HC Deb 08 March 1978 vol 945 cc1430-91

3.43 p.m.

Mr. Leo Abse (Pontypool)

I beg to move Amendment No. 83, in page 10, line 10, at end add: 'but in no circumstances shall it be regarded as appropriate that any person be not appointed in any role as an officer or servant of the Assembly because of lack of knowledge of Welsh and if any person fails to secure a post as such an officer or servant because of his lack of knowledge of Welsh then he shall have a tortious cause of action enabling him to pursue a claim for damages against the Assembly in the County Court or High Court whichever is the appropriate jurisdiction'. I think that I should perhaps first make it clear in moving the amendment, that I am concerned not about the detailed drafting being accepted by the Committee but that the principle should be accepted. Since, as so often occurs, there are clearly blemishes, upon which I shall comment, the Committee, if it wishes to express itself on the principle of the amendment, may decide to do so by throwing out the whole clause.

I say this because it is clear that my hon. Friends who have signed the amendment with me certainly would not have intended, for example, that there should be a position arising in which it would not be possible in any circumstances for an interpreter or a translator to be employed by the Assembly as an officer or servant. But I trust that the principle behind the amendment will become clear as I develop my argument, and I hope that it will be acceptable to the Committee.

I suppose that when we begin to discuss anything connected with the Welsh language we may recall the Act of 1536 passed by Henry VIII, which declared that henceforth no Person or Persons that use the Welch Speech or Language shall have or enjoy any manner Office or Fees within this Realm of England, Wales, or other the King's Dominion, upon Pain of forfeiting the same Offices or Fees, unless he or they use and exercise the English Speech or Language. Certainly in my lifetime that Act has long since gone into desuetude. It is equally true, however, that in my lifetime, as in the lifetime of my contemporaries in the House, great changes have been seen in attitudes to the Welsh language. It is because of the current changes that I bring the amendment to the Committee. I do so with some sadness and with some regret, because, of course, it should not be necessary for such an amendment to be debated.

The hostility that was expressed by the English establishment through the nineteenth century invoked a searing reply from Matthew Arnold in his work on Celtic literature It is true that, when I was young, that nineteenth century attitude was not so absurdly emphatic, but the effects of the disdain for the Welsh language had certainly not evaporated. When I was young parents feared that to bequeath the Welsh language to their children as part of their inheritance was to disadvantage them. Desperate as those parents were to give their children the chance to be liberated from the mines—or even more from unemployment—they gave no encouragement to the young to speak a language that it was feared would deprive them of many job opportunities.

Mr. Gwynfor Evans (Carmarthen)

The hon. Gentleman is telling the Committee that the disdain shown by some sections of the Welsh population in the last century towards the Welsh language has now almost completely evaporated. He also said that a certain section of the Act of 1536 had long fallen into disuse. I assure him that this disdain has not yet completely evaporated. Only very recently it was necessary for a man who wished to give his evidence in the Welsh language in a court of law in Wales to have the consent of that court for that purpose, and then to have the Welsh language translated into English, although everybody in the court could understand Welsh, and then to pay the interpreter. Will the hon. Gentleman accept from me that this has happened in my lifetime in my own village and has happened in many other parts of Wales?

Mr. Abse

The hon. Gentleman continues to seek out wherever he can instances, real or imagined, to justify his continued paranoiac attitude to the whole of contemporary England and, indeed, to the whole of those Welshmen who are disadvantaged by not speaking Welsh. I shall come to the right hon. Gentleman's attitude if he will have the forbearance to wait.

I turn to current attitudes which have caused me to bring this amendment to the Committee. I have recalled how parents were diffident about encouraging their children to speak Welsh because they feared that it would be a disability which might cut them off from job opportunities. It is true that in my lifetime there has been inevitably a great increase in mobility. That has meant that large numbers of Welsh-speaking people who formerly lived in rural areas, and those living in the valleys who were preponderantly Welsh-speaking, have moved into our cities. In that move they have lost the language.

My own familiar experience is in a sense a paradigm of the general Welsh experience. My elderly mother, who will be 88 this month, can still fall into doubtlessly poor colloquial Welsh when the Welsh-speaking lady who kindly cooks for her comes into the house. My mother was born in Ystalyfera and I was born in Cardiff. Like the overwhelming majority of the citizens of Cardiff—and of Pontypool—we can do little more than sing inadequately in Welsh "Land of my Fathers ".

The attitudes which created this sad and almost catastrophic decline in the Welsh language changed in the post-war years. They changed because people began to realise what a loss was taking place. Even those who had lost the tongue were aware that Wales as a whole would intellectually and culturally impoverish itself by allowing the language totally to peter out. There was an awareness which expressed itself inside this House of Commons.

Certainly, when I came here at the end of 1958, I was keenly aware that within the Welsh parliamentary party—I mean the Welsh parliamentary party belonging to all sides—there was an awareness that some action was required. Indeed, it was because of the action of hon. Members from all parties who were concerned to try to give greater protection, particularly in the sort of circumstances which the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Evans) recited, that the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir Keith Joseph), the former Minister for Welsh Affairs, appointed the Hughes Parry Committee. Its terms of reference made is clear that at least an attempt was being made to turn the tide.

It was the proud privilege of my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes) eventually to translate some of the recommendations that came out of the Hughes Parry Report. Of course, in a sense the warning signs that have led to the present unhappy situation were already contained in the Hughes Parry Report, because that report wandered far outside its more formal terms of reference.

The Committee will recall that its terms of reference were: To clarify the legal status of the Welsh language and to consider whether any changes in the law ought to be made. It was in that sense that my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey, when he introduced the Welsh Language Bill, selected those sections of the Hughes Parry Report which addressed themselves properly to the exact terms of reference so that the Bill was entirely encompassed by those terms of reference and not by the extended terms of reference.

But the Committee at the time, under cover of these terms of reference, had already put forward a whole series of proposals. The one that is most relevant to the amendment that we are discussing is the formal recommendation that heads of Government Departments in Wales should be Welsh-speaking. At the time it was formally recommended that there was a need for Welsh speakers in the Civil Service, that that need should be more widely publicised and that a knowledge of Welsh within the Civil Service should be recognised as an additional qualification of the service. It was recommended that extra allowances should be given.

Of course, the Welsh parliamentary party on all sides at the time expressed its views on those other recommendations which no doubt echoed the views of my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey who insisted that the Welsh Language Act—which he had the proud privilege of steering through the House—did not create a situation of a kind where English-speaking Welshmen would in effect be barred from ever becoming the head of Civil Service Departments in Wales.

When I say that the attitudes which have created the present unhappy situation were incipient in the Hughes Parry Report, I am giving what is an accurate picture of what has taken place. Of course, the act of reconciliation as it were, which came into existence with the Welsh Language Act, was seen by people like the hon. Member for Carmarthen merely as a placatory gesture. It was not seen—as indeed it was—as a genuine attempt to make certain that there were no divisions between English-speaking Wales and Welsh-speaking Wales. It was seen merely as a trifle, and from the moment that it was past—even when it was going through—Plaid Cymru and its fellow travellers again and again emphasised the inadequacy of a Bill which was a healing Bill which, had it been accepted in the spirit in which it was given, would never have led to the present unhappy situation.

But precisely because Plaid Cymru and its fellow travellers embarked upon campaigns which led to the politicising of the language question in Wales—even after the passing of the Act—we have now reached a situation where, instead of there being a relaxed attitude in the Principality to the language, it is unhappily a matter of bitter and acute controversy.

4.0 p.m.

There has been a campaign which has led to great pressure being applied to ensure that within the terms of that Act as many forms as possible are published in Welsh and English under the discretion available to the Minister. That campaign, by means of lobbying and demonstration, has been pushed to its utmost limits so that upon English-speaking Welshmen there has descended a deluge, a torrent, of Welsh forms which, regrettably, are meaningless to them. They see them not as an attempt to resuscitate the language but as a defiant act of political propaganda.

Because of the existence of a vociferous minority of Welsh-speaking Welshmen, instead of money being made available genuinely to succour and tend the language, millions of pounds have been squandered in the erection of new signs in English-speaking areas of Wales. In the deluge of forms, in the change of street names, there has been not a genuine tending of the language but a deliberate act of propaganda.

Mr. D. E. Thomas (Merioneth)

Would the hon. Gentleman care to spell out to the Committee what precise measures he believes to be a genuine tending of the language, as he calls it?

Mr. Abse

I have often done so. I have often thought, for example, that instead of millions being spent in Gwent upon silly road signs which irritate my constituents so much, that money could have been spent on language laboratories and upon adult education. If it had been spent on modern methods of teacher training and language training, how much good would have been done and how much good will would have been engendered. Good will was in existence at the time the Act was passed and people were ready to do all they could to remedy the serious decline in the use of the language. It is precisely because of the folly of those who are more interested in the politics of gesture than in preserving the Welsh language that millions of pounds have been squandered in a way which has been counter-productive and which has exacerbated relationships between many English-speaking Welshmen and Welsh-speaking Welshmen, instead of increasing the number of Welshmen who would otherwise have found their way to the Welsh language and, doubtless, to Welsh literature.

What has happened with this politicisation of the language as a result of the intervention of Plaid Cymru and its allies is that there have been demonstrations which have aroused the severe hostility both of English-speaking Welshmen and of sensible Welsh-speaking Welshmen throughout the Principality. The sit-ins, the attacks upon television masts, the misconduct of large groups of people with their mock heroics have caused people to see the Welsh language as identified with an irresponsible group. Unfortunately, Plaid Cymru, instead of condemning those activities, always condoned them. The result is, undoubtedly, the spreading of a belief that what is intended in areas in the Principality where Plaid Cymru and those of similar beliefs exercise power is that those who lack the advantage of being able to speak Welsh should suffer a disadvantage.

From the constituency of the hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. Thomas)—from Aberystwyth—I have received letters from groups which have been formed describing themselves as language freedom movements, indicating concern that, instead of a heart and mind campaign to convince the people of Wales of the inherent worth of the Welsh language as part of their Welsh heritage, what has been launched as a result of the activities of an irresponsible minority is a campaign that Welsh should be a passport to top jobs or a source of privilege.

There is no doubt that it has been the tendency throughout Wales wherever the influence of Plaid Cymru makes itself felt that, unless anyone who applies for a job can speak Welsh, he does not obtain the job. Never mind what may be the theory and the practice in Gwynedd, it applies also in many other places. Some of us cannot forget the way in which the Welsh BBC gave evidence and expressed its prejudices to the Hughes Parry Committee. We remember how those who were in control of the BBC made clear in a blunt and brutal manner that in their view the only people who could be described as genuinely Welsh were those who were Welsh-speaking, and they used that as a justification for saying to the Hughes Parry Committee that all top tier jobs should be reserved for Welsh speakers.

I am sure that in the course of the debate we shall hear many more instances of the disadvantages suffered by English-speaking Welshmen. My hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock) gave some wretched and rather dramatic instances when he spoke last week. I realise that there is no need for me to catalogue the disadvantages and the fears which have come into existence. We all know about the people charged with offences who, although they can speak English, wish to inconvenience everybody to the maximum degree when they come before the court and insist on speaking Welsh. As a result of these activities, it has become clear throughout Wales that there is a need for a new assessment of the dangers to the English-speaking Welshmen if these pressure groups are allowed to have their way.

It is unfortunate and unhappy that this has come about. It has not taken place as a consequence of any action on the part of the Labour Party, which initiated the Welsh Language Act. Nor do I believe—and one must give credit where it is due—that it was the result of any action of the Tory Party which set up the Hughes Parry Committee. Neither the Labour Party nor the Tory Party is in any way responsible for the situation. What has occurred as the direct result of fanaticism is that the whole atmosphere in Wales on the language question has been utterly soured.

Every day English-speaking Welshmen are compelled to look at signs they do not understand, look at television they do not understand and listen to the radio in a language they do not understand. All this has resulted from the tactlessness and pressures of a minority. English-speaking Welshmen reluctantly must turn their aerials towards the Mendips and away from the Principality. This is because a small, fanatical and persistent group has brought pressure to bear—and the main spokesman for that group is Plaid Cymru.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

Would the hon. Member explain to the Committee how people in Wales who speak only English are unable to understand bilingual road signs?

Mr. Abse

Of course they cannot understand the Welsh. In Gwent nearly the whole population finds itself greeted twice when it arrives in its own county. If the hon. Member for Merioneth thinks that he is helping the Welsh language by insisting to the letter that every road sign must be replaced in this way, he is being extraordinarily jejune. People who cannot understand the language in the place in which they live get irritated and vexed. They do not like to feel that they are being treated like strangers in their own country. They feel that every road sign is a propaganda exercise and not an advertisement. If the hon. Member does not understand that, he betrays a singular lack of sensitivity, particularly for a Welshmen. We are supposed to be possessed with good reason and with more sensitivity than members of the more buttoned-up and rougher Anglo-Saxon culture.

