HC Deb 08 November 1979 vol 973 cc663-754

Order for Second Reading read.

6.3 pm

The Lord Privy Seal (Sir Ian Gilmour)

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

I have it in command from the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purpose of the Southern Rhodesia Bill, has consented to place her prerogative and interest, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.

In laying this Bill before Parliament, the Government are taking an important step which will set Rhodesia on the path to legal independence, on the basis of an agreement in which we hope that all the parties will participate. Before explaining to the House the details of the Bill, I propose to set it in the context of the Government's policies towards Rhodesia since we took office in May.

The House is familiar with the efforts of successive British Governments over 14 years to find a settlement to the problem of Rhodesia. Despite very considerable efforts, it proved impossible to reach a satisfactory agreement with the white minority regime. The result has been a bloody war which continues to take its toll even now, while talks to find a solution at the constitutional conference at Lancaster House are going on. The war has brought suffering to the people of Rhodesia and neighbouring countries.

When this Government took office in May, we decided to give the highest priority to a further effort to bring Rhodesia to legal independence and peace. We were encouraged in this by the remarkable progress made within Rhodesia following the Salisbury agreement of March 1978 and the first-ever elections held on the basis of universal suffrage in April this year. That election, which saw an impressively high turn-out, produced for the first time an African Prime Minister and an African majority in Parliament and the Government.

The Government recognised this to be a major step forward towards a solution. But, at the same time, it was necessary if Rhodesia was to secure international acceptance, that independence should be seen to be based upon genuine majority rule. We decided, therefore, to consult the parties themselves, with Governments directly concerned and with our friends and allies, before deciding how to proceed. These consultations showed that there was a widespread view that the constitution in force in Rhodesia fell short of genuine majority rule; that there should be a further effort to find a solution which could involve the external parties and thus offer hope of an end to the war; and that a settlement would have to stem from Britain as the constitutionally responsible authority.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary went to the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government with the objective of securing their support for a renewed effort to achieve a settlement and end the war. The communique of that meeting set out the principles on which it was felt by the Commonwealth as a whole that a settlement should be sought. As I shall explain to the House shortly, we believe that we have already advanced a very considerable way towards fulfilling the requirements of the Lusaka communique.

The immediate step which my right hon. and noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary took on return from Lusaka was to invite all the parties to attend a constitutional conference at Lancaster House. Our purpose in doing so was to be able to put to them proposals for a settlement comparable to the basis on which independence was granted to other former British territories. With the invitation we appealed to both sides to accept a ceasefire. Although Bishop Muzorewa and his colleagues expressed their willingness to accept this, the Patriotic Front insisted that there could be no end to the fighting until the political issues in the present conflict had been resolved.

The constitutional conference at Lancaster House has now been in progress for almost nine weeks. Throughout the conference, the Government's aim has been to reach agreement which will involve all the parties, since we recognise that only a solution which does so will offer a sure prospect of and end to the war. The Government have remained, during the whole of this period, in the closest touch with the Presidents of the front-line States, as well as other Commonwealth leaders and many other Governments, and have been greatly helped by the encouragement and support which we have received. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and noble Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary are having further discussions with President Kaunda, who is paying a most timely visit to this country this week.

During those nine weeks, many of the objectives set by the Commonwealth Heads of Government in Lusaka have been achieved.

The Heads of Government confirmed that they were wholly committed to genuine black majority rule. The independence constitution, which has been provisionally accepted by both sides at the conference, indisputably provides for this. They recognised that the internal settlement constitution was defective in certain important respects. These defects have been put right in the independence constitution.

The Heads of Government accepted the constitutional responsibility of the British Government to grant legal independence to Zimbabwe on the basis of majority rule. The British Government are exercising that responsibility, and the Bill will enable them to take further steps in the process.

The Heads of Government recognised that the search for a lasting setlement must involve all the parties to the conflict. All the parties are participating in the negotiations and the Government remain determined to do all in their power to achieve a settlement in which they can participate.

The Heads of Government expressed their consciousness of the urgent need to achieve a settlement and bring peace. Throughout the conference the Government have constantly stressed the urgent need to bring an end to the suffering of the people of Rhodesia and of the neighbouring countries—sufferings which are no longer necessary with the achievement of a constitution providing for genuine majority rule.

The Heads of Government accepted that independence on the basis of majority rule required the adoption of a democratic constitution including appropriate safeguards for minorities. The independence constitution contains adequate safeguards.

The Heads of Government acknowledge that the Government formed under such an independence constitution must be chosen through free and fair elections, properly supervised under British Government authority and with Commonwealth observers. The Government have put forward proposals to achieve this aim and have invited both sides to accept them. Bishop Muzorewa's delegation has accepted our proposals.

The Heads of Government welcomed the British Government's indication that an appropriate procedure for advancing towards these objectives would be for them to call a constitutional conference to which all parties would be invited. The conference has now been in session as I said earlier, for almost nine weeks.

Finally, the Heads of Government accepted that it must be a major objective to bring about a cessation of hostilities and an end to sanctions as part of the process of implementation of a lasting settlement. We hope that the conference will be able to move on very shortly to its third and final phase, which is the negotiation of a ceasefire.

The stage which the Conference has now reached is consideration of the means of implementing the independence constitution. The Government have laid before the conference full proposals for this, and invited both sides to accept them. I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library of the House. Our starting point has been the need, endorsed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government, for free and fair elections supervised under the British Government's authority. The Government decided that the essential basis for such elections was to create the conditions in which both sides would feel able to take part on an equal footing. This could be achieved only with the assurance that the administration of the country during the elections would be fair and impartial. We have concluded that this requires Britain, as the constitutionally responsible Power, to assume direct responsibility for the government of Rhodesia while elections are held.

This was not a light decision. The responsibility will be a heavy one. Maintenance of a ceasefire will present grave difficulties. This is one reason why we have proposed that the interim period should be no longer than necessary for the people of Rhodesia to decide for themselves, under fair conditions, their own political future. But we believe that the only solution which both parties can be brought to accept is one in which the British Government accept responsibility for the election arrangements and for the day-to-clay administration of Rhodesia in the period up to independence. The complex schemes for power sharing during the interim period, which were a feature of the earlier proposals for a settlement, seemed to us impracticable. The crucial political decision in this period will be the choice by the people of the future Government. The role of the political leaders will not be to exercise control over the Administration but to explain their case to the people and seek a mandate from them. The Government will be ready to hand over power in Rhodesia to whatever Government are elected as a result of free and fair elections.

Our proposals required Bishop Muzorewa and his colleagues to relinquish power during the iterim period and hand over their functions to the British Governor. We were conscious that this was a great deal to ask. Bishop Muzorewa's acceptance of our proposals shows how far he is willing to go to bring about fair conditions for elections, and a settlement which will be acceptable to international opinion. We look to the Patriotic Front to show the same willingness to compromise. We are not asking either side to capitulate. We are asking both to compete peacefully for power on an equal footing—and, of course, to abide by the outcome of the elections. There can be no question of our handing over power to any party which is not ready to put its standing to the test in fair elections.

Our full proposals have now been before the conference for a week. They were tabled after lengthy and intensive discussions in the conference. As soon as agreement is reached on the general proposals for the pre-independence period, we shall be able to move on to arrange negotiations on a ceasefire and its observance. In that connection, the Government will be prepared to make proposals for the monitoring of a ceasefire, but we first need agreement on the political conditions for elections and the administration of the country.

It is against this background of progress already made at the conference, and our hopes that it will shortly enter its final phase, that the Government have laid before the House the Southern Rhodesia Bill.

The purpose of the Bill is to give the Government the necessary powers to implement the proposals which they have laid before the conference, so that when agreement is reached, as we hope it will be, there need be no delay in moving towards elections at the earliest possible moment. We are not seeking to pre-empt the decisions of the parties to the conference.

Mr. Robert Hughes (Aberdeen, North)

The right hon. Gentleman has just used the phrase "when agreement is reached ". Will he amplify that statement and say that what he means is when agreement is reached by all parties at Lancaster House?

Sir I Gilmour

If there is not an agreement by all parties, there is not an agreement. That seems to me to be self-evident. If there is not an agreement and if the conference breaks down, which would be a tragedy, we shall have to consider how to proceed. But the hon. Gentleman is perfectly right in saying that an agreement means an agreement of all parties.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)

If the Government have to consider how to proceed in such circumstances, will it be their intention to use the powers for which they are asking in the Bill, or could we have an assurance that, if there is a breakdown in the talks, the powers in the Bill will not be used and that, indeed, the measure will be negated from then on?

Sir I. Gilmour

As I said, if the conference breaks down we shall have to consider how to proceed, and we shall certainly welcome suggestions from the Opposition. It will be a very difficult decision to take. There are no alternatives which are particularly enticing. But I could not conceivably give the undertaking for which the hon. Gentleman asks, because we do not know what the circumstances will be. As I said several times yesterday, we are seeking full agreement. That means the agreement of all parties.

Miss Joan Lestor (Eton and Slough)

In the right hon. Gentleman's argument yesterday he said that he was very near to an agreement and that the Bill would enable him to do certain things resting on that agreement. The crucial point is the status of the Bill if that agreement is not reached.

Sir I. Gilmour

If the Bill is passed by the House, it will be in existence. What action is taken by means of the Bill will be for consideration by the Government.

Miss Lestor

That is a blank cheque.

Mr. Douglas Jay (Battersea, North)

Is the right hon. Gentleman unwilling to say that the Government would not use the powers under the Bill unless an agreement is reached?

Sir I. Gilmour

I have already answered that question. If we are unable to reach agreement, and I hope that we shall—it has been our constant objective for nine weeks of hard discussion at Lancaster House—we shall have to decide how to proceed. I cannot go further than that.

Mr. Nigel Spearing (Newham, South)

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that one of the components of the agreement that we all seek is the conviction among all parties that they stand an equal and reasonable chance in the elections to which he and we are pledged? If that is not thought to be the position, the agreement that he seeks will be imperilled.

Sir I. Gilmour

I agree entirely with the hon. Gentleman. We have been engaged on that issue for weeks. The whole agreement depends on that. As I have said several times, we are seeking to provide free and fair elections in which all parties can participate so that a new Government can be formed as a result of the elections, and to which independence will be granted by Britain. That is the objective. We very much hope that all parties to the conference will agree the proposals that we have put forward so that agreement may be reached.

As I said in the House yesterday, the Government regret that the House has been asked to consider the Bill at such short notice. I hope that the consultations that have taken place through the usual channels have received the general approval of the House.

I emphasise that this is not an independence Bill. An independence Bill will be laid before the House in due course. To put it mildly, the circumstances of Rhodesia are unusual. Whereas the steps leading up to independence are normally taken under a constitution previously granted by the United Kingdom, that would not be feasible in the case of Southern Rhodesia. The Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 does not give the Government the powers needed to make the independence constitution or to introduce relevant sections of it before elections. The authority of the House must be sought for that.

The Bill's purposes are threefold. First, it enables the Government to provide an independence constitution for Zimbabwe which will come into force when a later Act of Parliament confers independence on Southern Rhodesia. This power is conferred in clause 1. The constitution will be the constitution agreed upon at the constitutional conference. It will be made by Order in Council and laid before the House before the independence Bill is introduced. I remind hon. Members that as the text of the constitution has been agreed between the parties, contingent upon agreement on the interim arrangements, the order making it will not be subject to either affirmative or negative procedures. This is of course consistent with the practice adopted in the case of other independence constitutions.

Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

The right hon. Gentleman has said that the constitution referred to in clause (1) will be that which has been laid before the House in the form of a White Paper. The Bill in terms does not link the two. In the light of the exchanges that have passed between the right hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members, are the Government giving an undertaking that no other constitution but that one will be made by the powers conferred by the Bill?

Sir I. Gilmour

I did not say that it would be the constitution laid in the White Paper. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, the White Paper is not in legal language but in ordinary language. The actual constitution will be a legal transposition of that. That is the constitution that we propose to enact, and no other constitution.

Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)

The first few lines of the clause state that provision may be made by Order in Council for an independence constitution for Zimbabwe. Will my right hon. Friend deal during the debate with the broad outline of the constitution which is in the White Paper, or will it be debated at a subsequent date? There are many items that need discussing.

Sir I. Gilmour

I have told the House that that constitution will not be subject to amendment. It has been agreed, subject to agreement in later stages of the conference, by two other parties. It would be chaotic if the House were to amend the constitution, as we would have to reconvene the constitutional conference and start again. No doubt the constitution could be discussed on a motion, subject to the ruling of the Chair. It is open to anybody to say what he wishes about the constitution. However, I must make it clear that it is not subject to amendment. There is nothing unusual about that. It has happened in the past.

Mr. Robert Hughes


Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)


Sir I. Gilmour

I think that I should move on.

Mr. Maclennan


Sir I. Gilmour

The ratio of interruption to speech has been rather high, and I must move on.

Secondly, the Bill enables elections to be held prior to independence for the purpose of bringing the independence constitution into effect. Under clause 2 it will be possible to bring particular provisions of the new constitution into operation before independence, to enable elections to be held for the Parliament which will be established under the new constitution, there being no "lawful" constitution at present in force under which such elections could be held. At a later stage, but before independence, it will be necessary to bring other provisions of the constitution into operation so that an Administration can be formed following elections. The relevant parts of the constitution would be brought into force by Orders in Council which would be laid before Parliament and expire at the end of 28 days unless previously approved by a resolution of each House.

Thirdly, clause 3 provides for the making of Orders in Council for the government of Rhodesia during the period up to independence.

The Government envisage that such orders will be necessary for a number of purposes. In the first place, an order will be needed to establish the office of Governor and to endow the Governor with necessary powers. As hon. Members will be aware, the appointment of a Governor is central to the Government's proposals for the administration of Rhodesia in the pre-independence period. It is important that we should be in a position to make the appointment and install the Governor at the earliest possible date so that there should be no delay in proceeding to elections and independence.

It will also be necessary for the Government to continue existing laws. This will be needed for the successful administration of the country in the period before independence. It will, of course, be for the Parliament elected under the provisions of the new constitution to decide which of these past laws it wishes to keep and which it wishes to change.

Finally, the clause will give the power to deal with the consequences of the expiration of section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act, which, as I informed the House yesterday, the Government do not intend to renew.

A number of orders have been made under section 2. Some concern constitutional matters. The Southern Rhodesia Constitution Order provides the authority of the Crown and United Kingdom Ministers in relation to Southern Rhodesia. The Matrimonial Jurisdiction Order and the Southern Rhodesia (British Nationality Act) Order concern the lives of individuals and seek to minimise the hardships to them arising from the peculiar status of Southern Rhodesia. The Southern Rhodesia (Immunity for Persons Attending Meetings and Consultations) Order is important in allowing the present constitutional talks at Lancaster House to take place.

Clause 3 provides for a number of these orders to remain in force, for the good government of Rhodesia in the period leading up to independence and to avoid hardship to individuals. Many of these orders have been in force for some time, and the House has approved them by resolution. The House has not yet had the opportunity to express views on the immunity order. No further parliamentary procedure is proposed, but the House will have an opportunity to discuss it in the course of this debate.

The Bill does not, however, continue the orders relating to sanctions. In this context, I stress two important factors. First, the Bill now before the House will, if enacted, enable the Government to take whatever action is necessary in relation to Rhodesia, depending on the state of progress at the conference up to and after 15 November. This includes the power to continue those sanctions covered by section 2 although, as I said yesterday, the Government find it hard to visualise circumstances in which this would be necessary.

Secondly, the lapse of section 2 will not mean that Britain will cease forthwith to apply sanctions against Rhodesia. The greater part of our sanctions—those covering direct trade with Rhodesia and the transfer of funds—are covered by other legislation. It is the Government's intention that they should remain in force until there is a return to lawful government in Rhodesia with the arrival of a British Governor and acceptance of his authority. At that moment—and in the Government's view it is no longer far off—all domestic sanctions measures will be revoked. Those sanctions were imposed by the United Nations at Britain's request to effect a return to lawful government in Rhodesia and to defeat the efforts of the white minority to deny full political rights to the African majority. With the appointment of a Governor and acceptance of the independence constitution both these objectives will have been achieved. The full effect of sanctions will be rescinded, therefore, only when return to legality has taken place. It is the Government's hope that this will follow agreement at the constitutional conference to which all parties can subscribe.

Mr. S. C. Silkin (Dulwich)

It is the agreement of all parties that concerns most of my right hon and hon. Friends. If there is agreement between all parties, everything that the right hon. Gentleman has been describing will be necessary. If that is so, we understand why it is necessary to give effect to the powers in the Bill. If, unhappily, the conference ends without agreement, the proposed constitution will not have the agreement of the people of Rhodesia as a whole. If those are the circumstances, how can the right hon. Gentleman proceed with any of the matters that he has been describing until he has the agreement of the people of Rhodesia as a whole?

Sir I. Gilmour

If we do not get an agreement, we shall have to decide how to proceed. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will appreciate that to give any party a veto in the proceedings would not be likely to facilitate an agreement. If vetos are allowed, we shall never obtain an agreement. We have made our hopes quite clear. It will be a tragedy if the conference breaks down. If that happens, we shall be faced with a number of disagreeable alternatives. It will be for us to consider how we should act. We shall be open to any suggestions that will lead to an improvement of the situation. I look forward to hearing the Opposition's suggestions on how we should proceed in the event of a breakdown. We must proceed on the basis that the Government need the powers in the Bill. Now that section 2 is not being renewed, we shall be denuded.

Mr. Maclennan

I am sure that the whole House follows the right hon. Gentleman completely when he says that the Government need the powers. In the event of there not being an agreement, do the Government propose to use the powers in their purpose of providing a constitutional settlement that is not agreed? If it is a matter of having the powers confined to the constitution which is agreed, it will be possible by a small amendment to make it clear that the Order in Council will be used only to give effect to an agreed constitution. That does not mean the giving of a veto to a disagreeing party. It is merely making it plain that the only constitution that may be introduced by means of the Bill is one that is agreed.

Sir I. Gilmour

That would be giving a veto. That is not the way in which we are likely to achieve agreement. In the unfortunate event of not getting an agreement, we shall have to consider an alternative. I do not know what alternative the hon. Gentleman suggests. Would he like the present situation to continue without alteration? It would not be an agreeable position to be faced. That is why I say that we shall have to consider what we should do in the light of circumstances which we hope will not arise. However, if they arise, we shall have to consider what to do at that time.

I emphasise yet again that it is the Government's aim to bring the conference to a successful conclusion with the agreement of all parties. The measure now before the House is fully consistent with that aim. It will ensure that once agreement is reached the Government have the necessary powers to implement it and to do so without delay. There is no reason to make the people of Rhodesia wait any longer to exercise their choice of Government in free and fair elections.

The House will now wish to consider and debate the merits of the Bill before it. There will, of course, be other opportunities to debate Rhodesia over the coming weeks, both in relation to the independence Bill which the Government hope to bring forward shortly, and the various orders which will be made.

