstable, will disguise where political responsibility lies, and will encourage the development of the caucus system of majority party control, which in South Wales has too often in the past proved a synonym for all that is worst in local government.

It is not surprising that the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson)—I am glad to see him in his place—a keen supporter of devolution in general, should have cried out so strongly in our debate on 15th January 1976 if we are to have an Assembly, for heaven's sake let us have it based on a parliamentary rather than a committee system. Let us have it open, public and esteemed, not following the model of the county councils. When dealing with the details a little further on, the hon. and learned Member quite rightly observed: What does that mean in practical terms in Wales? It means delegating the power to the party boss on that committee."—[Official Report, 15th January 1976; Vol. 903, cc. 656–57.] This is a central feature of what we have to consider now. I have not always agreed with the hon. and learned Member, but on this occasion our judgment and our experience of the precedents has led us to identical conclusions. I hope that the hon. and learned Member will join us in supporting a series of amendments that will start the job of dismantling the structure. I freely concede that this series of amendments does not necessarily take us to the point to which the hon. and learned Member would want to go. I shall have a little more to say on that matter later.

Ministers may plead—indeed, it has already been pointed out—that in the Kilbrandon Commission's Report there is some support for what the Government are proposing, though as my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Huntingdonshire so forcefully and rightly observed, this was the recommendation of only some of the commissioners, and there is nothing sacred in any case, as has been suggested from the Labour Benches, about what the Commission proposed. The commissioners saw their report as a basis for further debate. But in any case, the Government have made a number of very significant changes from what the commissioners proposed. The commissioners proposed that it would be the chairman of the functional committees that would form the Executive. There was no talk about the leader in the commissioners' report.

The Government propose a new creature, the leader, while the chairman is apparently to be an impartial figure. There seems to me to be an unwarranted confusion, and I do not believe that the implications have been very thoroughly thought through. It is one thing to be an impartial chairman of a debate, as you are, Sir Myer. It is quite another to attempt the task of chairing impartially a functional committee in which there is a strong politically oriented leader. Either the chairman will come from the majority party, in which case his impartiality may not be all that obvious, or he will come from a minority party, in which case there will be a weakening of what is already bound to be a small and fragmented representation in the committee as a whole. There seems to be nothing to gain from this particular variation other than confusion and a general blurring of responsibility.

The second variation is more serious. In paragraph 899 of their report, the commissioners made it quite plain that the Executive Committee would not have functions delegated to it by the other committees. It was specific on that point. This Executive Committee was to provide for the discussion and co-ordination of policies over the whole field of regional government. But even in that limited sense, the commissioners recognise that it would, in effect, be a regional cabinet of members of the majority party. The Bill, on the other hand specifically states that the Assembly may charge any of its committees—and that includes the Executive Committee—with the exercise of its powers, and further, that any committee may delegate its powers to its leader, that is to say, to the party boss, to the member of the Executive Committee.

It does not need an enormous amount of imagination for us to recognise that that is exactly what the majority party will do—see that the powers are delegated to the so-called leaders, the party bosses, the Ministers, for that is what they will be, to the Cabinet, for that is what it will be, and to the party caucus, for that is what it will be, as well.

There is no requirement in the Bill that the minority parties need to be represented in this key Executive Committee. They may be, it is true, but there is no requirement, and in practice I think it clear that they will not be. One does not facilitate Cabinet government—and Cabinet government, though disguised, is what we are to have—by inviting into it the Opposition when there is no obligation on one to do so. Where would the so-called advantages be?

The Labour Party document, in referring to a Cabinet system, mentions the inadequacy of parliamentary control over the Government, and goes on to refer to the ineffectiveness of back bench Members, the exclusion of the opposition—and back bench government supporters—from access to civil servants. A committee system, in contrast, would give better opportunity for minority parties and back bench Members of the majority party to participate in decision making. That may be the idea in theory, but the only thing that would survive under the system proposed in the Bill would be the access to civil servants. But, with authority delegated to the party bosses, where would be parliamentary control, and where would be the effective intervention by Back Benchers and by the Opposition?

The tragedy is that the whole thing is a charade or, worse than a charade, an elaborate disguise. Power would lie with the caucus but responsibility would be shared by the committee as a whole and by the unfortunate minority parties represented in it. Credit or blame would fall on all Back Benchers, Opposition and Government, as collective members of the Assembly and its committees, while all the time there would be a Cabinet Government in operation. Clear personal and collective responsibility, which is one of the great advantages of the Cabinet system, would not exist.