In this atmosphere of apprehension, the concept of creating a Welsh Assembly immediately alerts a large section of the population which is extremely concerned that if the Assembly comes into existence it should not be what I believe it will become—a gravy train for a Welsh-speaking minority.

It is quite clear that no Welsh Assembly, if it came into existence, would tolerate for long the idea of a shared Civil Service with Whitehall. That was said by the Kilbrandon Commission, and it is self-evident that a Welsh Assembly will not agree to a shared Civil Service. Obviously, tensions would be created each year when the question of the grant arose. It would mean that in that respect, and many others, civil servants would have dual loyalties—to the Assembly and to Whitehall.

4.15 p.m.

The consequence that we must acknowledge in the end is that Wales would face not an extra 1,150 civil servants as indicated in the Bill's preamble, but more likely an extra 2,000. That is the number that would be needed for a totally separate Civil Service. That is predictable and inevitable, and Wales must face the fact that it will have to pay for these extra civil servants.

Who will be included in this Civil Service elite? From which groups will it be drawn and which qualifications will its members need? We can all be certain that Members of the Assembly who come from Plaid Cymru will not be engaged in reconciling action any more than they have been engaged in such reconciling action on the Welsh language since the passing of the 1967 Act. They will use the Assembly to pursue their declared objectives. They will speak in Welsh in the Assembly. When they come to the Assembly announcing this declared intention, there will be immediate difficulties for the Civil Service.

Therefore, members of Plaid Cymru should act in the interests of the whole of the Principality. They should act with restraint, and not expect as of right to speak Welsh. But that will not happen. The hon. Member for Carmarthen has repeatedly made clear that he will not accept for the Welsh Assembly the rules that apply in the House of Commons and that the intention of his party is to speak Welsh.

Sir Raymond Gower (Barry)

I have listened with great interest to the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) and I certainly agree with many parts of his speech. However, is it not likely that the Welsh Assembly will be drawn mostly from areas of greater population and that conceivably the majority of its Members will be English-speaking only? It seems that the hon. Member's point is a bit inconsistent.

Mr. Abse

I agree, but that is not the point. Once there is a minority which insists on speaking Welsh, it will be abundantly clear that the Assembly will need a translating system. It will need the whole apparatus that exists in international assemblies.

I am sure that in the figures for the cost of the Assembly, the £9.5 million given for additional civil servants in Wales will not include provision for extra 800 or 900 civil servants who will be needed or the cost of the sophisticated translation services that will be in operation if the Welsh language is used.

What the hon. Member for Barry (Sir R. Gower) says is, of course, true. The majority of Welsh Members, like the majority of people in Wales, will be able to speak only English. That is the only language that four out of five of us understand. But the very fact that some—even a tiny minority—would speak in Welsh would necessitate immediately not only the apparatus of translation facilities but also what the Hughes Parry Committee recommended—that heads of Departments in the Assembly would inevitably have to be Welsh-speaking because Wales knows the fanaticism that is now at work. Let it be pursued, as it would be, and it is inevitable that they would want to communicate in Welsh. They would want to speak to the civil servants in Welsh and would want the whole top layer to be that which the Hughes Parry Commission was trying to bring about—that there should be a Welsh-speaking top tier.

That would not be necessary if it were not a minority that were pursuing it, but I am certain that in Wales, given what I regard as the totally extravagant and fanatical attitude of Plaid Cymru, they would neither speak nor write in a language other than Welsh to all the civil servants with whom they had any communication.

Mr. Geraint Howells (Cardigan)

I am sure the hon. Member is aware that in mid-Wales many councillors on county councils prefer to speak in Welsh. Is he saying that those who represent mid-Wales and are Welsh-speaking should not have the right to speak in their mother tongue to a Welsh Assembly?

Mr. Abse

The hon. Gentleman is not getting my point. I am not seeking to deny that right. I am pointing out the inevitable and predictable consequences, because the people who are now councillors and speaking Welsh will come into the Assembly and will speak Welsh there, as they are entitled to do. I am asking the hon. Member to face up to this consequence. There are certain consequences and the amendment seeks to draw attention to them. One consequence is that inevitably they will continue to speak in Welsh not only in the Chamber but in all their dealings with officials, as they would probably do now in the area to which the hon. Member for Cardigan (Mr. Howells) has referred.

Mr. Geraint Howells indicated assent.

Mr. Abse

The hon. Gentleman confirms that. That is the inevitable logic of the situation. Therefore, it is clear that if we are not to get a complete jam between the Assemblymen and the civil servants, certainly the whole of the top layer would be required as a condition of their appointment to be Welsh-speaking.

Mr. Geraint Howells

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. May I ask him a simple question? Is he in favour of a Welsh-speaking Assemblyman being able to speak in his mother tongue at a Welsh Assembly? Will the hon. Gentleman answer "Yes" or "No"?

Mr. Abse

I am saying "Yes, of course he can do so". I have never suggested he could not. That is a right which the hon. Member, who has the great advantake of being Welsh-speaking, denies himself in this House but since those Members will exercise that right it is inevitable that the civil servants who will have to deal with them will have to know Welsh. It may be that Plaid Cymru will say "Hurrah".

Mr. D. E. Thomas

I am continually in correspondence with the hon. Gentleman's hon. Friend the junior Minister at the Welsh Office, using Welsh. He will reply to me a couple of weeks later in excellent Welsh because there is within the Welsh Office a large unit of bilingually structured government with bilingual officers and bilingual Ministers.

Mr. Abse

The hon. Gentleman is only showing the corresponding need that would come to total fulfilment inside the Welsh Civil Service where the people who would come to the top could not be expected to depend, in their day-to-day activities, upon some translation unit. It would be expected that it should be possible for them to have direct relationships with the Assemblymen daily.

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

I do not think that the hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. Thomas) puts the position precisely as it is. If an hon. Member writes to me in Welsh, I naturally reply in the same language. If hon. Members write to one of my junior colleagues, as they usually do, in whatever language they see fit, they get from one of my junior colleagues —and this has been agreed by those who made the request—a letter in English which is the language which my hon. Friends prefer and understand; but they get also, as the usual procedure, a copy in Welsh where an hon. Member has requested that. That is precisely the position. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) for permitting my intervention.

Mr. Abse

I do not believe for a moment that it would be tolerable to accept the proposal that the Civil Service should be doubled and that for the whole morass of correspondence that would be coming into existence Welsh-speaking people would be available as doubles, so that business could be expedited, and so that the whole apparatus of Welsh business should proceed. We would then be talking of 4,000 extra civil servants. In practice, it is abundantly clear what is to come into existence, and I am saying that it is inevitable that, certainly in the top tiers, a Welsh-speaking bureaucratic elite will come into existence.

Mr. Emlyn Hooson (Montgomery)

That would not apply in my own constituency and that of the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnor (Mr. Roderick). In the county council in his constituency there are only about one-seventh who are Welsh-speaking and nearly all the senior officers are non-Welsh-speaking. In the district council of my constituency, Montgomery, about 20 to 25 per cent. of the district councillors are Welsh-speaking and there are one or two senior officers who are Welsh-speaking but the others are not. It does not follow, therefore, as the hon. Member suggests, that it is inevitable that the top layer will be entirely Welsh-speaking. It is a matter of common sense. In many Welsh constituencies councillors prefer to express themselves in Welsh.

Mr. Abse

If it were a matter of common sense, there would be no difficulty but we have to accept that we shall get not common sense but fanaticism from Plaid Cymru supporters and, as they have always done, they will exercise their right to the limit. Therefore, I repeat that I believe it inevitable and predictable that if we move forward with a Welsh Assembly there will come into existence what the Hughes Parry report wanted, a Welsh-speaking elite.

I am deeply concerned that a young man or young woman living in Newport should have the opportunity, if that is the will in a referendum for Wales, to rise to the top of the Civil Service that will come into existence. I am concerned that no English-speaking Welshman in this Civil Service, if it ever comes about, should be in the slightest degree disadvantaged. I am concerned that any young man or woman from Cardiff or Pontypool, any of those coming from the overwhelming majority of the people of Wales who speak no Welsh, should have equal opportunity, which I believe is inevitably to be denied them.

Because of that, I have directed my mind to how we can contain the fanaticism, how we can contain the sixth dynamic which uses language for politics, not in order that we should enlarge the knowledge of the people of Wales and give them the key to a separate culture which unhappily is denied for most. How can we contain it? I do not suggest that my method is necessarily the best or the only one, but there is a fundamental principle at work, and it is so fundamental that I would not have anything against Clause 25 if it were modified and altered sufficiently to give to the people of Newport, Cardiff and Pontypool protection and a feeling of security that they will not find themselves very largely in the hands of a Welsh-speaking elite.

Consequences will flow from that. There is this elusive belief that the Assembly will be determining the nominations for the nominated bodies. We shall have untried and untested Assemblymen and as usual, particularly at the beginning, we shall have a more sophisticated Civil Service. Who will be appointed to the nominated bodies? The lists now prepared and maintained in every Government Department will be prepared and maintained by the Assembly civil servants. It is not only a question of preference being shown within the Civil Service to the Welsh-speaking; it is that the preference will extend further.

4.30 p.m.

We are dealing here with a major problem. We shall have a situation in which we shall have created an Assembly which will have no full career structure for young men and women who have no knowledge of the language.

What action can the Committee take? My amendment is tough. It says: in no circumstances shall it be regarded as appropriate that any person be not appointed in any role as an officer or servant of the Assembly because of lack of knowledge of Welsh". We want to ensure that people are judged on their merits and not on whether they are Welsh-speaking or English-speaking. If we are to have this Civil Service, this swollen bureaucracy, we must see that it is a meritocracy. We must ensure that those appointed are appointed solely by reason of their capacity. It must not depend upon the fact that they were born in a particular area of the Principality and were brought up speaking Welsh.

Sir Raymond Gower

A consideration might arise when there are two senior civil servants of comparable ability, attainment and experience. In such circumstances one might be fluent in English and Welsh and the other only in English. Might it then be that a knowledge of the language could be deemed to be a fair advantage? This is the difficult situation in which we might find ourselves. Could the person not appointed go to the courts and seek damages under this amendment?

Mr. Abse

Let there be no doubt about my position on this issue. If there are two boys from Newport or Pontypool, equal in merit and capacity, who seek an appointment in the Civil Service, the fact that one speaks Welsh should in no way influence the decision. I say that categorically. If we do not say that in every instance where appointments are to be made, it will be said, as it is said in the advertisements that we see throughout the Principality, that Welsh will be an advantage. That would clearly mean that in such circumstances the English-speaking Welshman is disadvantaged and is not accorded parity of esteem.

I come to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's question. A person who did not gain the appointment could not go to the courts and seek spuriously to claim that he was not appointed because he did not speak Welsh. There would be a heavy onus upon him to prove his case. The balance of probabilities would be measured, as it is in every court action. It would not be easy for a person to go to the courts frivolously. My object is not to increase litigation but to make certain that it is understood by those engaged in making appointments that if they take advantage of the English-speaking Welshman in that way, there is a remedy open to the man or woman disadvantaged.

I put this amendment to the Committee with some sadness, because it is unfortunate that the fanaticism that has raged on the language question throughout Wales should have created an atmosphere in which every English-speaking Welshman is alerted to the hazards which will arise once we create an Assembly of this kind. Sadly, but firmly, I put it to the Committee that it cannot pass Clause 25 without disadvantaging the English-speaking Welshman unless, either through this amendment or in some other way, protection is given to the people of Gwent and Glamorgan and all the other mainly English-speaking areas of Wales, so that they do not become aliens in their own land, governed by people who are remote from their language, which is a lively vital English, which undoubtedly receives a lot of its élan because the Anglo-Welsh reflects some of the pristine vitality of the Welsh language itself, which they do not know.

I hope that no one will have the presumption to repeat what has been said about my hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty and me. It is impertinent to say that we are anti-Welsh. The people who are anti-Welsh are the fanatics who have created the situation in Wales today in which, instead of friendliness being exhibited towards the maturing of the Welsh language, there is grave suspicion. The enemies of the Welsh culture have proven to be those who have so fanatically waged their campaigns, sometimes by lawful methods, sometimes by lawlessness.

I hope that I have introduced a subject to which the Committee will give its mind in seeking a solution and enabling protection to be given where it is needed. If it is not given and if there is no desire or will on the part of the Government to help by accepting this amendment or some other amendment which will give the required protection, I hope that Clause 25 will be rejected.

Mr. Hooson

I want to make a short contribution to the debate. The hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) said that he did not use extravagant language. I wonder what he is like when he is extravagant. I think that he has done a great disservice to Wales today, because he has given the impression of being as bigoted as the people he accuses of being bigoted.

This is a difficult problem. It is difficult because of the history of Wales. There was a determined effort, which the hon. Member rightly described, to stamp out the Welsh language in Tudor times. An odd thing about the Welsh language is that it survived very well in adversity. It is in far greater danger of being killed off by kindness in our age than by adversity in Tudor times.