The Bill sets in motion a process which the Government believe will bring Rhodesia to peace and to legal independence on the basis of genuine majority rule and free and fair elections. That will be to the benefit of all the people of Rhodesia and to the people and Governments of the adjoining territories, which have also carried a very heavy burden. It will bring to an end a sorry period in Anglo-Rhodesian relations. A solution is within sight. The Government have demonstrated their determination to achieve a fair and honourable settlement in accordance with the terms agreed by the Commonwealth leaders at Lusaka. We are ready to shoulder our full responsibilites. We must now ask those who have not yet committed themselves to the proposals which we have put forward to accept our good faith and join in irreversible progress to lawful government, the lifting of all sanctions, fair elections and independence for the country.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Richard Crawsliaw)

I wish to inform the House that Mr. Speaker has selected the amendment standing in the name of the official Oppostion.

6.39 pm
Mr. Peter Shore (Stepney and Poplar)

I beg to move, to leave out from "That" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: this House declines to give a Second Reading to the Bill in the absence of a clear commitment not to use the powers contained therein unless agreement has been reached at the Lancaster House Conference and without a commitment to retain section 2 sanctions during the period before the return to legality. Our reasoned amendment covers many of the questions on which my right hon. and hon. Friends unsuccessfully sought clarification again and again from the Lord Privy Seal, not only this afternoon but yesterday.

We are embarking on a debate of great importance, and we are united in believing that it is in the highest national interest for the London conference to be successfully concluded. Failure is unthinkable. Misery would ensue for the people of Rhodesia, black and white, and race relations would worsen, not just in Southern Africa but everywhere in the world, including our own country. There would be a loss of influence and reputation for our country and the ominous prospect not just of intensification of the war but the widening of it as other Powers became increasingly involved in the conflict. Those are all nightmare prospects but, unhappily, they are not far-fetched.

The debate must be wide-ranging, and we could not accept that it should take place without some basis of fact. As a result, we persuaded the Government at the last moment to publish yesterday a White Paper on the constitution, together with a document on the interim arrangements, which was presented last Friday to the London conference and on which, I am glad to learn, considerable progress has been made. Both those matters were touched on by the Lord Privy Seal in his speech today and his statement yesterday, as was the still undiscussed final stage of the conference—the ceasefire to which the right hon. Gentleman alluded. We are conscious that the Lancaster House conference is entering its decisive stage, and we must have in mind the overriding objective that there should be a successful outcome.

I shall follow in a sense the pattern set by the Lord Privy Seal in recalling the common ground that has so far been achieved. For 14 years, ever since UDI, Governments of both parties have refused to accept the Rhodesian rebellion. They have annually enacted sanctions against it and insisted that the six principles of a settlement be adhered to. That has not been easy, particularly for the Conservative Party, many of whose members have become vehemently and emotionally attached to the cause of the Rhodesia Front, which they have encouraged in its intransigence over the years. I pay tribute, however, to Conservative leaders who, although often sorely tried and tempted, have in the past refused to depart from what has been a national policy.

We frankly had our moment of great anxiety earlier this year when the Prime Minister in her Australian speech in July appeared temporarily to depart from the general consensus of policy. She indicated that she was thinking of following the internal elections in Salisbury in March by recognising the Muzorewa regime. We sought to persuade her that that would be disastrous when we last debated Rhodesia on 25 July, shortly before the Lusaka conference. Her own second thoughts, advice from the rest of the Commonwealth and perhaps even our arguments led her to make a substantial switch in what appeared to be the direction of her policy and to agree at Lusaka with other Commonwealth leaders the following main points. They were that the Rhodesian internal constitution was basically defective, that the recognition of Bishop Muzorewa by Britain would lead to a disastrous isolation of our country, that an internationally supported settlement was essential and that an all-party conference had to be called and a major effort made to secure agreement and peace.

On the basis of the Lusaka agreement there is much common ground between us. We want, and the Government want, to end white supremacy in Rhodesia by removing the unacceptable privileges that were entrenched in the Salisbury constitution—the blocking mechanism and the de facto control of the whole State apparatus by the European minority. We want, and the Government want, a lawful Government in Rhodesia to be based on free and fair elections. We want, and the Government want, to stop the bloodshed and end the war. All three objectives are central to success at the Lancaster House conference.

The White Paper which we had yesterday shows that agreement on the constitution has been reached, and it is obvious that considerable compromises have been made by all the parties to the talks to make that possible. The document on the interim arrangements reveals that agreement there does not appear to be beyond reach. Indeed, it appears that on many substantial points the parties are very close.

I pause here to stress these points. First, fair and free elections will require adequate time for preparation. It is not a minor point and the Government must not be inflexible about it. If reaching agreement turns on whether the British Government can hold the ring for a period of not just two months and a few days but up to four months or more, it would be intolerable if it were allowed to slip away. It is basically a secondary point but of prime importance to those seeking to participate in and, it is hoped, win a free and fair election.

Secondly, there has to be a positive broad observer role for the Commonwealth. All proposals for bringing in external or third forces have apparently been rejected. The one clear agreement—and it is there in the Lusaka communiqué—is that the elections should be supervised by Britain but observed by the Commonwealth. I hope that Commonwealth observers will be given the utmost freedom to supervise not merely the ballot box operation but all the procedures, including the administration in the country. That is the context in which free and fair elections can be held, if at all. I believe that there could be agreement that the Commonwealth has a positive role to play.

Thirdly, during the election period the coercive military presence must be absent, whether that be the armed forces of the Salisbury regime or those of the Patriotic Front. Law and order must be maintained by an effectively supervised police force.

Those important points are not yet fully agreed, and if we are to convince all concerned that the elections will be free and fair, we must make progress on them. Finally and most crucially, there must be an effective ceasefire and an end to the cruel civil war.

We encouraged the Government in that direction throughout the nine weeks of the London conference, and whenever we met the rival parties, we encouraged compromise. We urged impartiality and flexibility on the Government, and we made restrained and carefully timed comments and suggestions only when we felt that we had a duty to do so.

It is against that background that I turn to the Bill and our reasoned amendment. We believe that the Government have made a major mistake in introducing the Bill now. The Bill should have been introduced not on the eve of the last and most vital stage of the negotiations but immediately after the conclusion of those negotiations. Our amendment states, first, that we want a commitment that the powers within the enabling Bill—sweeping as they are—will not be exercised unless an agreement has been reached at the Lancaster House conference. Secondly, we seek to restore the status quo in relation to sanctions affecting Rhodesia until there is a return to legality. They are reasonable demands.

My hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hughes) made the point yesterday that the powers in the Bill, apart from the single but important exception of sanctions, would have been matters not for controversy but for normal scrutiny if the Bill had been presented at the conclusion of the Lancaster House conference. The Bill is controversial because it has been presented before the last and most crucial stage. Frankly, it seems that the Bill has been deliberately framed and timed to avoid careful and considered scrutiny by the House.

Yesterday, we sought to discover the reason for the extraordinary timing of the measure and the yet more extraordinary timetable for its passage upon which the Government were insisting. So much of the confusion that was witnessed during the early part of today was the inevitable consequence of the rush to get the measure through. Yesterday, we asked why the House was to be subjected to such an astonishing procedure. I listened today to what the Lord Privy Seal said. I heard nothing to convince me that any rushed procedure was necessary. We were offered two explanations. First, the Lord Privy Seal said that he wanted to proceed without delay, that the Government should be in a position to make arrangements to appoint a Governor and proceed with the interim arrangements for governing Rhodesia. As the right hon. Gentleman knows well, that could be done in a few extra days' time. I did not gather from what he said that he was so near the conclusion of the conference that the difference of three days in considering the Bill would be important, and that those days would be lost because agreement had been reached. However, I cannot seriously believe that the Lord Privy Seal would argue that case.

The second reason that the right hon. Gentleman advanced was that the timing of the measure had to be related to the progress of the conference. Those were somewhat sibylline words. In the consequent exchanges it became clear that he was making a deliberate concession on sanctions to obtain the good will of the Muzorewa side of the conference. According to the Lord Privy Seal, to retain what I referred to as the 14-year status quo on sanctions, would be a "slap in the face" to Bishop Muzorewa. That indicates a shift in the Government's posture as the neutral chairman of the Lancaster House conference. Hitherto, the Government's position has been that, within the framework of the 14-year policy that acknowledged the continued illegality of the Salisbury regime, their purpose was to promote a compromise agreement on the three main subjects of the conference, the constitution, the interim arrangements and the ceasefire.

The concession on sanctions to one side is bound to give the impression that the Government have departed from their stance of impartiality. That is bound to be unhelpful to the progress of the talks. Today's 6 o'clock radio news told us that the Patriotic Front did not turn up at Lancaster House. No doubt its representatives have been very worried about the implications of the right hon. Gentleman's actions yesterday. Equally important, there is a danger that what has been done will have adverse international repercussions. Britain went to the United Nations to ask for collective mandatory sanctions. Some of the powers in section 2, which will now lapse, are also contained in the mandatory resolution passed by the United Nations. Will the Lord Privy Seal deny that fact? What approaches has the right hon. Gentleman made or will he make to the United Nations about the shift in British policy? Does he expect other nations to continue the sanctions which we will allow to lapse?

I remind Conservative Members that the renewal of section 2 year by year has been seen as a symbol of Britain's determination not to accept the fait accompli of the rebellion and our determination to return Rhodesia to legality. One reason for the hurried measure that was not advanced by the Lord Privy Seal—one which I suggested yesterday—is that he and his colleagues are not prepared to face up to their Back Benchers over the renewal of the sanctions order. But for that, the proper course of action would have been obvious and clear. There would have been a renewal of section 2 and a separate constitutional Bill.

Time for debating the Bill could have been found easily. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition made clear, we would have been entirely content to join in any arrangement to limit the renewal and timing of the sanctions order to any appropriate period the Government advanced. That could have been discussed in the ordinary way. Incidentally, clause 2 also gives power to establish the Governor. We could have reached that point and held proper discussions about an important constitutional Bill. It would not have detained us for an unnecessary length of time. [Interruption.] Surely, that is the reason. I have not heard one reasonable explanation for the rushing of the Bill other than the one which I offered to the House.

Mr. Raymond Whitney (Wycombe)

The right hon. Gentleman referred to the renewal of the sanctions order as a symbol. Does he agree that, thanks to the progress that has been made by all parties in the Lancaster House talks, we have passed the stage of the need for symbols and we are now reaching the conclusion of the negotiations?

Mr. Shore

I do not accept that that is necessarily so. I hope that that stage will be reached soon. However, the general rules should not be changed in the middle of negotiations. That cannot be done without some impact being felt on the minds of the parties to the negotiations.

The most worrying question about the course of action proposed by the Government is whether they are contemplating, not an agreed solution, a solution accepted by all parties, but a so-called second-best solution—a bilateral deal with the Muzorewa regime. Under the Bill, the Government will have the power to appoint a Governor in Salisbury. When he arrives and assumes executive and legislative power the return to legality will have been achieved. In these circumstances, as I surely do not need to remind the House, a British-appointed Governor will become the commander-in-chief of the Rhodesian forces. If hostilities continue, he will be in the impossible position of directing the war.

The Lord Privy Seal was questioned four times yesterday, by his right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins), by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dulwich (Mr. Silkin) and by my hon. Friends the Members for York (Mr. Lyon) and for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor). I refer the right hon. Gentleman to some of his replies. To his right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing, he offered no reply at all, as he will recall. To my right hon. and learned Friend and to my two hon. Friends, he failed to give any assurance that he would not proceed to implement the Act if agreement was not reached. Replying to my hon. Friend the Member for York, the Lord Privy Seal said: If we fail in our endeavours, which I very much hope will not happen, we shall certainly have to consider how we should proceed."—[Official Report, 7 November 1979; Vol. 973, c. 419.] The Lord Privy Seal has repeated that on two or three occasions this afternoon.

To my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dulwich, the Lord Privy Seal, when asked for the same assurance, said: To do that would be to give a veto to one party or the other."—[Official Report, 7 November 1979; Vol. 973, c. 421.] He therefore refused to give that assurance.

Mr. Nicholas Baker (Dorset, North)


Mr. Shore

I am not giving way at the moment.

I believe this to be profoundly unsatisfactory. But the strictures that I would otherwise have delivered, which I assure the right hon. Gentleman are very strong ones, have been somewhat muted since I read this morning the Official Report of the proceedings in another place. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when asked the same question, said: Sanctions will be taken off when the governor takes over in Salisbury, and he will take over when a ceasefire has been agreed. I would not say that all the shooting will have stopped, but not until the ceasefire is agreed will he take over."—[Official Report. House of Lords, 7 November 1979; Vol. 402, c. 833–4.] Comparing what the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said in another place and what the Lord Privy Seal said, not only yesterday, but also half an hour ago, when the same question was put to him, I cannot help but feel that there is an extraordinary divergence between Foreign Office Ministers and that this is a matter of great moment.

I must now put the issue to the Lord Privy Seal. I ask him to reaffirm firmly the pledge and the words given by his right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and to assert in this House of Commons that sanctions will be taken off when the Governor takes over in Salisbury and that he will take over when a ceasefire has been agreed and that not until a ceasefire is agreed, will he take over. I shall willingly give way to the Lord Privy Seal. He knows that this has been the heart of the question put to him. I hope that he will now give that assurance.

Sir Ian Gilmour

I think that the right hon. Gentleman has misunderstood my right hon. and noble Friend. I do not think that there is any difference between us. It is plain what my right hon. and noble Friend was saying. I think that the right hon. Gentleman was referring to col. 833. There is another passage in col. 835. In that context, my right hon. and noble Friend is plainly talking about the circumstances for which we all hope, that is to say, an end to the conference and agreement between all the parties.

Mr. Shore

I think that the right hon. Gentleman needs to have some further conference with his right hon. and noble Friend. Either one House or the other is being misled. There cannot be a reconciliation between the explanation that the Lord Privy Seal has offered and the actual context and text of the words used by his right hon. and noble Friend. I put it to him—this is why we have put our reasoned amendment in the form that it appears—that on this issue we want a complete and absolute assurance. If the right hon. Gentleman, in response to my direct invitation, is having some difficulty in construing the words of his right hon. and noble Friend, or if he thinks there is any advantage in having a further discussion with him soon, we are prepared for that assurance to be stated in the Government's reply.

I am aware that this debate has started late, for reasons that are not our fault. I am aware that many of my right hon. and hon. Friends wish to contribute. I shall bring my remarks to a conclusion. We have stated our main objections to the Bill in the terms of our reasoned amendment. We shall vote upon it. We cannot accept a Bill that deliberately excludes the reenactment of sanctions at this time in the context of the Lancaster House talks. We shall therefore not only vote for our reasoned amendment but oppose, and continue to oppose, the Bill itself.

7.6 pm

Mr. Terence Higgins (Worthing)

There is complete agreement on both sides of the House on the objectives with regard to Rhodesia. We want to see a settlement that is genuinely based on the six principles. We want to see a return to legality which leads to recognition. We want to see an end to the war and a stable situation under which the white population of Rhodesia can be encouraged to stay and Communist influence from outside Africa can be resisted. That is common ground.

We have made remarkable progress since the debate that took place just before the Summer Recess. I suggested at that time that the existing constitution in Rhodesia did not provide the basis for a permanent settlement. That was regarded in some quarters as a rather idiosyncratic view. I was delighted to find that it turns out to be official Government policy and that considerable progress has been made. My right hon. Friends should be congratulated on the way that they have handled the negotiations. We now have the best opportunity since UDI to achieve a settlement. All of us must work together to ensure that the settlement is brought about on a satisfactory basis.

I must tell the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) that I welcome the Bill. It provides a means of further progress, although a great many obstacles have still to be cleared. We must consider carefully what are the options open to us. I speak with great frankness. The option that all hon. Members want is a settlement on the basis I have outlined. In the absence of an agreement at Lancaster House, we may find that the situation deteriorates further, that the war continues and that, in effect, we have washed our hands of the matter. That would be utterly and completely disastrous. A third option would be for the Government to proceed on the basis of this Bill, even though an agreement had not been reached.

I take up the point which the Opposition spokesman has just made on this matter. Over the years, he and I have studied a great many Bills in this House. Unless I am mistaken, my understanding is that the effect of the provisions for going ahead in the absence of an agreement—if one reads clause 3, which is effectively the clause which would enable the appointment of a Governor, together with clause 1, which I understand governs clause 3—would be that we could not proceed to that situation without a further Bill being passed.

I am not sure whether I am right about that. Perhaps my right hon. Friend will confirm that that is so. But certainly my own feeling would be that if there were not an agreement and we were to proceed to appoint a Governor in the absence of any agreement and a ceasefire, then—at the risk of using an emotive shorthand—we must recognise that we would be creating a Vietnam-type position. I think that that is something on which the House would be very reluctant indeed to engage, and which obviously we would need to consider at a later stage.

I hope that my right hon. Friend can tell me whether my interpretation of the Bill as it stands is correct.

I share the concern which has been expressed about the position on sanctions. It seems to me a rather strange position that we should, in effect, apparently be contemplating a position in which 20 per cent. of the sanctions are not continued and 80 per cent. of them are continued—although, of course if the Governor is appointed in time, that position may never arise at all. I suppose that that is still a possibility.

But again, if this seems to be a development which jeopardises the possibility of an agreement, under the Bill, as I understand it, under an Order in Council, it would be possible to cover what one might call the gap—if such a gap in fact turns out to exist.

Therefore, I think that the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar is being a little premature in taking the position that he has taken. It depends on how the situation develops in the next few days with regard to both the international community and more generally.

Mr. Alexander W. Lyon

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Higgins

I do not think that I can, because I am not sure what the position is regarding the time limit and I have a complicated argument to put forward. If I have a chance at the end of my speech, I shall give way to the hon. Gentleman.

We can gain nothing from a situation in which the international community does not go along with the agreement which has been reached. That is most certainly so, and I do not think that it can be seriously disputed. Secondly, we can gain nothing if in advance of the elections and the other proceedings taking place either side in Rhodesia can argue that the situation is unfair, because that would not advance the cause of peace there at all. We must take account of both the international factor and the situation in Rhodesia itself, and that means that it must be seen to be fair.

I believe that it is the task of all of us in this House to convince those who might feel that the action which is now proposed on sanctions unbalances the situation that that is not so. We have a task to convince them—I believe it profoundly to be true—that my right hon. and noble Friend the Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal and the Government as a whole are negotiating in good faith and for the reasons I have mentioned, if for no other—that is, the self-interest of this country—that they are determined that elections can be held on a fair and equal basis.

I hope profoundly that members of the Patriotic Front, for example, can be convinced of that, because I myself am convinced of it. We all have a task to persuade them that that is so, because otherwise the situation is fraught with very great dangers of the kind I have sought to outline.