Even at its best and without the added function to which I have referred, the local government system has its drawbacks. It is true that there is a general involvement by members. But, as the Labour Party paper acknowledged, it is accompanied by delay, confusion and ineffectiveness, and too often that means that administration and power are taken over by paid officers. We are all aware that this happens in many local authorities. The elected members become no more than a sort of democratic screen for the real decision takers.

We also know that, because people tend to think collectively in terms of the council rather than in terms of the political leaders or the political parties within the council, there is too often a lack of response from the public to what is done. Much less than at national level people, blame or praise the majority. There is instead a generally rather hostile reaction to local government affairs, and this leads at least in part to the lack of enthusiasm displayed at local government elections and also to the frequency with which so many people turn to their Members of Parliament rather than to their local councillors when they have matters which concern them.

Despite those faults, however, the local government system has some advantages, especially if we believe that we have too much polarisation of political attitudes and too much party strife. I suppose that there is also something to be said for a system which cushions arbitrary executive power. So that is one direction in which we could move and in which the House of Commons might decide that it would be an advantage to go, and it is in fact the direction in which the amendments direct us.

I find it indefensible so to adapt this system that there is a potential for arbitrary Executive power, a system which in reality places decisions effectively and completely in the hands of the leaders of the majority party and which produces what is in effect an Executive in that there is a Cabinet and a Prime Minister and the whole thing is wrapped up in cotton wool and discussed behind this confusion of committees, thereby ensuring that the general public do not know who is responsible.

Therefore, the alternative to a local government system is not this murky morass but a move in the other direction towards a Cabinet structure which establishes clearly where responsibility lies. The Government no doubt have shied away from that solution not just for the reasons advanced in the 1975 paper which I have quoted but because they want to play down what they are doing. They want to avoid setting up an Executive which could prove to be an effective rival to central Government. They do not want anyone strutting round in Cardiff calling himself the Prime Minister of Wales.

That is no doubt why, in order to add further to the confusion, they insist on retaining the absurd and almost ludicrous title of "Chief Executive". It is absurd because everyone is now used to the idea that in local government the chief executive is a paid officer—a civil servant. Only a Government who were intensely devious or incredibly obtuse or both could give the same title at different levels of government to the political lead- er of the majority party and to the senior civil servant. They have stuck so obstinately to this cause in the face of sustained criticism and hostility that it seems that it is really their intention to create confusion.

Whatever else Parliament decides it must insist on changing the title as, indeed, Amendment No. 144 does. The Government must go further. They must remove the disguises and the wraps and decide whether they want a committee structure or a Cabinet structure for the Assembly. Either way there are drawbacks. As I have observed so often in these debates, the Government have produced a structure that is fundamentally unstable. We may seek to amend and improve, but we cannot make what is basically unstable a solid foundation for good government.

10.30 p.m.

If we are to avoid a challenge, competition with the central Government and a decisive advance down the slippery slope, it is tempting to make the whole thing as ineffective as possible and reduce it to the status of a glorified county council. But there would be practical drawbacks in such a course.

The Assembly is being given many appellate functions of government, and it is difficult to operate them on a purely committee system. More serious is the consequence of the division of legislative powers in the Bill. It is not true to say that this body will be purely administrative. It has a vital part of the legislative job to do and it will need a structure that produces far clearer cut decisions than are likely to be had from a committee system.

Then, of course, there are political considerations as well. There is the consideration that arises inevitably from what we are doing in this Bill. The Bill is responding to, and seeks to enshrine, national aspirations. In so far as it does so, and thought to do so, the public will demand something like a Cabinet structure rather than a committee structure. The nature of the Welsh Assembly, focusing, as it does, those aspirations, will guarantee that.

If we are to set up the Assembly it is impossible to believe that it would for long accept a purely local government structure. By one means or another, within its own rules of order, it would seek to transform itself into something different. Either that, or it would fall back on the well-tried and wholly unsatisfactory expedient of caucus government.

However thick the disguise, however complex the arrangements proposed, whatever the language used by Ministers, what we are in practice doing in the Bill as it is presently drafted is setting up a separate Executive and a separate Administration responsible for a large part of the government of Wales. As a result we shall have two competing Administrations. That, therefore, seems another reason why we should provide a Cabinet structure rather than the other system. That is the way to make absolutely clear to this House of Commons, and to the people of Wales, precisely what we are doing.

If we have an Assembly, and if we give it responsibility for a major part of the administration and part of the legislative functions, we are starting down a long path that might well lead to separatism. We are creating something that is fundamentally unstable and dangerous. The House of Commons should understand what it is that we are doing. There seems to me to be a clear-cut reason for getting away from the confusion enshrined in the Bill as it is presently drafted. That is perhaps the most important reason of all why I commend these amendments to the Committee.