The truth is that there were very sad consequences of the Tudor settlement, such as the divorce of the common people of Wales from what used to be the aristocracy of Wales, many of whom followed the Tudors to London or became Anglicised in Wales and consequently deprived Wales, when there was no education for the masses, of the cultural leadership which it would otherwise have had and which it had enjoyed at an earlier period.

The Welsh language was undermined, to use the language of Socialism, by the effects of capitalism in the nineteenth century. Economic pressure was allied to deliberate policy. I have read of monoglot English-speaking teachers being appointed to totally Welsh-speaking districts in order to ensure that the Welsh children could not communicate with their teachers, except in English. It was a determined effort to stamp out the Welsh language for so-called economic interest.

Even in this century, I have known in fairly modern times of a headmaster of a school in a Welsh-speaking village who would teach no Welsh. I have also known a headmaster of a school in a Welsh-speaking village who would teach no English. Last week I heard of a school in Wales in which the music teacher refused to play "God save the Queen" at the end of the school Eisteddfod. I do not know what right she has to impose her political views on the pupils. In the same school, one master reacted to that by refusing to stand up for "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadan" the Welsh national anthem. The bigots on either side of the Committee, like the bigots in Wales, do not benefit our country at all.

Mr. Neil Kinnock (Bedwellty)

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman give way?

Mr. Hooson

I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman later.

The hon. Member for Pontypool gave a very good account of the vicissitudes of the Welsh language. If somebody had said 10 or 15 years ago "Here is £15 million that you can spend for the benefit of the Welsh language", I should not have dreamt of spending it on road signs. But if the hon. Member is honest with himself, would he have voted £15 million to help the lame Welsh language 15 years ago? The answer is that he would not. He would have suggested better ways of spending that money than for the Welsh language. But that is by the way.

Mr. Kinnock

In order to put it in perspective and since the language argument is surrounded by so much historical allusion, would it not be more correct to say that, with the exception of one instance by well-intentioned but ludicrously uninformed and misinformed commissioners of education in the middle of the last century, the great crime committed against the Welsh language was not deliberate suppression but the assertion that, under an imperialist system, English was so vastly superior that it deserved to reign over any other culture—Welsh, Indian or whatever it may be—that the Imperial British system encountered throughout the world? Does that not put it in a slightly different perspective when we bring the argument up to date, which is what we should be concerned with?

Mr. Hooson

I do not altogether go along with the hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock). There were mainly economic reasons for the effective decline of the Welsh language. It was a matter of the dominant culture and the dominant economy being English, and there were obvious consequences from it. However, we should not hark back all the time to Welsh history to determine what we should do today.

4.45 p.m.

Part of the area that I represent became entirely English-speaking about two centuries or more ago. Part of my constituency—the Banw valley—is entirely Welsh-speaking. I presided at an Eisteddfod in the Banw valley in December last year. One of the adjudicators, who was a lecturer at the University of Bangor, told me that in his view the Banw valley was probably the most Welsh part of Wales because everything is conducted entirely in Welsh. I know that it is a relatively small area. My constituency varies from entirely English-speaking areas such as Church Stoke and Hyssington on the border, where one can almost feel the shades of the Marcher Lords going by, to the Banw valley which derives its culture entirely from the old Welsh background.

As I said in an intervention, about one-quarter or one-fifth of my constituents at present are Welsh-speaking. Therefore, if the hon. Member for Pontypool is suggesting that in elected bodies of this kind it is inevitable that the top echelon as it were, of public servants must be Welsh-speaking, that is wrong. It is contrary to my experience. Most of the senior officers on my district or county council are not Welsh-speaking. For example, the director of education is not Welsh-speaking, but the deputy-director of education is Welsh-speaking.

This matter of language should be left to the common sense of the elected Members of the Assembly. I have enough faith in my fellow countrymen to believe that they will be fair, just and sensible. The Committee should not try to impose any kind of rules on the Welsh Assembly.

The hon. Member for Barry (Sir R. Gower) rightly pointed out that when a Welsh Assembly is elected its Members will largely be from the industrial areas, which are largely non-Welsh-speaking. We have to assume, as in the House of Commons, that the elected Members will represent the broad linguistic pattern of Wales. Therefore, the majority of Assembly men and women will not be Welsh-speaking. It should be left entirely to those elected representatives to lay down the proper rules. In my view, nobody should be disadvantaged merely because of either knowledge or lack of knowledge of the Welsh language.

There are certain jobs in which it is essential for people to be Welsh-speaking. In the Diplomatic Service, as the hon. Member well knows, it is considered to be a considerable advantage to be able to speak another language or two or three languages. There are merit awards for this. If the hon. Member, by the slant of his speech, was suggesting that the Welsh Assembly will be unfair to non-Welsh-speaking people, he is insulting the country which he represents.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes (Anglesey)

I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) can before the end of the debate be persuaded to withdraw his amendment. That would be the right and the helpful thing for him to do in the circumstances.

As my hon. Friend recognised in the early part of his speech, which I found unexceptionable, the Welsh language has survived for many centuries against the most formidable odds. Only in recent years, however, has it received some encouragement and recognition. It is part of our inheritance, and those of us who were brought up to speak the language cherish it. Some hon. Members—the hon. Member for Conway (Mr. Roberts) and I—speak it at home. Our children speak it. It is our everyday language. My hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool said that it is an accident of birth, but it remains the fact. Therefore, anyone who, even by implication, criticises the Welsh language, says something which is hurtful to us.

Those of us who do speak Welsh are a diminishing minority. We are conscious of the great task and responsibility of preserving the language and of handing it on to our children and to our children's children. Nothing arouses more emotion than language, save possibly religion. The majority in an elected Assembly of any kind in Wales would inevitably be non-Welsh-speaking Members, as is the case in the House of Commons.

My hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool referred to the recommendations in the Hughes Parry Report. The existence of those recommendations does not, in my view, justify the amendment. I think that there was only one major recommendation in that report which I rejected. That was the one to which my hon. Friend referred. Nevertheless, that recommendation reflected the profound concern of the members of that Committee about the future of the language. As I recall, the members of the Hughes Parry Committee were not associated with any political party. The chairman—the late Sir David Hughes Parry—was one of the most distinguished academic lawyers in this country.

Having considered the report carefully and consulted hon. Members, I had to make a judgment. My judgment was translated into a Bill which is now the Welsh Language Act. I felt that the Bill, as drafted at the time, would command the widest measure of support in Wales, and I think that events have confirmed that conclusion.

Mr. Abse

My right hon. Friend is doing himself an injustice. It is some time since the Act came into effect. If he would care to refresh his memory by looking at the long list of recommendations which were not embodied in the Act, he would see that a whole range of recommendations are relevant to what we are discussing. For example, if those recommendations had been implemented, magistrates, policemen and health administrators would have had to have been bilingual. The dangers which were then apparent were avoided by the limited measure that was brought in by my right hon. Friend. I do not want to catalogue all the recommendations. However, my right hon. Friend is misleading himself in believing that all he ignored was the recommendation relating to top civil servants.

Mr. Hughes

I do not agree with the point that my hon. Friend was trying to make in that long intervention. He gave a list of examples. I said it was the principle that I rejected, and it was the principle to which he referred in his speech. I rejected that and accepted the remainder.

There are those who take an extreme view on both sides of the argument. They do not help to preserve the language, however genuine they may be. Long experience of this subject has persuaded me that that is so.

The fact is that at the end of the day any Assembly would reflect its Members and they in turn would reflect their constituents. Any expenditure on the language should properly be a matter for the Assembly. I should be content to leave the matter to its judgment. It is unhelpful to make a bogy of the Welsh language. It is no service whatsoever to the Principality to give the impression that it might somehow threaten the livelihoods of people.

I make this point without passion and as reasonably as I can. My hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool knows perfectly well, as does the Committee, that the majority of those who reside in Glamorgan, Gwent, the Wrexham area, Deeside and in most of Brecon and Radnor are non-Welsh-speaking people. It is sad. I regret it, because I think that in all our great cultural inheritance the language is its heart and treasure. Therefore, I regret it, but I have to accept it as the bleak reality.

My hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool implied that in an election, somehow or other a small minority would impose their will regarding the language on the majority of the Assembly and of the people of Wales. I think that my hon. Friend went too far. He asked who will be the civil servants. The answer is that they will reflect the whole of Wales, as they do now.

If we analyse the Civil Service as it now exists in Cardiff and, as to a small section, in Aberystwyth, the fact is that the great majority of civil servants now come from Glamorgan and Gwent. Aberystwyth has the Welsh Office of the Department of Agriculture, for which I was at one time responsible. The head of the Department of Agriculture today, who is a distinguished agriculturist, is in fact an Englishman from the North-East. We in Wales who have to deal with agriculture matters greatly value him. If there were some conspiracy to impose the language on Wales, would we have an Englishman in one of the Welsh centres as head of a Government Department? I do not think so. He was made very welcome, as was right. I make that point to demonstrate that much of the argument put forward by my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool is without foundation.

Mr. Nicholas Edwards (Pembroke)

I am grateful for and appreciate the right hon. Gentleman's views. He is apparently assuming that we shall necessarily continue to have a unified Civil Service so that, for example, Englishmen can move easily to Wales and vice versa. I think that is a great advantage. But the Welsh TUC and a Labour Party paper on the subject take a contrary view. It is at least a possibility—I put it no higher— that the Assembly will take a contrary view. Has the right hon. Gentleman any opinion on that important matter?

Mr. Hughes

Yes, I have. I believe in interchangeability. I think that service in Whitehall would be of great advantage to any civil servants who might subsequently move to Cardiff or elsewhere in Wales. But we shall have to discuss these matters in detail in due course.

Finally, what would be wrong if some of the Members of the Assembly chose to speak in Welsh? My hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool was ready enough to admit that there would be nothing out of place with that. But if we resisted the right of a Welshman in his own country to speak his own language in a national Assembly, we would be more intolerant than any country on earth, including the Soviet Union.

My hon. Friend dealt with the question of translators. Translation systems exist not only in this and other countries. The expenditure involved in providing a translation system for a Welsh Assembly would be negligible. I do not think that anyone would object to it. In fact, it has operated in Wales in county councils for a long time.

We require two qualities in our consideration of this sensitive issue—namely, tolerance and common sense. It would not be necessary, for example, for all civil servants to know Welsh. English is now the normal language of communication. What we require is the right to use the Welsh language as and when it is necessary, as and when we wish to do so.

I hope that we can end this debate fairly soon. I do not find it an edifying one.

5.0 p.m.

Sir Raymond Gower

I largely agree with the general viewpoint of the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson), although I do not entirely agree that the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) should not have raised the matter. It is proper that we should debate and discuss an issue of this sort.

Unfortunately, language in several parts of the world is an incandescent subject which causes much controversy. I shall never forget the unbelievable scenes of disorder in Belgium that arose from conflict betwen the adherents of those who speak French and those who speak the type of Dutch that is spoken in the North of Belgium. There was unbelievable disorder and fighting in the streets on what would seem to non-Belgians to be a matter of fairly small importance. Similarly, we know that there has been a good deal of animosity in Canada between those who speak French and those who speak English. There has been much animosity in South Africa between those who speak Afrikaans and those who speak English. It seems that language can cause trouble.

I agree with the hon. Member for Pontypool that some of the fears that he has expressed are expressed in our constituencies. Certainly that applies in parts of Wales. We should do all in our power to allay those fears.

Those who express their anxiety about the future of the Welsh language by raiding BBC establishments do much harm to their cause. They do not assist the future of the Welsh language. They develop animosity whereas they should be trying to develop support. I agree that the money that has been spent on signs and forms could have more profitably been spent on language laboratories and on special forms of further education in the Welsh language.

There are feelings of anxiety in this area. It is a delicate area in which misunderstanding is so easy. I understand why the hon. Member for Pontypool entertains real fears. I hope that the debate will go some way to lessen those fears in his mind and in the minds of us all.

The fact is that the great majority in the Principality are English-speaking. It seems probable that for a long time in future the Assembly, whatever form it takes, will contain a large majority of Members who cannot speak Welsh. They will be an English-speaking monoglot. For the most part, they would be English speakers.

The concept of a Welsh Assembly, as the hon. Gentleman says, increases the fears that he has explained to the Committee. However, I cannot see that the amendment as worded would deal with his fears. The amendment reads: but in no circumstances shall it be regarded as appropriate that any person be not appointed in any role as an officer or servant of the Assembly because of lack of knowledge of Welsh and if any person fails to secure a post as such an officer or servant because of his lack of knowledge of Welsh then he shall have … cause of action. It can be imagined that there will be those with similar length of service in the Civil Service at high level who have similar qualifications and experience. If one is rejected, he might well make it a case that he was rejected solely because he was not a Welsh speaker and that the person who was appointed was given the appointment because he was a Welsh speaker. Many bogus cases could be founded in that way. I do not think that the amendment could achieve what the hon. Gentleman has in mind.