On that, it may be that there is some case, because of the knife-edge situation balancing one way on one day and another way on another day, for saying that my right hon. Friend would be right to consider some flexibility on the question of timing, if only for the reason I have just mentioned. There is no point in having an election about which one side can say in advance "We did not have a fair chance." I hope that the Government will not be inflexible on that point in the course of the negotiations. It would really be very sad if the matter were to become cumulative and if, as a result of that, the situation deteriorated and we lost this chance. We must do everything that we can to ensure that the negotiations succeed.

In that context, I believe that it is important that we should support my right hon. Friends and the Government in the great progress that they have made. We have a real chance of bringing the matter to a successful conclusion. That would be a triumph for us in Britain as a whole, for us as a force in world affairs and, indeed, for the future of Africa and the entire world community. I wish my right hon. Friends well. I hope that we bring the matter to a successful conclusion.

7.14 pm
Mr. J. Enoch Powell (Down, South)

I do not believe that this Bill, at any rate in its present form, is one which should pass this House, both on grounds of form and on grounds of the policy which it embodies.

As regards form, much has already been said. The Bill gives wide and unlimited powers, first of all in relation to an Order in Council for the creation of a constitution, and, secondly, for arrangements for the governance of Rhodesia and the matter of sanctions in clause 3.

The Government state that both these powers are to be used only in an express and specified context. They point out quite correctly that the constitution which is to be made is a constitution which will have been agreed, and that, therefore, it cannot be submitted to the ordinary play of the House—to consider, to amend, to accept or to reject. But there is nothing in the wording of the Bill which limits the powers of clause 1 to the making of any particular constitution. It is not satisfactory that we should give unlimited powers in an Act of Parliament upon the basis of a verbal understanding given in this House, however honourably meant—and, of course, it is—that the exercise of them will be specifically and, indeed, uniquely limited.

Incidentally, it is a curious paradox that in so far as the interim period is concerned—with which clause 2 deals—this House will be able to say yea or nay to a modification of that constitution in the period up to the holding of the elections.

There would surely have been no difficulty, if the Government realise the importance of this—I hope that they will—in attaching the power conferred in clause 1 to a specific constitution unambiguously defined in the terms of the Bill.

Then we come to the similar difficulty in regard to the powers given by clause 3. There are to be exercised only in the event of what is called agreement—which I take to mean agreement on the published terms of the draft agreement, plus or including a ceasefire. But there is nothing in the Bill which limits in that way the right to use those powers. There is not the slightest reference to any document whatsoever, or any attendant circumstances, however defined. There is even a not unimportant ambiguity in the verbal undertaking that the use of these powers is dependent upon an agreement; for suppose that an agreement is made and is broken, or suppose that a ceasefire begins but does not continue. Does that mean that these powers will continue to be exercised or will not continue to be exercised?

Again, paradoxically, we were told in relation to the constitution that, because it was a matter of agreement between parties, therefore the terms could not be in any sense submitted to the House. In clause 3, on the contrary, this House is given a veto over the use of the powers, despite the fact that they, too, are to be in pursuance of and conditional upon an agreement.

I say, therefore, that as regards the form of the Bill—and I am using the word "form" in a very wide sense—it is objectionable in the unlimited nature of the powers—and they are very sweeping powers—which which it endows the Government. But more serious still are the practical consequences of the use which it is intended to make of them.

In 1965, 14 years ago almost to the day, the House made a statement in the Southern Rhodesia Act: It is hereby declared that Southern Rhodesia continues to be part of Her Majesty's dominions, and that the Government and Parliament of the United Kingdom have responsibility and jurisdiction as heretofore for and in respect of it. I suppose that never before has this legislature, or perhaps any other, written upon its statute book a statement so at variance with real facts; and be it noted that, in case we might have been taken merely to be making a formal statement, to be humbugging ourselves, we were careful to include the word "responsibility".

Parliament not only claimed a jurisdiction—as some Chinese emperor might claim jurisdiction over large parts of Asia—but it also claimed a responsibility that it did not possess. This House can have no responsibility without the power to exercise it. Power and responsibility are two sides of the same coin. For the past 14 years we have lived in a twilight world, an agonising world, in which the pretence that Parliament is responsible for Southern Rhodesia has continued, without any possibility of Parliament realising that responsibility because it did not have even a shadow of power.

In 1965 Southern Rhodesia ceased to be part of Her Majesty's dominions as surely as the American colonies ceased to be part of His Majesty's dominions when that fact was recognised by the Treaty of Paris and the legislation by Parliament that applied the consequences to the law of this country.

Mr. Tom McNally (Stockport, South)

The right hon. Gentleman is speaking about Southern Rhodesia today because the Patriotic Front has given him the right to speak about it in a way that other past references that he is making—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must ask a question.

Mr. McNally

Does the right hon. Gentleman concede that the Patriotic Front has put this on the agenda of the House? That is something to which he should apply his formidable logic.

Mr. Powell

On the contrary, the statement I have just made was as true when I first made it in 1965 as it is today. If the hon. Gentleman wishes me to enter into the history of the last 14 years, it is my opinion that the decisive moment was the collapse of the Portuguese empire. It was that, more than any other single event, that rendered the continuance of the independent Government of Rhodesia impossible in the long run; but the governance of Rhodesia was not going to revert, whatever happened, to the responsibility and jurisdiction of this House. During those 14 years there were never circumstances in which Parliament had the means of exercising jurisdiction and responsibility in Southern Rhodesia.

We are not now recognising that fact, however belatedly, and whether thanks to the Patriotic Front or to the collapse of the Portuguese empire. We are leaving fact behind and taking off into a further flight of fantasy. We are, we say, actually going to govern Southern Rhodesia now. It says so in the Bill: we are to make provision for the government of Southern Rhodesia under the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government. So Parliament will pass from the 14-year-old absurdity of asserting that it exercises the government of Southern Rhodesia to attempting to carry that out in reality.

The Government will send out a Governor. I do not know what train the Governor will have, or by whom he will be accompanied. I suppose he will have the usual accoutrements of a governor—the plumed hat, the white uniform, the sword.

However, the Lord Privy Seal is not unaware of the illusion and paper-thinness of the pretence upon which he has embarked and is inviting the House to embark. The Lord Privy Seal said that the responsibility was a heavy one. It is indeed. The Governor is to be responsible for the peace, order and government of Southern Rhodesia and responsible to this House for everything that he does, since it is Parliament which gives him the powers. The Lord Privy Seal said that he could encounter grave difficulties. He could indeed. There will have been a ceasefire, it is true, and the Governor will not be sent out unless that is declared. Gordon will not be sent to Khartoum unless the Mahdi has declared a ceasefire. But there have been ceasefires before in other parts of the world which have not lasted. Will the Governor come home when the firing starts, if it does? In fact, as the noble Lord the Foreign Secretary said in another place: I would not say that all the shooting will have stopped."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 7 November 1979; Vol. 402, c. 833–4.] The Governor will arrive in a country which only a moment earlier was locked in a dangerous and devastating internal war as well as a war on its frontiers. He is to be responsible for and to command all the forces, including the police force. The right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) said that "peace, order and good government" would have to be maintained by the police force in Southern Rhodesia. I accept that point; and the Governor will also be responsible for the police force. He will run the entire Government, because he will have displaced the existing elected Government—however elected—of Bishop Muzorewa: that gentleman will have bowed out as His Excellency arrives to be responsible for the entire administration of Southern Rhodesia, the "peace, order and good government" of that country as it will be on the day after a ceasefire, and the peaceful and fair conduct of elections that will be conducted in an atmosphere far more electric and where the contending parties have far more to gain and lose than in any election in the United Kingdom—and even there in recent years there have had to be troops available at all the polling stations in one of its provinces.

What is the point of Parliament pretending to accept responsibility for all that, responsibility divorced yet again from power? How many divisions will be sent? How many troops? None at all? Not a platoon? Not a bodyguard of marines? Of course we here miss our "bomber" nowadays, but will there not even be a detachment of the Royal Air Force? Yet upon the basis of an agreement and a ceasefire, a Governor is to carry out all this.

The Government say that the Governor will be sent for only a short time. How do the Government know that it will be for only a short time? Suppose it should turn out that the elections cannot be staged in the circumstances which the agreement requires. What happens then? Presumably we shall continue to exercise the legal powers conferred on the Government—make one Order in Council after another under clause 3 of the Bill. But what real power will there be? We shall find ourselves with a farce on our hands, and what is farce could turn to personal tragedy and to disgrace that will come home to us. The very fact that we do not have power or real responsibility in Rhodesia—

Mr. Frank Hooley (Sheffield, Heeley)

We have responsibility.

Mr. Powell

We cannot have responsibility without power—

Mr. Hooley

Of course we can. We may not be able to exercise that responsibility but we certainly have it.

Mr. Powell

I say that there is no meaning in this House saying that it is responsible for Rhodesia. Would we say to our constituents that we are responsible for something when we have no power? Of course we would not—

Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)

If Britain's responsibility is only a fiction, and has been a fiction since 1965, why is it that those who declared UDI are very much party to the Lancaster House conference?

Mr. Powell

Because of the events of the past 14 years.

Mr. Winnick

Our responsibilities remain the same.

Mr. Powell

I am simply unable to understand the use by hon. Members of the term "responsibility". Responsibility means that one can be called to account for what happens; but one cannot be called to account for that which one cannot control.

Mr. Hooley

Of course one can.

Mr. Powell

I seem to have embarked upon a much lengthier seminar than I thought. I did not think that it would be necessary to explain to the House of Commons of all places, that one must control that for which one is to be held responsible; but apparently this is not a universally accepted doctrine.

I conclude by saying that what I have stigmatised as a fiction in the last 14 years is now turning into a dangerous charade which may well leave us exposed, in the face of the world, impotent to ridicule and without conferring one atom of safety, security or well-being upon those for whom we purport to be responsible and for whom Labour Members like to think themselves responsible. This is not something for which the House should vote.

7.34 pm
Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)

It is always a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), especially as he has now put the case against the Bill, and in doing so has shown up the triviality of those in the Labour Party who will vote against the Second Reading tonight. The right hon. Member put the question so clearly—whether the Government can carry out what they aim to do. The House must face up to this. The right hon. Gentleman dealt with historical questions and compared the United States with Rhodesia. But the situation in Rhodesia is quite different.

The Bill, provided it is supported by the country and provided that the Government accept its full meaning, is an action which must be taken. Although in the past I have been of the same opinion as the right hon. Member for Down, South and have taken the view that what is gone is gone, I believe that there is now a great difference. At present some of the main contesting parties in Rhodesia see this country as offering the only chance of a solution to the Rhodesian problem. That is the responsibility that is thrust upon the House and the Government by events.

At Lusaka the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister took an extremely bold decision on an issue that their Prime Ministerial predecessors had avoided. They put themselves back into the driving seat over Rhodesian affairs. We must now concern ourselves, not with the piffling questions raised by the Opposition, but with the vital question as to whether this country can carry out its role. The issue turns on this and this alone, not on the legal points or the interlocutions which we saw while we waited for a decision on whether we should proceed with the Bill. It is simply a question of whether the House and the country will accept responsibility for bringing about a solution to the problem, which is of enormous and immensely dangerous proportions.

It is not just a question of Rhodesia, or of kith and kin, or whether Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Nkomo or Bishop Muzorewa should have power. It is a question of peace in Southern Africa, and these matters will turn on the conference and the resolution of this House.

The right hon. Member for Down, South mocked Gordon in Khartoum and the fact that he arrived there only after a ceasefire. That point was also made by the Shadow Foreign Secretary. The fact is that the British Government cannot know the precise conditions in Rhodesia, and once we have resumed power there we shall have to deal with these conditions as they arrive. I do not want to see a repetition of the Mexican experience, which was bad enough and not dissimilar to the one to which the right hon. Member for Down, South referred. But if these events are not to be repeated there must be a profound decision by the House and the Government. They must back up the settlement and back it up if needs be with a variety of military equipment so that law and order is restored sufficiently to enable the election to take place.

Let no one—the Foreign Secretary. Labour Members or some of my hon. Friends who are trying to manoeuvre for the Left wing or the Right wing—be unaware of the grave dangers facing Rhodesia unless this measure is pushed through. One realises how serious it is as one looks around the world, and particularly at Africa.

There are those who think that we can combine successfully negotiations in the United Nations, negotiations with all the persons and factions opposing a settlement in Rhodesia, and negotiations with the front-line States with their totally different attitude. To succeed in carrying out these things simultaneously and successfully would be like allowing a veto to be put on our proceedings and on peace by hundreds of thousands of foolish organisations throughout the world. That is why I believe the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary are right to bring this Bill forward which should show—perhaps more clearly than it does—precisely where we stand.

I am an old mastodon—I see a few others in the House—who attended colonial and other conferences as our colonies moved towards liberation or the formation of new constitutions. In the course of such negotiations there comes a point when we must say "This is it. On this we settle or fail". That moment has arrived in these negotiations and I believe that this Bill, in spite of what some hon. Gentlemen believe, will help to achieve a solution.

7.41 pm
Mr. Arthur Bottomley (Middlesbrough)

The right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser) spoke of past attempts to solve colonial problems. As a junior and as a senior Minister and latterly as an Opposition spokesman I was happy to share in that experience. In many cases colonial rule was successfully concluded.

I played my part in trying to bring about the same situation in Rhodesia. The right hon. Gentleman said that a legal quibble divides us in our attempts to bring about a peaceful and successful conclusion to the Rhodesian problem. It is not that. It is fundamental if we hope to secure future peace in Zimbabwe Rhodesia that all parties are united in that aim. We do not want history to repeat itself.

When I succeeded the then Secretary of State, in the Conservative Government of 1964, there was all round co-operation on the Rhodesian problem. He told me of the five principles that his Government had put to the Rhodesians as the basis for a settlement and said that, if I could be big enough to put those principles to Rhodesia, the fact that they came from a Labour Government might convince the Rhodesians that they were getting off more easily than they expected.

I did not see Mr. Smith when I became Secretary of State because he would not allow me to meet Joshua Nkomo. Until he had given consent to a meeting with Mr. Nkomo I did not see Mr. Smith. Joshua Nkomo was released from detention to talk to me. I spelt out the five principles to Mr. Smith and he accepted them. However, there was no attempt to keep to an understanding. If left to him, the same would happen today. Had there been a settlement we would not have experienced 14 years of bloodshed, hatred and misery. If we do not act now, that situation will continue for a long time, with the major Powers, and certainly the Communist Powers, spelling out a solution as they see it.

The talks with the Patriotic Front have gone extremely well. Most of them are patriots doing their best to bring about a solution to the problems in their country. We would not have seen Mr. Smith and a Conservative Government parleying with the Patriotic Front had it not been for the Front's military successes. I make one or two practical proposals which may encourage the Patriotic Front to be more co-operative. I have not discussed with it the suggestions I am about to make, though I did talk to Robert Mugabe about trying to get a settlement.

He told me that the Patriotic Front have gone a long way towards this end. He also said that if we asked the Patriotic Front to allow an election to take place and if the people who kept him in prison and murdered his comrades were to decide how the country would be run during the interim period, its answer would be "No". If I was in his position, I would say the same.

It is unrealistic of the Government to think that preparations for elections in Rhodesia can be mounted in two months. The Patriotic Front has a right to go back and lay its ground and build up some kind of support. I plead with the Government to extend that period.

At the last general election I faced an assortment of opponents. One of the candidates was supported by the Fascists. There was a Workers' Revolutionary Party candidate and there were my good parliamentary friends the Liberals and the Conservatives. There could have been ugly scenes, but the police and the local authorities, because of their long experience, ensured that we were all good friends on polling night. There were no fights or difficulties. Not that I sympathised with the causes of some of my opponents. Nevertheless, good spirits and good order prevailed.

Is it not conceivable that a few chief constables or local authority chief executives with reasonable staff support—after all, Rhodesia is not numerically a large country—could run the election there? That would create confidence in the election's being run in a fit and proper fashion. In spite of any ceasefire, however, there could be minor outbreaks. A Commonwealth military presence to keep opposing forces apart is a proposition that should be considered.

I plead with the Government, therefore, if they really want a solution to the Zimbabwe Rhodesia problem, to support the Opposition amendment. I think it is a reasoned and realistic one which will ensure that in the future Britain can hold her head high and say that we secured a peaceful solution on honourable terms.

7.48 pm
Mr. Robin Maxwell-Hyslop (Tiverton)

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) read out to us the Act of Parliament by which Britain assumed the Government of Southern Rhodesia in 1965. The then Prime Minister, wisely or otherwise, rightly or wrongly, asked the members of the public services in Rhodesia to remain at their posts.

It would be conducive to the good administration of their country during the interim period when a British Governor is there, and afterwards, if we now guaranteed the pensions of Rhodesia's public servants. The burden would not be very onerous. The total is £20 million a year and I have no reason to suppose that we would have to pick up the bill. Without such a guarantee, I fear that people in crucial posts will leave the country and thus make the peaceful transition more difficult. Heaven knows, there are enough difficulties already.

I do not share the view of the right hon. Member for Down, South that one cannot have responsibility without power. We did have the military power at the time of UDI, but we chose not to use it. We are not totally devoid of military power now and it may be extremely wise not to use it this time. There are in Rhodesia, as in many other countries, experienced administrators who will serve any Government elected in good faith, even a Government formed by the Patriotic Front. We owe it to them to guarantee their pensions. We have the power to do it and it is right and expedient that we should do it.

7.50 pm
Mr. Russell Johnston (Inverness)

The hon. Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop) made a constructive and positive speech.

I congratulate the Government on their progress at Lancaster House. They have been negotiating under exceedingly difficult circumstances. Speaking for the Opposition, the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) summed up the views of the whole House yesterday when he said: The prize of peace, a properly elected Government and lawful independence must certainly not be allowed to elude us after so many difficulties have been surmounted. All reasonable people in the House and the country hope and pray for a settlement. This is not an empty form of words. It is supported by the Opposition's attitude in the last few months during the negotiations. In spite of the differences that emerged during our earlier debate the Opposition's attitude has been helpful, as the Lord Privy Seal confirmed yesterday.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. Steel)—the Leader of the Liberal Party—cannot be present because of domestic circumstances. He has been in touch with the Lord Privy Seal on a number of occasions. From the outset the Government have sought to involve all parties in the House in the negotiations. It is therefore surprising that there was no advance consultation about the presentation of the Bill. I understand that the Leader of the Opposition spoke to the Prime Minister, but there was no contact with the Liberal Party on this matter whatever.

It may be said that the views of minority parties are not significant. That is an arrogant view for a Government to adopt. If there had been contact, our advice would have been that the legislation should not be introduced at this stage. I am anxious to be fair, but the Government's attitude has contributed to our suspicion that their prime motive in introducing the legislation so hastily is to avoid a potentially emotive debate on sanctions renewal in about a week's time. It is hard to see any other reason for the sudden emergence of the Bill. That point was well made by the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar.