Mr. Gerry Fowler

This has been a remarkable debate so far. I listened with interest to the right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton). Basically he expressed puzzlement. I hope that I can enlighten him and relieve him of some of his puzzlement.

My hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) raised the West Glamorgan question at some length. How that arises under this amendment, or this clause, is beyond my comprehension. We are simply discussing the structure and leadership of the committee within the Assembly. In passing I would say that I do not believe that the West Glamorgan question arises at all. Welsh Members of this House will remain party to legislation that affects every aspect of life in Wales, as well as England. It is absurd to draw parallels between Scotland and the powers of the Scottish Assembly given in that Bill and the powers given to the Welsh Assembly in this Bill.

I have no desire to stray into the irrelevancies of my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian, so I shall restrict myself to discussing this clause and these amendments.

Mr. Ioan Evans

Before my hon. Friend leaves that point—

Mr. Fowler

I have already left that point. I do not want to compound the error of discussing the West Glamorgan question on every clause, whatever its nature.

I listened carefully to the fantastic speech of the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Edwards). The Conservative Front Bench appears to be advocating a Cabinet system for an Assembly in Wales which it does not really want, except on a consultative basis. That is the most remarkable turnabout that I have ever seen in politics. The Conservatives say that they do not want an Assembly at all, except as a consultative Assembly, but then they say that if there is to be an Assembly, it must have a Cabinet.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards

The hon. Member should not distort what I said, and mislead the Committee. I said that a wholly unworkable system had been imposed upon us by the Government. If we were to have such a system, the Government's intentions should be set out explicitly in the Bill. I want something more explicit than the total confusion that we have at present.

Mr. Fowler

The hon. Member has just resiled somewhat from the position that he took earlier. Why do we have a Cabinet system or a committee system? What are the virtues of each? There is no doubt at all about the situation in which we have a Cabinet system. It is a system in which certain powers and functions rest with individuals, and these individuals collectively form a committee in which differences are hammered out, and then that committee exercises collective responsibility. A Cabinet system is needed in a situation where the exercise of individual responsibility is necessary. The extreme case of that is when a Minister stands before the House answering for his Department, or more importantly, defending a Bill for which he, and he alone, is responsible—just as my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales is responsible for this Bill. The Cabinet system is about individual responsibility of Ministers and collective responsibility of those Ministers acting in committee.

There is only one alternative to that—the committee system. If power is divided between two Ministers then those two Ministers are a committee. There is no half-way house dividing power among one and a half people. Executive decisions are taken by more than one person, after wide debate. The virtue of the committee system is that executive decisions are discussed more openly in public, and they are not the decisions of one person alone. In that sense they are more democratic.

The purpose of the provisions is to obtain a compromise between the two positions. What is the argument against having a Cabinet system? The argument is simple, namely, that the Welsh Assembly will not be a legislative Assembly. There will be no Welsh Minister who will be required to stand at a Dispatch Box and defend a Bill for which he and he alone is responsible.

Why should one want Ministers, or a Cabinet system? Yet that is what the hon. Member for Pembroke has been saying we should have if we are to have an Assembly of this sort. But there is to be wide executive responsibility. Therefore, it is sensible to have some kind of executive committee to determine overall policy for the Assembly, and it is sensible to have one person in a committee to whom power can be delegated in case of need for the ease and efficiency of administration, but not necessarily a person to whom powers shall be delegated. That is exactly what the Bill provides for. If we did not have that situation, we should find that were the burden of executive decision so great that a committee system could not digest it without such delegation, the power of delegation would not exist. Alternatively, if we followed the hon. Gentleman's line of argument, we would find that all powers were automatically delegated. That would be a reduction of democracy and of open discussion in the Assembly. Neither course is desirable.

The hon. Gentleman believes that power will be automatically delegated. I do not know what leads him to that view. I do not know what leads the hon. Gentleman to the view that in this House, if the Parliamentary Labour Party or the 1922 Committee were to be given its head and were to draw up a new constitution, it would create a Cabinet system in which most Back Benchers were powerless and would know that they were in that position. What leads him to believe that people would willingly resign any share of power which they had been given by legislation? To think that they would do so is a totally absurd argument.

Let me refer to the distinction between chairman and leader. The hon. Gentleman said that Kilbrandon did not draw that distinction. I do not regard Kilbrandon as holy writ. If I did, I would regard it as singularly self-contradictory holy writ. It is the most remarkable do-it-yourself report that I have ever seen. There is in Kilbrandon material to support almost any case. Kilbrandon suggests an executive committee, but an executive committee composed of chairmen.