Is the amendment desirable in its present form? Having listened to the debate, I have serious doubts. I believe that it would be misinterpreted. If the dangers increase and if the future as the hon. Gentleman sees it is not exaggerated, we shall have to review our attitudes. However, at present I am not satisfied that the majority who are trying to revive the language share the views of the extremists.

Many of those who are working so hard in my constituency and in other areas on behalf of the Welsh language have a genuine wish to prevent the language from dying out altogether. At some personal inconvenience, and at considerable expense, they are ensuring that their children learn the Welsh language. I know of parents who drive their children long distances so that they may learn the language. They are not extremists. They deplore the extravagances that the hon. Gentleman has described. They deplore the raiding of premises. They deplore the invasion of studios, the shouting in courts of law and the plastering of buildings with slogans. At the same time they are devoting a great deal of time, concern and work to prevent a living language from dying.

In that context and with that background I believe that the hon. Gentleman has done a service and not a disservice by initiating the debate. These are matters that we must debate frankly. They are not to be brushed under the carpet. It would be most undesirable if that were to happen. I hope, trust and believe that the hon. Gentleman's fears are exaggerated. Indeed, they are exaggerated. I hope that we shall be able to do without this sort of provision, which I do not think would achieve the objects that it is intended to bring about.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

Mae hon yn ddadl bwysig—this is an important debate. I understand that it is an important debate, which I enter as an Englishman. I was trying to speak in Welsh because I understand what Welsh speakers feel and recognise that we talk about language with emotion. If I were Welsh, I should want to retain my Welsh language. I should want my children to retain the language and I should want their children to retain it. It would be like lopping off an arm or a limb to have one's language destroyed. I begin my argument from that standpoint.

I am not certain that we are not getting two arguments mixed up. I am not certain whether the argument about the Welsh language is necessarily totally a part of the argument about devolution. Devolution is one thing and the retention and development of one's language is something totally different. Of course, both issues are allied in a sense.

I have been worried because the Welsh language is being turned into a political football. There has been growing fanaticism over the years, certainly among some of the more extreme Welsh nationalists—but fanaticism among English speakers in Wales would be equally wrong. As an Englishman, I urge tolerance. Many people in Wales rightly wish to retain and develop their Welsh language, but many others do not, and probably never will, speak Welsh.

The concept of bilingualism is not a bad one. It might have been a good thing if we in Liverpool had been properly taught Welsh, French and a number of other languages. When one understands someone else's language, one can not only communicate properly but can begin to understand his ideas. A nation's ideas are bound up with its language. I should therefore like to see tolerance. That is why I am not entirely happy with the amendment, although parts of it are important.

Supposing an Englishman moved into a Welsh town and was properly qualified to become an officer of the Assembly; it would be quite wrong to deny him the opportunity. No one is suggesting that, and I trust that no one ever will. I do not know whether that protection can be written into the Bill, but it will have to be understood that qualified people, from wherever they come, should have equal rights to jobs.

Mr. William Molloy (Ealing, North)

My hon. Friend's argument is attractive, but one could go further. The Secretary of State listed those Welsh counties where the English language predominates. As things stand, there is a danger that a Welshman born and bred could be penalised because he did not speak Welsh fluently enough. This does not apply only to Englishmen in the circumstances described by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Heffer

I was trying to introduce an English dimension. I have listened to the Welsh argue the case and have not seen much evidence of the tolerance which would be shown in a purely English debate. We English are a very tolerant people, otherwise, we should not be trodden on as much as we sometimes are, particularly lately in this House. We now have debates about Scotland and Wales that seem to go on for ever. I sometimes wish that we might have a debate on problems of the English regions, which have high levels of unemployment and difficult problems. But that is not this debate, and I apologise for straying into the subject.

I agree with the Secretary of State that it is unhelpful to make a bogy of the Welsh language. We must keep a balance. Those of us who do not live in Wales, and who would never come in contact with Welsh people if we were not Members of Parliament, should not destroy the language of the Welsh people. We must help it to continue to exist.

But those Welsh people must in turn accept that there are vast areas of Wales where Welsh is never spoken. Those areas must have equal rights. What we need is tolerance and acceptance. I hope that this matter does not develop into a bitter internal battle in Wales. That would be unhelpful.

5.15 p.m.

I get slightly upset with the Welsh nationalists, especially those who used to blow up Liverpool's water supplies. That was very annoying, and it deprived the enormous number of Welsh people in Liverpool of their water as well.

The confusion of the devolution debate is summed up in the words of landlord Ken Williams of the "Castle" Hotel, Shotton, who, referring to a previous speech of mine, said: I am a Welshman and proud of it, but Wales couldn't survive on its own. Absolutely right. Eric Heffer does not know anything about it. I do not think that that is right. They should leave us well alone. I don't see any benefit in devolution or in becoming linked to Merseyside. That sums up the total confusion which now exists. To use Mr. Williams' words, it might be a good thing if the whole business were left alone.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

I am glad to follow the speech of the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) and I am grateful to him for seeking to cool undue passions. I shall not become impassioned by his references to water supplies because my constituency still supplies his people in Liverpool. Nor shall I go into the historical background of that question.

This amendment and earlier speeches by opponents of devolution in the Labour Party show a regrettable willingness to stir up false fears. Some of us who support the Assembly have been accused of raising false expectations, but it is equally wrong to raise false fears.

On Thursday, the hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock), who, regrettably, is not here at the moment, referred to Gwynedd County Council, but so far has not substantiated his allegations, as he said he would. I hope that those allegations about the treatment of school-children in Gwynedd will not be repeated today and that there will not be similar allegations about job prospects for young people in any part of Wales when the Assembly is in operation.

In fact, devolution will enable us to exercise equality for both language groups in Wales. Within the Assembly we shall have for the first time a national forum which will be able to debate language policy within Wales, to take an all-Wales perspective towards language policy, and to develop that policy with the support of the majority of the population.

Contrary to what has been suggested by the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) and others, I do not believe that there is hysterical opposition to measures aimed at stimulating and restoring the Welsh language within Wales. Indeed, all the surveys undertaken on education policy by the Schools Council, by education authorities and by the University College of Swansea into parental attitudes towards the teaching of Welsh as a second language and as a medium of instruction has thrown up the information that in cities such as Swansea and in the Valley areas a significant majority, amounting to as much as 60 per cent. in some areas, is in favour of maintaining the language as the national language of Wales and in favour of its being taught to children in schools.

The impression that somehow English-speaking Wales is up in arms, or in great fear, or hostile to what might happen because of the consequences of devolution, and the impression put about by the hon. Member for Pontypool that the Language Freedom Movement in Aberystwyth has mass popular support, is false and should be corrected.

We in Wales are not in a situation of exacerbated linguistic conflict. Our duty in the House is to resolve any potential conflict through effective measures rather than by seeking to stir up that conflict deliberately.

Mr. Ioan Evans (Aberdare)

My hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) referred to the criminal and illegal activities of those who are trying to bring the language issue to the fore by destroying road signs and breaking into television and radio stations. Will the hon. Gentleman and his party condemn those illegal activities, which do nothing to enhance the Welsh language?

Mr. Thomas

Plaid Cymru has made its position clear on illegal activities. As a party we do not resort to such activities. I do not believe that illegal activities should be engaged in in place of specific political action. The reason why young people in Wales have resorted to illegal forms of action lies in their frustration and feeling of alienation within the political system in Britain that the Government of the day are not being sufficiently responsive. I do not want to be drawn too greatly on that point for fear of being out of order, but I believe that the continuing delay by the Government in implementing the fourth channel only exacerbates that frustration.

Let me return to the amendment. The hon. Member for Pontypool was anxious to separate the language from politics. He accused us in Plaid Cymru and our fellow-travellers, as he called them, of politicising the language issue. There is often a call for such-and-such an issue to be taken out of politics. I have heard leading Opposition Front Benchers say that the Health Service, educational policy and agriculture should be taken out of politics. But the truth is that nothing that is within the realms of public policy can be taken out of politics because politics is the forum in which decisions are taken and in which priorities are allocated.

I should not like to see the Welsh language taken out of politics; I want to see it firmly rooted in politics. I should like to see every political party with a cogently argued language policy and the Welsh Assembly as the political forum for the language policy of Wales.

If the hon. Member for Pontypool studies Hansard tomorrow, he will see that the images he used about the continuing existence of the Welsh language were ones better associated with the survival of a hothouse plant. He talked about nurturing and of special measures to protect the situation. That attitude of isolating the language as a cultural phenomenon to be protected is false.

We in Wales must accept that the Welsh language has its full place in our public life. That means that there should be a policy involving the restoration of language status. That is what the argument is about, namely, how best to restore the status of the language in the public life of Wales. It is not a case of separating language; it is a matter of taking the language as a part of the political structure of Wales and of seeing how, within the economic, planning, educational and social policies, it is possible to ensure that the language is gradually restored as the language of the majority of the population.

That is my declared objective. It can be achieved only with the good will of the majority of the population. It can be achieved most effectively by ensuring public status for the language and access to the language in the media, film making and other spheres of activity, and by ensuring that the educational system provides an opportunity for all children to be taught Welsh. That can be achieved without a coercive policy, because such a policy would be counter productive. We must have the majority of non-Welsh speaking people with us in seeking to develop the creative and cultural resources of our nation. We must devise a system of public policy which can restore the language and which is not coercive.

I wish to remind the House that attempts have been made in other countries to achieve this end. Opponents of an effective language policy tend to argue as though the position in Wales and the bilingual situation there were unique. That is not the case. Bilingualism is the rule rather than the exception in most of the developed and the under-developed world. Most States are bilingual. The problem of bilingual administration exists throughout the multilingual institutions.

It has been implied that it will be the Welsh speakers who will be given the top jobs. The same argument was used about French speakers in the EEC. It was said that because the Continentals were multilingual they, rather than the British, would obtain those top jobs. That is not what the argument is about. We in Wales must work towards a system of institutional bilingualism which does not imply individual bilingualism.

Mr. Heffer

I do not disagree with the hon. Gentleman in many of his arguments, and there is a certain amount of merit in his speech. However, he must agree that there should be no discrimination against people who do not know the Welsh language, or indeed against people who do not speak the English language. That was the important point that I was trying to make. I was seeking to say that, although I agree that it would be a good thing to extend facilities to ensure that more and more people are able to learn and understand Welsh, it is the discriminatory aspect of the matter which some people fear.

Mr. Thomas

I entirely accept the hon. Gentleman's intervention. We in Plaid Cymru have often argued that there should be a linguistic ombudsman or commissioner of some kind to whom complaints about discrimination could be made and adjudged within the context of the Assembly. That matter could be fully debated on the Assembly floor. That would be done within that forum, and I hope that the democratic rights of all groups can be fully protected.

Mr. Kinnock

How does the hon. Gentleman propose to safeguard the situation against action taken by zealots who use their linguistic prejudices against people or children who are not in a position to defend themselves? How will the people involved be able to redress their grievances without risk of further victimisation or bullying of some description? This is the difficulty into which we get as a consequence of the zealous pursuit of linguistic racialism. I am sure that the hon. Member wishes to avoid that as much as I do.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Thomas

I shall attempt to remain within the rules of order. I reject utterly, as I did on Thursday, the words "linguistic racialism".

Mr. Kinnock

That is what it is.

Mr. Thomas

The hon. Member's allegations have not been substantiated. Grievances can be redressed through the normal democratic procedures by complaining to the authorities. Parliament has given them power to implement policies and complaints can be made to them.

I hope that the Assembly will consider the case for having a linguistic ombudsman for Wales such as exist in other bilingual States. That would mean that an independent assessment could be made by both sides of cases of alleged discrimination. It would ensure one effective focus, and representations could be made to such a person.

Mr. Abse

Would the hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. Thomas) insist that the ombudsman was Welsh-speaking? Would he insist that the ombudsman's staff was Welsh-speaking? Would the ombudsman also be someone who could not be drawn from the English-speaking people? Once one talks of an ombudsman a dilemma is created involving both him and his staff.

Mr. Thomas

If I were responsible for appointing him I should give priority to a Belgian or a Canadian, who would have a great deal of experience in cases of this kind.

Mr. Kinnock

In the event of that Belgian, Canadian or Swahilian coming to settle in Wales to exercise such duties, what would he do about sending his children to school? I have evidence that discrimination is practised in some schools. Would it not be most extraordinary if difficulties were encountered by that man or woman's children and they were therefore discouraged from making a home in Wales to contribute to the good management of Wales? We are talking about kids.

Mr. Thomas

The hon. Member for Bedwellty continues to allude to the debate that we had on Thursday. I hope that a linguistic ombudsman from Belgium or Canada who would settle in Wales would be able to take advantage of the education policies in South Glamorgan. They would allow his children to learn Welsh. We have teachers who are as good members of trade unions as the hon. Member who pursue their profession in a sensitive way that ensures that there is no discrimination against children. The hon. Member for Bedwellty makes allegations and takes advantage of the privilege of the House of Commons. He should either convey those allegations to the right quarter or withdraw them.