The Lord Privy Seal said yesterday: We must be able to act without delay to implement the final agreement … Any delay in putting a settlement into effect would cost further lives and could place the settlement itself at risk. The purpose of the enabling Bill that the Government are introducing later today, is to enable us to implement the interim arrangements without delay. These are assertions, but they are not supported by clear argument. I cannot accept that the House would seek to delay an enabling Bill introduced after the signing of an agreement. I see no reason why, on the signing of an agreement, the Governor should not at once leave for Salisbury, secure in the knowledge that by the time he arrived the House would have given assent to enabling legislation.

We are being asked to give approval to enabling legislation which gives the Government, in advance of an agreement, wide discretion on sanctions and in the event of a breakdown in negotiations—if that unfortunately took place.

The clear and sustained position of all parties in the House has been that sanctions should remain in effect until agreement is reached, whatever form that agreement takes. I agree with the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar that it is illogical to argue that it would be a slap in the face for Bishop Muzorewa. That is particularly so since the proportion of sanctions under section 2 amounts only to between 15 per cent. and 20 per cent. of the whole.

We are also in the position of debating the negotiations at what is perhaps their most delicate stage. When referring yesterday to the ceasefire, the Lord Privy Seal said: That is the main outstanding matter of the conference and it is almost the most important."—[Official Report, 7 November 1979: Vol. 973, c. 406–16.] It is not simply that Parliament is not the best place for negotiations, particularly those which require concessions. Words spoken here, sincerely but perhaps intemperately, can upset a sensitive balance. They can sour the atmosphere at a crucial stage. That is the major criticism of the Government for introducing at this stage, what we all accept to be necessary legislation.

It is against this background that my right hon. and hon. Friends and I shall vote for the reasoned amendment tabled by the official Opposition. In doing so I wish to make it clear that, while in the first part of the reasoned amendment it states That this House declines to give a Second Reading to the Bill in the absence of a clear commitment not to use the powers contained therein unless agreement has been reached at the Lancaster House Conference", and this could be taken to imply that this represents an unqualified support for the Patriotic Front's position and a veto posture, we do not accept that such an interpretation is valid. I emphasise that that is not our view. One of the unfortunate aspects of this debate is that at this time and in these circumstances inevitably people are prone to take sides, and this could be most unhelpful.

Of course we all have established positions. We all have declared views, but if the negotiations are to succeed, what is required are not only concessions from the participants but restraint and a degree of trust from us. That is not such an onerous requirement. It is easier for us to show restraint than it is for those engaged in negotiations. Our lives and future are not at stake—as are theirs. But I wonder whether restraint can be sustained through the long series of amendments with which we must deal on Monday.

During negotiations one strives to avoid committing oneself to either side.

Regarding the final phase of the negotiations I wish to make only two points which are original but which I wish to place on the record. First the Government should look again at the involvement of the Commonwealth in the security arrangements. That makes sense. It is a concession by the Government which would be welcomed.

Secondly, the time scale of the elections should not be too rigid. That does not mean that I am arguing in favour of six months. However, we should look again at the eight-week proposition.

I am fully aware that I have not made what one could exactly describe as an exciting contribution. I did not intend to do so. In the present circumstances, the best speeches today will be the dull speeches.

8 pm

Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)

The hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) made a restrained and objective speech. The reasons why I cannot agree with him will become obvious in the course of what I have to say. I support the Bill. However, it may lead us into a dangerous situation. Therefore I want to start by discussing what might have been.

When they came to power the Conservative Government should have recognised the Muzorewa constitution and the general election in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia in April 1979. First, it would have left the future in the hands of Rhodesians and would not have meant the need for a great deal of interference by the Government or people of the United Kingdom. Secondly, it gave the whites a blocking power for a period of eight years. That was important. It would have ensured gradualism. The one thing that we have not had in Africa is gradualism. It was wanted by both races. For the first time the constitution was not imposed by this House as were those which we gave to so many countries in Africa. Gradualism was supported by the African majority in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. That made the constitution unique. I am sorry that that has not been continued—not because I want the whites to have any particular powers but because I want to ensure that there is gradualism.

Those Members who have been in the House for any time know only too well the number of constitutions that we have passed and presented to countries in Africa together with Bills of Rights. Nearly every one has been torn up at one time or another. Those safeguards in the Bills of Rights have disappeared. That is the history of Africa. We must accept that. I hope that the House and the Government will learn the lessons of post-war history in that continent, that irresistible pressures are exerted on even the most moderate Governments. The Government should have recognised that fact and tried to introduce some way of ensuring gradualism in the constitution. However, they did not do so. Why not? Two reasons were given. The first was that they could not recognise the Muzorewa constitution because it would not obtain international recognition; the second was that it would not end the civil war in that country. That is true. However, can the Government guarantee that either of those two problems will be solved as a result of this Bill? We all hope that they will be solved, but there is certainly no guarantee.

The non-recognition of the Muzorewa constitution led directly to the Lusaka agreement. What followed was absolutely inevitable. I congratulate the Secretary of State and my right hon. Friends on what they achieved. Not many Members of Parliament would have believed that the Lancaster House constitutional conference could have gone on for nine weeks and achieved the success that it has achieved so far. We all hope that it will be brought to a successful conclusion.

I am especially pleased with the Bill since it will enable Bishop Muzorewa to return to Salisbury and say that he has achieved the lifting of sanctions. Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 disappears on Wednesday. The right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) pointed out that section 2 of the Act was the core of the sanctions policy. Whether 50 per cent., 80 per cent. or 90 per cent. remains, is immaterial. Section 2 has been the psychological core of sanctions. It is important that Bishop Muzorewa should be able to return home after all this time and say "I succeeded in this". Africans tend to support those who they believe will win, and Africans, like people all over the world, want peace.

As an aside I say that if the Patriotic Front obtains power it is most unlikely that there will be peace in Zimbabwe, as its two wings are just waiting to get at each other. However, that is a controversial point. It will, I fear, be proved to be a true one.

I return to the proposed constitution. In an earlier interjection I asked my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal whether we could debate the constitution. The financial and explanatory memorandum says: This Bill enables provision to be made, by Order in Council, for an independent constitution for Zimbabwe. Obviously I shall not go into that at any length. My right hon. Friend said that we must accent the constitution as it stands. It cannot be amended. However, that does not mean that we cannot obtain clarification. There are a number of points that I should like to put to my right hon. Friend.

The lessons of history in Africa show that safeguards and Bills of Rights are valueless unless there is a blocking mechanism in the constitution. The constitution we are given shows that the whites will have 20 per cent. of the seats in the Lower House for eight years and that the entrenched clauses in the constitution may be altered by a 70 per cent. vote. It is clear that the whites have no blocking mechanism. However all our debates on Rhodesia—HMS "Tiger", HMS "Fearless" and the Pearce Cornmission—hinged on giving the Africans a blocking right. In each case the white minority in Rhodesia agreed.

The constitution says that those who live in Zimbabwe will become Zimbabwe citizens as soon as that country becomes independent. What will happen to those people who are patrials, whose father, mother, grandfather or grandmother were born in this country and who, although they may have lived in Rhodesia all their lives, consider themselves to be British? Will they have the right to return to Britain and maintain British nationality? That is an important matter. All Members of Parliament will have engaged in a great deal of correspondence about people from all parts of the old Empire and new Commonwealth, in which those points have been raised time and again. They have caused disruptions and great sorrow and sadness to many families. That matter must be made clear to the House.

I come to the question of confiscation of, and compensation for, land. The constitution says that compensation will be paid to those ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe. What will happen to those who own property in Zimbabwe but who are not resident? Does that mean that they will not receive compensation? There is scope for a wealth of misunderstanding in that clause. When we think of what happened in Tanzania, the correspondence I have had about land in that country and the sad incidents that have occurred to Englishmen and women because of this matter, we realise it must be cleared up as soon as possible.

I now refer to public servants. This point was raised earlier. The constitution contains guarantees to public servants of payment of their pensions. They may remit those payments and pensions out of the country. That is guaranteed. But who will pay them? If things go well, Zimbabwe will enter on independence. If things do not go well and the civil war continues, what happens then? The public servants have no guarantee. I am informed—hon. Members on both sides of the House will think that this is important—that many contracts of the civil servants, the Army officers and police expire next April, at a time when Zimbabwe will enter on indepeendence. If those people pack up and return home—if they leave their country and go elsewhere—the future of Zimbabwe is grim indeed. Their services will be greatly needed in the difficult period that lies ahead for that country. Britain must give a guarantee to the pensioners. If not, they will leave and we shall be responsible for the subsequent crisis.

I turn to the general election. If the war continues during the general election—we hope that it will not—what will happen? The Governor will be in charge of the security forces and can use them. There will, I believe, be much the same result in the general election as there was in April this year. What worries me much more is what will happen if there is a ceasefire.

Anyone who knows about Africa knows that the war will go underground. It will then be far more difficult to control, as it is in Ulster today. As the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) said, we shall have responsibility without power to exercise it. The right hon. Gentleman put it much better than I can.

What will the Governor do in such circumstances? If there is a ceasefire, he must maintain a balance between the two sides. Intimidation is rife throughout Africa and in many other parts of the world. It will certainly be rife in Zimbabwe, because so much depends upon who wins the general election.

There is a grave danger that British troops may have to be called in. We should then have not the Vietnam situation, to which my right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing referred, but a Suez situation. I believe that the Opposition would exploit any such situation, as they did in 1956. The country would then be split and the situation would be very dangerous. How will the Government then control the situation?

It is therefore important that the interim period be kept as short as possible. The two months must not be exceeded. I hope that the Government intend to remain firm on that matter.

I believe that Mr. Nkomo will get considerable support in Matabeleland. He is the leading Matabele and is, as it were, the father of independence. I am not sure how much support Mr. Mugabe will get in Mashonaland. In my view, he is much more an Old Testament prophet than a revolutionary leader. But we shall see.

I repeat, what matters is that the general election be brought into effect as soon as possible, and certainly within two months. That is vital if we are to avoid chaos throughout Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.

To sum up: by not recognising the Muzorewa constitution, we are taking grave risks. We may, by this Bill and the subsequent general election, open Pandora's box. We should remember that what happened in Palestine was decided by the House of Commons. The world is still feeling the effects of what happened there as a result of our misjudgments.

We are discussing not only Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, but the future of Southern Africa. If the Soviet Union succeeds in its endeavours in Southern Africa either to create chaos or to install other client regimes, as in Angola and Mozambique, Europe is finished. The House may think that is an exaggeration. However, I remind the House that, because of the strategic importance of Southern Africa on the oil route and the vital need of industrial Western Europe for the minerals in that part of the world, whatever happens there will affect everyone in this country. I hope that we remember that when we consider the future of Zimbabwe. This is the first step along a path which could bring success and peace to all races in Africa and affect the whole balance of the world. If we fail, the world could face ultimate disaster in World War III.

8.13 pm
Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)

I think that all who have contributed to the debate have recognised that, whatever course we run, we face high risks. The hon. Member for Haltem-price (Mr. Wall) added his voice to that proposition.

The most ominous contribution to the debate was that of the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell).

Mr. McNally

As always.

Mr. Maclennan

The right hon. Gentleman attacked the Bill on the ground that it would involve us in an unacceptable risk—namely, that in sending out a Governor with the panoply of office but without substantial power we would find ourselves in an insupportable situation. The right hon. Gentleman put forward an argument that the Government must consider. Clearly we cannot duck out of our responsibilitiies for Rhodesia altogether. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was suggesting that we should, though I think he was.

It is clear that there is weakness in the Government's position, and it must be compared with the position taken by the Labour Government. In the Anglo-American proposals, largely brought forward through the influence of my right hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dr. Owen), the then Foreign Secretary, consideration was given to the question of power on the ground to ensure an orderly transfer of authority to the new Government.

We are all filled with admiration for the extent to which there was agreement at Lusaka, but there was a serious deficiency which has not been faced. Therefore, it is right in these discussions to consider what can be done about it. Within the Lusaka agreement, providing for the presence of Commonwealth observers, there is the possibility of giving some substance to the Governor's power on the ground so that we are not isolated in seeking to maintain law and order and to bring about an orderly transfer of power. I do not agree with the right hon. Member for Down, South that, because of this deficiency and danger, we should avoid the responsibilities that we have assumed over many years.

I turn now to why, with some reluctance and regret, I find it necessary to support the Opposition's amendment. My reasons are somewhat different from the arguments advanced by the right hon. Member for Down, South. I say "with regret" because I believe that Governments engaged in delicate and difficult negotiations are greatly strengthened by enjoying, so far as possible, the unanimous support of the House of Commons. It is not desirable that the House should divide on this issue, but regrettably I feel that there is no option because the Government appear to be involving the House deliberately in the diplomacy of the settlement.

The House of Commons, as has been stated by several hon. Members—notably the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston)—is not a fit place to conduct or participate in diplomacy. We can only offer our comments from the sidelines. We are not aware of the precise feelings of the parties participating in the discussions at Lancaster House. We cannot be seized of the considerations in the minds of the participants which are moving them towards or away from a settlement. Therefore, we must be extremely cautious about saying anything here which could influence the talks.

The Lord Privy Seal did not explain, either yesterday or today, the necessity, in constitutional terms or in terms of providing the powers which will ultimately be needed if there is an agreement, for bringing forward the Bill at this time. I textually analysed his remarks with great care in the hope that such a necessity could be demonstrated, but neither yesterday nor today, in response to my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore), was he able to show the need for this Bill at this time.

We are therefore forced to the conclusion that the Bill is not a constitutional necessity, because, clearly, the House would be ready to give the Government the power to set up the governorship as quickly as possible following an agreement. It is, rather, a necessity of diplomacy, which must be a somewhat suspect reason for bringing it forward.

What is that diplomatic necessity? The only explanation we have had is that it would be an affront to Bishop Muzorewa to return from the constitutional conference with sanctions still in existence. So far as I understand it, that is the sole argument that has been adduced.

If that is so, we are bound, as we are party to this exercise, to consider whether there are other arguments of equal weight that would lead us to believe that this is the wrong time to bring forward the Bill, such as the attitude of the other party to the negotiations at the conference.

The Lord Privy Seal made clear in his statement, and in his answers to questions yesterday, that all the other parties at the conference were advised that legislation would be forthcoming. He quoted from that part of the negotiating document setting out the interim arrangements, and indicating that the House would be asked to legislate. What the Lord Privy Seal did not say—I suspect that it was not said in the negotiating chamber either—was that the Bill would be an enabling Bill that would give effect not to the constitution that had been agreed but to any constitution which the Government judged it right to bring forward. This must be the reason why the instantaneous opposition from one of the parties to the negotiations was expressed on the tabling of this Bill yesterday and why, apparently, there has been an interruption in the talks today.

The whole House must hope and pray that the talks and negotiations will be resumed, and that the Government's decision today, which is welcome, not to press the Bill through all its stages with such unseemly haste will be taken as evidence of their good faith. I believe, and I am sure that the whole House believes, that the Government are acting in good faith and want to achieve an agreed settlement. For that reason, I believe that the Government were unwise to bring forward this Bill today. I am not seeking to cast any doubt on the Government's good faith, merely on their wisdom.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths (Bury St. Edmunds)

The hon. Gentleman is making an important point very well. As he accepts that the Government are acting in good faith, and as he wants the talks to resume, will he say whether the action of the Opposition in dividing the House and voting against the Bill is more likely to bring the Patriotic Front back into the talks, or more likely to keep it out of the talks, as we both fear?

Mr. Maclennan

I have already said that I, like every other Member of the House, find it exceedingly difficult to follow the motivations of the Government from day to day and hour to hour. I expect that the parties to the discussions at Lancaster House are following our debates with great interest and that they will follow the substance of what we say as we cannot follow the substance of what they say. They will realise that the objections made by the Opposition to the Bill are founded upon fears that they themselves have expressed, fears that the Bill could be used—though I grant it is not the Government's intention—to bring into effect a constitution to which they have not given assent.

I say to the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Griffiths) that I do not apprehend that the Division on the Bill will make it any less likely that negotiations will be resumed. The participants in these talks believe that the House is concerned about, and taking on board, their points of view.

The responsibility for the success of these negotiations, to which we are all committed, lies not with the House of Commons but with the Government. They have given their periodic and full reports of what is happening, but they have not given us reports which make it possible for us to judge fully the wisdom of the Bill. They have not, for example, indicated how close they are to agreement with the Patriotic Front on the interim arrangements. I do not believe that it would be possible for them to give any fuller reports than they have given on this matter. I do not believe that until an agreement has been reached it will be possible for them to say that it is in the bag. Without such agreement it is very difficult for us to take a wholly supportive view of the Government's reasons for bringing in the Bill now, when clearly it could be used for purposes with which the House would not agree. The House would not wish the Bill to go through if an agreement were not arrived at, and that is why I say, with reluctance, that I find it necessary to support the Opposition amendment.

8.26 pm
Mr. Michael Brotherton (Louth)

I am sure that the hon. Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) will not take it amiss if I congratulate him on the moderate and temperate tone of his remarks. However, we on the Government Benches regret his conclusion that he will have to support the reasoned amendment tabled by the Leader of the Opposition and his right hon. Friends.

It is five years since I made my maiden speech from the Opposition Benches on the subject of the Rhodesia sanctions order. I recall the right hon. Member for Norwich, North (Mr. Ennals) saying that it was the only maiden speech that he could recall which concluded with the words, 'So I shall vote against the policy advocated by my own Front Bench.'".—[Official Report, 8 November 1974; Vol. 880, c. 1497.] We were a happy band of some 23 or 24 souls in those days. We grew enormously last year, and I am sure that the Front Bench will not take it amiss if I say that there is a possibility that the size of the vote against the sanctions order last year contributed a little to the form the Bill takes today. The Bill takes the first major step towards the abolition of sanctions, and therefore I give it a welcome, albeit a qualified one.

Three years ago we dropped the Beira patrol. That was a great step forward. Now we have lost section 2, which will not be renewed. Regardless of the percentages that have been mentioned as to the proportion of sanctions affected, this is an act of great symbolism which means, as my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) said, that, irrespective of what may happen at Lancaster House in the next few days, the Bishop will be able to go back to Salisbury and say "I have managed to get sanctions dropped."

I give the Bill only a qualified welcome because I believe that the Government, like their predecessors, have gone down the wrong road in attempting to find a solution to the Rhodesia problem. As my hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice said earlier, after the election in Rhodesia and after the general election here we should have recognised the bishop's Government. After all, my noble friends Lord Home and Lord Boyd went out to Rhodesia and certified that the elections were free and fair. The six principles enshrined by successive British Governments have been fulfilled. We are therefore entitled to ask our Government today how many more principles they want to impose. Is this, to use the words of one South African Minister, like a game of rugby which has to be played again and again until the right team—depending on one's view—wins?