Why should one separate the offices of chairman and leader? There are two reasons. The first is simple—namely, that the skills of chairmanship have little to do with the executive skills that one looks for in a leader or a member of that committee who will be a member of the executive committee. It is as if you, Mr. Murton, were to be selected for the post that you occupy with such distinction by virtue of the fact that you were deemed to be ministerial material. I would deem you to be ministerial material, but that would not be the right criterion.

Sir David Renton

On a point of order, Mr. Murton. The hon. Gentleman has already been reminded that we want to hear the Secretary of State for Wales. One hopes that there will even be time for a reply to some of the points covered by the hon. Gentleman himself.

Mr. Fowler

I have been asked to give the Secretary of State time to reply, and I shall do so. There is still time for me to do that. My point is that the skills of chairmanship and leadership are distinct. But there is another point, and it is as important.

We have been told not to look a gift horse in the mouth. The likelihood in the foreseeable future is that on most occasions the Welsh Assembly will have a major Labour majority within it and will want to combine the offices of leader and chairman. That distinction has another virtue, apart from the one that I have mentioned. If there is a majority party in the Assembly, it may elect—I hope that it will—to chair the committees those who should be so elected by virtue of their skill as chairmen, irrespective of their party membership. It seems that there is a wish to deny the Conservative Party and other minority parties in Wales the chance to exercise some office in the Welsh Assembly if there is a Labour majority. I hope that that is not the intention and that the amendment will be withdrawn.

10.45 p.m.

Mr. Raison

This has been a short debate, but it has given us a chance to consider what may prove to be the Achilles heel of the Bill, perhaps even more than the West Lothian question, the West Glamorgan question, or whatever we care to call it. The question is how the Assembly is to function.

We have been talking about the way in which committees will function within the scheme put forward by the Government. How are the committees to work on behalf of the Assembly? How are they to exercise the powers that are to be conferred upon the Assembly? Above all, how are we to ensure that Acts of Parliament will be implemented by the Assembly which is to hold this quasi-delegated power? I believe that these questions highlight what would prove to be the Achilles heel of the whole of the system were it ever to come into being.

For example, the Education Act 1976—to me the Act is completely odious, but I do not wish to go into that—requires local authorities to go comprehensive. The basis of that Act is a sort of interplay or counterpoint between the Secretary of State for Education and Science and the local authorities. The authorities are meant to put forward schemes and the Secretary of State is meant to ensure that certain things happen.

Let us suppose that we had a Welsh Assembly that, very rightly, was totally opposed to the Education Act 1976. Unless I have misread the whole scheme, I understand that it would be given the duty that at present lies with the Secretary of State of carrying out the Act's requirements.

Who in the Assembly would have such duties? I assume that they could be exercised collectively by the Assembly or delegated to one of the committees that we are discussing. They could be delegated to the leader of one of the committees, to the chairmen of the committees or to the Chief Executive. I should like to know what the Government have in mind. Whatever the answer, it seems that we are getting into an impossible situation.

The bodies that will carry out the functions now undertaken by the Secretary of State may be totally opposed to the Act. It may be said that that is a common occurrence in local government, but that is a different matter. In local government there is in the background the Secretary of State, who has almost the function of a district commissioner if he considers that local government is failing. The Minister of State laughs, but what I say is true. The Secretary of State has the power to put in commissioners. That power is given under Section 99 of the Education Act. There are powerful reserve powers. However, those powers will not remain with him. They will be transferred to the Assembly.

The Assembly may decide that it does not like the Act. The Chief Executive may decide that he does not like it. He may decide to be dilatory in implementing it. He may not carry out what Parliament has required. As a result, we shall see complete and utter chaos.

It seems that there is no way out of these difficulties under the Government's scheme. If the Secretary of State has an answer, he should tell the Committee. I feel that this will prove to be the fatal flaw in the Government's scheme, even more than the West Lothian question, and one to which there is no answer.

Mr. John Morris

Having listened attentively to the debate, I am somewhat mystified about the difficulties that hon. Members see arising from the clauses. The position is simple. We are proposing a basic framework for the Assembly. We believe that it will ensure the efficient working of the Assembly. As a Welsh Member of Parliament who has had the honour of serving his constituency for a number of years and seen both Westminster and local government at work and can more than guess what the political complexion of the Assembly is likely to be, I believe that, in addition to the need for efficiency, there should be the maximum opportunity for minority parties to participate. Those are the twin strands of our approach to this problem.