The problem about operating a system of institutional bilingualism arises on the question whether to employ bilingual individuals. It is clear to me that the only Welsh-speaking elite will be the translators who will have highly responsible and well-paid jobs and who will have to work long hours in the Assembly. That is the only elite that the Assembly needs. They will be able to make simultaneous translations of debates and translate documents, as they do now.

If a Welsh-speaking constitutent writes to me about housing, for example, I write a letter in Welsh to the Undersecretary of State who is responsible for Welsh housing. That letter is then translated in the translation unit of the Welsh Office and sent to the housing division. A reply is drafted in English, signed by the Minister, and a translation is sent to me. I am then able to reply to my constituent in the language of his choice. That is how it works now. I see no reason why that kind of effective bilingualism cannot work in the Assembly.

The answers to many of the issues raised by the hon. Member for Pontypool are within the technology of bilingualism as practised in many multilingual and international institutions. It is odd that someone who is familiar with international politics should raise this issue in the context of the Welsh Assembly. The Knesset and the Parliaments of Belgium and Canada are bilingual, and the European Community is multilingual. Throughout the world these problems have been resolved. The suggestion that they cannot be resolved in Wales marks a failure to recognise that the Welsh people are able to resolve and reconcile any language tensions as well as, if not better than, other bilingual institutions in the world.

Why is this issue being raised now? It is not being raised on its merits; it is being raised as yet another smoke screen, yet another red herring, "un sgwarnog arall"— yet another hare, in the devolution debate. It is an attempt to cloud the whole issue in emotionalism and an attempt not to have a rational debate about the merits of the Assembly. It is an attempt to raise false fears.

Mr. Fred Evans (Caerphilly)

Can the hon. Member seriously blame hon. Members for treating the Assembly in this way when he and his hon. Friends are openly stating that they see the Assembly as a stepping stone to the greater goal of Welsh independence?

Mr. Thomas

The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Evans) is trying to lead me out of order. We had a long debate on the legislative powers of the Assembly. I have made clear that we cannot move forward at a more rapid pace than the Welsh people demand. That is our position. It has always been our position. Suggestions of its being a stepping stone or a slippery slope are not relevant. We are talking about the powers of an elected body.

This argument is being used deliberately to cloud the issue in emotionalism. It is an attempt to prevent us having a rational discussion. I well remember the strong and stirring speech by the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Edwards) in Denbigh. He said that all "North Walians"—I do not know what breed of man a Walian is—would be dominated by the terrible Socialists from the Valleys if we had an Assembly. He said that the Welsh-speaking minority in the Denbigh constituency would be dominated by the English-speaking Socialist majority of the Valleys.

The same sort of argument, inversely presented, has been used by the hon. Member for Pontypool. He suggests that somehow 500,000 of us who are bilingual, whether by accident of birth or parental choice, will be able to dominate 2.7 million people in Wales. This kind of minority-bashing to which the hon. Member is reverting does no service to the devolution argument, and sometimes when I hear his more hysterical utterances in Wales and on Welsh television I suspect that he is verging closely upon the kind of minority-bashing that has been indulged in recently by the Leader of the Opposition and which I and my party abhor.

Mr. Kinnock

Appeals have been made in the debate, first by my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes) for tolerance, and, secondly, by my right hon. Friend and the hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. Hooson) for common sense. I think that that is the best way to conduct the whole argument that has developed about the present, future and past of the Welsh language. I shall leave aside the issue of the past for the purposes of this speech, although I suspect that we shall have to return to it, reluctantly, on future occasions. I shall concentrate on the present and the future in the context of the amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse).

As my hon. Friend said, the great regret is that there should be any obligation to put down such an amendment. The only reason for that is the experience we have of the way in which the devolution argument has developed and of the way in which nationalism has advanced. I refer not to the proportion of the vote that the nationalists hold in Wales, because that is stagnating. Neither do I refer to the influence that the nationalists can have in planning the future of the Welsh people. I refer to it in terms of the reverberative effect of their advance on the attitudes of people in the Labour movement and elsewhere in Wales.

We have said that in the event of an Assembly being established in Cardiff—a highly unlikely event, given that there will be a referendum in which the people of Wales will make their opinion known—we are conscious of the fact that the whole process of slip, slide, slither, appeasement and concession, the process of acceptance of nationalism, or at least its tokens, could mean that people were actually denied employment or posts which on the basis of merit they could command, simply because they did not have a mastery of the Welsh language. Where Welsh is of direct and positive advantage in a job, where it is a necessary tool of the Governmental trade, where it is necessary in order clearly to communicate with the people in the two main tongues of Wales—Welsh and English—it should be understood that in competition for a post advantage would be awarded to those fluent in both languages.

I do not think that that goes much further than what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool. The fact remains, however, that we have to try to insert an assurance, a guarantee, that that power, that necessity, that entirely logical and sensitive and sensible way of conducting the whole policy of appointment, cannot be abused.

It has been said that there is an immense paradox—that those who support our argument are saying simultaneously that there is a danger of linguistic dictation by the nationalists but that the Assembly will be predominantly inhabited by people who are representative of the monoglot Anglicised areas. I do not see any paradox in that. Again, I say that within the context of our experience of the way in which the argument for devolution has advanced.

5.45 p.m.

I give full credit to my comrades in the Labour movement who have advanced ideas and presented methods of devolution. But they recognise that the people of Wales acknowledge that we are not here discussing this Bill because of the force of the principle rehearsed by my comrades in the Labour movement or because of pressures imposed by the Welsh people or the demands articulated by the Labour movement in favour of a decentralised system of government. We are here for the entirely separate and different reason of political appeasement and convenience. If we can introduce proposals for an immense constitutional change on the basis of such a tiny tail wagging such a huge dog, it does not require a leap of the imagination to envisage a situation in which the Assembly, totally dominated by English speakers, will be wagged, again by the force of embarrassment, by that very tiny tail.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

I understand my hon. Friend now to say that the Government in all these policies are impelled by pressures from, inter alia, Plaid Cymru. Does he not appreciate that the traditions in which I was brought up—the same goes for many of my hon. Friends—derive from the arguments of the pioneers of the Labour movement itself? When I came into politics in the 1930s I was much influenced by the manifesto laid before the nation in 1929 and by theses on the subject of devolution propounded not only by Henderson and Hardie but by many other leaders of the Labour Party. Therefore, however defective my hon. Friend may believe the Bill to be, what we are doing has a perfectly respectable antecedent in the Labour movement, an antecedent which may be underlined and spoken to at length by my hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore (Mr. Padley).

Mr. Walter Padley (Ogmore)

May I intervene briefly on that point? Without going back to ancient history, it is worth recalling that in the middle 'fifties S. O. Davies, the then Member for Merthyr Tydfil, introduced his Government of Wales Bill. My right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes) voted for it. I did not. Aneurin Bevan spoke against it. James Griffiths wound up against it. Let us get the history straight. I abstained because although I personally would have voted for it, my constituents were not of that opinion at that time. I endorse what my right hon. Friend says. There is a long and honourable tradition in the Welsh, British and international Socialist movements for measures of this kind, and probably for more advanced measures than this.

Mr. Kinnock

I recognise entirely what my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friend have said about the hallowed antecedents for the whole proposition not for devolution but for Home Rule, as advocated in the Labour movement. My right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey would be the last man to retreat from the realities of those, whether in the proposals of the forties or the twenties, or of an earlier period going back to Keir Hardie.

We could have an argument—I am not sure whether this is an entirely appropriate place, though I should like to think that Parliament is the appropriate place—about the motivation of Keir Hardie and the Labour pioneers at the beginning of the century in advocating Home Rule for Scotland and Wales against the atmosphere in which every man of radical intention and liberated spirit was advocating Home Rule for Ireland. I do not think that what Hardie and others were saying then can be separated from the dominating issue of British politics over the previous 20 years and the following 16 years after 1900.

If we put Home Rule into that context, we find that we are not talking about anything remotely resembling our right hon. Friend's Bill, because they talk about decentralisation and devolution. They even had a clause in the Bill—until they were wise enough to withdraw it—which said that it was the very means of guaranteeing the unity of the kingdom.

Of course, Hardie was not pursuing the unity of an imperialistic, Edwardian capitalist State; he was putting the proposition that, because of the way in which, even at that date, the Welsh, Scottish and Irish people had demonstrated a readiness to accept Socialism in a way that England had not, fortune for Socialism lay in providing separate governmental institutions for Scotland, Wales and Ireland. We should put the whole history into that original context and bring it more into our debate.

I recognise the long and honourable association that my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey has—and that Jim Griffiths had, and that my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State and others have had—with the whole proposal for forms of Home Rule. They have become either diluted or strengthened, whichever way they have gone, as the years have passed.

However, the fact remains—I say this without the slightest criticism and in no sense crowing triumphantly over my right hon. Friend—that beyond that debate in the 1950s, the whole proposal for this kind of constitutional change dwindled in its importance as an issue in the Welsh Labour movement, until it became a matter of almost academic and remote interest to a very small number of people in the movement. It is none the worse for that. I belong to minorities in the movement and I demand the right to press my case. I only hope that I have as much success in pressing my case, from a minority position, as my right hon. Friends have had in pressing theirs. I hope to see the day when a Bill is presented by my right hon. Friends that will secure major adjustments in the Monarchy and the abolition of the House of Lords, and in which one or two other minor changes are brought about. Perhaps I shall have some success in that respect over the next few years, as my right hon. Friends have had in other respects.

However, is it not the most extraordinary coincidence of history that in the immediate years following the triumph on the first occasion of the hon. Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Evans), and the shock delivered to me as well as to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Jones) back in 1967, and the temporary local difficulties encountered by my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. Evans) in 1968—in all three of whose campaigns I was very glad to involve myself—it was in that atmosphere and against that background that we had the whole delusion that somehow the demands, resentments and alienations of Welsh and Scottish people could be met by constitutional change?

Had we had a constant thread of incessant demand in advance of the ideas of Home Rule, decentralisation, devolution, separation, independence, federation, or whatever other of the 57 varieties of constitutional change that we are being offered during this debate, and if that had been consistent and continual, if we had seen marching legions going forward, if the block votes had been cast every year at Labour Party conferences and if at the TUC there had been that consistent demand—we could say that this Bill is the consequence of that kind of development.

I say to my right hon. and learned Friend—and, as on very few other issues, nothing will change my mind—that this Bill, all that has gone before it and all that will come from it until the Welsh people kill it at the referendum, is the product of a particular set of circumstances in the late 1960s, and in 1973 and 1974 in Scotland. Nothing other than a truth drug would expose the actual circumstances or motivations from which we have got the Bill. Nothing could persuade my right hon. Friends to acknowledge that North Sea oil or the threat posed temporarily by the hon. Member for Carmarthen had anything to do with it.

My right hon. Friends must, of course, insist—I am talking not of my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey but of the Government—that not only has the Bill precedents more hallowed than Magna Carta in Labour movement terms but that it is the product of a consistent, insistent and systematic demand growing from the hearts of the Welsh people and from the very bellies of the Welsh Labour movement. And of course, that is utter rubbish.

The reason why I am engaged in this debate at all is that, in the same way as the Bill has appeared without trace, in the same way that it is a patronising response to immediate and short-term political difficulties, we could have, in the same process of appeasement and the same process of retreat, the adoption of linguistic policies by a Welsh Assembly that it had absolutely no intention of implementing on its vesting day. Certainly my right hon. and hon. Friends in the Government have not the vaguest intention of seeing it come to pass as they try to put the Bill through Parliament.

That is the background against which we must try to secure legislative guarantees that that cannot happen, because there is another development. I have experienced it, and I think that hon. Members on both sides of the Committee who represent Welsh constituencies experience it. Indeed, all other hon. Members experience it. I refer to the response that one makes to allegations of treachery or of lack of patriotism, or of failing to embrace the cultural identity of the people one represents.

There are different ways to respond to this, but it takes people of the most enormous resilience not, at some stage, to say that for the sake of a quiet life, for the sake of popularity or for the sake of avoiding bitter and irrational arguments about their patriotism, they will beat the drum louder and fly the flag higher, and will concede to those who wish to use patriotism as the criterion of who is worthy.

I have been called anti-Welsh often enough to know the temptation of making that response. However, I am fortunate in that hundreds of thousands—indeed, probably millions—of other people in Wales, who speak Welsh and who do not speak Welsh, resent as deeply as I do the allegations of being anti-Welsh that arise simply because we do not share the politics of those who make the allegations.

I repeat that I know the temptation, however, of responding to those allegations—that is, that I might try to demonstrate my Welshness, whatever that may mean, in a more profound, dramatic and Thespian way than I would normally. I have seen people doing it. One has only to go into a pub or a club in London at the time of an international game, or to Blackpool, when Welsh people are taking their holidays. One has only to encounter Welsh academics or Welsh lawyers, or Welshmen of any description, in London who, in an alien environment, become so Welsh that their own parents would not recognise them if they were back in Llwydcoed, Cwmcarn, Nantymoel, Llanelli or Machynlleth.