We may have gone down the wrong road, but we have to live in the world as we find it. We have to live with the policies that the Government have decided to pursue. The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) spoke of power and responsibility. I shall not follow him into the semantic romance in which he indulged, but I must ask my Front Bench, whose business this is. Some years ago Lord Home said that the time might come when we should have to go to the United Nations and say that sanctions had failed and must be dropped. I believe that the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) was wrong in 1965 to send his emissaries winging across the Atlantic to the Security Council. I do not believe that the problem of Southern Rhodesia has ever been the business of the United Nations. It is the business of the Government of the United Kingdom and the people of Southern Rhodesia, and of no one else.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

On a historical note, may I tell my hon. Friend that with Lord Home, who at the time was Shadow Foreign Secretary, I went to the then Prime Minister, and Lord Home begged him not to go to the United Nations for the precise reason that we would have difficulty in lifting those sanctions in the House of Commons. I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) ignored our pleas.

Mr. Brotherton

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. That shows the sort of difficulty that can arise if one takes one's problem to somebody else when that problem is none of his business.

We have heard Labour Members talk about our international obligations. I repeat that I believe that Her Majesty's Government should now tell the Security Council that the mandatory sanctions resolution should be dropped because sanctions have served whatever purpose they were designed to fulfil originally.

One of my main objections to sanctions through the years has been that sanctions have hit black people far more than they have hit the white population of Rhodesia. I find it extraordinary that Labour Members, who purport to be the supporters and friends of the black Rhodesians, should be the people who wish to punish those black Rhodesians and who wish now to punish those who support the Bishop and his Government.

Similarly, I regret very much that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister should have taken the problem of Southern Rhodesia to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' conference at Lusaka. We should tell the Presidents of the five front-line States to look to themselves—"Physician, heal thyself". I shall mention only two of those States. Tanzania is at present stealing assets from other people. Tanzania is in chaos. Tanzania is like many of the other black African States established north of the Zambesi which have a principle of "one man, one vote"—once, after which a dictatorship is established.

Would not President Kaunda, who is at present visiting this country, be better employed in trying to sort out his own problems in Zambia, rather than interfering in the business of a neighbouring State, and harbouring murdering guerillas who kill, slaughter and maim black and white Rhodesians alike?

I have always thought that it was a remarkably generous gesture of Ian Smith, when he was Prime Minister of Rhodesia, not to close the maize trail but to continue to allow supplies to proceed through his country into Zambia, when terrorists were being sheltered and given accommodation in that country by President Kaunda and his Government.

I welcome the Bill because we have taken a historic step towards the dropping of sanctions. It has taken many Conservative Members a long time to get the message across, but at long last we have done so. It is with great delight that I shall support the Government tonight.

8.33 pm
Mr. Tom McNally (Stockport, South)

Any new Member of the House—I have been a Member for only six months—wonders whether there should be an act of rebellion against his own party. I have always thought that one of the issues on which I might rebel would be where a Conservative Government had delivered a Rhodesia settlement which, for party political reasons, my own party opposed. Having heard the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Brotherton) say that he will support the Government tonight, I say that I shall go into the Lobby with my party this evening with a will, energy and sense of purpose which convince me that the Government are on the wrong road and have made a disastrous decision.

I should have liked the British Government to end these 15 years of disaster for the people of Southern Rhodesia on an honourable note. I should have liked a united House of Commons to give backing to Her Majesty's Government on a settlement. The Government have misjudged both the mood of the House and the negotiations by trying to bounce us and the negotiations.

In the past few hours we have heard all the old arguments. McNally's first rule on Southern African politics is that if the right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) is in favour, it must be wrong. The right hon. Gentleman has not contributed to the debate tonight, but I listened to him yesterday giving eager support to the Government. I am sure that many right hon. and hon. Members who have worked so hard to solve the problems of Southern and Central Africa must have been very worried by the eagerness of Conservative Members below the Gangway to leap in support of the Government. They were wrong and they are wrong.

They are wrong for two reasons. First, they are wrong to give way on sanctions. I referred earlier to the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell). Those who scrutinise his speech will find that, like so many of his contributions to British politics, it is devastating in its destructive logic and totally absent of any contribution to the solution.

Responsibility without power has been mentioned. In the first hours of UDI in 1965 the British Parliament said "We do not consent." Year after year successive Parliaments, have said, to themselves, to the British people and, more importantly, the African people "We will not consent to an illegal act."

During that period sanctions have proved ineffective. They do not work in weeks or months as some had hoped. However, sanctions were a declaration of intent to keep faith with a moral commitment. They have been the one honourable thread through the period of UDI. It has been suggested that we should have used force in 1965. That is a debate for history. Throughout that period we maintained sanctions. We said "Until we can honourably grant independence we will maintain sanctions."

The Government are abandoning the commitment of successive Administrations. It is a sad day. Conservative hon. Members who have taken a courageous stand against the backwoodsmen know that it is an abandonment and a piece of cheap party political manoeuvring

Mr. Peter Temple-Morris (Leominster)

Oh, really!

Mr. McNally

That is true, and the hon. Gentleman knows it.

Secondly, there is the issue of the timing of the election. Those who have been involved in the negotiations over the past four or five years know that there are manoeuvrings, deadlines and arguments. It is totally unrealistic to hope to bring an election machine into being within a two-month period, especially when it involves men who have spent a decade in imprisonment and almost half that time again in exile.

I ask Conservative hon. Members who wish to contribute to a solution to use their influence with the Government Front Bench. We are not in the business of wrecking an agreement at Lancaster House. But we do not wish to manoeuvre or appease certain elements on the Government Back Benches. We do not wish to hear that the Bishop suddenly needs to return home with a victory. I ask Conservative hon. Members to use their influence. We are so close to agreement. We must think of ways of putting the agreement into being so that it will work. If we try to rush to a two-month election the agreement will not work.

I am in agreement with the right hon. Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins). The House demands from the Government an answer to the question that he posed about what he rightly described as option three. We do not want the Patriotic Front to have a veto, but running through the negotiations has been the fear that there is another veto available. It is the veto available to Mr. Smith and to the racists who have led Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, that sad country, into its present sorry state. The Government's decision to bring forward the Bill tonight has strengthened the hand of that group in the Muzorewa delegation to apply the the third veto.

I agree with the right hon. Member for Worthing that we want an assurance from the Government that they will not use the Bill, when enacted, to settle without an agreement at Lancaster House. Without that agreement, they would be cheating the House and the British people. I believe deeply and passionately that they would be cheating history as well.

8.41 pm
Mr. Charles Morrison (Devizes)

The hon. Member for Stockport, South (Mr. McNally) has said that he would have wished the Government to end on an honourable note. I merely say to him "Have patience, they will". I have no doubt about that. They have made remarkable progress already in the talks at Lancaster House and they will continue to make progress.

I remember the pessimism that existed in London when the talks began. There was a lack of hope in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, where I happened to be when the talks started. It is fantastic that we have now reached the stage at which a Bill has been presented. Against the inauspicious background that existed nine weeks ago, it is all the more important to congratulate my right hon. and noble Friend the Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal on what they have achieved.

I regard the Bill as one more stepping stone on the road to Rhodesian independence. It prepares the ground for the next phase prior to independence. It provides the Government with more flexibility to cope with the developing situation. At the same time it seems, if I read the Bill correctly, that it reserves for the Government fully adequate power to cope with any development that may still arise, whether it be good or bad.

The fears expressed by Labour Members and by the Opposition in the amendment that they have tabled are unfounded. To my mind, the Bill presupposes an agreement. If there is no agreement at the conference, and if by some mischance the conference should fold up, I cannot visualise the Government washing their hands of Rhodesia and immediately granting independence. If they were to do that, why have they gone through the negotiations at Lancaster House with such meticulousness over the past nine weeks? Furthermore, recognition of Zimbabwe against the background of a breakdown of talks will achieve nothing. In the end, the success of the Bill and of the negotiations will be judged not on the end of sanctions, not on recognition of the new independent State but on the stability and viability of that State.

There are clearly two prerequisites. First, if not total agreement, there must certainly be the acquiescence of all the parties. Following from that, there must be an end to the war. After 14 years it is clear that it is a war that cannot be won or ended by force of arms, but every day that it continues it causes more loss of life. Let no one forget that, however many members of the white population may have suffered, the black people have suffered far worse.

Every day that the war continues, a few more young white men from Rhodesia, who could do so much for the future of their country, slip away from it. Who can blame them? One year's national service may be all very well, but a continuing commitment of 180 days a year until the age of 38 makes it totally impossible for anyone to build a career. Too large a part of the country's resources go into the war instead of into industry and agriculture. Daily the problem of rehousing an increasing number of refugees from tribal trust land grows, as I witnessed in Salisbury only in the middle of September.

An end to the war is essential. Without that the future for the economy of Zimbabwe is bleak and the hope of a continuing multi-racial society will disappear. If the war ends, the economy can expand, confidence can return and the outward flow of white people can be reversed. There will be a real chance that Zimbabwe, with the vast resources that it possesses, will become the most prosperous State in Africa.

Finally, while congratulating the Government on the progress so far made—and especially the Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal—I hope that at no time will they think that, even after eight weeks, a speedy end to the talks is more important than the agreement or acquiescence of all parties. Fourteen years have passed since UDI, and a few more weeks of talks is a small price to pay on the road to an agreed settlement.

8.47 pm
Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)

The official Opposition's reasoned amendment has two additional clauses. The first says that we cannot give a Second Reading without a commitment not to use the powers if there is no agreement at Lancaster House. The second says that there must also be a commitment to retain section 2 sanctions during the period before the return to legality. The Government have made it plain—and it is enclosed in clause 3 of the Bill—that they will keep section 2 sanctions during the period up to legality, so there is no dispute about that.

The Opposition could vote for the Bill if there was a complete assurance about the first qualifying clause of the amendment—that the powers would not be used if there was no agreement at Lancaster House. That is all that separates the two sides of the House. Why cannot the Government give us that assurance? They came near to it in the statement made by Lord Carrington in another place, which was quoted by my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore). It was not quite a full assurance, but it was approaching it.

The Lord Privy Seal quibbled at even that. He suggested that those words related only to a situation where agreement had been reached. Therefore, we are entitled to our doubt.

My hon. Friend the Member for Caithness and Sutherland (Mr. Maclennan) has left the Chamber. I do not share his view that the Government are to be trusted about what they will do with the powers. I believe that we are being sold a pig in a poke. We are being asked to pass into law powers that will enable the Government to take Rhodesia to a position where an elected Government are recognised and given lawful authority by the British Government. It is true that there is no power in the Bill to give an independence constitution to that Government. It is also true that Her Majesty's Government can promulgate a constitution under the power conferred by section 1. That power is subject to laying the Order in Council before Parliament. That is all the Government need to do, so far as I am aware. The approval of Parliament is not needed for the laying of the Order in Council; the Government simply have to table it.

Under section 2, the Government must go further. Any part of the proposed constitution which they wish to bring in before the date when independence can be conferred legally must be subject to an Order in Council. That has to be laid before Parliament and it has to be ratified by positive approval of both Houses of Parliament within 28 days. Therefore, the part that enables the Government to bring in sections of that constitution in the interim period is subject to positive approval by both Houses. The first part of the third clause confers the power that is needed to send the Governor into Southern Rhodesia to take over the reins of government and make whatever provision he wishes, under Order in Council, for and in connection with the government of Southern Rhodesia, for a period up to the appointed day. If there is no independence Bill, the appointed day could be infinity.

During that period, the Governor can act in any way the Order in Council permits. The Order in Council does not have to be tabled before Parliament. Nor would it be subject to negative or positive resolution. All that is required is for it to be made by the Privy Council and the Governor is able to do as he wishes.

Once the Bill is passed, the Government can send the Governor into Southern Rhodesia. Once there, the Governor can arrange for elections to take place in such conditions that the Patriotic Front will not have a genuine right to express themselves fully, campaign and receive a free vote. Thus rigged, the vote can give Bishop Muzorewa a majority in such an election. Then the Government can say "We do not need an independence constitution; we have a Government and we can recognise that Government".

Under international law, Southern Rhodesia is a colony. We are the imperial power and we are required by international law to pass the powers to that new Government in an independence constitution enshrined in an Act of Parliament in this place. However, if the Government at any time in the past 13 years had decided to recognise the illegal regime in Southern Rhodesia, from that moment on the regime would have acquired the legality of approval in international law. I beg my right hon. and hon. Friends to recognise that if the Bill is passed tonight the Government will have the power to go for my third option, if they want to.

I believe that that is why the Bill has been introduced. There is no other acceptable reason. The Bill could have been passed within hours of an agreement at Lancaster House. It is no good saying that that short period was too long to wait and that the matter had to be on the statute book. If a ceasefire were to be agreed at Lancaster House next Wednesday, no one can believe that by Wednesday midnight it would be operative in Rhodesia. The orders have to go down the line, if not through Muzorewa, through General Walls, to the security forces on his side, and through the ZANU headquarters and through the ZAPU headquarters to the people in the bush. The chain of communication in ZANU is particularly diffuse. It would take some days before a ceasefire was operative following an agreement. In those few days, we could pass this Bill. Why, therefore, are the Government bringing in this Bill, unless it is for the reason that I suspect?

In an aristocratic, patrician, speech, the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser), who has now walked out of the Chamber, suggested that our fears simply belittled the Opposition. I want to inform him that we have reached this stage and the negotiations at Lancaster House because of the reality of power. The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) talks about power and responsibility. This whole matter is about power. We have reached this stage only because power has been taken away increasingly from Smith and the whites by those who have been fighting for the last 10 years.

Mr. Ian Lloyd (Havant and Waterloo)


Mr. Lyon

No, I shall not give way. The reality of power is that the Patriotic Front and with it, originally, Bishop Muzorewa, who was also engaged in this operation, have brought us to Lancaster House.

Mr. Lloyd


Mr. Lyon

I am not giving way.

I have listened to the reports coming out of Lancaster House, via the BBC, conditioned by the Foreign Office briefing. Those reports have suggested that the Government believe that the reality of power is with Bishop Muzorewa, General Walls and the security forces and that a deal, therefore, has to be done that recognises that reality. If this is the Foreign Office's advice to the Government Front Bench, I can only say, from my limited experience of Rhodesia, that it is an unreal view of what is happening. Although the whites and Muzorewa have the fire power to make raids into Zambia or Mozambique, or to take over whatever part of Rhodesia they want, because they possess the helicopters, the planes and the bombs, the fact is that, for most of the time, when those forces cannot be deployed in a particular area of Rhodesia, the power is with the Patriotic Front. Ninety per cent. of the land surface of Rhodesia is under the control of the Patriotic Front, with the qualification that the security forces can take it back if they mass their power. From day to day, they do not have that power.

The reality of power is that one has to deal not only with Muzorewa, but also with the Patriotic Front. Without that, it is no use pretending that one has a deal that the front-line Presidents will recognise or that the United Nations will recognise. One will not be allowed in international affairs to get away with recognising the Muzorewa regime. Instead, the war will go on. Nothing will be acceptable to the Patriotic Front until it wins a bloody victory. But that is not what the Patriotic Front wants. If that is what the Patriotic Front wanted, it would not have been talking in Lancaster House for nine weeks.

The Patriotic Front knows the reality of power, and knows what it can manage. It knows that it will win by the bullet. But it does not want that. It is prepared to win through the ballot box, which, it believes, is open to it, and to save lives in that way.

I believe that the House should vote against the Bill in order to ensure that the Patriotic Front has the right to come to an agreement at Lancaster House and that it is not excluded by the tactics of the Government. Until that agreement comes about, this Bill is unnecessary; and that agreement is at present very unlikely indeed.

So far, the Government have been telling the House that an agreement is very near, that they have got past the negotiations about the constitution and about the interim period, and now they have only to have the argument about the ceasefire. The truth of the matter is that the Patriotic Front maintains its difficulties about the constitution, and it only made an agreement to go on to discuss the next stage by qualifying that agreement by saying that it would not have to go back to the constitution if it could get an agreement about the interim proposals.

That qualification was contained in a three-paragraph statement which the Patriotic Front went to the Foreign Secretary to discuss. Having discussed it, he accepted that it was sufficient and that the Patriotic Front would announce it at the following day's discussion in plenary session at Lancaster House. The Patriotic Front went away ready to come back to the discussions and to read out the three paragraphs. The following morning's newspapers contained one paragraph only, one paragraph that had been released by the Foreign Office briefing to the press, which suggested that the Patriotic Front had climbed down.

In that context the Patriotic Front will not be bullied or bamboozled into an agreement. It must be a genuine agreement. If the Foreign Office and the Foreign Secretary are to conduct the rest of the negotiations in that way, they will not get the agreement about the ceasefire, which is absolutely essential.

I believe that the Bill has been introduced because the Foreign Office and the Foreign Secretary do not really intend to get that agreement. Because of that, we must vote against the Bill.

9.1 pm

Mr. Peter Temple-Morris (Leominster)

I say straight away how relieved I am that I do not rise to speak following the hon. Member for York (Mr. Lyon) after the eight-hour speech that he threatened earlier today. He has won his point there, but in the speech that he has just made he has not won any points.

Up to a very recent moment in the debate it seemed to be common ground between the two sides of the House that the attitude and the efforts of Her Majesty's Government to attain a solution were sincere. Everything that the hon. Member for York said—at one moment it seemed to be an outright speech on behalf of the Patriotic Front—seemed to belittle the Government's efforts and the good intentions and long-held political beliefs of many Conservative and Opposition Members that a settlement was possible.

Anyone who listened to or who will read the hon. Member's speech and who does not, perhaps, know of his beliefs and all that he stands for, might be tempted to think that there was a little bit, at least, of hard feelings and sour grapes in what he said. The plain fact is that in six months in office the present Government have got further towards a solution than the previous Government did over five years of gravitating around Africa and the world talking to this leader and that leader, and so on.

I totally disagree with the hon. Member when he says that an agreement is not near. Many people on either side of the fence, white or black, acknowledge that we are very near an agreement. If the Bill goes through, I believe that it will make that agreement much more likely, and by that I mean a three-party agreement and not a two-party agreement.

I have a great respect generally for the hon. Member for Stockport, South (Mr. McNally). However, he used phraseology such as "bouncing negotiations" and "cheap party-political manoeuvring". It has emerged in the debate that there are certain little local difficulties on the Conservative Benches over sanctions. However, surely this debate can rise a little above that when we are dealing with negotiations which are rapidly coming to fruition and which are the solution to a war. In that context, such phraseology is not worthy of the hon. Member or the debate.

A settlement is near. I make only four points. First, I am very much in favour of the Bill because speed is necessary. We must be able to act immediately at the moment of that agreement. I do not want to go into a great thesis about the Patriotic Front, Bishop Muzorewa, Rhodesia or anything else, but the plain fact is that any agreement that is achieved, after all these difficulties, by its very nature will be vulnerable.