I concede immediately that it would have been easier and less likely to cause the imaginary fears of hon. Members if we had no arrangement of any kind, shape or form and allowed the Assembly to do what it might. That is an attractive course. But we have come to the conclusion that the Westminster model is not the only model that should be given to a new constitution for an Assembly in the Principality. Indeed, hardly a week goes by when there is not a complaint about the lack of opportunity in the House of Commons to influence the Executive and to participate in its decision making. There are severe criticisms about the way that we are content to organise our business.

I was not sure how hon. Members were venting their objections. The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Edwards) said that if there were to be an Assembly—I do not say that he in any way accepted the idea of an Assembly—he would prefer a Cabinet system. On the other hand, he said that this Assembly would develop into a Cabinet system. If he thinks that it will develop into such a system, where lies his objection? What has he to fear? He cannot have it both ways.

The right hon. and learned Member for Huntingdonshire (Sir D. Renton) said that there would be a mass of committees. He went through subject after subject. There was to be such a galaxy of committees that there would not be the manpower—or the person power, to be correct—to man them. There is no need to have a committee for each subject.

Sir David Renton

The subsection provides that the Assembly shall appoint committees … with functions relating to all the powers conferred on the Assembly.

Mr. Morris

Precisely. My interpretation is that it is open to the Assembly to appoint a committee or committees which could be charged with more than one function. The right hon. and learned Gentleman appeared to suggest that there would have to be a committee dealing solely with burials, another committee dealing with markets and fairs, and so on. That is not my understanding and advice to the Committee. It would be open to the Assembly, within this framework, to decide the number of committees that it would have. If that is the burden of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's fear, let me put him out of his misery on that score straight away.

We are seeking to ensure that there is an arrangement for participation and the utmost flexibility as regards delegation. Of course, different situations may arise. Some maters will need speedy decisions. In these circumstances it will be open to the Assembly and the committee to delegate responsibility to the executive member. There will be time and opportunity for lengthy consideration and that decision will be taken by the committee.

Given this framework and the need to have such committees, given the provision in another part of the Bill to have members who reflect political representation on the committee, there is a new opportunity for minority parties—and there will be a number of them in the Assembly—to take part in decision-making.

Mr. Hooson

If Clause 18 and 19 are excluded from the Bill the Welsh Assembly will set up its own procedure and it will be answerable to the Welsh people. If it misuses the procedure laid down by Parliament it will blame Parliament.

Mr. Morris

That is an attractive argument. But the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) should be the first to recognise that this is an opportunity for minority parties. I suspect that his party will be a minority party in the Assembly. I should have thought that he would be seized of this opportunity to ensure that his party participates in decision-making.

I see this as an advance on the democracy in which we take great pride. It is an improvement on our principles. If it develops in certain ways, so be it. That is for the Assembly to decide. We have provided the framework for the Assembly.

My hon. Friend the Member for The Wrekin (Mr. Fowler) said that different skills are necessary for chairmanship. Separating the two offices will ensure that there is a bigger, more creative and helpful role for all parties than there would be if both offices were held by one person. This is an advance. All the fears advanced will not be borne out.

It has been suggested that we are introducing into the Bill the worst features of local government. This feature is not new. The situation applies to chairmen, leaders of councils, mayors and chairmen of Committees of the House of Commons. It is not novel to divide the chair and the leadership. The need to get decisions through is the responsibility of the majority party.

We have devised a system which is, perhaps, not familiar to hon. Members who are not involved in local government. But it is not entirely novel. It is a system which works in local government. What we propose is a development of that to combine efficiency, speed and flexibility, for the Assembly to use its powers of delegation, and at the same time, to ensure maximum participation

by those with different political views. That will result in an improved quality of decision-making. My advice to the Committee is to reject the amendment.

Mr. Hooson

I do not believe that the Secretary of State is right to say that this is a safeguard for minority parties. The fear is that too many decisions will be taken by unpublicised manoeuvre instead of by open government in a Cabinet system. If the Assembly is to be entrusted with setting up its own orders and so on, it can be entrusted with setting up its own system of government, whatever it is. It is an unwise precedent to follow. There is the local government precedent in this matter and it would certainly—

It being Eleven o'clock, The Chairman proceeded, pursuant to the Order [16th November] and the Resolution [1st March], to put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 177, Noes 203.