Mr. Donald Anderson (Swansea, East)

My hon. Friend may know of the definition of "romantic love" as being that of someone who is more prepared to die with his beloved than to live with her. Does not that assist some of us in thinking of the London Welsh?

6.0 p.m.

Mr. Kinnock

I ask that all references to the London Welsh be ruled out of order, otherwise I should be involved in considerations of why they should have beaten Liverpool in the cup last Saturday. It is not an area into which I feel entitled to go, however equipped I might be to deal with the matter.

I want to put a hypothetical but very serious point to the Committee. Suppose that we have an Assembly that is dominated by people who do not speak Welsh and who are constantly, because of the way in which they refuse to make concessions, accused of being anti-Welsh. Suppose that, recognising the enormous force of that superficial patriotic catcall, they begin a policy of appeasement, a policy of concession. Suppose that first they show an amenable attitude towards the language zealots. We shall then find that we are in a different situation altogether.

We are fortunate in having our own knowledge of what has happened in Wales, not over thousands of years but over the last 10 years. We have all had our personal experience. We do not have to rely upon the stories of our fathers or our grandfathers. We are therefore able to anticipate what will be the effect of jingoism on the Assembly and the reaction of Members of the Assembly to the catcalls about treachery. We can appreciate how that can and will bring about involuntary and reluctant changes in policy, but nevertheless changes that will spell disaster for the Welsh people and, in the process, disaster for the Welsh language.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

The hon. Gentleman talks about the "concession" that he foresees and the changes in policy. He has not specified them. If they were to be a response to a demand for more resources for bilingual education, or a response to a demand for the Assembly to make proposals to the House of Commons about any improvement in the Act of the right hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes) dealing with the Welsh language, those changes could be achieved only through the legislative process of the House of Commons. So what is the hon. Gentleman worried about?

Mr. Kinnock

I understand that, but it does not lie in the hon. Gentleman's mouth—bearing in mind that he supported an amendment at an earlier stage for legislative powers to be given to the Welsh Assembly—to offer to me now the guarantee that these things could never come to pass because the Assembly would never be given legislative powers. The hon. Gentleman is a very clever chap, but that dextrous employment of fortune does not come too well from him.

Let us suppose that, for whatever reasons, good or ill, the Assembly adopted a policy on language, or encouragement and assistance for the Welsh language, which was exaggerated rather than prejudiced—possibly a misplaced use of funds. In order to get that endorsed in some way, it would have to come back to the House of Commons. There would then, I believe, be two reactions in the House of Commons. There would be people who would say "We dare not try to silence the genuine national voice of Wales, as articulated by its national Assembly, especially since it is pursuing the interests of its national culture". Then there would be the others who would say 'To hell with the Welsh. This is a grand chance for confrontation. It is our chance to put them in their place".

I should not be in either group. I should try to calculate whether the proposition of the Assembly was sensible and in the interests of the Welsh people. But the hon. Gentleman will recognise that I would probably be in a minority, and the Welsh people and the Welsh culture would be crushed like an egg in a nutcracker if that situation came to pass. That is what happens when devolution spawns, because it is a condescension, it is incomplete Home Rule, and it gives all the disadvantages of dependence and all the disadvantages of independence. The hon. Gentleman should by now have started to learn this.

I understand that the hon. Gentleman, in the earlier part of his speech—which I unfortunately missed—said that I did not have any evidence to back up my statement about schools in North Wales. I have received six letters in today's post giving me specific evidence from individual schools, all of which are in different places in North Wales, on both sides of the Menai. On the basis of my offer to the hon. Gentleman last week, I shall provide him with photocopies, on the strict understanding, which I am sure he will honour, that the letters will not be communicated to any other persons. I said the same thing to Mr. O. M. Roberts and have sent copies to him, since the chairman of Gwynedd education committee told me that it would be his purpose to stamp out the victimisation of children, if it exists. I say "where it exists", not "if it exists".

Since we are at one in that purpose, we shall have to find some means of pursuing it, possibly through my right hon. Friend, for there is no better representative of public interest in North Wales or anywhere else in Wales. Perhaps some means can be suggested to me, which can be agreed between us, to ensure that the teachers who perpetrate what I consider to be a crime against these children will be brought to book and dealt with in the most severe fashion.

I think that the hon. Gentleman deliberately misrepresented what I said in Committee last Thursday. I have at no time made a blanket accusation of any description against the teaching profession in Gwynedd or elsewhere. The whole context of my remarks, as he surely recognises, was to direct the attack against a very small number—at least, I hope it is very small—of teachers, of language zealots who are doing murder to the language that they purport to love. The remainder of the profession is as disturbed and disgusted as I am by that practice. Indeed, some of the complaints made to me over the years have come from career teachers who love their jobs but who, for the same reason as parents, have not wanted to invite retribution by taking their complaints through the normal channels of redress.

I hope that that is specific and clear enough for the hon. Gentleman. What I said in the debate last Thursday is recorded in the Official Report. It will be seen that I specifically exempted the Gwynedd County Council and the Gwynedd local education authority from the charge of any deliberate implementation of a policy against children who do not speak Welsh. It appears to me, however, that there could have been a more frank and a more accurate conveying of the views that I actually expressed.

Mr. D. E. Thomas

The hon. Gentleman has relented somewhat from his extreme and groundless statements of last Thursday, but what he has just told the Committee is that he has now received by first-class mail, from certain parts of North Wales, letters which purport to support his allegations in Committee. What he has not given to me privately— as he indicated last Thursday that he would—is a dossier of the evidence that he had at the time when he he made his statement. He is now saying that he has solicited or obtained letters from potential supporters in parts of Gwynedd and Clwyd which purport to support his position. I have yet to receive details of the evidence which led him to make the allegations in the first place. Until he provides me—and also the chairman of the Gwynedd education committee—with those full deails, I shall not relent from my criticism of what he said last Thursday.

Much criticism has been made of the hon. Gentleman's remarks from within the teaching profession and the teachers' unions in Wales. I should have thought that it would be fair for him to take his allegations privately to his right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes), to the Secretary of State, who has oversight of education in Wales, and to the teachers' unions, rather than to make blanket accusations which have still not been substantiated—except post hoc by some solicited correspondence.

Mr. Kinnock

Since the hon. Gentleman made such an infantile speech, I shall now make some accusations. If he has any acquaintance with local life in his area, he knows, and always has known, that this kind of campaign has taken place. As a public representative, regardless of party, he should have been pressing for justice. It is no good the hon. Gentleman pretending that this is the first time that he has heard these allegations or that this is the first allegation he has ever heard. He knows that that is not the case.

It is no good his trying to colour the story by saying that I should have taken this matter up in private and that the House of Commons is much too public a place. In the arguments that we had, I went to great lengths to explain why I had been reluctant to make these allegations public. I did it in a form last Thursday which I hoped would guarantee the maximum action and the minimum of reaction.

Mr. D. E. Thomas


Mr. Kinnock

I would never use issues like this in order to get publicity. I am much more interested in getting justice for the kids than in getting the publicity either for myself or for anyone else. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman does not like the publicity. But I guarantee that he will get a lot of publicity when these teachers are punished for what they have done and he is either required to defend them or apologise and withdraw his accusation that I have solicited this evidence. That is utter rubbish. That is the only way in which I can possibly react. It is total and complete rubbish. I have not had to solicit any evidence.

The Second Deputy Chairman (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)

Order. I suggest that another way of dealing with this matter is for the hon. Gentleman to return to the amendment.

Mr. Kinnock

I shall be glad to do so, because I do not like being out of order. In view of what the hon. Gentleman said earlier, however, and in view of his allegation against me, I am sure, Mr. God-man Irvine, that you recognise my need to react as forcefully as possible. On subsequent occasions we all have cause to hear a statement from the hon. Gentleman withdrawing what he has said because of the bulk of evidence against it. [Interruption.] I have already told the hon. Gentleman that he shall see the evidence. Continued interruptions from a sedentary position do not help at all.

I return to the amendment. The fear that my hon. Friends and I have is that there will be concessions and the prospect of "slip and slide". My fear is that such a proposal will embitter relations, diminish the support that the language has got and turn us from the situations described by my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool, where, 10 years ago, the language was regarded with warmth—some of it sentimental, and some of it condescending—and with the greatest of good will. I fear that a situation in which we must take up positions will divide our society because of the way in which zealotry, extremism and bigotry have divided the people of Wales against each other. This has become a linguistic consideration over and above a normal political consideration. In so doing, it has damaged our democracy as well as our belief in the culture of Wales.

6.15 p.m.

Mr. Wyn Roberts (Conway)

The hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock) has made serious allegations and appears to have evidence in his possession. My advice to him would be to keep his right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State fully informed. I am sure that he will.

The language issue is always sensitive On the whole, this has been a sensitive debate. The amendment was drawn up in as stolid and determined a mood as it was moved by the hon. Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse). However, the hon. Gentleman has implied that the amendment has some drafting defects. I understand that he is unlikely to press it to a Division. He believes that the best way of showing his disaffection is to vote against Clause 25. I am in agreement with him.

Having said that, let me assure the hon. Gentleman—who unfortunately is not here at present—that we are fully aware of the feelings on his part, and on the part of many non-Welsh speakers in Wales, that have prompted him to table the amendment. We are led to believe that there are many people in Wales who, rightly or wrongly, fear the advent of the Assembly because they believe that it will become an instrument of political and cultural nationalism of an extreme character. They fear that their interests will be adversely affected, that they will not be able to get jobs because they are not Welsh speakers and that they will be discriminated against on linguistic grounds. That is what the hon. Gentleman has alleged.

We have heard some of those allegations in this debate. Personally, I have rather greater fear of discrimination on party political grounds, as tends to happen now. I hope that my fears are unjustified. I am bound to admit that some preference—I use the word "preference" as opposed to "discrimination" with its racial connotations—is already practised on linguistic grounds in a limited area where knowledge of the Welsh language is absolutely essential to the performance of the job involved. I am thinking of the teaching of Welsh as a language, the teaching of other subjects in bilingual schools through the medium of Welsh and the television and radio broadcasting of Welsh language programmes.

This was referred to by the Annan Committee. As reference has been made to broadcasting I think that I am justified in quoting from the Annan Report. It says: We understand that in the past, it has been customary for the BBC Governor for Wales and the IBA's Welsh Member to be bilingual, and the BBC Management in Cardiff told us there was a bar on the promotion of non-Welsh language speakers above a certain level, although this bar was not operated inflexibly. It is often claimed that these arrangements are unfair to non-Welsh speakers and that they can seek advancement in a career in broadcasting only by leaving Wales. It is right that the top executives should be able to understand Welsh and we hope the broadcasting organisations will help staff who want to learn to speak and read Welsh adequately. But it is not right that only the bilingual, brought up with Welsh as their mother-tongue, should have access to the highest jobs. That is precisely what the Annan Report said.

There are two sides to this issue, and a number of questions are begged. For example, those who leave broadcasting in Wales to advance their careers elsewhere probably do better than if they remained in Wales. It will be known to hon. Members that some people who started life in broadcasting in Wales have done extremely well since then by leaving Wales. There are some Welsh speakers who have been kept in broadcasting in Wales deliberately when they might have sought advancement elsewhere.

There are counties in Wales in which the proportion of Welsh speakers is very high, if we can still rely on the 1971 census. The proportion in Anglesey was 61.2 per cent., in Caernarvonshire 57.6 per cent., in Carmarthenshire 63.6 per cent., in Cardiganshire 63.9 per cent. and in Merionethshire 65.7 per cent. For comparison, the figure for Monmouth-shire at that time was only 2 per cent., and perhaps one can understand the reaction of the hon. Member for Pontypool.

It is not surprising that a knowledge of Welsh is regarded as a useful asset in the performance of many jobs in the health and social services in areas where there is a high incidence of Welsh-speaking. Similarly, there is an above-average proportion of Welsh speakers among the elderly. Nearly 29 per cent. of those aged 65 and over in Wales in 1971 were Welsh-speaking. Therefore, in the care of geriatrics there is a demand for Welsh-speaking people, especially in those areas I mentioned. Our current difficulty is to get experts in this field who can speak English properly, let alone Welsh. In the jobs I have mentioned, a knowledge of Welsh is either essential or a considerable asset, and no one in the Committee or elsewhere can deny that.

The Welsh Assembly might decide under standing orders that speeches in Welsh are in order. It is inconceivable that the Assembly should decide that they are not in order. If one cannot make Welsh speeches in Wales, where can one make them? Should the Assembly decide that a bilingual official record is required, translators will be called for. Their appointment appears to be debarred under the amendment, which states: in no circumstances shall it be regarded as appropriate that any person be not appointed in any role as an officer or servant of the Assembly because of lack of knowledge of Welsh". It is a pity that the hon. Member for Pontypool drew up the amendment in such inflexible terms.