Britain is negotiating with two parties. One of those parties, the Patriotic Front, is in reality two parties. We all know that and we know of the difficulties that there are between them. We all know that they have plans for when they get back to Rhodesia and that the domestic and political position of one of those parties—whatever may be agreed in London—is vulnerable within Rhodesia. The right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) and many of his hon. Friends may talk about delaying the process of the Bill for two, three or four days, but judging by the display earlier today it could be even longer if a three-party agreement was not favoured by the Opposition. That period of time could cause much difficulty in Rhodesia.

My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) remarked that there were now grave difficulties because of intimidation. Figures given in the press show that there are about 15,000 guerrillas out of uniform, perhaps with weapons, who represent a great threat as they spread out into the villages. That number is said to be increasing day by day, as more and more guerrillas come into the country ready for a settlement. That is one of the reasons why the hon. Member for York is wrong when he suggests that there will not be a settlement.

The whole strategy of the Patriotic Front is very much dictated by the desire to achieve a settlement and then to exploit that settlement to gain victory. It is our duty to ensure that the elections are free and fair. It is also our duty to acknowledge some of the realities of life. To find a solution it is necessary for there to be strength of purpose. That is where the Government have excelled themselves. That is why they have got where they are. The Government must not weaken now.

I dealt with sanctions when I referred to the hon. Member for Stockport, South. We are dropping only 15 per cent. of the sanctions. Until now, I have voted to retain sanctions. I hope I have proved that I have a certain credibility with Labour Members because it is nonsense to go on with sanctions next Thursday, or before then, when a settlement is about to be reached.

It is our duty to keep a fair balance within those talks, bearing in mind the political circumstances within Rhodesia, an African country, whose politics will not be quite the same as those of Britain. If we were to impose sanctions now, it would have a disproportionate effect on Bishop Muzorewa. It would destroy him in the eyes of his people; and that is a reality of African politics that must be accepted. It is more important than any party differences about a sanctions Bill that will go out of the window anyway, even if it were to succeed. However, I am glad that it will not succeed.

The international mood for settlement is better than ever. The hon. Member for York does not think there will be a understand the realpolitik of the situain his somewhat legalistic way, he should understand the real politik of the situation. The British Government have given a lead that was lacking previously. As a result, Britain has resumed its position as the principal in seeking to solve an issue for which it is responsible. I am glad that we are rid of the Anglo-American proposals. The Americans have been only too happy to assign the leadership to us and the EEC is following. Many people, including the black African countries, are relieved and are pleased with the Lusaka conference. Negotiations and consultations are going on all the time. They are happy with our lead so far, and long may they remain so.

Finally, the front-line Presidents desperately want peace. We must often differentiate between what Presidents—be they African or anything else—say in public and what they say in private. The people of Mozambique, from the President down, have very real fears that that country will become the Lebanon of Southern Africa. We know all about Zambia's problems and we do not need to repeat them. Tanzania is absolutely broke. President Nyerere's attitude has changed remarkably recently. Botswana is moderate and will follow the rest, and Angola has quite enough problems of its own already.

I have tried to make the points as rapidly as I can. We must acknowledge the realpolitik of the situation without going into semantics of any sort, and we should wish this Government well in something which up to now they have handled far better than we had hoped or expected.

9.11 pm
Mr. Frank Hooley (Sheffield, Heeley)

It is grotesque that the Government should bring a Bill to the House purporting to put into effect an agreement which has not yet been arrived at. We are in the middle—indeed, at a very delicate stage—of difficult negotiations, and for the Government to ask for a blank cheque of this kind is absolutely disgraceful. My right hon. and hon. Friends are right to vote against it.

I share the view expressed by the then Lord Chancellor in the House of Lords last November that the powers under the 1965 Act are quite sufficient for the interim period. They are not sufficient for independence but they are enough for the interim period. That is also the view of my right hon. Friend, the former Foreign Secretary. Those powers are there but they are not being used. We know why they are not being used—because of the crack that exists in the Conservative Party over sanctions.

I shall comment on three aspects of the problem. First, there is the issue of the constitution. It is defective, as was pointed out lucidly by Professor Clare Palley in The Guardian a few weeks ago. One could easily have a situation in which there is total deadlock and where the African parties must get 64 per cent. of African seats to form an effective Government. That is a formidable target. If no single African party gets that, there is a danger that any form of coalition could be blocked by the white minority seats. Then there would be a total deadlock and no way forward.

Secondly, there is the issue of the appointment of the Governor. I agree with the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) that the Governor will need to be backed by some effective supervisory force. It is quite absurd to send a man from this country to govern Rhodesia in the present situation of private armies, martial law, widespread brutality, fighting and gang warfare, without giving him effective forces to stabilise the position.

It is totally wrong that the Government should have ignored the proposition for a United Nations force, or at least a Commonwealth force, to exercise some restraint and bring some impartial pressure to bear on the various conflicting forces in Zimbabwe in order to move forward in the elections.

I warn the Government that, if they have forgotten the fate of Lumumba, Mugabe and Nkomo have not. They will not go unarmed into a country where they can be assassinated or gunned down as Lumumba was gunned down in the Congo. Unless there is some sort of effective force on the ground, those men will not go back into that sort of trap and the Government might as well face that fact if they want a successful conclusion.

Thirdly, on the issue of sanctions, it is absolutely essential for the maintenance of our standing in the world, for our relations with the United Nations and the Commonwealth, that sanctions should be fully maintained right up to the time when we can hand over to a lawful, elected Government with an independent constitution. If the Government play around with sanctions they will call into question our good faith with the very powers and the very authorities—the United Nations, the Commonwealth and the front-line States—upon whose power and support we shall rely to bring this matter to a successful conclusion.

It is bizarre to suggest that we can bring a country from civil war to elected parliamentary government in eight weeks. I have never heard of such a weird and impossible proposition. It is a preposterous suggestion and I do not know how the Government have the gall to put it forward. Apart from anything else, there is the setting up of proper facilities so that all the parties may campaign. A large proportion of the population must come in from the country areas to vote. Election machinery has to be established in a country which is still torn by civil war. The suggestion that all this can be done in eight weeks seriously calls in question the good faith of the negotiations at Lancaster House.

We must remember that we are operating amid all the other forces which put pressure on Central Africa and on ourselves. We must keep the good will of the front-line Presidents or the thing will not work. We must keep faith with the Commonwealth and with the conditions set out by the Commonwealth leaders at Lusaka. We have got to get the agreement of the United Nations. We cannot dismiss the United Nations as a body which has no standing in these matters. If the United Nations fails to recognise the eventual outcome, our efforts will be null and void.

Nobody has so far mentioned the shadow of South Africa. What understandings, agreements and promises, perhaps, have the Government with that country in relation to Southern Rhodesia? South Africa could destroy all that we purport to do unless she is clearly and definitely warned that the international community will not tolerate further interference from her of the kind experienced in the past 10 years.

9.17 pm
Mr. Churchill (Stretford)

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell), in a most entertaining intervention in this debate, noted that the British Governor, on his arrival in Salisbury, would lay claim to the control of the Rhodesian security forces both in the police and in the Army. He must have omitted to notice, otherwise he would surely have alluded to it, that in the Government's paper of 2 November on "Rhodesia — The Pre-independence Arrangements" it is said that the Governor also lays claim to control the forces of the Patriotic Front. Paragraph 21 declares that the commanders on both sides would be responsible to the Governor for the ceasefire. I thought that the right hon. Member might enjoy hearing that.

I welcome the Government's decision not to renew the sanctions order and their commitment to lift all sanctions as soon as the Governor sets foot in Salisbury, which could be within a fortnight. The lifting of sanctions cannot come soon enough. With the possible exception of the selling of the Czechoslovaks into Nazi slavery under the Munich agreement, the maintenance of sanctions against Rhodesia, once that country came under attack from externally based terrorists armed, trained and masterminded by Moscow, was the most shameful act ever undertaken by a British Government.

When one recalls the way in which countless thousands of Rhodesians fought for Britain in her hour of need, joining, as did Ian Smith, the Royal Air Force and the Long-Range Desert Group while the Rhodesian African Rifles, all of them black, fought with distinction in Burma it is heinous to see the shameful way in which Britain in recent years has repaid this debt of honour.

This morning I returned from Zimbabwe-Rhodesia. We may think that we have a problem in Northern Ireland where there is a force of some 500 active gunmen. With an army of equivalent strength to the 15,000 British troops in Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia has to face an assault not from 500 but from 15,000 terrorists who are armed with heavier equipment than that which is available to the terrorists in Northern Ireland.

Fortunately, the Patriotic Front terrorists do not have the skill or motivation of the IRA. Nevertheless, the scale of their terror in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia is 30 times that which confronts us in Northern Ireland. I pay tribute to the young men of Rhodesia whom I have seen in the field this week. They are the finest of their generation to be found anywhere in the world. They are an example of the British at their best, as we always are when we have our backs to the wall.

I am full of admiration for the qualities and effectiveness of the black soldiers who comprise more than 80 per cent. of the Zimbabwe-Rhodesian army. I salute their courage, skill and endurance.

I have been privileged to know this land and its people for 17 years. During my latest visit I was struck forcibly by the fact that the people of Zimbabwe have never been more united than they are today. Before our eyes we see a strong and racially united Zimbabwe being forged in the crucible of war.

I regret that the April elections were not recognised by the incoming Conservative Government. I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of non-Marxist African States would have followed our lead. By failing to seize that opportunity, by insisting on unravelling the internal settlement and by requiring new elections, the Government have taken a dangerous gamble with the future and the lives of all the people of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia.

I do not intend to dwell on the past, for only the future is important. The Lancaster House talks, accepted by Bishop Muzorewa and his team, provide a path of hope. The nation's future will turn above all on the outcome of the election. The result is far from a foregone conclusion. I hesitate to give encouragement to the hopes of some Opposition Members, but there can be no question but that the Bishop's standing has been gravely damaged. Any Government who have to face the electoral music within nine months of a general election are not in the strongest of positions. I am not sure that my right hon. Friends would care gratuitously to submit to such a process.

We have denied the Bishop recognition, the lifting of sanctions and the means to end the war. All these factors go far to undermine his position.

The gravest aspect, however, is that the whole aim of the exercise in the Government's and Opposition's estimation is to achieve elections which are even more free and fair than the April elections. I believe that the hopes of both Front Benches will prove false. In April this year there were no more than 10,000 to 12,000 terrorists in Rhodesia; today there are 15,500. By the end of the year it is estimated that there will be 20,000. In addition, there are a further 30,000 ZIPRA and ZANLA terrorists in training in Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania who, in the context of a ceasefire will almost certainly return to Rhodesia. In the space of nine months between those two elections, we will have seen the escalation of the terrorist forces of the Patriotic Front from 10,000 to 50,000—a fivefold increase. If that is not a formidable body of "election agents", I do not know what is.

There is a serious possibility that in those circumstances, with 100 times the number of terrorists in Zimbabwe as those who confront us in Northern Ireland, the Mugabe faction could achieve the largest share of the vote, though probably not a majority. This would in no way be a reflection of the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia but would merely be a reflection of the extreme pressure of intimidation from 50,000 armed terrorists who maim, murder and mutilate every day that this war goes on.

Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)


Mr. Churchill

The hon. Gentleman should have the honesty to go and see for himself.

A key factor in this process will be the timing of the elections and the control of security. The Opposition, including their Front Bench, wish to give the Patriotic Front a veto on the Lancaster House talks. Furthermore, they wish to renew the sanctions order to put more pressure on the forces of democracy inside Rhodesia. Finally, they demand more time. All those demands are directly in line with those of the Patriotic Front and the friends of Moscow.

Why do the Opposition so totally support the demands of the Patriotic Front? The British Government owe it to all the peoples of Zimbabwe to ensure that their democratic wishes prevail—not the wishes of those outside who fire, fuel and meddle in this conflict.

9.27 pm
Mr. John Stokes (Halesowen and Stourbridge)

I shall be brief. I support the Bill. I shall mention some points that have not so far been brought out in the debate.

I do not take the new constitution very seriously. It cannot, after all, bind Rhodesians in the future. Only Rhodesians of all races can make it work.

Unfortunately, the United Kingdom has not had a successful record in decolonising Africa. The constitutions that we have proposed have all been torn up and usually followed by one dictatorishp or another. A Westminster-type democracy does not suit the whole world and does not appear to be particularly suitable for Africa.

All our ex-colonies in Africa, with the exception of Malawi, are in a poor state. The Zambians are nearly starving; Tanzania is nearly bankrupt; Uganda is in chaos and occupied by Tanzanian troops; even in Kenya, which is sometimes held out as a good example, two Opposition leaders have been murdered. Hon. Members on both sides must devoutly hope that Rhodesian will have a different and better future, especially with her large white population. Everything depends on the whites, especially the white farmers, remaining. The main difficulty in the Bill is whether the Patriotic Front will abide by the constitution, lay down its arms and submit to the ballot box. It is always difficult for terrorists to do that, as we saw in Ireland in 1921–22.

Several speakers have mentioned the various body blows that Bishop Muzorewa has received in recent times. The second election alone appears to invalidate the first election, which was described as free and fair. The fact that he has to give up being in the Government and stand down before the election is also a blow to his prestige. Africans respect power and success.

There will be great dangers for the Governor, as the right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) brilliantly pointed out. But I believe that we have no alternative but to take the risk. We cannot let matters go on as they are. I only wish that we had sufficient armed forces to send at least one division and several squadrons of aircraft to assist the Governor.

One matter which has not been touched upon is whether Russia and East Germany will continue to train, support and arm the Patriotic Front. Also, will the two factions of the Patriotic Front agree not to light each other?

Our prime duty is not to forget who are our friends and who are our enemies. The Muzorewa Government have been out friends. The Patriotic Front has not been particularly friendly—certainly not to the West—and its members are not friends among themselves.

Despite these grave risks and difficulties, I support the Bill. The Government are absolutely right in what they have done.

We must try to get the United States to support us. The American people do not know very much about Africa, just as they do not know very much about Ireland.

Our EEC colleagues should not be too difficult. After all, they and Japan, as I saw when I was in Salisbury last year, were the chief sanctions breakers.

Finally, there are the countries of the Third world. I do not think that we should worry too much about the Third world. The countries of the Third world are always hostile to us. So long as there is a large white population in Rhodesia, they will continue to be hostile.

What matters is not the constitution, not even creating a democracy, nor vague liberal sentiments—there is a most successful multi-racial Government now in Salisbury, probably one of the best Governments in the whole of Africa—but Britain's interests and those of the West and the future of our own people in Rhodesia as well as the blacks. Given sound government and stable conditions, Rhodesia could become the happiest and most prosperous State in Africa. These are the stakes for which we are playing, and the Bill is the first throw.

9.33 pm
Mr. Edward Rowlands (Merthyr Tydfil)

For 14 years successive Governments and Parliaments have grappled with the problem of Rhodesia. Anyone who has been involved in the various attempts, negotiations and initiatives to resolve the Rhodesian problem—I have had the distinction, dubious perhaps, of being involved in at least two of the major initiatives in the last five or six years—will fervently hope and pray that the initiative launched at the Lancaster House conference will succeed.

I must point out to the Lord Privy Seal that, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) said at the beginning of the debate, we passionately hope and pray that the Lancaster House conference will succeed. We have done, and will continue to do, everything possible to co-operate in the successful achievement of an agreement by all parties to solve this problem. No one can say that we have not done that or endeavoured to do it.

The result of 14 years of failure—this is the background against which the Bill should be looked at—has been the development of suspicion and distrust quickly triggered off by one party or another. What struck me over the last four of five years was the amount of time that one had to spend trying to remove the distrust and suspicion—many times unfounded—because of the 14 years of irritation and frustration at British Governments who failed to solve this problem.

In one respect it is against this background that we challenge the wisdom of introducing the Bill in the manner chosen by the Government, for they are taking a gamble and a risk thereby. In our view, it is an unnecessary risk, for which, throughout the debate, we have not had an adequate explanation.

It is not the actions or words of any of my right hon. and hon. Friends that are the cause of the worry. Anyone who has read this morning's press will know of the comments made by parties at the conference. Already the introduction of the Bill against this background has aroused worries and concerns about the motives and intentions behind the Government's actions.

Those worries and concerns have been expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for York (Mr. Lyon) and many other hon. Members. What is worse, the Lord Privy Seal did not give one adequate reason, in his opening explanation, why we must deal with the Bill at this moment and in this way. For that reason, concern and suspicion have been aroused and perhaps wrong constructions placed on the motives of the Government by the Opposition. We have had to ask ourselves why the Government have decided to proceed in this peculiar and, as my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) said, rather grotesque way.

The Government claim that there is urgency and that the whole future success of the conference depends on having these powers ready in advance so that they can act on them the moment agreement is achieved. Another reason for the urgency, we assume, is that the Government feel that they need to put a Governor into Salisbury as rapidly as possible.

Is it not possible to appoint a Governor and implement many of the transitional arrangements listed in the pre-independence arrangements document under existing legislation? Will the Minister go through the document and tell us which provisions require new legislation as opposed to those that could be introduced by order under existing legislation?

I put that question because, when the Labour Government drew up the White Paper in 1977, much of what is in this document was discussed in the Foreign Office and we had strong legal advice to the effect that it was possible to introduce a host of transitional arrangements, including the appointment of a Governor, under existing legislation. Unless the lawyers have been changed, I cannot see why that cannot be done now. Large parts of the pre-independence arrangements that are proposed by the Government could be introduced under existing legislation.

I understand that the electoral arrangements may require new legislation and new powers, but we can deal with that situation. As many of my hon. Friends have said, the House will give the speediest passage to a Bill, and give the Government powers, once agreement has been reached and a ceasefire arranged. This House will then approve, with rapidity and speed, all the powers necessary for the Government to act. So urgency cannot and should not be the fig-leaf or smokescreen behind which the Government conceal their intentions.

The sad thing about the Government doing what they have done in the way they have done it is that the sense of co-operation that has existed in the House during the last few weeks over the Lancaster House conference has been broken. The Government have now brought forward legislation to give effect to a constitutional conference which has not yet reached agreement. The House will be expected to approve clauses of a Bill referring to a constitution and transitional arrangements that have not been properly put to the House. Apart from a hastily cobbled White Paper that was handed out yesterday and a document put in a box in the Library, the House has not been consulted.

These arrangements have not been agreed at the conference. The constitution is contingent upon an agreement and a ceasefire, and yet we are expected to pass legislation accepting the principles of the pre-independence paper and the draft constitution.

Fundamental to our argument and to the first part of our reasoned amendment is our belief that the Government should not attempt to attain the Bill before obtaining the agreement of all the parties at Lancaster House. We are also seeking a commitment that the powers in the Bill to install a Governor, invoke the transitional arrangements, organise elections and put military and police advisors into Salisbury will not be exercised until the agreement of all the parties and a ceasefire have been achieved.