Division No. 138] AYES [11.0 p.m.
Adley, Robert Finsberg, Geoffrey Knox, David
Aitken, Jonathan Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Latham, Michael (Melton)
Alison, Michael Fookes, Miss Janet Lawrence, Ivan
Arnold, Tom Forman, Nigel Lawson, Nigel
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Loveridge, John
Atkinson, David (Bournemouth, East) Freud, Clement Luce, Richard
Banks, Robert Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) McCrindle, Robert
Bendall, Vivian (Ilford North) Glyn, Dr Alan Macfarlane, Neil
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Goodhart, Philip MacKay, Andrew (Stechford)
Benyon, W. Goodhew, Victor Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Berry, Hon Anthony Gorst, John Marten, Nell
Bitten, John Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Body, Richard Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Mayhew, Patrick
Boscawen, Hon Robert Gray, Hamish Meyer, Sir Anthony
Bottomley, Peter Grieve, Percy Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Griffiths, Eldon Mills, Peter
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Almond, Rt Hon J. Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Brittan, Leon Grist, Ian Moate, Roger
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. Grylls, Michael Moore, John (Croydon C)
Brooke, Peter Hall-Davis, A. G. F. More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Bryan, Sir Paul Hannam, John Morgan, Geraint
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Morris, Michael (Northampton S)
Buck, Antony Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Morrison, Charles (Devizes)
Budgen, Nick Hayhoe, Barney Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester)
Bulmer, Esmond Heath, Rt Hon Edward Mudd, David
Burden, F. A. Hicks, Robert Nelson, Anthony
Carlisle, Mark Hodgson, Robin Neubert, Michael
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Hooson, Emlyn Onslow, Cranley
Clark, William (Croydon S) Hordern, Peter Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Howell, David (Guildford) Page, Richard (Workington)
Clegg, Walter Hunt, David (Wirral) Pattie, Geoffrey
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Hurd, Douglas Panhaligon, David
Cormack, Patrick Hutchison, Michael Clark Percival, Ian
Costain, A. P. James, David Pink, R. Bonner
Crouch, David Jessel, Toby Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Dales, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) Jopling, Michael Prior, Rt Hon James
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Kershaw, Anthony Raison, Timothy
Drayson, Burnaby Kilfedder, James Rathbone, Tim
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Kimball, Marcus Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Elliott, Sir William King, Tom (Bridgwater) Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Emery, Peter Kitson, Sir Timothy Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Fairbairn, Nicholas Knight, Mrs Jill Rhodes James, R.
Ridley, Hon Nicholas Smith, Dudley (Warwick) Wakeham, John
Ridsdale, Julian Smith, Timothy John (Ashfield) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Riffled, Malcolm Speed, Keith Walker, Rt Hon P (Worcester)
Roberts WAN (Conway) Spence, John Wall, Patrick
Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey) Sproat, lain Warren, Kenneth
Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire) Stainton, Keith Weatherill, Bernard
Sainsbury, Tim Stanbrook, Ivor Wells, John
Shaw, Giles (Pudsey) Stanley, John Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Shepherd, Colin Stradling Thomas, J. Wiggin, Jerry
Shersby, Michael Tebbit, Norman Winterton, Nicholas
Silvester, Fred Temple-Morris, Peter Younger, Hon George
Sims, Roger Thomas, Rt Hon P (Hendon S)
Sinclair, Sir George van Straubenzee, W. R. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Skeet, T. H. H. Viggers, Peter Mr. Jim Lester.
Smith, Cyril (Rochdale) Wainwright, Richard (Colne V) Mr. John MacGregor.
Abse, Leo Foot, Rt Hon Michael Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Allaun, Frank Forrester, John Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Anderson, Donald Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Freud, Clement Moyle, Roland
Armstrong, Ernest George, Bruce Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Golding, John Noble, Mike
Atkinson, Norman Gould, Bryan Ogden, Eric
Bain, Mrs Margaret Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Gourlay, Harry Grant, George (Morpeth) Orbach, Maurice Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Bates, All Grant, John (Islington C) Ovenden, John
Bean, R. E. Grocott, Bruce Padley, Walter
Beith, A. J. Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Pardoe, John
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Harper, Joseph Parker, John
Bishop, Rt Hon Edward Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Parry, Robert
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hayman. Mrs Helene Pavitt, Laurie
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Henderson, Douglas Price, William (Rugby)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Hooley, Frank Radice, Giles
Bray, Dr Jeremy Horam, John Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Reid, George
Buchanan, Richard Hoyle. Doug (Nelson) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Huckfield. Les Roberts Gwilym (Cannock)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Robinson, Geoffrey
Campbell, Ian Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Roderick, Caerwyn
Canavan, Dennis Hughes, Roy (Newport) Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Carmichael, Neil Hunter, Adam Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Jackson. Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Rooker, J. W.
Clemitson, Ivor Janner, Greville Roper, John
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Cohen, Stanley John, Brynmor Ross, William (Londonderry)
Coleman, Donald Johnson. James (Hull West) Rowlands, Ted
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Sedgemore, Brian
Cowans, Harry Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Jones, Barry (East Flint) Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Crawshaw, Richard Jones, Dan (Burnley) Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Cronin, John Kilroy-Silk, Robert Skinner, Dennis
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Lambie, David Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Cryer, Bob Lamond, James Snape, Peter
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Spearing, Nigel
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Stallard, A. W.
Dalyell, Tarn Lyon, Alexander (York) Steel, Rt Hon David
Davidson, Arthur Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Stewart, Rt Hon Donald
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) MacCormick, lain Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) McCusker, H. Stoddart, David
Davies, Ifor (Gower) McDonald, Dr Oonagh Stott, Roger
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) McElhone, Frank Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Deakins, Eric MacFarquhar, Roderick Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) McGuire, Michael (Ince) Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Dempsey, James Mackintosh, John P. Thompson, George
Doig, Peter Maclennan, Robert Tomlinson, John
Dormand, J. D. McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Torney, Tom
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Madden, Max Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Duffy, A. E. P. Magee, Bryan Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Dunn, James A. Mahon, Simon Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Eadie, Alex Mallalieu, J. P. W. Ward, Michael
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Marks, Kenneth Watkins, David
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Watt, Hamish
Ennals, Rt Hon David Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Wellbeloved, James
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Maynard, Miss Joan Welsh, Andrew
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Meacher, Michael White, Frank R. (Bury)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Mendelson, John White, James (Pollok)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Whitehead, Phillip
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Mitchell, Austin Wigley, Dafydd
Flannery, Martin Molloy, William Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Molyneaux, James Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E) Woodall, Alec TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton) Woof, Robert Mr. Ted Graham and
Wilson, William (Coventry SE) Wrigglesworth, Ian Mr. James Tinn.
Wise, Mrs Audrey Young, David (Bolton E)