Again, what are non-Welsh-speaking Members and officers of the Assembly to do when faced with letters in the Welsh language? Are they simply to ignore them, or will they preserve the tradition of civility practised certainly by the Welsh Office and, I hope, by other Departments which respect the spirit of the Welsh Language Act 1967 and provide a reply in the language of the letter and the correspondent? I can foresee some Welsh-speaking officers or servants being required by the Assembly for the purposes I have mentioned, as they are required currently by the Welsh Office. Consequently, the remainder of the amendment permitting an action in tort is not altogether appropriate.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Barry (Sir R. Gower) implied, there is a danger of a host of bogus actions being brought against the Assembly by those who fail to get a job on its staff and who can allege that it was on account of their lack of knowledge of the Welsh language, whether or not there is any substance in the allegation.

The Conservative attitude towards the Welsh language—indeed, both languages—is made clear in our amendment to Clause 11, in which we suggested that the clause should read as follows: The Assembly may make arrangements to support museums, art galleries, libraries, the languages and culture of Wales, the arts, crafts, sport and other cultural and recreational activities; but shall not under this section do, or include in any such arrangements, anything which would unreasonably prejudice the interests or restrict the employment opportunities of those who do, or those who do not, speak the Welsh language. That is absolutely fair. We must seek to preserve a balanced judgment and approach to this question of the language. By no means all the half million Welsh-speaking population of Wales—about 20 per cent. of the whole—are devolutionists. Nor are they supporters of Plaid Cymru, which secures only about 10 per cent. of the vote in a General Election. They belong to all parties, and all parties have done their best to support the language and its culture. Perhaps the greatest mistake has been for Welsh speakers to rely too much on governmental action to save the language. I know of no language that has been saved directly and only by Government action.

Welsh speakers do not ask for an unfair advantage over their non-Welsh-speaking brethren. I have yet to see any Welsh speaker of my acquaintance urge his or her claim to a job purely on linguistic grounds where the language was not essential to the purpose of the job.

We would deplore the inclusion in any job advertisement of the need for a language qualification where such a qualification was clearly unnecessary. One hears stories about advertisements for Welsh-speaking baths attendants and so on, but I have never seen a copy of such an advertisement. We must remember our half million Welsh speakers, many of whom will wish to vote "No" in the referendum. We must not be insensitive to their love of the language, and I know that the hon. Member for Pontypool is not so. I remember his name heading the list of subscribers to the Royal National Eisteddfod at Cardiff some years ago—if it was not the hon. Gentleman, it was his brother.

We in Wales certainly have not reached the stage reached by the Parti Quebecois Government in the 80 per cent. French-speaking province of Quebec. They are promoting a charter for the French language designed to give it primacy in relation to English not only in the schools but also at work. All companies, multinationals included, are under some duress to make French the language of the work people. Behind this move one senses that there is a shortage of jobs anyway and that the local people are simply using the charter to secure priority in employment for local people. There is some of this anxiety in Wales. Whenever we have a major industrial or construction development, we all seek to ensure that priority in employment is given to local people, to our constituents, rather than to others who can be brought in from outside. It is natural that we should seek to protect our own.

Mr. Peter Temple-Morris (Leominster)

My hon. Friend referred to the Parti Quebecois, which operates in an area which has an overwhelming majority of French speakers. Is he perhaps not under-stressing the main point, that we are dealing with a minority which is outnumbered five to one? There could come a point at which, if the proceedings of the Assembly were to be broadcast, the overwhelming majority of the Welsh people would not be able to understand the proceedings of their own Assembly in they were conducted in Welsh.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. Roberts

I really do not think that that situation is at all imminent. If my hon. Friend looks at the proportion of broadcasting in Wales that is in English compared with the proportion that is in Welsh, he will find that there is a tremendous preponderance of English language broadcasting.

An anxiety to protect lies behind the next series of amendments, which do not think we shall reach. There is an attempt to protect local government staff and ensure that they will be given parity of treatment with the Civil Service when they apply for jobs with the Assembly. This is particularly relevant in view of Clause 13 which we passed yesterday.

There will be no Welsh public service—that is quite clear—although NALGO has pressed for it and a document prepared by the Labour Party in its Wales executive committee said that it was "crucial" for the Assembly to have control of its own Civil Service. My hon. Friend the Member for Pembroke (Mr. Edwards) referred to these matters in his earlier intervention. Although the amendment under discussion assumes that the Assembly has powers of appointment, Clause 67 makes it clear that the appointments will be to the Home Civil Service and will be made accordingly. I believe that it would be a great loss to the Civil Service in Wales if its connection with the rest of the United Kingdom was lost. It would be a loss to local government as well.

I do not think that we can consider this amendment properly without reference to the principle of the clause to which it is a somewhat lengthy addendum. The amendment does not make sense except in the context of the clause. The preamble to the Bill says that the Civil Service will be increased by 1,150 over the forecast levels. This includes the staff to support the Welsh Comptroller and Auditor-General.

It does not say what the Welsh-speaking complement will be, but there are bound to be some Welsh speakers just as there are in the Welsh Office at present. It would be interesting to know the number of Welsh speakers in the Welsh Office now. Capital expenditure incurred on account of the extra civil servants is estimated at £1 million. Forecast annual running costs of the Assembly include an item of £9.5 million for additional civil servants, including the staff of the Welsh Comptroller and Auditor-General and accommodation costs for them. This means that the annual average cost per head is £8,261 at November 1977 prices.

It is interesting to note how those figures have changed since the Scotland and Wales Bill. In that Bill, costs were calculated on November 1976 prices. The cost of adapting the Stock Exchange at Cardiff has risen from £2.8 million to £3 million and the cost of providing equipment and accommodation consequent upon the reorganisation of the Welsh Office has remained curiously constant at £1 million. On the other hand, the annual running costs in respect of salaries and related costs of Members of the Assembly have risen from £2.5 million to £3 million. At the same time, the annual running costs for civil servants have fallen from £10 million to £9.5 million, presumably because the numbers have been reduced from 1,300 in the Scotland and Wales Bill to 1,100-odd in the present Bill. The average annual cost of the civil servants per head at 1976 prices was £7,692. At 1977 prices it is £569 more. That is quite a significant annual rate of increase—7.4 per cent., although in fairness I am bound to point out that prices increased in that year by 13 per cent.

A number of specific questions arise on this amendment. How are the staff increases calculated? What do the Government mean by saying that they are over the forecast levels? And what are the forecast levels? Surely this means that the Assembly does not have a free hand to appoint officers and servants as it considers appropriate without a limit of some sort, and that limit is implied in the preamble. Also, there must be a limit to the amount that the Assemblymen can pay themselves, and these limits are also implied in the preamble.

When we talk about appointments to the Assembly, whether Welsh-speaking or non-Welsh-speaking, we must ask what these people are in addition to. It is not stated, for instance, whether the 1,150 increase includes the civil servants trans- ferred to the Welsh Office after the devolution of agriculture and higher education to the Secretary of State for Wales.

A total of 1,565 civil servants were employed in the Welsh Office as at 1st April 1977. I hope that the Minister will tell us how many are Welsh-speaking. Presumably the same proportion of Welsh-speaking to non-Welsh-speaking civil servants will prevail when the staff is increased. By 1st April 1978 the Welsh Office will employ 2,600 civil servants. Are we to understand that after the establishment of the Assembly there will be 3,750 civil servants in the Welsh Office? What about the ancillary staff, and how many of them will there be?

We cannot give full consideration to the question of appointments without reference to the method of appointment. This is referred to in Clause 67, where it is stated that Service as an officer or servant of the Assembly or of the Welsh Comptroller and Auditor General shall be service in the home civil service of the state, and appointments to any position as such an officer or servant shall be made accordingly". I am not sure how such appointments will be made in relation to the Assembly, but surely this is very relevant to the amendment. We have no precedent in the House of Commons, because the staff of the five independently administered Departments of the House are not civil servants. They are Officers or Officials of the House—the Serjeant at Arms' Department, the Clerk's Department, the Speaker's Department, the Library and the Administration Department.

Presumably the Assembly will have similar internal authorities supported by the Department of the Environment or the Welsh equivalent. Over and above these internal authorities, there must be a full-scale Civil Service to execute the functions of the Assembly. In appointing the members of the Civil Service, those concerned are bound to ask whether applicants are Welsh-speaking, not that that question is relevant in many cases. It would be useful to know that. The Assembly staff may contain, for example, a Welsh-speaking statistician. His knowledge of the language might not be highly relevant to his job but might be indirectly useful to someone in his section or elsewhere in the service.

I hope that the amendment of the hon. Member for Pontypool does not debar that question being asked of applicants. I am sure that it will not be debarred because it is customary to ask applicants for significant jobs what languages they speak and those who are Welsh-speaking will presumably include that language.

To sum up, we shall vote against the motion that Clause 25 should stand part of the Bill as a protest against the increase in bureaucracy that it will undoubtedly create. It is not just the increase of 1,150 referred to by the hon. Member for Pontypool but the host that will come with them or after them as a result of this open-ended commitment in Clause 25. It is all very well for the Government to talk of reviewing local government and implying surreptitiously that there will then be a cut-back. By their own admission, there can be no real change there for years to come, and meanwhile Wales is to be loaded with this extra tier of bureacracy. Nor is it likely that there will be cut-backs elsewhere to compensate for the increases in Wales.

At most, the hon. Gentleman's amendment does not, we agree, contain proper safeguards to ensure fair play as regards employment but the amendment as it stands is imperfect, as he has admitted. We might try to come back to it at a later stage with wording more in the spirit of our amendment to Clause 11 if we feel on further reflection that such safeguards are necessary. We should presently concentrate our minds on voting against the clause as an indication of our clear dissatisfaction with this highly bureaucratic measure.

Mr. John Morris

The Committee has had an interesting debate. It has been helpful in that in the course of their speeches hon. Members on both sides have isolated extremism. Undoubtedly there is a great deal of extremism in Wales on the language issue, but we have managed to avoid that this afternoon. It is right for us dispassionately to consider whether there are problems; and if problems are established no one would be more anxious than myself to ensure that there were adequate safeguards.

There is no monopoly in looking after the interests of both the English-speaking majority in Wales and the minority who speak the two languages. My hon. Friends in the Welsh Office and myself have the privilege of representing areas which are substantially, though not wholly, English-speaking, and we would none of us yield to anyone in our care and concern to ensure that those who speak either one or both languages of Wales are adequately protected, certainly so far as employment is concerned.

The next point I would seek to make is on how the framework of the system of devolution that we have devised will operate. The Assemblymen will be representatives from all corners of Wales. A majority of the people of Wales speak only the English tongue, and, therefore, I find it inconceivable that there would be anything short of common sense in the approach of the Assemblymen from the whole of Wales, knowing as they do that a majority of them will represent electors who speak only one language. Therefore, I hope that in the course of this debate we have managed to exclude any approach other than that of common sense in the way that the Assembly will conduct its business.

6.45 p.m.

Earlier in the debate, an hon. Member spoke about the approach of one party. I shall not enter into that controversy now, but it would be the commonsense approach not of one party but of the whole of the Assembly that governed its proceedings. Therefore, I hope very much that in my remarks I shall be able to reassure hon. Members on both sides if there is a need of reassurance.

Earlier this afternoon we had a most interesting historical analysis by my right hon. Friend the Member for Anglesey (Mr. Hughes) and contributions from my hon. Friend the Member for Ogmore (Mr. Padley) and my hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock). Although I do not want to go into this aspect in any depth, the latter was seeking to say that we were reacting in these matters to what a former Prime Minister referred to as a "temporary local difficulty", arising from by-elections in the late 1960s and also from the later political position in Scotland. Without in any way reflecting on my colleagues and good comrades in Scotland, it should be clearly understood that long before that time we in the Labour movement in Wales had reached certain conclusions. I do not know whether that is acceptable to all my hon. Friends, but certainly a consensus had been arrived at in the party in Wales long before the issue in Scotland.

I shall go briefly over the historical approach of the Labour Party in Wales. Leaving aside earlier historical references and activities in the 1950s and coming to the 1960s, in 1965 the executive committee of the Welsh Council of Labour, of which the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Jones) was a distinguished member long before becoming a Member of Parliament, called for a system of devolution. In May 1966 the annual conference of the Welsh Council of Labour accepted the recommendation of the executive committee. The hon. Gentleman, the Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Evans) was elected to the House of Commons for the first time in July 1966. In 1967–68 the executive of the Welsh Council of Labour continued to press its point of view on local government reorganisation and the need for devolution.

In 1968, following the 1967 White Paper on local government, the conference again called for devolution. The Labour Government set up the Commission on the Constitution, and in 196869 evidence was prepared for the Commission. I shall not dwell upon that now. What is manifest is that long before these temporary local difficulties the Labour movement in Wales had formed a view, and it is upon that view that our present proposals are based.