There is a world of difference between giving the range of powers that the Government are seeking in the Bill once a ceasefire and agreement have been achieved, and doing so in advance of that achievement. Many hon. Members on both sides would take a very different view about the nature and scope of the powers and about the whole operation if there were no ceasefire and no agreement.

The evasiveness of the Lord Privy Seal and his inability this afternoon and yesterday to give a categorical assurance that these powers will not be used unless a ceasefire and an agreement are secured cause us concern. In this respect we return to the point that my right hon. Friend the Member for Stepney and Poplar pressed upon the Lord Privy Seal, and on which we have had a totally unsatisfactory answer, concerning the Foreign Secretary's remarks in another place yesterday. I have watched the Foreign Office exercise its infinite capacity to interpret and reinterpret statements. But it would defy even the ingenuity of the Foreign Office to misinterpret or reinterpret the Foreign Secretary's statements yesterday. He said: Sanctions will be taken off when the governor takes over in Salisbury, and he will take over when a ceasefire has been agreed. I would not say that all the shooting will have stopped, but not until the ceasefire is agreed will he take over. He added: it is essential that there should be a ceasefire, because if there are to be elections in which everybody takes part it is not possible to have them until there is a ceasefire. Consequently, a ceasefire is necessary. In the context that we are talking about, it will obviously be necessary for a ceasefire and for the governor to go as soon as it is arranged."—[Official Report, House of Lords, 7 November 1979; Vol. 402, c. 833–5.] That statement contains no preconditions. It is an absolute statement saying that the powers in the Bill to install a Governor and start the arrangements for elections cannot and will not take place until the ceasefire has been arranged. There is no other interpretation that even the Foreign Office could put on those remarks.

We ask the Minister tonight only to confirm that that is Government policy. If we had used those phrases the Lord Privy Seal would have accused us of giving the Patriotic Front a veto.

I turn now to the second part of our reasoned amendment, which concerns sanctions. We have heard a great deal tonight about the fact that the Government have not been willing to face up to a group of their own Back Benchers and reintroduce sanctions within the next week. If we work back from next Thursday the time scale of the Bill, we can then realise why we have been pushed and pressed. The right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) smiles because he thinks he has won—on points. He has not achieved a knock-out because he is still concerned about the other 80 per cent. of sanctions.

The principle of sanctions is indivisible It does not matter whether we are talking of the 80 per cent. of sanctions applied under other legislation or the 20 per cent. covered under section 2 of the Southern Rhodesian Act 1965. The principle is that of maintaining sanctions until there has been a real and meaningful return to legality in Rhodesia. Until that time, those sanctions should not be lifted, whether they are under other legislation or under section 2 of the 1965 Act.

The Government have given their reasons why they feel that they cannot introduce sanctions for a short period. They have said that it is not possible under the 1965 Act. But it is possible for them to introduce sanctions of the section 2 type under this Bill. All they need to do is to add the existing orders to clause 3(3) of the Bill. They can then introduce sanctions, with the power to terminate them as and when necessary. The Government have claimed that the original sanctions legislation was inflexible and that they had to be brought in for 12 months. That difficulty can now be obviated by the power they have under clause 3(3) of the Bill.

The Government are behaving in a partial way, backing one side and not the other, whereas they ought to be maintaining the principle that Governments have maintained, despite the difficulties, over 14 years. No sanctions should be lifted until there has been a full return to legality. There should be a commitment to maintain and continue section 2 sanctions under the 1965 Act, along with the other 80 per cent. of sanctions applied under other legislation.

It is for these reasons that we move our reasoned amendment. If that fails, we shall vote against the Second Reading of the Bill tonight.

9.47 pm
The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Richard Luce)

The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil (Mr. Rowlands) and I have been on opposite sides of the House on many an occasion when we have debated the problems of Rhodesia in the last two or three years. We may have had our differences of opinion in these debates, but I am quite sure that we have one thing in common, and that is a real desire, as the whole House has, to see an end to this terrible conflict and this terrible war.

The debate has taken place against the sombre background of a war that we are desperately trying to bring to an end as rapidly as possible; my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Mr. Morrison) described graphically the terrible situation in Rhodesia. It has also taken place against the background of the conference at Lancaster House which, as my right hon Friend said earlier, has now lasted for nearly nine weeks. It is acknowledged in all parts of the House that a great deal of progress has been made at Lancaster House. A great deal of patience has been shown by all parties.

During this period we have been in constant touch and consultation with our partners in Western Europe, in the United States, and in the Commonwealth. We have been reflecting the views of this House and of those at Lancaster House, and in all these consultations there has been a widespread desire to see an early settlement and an end to the war. Only two weeks ago my right hon. and noble Friend asked me to undertake a tour which has been made by the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil, namely, that of the front-line States, Nigeria and Liberia. There is throughout those countries an urgent desire to witness an end to the terrible conflict that is affecting them as well as the black people and white people of Rhodesia.

When we reflect upon the problem, I believe that the majority of the House will agree that we have never been so close to a settlement. Credit for that goes to the unstinting work and patience of my right hon. and noble Friend and my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal in the Lancaster House discussions.

We are discussing the Bill against a background of remarkable progress and the real hope of the Government that we shall reach an agreement with all the parties so that there may be peace and an end to the bloodshed. That is something to which my right hon. Friend the Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins) referred strongly.

I refute the suggestion made by the hon. Members for Stockport, South (Mr. McNally) and York (Mr. Lyon) that we are trying to bounce the conference. We and the other parties have patiently week after week continued the negotiations in a real desire to achieve an effective settlement.

We discuss these matters against the background of the achievement that I have set out, against the background of the support that we have had from the Commonwealth arising from the Lusaka conference and a remarkable willingness, shared by all the parties at Lancaster House, to show a statesmanlike spirit of compromise. They have shown a spirit of compromise on the constitution. Agreement has been reached on the constitution subject to an agreement on the pre-independence arrangements and on the ceasefire. That is a tribute to all the parties at Lancaster House.

We hope now, as my right hon. Friend said earlier, that in the next few days we shall reach an agreement on the pre-independence arrangements that will enable us to move quickly to discussions on the ceasefire. We hope that that will come in the near future.

The right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar (Mr. Shore) said that the official Opposition had been encouraging and helpful during the past few weeks. I acknowledge that fact. The attitude of the Opposition has been helpful in the process of the discussions. But it is only right to ask some Labour Members to reflect rather more before they make such sweeping condemnations and criticisms of the Government's efforts and the purposes behind the Bill, which have been so carefully explained by my right hon. Friend.

I turn to the important issues that have been raised, and especially to the criticisms that have been voiced by Labour Members. First, I deal with the question of timing and the reason for speed. I acknowledge that there is anxiety on both sides of the House about any decision by any Government to introduce a Bill and to ask for its speedy passage through the House. I hope that the new arrangements are to the convenience of the House.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Leominster (Mr. Temple-Morris) said, we must be in a position to implement the settlement as swiftly as possible after we have reached a conclusion at Lancaster House, and that may be very soon. It was not sensible or possible to introduce the Bill earlier, as has been suggested in some quarters. We tabled our full proposals only last week, on 2 November. It was only right to give all the parties at Lancaster House some time to reflect before introducing the Bill. If we had introduced the Bill earlier, that would have been doing an injustice to all the parties at Lancaster House. We thought it only right that they should have a chance to reflect and react to the proposals that we produced last week.

We are considering the Bill against the background of section 2 of the 1965 Act, and that is important; it would be foolish to deny that. Quite apart from the issue of renewal of sanctions, we are faced with the need for wider powers to deal with the implementation of a settlement if it shortly occurs.

The hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil asked about the 1965 Act, but that Act does not give the Government sufficient power to implement a settlement. That is why we need to introduce a Bill which is comprehensive and tidy and which will enable us to act swiftly to implement a settlement. The existing legislation gives us power to appoint a Governor, but without this Bill we do not have power to provide for a new constitution and bring in at an earlier stage certain parts of that constitution to enable the Governor to fulfil his objectives.

Several hon. Members raised the question of section 2 and the lapsing of sanctions. My hon. Friends the Members for Louth (Mr. Brotherton) and for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) have strong reservations about our decision to maintain the bulk of the sanctions until we assume legality. We acknowledge and respect that attitude, but for reasons that have been given it is essential to maintain the bulk of the sanctions until the Governor arrives.

It is important for the House to recognise that Bishop Muzorewa and his delegation have accepted our proposals for a constitution that provides for genuine majority rule. We hope that an agreement will be reached fairly soon, and we shall then be able to appoint a Governor. When he assumes office in Salisbury, we can resume the relationship of legality.

Regarding the remaining minority of sanctions, the Bill gives us powers to re-impose sanctions under section 2. However, as my right hon. Friend said, it is hard to envisage circumstances in which that would be necessary. In any event, that is not applicable until after 15 November. I ask the House to judge the matter in the light of the decisions already made at Lancaster House and the remarkable progress that has been achieved. We believe that it would be absolutely wrong to continue with the limited range of sanctions in such circumstances.

On the ceasefire, the right hon. Member for Stepney and Poplar suggested that there was a discrepancy between the statements of my right hon. and noble Friend and my right hon. Friend on the conditions under which a Governor would be appointed. It is clear from the previous remarks of my right hon. and noble Friend that his reference to the point at which a Governor would arrive in Salisbury was based on the assumption that agreement had been reached between all parties. That is what we hope will prevail and what we are seeking to achieve. Agreement to our proposals will enable that to take place soon. However, if, despite our efforts, we fail to reach agreement, the Government will, as my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal has already said, have to consider how to proceed in that new set of circumstances.

Mr. Shore

Has the hon. Gentleman cleared that statement with the Foreign Secretary? It amounts to a substantial retraction of the words used by the right hon. and noble Gentleman in another place yesterday.

Mr. Luce

If the right hon. Gentleman reads the relevant extract from the House of Lords Hansard, he will find that my statement does not involve a substantial retraction. If I had not cleared that statement with my right hon. and noble Friend, I would be in deep trouble—I have indeed done so.

Many points were raised in the debate. I would detain the House too long if I sought to answer every point. I hope that my hon. Friends will forgive me if I do not go into too many details.

Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)

The hon. Gentleman has made an important statement with the authority of the Foreign Secretary. I understand that there are circumstances in which, if it was impossible to reach agreement on the terms put forward by the British Government, the Government might proceed to implement the Bill and the constitution that arises under the Bill. I understand that that would take place with the consent of only one of the parties.

Will the hon. Gentleman elaborate upon the circumstances in which the Governor would return and to what extent he would be supported by British troops? On the other hand, will he go without any support? I refer to the phrase used by the right hon. Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins): one thing that we do not wish to get involved in is a miniature Vietnam. If a Governor is sent to Southern Rhodesia at a time when there is no agreement between the parties and the war is continuing, where does Britain stand?

Mr. Luce

The right hon. Gentleman assumes that the conference will not succeed in obtaining the agreement of all the parties. It is the highest priority of the Government—as the right hon. Gentleman acknowledges—to obtain a settlement with the agreement of all the parties. That is why we have been working on the matter for nine weeks at Lancaster House. We hope that it does not fail. My statement about the failure to reach agreement conflicts in no way with what was said by my right hon. and noble Friend. We shall then have to consider the circumstances and decide what to do. It is madness to expect a Government to anticipate a hypothetical situation.

Mr. James Callaghan

This is an important point and it is not hypothetical. The hon. Gentleman has told us that he hopes that within a few days there will be an agreement. If that agreement is not reached, he knows as well as I do that the proposals are being rooted around now that we should impose the constitution—[Interruption.] We are discussing a situation in which lives could be at stake.

The hon. Gentleman is envisaging circumstances in which the constitution may be imposed. Will he give us an assurance that in no circumstances will the Governor or British troops to support him be introduced if no agreement is reached between the parties?

Mr. Luce

It would not be right for the Government or for me to go beyond what I have already said. We want an agreement with all the parties. If it breaks down, we have a new and difficult situation. It would be for us to decide what was the right course to take.

Mr. Robert Hughes


Mr. Luce

I do not know whether I am reflecting the desire of the House—

Mr. Hughes


Miss Joan Lestor


Mr. Speaker


Mr. Luce

I have given way quite a lot. I thought I was reflecting the desire of the House in trying to match the example of the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil. I may have gone beyond the time that he took.

The right hon. Members for Stepney and Poplar and for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bottomley) and the hon. Member for Stockport, South asked about the duration of our proposal for the pre-independence arrangements. I stress that we are anxious to strike a balance. We believe, naturally, with the great deal of mistrust that has built up in that country over many years, that we are dealing with a very fragile situation. Opposition Members have experience and knowledge of that situation. Because it is fragile, we believe that the longer implementation is left, the more difficult it will become. That is one of the most important reasons why we want the interim arrangements to be as rapid as possible.

It is also clear that we must satisfy the essential criterion that all the parties who join this agreement should have an equal and fair chance to participate in the election. For that reason, we have proposed that the agreement should last for two months from the date of the implementation of the ceasefire. That proposal emanated after lengthy discussions at Lancaster House.

I should like to comment on the point made by the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. Johnston) about the role of the Commonwealth observers. The Government attach the greatest importance to the role that the Commonwealth observers will play. The observers were called for at the Commonwealth conference in Lusaka. Their role will be to observe the whole electoral process. It has been suggested in certain quarters that their role would apply only to polling day. We take the view that the observers should be there for the whole electoral process. It is for them to judge—although it is our ultimate responsibility—whether they feel

that the elections have been held in fair and free conditions.

I will seek to reply by letter to questions such as that relating to pensions, raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Tiverton (Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop), if that is acceptable.

The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) indulged in a familiar argument about responsibility without power into which I will avoid being dragged, although his reference to the fact that Members have both responsibility and power might not command the support or agreement of hon. Members in every part of the House.

For the last 14 or 15 years, many Governments, Labour and Conservative, have been battling, trying hard to achieve a settlement. Many right hon. and hon. Members on the Opposition Benches have been grappling in their own way with this problem over the years. I believe that they, like all hon. Members and the Government, want a just settlement. This must be common ground. We all surely want peace and a settlement. My right hon. and noble Friend, my right hon. Friend and myself, have explained the reasons for the Bill. It enables us to act swiftly once the Lancaster House conference has been successfully concluded, as I am sure the whole House hopes will happen.

The Bill provides the essential mechanism enabling the settlement to be implemented rapidly. I believe that there is a strong desire in the House, among the people of Rhodesia, the surrounding States, the Western world as a whole, and throughout Africa that there should be peace and a settlement as rapidly as possible.

It is in that spirit that I commend the Bill to the House and invite it to support its Second Reading.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 252, Noes 311.