Question accordingly negatived.

The CHAIRMAN then proceeded to put Question put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the Business to be concluded at Eleven o'clock.

Question put, That the clause part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 201, Noes 173.

Division No. 139] AYES [11.13 p.m.
Allaun, Frank Gould, Bryan Padley, Walter
Anderson, Donald Gourlay, Harry Parker, John
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Graham, Ted Parry, Robert
Armstrong, Ernest Grant, George (Morpeth) Pavitt, Laurie
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Grant, John (Islington C) Panhaligon, David
Atkinson, Norman Grocott, Bruce Price, William (Rugby)
Bain, Mrs Margaret Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Radice, Giles
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Bates, Alf Hayman, Mrs Helena Reid, George
Bean, R. E. Henderson, Douglas Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Beith, A. J. Hooley, Frank Roberts. Gwilym (Cannock)
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Horam, John Robinson, Geoffrey
Bishop, Rt Hon Edward Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Roderick, Caerwyn
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Huckfield, Les Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Rooker, J. W.
Bray, Dr Jeremy Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Roper, John
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Buchanan, Richard Hunter, Adam Ross, William (Londonderry)
Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green) Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Rowlands, Ted
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Janner, Greville Sedgemore, Brian
Campbell, Ian Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Shaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Canavan, Dennis John, Brynmor Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Carmichael, Neil Johnson, James (Hull West) Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Carter-Jones, Lewis Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Skinner, Dennis
Clemitson, Ivor Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Jones, Barry (East Flint) Snape, Peter
Cohen, Stanley Jones, Dan (Burnley) Spearing, Nigel
Coleman, Donald Kilroy-Silk, Robert Steel, Rt Hon David
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Lambie, David Stewart, Rt Hon Donald
Cowans, Harry Lamond, James Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Cox, Thomas (Tooting) Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Stoddart, David
Crawshaw, Richard Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Stott, Roger
Cronin, John Lyon, Alexander (York) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham) Lyons, Edward (Bradford W) Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Cryer, Bob MacCormick, Iain Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Cunningham, G. (Islington S) McCusker, H. Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh) McDonald, Dr Oonagh Thompson, George
Davidson, Arthur McElhone, Frank Tinn, James
Davies, Bryan (Enfield N) MacFarquhar, Roderick Tomlinson, John
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) McGuire, Michael (Ince) Torney, Tom
Davies, Ifor (Gower) MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C) Mackintosh, John P. Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Deakins, Eric Maclennan, Robert Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund Madden, Max Ward, Michael
Dempsey, James Magee, Bryan Watkins, David
Doig, Peter Mahon, Simon Watt, Hamish
Dormand, J. D. Mallalieu, J. P. W. Wellbeloved, James
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Marks, Kenneth Welsh, Andrew
Duffy, A. E. P. Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) White, Frank R. (Bury)
Dunn, James A. Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) White, James (Pollok)
Eadie, Alex Maynard, Miss Joan Whitehead, Phillip
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Meacher, Michael Wigley, Dafydd
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)
Ennals, Rt Hon David Mitchell, Austin Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Molloy, William Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) Molyneaux, James Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Woodall, Alec
Flannery, Martin Movie, Roland Woof, Robert
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Wrigglesworth, Ian
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Noble, Mike Young, David (Bolton E)
Forrester, John Ogden, Eric