Mr. Fred Evans

My right hon. and learned Friend should surely add that on the occasion when the Labour Party in Wales met to discuss this subject there was not always sweet harmony. But a note of bitter recrimination in many of the discussions. I myself was present and listened to a great deal of the crosscurrents between Merthyr, Glamorgan County Council and others, when that distinguished solicitor, Mr. Rees-Davies, was the consulting speaker to the conference held in Cardiff; and subsequently many similar occasions were as bitter.

Mr. Morris

Of course, there was discussion and argument. But even my hon. Friend, in his election address, supported devolution. We shall not go into that now. What I am saying is that those of us who have attended our conferences year in, year out for decades will know clearly that what we are proposing is a natural development of the position which has emerged from within the Labour movement. I say that to correct the interpretation which my hon. Friend the Member for Bedwellty sought to give to the Committee.

My hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) has claimed, rightly, that he would not pretend that his amendment was perfect. My impression was that he would not seek to include translators in the suggestion he was putting forward. Leaving aside the subject of translators—a problem in itself—I found two parts in the logic of my hon. Friend difficult to follow. First, he said that a Welsh Civil Service was inevitable. I presume from that that if there were no Welsh Civil Service his fears would be non-existent. If we were to change what is now proposed and say that the civil servants of the Assembly should be Welsh civil servants rather than home civil servants, we should have to enact legislation. Thus, my hon. Friend has adequate protection on that score.

I see enormous merit in having a strong body of civil servants in Wales. This is part of my philosophy of decentralisation of Government offices to Wales—Cardiff in particular—to ensure that there is wide opportunity for our people, especially young people, to take part in the administration of Government Departments, be they in the Welsh Office or elsewhere.

Mr. Abse

Has not my right hon. and learned Friend made abundantly clear in his White Papers that, while he wishes that there should not be a separate Welsh Civil Service, that would be a matter for the Welsh Assembly to decide? Is he suggesting that if the Assembly came to the conclusion—and I believe it would be inevitable—that there should be a Welsh Civil Service, it would be possible for the House of Commons to frustrate something which has been offered as a matter of choice in his White Papers?

Mr. Morris

My hon. Friend must follow my remarks. Any such change would require primary legislation, and that would be a matter for the House of Commons. That is an additional safeguard for my hon. Friend.

My hon. Friend went on to say that the use of the Welsh language by Assemblymen would require a top tier of Welsh-speaking civil servants. The language used in the Assembly would be a matter for the Assembly. If Welsh were to be used, obviously translators would be needed. It does not follow from that that there would need to be a Welsh-speaking top tier of civil servants. If a communication is made in Welsh and a translation is made, it follows that anyone at the receiving end does not have to be Welsh-speaking. That would negate the whole idea of translation. This is the practice used now in communications with all hon. Members and individual citizens. There would be no difference.

It is true that Clause 25 gives the Assembly a formal power to appoint staff. But that power is severely constrained by Clause 67, which provides that all Assembly staff shall be members of the Home Civil Service. That in turn means that the system for making permanent appointments to the staff of the Assembly is governed by the Civil Service Order in Council 1969. In other words, the Assembly will have the same powers of appointment as United Kingdom Ministers, and recruitment and selection of Assembly staff will be carried out by or under the general control of the Civil Service Commissioners. The Assembly will not be able to appoint anyone to a permanent post who has not received the Commissioners' certificate of qualification.

As for promotion, there are well-understood procedures in the Civil Service, agreed with staff side representatives, which ensure that promotion is fair and non-discriminatory. Clause 67 says that the staff of the Welsh Assembly shall be part of the Home Civil Service. Moreover, both the Assembly's departmental staff side and the staff side of the National Whitley Council will be extremely vigilant in watching for discrimination or unfairness. That is the procedure that will be followed, as will be seen from reading these two clauses together. I hope that, upon reflection, hon. Members who have been concerned about this subject—and I do not quarrel with their concern—will feel that there are adequate safeguards.

I was specifically asked about the number of Welsh-speaking staff in the Welsh Office. There is no language qualification for Welsh staff other than for translators. I am not formally aware, except when I converse with individuals—and I see no reason why I should be made aware—that an official is Welsh-speaking. The same situation will flow from having the same recruitment and promotion procedures for Assembly staff as those currently used for the Welsh Office. In any event, the Assembly will be a democratic body elected by and representative of the people of Wales. There is no reason to imagine that it would act in any way which would antagonise the English-speaking majority in the Principality. There can be no doubt in the mind of anyone who is prepared to trust the Welsh people but that the Assembly will be fair both to Welsh and non-Welsh people alike.

Mr. Ioan Evans

The debate has fully justified my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypool (Mr. Abse) in tabling the amendment and beginning a discussion on the question of the Welsh language. I hope that, in view of the debate, he will not press the amendment to a Division.

It is possible that the wording of the amendment could be improved. There are fears in Wales of which we should be aware. The hon. Member for Merioneth (Mr. Thomas) said that we should take this subject out of politics. We cannot do that. What we should do is take it out of party politics. There is no party which believes more than the Labour Party in the Welsh language. The Conservative Party can make a similar claim. Although Plaid Cymru talks about being a Welsh party and being the champion of the language, its policies are detrimental to it.

I wish that Plaid Cymru would clearly and continually condemn the young people who are being misled. For instance, when bilingual signs are put up, certain people destroy them because the English appears before the Welsh. They want the Welsh before the English. If we have the argument about the fourth television channel, they should condemn—

It being Seven 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.

Amendment negatived.

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

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

The Committee divided: Ayes 196, Noes 169.

Division No. 140] AYES [7.0 p.m.
Anderson, Donald Graham, Ted Park, George
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) Parry, Robert
Ashley, Jack Hardy, Peter Panhallgon, David
Atkinson, Norman Harper, Joseph Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Bain, Mrs Margaret Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Reid, George
Bates, Alf Heifer, Eric S. Richardson, Miss Jo
Bean, R. E. Henderson, Douglas Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Beith, A. J. Hooson, Emlyn Roderick, Caerwyn
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Howells, Geraint (Cardigan) Rooker, J. W.
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Hoyle, Doug (Nelson) Roper, John
Bishop, Rt Hon Edward Hughes, Rt Hon C. (Anglesey) Rose, Paul B.
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Boardman, H. Hughes, Roy (Newport) Ross, Rt Hon W. (Kilmarnock)
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Hunter, Adam Ross, William (Londonderry)
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Irving, Rt Hon S. (Dartford) Rowlands, Ted
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln) Sandelson, Neville
Bradley, Tom Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Sedgemore, Brian
Bray, Dr Jeremy Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Sever, John
Brown, Hugh D. (Provan) Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Jones, Alec (Rhondda) Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Buchanan, Richard Jones, Barry (East Flint) Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Jones, Dan (Burnley) Skinner, Dennis
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Kaufman, Gerald Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)
Campbell, Ian Kerr, Russell Smith, John (N Lanarkshire)
Cant, R. B. Kilroy-Silk, Robert Snape, Peter
Carson, John Lamborn, Harry Spearing, Nigel
Carter-Jones, Lewis Lamond, James Stallard, A. W.
Cartwright, John Latham, Arthur (Paddington) Steel, Rt Hon David
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Lee, John Stewart, Rt Hon Donald
Coleman, Donald Litterick, Tom Stoddart, David
Concannon, J. D. Loyden, Eddie Stott, Roger
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C) Luard, Evan Strang, Gavin
Craigen, Jim (Maryhill) Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Crawford, Douglas MacCormick, Iain Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)
Crawshaw, Richard McDonald, Dr Oonagh Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Cryer, Bob McElhone, Frank Thomas, Mike (Newcastle E)
Davidson, Arthur MacFarquhar, Roderick Thomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Davies, Denzil (Llanelli) McGuire, Michael (Ince) Thompson, George
Davies, Ifor (Gowor) MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Deakins, Eric Mackintosh, John P. Tierney, Sydney
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Maclennan, Robert Tinn, James
Dell, Rt Hon Edmund McMillan, Tom (Glasgow C) Tuck, Raphael
Dempsey, James McNamara, Kevin Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Doig, Peter Madden, Max Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne V)
Dormand, J. D. Mahon, Simon Wainwright, Richard (Colne V)
Duffy, A. E. P. Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Dunnett, Jack Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Eadie, Alex Maynard, Miss Joan Ward, Michael
Edge, Geoff Mikardo, Ian Watkinson, John
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Watt, Hamish
English, Michael Mitchell, Austin Weetch, Ken
Evans, Gwynfor (Carmarthen) Molyneaux, James Welsh, Andrew
Evans, loan (Aberdare) Moonman, Eric White, Frank R. (Bury)
Ewing, Harry (Stirling) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Wigley, Dafydd
Ewing, Mrs Winifred (Moray) Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E. Murray, Rt Hon Ronald King Williams, Rt Hon Shirley (Hertford)
Fiannery, Martin Newens, Stanley Wilson, Gordon (Dundee E)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Noble, Mike Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Oakes, Gordon Wise, Mrs Audrey
Ford, Ben Ogden, Eric Woodall, Alec
Forrester, John O'Halloran, Michael Woof, Robert
Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd) Orbach, Maurice Young, David (Bolton E)
Freud, Clement Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
George, Bruce Ovenden, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Gilbert, Dr John Padley, Walter Mr. James Hamilton and
Ginsburg, David Palmer, Arthur Mr. Thomas Cox.
Golding, John Pardoe, John
Abse, Leo Banks, Robert Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)
Adley, Robert Bell, Ronald Braine, Sir Bernard
Aitken, Jonathan Bendall, Vivian (Ilford North) Brittan, Leon
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Berry, Hon Anthony Brocklebank-Fowler, C.
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne) Biggs-Davison, John Brooke, Peter
Atkins, Ronald (Preston N) Blaker, Peter Brotherton, Michael
Awdry, Daniel Boscawen, Hon Robert Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)
Bryan, Sir Paul Hutchison, Michael Clark Page, Richard (Workington)
Budgen, Nick Jessel, Toby Parkinson, Cecil
Bulmer, Esmond Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead) Pattie, Geoffrey
Burden, F. A. Jones, Arthur (Daventry) Percival, Ian
Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Pink, R. Bonner
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Kaberry, Sir Donald Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch
Churchill, W. S. Kilfedder, James Price, David (Eastleigh)
Clark, William (Croydon S) Kimball, Marcus Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) King, Evelyn (South Dorset) Raison, Timothy
Clegg, Walter King, Tom (Bridgwater) Rathbone, Tim
Cockrott, John Kinnock, Neil Rees, Peter (Dover a Deal)
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W) Knight, Mrs Jill Renton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Cope, John Knox, David Renton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Craig, Rt Hon W. (Belfast E) Langford-Holt, Sir John Rhodes James, R.
Dodsworth, Geoffrey Lawrence, Ivan Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lawson, Nigel Ridsdale, Julian
Drayson, Burnaby Lester, I'm (Beeston) Rifkind, Malcolm
Durant, Tony Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Dykes, Hugh Loveridge, John Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke) Luce, Richard Shepherd, Colin
Elliott, Sir William McCusker, H. Silvester, Fred
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly) Macfarlane, Neil Sinclair, Sir George
Eyre, Reginald MacKay, Andrew (Stechford) Skeet, T. H. H.
Farr, John McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Smith, Timothy John (Ashfield)
Fell, Anthony McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Speed, Keith
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N) Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Spence, John
Fowler, Norman (Sutton C'f'd) Marten, Neil Stanbrook, Ivor
Fry, Peter Mather, Carol Stokes, John
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Maudling, Rt Hon Reginald Stradling Thomas, J.
Gardner, Edward (S Fylde) Mawby, Ray Tapsell, Peter
Glyn, Dr Alan Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Taylor, Teddy (Cathcart)
Goodhew, Victor Mayhew, Patrick Tebbit, Norman
Gorst, John Meyer, Sir Anthony Temple-Morris, Peter
Gow, Ian (Eastbourne) Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove) Thatcher, Rt Hon Margaret
Gower, Sir Raymond (Barry) Miscampbell, Norman Thomas, Rt Hon P (Hendon S)
Grieve, Percy Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Townsend, Cyril D.
Griffiths, Eldon Moate, Roger Trotter, Neville
Grist, Ian Monro, Hector Vaughan, Dr Gerald
Grylls, Michael Montgomery, Fergus Viggers, Peter
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Moore, John (Croydon C) Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Hampson, Dr Keith More, Jasper (Ludlow) Wall, Patrick
Harrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye) Morgan, Geraint Warren, Kenneth
Haselhurst, Alan Morrison, Hon Peter (Chester) Weatherill, Bernard
Hastings, Stephen Neave, Alrey Wells, John
Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Nelson, Anthony Wood, Rt Hon Richard
Hawkins, Paul Neubert, Michael Younger, Hon George
Hayhoe, Barney Nott, John
Heath, Rt Hon Edward Onslow, Cranley TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hicks, Robert Oppenheim, Mrs Sally Sir George Young and
Hordern, Peter Page, John (Harrow West) Mr. John MacGregor.
Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause 25 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 26 to 32 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

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