Division No. 971 AYES [10.10 pm
Abse, Leo Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham) Boothroyd, Miss Betty
Adams, Allen Bagier, Gordon A. T. Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur (M'brough)
Allaun, Frank Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Bradley, Tom
Alton, David Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Bray, Dr Jeremy
Anderson, Donald Beith, A. J. Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S)
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ernest Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Buchan, Norman
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Bidwell, Sydney Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)
Ashton, Joe Booth, Rt Hon Albert Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)
Campbell, Ian Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire) Pavitt, Laurie
Campbell-Savours, Dale Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall) Pendry, Tom
Canavan, Dennis Home Robertson, John Penhaligon, David
Cant, R. B. Homewood, William Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch (S Down)
Carmichael, Nell Hooley, Frank Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Cartwright, John Horam, John Prescott, John
Clark, David (South Shields) Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Price, Christopher (Lewisham West)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) Huckfield, Les Race, Reg
Cohen, Stanley Hughes, Mark (Durham) Radice, Giles
Coleman, Donald Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North) Richardson, Miss Jo
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Hughes, Roy (Newport) Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Conlan, Bernard Janner, Hon Greville Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North)
Cowans, Harry Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Roberts, Gwilym (Cannock)
Crowther, J. S. John, Brynmor Robertson, George
Cryer, Bob Johnson, James (Hull West) Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Rodgers, Rt Hon William
Cunningham, George (Islington S) Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda) Rooker, J. W.
Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven) Jones, Barry (East Flint) Roper, John
Dalyell, Tam Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)
Davidson, Arthur Kerr, Russell Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Kilroy-Silk, Robert Ross, Wm. (Londonderry)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Kinnock, Neil Rowlands, Ted
Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central) Lambie, David Ryman, John
Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford) Lamborn, Harry Sandelson, Neville
Deakins, Eric Lamond, James Sever, John
Dempsey, James Leadbitler, Ted Sheerman, Barry
Dewar, Donald Leighton, Ronald Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L)
Dixon, Donald Lestor, Miss Joan (Elton & Slough) Shore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pop)
Dobson, Frank Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Short, Mrs Renée
Dormand, Jack Litherland, Robert Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Douglas, Dick Lofthouse, Geoffrey Silkln, Rt Hon S.C. (Dulwich)
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Lyon, Alexander (York) Silverman, Julius
Dubs, Alfred Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson Skinner, Dennis
Duffy, A. E. P. McCartney, Hugh Snape, Peter
Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale) McCusker, H. Soley, Clive
Dunnett, Jack McDonald, Dr Oonagh Spearing, Nigel
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth McGuire, Michael (Ince) Spriggs, Leslie
Eadie, Alex McKay, Allen (Penistone) Stallard, A. W.
Eastham, Ken McKelvey, William Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isies)
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Stoddart, David
Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire) Maclennan, Robert Stott, Roger
Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) McMahon, Andrew Strang, Gavin
English, Michael McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, Central) Straw, Jack
Ennals, Rt Hon David McNally, Thomas Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Evans, Ioan (Aberdare) McWilliam, John Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)
Evans, John (Newton) Magee, Bryan Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Ewing, Harry Marks, Kenneth Thomas, Mike (Newcastle East)
Field, Frank Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shettles'n) Thomas, Dr Roger Carmarthen)
Fitch, Alan Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Flannery, Martin Marshall, Jim (Leicester South) Tilley, John
Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston) Martin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn) Torney, Tom
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Maxton, John Urwin, Rt Hon Tom
Ford, Ben Maynard, Miss Joan Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Forrester, John Meacher, Michael Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Foster, Derek Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Walker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster)
Foulkes, George Mikardo, Ian Watkins, David
Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Weetch, Ken
Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald Miller, Dr M S. (East Kilbride) Wellbeloved, James
Freud, Clement Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Weish, Michael
Garrett, John (Norwich S) Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend) Molyneaux, James White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
George, Bruce Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe) Whitlock, William
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw) Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Ginsburg, David Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon) Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Golding, John Morton, Barry Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Grant, George (Morpeth) Moyle, Rt Hon Roland Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Grant, John (Islington C) Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
Grimond, Rt Hon J. Newens, Stanley Winnick, David
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Woolmer, Kenneth
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife) O'Neill, Martin Wrigglesworth, Ian
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Wright, Shella
Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith Owen, Rt Hon Dr David Young, David (Bolton East)
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Palmer, Arthur
Haynes, Frank Park, George TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Parker, John Mr. Ted Graham and
Heffer, Eric S. Parry, Robert Mr. James Tinn.
Adley, Robert Arnold, Tom Banks, Robert
Aitken, Jonathan Aspinwall, Jack Beaumont-Dark, Anthony
Alexander, Richard Atkins, Robert (Preston North) Bell, Ronald
Alison, Michael Atkinson, David (Bournemouth, East) Bendall, Vivian
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon)
Ancram, Michael Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) Benyon, W. (Buckingham)
Best, Keith Goodlad, Alastair Miscampbell, Norman
Bevan, David Gilroy Gorst, John Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Biffen, Rt Hon John Gow, Ian Moate, Roger
Biggs-Davison, John Greenway, Harry Monro, Hector
Blackburn, John Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds) Montgomery, Fergus
Blaker, Peter Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Moore, John
Body, Richard Grist, Ian Morgan, Geraint
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Grylls, Michael Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth)
Boscawen, Hon Robert Gummer, John Selwyn Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes)
Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West) Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll) Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)
Bowden, Andrew Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Mudd, David
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Hampson, Dr Keith Murphy, Christopher
Braine, Sir Bernard Hannam, John Myles, David
Bright, Graham Haselhurst, Alan Neale, Gerrard
Brinton, Tim Hastings, Stephen Needham, Richard
Brittan, Leon Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Nelson, Anthony
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Hawksley, Warren Neubert, Michael
Brooke, Hon Peter Hayhoe, Barney Newton, Tony
Brotherton, Michael Heath, Rt Hon Edward Normanton, Tom
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe) Heddle, John Nott, Rt Hon John
Browne, John (Winchester) Henderson, Barry Onslow, Cranley
Bruce-Gardyne, John Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs Sally
Bryan, Sir Paul Hicks, Robert Osborn, John
Buck, Antony Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Page, John (Harrow, West)
Budgen, Nick Hill, James Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Bulmer, Esmond Holland, Philip (Carlton) Parkinson, Cecil
Burden, F. A. Hooson, Tom Parris, Matthew
Butcher, John Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Patten, Christopher (Bath)
Butler, Hon Adam Howell, Rt Hon David (Guildford) Patten, John (Oxford)
Cadbury, Jocelyn Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk) Pattie, Geoffrey
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Hunt David (Wirral) Pawsey, James
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Percival, Sir Ian
Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn) Hurd, Hon Douglas Peyton, Rt Hon John
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Irving, Charles (Cheltenham) Pink, R. Bonner
Channon, Paul Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick Pollock, Alexander
Chapman, Sydney Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Porter, George
Churchill, W. S. Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith Price, David (Eastleigh)
Clark, Dr William (Croydon South) Kaberry, Sir Donald Prior, Rt Hon James
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Proctor, K. Harvey
Cockeram, Eric Kershaw, Anthony Pym, Rt Hon Francis
Colvin, Michael Kilfedder, James A. Raison, Timothy
Cope, John
Cormack, Patrick Kimball, Marcus Rathbone, Tim
Corrie, John King, Rt Hon Tom Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)
Costain, Sir Albert Knight, Mrs Jill Rees-Davies, W. R.
Cranborne, Viscount Knox, David Renton, Tim
Critchley, Julian Lamont, Norman Rhodes James, Robert
Crouch, David Lang, Ian Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Langford-Holt, Sir John Ridley, Hon Nicholas
Dean, Paul (North Somerset) Latham, Michael Rifkind, Malcolm
Dickens, Geoffrey Lawrence Ivan Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Dorrell, Stephen Lawson, Nigel Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Lee, John Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Dover, Denshore Lester, Jim (Beeston) Rossi, Hugh
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Lewis, Kenneth (Rutand) Rost, Peter
Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo) Royle, Sir Anthony
Durant, Tony Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Dykes, Hugh Loveridge, John St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman
Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Luce, Richard Scott, Nicholas
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke) Lyell, Nicholas Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)
Eggar, Timothy McAdden, Sir Stephen Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Elliott, Sir William McCrindle, Robert Shelton, William (Streatham)
Emery, Peter Macfarlane, Neil Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Eyre, Reginald MacGregor, John Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills)
Fairgrieve, Russell MacKay, John (Argyll) Shersby, Michael
Faith, Mrs Sheila McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury) Silvester, Fred
Fell, Anthony McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Sims, Roger
Fenner, Mrs Peggy McQuarrle, Albert Skeet, T. H. H.
Finsborg, Geoffrey Madel, David Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)
Fisher, Sir Nigel Major, John Speed, Keith
Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N) Marland, Paul Speller, Tony
Fookes, Misa Janet Marlow, Tony Spence, John
Forman, Nigel Marshall, Michael (Arundel) Spicer, Jim (West Dorset)
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Marten, Neil (Banbury) Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire)
Fox, Marcus Mather, Carol Sproat, Iain
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Maude, Rt Hon Angus Squire, Robin
Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Mawby, Ray Stanbrook, Ivor
Fry, Peter Mawhinney, Dr Brian Stanley, John
Galbraith, Hon T. G. D. Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Steen, Anthony
Gardiner, George (Reigate) Mayhew, Patrick Stewart, Ian (Hitchin)
Gardner, Edward (South Fylde) Mellor, David Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)
Garel-Jones, Tristan Meyer, Sir Anthony Stokes, John
Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch) Stradling Thomas, J.
Goodhart, Phillip Mills, Iain (Meriden) Tapsell, Peter
Goodhew, Victor Mills, Peter (West Devon) Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)
Tebbit, Norman Waddington, David Wheeler, John
Temple-Morris, Peter Wakeham, John Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret Waldegrave, Hon. William Whitney, Raymond
Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S) Walker, Rt Hon Peter (Worcester) Wickenden, Keith
Thompson, Donald Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire) Wilkinson, John
Thorne, Neil (Ilford South) Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek Williams, Delwyn (Montgomery)
Thornton, Malcolm Wall, Patrick Winterton, Nicholas
Townend, John (Bridlington) Waller, Gary Wolfson, Mark
Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath) Walters, Dennis Young, Sir George (Acton)
Trippier, David Ward, John Younger, Rt Hon George
Trotter, Neville Warren, Kenneth
van Straubenzee, W. R. Watson, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Vaughan, Dr Gerard Wells, John (Maidstone) Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Viggers, Peter Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage) Mr. Anthony Berry.

Question accordingly negatived.

Main Question put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 39 (Amendment on second or third reading), That the Bill be now read a second time.

The House divided: Ayes 314, Noes 253.

Division No. 981 AYES [10.25 pm
Adley, Robert Cormack, Patrick Hayhoe, Barney
Aitken, Jonathan Corrie, John Heath, Rt Hon Edward
Al[...], Richard Costain, A. P. Heddle, John
Alison, Michael Cranborne, Viscount Henderson, Barry
Amery, Rt Hon Julian Critchley, Julian Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Ancram, Michael Crouch, David Hicks, Robert
Arnold, Tom Dean, Paul (North Somerset) Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Aspinwall, Jack Dickens, Geoffrey Hill, James
Atkins, Robert (Preston North) Dorrell, Stephen Holland, Philip (Carlton)
Atkinson, David (Bournemouth, East) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Hooson, Tom
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Dover, Denshore Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey
Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset) du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Howell, Rt Hon David (Guildford)
Banks, Robert Dunn, Robert (Dartford) Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Durant, Tony Hunt, David (Wirral)
Bell, Ronald Dykes, Hugh Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Bendall, Vivian Eden, Rt Hon Sir John Hurd, Hon Douglas
Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon) Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke) Irving, Charles (Cheltenham)
Benyon, W. (Buckingham) Eggar, Timothy Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick
Best, Keith Elliott, Sir William Johnson Smith, Geoffrey
Bevan, David Gilroy Emery, Peter Jopling, Rt Hon Michael
Biffen, Rt Hon John Eyre, Reginald Joseph, Rt Hon Sir Keith
Biggs-Davison, John Fairbairn, Nicholas Kaberry, Sir Donald
Blackburn, John Fairgrieve, Russell Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elains
Blaker, Peter Faith, Mrs Sheila Kershaw, Anthony
Body, Richard Fell, Anthony Kilfedder, James A.
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Fenner, Mrs Peggy Kimball, Marcus
Boscawen, Hon Robert Finsberg, Geoffrey King, Rt Hon Tom
Bottomley, Peter (Woolwich West) Fisher, Sir Nigel Knight, Mrs Jill
Bowden, Andrew Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N) Knox, David
Boyson, Dr Rhodes Fookes, Miss Janet Lamont, Norman
Braine, Sir Bernard Forman, Nigel Lang, Ian
Bright, Graham Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Langford-Holt, Sir John
Brinton, Tim Fox, Marcus Latham, Michael
Brittan, Leon Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St) Lawrence Ivan
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Fraser, Peter (South Angus) Lawson, Nigel
Brooke, Hon Peter Fry, Peter Lee, John
Brotherton, Michael Galbraith, Hon T. G. D. Lester, Jim (Beeston)
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe) Gardiner, George (Reigate) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutand)
Browne, John (Winchester) Gardner, Edward (South Fylde) Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)
Bruce-Gardyne, John Garel-Jones, Tristan Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Bryan, Sir Paul Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian Loveridge, John
Buck, Antony Goodhart, Phillip Luce, Richard
Budgen, Nick Goodhew, Victor Lyell, Nicholas
Bulmer, Esmond Goodlad, Alastair McAdden, Sir Stephen
Burden, F. A. Gorst, John McCrindle, Robert
Butcher, John Gow, Ian Macfarlane, Neil
Butler, Hon Adam Gray, Hamish MacGregor, John
Cadbury, Jocelyn Greenway, Harry MacKay, John (Argyll)
Carlisle, John (Luton West) Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds) McNair-Wilson, Michael (Newbury)
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)
Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn) Grist, Ian McQuarrie, Albert
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Grylls, Michael Madel, David
Channon, Paul Gummer, John Selwyn Major, John
Chapman, Sydney Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll) Marland, Paul
Churchill, W. S. Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Marlow, Tony
Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton) Hampson, Dr Keith Marshall, Michael (Arundel)
Clark, Dr William (Croydon South) Hannam, John Marten, Neil (Banbury)
Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Haselhurst, Alan Males, Michael
Cockeram, Eric Hastings, Stephen Mather, Carol
Colvin, Michael Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael Maude, Rt Hon Angus
Cope, John Hawksley, Warren Mawby, Ray
Mawhinney, Dr Brian Prior, Rt Hon James Slradling Thomas, J.
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Proctor, K. Harvey Tapsell, Peter
Mayhew, Patrick Pym, Rt Hon Francis Taylor, Robert (Croydon NW)
Mollor, David Raison, Timothy Tebbit, Norman
Meyer, Sir Anthony Rathbone, Tim Temple-Morris, Peter
Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch) Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal) Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret
Mills, Iain (Meriden) Rees-Davies, W. R. Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)
Mills. Peter (West Devon) Renton, Tim Thompson, Donald
Miscampbell, Norman Rhodes James, Robert Thorne, Neil (Ilford South)
Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Thornton, Malcolm
Moate, Roger Ridley, Hon Nicholas Townend, John (Bridlington)
Monro, Hector Rifklnd, Malcolm Townsend, Cyril D. (Bexleyheath)
Montgomery, Fergus Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey Trippier, David
Moore, John Roberts, Michael (Cardiff NW) Trotter, Neville
Morris, Michael (Northampton, Sth) Roberts, Wyn (Conway) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Morrison, Hon Charles (Devizes) Rossi, Hugh Vaughan, Dr Gerard
Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester) Rost, Peter Viggers, Peter
Mudd, David Royle, Sir Anthony Waddington, David
Murphy, Christopher Sainsbury, Hon Timothy Wakeham, John
Myles, David St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon Norman Waldegrave, Hon. William
Neale, Gerrard Scott, Nicholas Walker, Rt Hon Peter (Worcester)
Needham, Richard Shaw, Gles (Pudsey) Walker, Bill (Perth & E Perthshire)
Nelson, Anthony Shaw, Michael (Scarborough) Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek
Neubert, Michael Shelton, William (Streatham) Wall, Patrick
Newton, Tony Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Waller, Gary
Normanton, Tom Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills) Walters, Dennis
Nott, Rt Hon John Shersby, Michael Ward, John
Onslow, Cranley Silvester, Fred Warren, Kenneth
Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs Sally Sims, Roger Watson, John
Osborn, John Skeet, T. H. H. Wells, John (Maidstone)
Page, John (Harrow, West) Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton) Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)
Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby) Speed, Keith Wheeler, John
Parkinson, Cecil Speller, Tony Whitelaw, Rt Hon William
Parris, Matthew Spence, John Whitney, Raymond
Patten, Christopher (Bath) Spicer, Jim (West Dorset) Wickenden, Keith
Patten, John (Oxford) Spicer, Michael (S Worcestershire) Wilkinson, John
Pattie, Geoffrey Sproat, Iain Williams, Delwyn (Montgomery)
Pawsey, James Squire, Robin Winterton, Nicholas
Percival, Sir Ian Stanbrook, Ivor Wolfson, Mark
Peyton, Rt Hon John Stanley, John Young, Sir George (Acton)
Pink, R. Bonner Steen, Anthony Younger, Rt Hon George
Pollock, Alexander Stevens, Martin
Porter, Georga Stewart, Ian (Hitchin) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Prentice, Rt Hon Reg Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire) Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Price, David (Eastleigh) Stokes, John Mr. Anthony Berry.
Abse, Leo Coleman, Donald Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)
Adams, Allen Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Evans, John (Newton)
Allaun, Frank Conlan, Bernard Ewing, Harry
Alton, David Cowans, Harry Field, Frank
Anderson, Donald Crowther, J. S. Fitch, Alan
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Cryer, Bob Flannery, Martin
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ernest Cunliffe, Lawrence Fletcher, L. R. (Ilkeston)
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Cunningham, George (Islington S) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)
Ashton, Joe Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven) Ford, Ben
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham) Dalyell, Tam Forrester, John
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Davidson, Arthur Foster, Derek
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Davies, Rt Hon Denzll (Llanelli) Foulkes, George
Barnett, Rt Hon Joel (Heywood) Davies, Ifor (Gower) Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)
Belth, A. J. Davis, Clinton (Hackney Central) Freeson, Rt Hon Reginald
Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood Davis, Terry (B'rm'ham, Stechford) Freud, Clement
Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N) Deakins, Eric Garrett, John (Norwich S)
Bidwell, Sydney Dean, Joseph (Leeds West) Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)
Booth, Rt Hon Albert Dempsey, James George, Bruce
Boothroyd, Miss Betty Dewar, Donald Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur (M'brough) Dixon, Donald Ginsburg, David
Bradley, Tom Dobson, Frank Golding, John
Bray, Dr Jeremy Dormand, Jack Graham, Ted
Brown, Robert C. (Newcastle W) Douglas, Dick Grant, George (Morpeth)
Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S) Douglas-Mann, Bruce Grant, John (Islington C)
Buchan, Norman Dubs, Alfred Grimond, Rt Hon J.
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE) Duffy, A. E. P. Hamilton, James (Bothwell)
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P) Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale) Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)
Campbell, Ian Dunnett, Jack Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Campbell-Savours, Dale Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith
Canavan, Dennis Eadle, Alex Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Cant, R. B. Eastham, Ken Haynes, Frank
Carmichael, Neil Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE) Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Cartwright, John Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire) Heffer, Eric S.
Clark, David (South Shields) Ellis, Tom (Wrexham) Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S) English, Michael Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall)
Cohen, Stanley Ennals, Rt hon David Home Robertson, John
Homewood, William Meacher, Michael Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert (A'ton-u-L)
Hooley, Frank Mellish, Rt Hon Robert Shore, Rt Hon peter (Step and Pop)
Horam, John Mikardo, Ian Short, Mrs Renée
Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H) Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Silkin. Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Huckfield, Les Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride) Silkin, Rt Hon S.C. (Dulwich)
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Mitchell, Austin (Grimsby) Silverman, Julius
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North) Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen) Skinner, Dennis
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Molyneaux, James Snape, Peter
Janner, Hon Greville Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe) Soley, Clive
Jay, Rt Hon Douglas Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw) Spearing, Nigel
John, Brynmor Morris, Rt Hon John (Aberavon) Spriggs, Leslie
Johnson, James (Hull West) Moyle, Rt Hon Roland Stallard, A. W.
Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Mulley, Rt Hon Frederick Stewart, Rt Hon Donald (W Isles)
Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda) Newens, Stanley Stoddart, David
Jones, Barry (East Flint) Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Stott, Roger
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald O'Halloran, Michael Strang, Gavin
Kerr, Russell O'Neill, Martin Straw, Jack
Kilroy-Silk, Robert Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley
Kinnock, Nell Owen. Rt Hon Dr David Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)
Lambie, David Palmer, Arthur Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Lamborn, Harry Park, George Thomas, Mike (Newcastle East)
Lamond, James Parker, John Thomas, Dr Roger Carmarthen)
Leadbitter, Ted Parry, Robert Thorne, Stan (Preston South)
Leighton, Ronald Pavitt, Laurie Tilley, John
Lestor, Miss Joan (Elton & Slough) Pendry, Tom Torney, Tom
Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Penhaligon, David Urwin, Rt Hon Tom
Litherland, Robert Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch (S Down) Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Powell, Raymond (Ogmore) Wainwrighl, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Lyon, Alexander (York) Prescott, John Walker, Rt Hon Harold (Doncaster)
Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dlckson Price, Christopher (Lewisham West) Watkins, David
McCartney, Hugh Race, Reg Weetch, Ken
McCusker, H. Radice, Giles Wellbeloved, James
McDonald, Dr Oonagh Richardson, Miss Jo Welsh, Michael
McGuire, Michael (Ince) Roberts, Allan (Bootle) White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North) White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
McKelvey, William Roberts, Gwllym (Cannock) Whitlock, William
MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor Robertson, George Willey, Rt Hon Frederick
Maclennan, Robert Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW) Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
McMahon, Andrew Rodgers, Rt Hon William Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, Central) Rooker, J. W. Wilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
McNally, Thomas Roper, John Wilson, William (Coventry SE)
McWilliam, John Ross, Ernest (Dundee West) Winnick, David
Magee, Bryan Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight) Woolmer, Kenneth
Marks, Kenneth Ross, Wm. (Londonderry) Wrigglesworth, Ian
Marshall, David (Gl'sgow, Shetlles'n) Rowlands, Ted Wright, Shella
Marshall, Dr Edmund (Goole) Ryman, John Young, David (Bolton East)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester South) Sandelson, Neville
Martin, Michael (Gl'gow, Springb'rn) Sever, John TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Maxton, John Sheerman, Barry Mr. George Mo[...]on and
Maynard, Miss Joan Mr. James Tinn.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Bill read a Second time.

Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House.—[Mr. John Stradling Thomas.]

Further proceedings postponed, pursuant to Order this day.