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin) Orbach, Maurice TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Freud, Clement Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Mr. Joseph Harper and
George, Bruce Ovenden, John Mr. A. W. Stallard.
Golding, John
Adley, Robert Grist, Ian Page, Richard (Workington)
Aitken, Jonathan Grylls, Michael Pattie, Geoffrey
Alison Michael Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Percival, Ian
Arnold, Tom Hannam, John Pink, R. Bonner
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Atkinson, David (Bournemouth, East) Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Price, David (Eastleigh)
Banks, Robert Hayhoe, Barney Prior, Rt Hon James
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torbay) Heath, Rt Hon Edward Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Benyon, W. Hicks, Robert Raison, Timothy
Biffen, John Hodgson, Robin Rathbone, Tim
Body, Richard Hooson, Emlyn Rawlinson, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Boscawen, Hon Robert Hordern, Peter Rees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Bottomley, Peter Howell, David (Guildford) Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Bowden, A. (Brighton, Kemptown) Hunt, David (Wirral) Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent) Hurd, Douglas Rhodes James, R.
Brittan, Leon Hutchison, Michael Clark Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Brocklebank-Fowler, C. James, David Ridsdale, Julian
Brooke, Peter Jessel, Toby Rifkind, Malcolm
Bryan, Sir Paul Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Roberts. Wyn (Conway)
Buchanan-Smith, Alick Jopling, Michael Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Buck, Antony Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Budgen, Nick Kershaw, Anthony Sainsbury, Tim
Bulmer, Esmond Kimball, Marcus Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Burden, F. A. King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Shepherd, Colin
Bendall, Vivian (Ilford North) King, Tom (Bridgwater) Shersby, Michael
Carlisle, Mark Kitson, Sir Timothy Silvester, Fred
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Knight, Mrs Jill Sims, Roger
Clark, William (Croydon S) Knox, David Sinclair, Sir George
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Latham, Michael (Melton) Skeet, T. H. H.
Clegg, Walter Lawrence, Ivan Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Lawson, Nigel Smith, Dudley (Warwick)
Cormack, Patrick Lester, Jim (Beeston) Smith, Timothy John (Ashfield)
Costain, A. P. Loveridge, John Speed, Keith
Crouch, David Luce, Richard Spence, John
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford) McAdden, Sir Stephen Sproat, lain
Dean, Paul (N Somerset) McCrindle, Robert Stainton, Keith
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Macfarlane, Neil Stanbrook, Ivor
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James MacGregor, John Stanley, John
Drayson, Burnaby MacKay, Andrew (Stechford) Stradling Thomas, J.
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Tebbit, Norman
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Marten, Nell Temple-Morris, Peter
Elliott, Sir William Mawby, Ray Thomas, Rt Hon P (Hendon S)
Emery, Peter Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin van Straubenzee, W. R.
Fairbairn, Nicholas Mayhew, Patrick Viggers, Peter
Finsberg, Geoffrey Meyer, Sir Anthony Wakeham, John
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Fookes, Miss Janet Mills, Peter Walker, Rt Hon P (Worcester)
Forman, Nigel Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Wall, Patrick
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Moate, Roger Warren, Kenneth
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Moore, John (Croydon C) Weatherill, Bernard
Glyn, Dr Alan More, Jasper (Ludlow) Wells, John
Goodhart, Philip Morgan, Geraint Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Goodhew, Victor Morris, Michael (Northampton S) Wiggin, Jerry
Gorst, John Morrison, Charles (Devizes) Winterton, Nicholas
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Mudd, David Younger, Hon George
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Nelson, Anthony
Gray, Hamish Neubert, Michael TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Grieve, Percy Onslow, Cranley Mr. Peter Morrison and
Griffiths, Eldon Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Mr. Anthony Berry

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause 18 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 19 to 24 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Then The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again, pursuant to Order [16th November].

Committee report Progress; to sit again tomorrow.